Titan Magazine Summer/Fall 2019

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S U M M E R / FA L L 2019

Entrepreneurs Are Smart Cookies


Matt Gush

Hoisted into the air by friends and family, Ashwin Gour was one of more than 12,600 graduates and candidates for graduation celebrating commencement in May. The computer engineering graduate student joined his peers as Susan Barua, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, reminded them that support from loved ones can make all the difference — and that their Cal State Fullerton education would take them far. “The rigorous classes that you took toward your degree requirements, the design projects that required you to tackle multidisciplinary challenges in teams, the numerous reports that you wrote — all these have enabled you to get to the finish line today,” said Barua. “I hope you will continue to be open to new and diverse ideas and perspectives. I hope you will always dream big, because those dreams will push both your imagination and technology to new heights.”

viewpoint Dear Titan Family: I admit it. As an over-imaginative child, there may have been a time or two that I fantasized about gracing the cover of a magazine. Perhaps I would be a famous explorer featured in National Geographic or a renowned author on the cover of LIFE. Then, as my childlike imagination gave way to grown-up delusions, I think I even went so far as to picture my water polo career culminating with the cover of the sport’s preeminent periodical, SkipShot. Nope, never happened — not a chance. Yet as I sat down to do the interview for the Titan magazine feature on my appointment as president of Cal State Fullerton, all I could think was, “Please tell me you are not going to put me on the cover.” Having grown accustomed to the mind-blowing Titan excellence emanating from our faculty, staff and students, I knew — even before I saw the other feature stories — that I, with my bum knee and arthritic shoulder, would have more business being on the cover of Sports Illustrated than this or any other issue of Titan magazine. Indeed, the achievements featured in these pages — from our computer engineering students creating a robotic seeing-eye dog to our Center for Entrepreneurship guiding Titans to “Shark Tank” deals and multimillion dollar businesses — are not only examples of quintessential Titan excellence, but also far more cover-worthy than anything that could possibly come from interviewing me. So I responded to every interview question by doing what I have been doing in my 20 months as a Titan: “sharing” our Titan excellence loudly and proudly. Yes, you could call it bragging, but like I said in the interview through the words of one of my favorite philosophers, Muhammad Ali, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” At Cal State Fullerton, we do more than back it up; we raise it up, then we re-set the bar and Reach Higher to do it all over again. That is what makes us a university of significance in our state and nation. That is what makes our graduates both the caretakers of their communities and the leaders of our workforce. And of course, that is what makes our faculty, staff and students, just a few of whom are featured in these pages, cover-worthy of most any magazine in the nation.


Fram Virjee President California State University, Fullerton




Summer/Fall 2019 Volume 18, Number 2

In Good Company


The College of Engineering and Computer Science’s Corporate Partners program gives students the opportunity to team up with local industries.

Sarah Muñoz

DESIGNER Howard Chang ’00

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Valerie Orleans ’80




Debra Cano Ramos ’84 Lynn Juliano ’05 Karen Lindell Michael Mahi ’83 Pamela McLaren ’79

Startup Central

CSUF’s Center for Entrepreneurship encourages Titans to “challenge the status quo” while fueling innovation in Orange County.


PRODUCTION PLANNERS Stacy Padilla ’99, ’01 Sara Whitworth




Gregory J. Saks

The Power Hitter


Fram Virjee kicks off his second academic year as president by sharing his thoughts on the Titan Experience, investing in CSUF and Muhammad Ali.

Ellen Treanor

Titan is the magazine of California State University, Fullerton, published by University Advancement for alumni, friends and the university community. We welcome your observations, news and comments. University Operator 657-278-2011 Titan 657-278-2414 2600 Nutwood Avenue, Suite 810, Fullerton, CA 92831 titanmagazine@fullerton.edu © 2019 California State University, Fullerton Nonprofit standard postage paid at Santa Ana, CA. Report address errors to uarecords@fullerton.edu or 657-278-7917.

4 Questions 11

Class Notes 24


S U M M E R / F A L L 2019

Entrepreneurs Are Smart Cookies

ON THE COVER Nui Foods founders Victor Macias ’09 and Kristoffer Quiaoit found the recipe for success in the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship.




CSUF Is a ‘Best Value’ Cal State Fullerton is No. 53 out of 300 public and private colleges and universities on the 2019 list of Forbes’ “America’s Best Value Colleges.” The university moved up 15 spots from No. 68 last year. CSUF is one of 17 California State University campuses included in the magazine’s annual ranking of the nation’s

schools with the highest quality and best financial outcomes. Using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and PayScale, Forbes evaluated U.S. colleges and universities based on net price, alumni earnings, academic quality, graduation rates and the number of Pell Grant recipients.

MALE SUCCESS INITIATIVE CENTER OPENS Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee was among campus and community members who took part in the April opening of the Male Success Initiative Center on the second floor of Gordon Hall, recently renamed in honor of the university’s long-serving African American president, the late Milton A. Gordon. The MSI program supports and advances undergraduate men of color. “It’s important to recognize the irony and importance as we open this center in Gordon Hall,” said Virjee at the opening. 4 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2019

“Dr. Gordon began his journey in higher education when there were buildings he could not enter because of the color of his skin. Today, we open the Male Success Initiative-Fullerton Center in a building that is named in his honor and that recognizes his legacy.”

Through a partnership with the award-winning TV series, RoadTrip Nation, CSUF students will be traveling to meet with alumni for career advice on a 10-day RV trip in January. Alumni are encouraged to submit a profile on fullerton.shareyourroad.com to be considered for participation. The Titan Pro Network is another opportunity for alums to connect with other Titans and students. The network (think LinkedIn for Titans) is designed to foster community at: bit.ly/titan-pro-network

NEW DEAN FOR COMMUNICATIONS Following a national search, Bey-Ling Sha joined the College of Communications as its new dean. She previously served as acting associate dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at San Diego State University. Sha’s research focuses on the intersection of identity and public relations, which has earned her the Institute for Public Relations’ 2018 Pathfinder Award, a lifetime achievement award recognizing an original program of scholarly research. She is serving as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Relations Research for the 2016-21 term and is co-author of two scholarly books.

PRESERVING ORAL HISTORY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS “We treasure stories. They create community,” said President Fram Virjee at the May celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History. “They help us develop legacies.” Many of the center’s supporters united to honor its treasure and legacy, including center founders and directors, students, alumni, and professors and oral history narrators who have had their stories recorded and preserved. The center maintains the largest regionally focused oral history archive in California, with 6,000 recorded interviews, transcripts, photographs and other materials. In 2020, the center will move into a new facility in Pollak Library. At the event, panelists spoke of curating museum exhibits at the Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum, recording interviews with Latina community activists and preserving oral histories of some of Orange County’s elected officials. “This center is the pinnacle that students strive for in their work,” said Virjee. “Through the center, thousands of people have had their stories preserved for future generations.” Natalie Fousekis, center director, took time to thank founders Lawrence de Graaf, Art Hansen and Gary Shumway. “These three history professors fought to make this a center, and as a result of their work, I knew I wanted to work here,” she said. “If it hadn’t been for what they did, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Gordon Hall, Endowed Scholarship Continue Late President’s Legacy Earlier this year, the California State University Board of Trustees renamed CSUF’s University Hall as Milton A. Gordon Hall in recognition of the university president’s 21-year legacy of service. In honor of her late husband, Margaret Faulwell Gordon (above, with CSUF President Fram Virjee and CSU Chancellor Timothy White) donated two residential properties in Northern California to Cal State Fullerton’s Philanthropic Foundation. The proceeds of the gift, as well as their cumulative giving over the years, will support the President Milton A. Gordon and Dr. Margaret F. Gordon Endowed Scholarship, awarded to students who demonstrate academic merit, financial need and service to the university community. During Gordon’s tenure, the university grew from serving 25,600 students to more than 36,000 and became one of the most diverse campuses in the CSU. “Milt loved Cal State Fullerton,” said Faulwell Gordon. “In his life time, he experienced discrimination and

segregation in all of its many forms, and these experiences stayed with him throughout his career. He believed access to education was the way to fight this discrimination … At his final convocation in 2011, he said, ‘I am grateful to call higher education my life’s work.’ “I’m sure that Milt is smiling right now.” “President Gordon’s decades of leadership transformed this institution almost as much as his service transformed the hundreds of thousands of Titan lives he touched as a champion for equitable access to academic excellence,” said CSUF President Fram Virjee. “Renaming University Hall as Gordon Hall in his memory will not only recognize and honor his legacy, but also inspire new generations of Titans to follow his courageous lead in breaking glass ceilings, living lives of service, and leading with vision and purpose.” A dedication ceremony for Gordon Hall is planned for Sept. 20, beginning at 10:30 a.m. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 5

