In Touch

In Touch


The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents named Janet Robinson (1968, B.A., sociology) its 2014 Superintendent of the Year for her work with the Stratford Public Schools. She was superintendent of the Newtown Public Schools when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred and has been recognized for her leadership following that incident.

Bennet Kayser
Bennet Kayser ’69

Bennett Kayser (1969, B.S., zoology) is a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, representing the fifth district that covers much of northeast Los Angeles as well as southeast cities down to South Gate. He was an LAUSD science and health teacher, and elected to the Los Angeles Charter Reform Commission, among other community service activities.

Paul Turner
Paul Turner ’69

Paul A. Turner (1969, B.A., political science) is presiding justice of Division Five of the Second District, California Court of Appeal. He earned his law degree at UCLA and began his career in private practice before being appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court, Los Angeles Superior Court and, in 1989, to the Second Appellate District.


The biotech firm Nuvilex, Inc. appointed Kenneth L. Waggoner (1970, B.A., political science) as CEO and president. With a law degree from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles, Waggoner has been vice president and general counsel for Chevron, among other positions. Nuvilex specializes in treatments for cancer and diabetes.

Scott Kisting (1971, B.A., business administration) is chairman and CEO of American West Bank based in Spokane, Wash., with offices throughout the Pacific Northwest and California. He began working in banking while a student.

Michael McClay
Michael McClay ’73 ’75

Michael D. McClay (1973, B.S.; 1975, M.S., electrical engineering) retired after 40 years with Raytheon Co., where he was a senior engineering fellow with its Space and Airborne Systems business. He was honored as a CSULB Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Engineering in 1997 and has served on the EE Department’s Advisory and Development Council for the past 20 years. Mike and Kathy settled down outside Wasilla, Alaska.

Barney Van Noy (1974, M.A., vocational education) received France’s Legion of Honor award in September during a ceremony in Orange. He and other U.S. military veterans were honored for World War II service in helping liberate the France from Nazi occupation.

Comprehensive Care Corp. named Ramon Martinez (1975, B.A., philosophy) as president for the firm, which provides behavioral health, substance abuse and pharmacy management services for a variety of clients. The retired U.S. Air Force colonel was a senior management advisor for the firm and last spring was appointed president of CompCare Pharmacy Solutions.

Jeffrey Miles (1975, B.A., sociology) is a retired special education teacher in the Apple Valley School District and is a past recipient of KNBC-TV’s Crystal Apple award for teaching excellence. He recalls the late Prof. Alfred Schmidt as his most memorable instructor, who inspired Miles to enter teaching.

Women in Insurance and Financial Services selected Daralee Barbera (1976, B.S., mathematics; 1981, M.A., secondary education) as its 2013 Woman of the Year. She is a managing partner in the Costa Mesa office of Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc., supervising nearly 50 financial advisors in nine offices, and is incoming president of the professional organization GAMA International.

John Kilbourne (1978, B.A., special major–creative drama and movement for children), a professor of movement science at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., is studying activity permissible classrooms that resulted in a recent research paper. “I would also like to let you know that my education at CSULB in dance and theatre serves as a major influence on my successful careers in professional dance, professional sport (Philadelphia 76ers–1983 world champions) and higher education. Thank you, CSULB, for all that you did to provide me with a foundation for a continued life of creative innovation.”

Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Powell (1978, B.S., business administration–accountancy) was elected vice chair of the Los Angeles County Beach Commission.

Chris Woodyard
Chris Woodyard ’78

USA Today named Chris Woodyard (1978, B.A., journalism) as its Los Angeles bureau chief. Woodyard continues to serve as the publication’s automotive writer.

The aviation services firm StandardAero appointed Marc McGowan (1979, B.A., social work) as senior vice president of its business aviation sector. He joined the firm in 2011 from Honeywell Aerospace and is a retired U.S. Navy captain and flight officer.

Kathi Niffenegger (1979, B.S., business administration–accountancy) is the new chief financial officer at Stellar Biotechnologies, Inc., which manufactures an immune-stimulating protein used in therapeutic and diagnostic markets. She became an outside certified public accountant for the firm in 1999 before being named its controller in 2012.


