The Torch | Summer 2022

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1THE TORCH | SUMMER 2022 DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SUMMER 2022 News and features about and for the Dominican community PURPOSEWITHPENGUINS Read about eight alumni on a mission to live lives of purpose and service. page 13

Meadowlands porch, circa 1970s

The Torch

The University’s motto is “Truth is a flaming torch.” The torch is carried by one of the “hounds of the Lord,” or, in Latin, “Domini canes.”

The Torch is a publication presenting the news, people and progress of Dominican University of California. The symbol of the flaming torch, representing truth, is rooted in the history of St. Dominic.

Nicola Pitchford, PhD Lead Editor Jessica Jordan Art ProductionDirection/ Margaret Wylie Editors Sarah MarlyYvetteVictoriaGardnerGrajedaKothA.Norris Writers Dave HollyDakotaEileenJaimeTriciaLouisJessicaMarkVictoriaSarahAlbeeGardnerGrajedaJaimeJordanKnechtLacyLibbyMizeNavrkalWerly Photographers Dave Albee Jim DiaStuartBlockLiretteRao Published By Dominican University of California 50 Acacia Ave. San Rafael, CA 94901 (415) dominican.edu257-1396 In This Issue Summer 2022 DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 2 News 13 Penguins with Purpose 8 Athletics News 9 Life-Changing Oxford Experience for Dominican Scholar Alumni News22 Class Notes2811 In Conversation with President Pitchford In Sympathy316 Dominican AllCommunityDeepensConnectionsInforDominican23 Community251 Letter from the President



Dear friends, As always, spring at Dominican was a time to celebrate blossoming forth and reopening to the world. That is all the more literal this year. We have much to celebrate, even as we also honor and reflect on the great strain—for some of us, tremendous grief—that has marked the last two years. This moment in our shared (institutional, national, global) history calls us, more than ever, to take stock of our priorities and lean into values, mission, and joy as best we can. Our work and its impact matter, even now, especially now.

Speaking of joy, you will read about some remarkable Dominican alumni in this issue of the Torch. I know their stories will bring a smile to your face as they did to mine. You will observe that the elements of our distinctive educational model—the Dominican Experience, a twenty-first century expression of our enduring values—are intrin sic to these alumni journeys. Cady credits a faculty mentor with counseling her into a transformative internship, and Kelly remarks that strong mentorship from instructors gave her the knowledge and drive to pursue a career in filmmaking. Annabelle continues producing their own original creative work, inviting us to reflect on new approaches to medium and genre. Arjun served underresourced communities in India, raising funds for hospital supplies and equipment during the early months of the pandemic.

Our graduates are living out Dominican’s values in the most inspiring ways. In May, Dominican welcomed the newest members of our alumni community: the class of 2022 and graduating students from our masters and doctoral programs. Yes, you read correctly that this year marks the very first in which Dominican confers doctoral degrees—to our inaugural cohort of PhD in Art Therapy students. What a thrill it is to recognize them and all our graduating scholars. It was my great pleasure (and relief) to see in-person teaching and learning once again at full capacity on our beautiful campus last semester. As summer stretches ahead of us, I hope you’ll make a visit. Our lawns and gardens, events, and friendly faces await. Without you, they are not quite as perfect as they might be.

Warm regards, Nicola PresidentPitchford


— President Nicola Pitchford

“Outcomes for diverse Dominican students remain exceptionally strong after graduation in terms of initial earnings and lifetime economic mobility — as well as the less measurable outcomes of lifelong learning, life satisfaction, community contributions and creativity,” Pitchford said. “Diverse Dominican graduates make the world a better place.”

More than 25% of the University’s undergraduate students identi fy as Latinx and more than 25% identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander.


Due to its MSI status, Dominican is now eligible for various types of federal funding to support the enrollment, persistence, graduation and post-graduation success of diverse students. In addi tion to institutional aid opportunities, Dominican faculty, staff and students are eligible to apply for HSI and AANAPISI grants and internships.

Dominican Earns

official designation publicly confirms an identity — and an achievement — central to Dominican’s mission and val ues,” said Dominican President Nicola Pitchford. “This designation is a public commitment to inclusion and equity, a message to our students and prospective students: You belong here, and we’re prepared to support you in thriving.”

The Dominican Experience’s effectiveness is evident in the Uni versity’s recent measures of student enrollment and achievement. Since Fall 2011, the percentage of undergraduate students of col or, particularly Asian American and Latinx, has increased by near ly 30%. In this same period, graduation rates for first-time, firstyear students have improved by more than 70%. The four-year graduation rate is 72%, and the six-year rate is 74% — well above the national averages of 41% and 60%.

Dominican’s Student Success Program facilitates social mobility through equitable access to connections and experiences for all students regardless of background or social capital. It is rooted in well-established research demonstrating the benefits of engagement in high-impact practices, particularly for historically disadvantaged students.

D ominican University of California has earned a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) designation from the U.S. De partment of Education, and has qualified specifically as both a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI).

It also represents progress toward President Pitchford’s goal of “educating for ethical action.” In the past decade, the University has developed integrated programming and support that is equally accessible to students from all backgrounds. The nationally recognized Dominican Experience enables all students to en gage in high-impact practices that deliver a network of full sup port to nurture deep learning and achievement.