Titan Dreamer Goes to Washington As Miriam Tellez walked into the chamber of the United States House of Representatives Feb. 5 as the guest of U.S. Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-39th), she felt like she was “walking into history.” The sociology major, who graduated in May, attended the State of the Union address and met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who told her: “I know who you are and I’m happy you’re here. We’re fighting for you.” Tellez is a Dreamer — one of thousands of undocumented residents who arrived in America as children. “It was stunning to think of the generations of people who have sat there,” said Tellez. “To be there, among members of the governing body of the United States, was something I never dreamed could happen. However, I saw this as an opportunity to share and continue to live my experience as an undocumented and resilient immigrant.”

‘CAPTURING FLOWERS’ PROJECT OFFERS GLIMPSE INTO CLIMATE CHANGE Nearly 30,000 specimens of pressed and preserved dried plants housed in McCarthy Hall, some dating back to the late 1800s, are being catalogued and inspected as part of a multi-institution, four-year project to digitize the inventory into a searchable database for scientists and the public. “What’s fascinating is that these dried plants are a snapshot in time,” said biological science student Kassandra Rodriguez, who is working with the Fay A. MacFadden Herbarium collection acquired by the university more than 50 years ago. “Through this collection, we can see when and where the plant was collected, and study whether climate change has affected flowering time.” Rodriguez and four other undergraduate student researchers, under the mentorship of Joshua Der, assistant professor of biological science, are part of a statewide National Science Foundation-funded project to convert the herbarium’s collection of California’s plants into digital format. The project, “Capturing California’s Flowers: Using Digital Images to Investigate Phenological Change in a Biodiversity Hotspot,” has 22 6 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2019

participating herbaria throughout California, including public universities, state agencies, museums and botanic gardens. Statewide, the project is expected to produce nearly 1 million digital images of plant specimens, with the goal of increasing understanding of the direction

and magnitude of the phenology — the study of plants in relation to climate changes — of California’s flora, said Der, who is leading the Cal State Fullerton effort. H. Jochen Schenk, professor of biological science and director of the herbarium, is co-directing the project.

Top Educators Win Top Honors Five faculty members were singled out for recognition this spring, with campuswide awards honoring teaching, research and service to the university community. President Fram Virjee surprised Matt Englar-Carlson, professor of counseling, with the Outstanding Professor Award as he was teaching a class. As peers, administrators and students clustered around the prolific researcher, he described his teaching philosophy as student-centered “with an emphasis on helping students develop the intellectual, cultural and interpersonal competencies required to be a professional counselor. I strive to encourage, inspire and be present so that students can become their best.” Other award recipients were Ofir Turel, professor of information systems and decision sciences, honored with the L. Donald Shields Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity Award; Therese Cooper (right, with EnglarCarlson), lecturer in communication sciences and disorders, as Outstanding Lecturer; Music Professor Christopher Peterson, with the Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award; and

Kristi Kanel, chair and professor of human services and Academic Senate member, with the Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award. Earlier this year, Math P. Cuajungco was the recipient of the 2019 Faculty Research Award from the California State

University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB). The biological science professor has received nearly $1 million in grants, has published more than 40 peer-reviewed papers and is recognized by his students as an exceptional research mentor.

MUSCLE STUDY SHATTERS STEREOTYPES ABOUT FEMALE ATHLETES A new study by campus kinesiology researchers seemingly contradicts current thoughts on muscle development, specifically long-held beliefs that women tend to have more slow-twitch skeletal muscle fibers while men have fast-twitch fibers. “We found that elite female weightlifters had a higher concentration of fast-twitch muscle fibers than ever recorded for any elite athlete, man or woman, in any sport,” said Andrew Galpin, one of the study’s authors and associate professor of kinesiology. The finding “kills the myth that women are not predisposed to being good at

these types of exercises. Clearly, from a cellular level, some women are extraordinarily geared to be hyperstrength/power athletes.” The exploration of muscle cells at the molecular level focused on fibers in speed, power and strength-trained individuals. Fast-twitch muscle fibers are used in speed and resistance activities, such as sprinting and weightlifting; slow-twitch muscles are used in endurance, such as longdistance running.


Alumni, Partners Prep Students for Career Success “If there’s a way we can help students — and have the support come from those who came before them — what better way to make those students stronger alumni?” This line of thinking, expressed by Cal State Fullerton Alumni Association board member Jordan Poblete ’14 (B.A. business administrationentertainment and tourism management), led the board to create the inaugural Food & Fashion event, held in spring on campus. Spearheaded by Poblete and Kathleen Hodge ’71, ’75 (B.A. speech communication, M.A. counseling), the event offered career advice and resources to students preparing for job searches and the Spring Career Fair. Sylvia Contreras ’96 (B.A. communications–advertising), president of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, practiced handshakes with some of the roughly 100 students in attendance and shared with them how to gain an edge with a good cover letter or resume. She says the program is about

Upcoming Alumni Events SEPTEMBER 18 Latino Communications Institute Alumni Recognition (L.A.)

OCTOBER 12-13 Dinner with 12 Titans

NOVEMBER 16 Homecoming

To learn more, visit alumni.fullerton.edu

more than providing resources. “We want students to know that we care about them,” says Contreras. “We want to help them achieve success after college, making them the best Titans they can be.” Poblete adds, “The event was for career preparation, but we were serving students on every level. Our university is special in that way.” The effort speaks to the importance of campus collaboration for the benefit of students and alumni, and to the commitment of so many CSUF partners. Food & Fashion was conducted in partnership with Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services, the on-campus resource center dedicated to

helping students experiencing hardships; the CSUF Career Center; and the 501(c)3 nonprofit WHW, which focuses on employment resources. As a lead-up to the event, the Alumni Association held a clothing drive to help restock Tuffy’s Career Closet, the lightly used work attire resource available to students for free at Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services. Plans are in the works to hold a similar event during the 2019-20 academic year. “I hope we can continue to build the program and get to the point where students look forward to it every year,” says Contreras.

ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP JOIN THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION TODAY! Calling all CSUF alumni! Now you can join the Alumni Association for a one-time

lifetime rate of $149 {previously $500). Membership includes unique privileges and access to resources, and a portion of your membership fee goes toward our scholarship fund. Show your Titan Pride! Join the association today!

JOIN TODAY � alumni.fullerton.edu/membership 8 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2019

DISCOVERY COULD LEAD TO CANCER THERAPEUTICS A faculty-student study led by Nikolas Nikolaidis, professor of biological science, describes the journey of the heat-shock protein or Hsp70 (HSPA1A), which travels from inside the cell to the cell surface and beyond in cancer and stressed cells. The research could lead to new cancer therapeutics. The protein is present in cells exposed to stress, such as in fevers, toxins or pathophysiological conditions like cancer. Inside all cancer cells, this protein helps the cell survive. However, it also is present in the surface of 80 percent of tumors, Nikolaidis explained. “The presence of this protein at the cell surface allows cancer cells to resist radiation therapy, increase their invasiveness and develop distant metastasis,” he said. “Stopping the protein from being there is a promising new treatment suitable for several cancer types.” The research focuses on defining how and why this protein, which keeps the cell alive, travels to the surface of cancer and stressed cells. The goal is the development of drugs that alter the location of the protein and activate the immune system to attack the cancer. The researchers uncovered that inside the cell, the protein binds to a particular lipid called phosphatidylserine. “We found that this binding is important, if not critical, to the movement of the protein to the cell surface,” said Nikolaidis. “Our published work delineates a major part of the pathway that this protein uses to travel and anchor at the cell membrane.” Their latest research finding is described in a new paper published in Biomolecules. Biology graduate student Larissa Smulders and alumnus Andrei D. Bilog ’15 ’19 (B.S. biological science-cell and developmental biology, M.S. biology) are lead authors of the paper.

