Fresh take on food

Winter 2007

Education Leaders: The New Class

From the President
Across Campus
Healthier Women, Healthier Country
On the trail of The Painting Nun
Hot Science
Seeking answers for Autism
Living the Wired Life
Education Leaders: The New Class 
USGS and Sac State
Alumni Association expands East
Title IX: 35 Years Strong
Presidents Circle: Grubb & Ellis
Alumni Profile: Joey Garcia
Alumni Profile: Sam Starks
Class Notes

From the President

This is an historic semester at Sac State. As you’ll read on page 14 of this issue, we launched our first-ever independent doctorate, allowing students to earn a doctoral degree in educational leadership.

This is an important step for Sac State and an important one for California. Along with six other California State Universities, we will be helping to provide the education leaders that are so desperately needed in the state. Our graduates will shape how our K-12 and community college institutions respond to the needs of tomorrow’s students.

What makes the program at Sac State so special is that the faculty designing the curriculum took advantage of one of the hallmarks of this University: the ability to shape public policy. Sac State’s location in the state capital gives us extraordinary opportunities to affect policy statewide—and not just in education.

Our professors are working on issues ranging from urban sprawl to employment trends. Their opinions are sought by legislators, educators, planners, and countless state and local agencies.

This is a shining example of how a university can contribute to the community. Our students are the beneficiaries as well, learning from professors who are actively engaged with issues facing California. Our students are provided the opportunity to become a part of the solution as they assist in the research process and gain from the currency brought to the classroom by the discussion of real-world problems and strategies for resolution.

Community engagement is one of the tenets of Sac State’s Destination 2010 initiative to become a premier metropolitan university. By actively addressing the challenges facing California, Sac State continues to serve as a valuable asset to the region and the state.

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Across Campus

Thiebaud collection among Gala gifts

The announcement of $2.5 million in gifts—including a significant collection of drawings by the evening’s honoree and Sac State alumnus Wayne Thiebaud—was among the highlights of Sacramento State’s third annual Green and Gold Gala on Oct. 5.

The collection of 150 Thiebaud works on paper represents the breadth of Thiebaud’s career, from his early work as a cartoonist to the present day. The collection—valued at more than $1 million—is the gift of anonymous donors. It will be housed in the University Library’s Special Collections and University Archives.

Other gifts announced at the Gala included:

  • A $500,000 gift to honor John and Myrna Stremple. Of that, more than $375,000 will go toward scholarships for math and science honor students and $125,000 will support Sacramento State football.
  • A bequest of approximately $400,000 for scholarships in education, from the estate of Earline Ames, a former Sacramento State administrator.
  • A $400,000 bequest to the College of Education, from the estate of alumna Nancy Owens.
  • A $100,000 gift for scholarships for students in the honors program and to support other University programs, from the Wells Fargo Foundation.
  • A $156,000 gift to support faculty development and scholarships for re-entry students, from the estate of Charlotte Walker, wife of former Sacramento State academic vice president Stephen Walker.

Thiebaud is a three-time alumnus of Sacramento State, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as an honorary doctorate in fine arts.

Thiebaud began his work as a cartoonist and enrolled at Sacramento State in 1950. He taught at Sacramento Junior College (now Sacramento City College) and was part of the UC Davis faculty from 1960 until his retirement in the early 1990s. His signature style of brightly colored still-life paintings was established around 1960, and he continues to paint today.

Oldest student is a media star

When Estelle Rees Arroyo transferred to Sac State from Sierra College in Grass Valley, she didn’t plan to land in the media spotlight. She just wanted to get a degree in history.

But when you’re a 90-year-old junior, you’re bound to attract attention.

Arroyo is definitely the oldest student on campus, and most likely the oldest to ever attend Sac State. That distinction drew the interest of media nationwide.

First the local press tagged along with her as she made her way from one class to another. Arroyo was accompanied by local television crews for a couple of days, then a reporter and photographer from the Sacramento Bee captured her story.

Her professors and fellow students grew accustomed to the media presence, as photographers and reporters recorded her mingling in the classroom.

Arroyo went national when a feature on her aired on local NBC affiliate KCRA was picked up by the “Today” show. Other local stations around the nation also aired the video footage, and Arroyo did a phone interview for an MSNBC program. Later she was featured on the nationally syndicated program “Inside Edition.”

Arroyo has seen a lot of “firsts” in her life. A Bay Area native, she witnessed the construction of the Bay Bridge and still speaks fondly of the ferry it replaced. She’s also lived in and visited exotic ports of call throughout the world, but was caught off guard by the reporters and photographers who flocked to her last fall.

“It kind of embarrassed me,” Arroyo says of all the attention, noting she didn’t seek any of it. “It came and bit me.”

Arroyo did have to turn down one request. She declined an invitation to be flown down to Los Angeles for an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show because it would have caused her to miss class. “People will forget my name the next day,” Arroyo says, “but my grades will stand forever.”

Building a better...

Stop by Santa Clara Hall, and you’ll see a place that’s part engineering lab and part factory.

Somewhere in the building, a race car is being built, a bridge is being constructed and a canoe is being designed. And these aren’t just models or even traditional designs. The car can go up to 65 mph, the bridge can hold a 2,500-pound load, and the canoe is made of concrete.

The student projects will be put to the test in competitions against other universities in the spring.

 “These competitions give students real-world experience on how projects are built and how they are conceived since they must design their projects basically from scratch,” says Civil Engineering Professor Ali Porbaha.

For one event, the members of the University’s Society of Automotive Engineers car club are building a Formula One-style, open-wheel race car.  “We’re buying parts and working on the design right now,” says student Michael Bell. “We’re on time, and the only thing that can hold us back is funding for more parts.”

Other students are designing a 21-foot-long bridge they hope will win the annual Student Steel Bridge Competition sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction. “We’re seeking advice from professionals about how to organize, design and fabricate our bridge,” says, Kendra Iwahashi, steel bridge team captain.

Elsewhere students are designing a canoe, not with wood or fiberglass, but with concrete.

“Floating is one of the criteria. If it doesn’t float, the team will lose points,” says Porbaha. “Students are working on what mixes work and what geometric designs are best.”

Porbaha says student competitions are more than just fun. They are a way for students to apply skills they’ve learned as they prepare for careers in engineering. “The projects are smaller in scale but the process is the same. You set the goals and learn how to convert optimum design from paper to reality.”

Performing arts pros give students a hand

How do you make a quality program even better? Bring in the pros. The Theatre/Dance and Music departments are strengthening their offerings by teaming up with two of Sacramento’s most respected professional organizations.

Music has taken advantage of an established working relationship with Sacramento Opera to help train opera students, and stage a pair of productions.

Though the Opera had been providing expertise for several years, when former Sac State opera director Lynn Stradley retired at the end of last year, Robin Fisher, voice professor and a performer in Sacramento Opera productions, approached the company to strengthen those ties.

Timm Rolek, Sacramento Opera’s artistic director, is working with the students and will conduct Sac State’s opera production in March. Guest stage director Yefim Maizel, from The Metropolitan Opera, helped students with their stage moves and guided them through their winter opera scenes. Freelance director Daniel Helfgot will direct the spring production.

Not only do the students get professional training and advice on making a career in their field, Sacramento Opera also gets a pool of talent to dip into. Several Sacramento State students have been used in choruses and as leads in children’s productions put on by the company.