Having the official designation publicly confirms an identity–and an achievement–central to Dominican’s mission and values.

MSI designation underscores Dominican’s ongoing commitment to increasing diversity at the University and serving the needs of future students, particularly those from historically underserved populations.“Havingthe

Minority DesignationInstitutionServing




Henderson expresses an enduring affection for DU. “I consider myself privileged to have spent the longest block of my career at Dominican, a warm and progressive environment that gave me many opportunities for personal as well as institutional growth and innovation,” she said. “Living on the East Coast I was led to believe that most Californians spent their days surfing. Perhaps some do, but here I discovered a creative and committed group of faculty, students and administration. Thank you for opening so many doors for me; I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

“Since we didn’t have students yet, it was a part-time position,” Ramsey recalled. “I was given a phone and a desk in the nursing department.” She recruited 40 students for Dominican’s fledgling OT program.

Calum MacKechnie, who worked with Henderson as associate director, is serving as interim OLLI director as the program con tinues to offer university-level liberal arts courses both online and in Guzman Lecture Hall. The complete list of courses is available on DU’s website at Director Dr. Katherine Henderson Retires

“Ruth has a unique ability to both preserve and transform to produce something everyone can truly enjoy and share,” said President Nicola Pitchford, in an apt metaphor for Ramsey’s jam-making hobby and leadership style. “I admire and appreciate Ruth’s tremen dous contributions to Dominican, but what really moves me is that thousands of practicing OTs in the field today had the gift of Ruth’s teaching and mentorship. Following Ruth’s example, those OTs are—with deep empathy and good humor—helping clients play, work, study, and age with joy. What a legacy indeed.”

“I was building the plane as I was flying it,” Ramsey said. “I went to garage sales to buy pots and pans and called friends to borrow walkers they were no longer using.” She personally interviewed every admitted student to ensure the program was a good fit for them and continued to stay closely involved as they progressed toward their degrees.

In honor of Ramsey, faculty, alumni, and community members came together to contribute more than $25,000 to establish the Ruth Ramsey Scholarship in Occupational Therapy. The scholarship will benefit OT students in perpetuity.

In 1989, Henderson was hired by then-Dominican College as vice president for academic affairs and a professor of English. Working with President Joseph Fink, the faculty and the admissions staff, she founded several new programs, including Pathways (now the Adult Degree Completion Program) for working adult students. In 1997, Henderson left Dominican to serve as president of Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Pa. She and her family moved back to Marin County when she retired from Point Park, which had also become a university under her leadership, in 2006.

Two years later, Henderson agreed to come out of retirement and direct the OLLI program at Dominican.

“Ruth was always there for her students,” said Anne Torok ‘04. “Her background is in psychosocial occupational therapy, so she was constantly checking in with us and our mental health, asking, ‘Is your course load manageable? How are your other classes? Can I help?’”

“Thanks to Kathie’s hard work and unwavering focus, OLLI at Dominican grew, tripling its membership and earning two $1 million grants from the Osher Foundation for Dominican’s endowment,” said Mojgan Behmand, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “OLLI is a rich intellectual offering that engages people aged 50 and older with stimulating lectures, workshops, discussions and social interaction. The wonderful array of offerings and their outstanding quality are due to Kathie’s effective and graceful leadership and the strong appetite for intellectual engagement in the highly educated and professional county of Marin.”

D r. Katherine Henderson retired as director of Dominican University of California’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in December 2021, marking the conclusion of a long and varied career nurturing Dominican’s growth from a small college to a university.

In 2017, Ramsey was appointed dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences, where she led sustained enrollment growth and supported faculty in securing multi-year federal grants. She also helped ensure that students completed required clinical rotations and graduated on time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Ruth Ramsey Retiring After 26 Years of Service

THE | 2022 D r. Ruth Ramsey, dean of Dominican University of California’s School of Health and Natural Sciences, will retire on June 30, 2022. In 1996, Ramsey was recruited to establish Dominican’s Depart ment of Occupational Therapy (OT), which she subsequently led for 22 years as director and chair.

Ramsey’s hard work and dedication paid off. Dominican’s OT program is thriving with three national accreditations and a state-of-the-art facility in Meadowlands Hall.


In addition to offering classes taught by experienced professors in various disciplines, Henderson created an advisory council and added clubs, interest groups and social events to the curricula. In recent years, OLLI at Dominican added partnerships with several Marin-based agencies, including the Marin Shakespeare Company, the Marin Symphony and Family Services Agency of Marin.

“Ruth is a valuable member of the Council of Academic Deans and the President’s Cabinet,” said Mojgan Behmand, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “Some of her many ac complishments include facilitating the renovation of the Albertus Magnus building for use by the Physician Assistant Program, ob taining international recognition for Dominican as an ‘Age-Friendly University,’ and leading the development of the new Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, slated to start in Spring ‘23. She has left an indelible mark on the University.”



ominican University of California’s inaugural cohort of PhD candidates in art therapy received their doctoral degrees at the University’s commencement ceremony on May 14. The PhD in art therapy, along with the Master of Arts in art therapy and the Master of Arts in marriage and family therapy, moved to Dominican and the School of Liberal Arts and Education from Notre Dame de Namur University last summer. As one of only two PhD art therapy programs in the country, Dominican's program attracts a diverse student body from throughout the United States and overseas. Current students have come from Texas, Chicago, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Southern California and the greater Bay Area.