Students Vanessa Antunez and Jesse Solis were part of the four-person civil engineering team who built the winning miniature retaining wall.

‘GeoWall’ the Best in the Nation A team of Titan student civil engineers put their geotechnical engineering know-how to the test and built the best retaining wall design in the nation to win the 2019 “GeoWall” competition. The victory at the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Geo-Congress conference in Philadelphia was the fourth time a CSUF team has won the national title. The objective of the GeoWall competition is to design and build a model of a mechanically stabilized earth retaining wall, then test the design to support soil load scenarios. The miniature vertical retaining wall was built in an 18-inchwide sandbox holding between 400 to 500 pounds of sand, using only kraft paper for reinforcement. From several dozen universities that submitted a design report entry, a total of 16 teams from across the country were invited to compete. The CSUF group

was among top-ranked teams for their design report in the preliminary phase of the competition and received a travel grant to the national competition. Team members were Vanessa Antunez, Angel Martinez, Cindy Deligiannis and Jesse Solis, the team captain. “Our team was well prepared and confident. Members knew their roles. Students had good knowledge and understanding of geotechnical engineering concepts, as well as the GeoWall competition,” said Pankaj Bhattarai, lecturer in civil and environmental engineering and their faculty adviser. For the past seven years, a CSUF team has clinched the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Pacific Southwest region championship. CSUF student teams won the national award in 2014, 2015 and 2017, and placed second in in 2018. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 9

Softball Wins Fourth Big West Title Titan softball clinched its fourth consecutive Big West Championship, its 12th in program history, finishing the season with a 38-18 overall record after losing twice in the Los Angeles NCAA Regionals. They also garnered 15 endof-year awards from the Big West Conference, including Coach, Player, Freshman Pitcher and Co-Freshman Field Player of the Year. Head coach Kelly Ford was named Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive season.



Jim Donovan prefers being in the stands, watching his teams play hard and win championships, to being in the limelight. The Cal State Fullerton director of athletics is finding it hard to avoid the spotlight this year, however. He was named one of the Under Armour Athletic Directors of the Year, a national honor, as well as Titan of the Year for the many accomplishments Titan Athletics has achieved since he took the helm in 2012. “The success is really a culmination of everyone pitching in to make Titan Athletics successful,” Donovan said. “It is not about me — it’s about Team Titan.” Under his tenure, Titan teams have won multiple Big West championships, including a record six in the 2017-18 season, which led to earning the Commissioner’s Cup. The school’s all-team Academic Progress Rate is at an all-time high, while fundraising has grown by more than 600 percent. Donovan, who manages a department with more than 65 full-time and 150 parttime staff and 350-plus student-athletes, is leading a project for new locker rooms, coaches’ offices and meeting rooms for

It was a historic moment as the Titan women’s track and field team won its first Big West Championship. The win, said head coach John Elders, helps fulfill one goal of the program: to have championships for the men and women’s programs. The men’s team finished second to Long Beach State. “To see this come to fruition is super exciting,” Elders said. “It’s a total, complete team effort.” Athletes from both teams continued to make history in the NCAA qualifiers. Samantha Huerta (800 meter), Iesha Hamm (high jump) and the quartet  of Parris Samaniego, Rasaun House, Chris Shiley and Marcel Espinoza (4x400 meter relay) all qualified for the NCAA Championship in Austin. They are the first Titans to ever compete at the national championships in their respective events.


the softball and baseball programs. He attributes the program’s success to support from the campus community, a focus on customer service, an expectation to win conference championships, the Student Success Initiative and recruiting studentathletes with great personal character and athletic talent. Titan baseball player Jake Pavletich said Donovan’s attendance at games is an instant boost. “Jim’s leadership is important from a student’s perspective because as athletes we look up to the people in charge,” the infielder said. “His presence is motivational and brings everyone’s game to another level.” Donovan, a former University of Hawaii starting offensive lineman, likes to focus the attention on the school’s student-athletes and their futures. “At the end of your journey of playing intercollegiate athletics, you will earn a degree that will benefit you for the rest of your life,” Donovan said. “Realize how fortunate you are and make the most of the opportunity.”

4 questions

Chronicles From Congress THE FIRST TITAN ELECTED to Congress has a long legacy of giving back to CSUF, even after retiring from the U.S. House of Representatives. In the first gift of its kind for the university, retired U.S. Rep. Ed Royce donated his congressional papers to CSUF’s Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History. Royce ’77 (B.A. business administration-accounting and finance) stepped down in January after 13 terms in the U.S. Congress. An ally to his alma mater, he helped secure funding for Cal State Fullerton’s library, residence halls and gerontology center. The alumnus also advocated for increased research and education in the areas of childhood obesity prevention, math and science education, water hazard mitigation and strategic language studies. Royce was elected to the California State Senate in 1982 and to Congress in 1992. During his two decades of service in D.C., he earned respect from colleagues on both sides of the aisles.



The congressional papers collection includes personal office and House Foreign Affairs Committee documents, photos and legislative histories. It is my hope that these will serve as an important resource. I also will conduct interviews with the center so that my experiences in the private sector and the government also will be preserved.



The future of our nation depends on inspiring thoughtful and driven leaders. Cal State Fullerton understands this and is at the forefront of efforts to promote immersive learning, integrity and diversity. I’ve made sure to support CSUF throughout my career, much like the university has supported me.



I care about the United States’ engage-

ment in the world. In high school, my father, Ed Royce Sr., wanted to be a journalist, but World War II sabotaged that goal. The photos he took at Dachau while in the U.S. Army show the horrors in that concentration camp. The question my father asked himself, and we all need to ask ourselves, has been settled. The question of whether intelligent U.S. engagement and leadership in the world matters has already been answered by what transpired during its absence during our isolationist history. For the U.S. to lead, we must speak with one voice. I made sure we did that in the Foreign Affairs Committee that I chaired for six years in a very bipartisan way. This world is still a tough place, but we can help move the ball in the right direction. As chair of the Africa Subcommittee, I helped draft and pass U.S. African trade legislation. I helped strengthen U.S. relations with Asian allies and pushed for major trade and national security legislation to bolster trans-Pacific ties that are critical to southern California’s economy. In the House, I authored the Women’s Economic Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Act to empower women and girls around the world. We have also seen enactment of reforms that support American exports and jobs, and strengthen our security. WHY WERE INTERNSHIPS ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO TITANS IN YOUR DISTRICT AND CAPITOL OFFICES?


Educational experiences often expand well beyond the classroom. I funneled many CSUF interns through the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee so they could work on international policy issues and develop a greater understanding of the world and the role of the U.S. in it. Since CSUF was in my district, I hosted my annual Women’s Conference on campus for seven years and chose Cal State Fullerton to host a House Foreign Affairs Committee congressional field hearing on human trafficking. Bringing dignitaries and speakers to campus is important to me. SARAH MUÑOZ CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 11


Matt Gush

Future computer engineers Daniel Verdugo, Peter Fink and Riad Soliven work on their four-wheeled service robot for the blind.

THIS HIGH-TECH PROTOTYPE doesn’t bark or sit on command. “SED” — Seeing Eye Dog — is a four-wheeled robot created by a team of computer engineering students. This “service robot” is built with a cane-like handle and the latest technology. “Our project was not made to replace a guide dog, but to create a robot that helps the visually impaired and blind travel on foot from one destination to another,” says Peter Fink, who developed the project with classmates Riad Maulana Soliven and Daniel Verdugo. “An internet-based, voice-controlled app on the user’s phone can remotely control the GPS-guided robot.”