Universities elsewhere have connections with local, professional opera companies. “But we are one of the first to establish a formal working relationship between the two entities,” Fisher says.

The Theatre and Dance Department is realizing similar benefits from its partnership with California Musical Theatre, producer of Music Circus and Broadway Sacramento. CMT assisted with the production of Gloria Bond Clunie’s North Star in the University Theatre this year, including underwriting a personal appearance by the playwright and a playwriting workshop with the students.

“With CMT bringing in the playwright and having the workshop, it opened even more doors for our theater majors,” says professor and North Star director Melinda Wilson.

Like Fisher, Wilson believes the University’s partnership with CMT is unique. Similar arrangements in other cities don’t extend much beyond internship programs, Wilson says. While CMT does hire interns, having representatives talking personally with the students, and underwriting special appearances such as Clunie’s, takes it to another level, she adds.

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Remembering Serna

The life and legacy of former Sacramento mayor and Sac State professor Joseph Serna are the subject of an exhibit in the library’s Special Collections and University Archives through Feb. 29. The exhibit documents Serna’s life from his early years as the oldest child of a farm worker family, his activism with the United Farmworkers and his public service as mayor before his death in 1999. The items were donated by the Serna family to the University 2004. The collection is available for scholarly research. Details: (916) 278-6144

Chinese students, American tax syetem

Eighteen students from Hubei Province in central China are on campus learning how the American tax system works. A customized yearlong training program through the College of Continuing Education has them taking classes in business, international accounting and leadership development, and also doing job shadowing at the California Franchise Tax Board. The students work for the Hubei Province Local Taxation Bureau and were selected by the Chinese government to attend Sacramento State. It may be the only program of its type in the United States, and it is hoped it will become a model to be used in the future with other groups.

Loft living

A new semester meant brand new off-campus housing for some lucky students—the Upper Eastside Lofts on 65th Street near Folsom. The lofts can accommodate more than 440 students and feature an “urban loft” design with high ceilings, full kitchens with modern appliances and granite counters, and in-unit laundry facilities. Residential advisors will live in units on site, and residential life programs will be integrated with other campus life programs. The project, part of a campus effort to expand housing options, will be joined by a new on-campus residence hall in summer 2009. See slide show

Enrollment hits new high

New online services, as well as a later payment deadline for student fees, helped students register earlier this year. And Sac State to reach record enrollment. This fall 28,845 students enrolled in classes. That’s up more than 300 from last year and tops the previous high of 28,558 in 2002. The enrollment figures reflect gains in freshmen transfers, senior transfers and graduate students, as well as a nearly 10 percent increase in international students. Overall, while enrollment grew for the fall, the campus still missed its growth target for the fall semester by about 0.5 percent.

Program helps disadvantaged students prepare for college entrance exams

High school students got a jump on the college admission process through a program that helped them prepare for the exams they’ll need to begin their college careers. The Sac State/UC Davis Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program Center held a free six-week College Entrance Exam Preparatory Academy for educationally disadvantaged students. It used hands-on and computer-based training materials to help prepare students to take the PSAT, ACT, SAT I and SAT II exams. It also prepared students for the English and math college entrance exams. MESA provides academic support to educationally disadvantaged students in elementary, middle and high schools. It also helps prepare them for science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) careers. The program was co-sponsored by Intel Corp. Details: MESA program at (916) 278-4575

New judicial program

A new graduate-level course in judicial administration may help avert an impending personnel crisis in California’s courts. Seventy-five percent of the court system’s upper management, most of who are baby boomers, is expected to retire soon. The Department of Public Policy and Administration program is designed to provide the next generation of court executive officers. And Public Policy Professor Ted Lascher says it is among few of its type in the nation, and that almost nothing comparable is offered in the entire western part of the United States. “This program will expose students to the highest level of court administration,” Lascher says, adding that the demand has become acute because of increasing complexity of the court systems, a greater number of court responsibilities and a lack of formal training opportunities for CEOs.

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Healthier Women, Healthier Country

Lending a helping hand in Eritrea is no easy task.

The small northeast African country’s political situation, coupled with poverty, make humanitarian trips difficult at best and dangerous at worst. But Nursing Professor Brenda Hanson-Smith is determined to improve women’s healthcare in the region.

She first got involved in 2006, when the not-for-profit One Tribe Foundation sent a team of advanced practice nursing educators to Eritrea to assess nursing education and healthcare needs related to women’s health.  

“There was a great need for instruction on teaching methods, curriculum development and evaluation,” Hanson-Smith says. While there, she was also able to assess perinatal needs outside the hospital setting. “In Eritrea only about one in four women deliver in a hospital. The others deliver in their homes.”

During the visit, Hanson-Smith met with hospital and nursing staff as well as the National Union of Eritrean Women, which works to improve the health and social status of women, to determine teaching needs for a future visit.

“Hemorrhage and infection are killers, and there was a need for lay workers and registered nurses alike to have updated instruction,” she says. “Likewise, current newborn and infant assessment and resuscitation skills were lacking.”

Hanson-Smith returned last spring, again with a full agenda, including teaching fetal monitoring, newborn assessment and resuscitation to the nursing staff and lay healthcare workers from the outlying villages, and speaking on reproductive cancers of the breast, cervix and uterus.

In addition, Hanson-Smith sent along vitally needed hospital equipment including fetal monitors, fetoscopes, cord clamps and assorted surgical instruments. Unfortunately, the fetoscopes and surgical instruments were stolen en route.

Undaunted by the setback, she focused on delivering life-saving lessons that couldn’t be taken away. “Breast self-exam is not a common practice and access to mammograms is non-existent,” says Hanson-Smith. “Teaching women breast self-exams is tremendously important because it directly impacts the quality of their health.”

And Hanson-Smith’s dedication didn’t go unnoticed. During a hospital welcome the OB/GYN chief of staff declared that Hanson-Smith “is one of us. She is our sister.”

“It was truly an unexpected honor,” says Hanson-Smith. “Sister is a name given to the highest-ranking nurse, a most learned person. What I have given them is so small in comparison to what they have given me.” 

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On the trail of The Painting Nun

Not many people know art professor Catherine Turrill as somewhat of a detective, combing through documents to learn the vital statistics and trace the actions of her subject. Only in Turrill’s case, the subject happens to be a female artist who lived more than 400 years ago.

Turrill research resulted in two entries in Plautilla Nelli: The Painter Nun of Renaissance Florence, a collection of essays edited by Jonathan K. Nelson.

A contemporary of Michelangelo, Nelli lived and worked in the Dominican convent of Santa Caterina da Siena in Florence. It was common practice for convents to support themselves by creating items from weaving, spinning or lace-making. But Nelli took things in a new direction. “She brought painting into the convent,” Turrill says.

Turrill’s fascination with Nelli was prompted in the 1990s by an art history student who wanted to know more about female artists in the Italian Renaissance. When Turrill and the student started gathering names they found that Nelli’s turned up frequently. “Almost nothing had been written about her in English at that point. I had this whole field of research to myself,” Turrill says.

After joining Sacramento State in 1995, Turrill spent several summers in Florence, unearthing even more information about Nelli. Surprisingly, this art research involved very little art. “It was very rare that I looked at a painting,” Turrill says. “I was usually looking at documents, in Italian, from the 16th century.”