Maria Fuster joined the PhD program while continuing her work as a marriage and family therapist and board-certified art therapist.

Maria works in private practice in Costa Mesa, not far from where she grew up as a first-generation Cuban-American and, later, a first-generation college student.

“My dissertation focuses on the challenges of Latinx women and navigating the ‘in-between’ space of two cultures,” she said. “I am specifically interested in the Latinx woman telling her story of cul tural integration through the use of art. This research will explore how the ‘ways of knowing’ experienced by Latinx women, through an art-based narrative, can inform and give voice to their lived experiences. Through this process, insight may be gained into defining their identity, discovering strength and contributing to resiliency.”

continued on pg. 5

“Most of these PhD students are licensed professionals working in the field for many years and, through their research and practice-based work, contribute to understanding ‘art as a way of knowing’ the human experience,” said Dr. Richard Carolan, professor of art therapy. “The students of the PhD program are looking to become stewards of the field of art therapy as they continue their work post-graduation, while they look forward to contributing to the Dominican Experience at the University.”

From improving slow cognitive decline for seniors with dementia to creating art-based narratives to help Latinx women navigate cultural integration, students in the PhD in Art Therapy program are at the forefront of research that is advancing art therapy as an established mental health and human services profession.

The PhD curriculum integrates research and practice. The program’s format — in which students meet face-to-face for three consecutive days once a month on the Dominican campus — appeals to professionals who are practitioners either in the field of art therapy or those who have previous training in art therapy and hold advanced degrees in fields that include psychology, counseling, social work and art.

Dominican Confers First-Ever Doctoral Degrees


Archives: “permanently valuable records—such as letters, reports, accounts, minute books, draft and final manuscripts, and photographs—of people, businesses, and government. These records are kept because they have continuing value to the creating agency and to other potential users. They are the documentary evidence of past events. They are the facts we use to interpret and understand history.”

While I have your attention, I’d like to dispel the rumor that we have in our collection a book bound in human skin; this is most certainly not true. What is true is that as a new archivist both in the profession (I graduated with my master's in library and infor mation science in 2018) and at Dominican, I have much to learn about this University.

hen I arrived on campus in July 2020 to begin my jour ney as Dominican University of California’s archivist, I quickly learned there is much mystery about what exists within the collection that is our repository of University heritage. My ultimate goal is to lift that curtain while bridging the gap be tween the archival materials and those whose legacy they chronicle.With a University established over 130 years ago, there are a wide variety of artifacts within the archives and an abundance of historical narratives to be told from them. The recorded “History and Heritage” podcast episodes are another form of sharing our rich history from many perspectives. You can find the podcast on Dominican Scholar (, which houses the scholarly and creative work of Dominican students, faculty and staff.

Jinnie’s research focuses on improving slow cognitive decline for older adults — especially seniors living with dementia — using art therapy assessment and inter ventions methods based on the expressive therapies continuum (ETC) framework.


Here’s where you come in: Many of you reading this know more about DU than I do. Every interaction with alumni and every re search question I receive is a chance for me to learn that next sliver of Dominican history. Coupled with plans for increased cam pus-community engagement, this path of continuous learning will help fulfill my role as a steward of campus history. If you’re inter ested in reaching out in inquiry or for conversation, please email . Who knows, maybe your inquiry will make it into the next edition of The Torch. At your service, Louis Knecht, University Archivist Working in Canada as an art therapist, registered clinical counselor and artist for more than 15 years, PhD candidate Jinnie Jeon has seen how art can improve older adults’ health, well-being and quality of life.

“Researchers working with older adult populations have begun to recognize that art therapy is an essential part of enhancing older adults’ quality of life, because engaging in creative activities helps balance their physical, cognitive, emotional and social well-being,” she said. “Dementia medication often results in negative side effects. Therefore, nonpharmacological treatments have been recognized as enhancing the quality of life. Art therapy is also an appealing treatment for demen tia because of its holistic approach to health care.”

— Excerpt from “The Story Behind the Book: Preserving Authors’ and Publishers’ Archives” by Laura Millar

Meet the University Archivist: Louis Knecht W

“As educators, we know that community-based teaching and learning are critical for student growth,” Pitchford said. “All students, but especially underrepresented and first-generation students, learn best—and we teach best—in contexts of applied discovery and

Dominican CommunityDeepensConnections

These institutional level commitments to the Canal and Marin City neighborhoods will create opportunities for Dominican students to deepen relationships with specific organizations, understand the larger social contexts that impact marginalized communities, build practical workplace skills, and be better prepared to address pressing societal issues.

The partnerships signal a deepened institutional commitment to addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, both on and off“Community-identifiedcampus.