IN GOOD COMPANY Future engineers and computer scientists harness the potential of industry partners. In another corner of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, computer engineering majors David Luu, Kushal Jain and Riken Parekh have designed a novel project using high-tech circuitry to harvest energy from Wi-Fi sources to power wireless electronic devices. Mobile device users could, theoretically, charge a wireless device’s battery — a smartphone or laptop — by collecting energy from nearby Wi-Fi networks. Using antenna and circuitry attached to a battery, the students are able to “harvest” energy from Wi-Fi signals and transform it into electrical energy. “The focus of our project is to scavenge excess energy given off by Wi-Fi routers. We’re addressing the current energy crisis from another direction,” Luu says. “While the world is more focused on new ways to produce energy, our research tackles the problem through Wi-Fi energy scavenging.” These student research projects, under the direction of faculty adviser Kiran George, professor of computer engineering, were created through the college’s ECS Corporate Partners program, which brings students, faculty and industry together to develop new technologies and prepare students for the technical and engineering workforce. The projects were made possible through the college’s internet of things (IoT) program. One of the college’s corporate partners, Cisco Systems Inc., supports the IoT program, with funding awarded through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, in collaboration with Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility.

INCUBATING INNOVATION This collaborative effort with local industry began in fall 2017, with 20 student projects sponsored by 11 corporate partners. Partnerships expanded this past CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 13

academic year to 36 student projects supported by 17 corporations, such as Edwards Lifesciences, Unisys, Mercury Defense Systems and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The long-term vision for the program is to have every senior capstone project sponsored by industry, says Susamma “Susan” Barua, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The Corporate Partners program provides a structured framework and allows the college to reach out to industries year-round and arrange for supported undergraduate and graduate projects, including senior capstone projects,” explains Barua. “These projects represent real-world engineering and computing problems that teams of students can solve.” A project’s concept, scope and length are discussed to provide a unique learning opportunity for the students while addressing the company’s challenge or need. The projects typically last through the academic year, with faculty members guiding students to ensure positive outcomes and maintain strong relationships with industry, George notes. Corporate partners support the program not only because it provides a way to give students an immersive, applied learning experience but it also establishes a recruitment pipeline of diverse and talented individuals who offer fresh perspectives to challenges facing the industry, Barua points out. Partners also mentor and share industry experience, can serve in advisory roles and benefit from increased visibility within the campus community. “There are several advantages for students who work on these corporatesupported projects,” George says. “They appreciate the opportunity to relate the theoretical concepts they learn as part of their coursework and apply it to real-world applications.” While collaborating on a project, students learn teamwork, problem-solving, and communication and leadership skills — attributes employers are looking for in their hires, Barua adds. 14 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2019

Additionally, students working on industry-sponsored projects often have opportunities to secure internships and even full-time employment at the partner corporations because of their direct contacts with the company and industry mentor.


Peter Fink, who helped developed “SED,” or Seeing Eye Dog, for the blind, takes the robot for a test walk on campus.

Education is part of Cisco’s mission to help solve society’s toughest problems, says Tae Yoo, Cisco’s senior vice president of corporate affairs/corporate social responsibility. “As technology transforms the way we live and work, Cisco believes educational institutions and organizations focused on emerging entrepreneurs can be a powerful force for change and local economic development,” Yoo points out. “Public universities such as Cal State Fullerton not only have the capacity to meet industry demand for a digitally skilled workforce in Orange County, but also play a leading role in shaping entirely new ideas and industries to fuel the local economy and create jobs in the future.” Alumnus and scientist Greg Wright, senior director of research and development at Edwards Lifesciences, also believes that students who work on industry projects are more prepared for the workforce. “These projects teach students how to design and qualify equipment, innovate to improve manufacturing, and create drawing and design features on new machines. All of these skills could be applied to many different careers in the engineering field,” says Wright, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biological science in 2000 and a master’s degree in biology in 2008 from Cal State Fullerton. Edwards Lifesciences, an Irvine-based medical device company with 12,000 employees worldwide, specializes in structural heart disease and critical care monitoring. It has supported more than 20 students in five projects over the last two years. “Edwards Lifesciences gets the opportunity to assess and mentor the next generation of engineering leaders,” Wright says. “They work with our teams to develop products that help patients worldwide,

as well as launch products that drive company growth.” Some of these student projects range from developing tissue and valve testing equipment to designing next-generation tissue technologies and manufacturing equipment that could have a big impact on reducing manufacturing costs. “Students get the chance to gain experience designing studies, working with experienced engineering leaders, innovating and getting a feel for how the medical device industry operates,” Wright adds. “This gives them the opportunity to see if this industry is the right fit for their careers.” Luu, a junior on track to graduate in spring 2021, agrees that being engaged in an industry-supported project will give him a competitive edge in landing his first job after graduation: “This Wi-Fi project tested our ability to look outside the box to solve unforeseen issues, and the experience will help us when we finally join the workforce.”

Computer engineering scholars Riken Parekh, David Luu and Kushal Jain created this high-tech project to harvest energy from Wi-Fi sources.

Soliven, who worked on the service robot, adds that one of the most valuable skills he learned is how to work in a team environment — a skill needed to be successful in his future technical career. “I’ve also learned time management, how to communicate my ideas, and find solutions to make certain components function properly,” he says. For industry, being a corporate partner is not only about playing a leading role to shape a skilled workforce, but paving the way for students’ future careers. “I received a great education at Cal State Fullerton and want to give back to the university. I believe giving back to the community is a big part of what defines us as leaders,” Wright says. “I also want to encourage all students to be proactive with their careers because the world and job industry is getting tougher and more competitive.” DEBRA CANO RAMOS


STARTUP CENTRAL The Center for Entrepreneurship fuels innovation in Orange County.


THE CLICKING OF LAPTOPS in the quiet, urban-industrial office belies the frenetic pace of growth at Nui Foods LLC, the keto-friendly cookie enterprise founded in 2016 by Cal State Fullerton alumnus Victor Macias ’09 (B.A. business administration-entrepreneurship) and business partner Kristoffer Quiaoit. Macias caught the entrepreneurial bug in kindergarten, when he bought bags of candy and resold individual pieces. “I’ve always wanted to be in control of my destiny,” he says. He chose CSUF for its entrepreneurship program in Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, and quickly discovered a new world of opportunities through the college’s Center for Entrepreneurship — a hub that John B. Jackson, center director and lecturer in management, calls “an umbrella for all things entrepreneurial.” The center connects students in the entrepreneurship major, minor or MBA concentration with expert faculty, alumni, companies and individuals who mentor or “hire” them for consulting projects. Students also engage with entrepreneurship-related student groups and residents in the CSUF Startup Incubators — off-campus workspaces with resources to help entrepreneurs launch their business concepts. “Studying entrepreneurship at CSUF helped me get ready for new venture creation and gave me confidence,” says Macias. “It connected the classroom with real life — especially the consulting projects.” The center and entrepreneurship curriculum exposed Macias to people and ideas he’d never seen before, including the lean startup model — start small, collect data and scale — that he and Quiaoit are now using to build Nui.

SUCCESS FROM SCRATCH The keto cookie was concocted in Quiaoit’s mom’s kitchen, the result of tinkering to create a sweet treat the entrepreneurs could eat on the keto diet they were both following. Thinking others might like it too, they posted a web page and decided that if they sold 15, it would be a viable idea. They sold 30 and were on their way. Using customer feedback, they tweaked the recipe and added flavors; three years later, the almond-based, low-carb, low-sugar, gluten-free cookie is a sensation. The two got a deal on “Shark Tank” in November 2018; now they are scaling up and are on target to be a $3 million business in 2019. Macias and Quiaoit are only two of the thousands who have benefited from the Center for Entrepreneurship since its inception in 2001. Roughly 200 students study entrepreneurship each semester. “The center’s interaction with the local entrepreneurial community attracts great consulting talent to Mihaylo College,” explains Morteza Rahmatian, dean of the college. “Its work results in particularly beneficial relationships and interaction between these seasoned businesspeople and aspiring entrepreneurs launching new ventures.”