Because Renaissance artists did not sign all of their works, matching an unsigned painting with an artist can be a problem. Only three of Nelli’s documented paintings are known today.

That includes a 22-foot-wide painting of the Last Supper she did for the convent’s dining room, and which now hangs in the refectory of the Dominican friars at Santa Maria Novella in Florence. But Nelli was famous in her own time and her works were purchased by many patrons. So it’s believed other paintings may be unrecognized or are hanging in private collections, Turrill says.

In comparing Nelli’s works to other well-known, male artists of the Renaissance, Turrill says hers don’t quite match up to their standards. But she adds that Nelli didn’t have the same advantages as the men, who, as young teenagers, were apprenticed to artists and learned their craft over several years.

Nelli entered the convent around age 14 and is said to have taught herself without the benefit of a mentor. “She had a natural ability and did the best with what she had,” Turrill says.

Her best was good enough to ensure that her name and talent are still recognized almost five centuries later. 

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Hot Science

You would expect to see Bunsen burners in a chemistry lab, but microwave ovens? 

Professor Cynthia Kellen-Yuen and her students use ordinary, kitchen model ovens to cook up molecules that could be used to fight a variety of diseases including cancer and HIV.

“We use microwave ovens for the same reason you use a microwave oven,” she says. “The reactions are very fast.”

The ovens are used to heat two organic molecules until they collapse and become one larger, cyclic molecule which she hopes will be biologically active. affecting the metabolic activity of the cells. The “combined” molecules, called pyrroles and triazoles have the potential to become useful pharmaceutical drugs.

“The pyrroles we are making are very simple versions of complicated molecules that can be found in marine animals like mollusks and sea sponges,” Kellen-Yuen says. “Although the natural molecules have shown great promise as anti-cancer or anti-HIV drugs, the animals produce their pyrroles in small amounts, so they’re not really useful, pharmaceutically speaking. 

The shapes of the molecules produced in the microwave ovens are a little different than the natural ones, and Kellen-Yuen says she’s not positive her molecules are as biologically active as the natural compounds. “But, there are similarities to the natural product which means they have potential. We need to produce them in decent quantities and in sufficient variety to test and see if they have any activity on their own.”

For experiments that create molecules which could help battle fatal illnesses, you might expect specialized equipment, but the four ovens in Kellen-Yuen’s lab are store-bought models like those found in most homes.

“You can buy a standard microwave oven for about $50-60,” she says. “But if you were to buy lab-grade oven it would be close to $20,000-30,000.”

Using an off-the-shelf model does have its drawbacks, the biggest being they are not tuned to do precision heating.

“I bet when you turn your microwave on and select 30 percent power, you think you’re getting 30 percent power,” Kellen-Yuen says. “What you are really getting is full power for 30 percent of the time. That leads to all kinds of interesting outcomes when we put our experiments into the microwave.

So Kellen-Yuen uses tricks such as artificially forcing the power down by putting a container of ice in the back of the oven. “Ice is wonderful at absorbing microwave energy, and best of all, the byproduct is only water.” 

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Seeking Answers for Autism

How do you take on an epidemic? At Sac State, autism spectrum disorder is being treated one child at a time.

Autism cases grew 900 percent between 1992 and 2001 and experts estimate that up to one in 150 children, and one in 90 boys, will be diagnosed as autistic. (CQ)

The psychology department is responding with a targeted curriculum designed to train students to treat the disorder. Students conduct one-on-one sessions for children in the community who have autism as part of their training.

“We use behavior assessment and modification—which is also a form of research—and it is having an impact,” says Psychology Professor Caio Miguel, who was hired last fall to help build up the autism program. The personalized treatment gives researchers like Miguel insight in to what works when dealing with autistic children. Procedures are constantly tried and reevaluated to determine what works.

The hope is that the personalized treatment program will eventually grow into an on-campus clinic. “The families are ready to go. They want the services,” says Psychology professor Becky Penrod, who also came to Sac State last fall.       

The students learn to implement instructional procedures that reduce problem behaviors in children with disabilities, Miguel says. For children with autism, behavior problems can include aggression, feeding disorders and repetitive behavior such as rocking. They are also trying to increase function skills such as washing hands, dressing and toilet training, as well as academic skills such as language acquisition.

Autism is called a “spectrum” disorder because the children come with a range of skills. “That’s why one-on-one treatment is so effective,” Miguel says.

Treatment focuses on practical things—what does the child need to function at school and at home—and is child-specific. Children may have different reasons for the same behavior and there is no one solution. “Rocking behavior may look the same but be done for different reasons,” Miguel says. “What does it accomplish? Stimulation? Attention? It’s completely different in we how treat it.”

It’s best to get to children early, Penrod says. If a child uses inappropriate behavior to get what they want for a short time, it’s easier to retrain them. She adds that through treatment, some children are able to be integrated into the system without anyone knowing they have autism.

And, they point out, the Sac State program is not trying to duplicate efforts being done elsewhere, such as at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

“We’re not trying to conduct etiological study of why brain does certain things,” Miguel says. “Instead we scientifically evaluate whether or not a specific intervention works. We want to teach students to make data-driven clinical decisions. We want them to think like scientists: Why is this procedure not working? What is the criteria for changing a procedure and how do you make that decision?”

While the behavioral approach is treatment of choice for autism spectrum disorder, it’s important to have a way to regulate it, Miguel says. At Sac State students get training in their coursework, but because of the limited treatment rooms available on campus, many do their clinical work in programs in the community. Penrod says that one of their reasons for wanting the clinic is to have more control over the supervision students get while children are receiving treatment.

There is a tremendous need in the field for trained professionals, Penrod says, with more jobs for behavior analysts than students to fill them.

To meet that need the psychology department has both and undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in behavior analysis, which feature course work and hours of supervised practicum experience. Both provide students with the scientific knowledge and academic training they need to sit for a national certification exam.

Response to Sac State’s program has been strong and parents are eager to get their children on board, even calling to get on waiting lists for research studies. And the department expects that as demand grows, they will need more space and expect to seek funding for the clinic in the near future. In the meantime, they are collecting data on other programs.

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Living the Wired Life

In an era when the ability to use a computer is considered as expected as the ability to read and write, it’s no surprise that universities felt the pressure to step up their technology efforts. At Sac State, the University’s embrace of technology has been careful tightrope walk between convenience and the human touch.

Technology: No Place for Wimps!—Scott Adams, Dilbert

“The University’s push in the technology realm is driven in the main by our sense that this is something students have come to expect,” says Joseph Sheley, (‘69, psychology) provost and vice president for academic affairs. “If you look at number of students using laptops to take notes in class, when you have papers given back to you that clearly been generated by—and not necessarily inappropriately— by access to large search engines, when you walk over to the computer labs in the Academic Information Resource Center and see they’re constantly packed with students, it’s an indication that our students use technology in their learning.”

Sheley says it also is evident in the way faculty member communicate with students outside of classroom. There are frequent exchanges of e-mails. Many faculty set up web pages that provide reference lists and additional supplementary materials. Students submit papers online, allowing faulty members to make remarks that remain embedded in the document.