In the Canal neighborhood, much of Dominican’s work will be formulated around the issue areas identified by Voces del Canal, a coalition of resident leaders and Latino immigrants from the CanalDuringneighborhood.the2021-2022 academic year, Dr. Jennifer Lucko, program director of Dominican’s master’s program in education, collaborated with Voces del Canal on an initiative to increase public lighting



needs will be at the center of our work,”

Dominican will co-design programming based on key issues identified by local residents, co-sponsor events and initiatives, and share resources such as research and data to advance advocacy. Dominican will also begin developing a pipeline for students from Marin City and the Canal neighbor hood to attend the University.

This semester's projects included: Increasing Public Lighting and Community Safety

Community-identified needs will be at the center of our work.

D ominican University of California is partnering with two Marin County nonprofits, Canal Alliance and Performing Stars of Marin, to collaborate on programs, leverage re sources, and develop college-career pathways with a long-term focus on addressing racial inequity within the county.

Dominican President Nicola Pitchford said. “We will act strategically, in concert with our partner organizations and community members, to advance the priorities of Canal and Marin City resi dents and advocate for greater equity across the county. This is in both the University’s interests and the county’s interests.”

San Rafael’s Canal Alliance offers immigration legal services, education and career programs, and social services to the area’s Latino immigrant community. Marin City-based Performing Stars of Marin transforms the lives of low-income, primarily multicultural, children throughout Marin County by using enrichment programs to build pride, character, discipline and self-esteem.


Dominican has signed separate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements with Canal Alliance and Performing Stars of Marin to deepen ongoing relationships with both organizations.

— President, Nicola Pitchford

Each Wednesday afternoon, Next Generation Scholars and Dominican students worked together on the Dominican campus to create the art used in the campaign.

7 THE TORCH | SUMMER 2022 NEWS and community safety in the Canal neighborhood. Spanish bilingual Dominican students worked alongside the members of Voces del Canal as they conducted Participatory Action Research (PAR).

Centering community interests, identifying systemic issues to be addressed, and honoring the strengths and knowledge in marginal ized communities are crucial to establishing equitable community partnerships and community-engaged learning.

Dominican and Canal Alliance have collaborated on a wide range of initiatives and events for almost two decades. Recent examples include the Everyone Counts Census 2020, the emergency rental assistance program, and digital literacy outreach.

As envisioned in the Center for Community Engagement’s Civic Action plan, these institutional commitments aim to expand Dominican's role as an active and invaluable partner dedicated to promoting social and environmental justice within communities.

“We have a history of showing up and evolving our work in both Marin City and the Canal neighborhood,” said Julia van der Ryn, executive director of Dominican’s Center for Community Engagement. “We have worked with these communities, listened to people who live and work in these communities, and have established trust and understanding that has laid the groundwork to take our relationships to the next level with a firm institutional commitment to racial equity, both on and off campus.”

Mechanics, an organization that provides capacity support to organizations, will work with Performing Stars of Marin and Dominican. The organization is run by Jahi, the author of The Intersection of Hip Hop Culture and Education: The Museum Experiences.

Continuing Long-Term Collaborations

The partnerships are aligned with President Pitchford’s commitment to “teaching for ethical action” by developing University capacity to respond to three key areas, including the urgent demand for racial equality, the growing gulf between rich and poor, and the climate and natural resource emergency.

In 2019, Dominican’s Service-Learning Program partnered with Performing Stars of Marin and Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy on “Marin City Counts,” a public art project designed to raise awareness about the census. Census data showed the selfresponse rate in Marin City jumped nearly nine percentage points to 68%. Nonprofit leaders attribute this jump to local outreach, including the Marin City Counts campaign.

During the project's initial phase, the members of Voces del Canal learned about the methodology of PhotoVoice. This process invites members of marginalized groups to communicate the strengths and challenges of their communities through photographs. Canal residents next identified and took pictures of seven routes in their community that lack street lighting. The images were shared at an open-air photo exposition in February 2022, with the goal of collecting testimonials from Canal community members regarding how the lack of street lighting affects their lives and well-being, prioritizing neighborhood routes for additional public lighting, and gathering community recommendations for improving public safety. With the help of the Dominican undergraduates, all Spanish heritage speakers, 85 testimonials from community residents were recorded, and 131 surveys were collected.

Highlighting History and Contributions of Marin City Dominican is collaborating with Performing Stars of Marin to highlight the strengths, histories, cultural wealth, and contributions of Marin City to greater Marin County and beyond. This academic year, Dominican students and faculty provided archival assistance for the artifacts and collection of oral history at the Felecia Gaston Marin City History Archive. The work includes training Dominican students as archivist interns, along with advice and technical support from the University’s archivist. Dominican will also support Performing Stars’ creation and sustainment of the Marin City History Museum at the site currently known as the RosaMicrophoneHouse.

The next step was a four-hour workshop with 30 community stakeholders from Voces del Canal, Canal Alliance staff, City of San Rafael representatives, City of San Rafael Police representatives and Dominican students, staff, and faculty. The group created a list of recommendations to improve public safety in the Cana, which Voces del Canal successfully presented to the San Rafael City Council in May 2022. City Council members responded that the collaborative project had “broken the mold,” “written the playbook,” and “cracked the code” for civic engagement. The Council committed to allocating $100,000 to improving public lighting in the Canal and increased collaboration between San Rafael City Police and Voces del Canal.