Chris Hernandez
Chris Hernandez ’81

The organization Great Minds in STEM honored Christopher Hernandez (1981, B.S., electrical engineering) as Engineer of the Year at the 25th anniversary HENAAC conference. The organization recognizes and encourages top science, engineering and technology professionals to serve as role models for students to pursue technical careers, focusing on the Hispanic community. Hernandez is vice president of Advanced Systems for Northrop Grumman.

Col. Freddie Peralta
Col. Freddie Peralta ’83

Col. Freddie D. Peralta (1983, B.S., industrial management engineering) retired from the U.S. Air Force after 30 years of service. His last assignment was at the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB, Florida, as the director of logistics and programs. He was commissioned through CSULB’s Air Force ROTC program in 1983.

Rivet Software, which creates financial supporting systems, appointed Frode Rognstad (1986, B.S., biomedical engineering) as chief technology officer. He was founder of Exsilient and held management positions at CiberTrax, FRx, Epicor and other firms.


Phyllis Austin
Phyllis Austin ’90

Crawford and Co. promoted Phyllis R. Austin (1990, MBA) to executive vice president, global human resource management. The firm is the largest independent provider of claims management services for the insurance industry.

Tony Gill (1991, B.S., criminal justice) was elected to a three-year director term on the Northern California PGA board of directors and is secretary of the Bay Area Chapter of the NCPGA. He is entering his third year as head golf professional at Blackhawk Country Club in Danville.

Dean C. Gordon (1991, MBA), vice president for supply chain services for Jack in the Box Inc., received the Jack in the Box National Franchise Association’s Chairman Award for service to the brand and its franchisees. He joined the firm in 2009 as division vice president of purchasing.

Aerojet Rocketdyne appointed Mark Tucker (1994, MBA) as senior vice president of enterprise operations and engineering for the aerospace and defense firm. He had been an executive with Northrop Grumman for 30 years.

Gina Clayton-Tarvin
Gina Clayton-Tarvin ’95

Gina Clayton-Tarvin (1995, B.A., anthropology; 1999, credential) was elected in November 2012 to a four-year term on the Ocean View School District Board of Education, which serves the communities of Huntington Beach, Westminster, Fountain Valley and Midway City.

The Los Angeles commercial real estate and business law firm Gilchrist & Rutter promoted David B. Lambert (1995, M.A., economics) to partner. With a background in civil engineering, he earned a law degree from Loyola Law School and specializes in real estate.

Todd H. Taylor (1995, B.S., business administration–marketing) was promoted to director in the Phoenix, Ariz., office of national multi-family residential development firm Wood Partners LLC. He joined the firm in 2005 and now oversees development and finance for projects in Arizona and Nevada.

Carlos A. Solorzano (1996, B.A.; 2004, M.A., religious studies) is an educator, author and professional musician performing with bands in the Tucson, Ariz., area. “I also write original tribal drumming compositions that have been featured on several television shows and perform drumming master classes in various settings,” he said.

The Anaheim City Council appointed Dukku Lee (1997, M.S., electrical engineering) as public utilities general manager overseeing water and electric services. He has been with the city since 1999, most recently responsible for its electric utility.


The Los Alamitos Unified School District named Justin Padilla (2002, B.M., music performance; 2004, credential) as its 2014 Teacher of the Year. As band director at Oak Middle School, he built the program to include more than 160 students in seven ensembles including jazz, symphonic and orchestra. He also is vice president of Jazz Education for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association.

Jessica McKelvey (2005, B.A., liberal studies; credential), a teacher at Pierce Elementary School, part of Fort Knox Community Schools, was named the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity Kentucky District Teacher of the Year.

MacKenzie Meehan (2006, B.A., theatre arts–performance) co-starred with Leonardo DeCaprio, Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey in Martin Scorsese’s film, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” portraying Hildy Azoff, wife of Hill’s character Donny Azoff.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Timothy G. Belavich (2008, M.S., health care administration) as deputy director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Statewide Mental Health Program, where he has served as acting deputy  director since 2012. Belavich also is acting director of CDCR’s Division of Health Care Services. He has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University.

