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Beach Connection Fall 2012

CSULB: Your Connection to Success

In the latest issue of the Beach Connection magazine, we asked alumni what type of CSULB opportunity allowed each of them to reach the point where they are now in their life’s work. We received hundreds of responses, each as interesting as the next. Below, you will find just a sampling of the responses, and find out why CSULB matters and how alumni became successful in their fields of work.

Carlotta Calmese

Carlotta V. Calmese
B.A., 1976,Creative Writing, M.A., 1985, Education

"After completing my first year at CSULB, I was recommended by one of my faculty as a candidate for a peer tutor for the Student Support Services (SSS) program , one of the federal TRiO programs. That inital work experience in student services laid the foundation for my career for the next 35 years.. I served as a tutor and peer advisor with SSS and in EOP throughout my entire undergrad experience. I learned a lot about academic support programs, working with disadvantaged populations and college retention. After graduation, I went on to work for another federal academic support program with the KCMO school district . Two years later, I returned to higher education, and was hired as a SSS counselor at a MO college, and was later promoted to director. Since then I have worked as a Tutorial Coordinator, Learning Specialist, program director and manager at private and public higher educ institutions. I have taught at the college level, successful grant writer, particularly for federal and state programs for under served populations. I have held Asst. Prof rank and other administrative titles at major colleges and universitites (13 years at UW-Madison, 11 as an Assist Dean) and now Assoc Dean at Madion College, overseeing multiple student retention programs, with one of them being a SSS program. My foundation at CSULB in SSS & EOP was instrumental in my career pathway. My lifelong commitment and passion to serve students was birthed and nurtured as an undergrad there. Much of who and what I am today in my career can be attributed to my time at CSULB."


Paul Devlin

Paul Devlin
B.S., 1977, Ocean Engineering

"My first job was for a model testing wave basin in Escondido, Ca.  My professor of Ocean Engineering took me to the facility and introduced me to the owners and employees.  An interview was conducted during this visit and a job offer made. This job introduced me to offshore engineering for the oil industry, which eventually led to where I am now (location and career)."

Ellen Skow

Ellen Skow
B.S., 2011, Mechanical Engineering

"I was interested in studying abroad in Germany, but didn't feel I had time (for financial reasons) to do so and graduate on time. I happened to express my interest to a student at the Study Abroad Center table, and she informed me of the Research Internships for Scientists and Engineers program through DAAD. It was exactly what I was looking for. With this information, the Scholarship Center at CSULB, the help of Dr. Marayong, and others in the College of Engineering at CSULB, I was able to have summer internship that was highly influential to my career choices. It not only opened more doors for me as an undergraduate, but also increased my interest in research and acoustical engineering to a point that I decided to pursue this field after graduation. Without the resources and information that CSULB presented and provided to me, I don't know where I would be currently."

David A. Talley

David A. Talley
B.A., 1985, Asian Studies

"My CSULB connection not only shaped my career path, but provided me unique insight which still drives my work today. I graduated in 1985 with a BA in CSULB's Asian Studies program, which required both a primary focus (mine was Japan), and exposure to the history, culture, literature and philosophy of India, China and Japan. At the time, while Japan's economy was booming, China was struggling to feed its people, and reaching out to develop relationships to help in its development. One of those relationships was an exchange program between CSULB and Huazhong Teachers University in Wuhan, and I was selected to represent CSULB in the first year of the exchange. Over the 1985-86 school year, I taught English and American Culture to graduate students at Huazhong, and worked to understand the Chinese people and perspective, considering how China would impact the US-Japan relationship as it evolved from its 3rd world poverty into a 1st world power. China's strict restrictions on travel, communications, foreign media, etc., left everyone in China (including the few foreigners) cut off from the outside world, and unable to benefit from the wealth of information and knowledge that was flowing just beyond its borders... This information deprivation was a huge shock to me, and literally changed my life. ... I entered law school in 1987, concentrating on computer and communications law; during law school, I ran a BBS (Bulletin Board System) providing free electronic access to public information previously available only in paper format; after law school, I championed the application of IT (Information Technology) to the field of law, and in 1994 established an ISP (Internet Service Provider) company, initially to provide my own law firm Internet access. The rest of the '90s, as far as communications and the Internet goes, is history... In 2002, with my communications objectives met, I moved to Japan, refocusing on contributing to the US-Japan relationship. Since 2004, I've combined my Japanese, legal and IT skills within the Legal Department of Panasonic's Eco Solutions Company, and pioneered the concept of "Global Counsel" (coordinating and managing legal services for cross-border projects and transactions). My legal team includes attorneys from Japan, India and China, and I have the great privilege of working with them on projects of all types. I am certain that these relationships are more fruitful because of the understanding and insight gained during my undergraduate studies and exchange experiences. I am truly grateful to Professors Sharon Sievers, Arnold Kaminsky, and Charlotte Furth, for infusing their courses on Japan, India and China with relevancy, always punctuated by their personal knowledge and experience of those cultures, and for their encouragement and advice regarding my own career. Finally, I am grateful to CSULB, for the overall quality of its Asian Studies program, and especially for the chance to participate in the 1985-86 China exchange program. Much of my personal growth and career development resulted directly from that experience."