In addition, Professor Lynn Sondag’s community-engaged art class collaborated with seventh graders from Next Generation Scholars to create a visual campaign to increase community awareness and promote resident advocacy for the lighting initiative.

The experience, knowledge and connections generated by these collaborations will inform Dominican as the University continues its work advancing equity and diversity on campus, as outlined in its strategic diversity plan.

“I can’t take all the credit,” said Manna. “It doesn’t feel completely like my project or my vision. It feels more like our project and our vision. The leadership at Dominican has put me in a position to succeed. Athletic Director Amy Henkelman, Men's Lacrosse Coach Sammy Vogel-Seidenberg, and Associate Athletic Director Kayla Smith have given me the freedom to thrive. Coach Vogel-Seidenberg has been a great mentor for me.”

“I was excited to hear this news because I was looking for a school to transfer to that offered both a lacrosse program and nursing program, which is very rare,” said Maddy. Her goal is to be a newborn intensive care unit nurse and eventually a neonatal nurse

As of March 2022, 18 student-athletes have committed to enroll at Dominican and play women’s lacrosse for the Penguins. One of those players, Maddy Frank, is already on campus taking classes.

“I envision an environment on the team where we build each other up, support each other on and off the field and work hard while doing what we love. I also would like our team to come together to focus on common goals to be successful as a program,” Maddy said. “Being a new program, there will be a significant learning curve. I want to embrace the change that comes with a new program so we can always continue improving and growing together, both on and off the field.”

That was Manna’s mantra as he hit the road to recruit student-ath letes to join the brand-new program. The team will begin organized practices in fall 2022 and play its first match in the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association in spring 2023. Manna has trav eled all over the country, attending showcase tournaments in Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, Portland and San Diego.

For Manna, the timing—and talent—was perfect. Dominican men’s lacrosse coach Sammy Vogel-Seidenberg had tipped off Manna about Maddy.

As Manna prepares for the program’s first year, he is grateful for strong leadership in Dominican Athletics.

“We got incredibly fortunate with her,” Manna said. “I was inter viewing for the position, and Sammy said, `Hey, look at this recruit. This is our first.’ Just watching her film, I knew this team would be competitive right away.”

Maddy is looking forward to creating a team culture that is positive, hardworking and fun.

P resented with the challenge of building a women’s lacrosse program from the ground up at Dominican University of California, Joseph Manna felt a solid foundation was in place for him to succeed as head coach.

“This first class is unique in that we are looking for leaders. We are looking for women who want to embrace being the first group of student-athletes on campus for that sport,” Manna said. “Obviously, we are looking for high character, and high academics is a must.”

“They really value lacrosse here. I’ve been at bigger NCAA institutions, but you don’t feel like you’re as valued there as a lacrosse program. Here, it’s all about the student-athlete experience. I was sold on that,” said Manna, who came to Dominican from the University of Detroit Mercy. “It is the perfect place for women’s lacrosse between the academics, the Dominican Experience and just the campus life.”

Manna has the experience under his belt to recognize talent. A na tive of Long Island, N.Y., he played collegiately at SUNY Delhi, where he earned preseason all-NJCAA honors from Inside Lacrosse. After graduating, Manna played for the Allegany Arrows of the CAN-AM Lacrosse League. He began his coaching career in 2016, returning to SUNY Delhi to serve his former team as an assistant coach. In 2018, Manna was named head coach of the East Carolina men’s lacrosse club. In 2019, he joined the coaching staff at Furman University before moving on to the University of Detroit Mercy.

High Hopes For New Women’s Lacrosse Program

“Playingpractitioner.lacrosseand pursuing nursing has always been my dream, and I liked that I had the opportunity to do both in my hometown. Being in my hometown and becoming a nurse in California is very important to me. Coming home from Denver due to COVID made me realize that I wanted to pursue these dreams here.”

The Novato High School graduate was starting for Regis University’s women’s lacrosse team as a freshman but returned home during the pandemic. That’s when she heard Dominican was launching a women’s lacrosse program.


Initially, Christina, who applied for the Dominican Scholar at Oxford program through the Global Education Office, was scheduled to go to Oxford in the fall of 2020. But the worldwide pan demic delayed that. She appreciated the support she received from professors such as Dr. Jordan Lieser and Alison Howard in the School of Liberal Arts and Education that helped her realize a dream come true.


Christina, who is double majoring in political science and history, particularly valued Oxford’s distinctive tutorial style of teaching.

“At Oxford, I learned the value of having an opinion and having that opinion being challenged,” she said. “When you’re at Oxford, you meet people from all around the world, and usually those people have very strong political stances. Inside the tutorials, there were serious conversations about human rights, the state of the Middle East, and everyone had to share an opinion and present an argument.”

Oxford was sometimes daunting for Christina — her first essay assignment came with 21 research recommenda tions — but ultimately, she gained assurance and confidence, and the process was enriching, rewarding and memorable.