Left: Victor Macias and Kristoffer Quiaoit strategize next steps for Nui Foods. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 17

Charlesetta Medina ’10 (B.A. business administration-entrepreneurship), the center’s consulting entrepreneur-inresidence, secures these mentors and clients for the student consulting program that is key to the entrepreneurship curriculum. The program competes in the National Small Business Institute Consulting Project competition — it has won 12 national championships — and has served more than 2,280 Orange County firms. Retired marketing executive Bob Godlasky has mentored students since 2008. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned in a lifetime of business and says that volunteering keeps him young. “What’s special about the Center for Entrepreneurship is the integration that JJ (Jackson) brings to the ecosystem,” explains Godlasky. “Academia, business owners and business leaders are all part of this ecosystem and are available to support students.” Sue Mehta ’07 (B.A. business administration-entrepreneurship), founder of One Realty


Group, not only mentors but has used the student consulting services. “I decided to mentor because I felt like I had something to contribute,” she explains. “I had started up a few successful companies and could give back. I’m making a living as an entrepreneur, and that is success in my mind. “I became a client because I felt there was no better way to get assistance and also contribute to CSUF. The consultation got us thinking about changes we needed to make, and we ended up implementing one of the student recommendations.”

PITCHING A HIT Below: Leo Gomez, a senior in business administration-entrepreneurship, explains research findings on One Realty Group to company founder Sue Mehta. Mehta “hired” the CSUF student consulting team to explore ways to improve marketing at her firm.

The Center for Entrepreneurship is unique in its ability to support entrepreneurs at any stage of development. Junior Kylie Toney arrived at CSUF with a prototype in hand — a helmet to help reduce youth concussions. Her struggle was balancing the thrill of entrepreneurship with the pressure to pursue a less risky career.

Talking with Medina helped her clarify her career path. Toney was accepted into the Titan Women Collective, a group focused on supporting and mentoring aspiring female entrepreneurs. She’s excited about receiving customized mentoring and learning how to maneuver effectively through the male-dominated entrepreneurial landscape. “I’m a resource to all students who interact with the center in any way,” says Medina, who co-founded the collective. “I help students think through career options, and get them comfortable with the entrepreneurial mindset and selling the skill set they acquire from the degree.” That skill set includes proficiency in all areas of business due to the program’s interdisciplinary nature. It consists of problem solving, leadership, teamwork and gaining self-awareness — skills that apply to any career. This is important, Jackson explains. “It’s rare that a student is ready for entrepreneurship right out of school.” Senior Leo Gomez may be that exception. He recently pitched a dog toy concept to his entrepreneurship classmates; based on the positive response, he decided to apply for residency at the CSUF Startup Incubator. “I chose to be part of the incubator because I wanted guidance,” Gomez explains. “I didn’t know if I had the right information on my own to make my idea a business. Connections, and getting advice from people who have done it many times, are other pluses of being in the incubator.” Jackson established the incubator realizing that students needed more than classes and center resources to launch their businesses. The initial location in Placentia is managed by Travis Lindsay ’07 (B.A. economics and business administrationfinance), and the expansion location in Irvine is run by Phillip Stinis ’11 (MBA entrepreneurship). Both provide residents with customized support for six months, including a mentor specific to their needs and a student consulting team, for a fee of $5,000. More than 50 startups have been helped to date.

ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDS Jackson knows there are entrepreneurialminded students not just at Mihaylo but across campus. He is a strong advocate for cross-disciplinary programs and studies, and strives to have the Center for Entrepreneurship provide such opportunities. The “Starting and Managing a Professional Practice/Small Business” course is offered for students who are not entrepreneurship majors, and programs like the CSUF Startup Competition are open to students of all disciplines. “Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking — it’s challenging the status quo,” says Jackson. KAREN LINDELL

Top: Junior Kylie Toney practices her pitch with the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Charlesetta Medina and John B. Jackson in preparation for the 2019 CSUF Startup Competition. Toney took second place with Captshield, a helmet she designed to help reduce youth sport concussions.


IF THERE WERE A FRAM VIRJEE BASEBALL CARD, the stats on the back would look a little different. In the 20 months he’s been president of Cal State Fullerton, he has seen roughly 24,000 students become alumni. He has been in one rap video, attended dozens of Titan Athletics games and College of the Arts performances, given hundreds of speeches. He’s shaken the hands of thousands. The best is yet to come. In March, Virjee was appointed permanent president of CSUF. As he gets ready for another academic year and the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in university history, Cal State Fullerton’s sixth president and chief power hitter — and before that, executive vice chancellor, general counsel and secretary to the California State University Board of Trustees — jumps at the chance to tell our stories. YOU OFTEN TALK ABOUT THE ‘TITAN EXPERIENCE.’ WHAT IS IT? The Titan Experience has strong academic underpinnings and lots of co-curricular experiences that help students fulfill their potential in every way — academically, emotionally and creatively. We want each student to have a strong academic foundation, of course, but to make them truly workforce-ready, we must create experiences that prepare them for their future jobs. Our goal isn’t to only prepare them for their first job, but for their second, third and fourth jobs. I tell our student engineers all the time, ‘You are going to be great engineers. Many of you are going to invent something — and then you will be an entrepreneur. You will start your own business. Or someone is going to see your ability to lead and will make you an administrator. You might become a CFO, a CEO or a CIO. You need to be prepared for that, too.’ We want to prepare students for life. I am committed to offering a transformational and collaborative experience that prepares our students for life more broadly. HOW DO YOU DEFINE THAT? It means that Titans are not just going to be great nurses, teachers, doctors or lawyers, 20 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2019

It’s not a job for me. It’s a mission.

they’re going to give back to their communities. They’re going to vote and be civic‑ minded. They’re going to care about social justice and about the environment. They’re going to care about taking care of those who are less fortunate. When students become alumni and are in a position to pay it forward, I want them to become caretakers of their communities and stewards of place, just as we are. HELPING STUDENTS GRADUATE IS ALSO PART OF OUR MISSION. WHAT DOES OUR SCORECARD LOOK LIKE? When I was getting ready to go to college, my high school counselor suggested to me, ‘Start with 12 units because you need to get your sea legs during your freshman year.’ I wasn’t a math major, but I know you need 15 units a semester to graduate in four years. If you take 12 units your first semester, you’re already behind; you’re going to have to take summer school or take 18 units a couple of times. The Choose 15 Units campaign at CSUF encourages students to go for 15 units a semester so they can graduate in four years. Our Student Success teams in each college make sure students have the tools and information they need to succeed. Even before I got here, CSU Chancellor Timothy White announced Graduation


Initiative 2025, with the goal that campuses are going to double our four-year graduation rates and erase the opportunity gap by 2025. It’s a lofty goal, but it is not unattainable. I don’t want anybody to go before they’re ready, but I want to create the opportunity for those who want to be able to graduate. Every year that they’re here beyond four years is a lost year of income for them, a lost year of experience in their profession. That’s not fair to them. We worked hard to get rid of the bottleneck courses. We created degree pathways so students know what classes to take and when they should take them. We will continue to create opportunities for students to persist and graduate. WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE FOR ALUMNI AND THE COMMUNITY IN OUR COMPREHENSIVE CAMPAIGN? When Gov. Gavin Newsom was lieutenant governor, he came to most of the CSU board meetings. I know because I was there. He participated. He understands the worth of the CSU. Historically, the CSU has relied on 50 percent of its money from the state and 50 percent of its money from tuition, yet state participation has gone down in the last five years. This is the perfect opportunity to share our story. We’re No. 1 in the CSU for graduating Latinas, No. 4 in the nation for graduating students of color, sixth in the nation for best value. We must continue to share these points of pride and let our community know that they need to invest in us with their treasure, but also their time. They need to come and participate in campus life at our concerts, sporting events, plays. They need to bring their kids here when they’re in junior high or elementary school so they start thinking about going to college — to Cal State Fullerton. The people of the state of California invest mightily in the future and what we do pays dividends. We have nearly 300,000 proud alumni. We are transforming lives and communities every day. All it takes is telling our story. We’ve just been shy to share it. I don’t want to be shy. My favorite philosopher, Muhammad Ali, said, ‘It ain’t 22 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2019