And with chat room technology, faculty member don’t always have to answer individual e-mails. Instead it can lead to a chat room discussion,” says Mark Stoner, communication studies professor and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning,

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.—Arthur C. Clarke

Among the most intriguing, and at times challenging aspects, of today’s technology is the flexibility it provides students, and how it changes their expectations of how to structure their time, Sheley says.

“Brand new freshmen come on campus and they’re used to using all segments of clock. They sleep, study and socialize at different time periods than students used to. How do we accommodate those students in places like the library and residence halls? What is “prime time”? When are they more likely to want classes? What‘s a study group: face to face or in chat rooms?”

The challenge is in how we give a quality education without bending them to our way of doing things.”

But the speed with which students are used to doing things also offers challenges for faculty members to not go to far the other way. For students used to texting and instant messaging, instantaneous feedback becomes expected. But when 20 students are expecting it at the same time, it’s not going to able to be delivered. Increasingly, faculty must set boundaries of what is reasonable and appropriate.

Why shouldn't we give our teachers a license to obtain software, all software, any software, for nothing? Does anyone demand a licensing fee, each time a child is taught the alphabet?—William Gibson

Stoner says he finds technology to be a two-edged sword. Some forms of technology, such as the coursework software program Web CT, facilitates certain kinds of interactions with students. “It’s easier to once a week backfill material that can be handled in text form or as a podcast. With Web CT, I can make an announcement about something that has come up or resources I’ve come across. It also offers a forum for students to help each other.”

But he also worries about the potential loss of face-to-face interactions and the verbal and non-verbal communication that comes with it. “Technology requires structure and the way to provide structured information in understandable ways is usually in text form. When you post to discussion lists or send email, information is exchanged but dialogue goes down.

Face-to-face dialogue is much richer and much quicker than sending messages back and forth, he says, because you have the added benefit of tone of voice and other non-verbal cues. “That’s extremely difficult with present technology,” he says.

Even with distance education technology, which allows students to watch a professor onscreen and then communicate via a chat section, the interactions aren’t as useful as face-to-face.

“There are real limits on what you can do with technology if you are trying to get to higher-ordered thinking and interaction with students. We have to be careful about how it is used. The trick is thinking through what the capability is for any technology is and hooking to practical outcomes we are after.

“There’s something about face-to-face human interaction that is undeniable.”

Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.—Mitchell Kapor

Where technology has truly boomed for students is in the area of research. To “Google” has reach verb status in the dictionary and almost no topic is out of reach of a Web search.

Linda Goff (’71, Social Science ) has seen academic technology advance by leaps and bounds since taking her first computer course in 1972. Her focus now is on library research, teaching students the best ways to use the library technology that is available to them. “We have invested thousands of hours in cataloging material to make things accessible to students,” she says.

Incoming students are required to take a course in how to use the library. While Goff is the first to say a good search engine is a boon to a student research paper, she cautions that students must know what their looking at. “Information needs a format,” she says. Just because a source is at the top of a search engine list, doesn’t mean it is credible. “Search engines are now accepted as valid research tools. But no one is charged with evaluating them.”

The irony is that some students don’t think they need libraries to find the information they need. “They don’t know when they push a button to download information it is being provided by library.”

Sheley agrees.

“It can be a challenge for faculty. There’s an entire Internet world where students can pursue questions. It is important that we teach them to be discerning, so that they know what rigorous analysis means,” Sheley says. “In a research paper, a quote from USA Today doesn’t suffice. We need to give them a sense of what is an acceptable playing field for research on that topic.”

I just invent, then wait until man comes around to needing what I've invented.—R. Buckminster Fuller

Through Facebook and other social networking sites, this generation is inventing is new direction of technology, Goff says. “Previously, it was people in power who had access to where information was stored. Now it’s a populist movement letting people determine their own fields.

And with sites like Wikipedia, the people get to define the data as well. Middleburt College drew national attention when it issued a policy forbidding students from citing Wikipedia as a source in their research papers.

No such ban has been enacted at Sac Stte. But students are encouraged to be much more enterprising.  “Everybody I’ve talked to warns students not to use Wikipedia or commercial kinds of sites as a primary source,” says Stoner. “I emphasize that they need to be using peer-reviewed journals through databases we own or other universities own. The openness of Wiki makes it quite suspect, but it can be useful as a place to look for other references.”

The Internet is the most important single development in the history of human communication since the invention of call waiting.—Dave Barry

Technology has also challenged faculty to rethink the way they give assignments, Sheley says. The ease of searching entire text databases, has made it easier for students to “borrow” material.

Leonard Valdez, judicial officer, says plagiarism has not been much of a problem so far at Sac State but the potential is there. “Technology is a wonderful tool,” he says, And, truthfully, we can never keep up. Half the battle is making people more aware of what is and isn’t an appropriate use.”

Stoner says the University is looking into tracking software such as, which faculty can use to search for plagiarized material. But they also give faculty tips on what to look for. “If there is a change in the writer’s voice and they suddenly become fairly erudite” that’s a sign.

Valdez says the main technology complaints got over the years were about music piracy. But he says that is becoming less of an issue. “There are new ways for students to legally access entertainment,” he says. The University entered an agreement with Ruckus.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.—Benjamin Franklin

One area where education technology has been truly life-changing is among students with disabilities. Software programs that can “read” to blind students and closed captioning technology that can translate for the deaf, are among the capabilities that are opening doors.

For example, says Melissa Repa with Services to Students with Disabilities, JAWS (Job Access With Speech), considered the “gold standard” for readable software, allows a computer-operated voice to read aloud to a blind student what is on the page. When a blind student opens up a web page, the cursor goes to the default position on the upper left-hand corner of the page and starts reading.

“Sac State’s web page is particularly good,” she says, “because the headlines and links are clear and concise. Also, whenever the cursor goes over the University’s logo, the voice reads the University’s motto, “Sacramento State—Leadership Begins Here.”

Another screen reader, ZoomText, enlarges text on the screen for those that are vision impaired but not blind. The contrast also changes under ZoomText to two or three colors—black, white and green—for those that are colorblind as well.

There is also a tracer that can take an image and trace it in Braille so blind students can read things like campus maps and diagrams in textbooks—things that can’t be readily converted to text.

All of these forms of accessibility software are available in every campus computer lab. And Services to Students with Disabilities offers training to any disabled student on all the software programs.

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Education Leaders: The New Class

A new era in education has begun at Sac State.

The University now offers an independent doctorate, allowing students to earn a doctoral degree in educational leadership. It is part of a statewide effort to increase the number of education leaders in both the K-12 and community college systems.

Though it was just launched this fall, the program was years in the making. And it only came about through legislation, pushed by State Sen. Jack Scott (D-Pasadena), that permitted Sac State, as well as other California State University campuses, to offer a degree beyond the master’s.

Before then, the state’s master plan for higher education only let CSUs offer students a doctorate in conjunction with a University of California campus. For example, Sac State’s doctorate in public history is offered with UC Santa Barbara. Students take courses in Sacramento but also must take some in Santa Barbara. A previous joint education doctorate was in conjunction with UC Davis and Sonoma State.

“The CSU had been prohibited since 1961 by the master plan from offering the doctorate in education,” said Charles Reed, chancellor of the CSU system at a Capitol news conference announcing the new programs. “Sen. Scott’s vision was to create a doctoral program that would lead advances in K-12 and community colleges and to develop leaders for both public schools and the community colleges in California.” 