“I think the value of studying abroad is gaining a sense of self that is outside of your community, and what people know and perceive of you,” Christina said. I believe I became a different person, closer to my true self.”

“I could tell you about every single thing I learned in every week of each of my classes,” she said. “There were so many little ‘aha moments,’ it’s hard to pinpoint a couple.”

hristina Pathoumthong ’22 was so grateful for her Dominican Scholar at the University of Oxford experience last semester, she sent five-page thank-you letters to the program’s benefactors, telling them how much she learned in her courses in politics in the Middle East and political violence. And how much she learned about herself.

“Dominican has truly offered me an unparalleled experience. In addition to achieving a sense of belonging, I have grown to be come confident and outspoken,” Christina said. “After receiving an email in which Dr. Lieser stated that he would trust me with an



There is no doubt how impactful Oxford and the trip were for Christina. She now wants to go to law school with a focus on in ternational law. Her political violence coursework convinced her of that. Her goal is to get more experience and possibly return to her parents’ native Laos to teach English while working toward lawAcademically,school.


Oxford nomination, I realized that the Dominican community is unlike any other. I was so touched to be nominated and know how much he thought of me as a student. Applying to become the Dominican Scholar at Oxford felt like a long shot.” It became a slam dunk once Christina arrived to study at Oxford’s St. Catherine’s College.

The Thomas and Joanne Peterson Endowed Scholarship for Dominican Scholars at Oxford helps open the program to academically outstanding, motivated Dominican students, regardless of their financial situations. I think the value of studying abroad is gaining a sense of self that is outside of your community and what people know and perceive of you.

— Christina Pathoumthong ’22


T he Thomas and Joanne Peterson Endowed Scholarship for Dominican Scholars at Oxford was established in 2015 to support Dominican students selected to study at Oxford as part of an agreement between Dominican and St. Catherine’s College, one of the University of Oxford’s 44 autonomous colleges and permanent private halls. Dominican students take 12 units of pre-selected courses in their major as visiting students. They attend lectures and classes led by members of Oxford’s faculty and have full access to all college facilities and re sources.

“There was a day I can objectively say was the best day in my life. I just read and looked at art the entire day,” she said. “I sat in front of Buckingham Palace at 6 a.m., took out a copy of James Baldwin’s “Another Country,” and started reading. I then took the Tube to the National Portrait Gallery, where I stayed for about threeChristina’shours.” adventures included trips to Bath, Windsor and Stonehenge, and she attended an English Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. She also visited Amsterdam.“Forthefirst time, I felt like a grown adult,” she said, smiling. “I was my own person. I was whole in a sense from my explorations and back to Dominican this semester more inspired and motivated than ever before. Oxford was indeed life-changing. “I found pieces of myself that I didn’t know were missing from my life,” she said. “I also learned at Oxford to never settle for what you know. I hear so many people say, ‘Oh, I already know that.’ Or `I know I’m right.’ Make room to listen to other people and what their arguments are. You will learn something new. I think that’s what makes an academic an academic. You can’t think of your opinion as the end-all be-all; everything is an ongoing conversation. You have to be willing to grow and listen. Be open to what you might not know or agree with.”

“The canals, historic buildings, skyline, and student bicycle races delighted my eyes,” she said. “I felt like I was on a movie set, and it did not sink in that this would be home for the next nine weeks.”

Christina didn’t waste time. She quickly learned how to adapt and take a stand in her tutorials. She discovered the value of critical evaluation and not becoming stagnant. Her natural curiosity became her ally.

Christina also found time to escape the rigors of research to enjoy the Oxford cafes and nightlife, and even ventured into London multiple times — once with her Dominican friend Julia Rein hard ’22. Christina came to develop a love of art and visited af fordable (often free) and readily accessible museums.

“You have to have an interdisciplinary understanding. It can’t just be like the economy is bad, so there will be conflicts. Or more immigrants are settling in this country, so there will be more conflicts. You can’t just look at things from one side,” Christina said. “My political violence class instilled in me that I can have opinions about things. Even if they’re wrong, at least I’m contrib uting to a greater conversation that is important to people’s lives. I always want to do work that means something, that can help am plify the struggles of marginalized people across the world.”

Solena Ornelas ‘23 is a music and political science major who spent an entire year receiving music instruction over Zoom. Chili Phaler ‘24 is a biochemistry major, member of student government, and a student ambassador in the admissions office.

Solena: In my music classes, we’d try to practice together over Zoom. It was fun but really tough. Still, I felt connected. My profes sors, June Oh and Alison Howard, did a great job engaging my peers and me. I made two really great friends, and we met in person for the first time last July after talking on FaceTime every day for months. That was special.

Carmen Hurtado Aragon ’24 is a psychology major and Torch program mentor interested in working post-graduation as a therapist or counselor supporting people of color, particularly recent immigrants.

Carmen Hurtado Aragon ’24 Solena Ornelas ‘23 Chili Phaler ‘24

Nicola: Any particularly funny moments from your year of Zoom classes?

Carmen: I visited the Dominican campus during my junior year of high school. I appreciated the beautiful buildings and fresh air. My options were either a very large state school or somewhere smaller and more intimate. I was accustomed to having one-on-one conversations with my teachers in high school — like I am with you right now. So Dominican felt right to me.