bragging if you can back it up.’ We can back it up. WHAT’S MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT BEING PRESIDENT? The most challenging role that I have, and that we have as an institution, is taking the limited resources and directing them in the most effective ways for students’ success. We need to make sure that our expenditures reflect our values and our strategic priorities. While we’re never going to have enough money, the issue is, how do we do the best with what we have? That’s a hard challenge. A second challenge is to convince our Orange County community that they need to get involved. We have amazing corporate partners. I talk to companies all the time, who say, ‘Titans make up half of my workforce.’ To which I say, ‘Great! Come to campus. Mentor a student. Hire an intern from Cal State Fullerton. Guest lecture on campus. Invest in the university.’ If we are giving you half your workforce, you owe that to future students. Support and invest in your community. At our master plan forum in the spring, we talked a lot about interdisciplinary learning among our colleges. Let’s create spaces and places for that to happen. Let’s think aspirationally but practically. We know cohort education works. Their persistence level is higher than the general persistence level. Their graduation rates are higher. Why? Because they learn and they find community. We have to find ways of creating community for everyone.

to demographics, but also in respect to innovation, to collaboration, to commitment to social justice, to sustainability, to environmental issues, to cross‑cultural understanding and to collectively working together. I couldn’t have imagined the day I walked in the door 20 months ago that I would feel the way I do about this place. It’s not a job for me. It’s a mission. It’s a lifestyle. I tell my wife, Julie, that for 30 years, as a lawyer, I would come home every night, take my armor off and put it in the closet. I’d watch a little TV, play with the dogs, talk to the kids, eat some dinner, get up in the morning, put my armor back on, and go back to work. I came home the other day and there’s no armor to take off. This is just who I am, 24/7. I couldn’t think of a better thing to do in life. SARAH MUÑOZ

HAVE YOUR IMPRESSIONS ABOUT CSUF CHANGED SINCE YOU ARRIVED ON CAMPUS? I worked at the Chancellor’s Office for over four years. During that time, I visited the campus a half dozen times. I had no idea the impact and the reach that CSUF has in Orange County, in our state and our nation. I like to tell people we are what Orange County will be in five minutes, California will be in an hour and the United States will be tomorrow. I mean that in respect CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 23

class notes

1970s Tanis Stewart ’71 (B.A. sociology) is assistant dean of the School of Applied Science and Technology at Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey.

J.K. Lavin ’81 (M.A. art-design) is

Nick Leyva ’85 (B.A. communica-

a fine art photographer based in Venice, California. Her work was recently showcased in the exhibit “Crisis of Experience” at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts.

tions) has joined the Los Angeles Times sports copy desk as a multiplatform editor.

Penny Cleary ’86 (B.S. human

ing-electrical engineering) is dean of the School of Education at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee.

services) is a community programs manager at Redwood Credit Union. She is leading the team that oversees the financial institution’s community programs in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Lake, Mendocino and San Francisco counties.

neering-electrical engineering) was named general manager of the Imperial Irrigation District in January. Martinez previously served nearly 25 years with Southern California Edison.

Fred Tomaselli ’81 (B.A. art) is a

Bradley Hayden ’87 (B.A. business

New York-based artist who has exhibited work across the country. His most recent exhibition opened in February at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.

administration-finance) is vice president of finance at Mainsail Lodging & Development in Tampa, Florida.

Tom Kartrude ’76 (B.A. earth

Anne C. Woehler ’81, ’88 (B.A. psy-

Michael G. Vail ’73 (B.A. communications) has published his first book, “The Salvation of San Juan Cajon.”

Henry Martinez ’75 (B.S. engi-

Alan R. Shoho ’81 (B.S. engineer-

science), retired executive director at Armand Bayou Nature Center in Pasadena, Texas, is a member of the Friends of the Cibolo Wilderness Board of Directors.

chology, multiple subject credential) is a fourth-grade teacher at Holy Angels School in Arcadia, California.

Paul Archipley ’79 (B.A. communica-

sic-music education) retired in May after serving more than 35 years in education, most recently as principal of Etiwanda High School. He began his career as a band director in Baldwin Park and held that position at Etiwanda for 21 years before moving into administration.

tions) is owner of Beacon Publishing in Mukilteo, Washington. The company publishes three community newspapers in the region.

1980s Jerry Buckley ’80 (M.A. biology) has been named president of Reedley College in Reedley, California. He previously served as assistant superintendent/vice president of academic affairs at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California.

Lou Correa ’80 (B.A. economics), a U.S. representative for California’s 46th congressional district, is vice chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.

David Avila ’81 (B.A. liberal studies), a retired battalion chief for the Riverside County Fire Department, serves as mayor pro tem for the city of Yucaipa. He was recently honored as Crafton Hills College’s 2019 Outstanding Alumnus. 24 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2019

Sharon Suzuki ’87 (MBA) is president of Maui County and Hawaii Island Utilities, overseeing the administration of the two companies that serve the 157,000 customers of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

Donald Jaramillo ’82 (B.A. muVik Jolly ’89, ’95 (B.A. communications-news-editorial, M.A. social sciences) is editor-in-chief for the San Diego Business Journal. The nearly three-decade veteran journalist has served as managing editor for the publication since September 2017.


Edward Masterson ’82 (B.A. communications) is sales and marketing manager at SOS Entertainment, an event production company in Santa Clara Valley.

Michael C. Flores ’91 (B.A. history) was recently named dean of instruction at Klamath Community College, in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

John H. “Johnny” Schaefer ’83 (B.A.

Marc Stein ’91 (B.A. communica-

music), a singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, released a new CD, “Finlandia Brasileria.”

tions-journalism), three-time Olympic reporter and longtime National Basketball Association reporter, will be honored in September as one of this year’s Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Bonnie Peat ’84 (B.A. business administration-finance) is a vice president of business development at Parker Hannifin and the newest member of the Cypress School District Board of Trustees.

William Tornquist ’84 (M.S. counseling) is chief program officer of the Child Abuse Prevention Center in Anaheim.

To submit news about yourself, email titanmagazine @fullerton.edu.

Vaniethia R. Hubbard ’92, ’16 (B.A. psychology, Ed.D. educational leadership) has been named Santa Ana College’s new vice president of student services.

Edwin “Eddie” Soto ’95 (B.S. physical

Your Savings. Your Legacy. There are two easy ways you can use your IRA to create your Titan legacy. The IRA Charitable Rollover allows you to take your required minimum distribution, skip the tax and make a meaningful gift to support Cal State Fullerton this tax year. Naming us as a beneficiary of your IRA is another way to establish your Titan legacy in the future. If we are a beneficiary in your plans, please let us know. For more information, contact Hart Roussel at 657-278-5429 or CSUFplannedgift@fullerton.edu.

education) is head men’s soccer coach for Cal State Dominguez Hills. He previously held the same position with the University of San Francisco, guiding the team to its 35th West Coast Conference championship in 2017.

Jennifer Leuer ’97 (B.A. communicationsjournalism) is president of Experian Partner Solutions in Costa Mesa and serves on the board of directors for BigRentz, OCTANe and One OC.

Steven Romero ’97, ’12 (B.A. criminal justice, MPA-finance management) was recently named police chief for Ontario, Oregon. Romero has served in law enforcement for nearly 30 years, including service with the Los Angeles and Hawthorne police departments.

Kevin H. Wiest ’98 (B.A. business administration-accounting) is a partner in Windes, a tax and accounting services practice. Wiest is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Stephanie Leon ’99 (resource specialist certificate/credential) has authored and self-published “The Answer Is Armadillos: How to Save a Species” for middle school students.