Scott, a 30-year veteran of higher education, said, “It became apparent that leadership is key to successful education. California was lagging in opportunities for obtaining an education doctorate.”

“This will turn out leaders who will make a difference in K-12 and in community colleges throughout the state,” Scott said. “We will have better education leadership in California as a result. K-12 will have better trained administrators. The community college will have better trained administrators.”

The program is specifically designed for working professionals and lets them take classes where they live and work. Previously, those seeking an advanced degree had to go out of state or take courses through a private college.

What makes the Sac State program novel is that it is expressly tied to policy, says Ed Lee, an educational leadership professor and director of Sac State’s doctorate program. “We’re located in the capital city, which allows us to take advantage of not only policymakers at the Capitol but also various stakeholders in education in the region.”

Indeed the program is a partnership between the departments of Educational Leadership and Public Policy and Administration, with public policy faculty actively involved with teaching the program. There will also be opportunities to invite people from the policy arena to give guest lectures or be brought on as instructors.

“There is a larger context beyond the University,” says Public Policy Professor Miguel Ceja. “When you think of educational leadership and change you think of leaders out in community, folks who on a daily basis interact and engage with education policy or folks involved with policy. With this program there is an explicit effort to make those linkages apparent.

“Our proximity to the Capitol makes it ideal to include policy as part of these discussions.”

All the students who go through the program will deal with policy, Lee says, giving feedback to policymakers when policies are, and aren’t, working. “Rather than be reactive, we want them to be proactive.”

Sac State, one of seven CSUs campuses with the doctoral program, developed its curriculum through discussions with counterparts in public schools, community colleges and local and state education leaders, including Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brice Harris, Sacramento County Superintendent Dave Gordon , Assistant Superintendent Joyce Writghtmen, and Sierra College President Leo Chavez.

“We are proud to be among the first CSUs to offer the doctorate in education,” said President Alexander Gonzalez. “Our faculty met with K-12 and community colleges and worked together to come up with a very focused and innovative program that will be shaping public education in the region for years to come.”

Lee and Ceja say through their discussions with education stakeholders three themes emerged as skills the program should build: transformative leadership, data-driven decision-making and critical policy analysis. They define a transformative leader is is sensitive to, and has a vision for, overcoming issues such as achievement gaps and is inclusive of the diversity population in California school. Transformative leaders need to be able to make decisions, based on evidence, that have policy implications for student success.

Because the program is for working professionals, College of Education Dean Vanessa Sheared says she and her colleagues were careful to design a program that would accommodate the professional, personal and academic endeavors of students. “We recognize that people who will be coming into the program work 40-hour or longer weeks,” Sheared says. “We worked to enable all candidates to participate in the program while managing current personal and social responsibilities.”

Courses are held on Friday afternoons and Saturdays in six-week sessions. The first two years, students will take coursework and the third year will be devoted to helping them develop a dissertation that focuses on the needs of their institutions and needs of the region, Sheared says.

While some CSU campuses have chosen to limit enrollment in their doctoral programs to those who are already administrators, Sac State consciously sought a cohort of students that were diverse in not just ethnicity, but life experience and professional experience. The current cohort includes teachers, administrators, legislative employees and a retired military officer.

“We tried to keep an open mind about who an educational leader is,” Lee says.

The program’s directors also are taking advantage of the program mixed focus in developing both K-12 and community college leaders. 

“We’re trying to do away with the silo mentality, that sectors work independently,” Ceja says. “As both sides are able to speak, we hope that ultimately they can come together. What occurs in high schools has implications for students when they enter community college. The more they can talk to each other the better.”

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USGS and Sac State: A partnership that rocks

They say some agreements are written in stone. The one between the Sac State Geology Department and the U.S. Geological Survey was written on paper, but it helped form a rock-solid 10-year-plus relationship between the school and the federal agency. 

In 1997, Geology and the USGS signed a formal agreement to pursue joint research projects. But prior to that, the University and the USGS California Water Science Center had built a first-rate research facility on campus—Placer Hall. It was the first time a district office of the USGS had agreed to relocate to a university campus.

“I think the expectation was that an academic environment would enhance the work USGS scientists were doing by giving them access to our library and academic resources on campus,” says Dave Evans, chair of the Geology Department. “At the same time, it would enhance the work of our faculty and students by providing world-class collaborators and access to top-flight equipment. My sense is that the venture has lived up to expectations.”

The Water Science Center specializes in California water issues. In addition to conducting scientific research, experts from the center teach courses, hold seminars and provide technical assistance on student research projects.

“We have students working with world-class scientists on state-of-the-art projects with state-of-the-art equipment they simply wouldn’t have access to at other institutions,” says Evans, who specializes in groundwater research. “It definitely improves our profile, and it was one of the things that attracted me to the campus.”

“We recognized the high quality of students graduating from Sac State and felt we could enhance that by collaborating with students and faculty on projects, says Charlie Alpers, a research chemist with the Water Science Center.

One of the biggest benefits of the collaboration was the development of a graduate program in geology in 2000. “If the USGS weren’t here, we probably wouldn’t have a graduate program, Evans says.

“Since students had access to USGS scientists, and the USGS uses students to assist with projects, it made sense to develop a graduate program,” says Mike Shulters, director of the Water Science Center. “It’s a really nice bridge between the University and USGS because we have a need for graduates at all levels, and it is a magnet for drawing even more highly qualified students.”

The USGS also offers graduate assistantships and employment opportunities to students. “We couldn’t possibly generate the funding to support the number of students that USGS has supported,” Evans says.

In the 10 years since the collaboration, more than 100 Sac State students have been hired by the center, Alpers says. Of the 25 students currently on staff, about half are in positions that can be converted to permanent full-time positions when the students graduate.

“Students we have brought on as employees have done incredible work, says Debra Curry, USGS program chief for Northern California and the Western Sierras. “They are taking new ideas from their classes and bringing them into the office. It’s that energy and creativity from both the students and the faculty that makes this collaboration work.”

Greg Wheeler, associate dean of undergraduate studies, who as geology chair in the 1990s was instrumental in bringing USGS to the campus, says the collaboration illustrates the importance of schools investing in partnerships with industry and government. “There is no place else where students can study and work with federal scientists in the same building on issues not just significant to California, but to the world.

The USGS has increased its presence on campus over the years, and the agency now has offices in Modoc Hall as well as Placer Hall. Modoc is home to the USGS Western Ecological research Center, Southwest Area Regional Office and Southern California Multi-Hazard Demonstration Project. 

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Alumni Association expands East

Not content to reach out to alums in the greater Sacramento Area, California—or the United States for that matter—the alumni arm of Sac State now entends as far as China.

In November, President Alexander Gonzalez, along with Alumni Association Executive Director Gary Davis, officially kicked off Sac State’s first overseas alumni chapter. In Hong Kong.

“Sac State is a destination for college students around the world who want to study in the United States,” says Davis. “Having an alumni chapter in place not only provides a pipeline for more international students, but allows them to remain connected when they graduate and move back home.”

The group has existed in an informal capacity for several years though the efforts of Sac State alum and Hong Kong businesswoman Winnie Leung (‘66, Business Administration).