President Pitchford: There’s No Place I’d Rather Be


One hour on President Nicola Pitchford’s schedule every week is “nonnegotiable,” except in the case of travel. Wednesdays, from noon to 1 p.m., you’ll find her enjoying lunch in Caleruega Dining Hall. Students, faculty and staff have an open invitation to join her for a chat about pretty much anything — classes, work, life in the dorms, Penguin pride, current events, weekend plans or what’s for dessert. Earlier this spring, Nicola sat down for Wednesday lunch with three students — all of them sophomores or juniors who, after a year or more of remote instruction, have only just begun to experience the full scope of life on the Dominican campus.

In Conversation With

Carmen: Sometimes, my family couldn’t tell I was in class and taking notes because I looked like I was just sitting in front of the computer. My parents would say, “Carmen, can you help with this?” My brother would say, “She’s busy!” Even over Zoom, faculty took a personal interest in my well-being. It was difficult to make those moments of connection happen through a screen, but they did happen.

Nicola: Thanks for joining me! Tell me what initially drew you to Dominican.

Nicola: What was remote instruction like for you, for your families?

Chili: My high school led me to Dominican, and I’m so glad. I love the campus, the resources at your fingertips, and the close relationships with the faculty. In classes here, you’re not a number; you’re a name and a story. Also, you should have seen my reaction when I learned Dominican’s mascot is named Chilly. I went bananas.

Solena: Yes! One of my professors allowed us to ask members of our household for help on a quiz, and one student called over his mom. She got the answer right, so we were all clapping for her.


• Integrative coaching ensures students have equitable access to personal and academic success by empowering them through the development of trust, mentorship and learning.

Nicola: What’s your favorite thing about finally being on campus?

Carmen: I was really close to my Torch mentor when I was a firstyear student. Last year I needed help staying motivated to go to online classes. My mentor gave me study sessions, and I still use the tools I learned from her. I saw how effective mentorship is, and I said, “I want to do that.” Being a first-generation student, I know how hard it is to persist and complete my courses.

Chili: There’s lots I could be upset about. My high school gradua tion didn’t happen, and I couldn’t finish out the season ice skating (my favorite sport), but if I marinate on that and don’t roll with this reality, I won’t make progress. Ice skating has taught me discipline and adaptability, how to process my losses and move on. There’s more to be grateful for than to be sad about. I know now: Life is about expecting the unexpected. You don’t know you have strength in you until it’s tested. If I could tell my first-year self that in two years I’d be a student ambassador sitting in the cafeteria having lunch with the presi dent, that would mean so much to me.

Nicola: Is Dominican what you expected it to be?

Chili: I have to say the Dominican Sisters. Their presence is really valuable, really supportive. They host “Smoothies with the Sisters” events, some of them continue to teach. I enjoy having them just across the street.

Dominican offers a variety of mentorship and wellness resources to support students’ success as they transition to on-campus life.

Solena: I’m from Colorado. July last year was the first time I’d ever been to San Rafael, yet I’d been a Dominican student for a year already. Dominican met all my expectations.

The Peer Mentor Program fosters student development through peer-to-peer student support. Every fall term, incoming full-time, first-year and transfer undergraduate students are connected to trained peer mentors.

Solena: Playing music in person has been so much better.

• The Torch Student Success Program draws on the strengths and resilience of first-generation college students and students of color to foster college readiness. The program cultivates leaders, instills community consciousness, and promotes academic and co-curricular engagement.

Nicola: What do you think was the biggest takeaway from your experience of starting college completely online?

• The CARE Team is Dominican’s centralized body for discussion and action regarding students in need of additional support or exhibiting behaviors that may indicate distress.

Nicola: How do you like living in the dorms?

Carmen: I moved into campus housing last fall before most other students because I had Torch mentor training in person. It was really strange. At first, it was just me and one or two other students living in Fanjeaux, which is kind of a spooky building.

Chili: You’re given this depiction of college when you’re in high school. You want to be independent, but when you actually go to college, it’s different from what you expected. But that’s good for you; it shows you’re adaptable and can pivot.

Nicola: Carmen, what made you want to be a Torch mentor?

• University Counseling Services offers free, confidential counseling for currently enrolled students and TimelyCare provides access to 24/7 virtual mental health care.

Carmen: Having my friends near me. Sitting down and doing homework, having a study session.

• The Student Health Center provides free health services to all currently registered students regard less of medical insurance plan.


More than half of those alumni graduated in the last 22 years.

“Our recent graduate population is growing tremendously, and they are doing remarkable work in their fields,” said Mark Jaime, associate director of alumni relations. “In my 18 years of working with Dominican alumni, I have often said that entrepreneurism is unofficially the University’s fifth value, pioneered by our first alumnae 130 years ago. The alumni featured in this article carry on that tradition.”

The eight rising stars featured in this issue are determined to live lives of purpose and service. Read on to learn more about their unique journeys and how DU shaped their lives.


Now more than 18,000 strong, the Domini can alumni community worldwide is bringing positive change and fresh ideas to business, the arts, academia, journalism and marketing.