Lisette Christine Bellizzi

Lisette Christine Bellizzi
M.A., 2003, Communication

"Obtaining my Master's degree in the Communication department taught me so many valuable lessons. I learned to never give up, to be a lifelong learner and to pursue my dreams. The professors I had shaped my life and helped guide me to my current professions as a Communication Coach and as a Public Speaking instructor. I love my work and credit my education and the professors of CSULB for much of my success and passion for communication and teaching."

Richard Capil

Richard Capil
B.S., 2010, Computer Science

"I got my first internship through BeachLINK during my junior year in college. After that internship ended, I got my second opportunity through BeachLINK as well, which gave me the experience that I needed as a web developer to get to where I am today working at Sheppard Mullin."

Esperanza Barajas

Esperanza Adela Ramos Baranjas
B.A., 2011, Design

"The knowledge guidance and experience I achieved through my years in CSULB helped me tremendously through my Internship at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC and later at my current job."

Shira Scott

Shira Scott
B.A., 1994, Interpersonal and Organizational Communication
M.A., 1996, Speech Communication

"When I started attending CSULB,  I was not sure what I wanted to do after I graduated.  My sophmore year I took a public speaking course. My instructor Randy Forestor influenced me to switch my major to Communication. I did so, and obtained a BA and MA from CSULB.  Now I am an Admission Counselor and I conduct presentations on campus at SDSU and at the local high schools, and get students excited about college. Also, working on campus at CSULB (for 3.5 years/ various departments) made me want to continue my career within the higher education institutions."


Eugene Benavidez

Eugene Benavides
B.A., 1992, Political Science

"My professors in my major (political science) enabled me to have a "voice." Their way of teaching was empowering."

Amanda Haack

Amanda Haack
B.S., 2009, Finance & Real Estate Law

"Graduating in 2009, career opportunities for finance majors were few and far between. I took an internship my senior year with the firm that eventually hired me on full-time. My senior year of college was crazy: working 20 hours a week as a cocktail waitress, interning 15 hours a week, and taking a full class load to graduate in 4 years. It was that crazy year that introduced me to the business world, taught me how to manage many different responsibilities at once, and lead me on the path of the successful and rewarding career I'm still in. This firm saw that I was a driven, hard worker, and paid for me to get my Series 7 and 66 securities licenses. Without that internship, I have no idea where I would be at today!"


Armando Garcia

Armando Garcia

M.S., 2010, Counseling and Student Development

"It was Dr. John C. Hernandez, one of my professors who not only informed me of the position but also recommended me for it.  I am very grateful to him & all his support-mentorship.


Sarah McGovern

Sarah McGovern
B.S., 2010, Physics
B.A., 2010, Communication Studies (Rhetorical Studies)

"Through the CSU system and the National Science Foundation, I was allowed to go to CERN in Switzerland for two months as an interning science journalist.  I was published five times by them, establishing myself as a technical writer.  I have continued to grow in this direction, and have benefited greatly from the international contacts who, like me, care about the state of public science education."

Jerry Carmona

Jerry Carmona
B.A., 1984, Political Science

"My work study job gave me the opportunity to work in the Athletic Department. I was student assistant to the Athletic Director. I worked in the campus gym, Long Beach Sports Arena and Anaheim Stadium.  I travelled all over the country with the football team and assisted both the men’s basketball team and football team. I realized I wanted to work in Education and Sports field."

Jaime Alvarez

Jaime O. Alvarez

B.A., 1989, History

"There was a job opening for an HR clerk at the YMCA of Orange County in Garden Grove.  I interviewed, but didn't get the job.  Dolores Casas, the HR Director, told me she would hang on to my resume and would keep me in mind in case a job opportunity came up through her many contacts.  Several weeks later, I received a call from a partner of a small firm that contracted with the YMCA of O.C.  I was hired as a file clerk and moved my way up to office manager.  This job laid the foundation for the various occupations I had through the years thanks to my education at CSULB. "