Ethnic Studies professor Greg Mark says that Hong Kong chapter makes sense because potential Sac State students have a high rate of English fluency but are faced with a lack of local higher education institutions. “Through this Hong Kong Alumni Chapter, we have the opportunity to recruit some of these high quality students to come here,” says Mark, who attended the group’s installation event.

Hong Kong, is especially pivotal for international recruitment, Mark says because the city has long been a key port into Asia.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity to be pioneers in sustaining a quality education in terms of creating chapters all over the world,” Mark says. “These chapters can contribute to the making of a stronger university through intrastructure, recruiting and mentoring.”

At the November event, the group boasted 15 initial members and chapter leaders are recruiting more. 

“It has been fun to see all the alums again,” says Chapter Co-Chair Vivian Kao (’94, Marketing). “It is a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and share our past experiences at the University.”

Alumni involved in the chapter come from a variety of majors and professions, including co-chair Allen Lau (’92, Marketing), who is executive vice president for watch manufacturer MIRA Watch International Limited. Other members include Hong Kong accountants, bankers, government workers, managers and business owners.

Kao hopes the chapter provides a network for graduates coming back to or moving to the Greater China Region, helping them to fit into the community and make career choices.

“We look forward to planning future events with the members,” Kao says. “And to further strengthening the chapter’s relationship with the Alumni Association.”

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Title IX: 35 Years Strong

When Congress passed Title IX 35 years ago, it changed women’s sports forever.

The amendment to the Civil Rights Act that required gender equity for boys and girls in educational programs, has been a boon for female student-athletes all over the country. And at Sac State the results have been impressive.

In 1972, the year Title IX became a reality, Sac State had few sports for women. It now boasts nine women’s sports teams—basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics. rowing, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, volleyball. Several have won conference championships including five in 2006-07. And the perpetually winning volleyball team went even further, landing two national titles in the ‘80s.

Because of Title IX, Sacramento State’s winningest coach Debby Colberg, was able to play for Sac State as student-athlete before her successful turn as volleyball coach. Colberg retires this season after 32 years, 800 victories, 15 conference championships and 15 Coach of the Year awards.

Here she talks about her life in the Title IX era:

Hard to believe, but when two-time Division I national championship volleyball coach Debby Colberg was growing up, she wasn’t able to play team sports.

“I certainly grew up at a time when there weren’t any sports programs available for girls in school,” says Colberg, who instead often took a ball to her neighborhood playground to play by herself.

Not only were club, recreational or team sports programs not available to girls, but it wasn’t uncommon for those with a passion for sports to be discouraged from pursuing athletic careers. Colberg’s own high school counselor tried to convince her not to pursue a college degree in physical education.    

That all began to change when Colberg enrolled at Sac State on the heels of the passage of Title IX.

After enrolling at Sac State, Colberg played volleyball, basketball and softball. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I went to college and all these sports were available to me,” Colberg says. “At that time, most of the other girls playing were fellow physical education majors. Not like today where students in all majors participate in sports.”

Still new to the student body and to other male sports enthusiasts who now had to share funding with the women, Colberg says she and her teammates stood out.

“We paid a price to be a (female) athlete in college,” she says. “You didn’t get positive feedback. You were considered a jock and it wasn’t a good thing to be considered back then. We had to be thick-skinned.”

Since the passage of Title IX Colberg is amazed not only at the increase in women’s college team sports, but the impact it has had on all female sports programs from childhood through adulthood. “We see up to 700 teams of girls at a given club sport tournament,” she says. “Look at soccer—girls and boys both are playing it in huge numbers.”

Because of Title IX she says women are more admired in sports today, and can participate and focus on specific sports while attending college. And women are undoubtedly more healthy because of being encouraged to participate in athletics.

Colberg remembers, however, how it took time for Title IX to take hold, recalling for example how women’s sports program would initially ask for $4,000 in funding while the men’s coaches were still getting up to $50,000 budgets. And she understands the frustration by some who can’t add additional men’s sports programs for fear it would throw off the balance of men and women’s sports opportunities.

Ultimately, she says the enforcement of Title IX is, and will continue to be, up to university administrators, athletic directors and coaches. “It’s in the hands of people who have a sense of fairness,” she says. “Administrators have to embrace both sides of a program,” she says. “The athletic experience isn’t more important for one gender than the other one. It’s important to all of us.”

Looking back, Colberg is personally grateful for the passage of Title IX.

“My whole career has been based on the opportunity to play sports,” says Colberg, who is retiring in December. “I would have been a totally different person … It’s hard to say what my life would have been but it certainly would not have been as rewarding as coaching has been.”

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President’s Circle: Grubb & Ellis

The success of Grubb & Ellis executives Bob Dean (’75, Business Administration), Matt Cologna (’94, Business Administration) and Ken Noack Jr. could be measured in square feet. The three have been instrumental in hundreds of commercial projects and thousands of acres of land transactions in the greater Sacramento region.

“We’re in a business where we are able to find out a lot about what’s going to happen in a community before it happens,” says Cologna, vice president of industrial services.         

It’s this type of insight that the trio brings to the University as the company representatives for Grubb & Ellis on the President’s Circle. The President’s Circle provides private support to the University as well as counsel to the President.

Dean says companies have a responsibility to support higher education.

“The corporate world has a responsibility to our higher educational system,” says Dean. “I think the President’s Circle is an excellent way to foster (that) connection.”

Sacramento’s Grubb & Ellis office is one of the largest full-service commercial real estate companies in the Capital Region. Led by Dean, executive vice president managing director of Grubb & Ellis’ Northwest Region, they have worked on many signature projects.

In addition to leasing and sales, the company is involved in revitalization projects in Sacramento’s R Street corridor, Rancho Cordova and Folsom. Last year, Grubb & Ellis brokered the sale of a 20,000-acre ranch near Rancho Murrieta owned by the Howard family, owners of the famed racehorse Seabiscuit.

Dean earned his MBA from Sac State in 1975. From 1995-96 he was board president for the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO).

Cologna earned his bachelor’s degree in strategic management from Sac State in 1994. He is a past president of the College of Business’ alumni chapter and maintains a position on its advisory council.

Noack Jr., senior vice president, land and retail group, represents land buyers and sellers throughout Northern California. “I enjoy taking overlooked opportunities and making them vibrant assets for communities,” he says. 

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Alumni Profile: Joey Garcia, ‘90 :On a mission

For Sacramento area readers the name Joey Garcia (’90, Journalism) calls to mind straightforward advice on everything from parenting to office politics. Even sex addiction.

But many do not know that the Sacramento News & Review’s “Ask Joey” advice columnist is also a high school teacher on a mission to eradicate poverty in her home country of Belize.

Born in the small Caribbean nation and now a naturalized American citizen, Garcia grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Four years ago she established the nonprofit educational charity Rise Up Belize. The program offers free weeklong summer professional development courses in Belize to 100 teachers and free summer camps to 100 Belizean students each year.

“Without a good education they can’t really rise up out of poverty,” says Garcia who teaches theology classes at Sacramento’s St. Francis High School. 

Garcia hopes her program encourages more Belizean children to attend school in a country where, because of poverty and expensive tuition, only 50 percent of school-age children attend elementary school, with a mere 30 percent completing it.

