California State University, Long Beach
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Twosome Engineer A Way To Volunteer

Published: September 18, 2017

To say Dominic Espejo and Dansen Lipock volunteer might be a slight understatement.

The two CSULB engineering graduates, who have taken slightly different career paths, have at least a couple of other things in common in addition to their area of study–they love photography and they love their alma mater. Happily, they found a way to fuse the two.

Espejo, an electrical engineer for Caltrans, and Lipock, a fourth-grade teacher at Dooley Elementary School in the Long Beach Unified School District, each spend time lending their skills to photograph various alumni activities.

For Espejo, who graduated in 1999 with a B.S. in electrical engineering, his photography work for CSULB’s Alumni Association began in 2015, the result of simply responding to a volunteer form in an alumni newsletter. He has photographed the alumni awards banquet, homecoming and Dodgers/Angels Beach Family Day events.

“I’ve always wanted to participate in some way as an alumnus of the university and saw my chance as a volunteer for the alumni association to contribute something,” he said. “I’ve always had photography as a hobby, but decided to pursue it as a part-time business in 2012. I began investing in better gear and believed my skill level was at a point where I could offer my services professionally. The alumni association and the people who work for it do a tremendous job in putting together events and I’m happy to be able to contribute in a small way.”

Though he has been volunteering his services for just a couple of years, he does have a favorite memory.

“It was wonderful to come back to campus for Homecoming 2015 after being away for several years,” he said. “I felt both sentimental walking down old pathways and seeing the buildings where I went to classes. And, I was astonished to see the modernization the university campus has gone through.”

Lipock, who graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in engineering with an option in industrial management, has been volunteering for nearly five years and says his photography skills were called upon kind of by accident. While doing other volunteer work for the alumni association, word got out he did photography as a hobby. Soon thereafter, he found himself taking photos at alumni events, including freshmen move-in day, alumni awards banquet and the Beach Family Day events as well.

“I really enjoyed and appreciated the time I spent at Cal State Long Beach,” he said. “I felt giving back was important because of how much CSULB has shaped my future.”

Dominic Espejo and Dansen Lipock
Dominic Espejo (top) and Dansen Lipock

Lipock is a good example of how life’s goals can change, even if you are knee deep into a major such as engineering.

During his engineering studies at CSULB, he worked with kids at his church. That experience tugged at him. Already halfway towards getting his engineering degree, he finished, but continued his schooling to earn a multiple subject teaching credential in 1992, eventually becoming a teacher.

“I just felt a greater calling to work with kids,” he said.

Their efforts and enthusiasm for volunteering does not go unnoticed and is much appreciated by the alumni association staff.

“We can’t begin to thank them enough for all the time and work they put into photographing and documenting many of our events,” said Noemi Guevara, an assistant director of alumni relations. “As alums, they see this as a way to give back to their university so everyone benefits.”