Ivo A. Tjan ’99 (B.A. business administra-

fullerton.edu/CSUFPlannedGift Randall Paulson ’92 (B.A. business adminis-

Ann Phong ’95 (M.F.A. art-drawing, painting

tration-marketing) is director of corporate marketing with Walker Consultants, a global consulting firm.

and printmaking) is a mixed-media artist whose works are made up of discarded objects such as soda cans, old circuit boards and obsolete cell phones. An art instructor at Cal Poly Pomona, her work was recently displayed at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.

Thomas Ritz ’93 (B.S. civil engineering) is vice president and bridge practice lead for Michael Baker International, an engineering and consulting services firm. The company is headquartered in Denver.

David Jerome ’94 (B.A. communications-radioTV-film) is the author of the Orange County Register “Mr. Bucketlist” column.

Matthew Shaff ’94 (B.A. business administration-management science) is director of business development for Safety National, a national insurance company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.

Robert Serna ’95 (B.A. criminal justice) is a judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. The former deputy district attorney, who earned his juris doctor at Loyola Law School, was appointed by former Gov. Jerry Brown in October.

tion-marketing) is chairman and CEO of CommerceWest Bank.

2000s Thomas Durante ’00 (M.F.A. theatre artsdesign and technical production) is president of The Lux Productions in Sonoma, California.

Antonia Castro Graham ’00, ’02 (B.A. American studies, MPA-public finance management) is an assistant to the city manager/energy and sustainability project manager in Huntington Beach, California, and a lecturer in environmental studies and political science at Cal State Fullerton.

Jesus Silva ’00, ’03 (single subject teaching credential-business, M.S. education-secondary education) is mayor of the city of Fullerton, California.


Lynn Vogt ’00 (B.A. English) is a realtor with

Brateil Aghasi ’05 (B.A. sociology) is exec-

Nancy Lubrano ’06 (B.A. English) is an

the Carlsbad, California, office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

utive director of WISEPlace, a Santa Ana, California, organization that houses women in crisis.

attorney dealing with employmentrelated claims, including wage and hour class actions. She is a partner with Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP.

Christopher Job ’01 (B.M. music-voice) is a baritone with the Metropolitan Opera and has been featured in six of the organization’s “Live in HD” broadcasts.

Jason “Jake” Epstein ’02 (B.A. communications-advertising), a former Titan baseball player, has been named assistant coach for Missouri University’s baseball team.

Christopher Lorenzana ’02 (B.A. business administration-marketing) is deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration office covering San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties.

Michelle Cathorall ’05 (B.S. health science) is an assistant professor of applied health at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Cathorall, who earned her doctorate from University of North Carolina, Greensboro, is collaborating with a SIU professor on a study of medicine and public health in Uganda.

Chad Ruyle ’06 (B.M. music-voice) is a vocal

Zaylore Stout ’05 (B.A. business administra-

Alexandra Limon ’07 (B.A. communica-

tion-management) runs his own law firm, Zaylore Stout and Associates.

tions-journalism) is a reporter with WVNS 59 News in West Virginia.

instructor at Cuesta and Hancock colleges in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria, California, respectively. He has performed with such groups as the Symphony of the Vines in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo Master Chorale.

Joshua Scott ’02 (B.A. business administration-accounting) was recently named senior vice president for finance and risk management in Pacific Life’s Life Insurance Division. Scott has worked at Pacific Life since 2012.

Kristine Scott ’02 (B.A. communications-public relations) is a public affairs manager with the Southern California Gas Co. and a Rancho Cucamonga city councilmember.

Russell Hargrove ’03 (B.A. speech communication) is vice president and chief development officer at HOPE worldwide, a global nonprofit mobilizing volunteers in more than 60 nations to provide disaster relief and community empowerment programs.

Nefertiti (Happle) Long ’03 (MBA-finance) is chief operating officer of Alta Loma Enterprises in Rancho Cucamonga and secretary of the Community Foundation Board of Directors.

Jose “Jojo” Seva ’03 (B.S. computer science) is chief information officer with Mission Federal Credit Union in San Diego.

Eric S. Tanaka ’03 (B.A. business administration-marketing) is vice president of Fukui Mortuary in Los Angeles. Tanaka is the fifth generation of the family-run business established in 1918.

Fabiola Huerta ’04 (B.A. communicationsjournalism) was recently appointed city manager for La Habra Heights, California, where she has served as assistant city manager since July 2017.


Ramsey Nijem ’14 (M.S. kinesiology), head performance and strength coach for the Sacramento Kings basketball team, once dreamed of being an NBA player. When he realized that it wasn’t going to happen, his focus shifted to helping players. Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Sport Performance motivated him to become a Titan. “It’s one of the best programs in the country, with a track record of publishing applied research and a faculty that is second to none,” he explains. “My experience and the training I received there inspired me to continue my education to earn a research doctorate,” (which he earned in 2018 from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions). Nijem focuses on each player “to physically prepare him for the demands of the NBA game, so they can perform at a high level with minimal injury risk through the grueling 82-game season. With buy-in from athletes and application of the sciences that underpin our practices as strength and conditioning coaches, these goals can be achieved. “Ultimately, my education has given me a skill set to acquire, critically appraise, interpret and apply the best available evidence in the field of sport performance,” he stresses. “The ability to do so provides a level of confidence that is often on display while coaching, which creates trust with the athletes I am fortunate to work with.”

Rose G. Salseda ’07 (B.A. art-art history) is an assistant professor of art history in Stanford University’s Art and Art History Department. She earned her doctorate and master’s degree in art history at the University of Texas at Austin.

Thomas Schmid ’07 (B.A. business administration-management) is senior director of talent acquisitions for Welk Resorts in Escondido, California.

Alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and community partners are working to ensure Cal State Fullerton’s future. Will you join us?

Carlos Amador ’08 (B.S. human services) is a community engagement director at the California Immigrant Policy Center.

Megan Dong ’08 (B.F.A. art-entertainment art/animation) is a story artist working with Netflix.

James Ligman ’08 (MBA) has been named Orange County city president of BBVA Compass, a financial institution that operates in several sunbelt states, including California, Texas, Florida and New Mexico.

Caitlyn W. Page ’08 (B.A. political science and business administration) is a partner in the law firm Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP. She earned her juris doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School.

advocacy.fullerton.edu Diego Gutierrez ’11 (B.A. political science)

Jonathan Castanien ’13 (B.A. theatre arts) is

celebrated his U.S. citizenship in a special ceremony before his classmates, professors and mentors at Lewis & Clark Law School in Oregon.

a New York-based independent production stage manager whose work includes the national tour of “57 Chevy” with the National New Play Network. He also hosts the podcast “Not So Ancient,” about the history of Asian American theater.

Christina Nguyen ’11 (B.S. biological Grecia Pardave ’09 (B.A. international business-Spanish) is an associate professor of business marketing at the Universidad Privada del Norte de Lima in Peru.

2010s Lily Espinoza ’11 (Ed.D. educational leadership), an educator with the Mills College Upward Bound Program, has authored “Not Getting Stuck: Success Stories of Being Latina and Transferring From a California Community College.”

Krystle Grandy ’11 (B.A. radio-TV-film) is owner and CEO of KGrandy Media & Co., based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

science-cell and development biology) was promoted to vice president of Concierge Limousine. She previously served as the Huntington Beach company’s director of operations and affiliate relations.

Steven Ottomanyi ’11 (B.A. music-music history and theory) is director of music at Chrysostom Church in Inglewood, California. Ottomanyi has directed choirs and played the organ in southeast Los Angeles parishes for 25 years.

Jessica Deakyne ’13 (MPA urban management) is assistant to the city manager of St. Helena, California. She also serves as vice president of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California, a group of more than 600 young government professionals.

Juan Esquivel ’13, ’17 (B.A. public administration, MPA-human resources) is deputy city clerk for South Pasadena.