In partnership with the Sacramento Area Reading Association, Rise Up Belize provides students with non-fiction and fiction books, and free backpacks filled with school supplies. Students are also invited to participate in an essay contest where they can win cash prizes.

While at Sac State Garcia wrote for The State Hornet and in was an Associated Students vice president in 1985.

Since graduating, Garcia has worked in all areas of media. She has been a reporter and anchor for several radio stations in the Bay Area, worked in public relations in Davis and Sacramento, and as a freelancer, has written for Sacramento Magazine, The Sacramento Bee’s Neighbors section, the Children’s Advocate, and Government Technology magazine. She also worked a stint as a producer for CBS 13 News.

Her column “Ask Joey” appears weekly in the Sacramento News & Review. And she can be heard giving relationship advice Monday mornings on V101.1 FM during the Lee and Andrea Morning Show.           

“I like to be a little silly sometimes so we can all see that issues in romantic relationships are not the end of the world, especially compared to the extreme poverty and physical suffering that exists in the world,” she says.

Garcia is currently on the lookout for more teachers and school psychologists willing to volunteer in Belize this summer. Those interested can e-mail Garcia at

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Alumni Profile:Sam Starks ’83, ‘86: Service Provider

For Sacramento State Alumni Association Board of Directors president Sam Starks (’83, English, ’86, Sociology) community engagement isn’t just a job—it’s a way of life.

Starks, who holds two Sac State degrees, works for SMUD’s customer and community relations department. But that’s by day.

By night, he continues a years-long tradition of making a difference through service.

“My father told me a long time ago that what you do from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is for your family. What you do the rest of the time is for the community,” Starks says. “That made a big impression on me.”

Commitment to community is part of his day job as well. A major component of his work involves identifying the needs of low-income SMUD customers through promotions and rebates.

One of Starks’ pet projects was the establishment 10 years ago of the California Forum Crossroads, a non-profit organization dedicated to framing community discussions around topical issues. “The idea was to get the low-income community—traditionally a powerless, voiceless community—engaged in a dialogue about problems that concerned them,” says Starks.

“I soon found, after we’d had a few forums, that the participants weren’t necessarily empowered by conquering the issue,” he says. “It was the process—gathering together, discussing ideas—that made them feel like they had an important space in the community. And many people were moved into action by the discussions.”

Forums have focused on topics such as economic empowerment, AIDS and crime prevention. Recently, the group took part in a discussion on the sub-prime mortgage crisis, “because this is something that’s hitting low-income people harder,” says Starks.

Starks also works with MLK 365, helping schools and community organizations promote Martin Luther King Jr.’s values of civic action through nonviolence. “We want people to ask themselves, ‘What would Martin Luther King do in this situation?’ and react in a sensible, responsible way.”

In addition, Starks serves on the boards of the Nehemiah Housing Corporation and OK Kids.

Starks also realizes the value of his work with the University’s Alumni Association. “I’m committed to the Sacramento State Alumni Board of Directors for the same reason I’ve been committed to other community groups in the past. I strongly believe in the University’s mission and its value,” says Starks.

“People can change their station in life and improve themselves through a college education. As an alumnus, I consider myself to be a University ambassador to the community, and I hope other alumni feel the same way.”

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Class Notes


Helen K. Benoit Duran, ’57, B.A., English, retired from the Roseville City School District Board and is now president and grant chair of Placer County Division 67, of the California Retired Teachers Association. The division awards nine $250 beginning teacher support grants to Placer County public school teachers in their first three years of teaching. Duran oversees this program. She lives in Roseville.

Sharon Foote Cann, ’59, B.A., Social Science, ’77, M.S., Social Science, used the extracurricular activities she took part in as a student at Sac State to set the path for the rest of her life. After working in student placement on campus she worked with the American Red Cross in Korea, Morocco, and France, where she met her husband and stayed for three years. When her husband retired she started working and got a degree in library science. She worked for a hospital and then joined Georgia State University as their education librarian. After six years, she was employed by the Georgia Baptist Nursing College as director. After working in different libraries for 20 years, she retired. She and her husband, Donald, live in Bluffton, S.C. but still have family living in the Sacramento area. She keeps up with California by checking The Sacramento Bee and is planning to come to Sacramento next year for her high school and college reunions.


Donald Gary Trent, ’60, B.A., Business, ’70, M.B.A., taught in the San Juan Unified School District for 30 years and after retiring, he and his family opened a used bookstore called “BOOKworm.” They now have stores in Fair Oaks, Rancho Cordova and Roseville. Their newest shop is the “Book Bag” in Carmichael, owned by their daughter. A true Hornet family, they have a son that attended Sac State, a grandson entering the engineering program and their only granddaughter is on Sac State’s golf team. Trent and his wife, Willa, live in Orangevale.

Jack C. Jenkins, ’64, B.A., History-Social Science, is involved in a consulting business providing advice to amateur and professional athletes and their families. He has teamed with his two sons, Brett and Geoff, who were All-Americans at the University of Southern California. Both sons are professional baseball players and Geoff has just completed his tenth year with the Milwaukee Brewers. As a former high school and college baseball coach, Jack has helped several players and their families navigate the road to college and playing at the professional level, helping athletes to handle the stress of competition. He has written several articles on motivation and is working with area baseball coaches and parents on successful and healthy ways to support their athletes. For many years, he has taught weekend courses at Sac State’s College of Continuing Education. He makes his home in Stockton.

John Zeltin, ’64, B.A., Psychology, is a vice president-senior manager with American Express at its headquarters in New York. He has been with the company for 18 years and lives in the city. Zeltin travels frequently because of his job and hopes to visit Sac State on one of his trips to the West Coast.

Elvin Mahlon Whittle, ’68, B.A., Business Administration, is the new president of the noon Rotary Club of Woodland. A Rotarian since 1986, Whittle is also owner of Whittle and Associates Real Estate. He recently chaired the 2007 annual Rotary Dinner/Auction which raised more than $30,000 for newborn hearing monitor equipment at Woodland Healthcare and scholarships for the Rotary Endowment program. Whittle has three sons and three grandchildren who all live in Woodland where Whittle and his wife, Jan, also make their home.


Barbara Tarr Joslyn, ’71, B.S., Nursing, is a parent/child nursing specialist in Boston and New York. After graduating from Sac State she earned a master’s degree from Boston University and a doctorate from Columbia University. For many years she was a staff nurse in Massachusetts and New York as well as an adjunct faculty member at the City College of New York, a clinical instructor at Columbia, a full-time lecturer at Bergen Community College in Paramus, N.J., and an assistant professor of pediatric nursing at Mount St. Mary’s College in Newburgh, N.Y.

John Michael (Mike) Dunker, ’72, B.A., Environmental Resources (Park Management and Recreational Activities), is a Rio Dell city councilmember and has been appointed to the Northcoast Regional Water Quality Control Board. He is also chairman of Rio Dell’s recently revitalized parks and recreation commission. Dunker and his wife reside in Rio Dell, a community on Highway 101 in Humboldt County.

Kim McCann Lawson, ’76, B.A., Drama, has been the program director and an associate professor at Sacramento City College and now is the program director of Short Center South, a fine arts program serving 125 adults with developmental disabilities. After playing a key role with the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival for 22 years, she retired this past summer after the final production of Macbeth. This gives her more time to spend special visits with her two-year-old grandson, Mark Lawson III.