Jessica Barnard
Jessica Barnard ’12

Jessica L. Barnard (2012, B.A., communication) established a new Philippine national record in the 3000m steeplechase with her bronze medal finish in December at the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, the region’s largest sporting event, drawing athletes from 11 nations.

Amy Gordon (2012, M.M., music) released her inaugural album “Waiting on Go” in November, containing her song “One Door Opens” that was a finalist in the 2012 SongDoor competition.

Amy Gordon
Amy Gordon ’12

Allison Mello (2012, B.A., communication studies) teamed with student Ashley Covert to compete on last season’s “The Amazing Race.” Both are members of the L.A. Kings Ice Crew promotional support team.

David Olson (2012, B.A., geography) and business alumnus Edward Sitkovetzky became friends at the CSULB residence halls and started Cali Beach Clothing, whose designs are a mix of city/urban and beachwear styles available in downtown Huntington Beach and online.

Jacob Weintraub (2012, B.A., American studies) won the gold medal in male discus throw and silver in male shot put as a member of the USA Open Team competing at the 19th Maccabiah Games in Israel in July.

Nichole E. Hamilton (2013, B.A., journalism) received an Alfred Fleishman Diversity Fellowship from the public relations and marketing communications firm FleishmanHillard, where she now works in its Los Angeles office.


Erin Nakamura (2009, B.A., psychology and women’s studies) and Matthew Raffaniello (2009, B.A., film and electronic arts) were married Nov. 10 at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles. She is an advocate at the Center for the Pacific Asian Family, and he is an online editor at Magical Elves.

Kirsten Schotz (2007, B.S., business administration–marketing) and Tyson Ferguson were married in Del Mar on Sept. 1. She is an account manager at Havas Edge in Carlsbad.

In Memoriam

Daniel M. Barber, professor emeritus, public policy and administration, died Jan. 13. He joined the campus in 1975, eventually becoming director of the Graduate Center for Public Policy and Administration before retiring in 2000. With a background in journalism, he wrote about campus sports for the Gazette newspapers and later the Long Beach Post.

John Bradley McMullen (1966, MBA) of Hamilton, Mont., died Oct. 5. He was a retired aerospace engineer and executive.

Kenneth E. Lindgren (1961, B.S., mathematics; 1962, M.A., secondary education), former Long Beach State head water polo coach and mathematics faculty member, died Oct. 11. He was head coach for 24 years, leading the 49ers to seven NCAA tournaments and coaching 34 All-Americans and eight Olympians. He also was an assistant USA Olympic water polo coach and Olympic official.

Maxine Merlino (1950, BFA–art), professor emerita, art, died at 101 on Nov. 2 in Madrid. After earning a doctorate in education from USC, she returned to Cal State Long Beach as an art faculty member, eventually becoming dean of the School of Fine Arts before retiring in 1976. Outside campus, she was a mountain climber and Master Swimmer Hall of Fame inductee.

Barbara Parks, staff emerita, Public Affairs and Publications, died Jan. 13 at 71 in Stanton. She was a writer and editor on campus from 1964 to 2003 and was involved in a host of campus and community organizations, earning the university’s Outstanding Staff Member award and Community Service Award.

John W. “Jack” Shainline, vice president emeritus for student services, died Nov. 29 at 91. He came to the campus in 1966, serving as assistant dean and dean of students, then vice president for student services. His efforts benefited many campus areas, including Housing and Residential Life, Disabled Student Services and Veterans Services. After retiring from CSULB, he became a field representative for U.S. Congressman and former CSULB President Steve Horn.

Frank W. Wylie, professor emeritus, journalism, died Dec. 16 at 89. His career in public relations included serving as director of public relations. He joined CSULB in 1988 and served as Journalism Department chair before retiring in 1992. He was a Fellow of the Public Relations Society of America and member of the Bay Area Travel Writers.

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