Matthew Johnson ’13 (B.A. radio-TV-film) Roshan S. Patel ’11 (B.A. business administration-marketing) has become a franchisee of Cousins Maine Lobster LLC. In March, he began operating a food truck in Orange County, California.

is a reporter and fill-in anchor with Fox 11 and “Good Day LA.”

Kevin Chiu ’14 (B.A. business administra-

Lauren Sassano ’12 (MBA-marketing) is

tion-marketing) is co-founder and chief operating officer for Catalyst Software, a customer success platform created in 2017.

a senior marketing manager with the Carlsbad-based Rubio’s Coastal Grill.

Marie C. Jones ’14 (B.A. political science) is district director for U.S. Rep. Katie Porter.

Stephanie Shank ’12 (B.A. communicationsentertainment studies) has joined the Country Music Association as manager of production and talent relations.

Blanca Ramirez ’16 (B.A. sociology) is a graduate student at the University of Southern California, studying how families cope when a parent is detained or deported by immigration authorities. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 27

Crystal Sayphraraj ’16 (B.A. communica-

Tanvi Bobde ’17 (M.S. information

Christine Le ’17 (B.F.A. art-entertainment

tions-public relations), executive assistant of the Brea (California) Chamber of Commerce, was named to the Western Association of Chamber Executives’ Emerging Leaders Council.

systems-business analytics) is a data analyst at HBO.

art/animation) is a production assistant at Nickelodeon Animation.

Zach Brandon ’17 (M.S. kinesiology) is mental

Siena Marilyn Ledger ’17 (B.F.A. theatre

skills coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.

arts-acting) is a playwright and actor in San Diego.

Sarah E. Cutkomp ’17 (B.A. sociology-health

Wyn Moreno ’17 (M.F.A. theatre arts-acting)

and social welfare) is a fourth grade teacher at Eastshore Elementary School in Irvine.

is a member of The Wayward Artist, a collective of artists who perform productions in Orange County. He is the creator of “Strong Arm,” an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” which was performed at CSUF’s Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana in July.

Hussein Ali Al-Barazanchi ’17 (M.S. computer science) co-authored “Intelligent Plankton Image Classification With Deep Learning” in Vol. 8, Issue 6 of the International Journal of Computational Vision and Robotics.

Ana Garcia ’17 (B.A. art-art history) completed David Chamberlain ’15 (B.A. business administration-entrepreneurship) has launched Interact, an online application that allows parents of special needs kids to find suitable schools, health care and activities. It serves as a clearinghouse for information and allows parents to rate providers and share feedback with other users.

a fully funded, weeklong Andrew W. Mellon Opportunity for Diversity in Conservation workshop in July 2018 and was accepted into a 10-week internship through the Mellon Opportunity for Diversity program in summer 2019. The program introduces students and recent graduates to careers in conservation and helps them prepare for graduate work.

Allison Parker ’17 (B.F.A. theatre arts-musical theatre) recently starred in the San Jose State Company production of “Mamma Mia.”

Eric A. Resendiz ’17 (B.A. communications-journalism) is a journalist with ABC News affiliate KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

Mark-Leon Rivera ’18 (B.F.A. art-entertain-

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ment art/animation) is an animator for PIXAR.

Sara Roberts ’17 (B.A. American studies, B.F.A. art-sculpture) is a sculptor who recently completed a post-graduate residency program with the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia.


In Memoriam Susan Amdahl ’06 (B.S. human services), a longtime campus staff member who most recently served as an administrative support coordinator for Outreach Recruitment and Orientation in Student Affairs, died Feb. 8 at the age of 59. Sean Belk ’10 (B.A. communications-journalism), a reporter with the biweekly Beachcomber newspaper in Long Beach, died Jan. 11. He was 36. Ann Camp, chief of staff for former Cal State Fullerton President Mildred García, died in January. Camp served at CSU Dominguez Hills for five years, then followed García to CSUF where she served five years before retiring in 2017. Lynne A. Clark ’77, ’79 (B.A., M.A. speech communication) died March 13. Clark taught special education and served for 14 years as a coordinator for the Inyo County Office of 28 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2019

Education Catching Children At Risk Early (CCARE) program. George Giacumakis, professor emeritus of history and director emeritus of Cal State Fullerton’s Irvine Campus, died April 4. Donald Kaplan, professor emeritus of speech communication, died Jan. 16 at the age of 97. He served as the university’s first director of the Speech and Hearing Clinic and taught on campus for nearly 20 years. David J. Pivar, professor emeritus of history, died Jan. 8. He served CSUF for three decades and was founder and first chair of the American Studies Department. He was 85. Andrew Pucio ’90 (B.A. geography), a former San Diego Fire Department captain who became the first in his family to earn a college degree, died Nov. 25 at the age of 78. Mark Alan Redhead, professor of political science, died Dec. 18. The author of “Charles Taylor: Thinking and Living Deep Diversity” and “Reasoning

With Who We Are: Democratic Theory for a Not So Liberal Era” was 50. Gloria Rock, associate professor emeritus of philosophy who served the campus community for 24 years, died in August. Nancy Jones Stover ’81 (B.A. communications), a coach and educator who was involved in a variety of civic organizations, died June 12. The Titan competed at the 1979 World University Games in Mexico City and graduated as a four-time All-American gymnast. She was 59 years old. Greg Topper ’69 (B.A. communications), a veteran Orange County nightclub entertainer known for performing rock oldies, died March 12 at the age of 73. Allen M. Zeltzer, professor emeritus of theatre, died Feb. 10 at the age of 100. Zeltzer began his teaching career at Cal State Fullerton — then called Orange State College — in 1963 and served 28 years.

PRESERVING A CANYON LEGACY SITUATED AT THE END of winding Modjeska Canyon Road, with a canopy of imposing oak trees greeting visitors, is Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary. For 90 years, this serene ecological preserve at the foot of the chaparral-covered Santa Ana Mountains has attracted bird watchers, hikers and nature enthusiasts. Over the past 50 years, Cal State Fullerton has cared for and nurtured the 12-acre nonprofit sanctuary, preserving its legacy while supporting science and environmental education and research. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the santuary in Silverado, open for all to experience the flora and fauna native to Orange County. The late Benjamin and Dorothy May Tucker made the rural refugee their second home during the late 1920s and 1930s. The land was part of the estate of 19th-century Polish actress Helena Modjeska, for whom Modjeska Canyon is named. Enthralled with the natural world of the secluded canyon, the Tuckers became enamored with the birds, especially tiny, colorful hummingbirds. To share their

affection for hummingbirds, in 1929 the couple opened their hideaway, called Oakwood, to the community. Locals visited the bird observation porch outside their cabin overlooking Santiago Creek and watched feathered friends feed. The Tuckers and Audubon Society docents educated visitors about the animals and birds, which today includes over 98 bird species such as Anna’s hummingbirds, golden eagles and yellow warblers. Many reptile and mammal species visit or make their home here. After Dorothy’s passing in 1939, Benjamin Tucker gifted the property to the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society. In 1968, the property was deeded to CSUF and is operated under the Auxilary Services Corp. and managed by Extension and International Programs. The sanctuary features the famed bird porch, a natural history interpretive center, native plant nursery, familyfriendly trails, amphitheater, picnic areas and a koi pond. The education facility serves thousands each year, as it did in 1942

Matt Gush


when outdoor classes were first offered. In 1967, 38,000 people, mostly K-12 students, visited Tucker, with plans to “provide a broader range of experiences dealing with nature appreciation and conservation practices.” Today, Tucker’s outdoor education program offers students guided tours of native habitats and lessons that align with state science standards. Grants and donations support bringing busloads of underserved school children to enjoy the great outdoors. Countless volunteers help keep the sanctuary abuzz for visitors wishing to experience the beauty of nature — like the Tuckers. “The generosity of our supporters allows us to introduce nature to students at a young age,” says Marcella Gilchrist, site manager since 2007. “We hope that we inspire them to become the future caretakers of our local habitats, wildlife, and of our legacy.” DEBRA CANO RAMOS

Visit tuckerwildlife.org for Tucker’s anniversary events and activities. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 29



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