Timothy A. Bryan, ’79, B.S., Accountancy, has been promoted at Perry-Smith LLP to senior vice president for valuation and forensics service. He provides computer forensics and electric data recovery services to attorneys and clients as an expert witness in litigation matters and as a consultant in non-litigation matters. He also directs the firm’s electronic data processing audit efforts and provides SAS 70 audit reports on outside service bureaus. Bryan and his wife, Felicia, live in Davis.


David R. Bennett, ‘81, B.S., Business Administration (Marketing), is CEO and a founder of ECO:LOGIC Engineering based in Rocklin where he lives. ECO:LOGIC is a 160-person consulting firm that plans, designs and oversees the construction and operation of municipal water and wastewater infrastructures. The company is listed in the Engineering News Record top 500 engineering firms in the nation, and has been listed on the Business Journal’s “Fastest-Growing Companies” list for 10 successive years.

Mark Carrington, ’82, B.S., Business Administration (Marketing), has been brought on as the CEO for Coversant, Inc. He is overseeing a Series “A” financing round that’s halfway to its $1 million goal. A larger “B” round is planned for late this year or early 2008. The Orangevale-based start-up will use the money to speed the rollout of a Coversant software product that permits secure, spam-free instant messaging. Carrington is the former vice president of Meridian Systems and lives with his family in Granite Bay.

Sharon A. Lueras, ’83, B.A., Sociology, has been named to the Sacramento Superior Court by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She is the third Sac State graduate out of five judicial appointments made in the county this year. She has been managing the legal affairs of the state’s investing and financing regulation agency, and has been involved with local prosecutions. Before she assumes her post as judge, she is serving as lead corporations counsel with the California Department of Corporations. Lueras also served as a deputy attorney general for the state from 2002-05 and before that was a deputy district attorney for Sacramento County for 11 years. Lueras and her husband, Chip, live in Fair Oaks with their two teenage children.

Frank Malaki, ’87, B.A., Journalism, recently accepted the position of sailing and windsurfing coordinator at the Sac State Aquatic Center, after 21 years with the City of Sacramento and as a petty officer with 22 years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He has been in the boating industry for more than 30 years and also has a background in sailing and windsurfing instruction. Malaki was the assistant director of the Aquatic Center from 1983-86. He loves sharing the experience he gained from years in small boats of all kinds with the staff and customers. He lives in River Park.

Stephen Becker, ’89, B.A., English, finished his master of divinity—with honors—degree in pastoral ministry this spring at the cooperative program of Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Ind. and Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent, England. Currently he is a licensed minister at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Elk Grove. Becker has also been accepted and has started studies in a doctoral program, again through Trinity and Canterbury. He and his wife, Vanessa, live in Elk Grove.


Alan Lipton, ’90, B.A., Government, writes that he is enjoying retirement but is very busy volunteering as a community activist. He lives in the Arden/Arcade area of Sacramento.

Rebecca M. Dean, ’92, B.S. Nursing  ’07, M.S., Nursing, completed her master’s degree and has opened a private practice as a gero-psych CNS. She does consultations, assessments, counseling and case management services, specializing in geriatrics and psychiatric issues with a focus on dementia. Dean opened her practice in July 2007 and recently obtained approval as a Medicare provider and can accept clients with Medicare. She and her family live in Carmichael.

Brandon Yip, ’92, B.A., Music, is a classical guitarist and has performed professionally since 1985, while also getting a degree. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at Sac State and American River College. He also serves as director of the Guitar Conservatory at the Arts Academy as well as artistic director for the Sacramento Guitar Society. Most recently, he played at the Sonora Opera Hall, featuring music from around the world. Yip is a highly regarded soloist and has been recognized with many awards for his performances.

Laurie Teunis Kelly, ’93 and ’96, B.A., Education (Multiple Subject Credentials), is employed by the Prince George County Schools in Maryland where she is an elementary classroom teacher. She was recently recognized with a community service award by the Maryland State Development Authority for her work in pedestrian safety. Kelly and her family live in Takoma Park, Md.

Jennifer L. McQuarrie, ’95, B.A., Liberal Studies, ’96, Education (Multiple Subject Credentials), has joined Palmer Kazanjian as an associate attorney. She will focus on employment, business, commercial and real estate ligation and educational law. Her office is on the Capitol Mall in Sacramento.

Anna Levick Haley, ’98, ’03 and ’04, B.A., Education (Multiple Subject Credentials), is a music teacher and librarian in the Alameda Unified School District. She also gives private piano lessons and runs preschool rhythm groups. Haley and her husband are the proud parents of a toddler, Simon Piercy Haley Moskalev, and they live near the UC Berkeley campus.

Shelia Sidqe, ’99, M.S., Education Administration and Policy, was hired by Hiram Johnson High School in August to be a special counselor dedicated to helping students with college applications, including filling out financial aid forms. “Operation College” was started with Sidqe as the centerpiece and her main focus is to establish a college-going culture at the high school. The program has sponsored three popular “family nights” at which the college-application process is explained to students and parents. Sidqe says she enjoys working with seniors, and this new position helps her to connect significantly to those students.


Misty Y. Pacheco, ‘03, Biological Sciences, is serving in the Peace Corps in Kenya as a public health volunteer. She is working to increase awareness of health issues including HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, malaria, malnutrition, and other water-borne and infectious diseases. After graduating from Sac State she earned a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Southern California and worked as a health educator for Kaiser Permanente.

Theresa Bazacos, ’04, B.A., Psychology, is a graduate student at the California School of Psychology where she is completing the third year of a five-year clinical psychology doctoral program. Her dissertation topic explores the events and pathways adults of Mexican origin encounter on the way to receiving public health services. Bazacos lives in Sanger, Calif.

Andrea E. Garcia, ’04, B.A., Communication Studies (Public Relations), is a health and social services reporter for The Daily Republic in Fairfield, Calif. and recently garnered three California Newspaper Publisher’s Association awards. She earned first place for feature writing for the article “Cancer as Creator,” a cancer survivor’s story. And she earned two second place awards: one for best writing for “A Mustard Seed,” a story of a developmentally disabled man and his struggles in life, and another for arts and entertainment coverage. Garcia’s other accomplishments include CNPA awards and an APNEC (Associated Press) award. She graduated magna cum laude from Sac State and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Lambda Pi Eta.

Shannon Sarver, ’06, B.A., Business Administration, has been promoted to benefits representative at Cache Creek Casino Resort after only working for the company for six months. She will administer benefits for 2,600 employees. Sarver has also returned to Sac State to pursue her M.B.A.. She resides in Live Oak.

James E. Taylor, ’06, B.A., Recreation Administration, is a recreation therapist at Sierra Vista Hospital in Sacramento. He is attending the California School of Professional Psychology, majoring in clinical psychology. Taylor resides in Sacramento.

Lindsey McGowan, ’07, B.S., Psychology, and Sam Flores, ’04, B.A., Criminal Justice, were married Oct. 12 in Sacramento. McGowan was president of Alpha Phi Sorority at Sac State and is now employed as a manager at Carlton Plaza Assisted Living for Seniors. After graduation, Flores entered the Sacramento Law Enforcement Academy and is now a deputy sheriff for Sacramento County. 

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