Year after year, impactful leaders graduate from Dominican University, ready to make a difference in a broad range of industries, fields and organizations. Equipped with the values of study, community, reflection and service, they forge partner ships, solve problems, blaze trails and serve their communities wherever they may be.

In her Zoom interviews with the university, she felt as comfortable with the culture and students as she did when she came to Dominican’s School of Health and Natural Sciences after graduating from St. Mary’s College.



The second Dominican MS 2021 graduate to be accepted into a prestigious doctorate program, Melia is pursuing her degree in the metabolism field at Harvard. She was impressed with the department’s reputation, variety of labs, and breadth of resources.

Which DU faculty had the most significant impact on you? I have to credit Meredith Protas, PhD, for helping me through the program and encouraging me throughout the graduate school application cycle. I’m also grateful to Deena Emera for greatly improving my scientific writing during my time at DU. How did Dominican help lay the groundwork for success in your current field? The scientific education I received in the classroom during my undergraduate program was very rigorous. Domini can offered me a chance to further my research education with the Buck Institute, where I was first exposed to metabolism-oriented work—the field I ended up pursuing for my PhD. I knew I wanted to pursue a doctorate eventually, but I wanted to advance my research skills before applying. The high focus on lab work instead of coursework greatly attracted me to this program, and I would not have been as successful as I was in my graduate school applications had it not been for my time at the Buck and Dominican. What advice would you give to current Dominican students? Don’t be afraid to take time after undergrad to strengthen your CV, learn new skills, and simply enjoy life outside of science. It will give you so much clarity as to why you are choosing your path and which specific area you want to work in. Those answers will really shine through in your application, and you will have so much more confidence going into your next steps. The programs you are applying to aren’t going anywhere. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other students who have successfully applied and matriculated to the types of programs or roles you’re after—including me, if applicable!

What was your favorite part of your experience at Dominican? I very much appreciated the emphasis that the MS program had on actual time in the lab instead of in the classroom. I felt much more confident in the lab, and when discussing science in formal and informal settings. Also, I still keep in con tact with the friends I made at the Buck Institute and Dominican due to the close-knit community; I feel they will be great colleagues throughout my career.

uring her time in Dominican University’s bio logical sciences master’s program, offered in partnership with Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Melia gained skills and exceptional research training that helped her on her path to becoming a doctoral student in the biological scienc es program at Harvard University.

Melia Granath-Panelo, MS ’21, Biological Sciences PhD Student, Harvard University

How did Dominican help lay the groundwork for success in your current field? Dominican’s studio and graphic art programs were small but mighty. My academic advisors advocated for a strong foundation in studio arts before translating those skills into the computer. Figure drawing and printmaking were my concentrations. I began an internship with Pixar in consumer products (toys, books, video games) the summer before senior year. I credit the fabulous Melba Beals in the communications depart ment for allowing me to utilize my Fridays interning throughout my senior year in order to solidify a full-time position at Pixar after graduation.

Which DU faculty had the most significant impact on you? Edythe Bresnahan, Jim Fowler and Melba Beals were my academic advisors during my time at Dominican. Edythe was and still is a huge artistic inspiration for me, especially when it comes to creating abstract compositions. “Fowler,” as students affectionately called him, always infused humor into his classes and taught me all the skills needed for success in black-and-white and digital photography. He still calls me “Miss Bonbright” followed by a goofy smile. Melba was close friends with Edythe and Jim, and together they were family, my biggest creative supporters.

Kelly Bonbright ’05, BFA, Graphic Art & Design / BA, Communications Script Supervisor, Pixar Animation Studios

K elly is nearing her 18th year at Pixar Animation Studios, the last six as script supervisor. She has worked on the studio’s most celebrated feature films, including “Turning Red,” “Luca,” “Incredibles 2,” and the animated short film “Ciao Alberto.” She just completed her work on the upcoming Disney+ series “Cars on the Road,” set to release later this year, and has joined another feature film slated to release in 2024.

“It’s really fun to help craft a character through voice while creating a film,” Kelly said. “You get to shape how a character evolves emotionally and transforms into the final picture.” What was your favorite part of your experience at Dominican? I was a commuter student during my four years at Dominican, so in order to create community, I joined the Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU). I was elected pro gramming director for three years, hosting events on and off campus. I even designed the invitations for Boat Dance and Penguin Ball. A fond ASDU memory was rocking out to Maroon 5 in Carly Hoffman’s car on the way to our annual Tahoe Retreat. I’m still very close with all the executive members of ASDU, they’re all wildly successful in their fields.


What advice would you give to current Dominican students? Pursue a minor. Explore a completely different field outside your major. I dabbled in psychology at Dominican and after graduation, the psych department hosted a two-week trip to Paris. I still daydream about the laughs, the croissants, and exploring Sainte-Chapelle, Centre Pompidou, and Galeries Lafayette with professors.

In her position, Kelly manages hundreds of script pages and voice recording sessions for both temporary “scratch” and production dialogue, working alongside top filmmakers and voice actors. She is also a scratch actor herself, providing voices for a mix of main, supporting and background characters.


J ustin was drawn to Dominican University of California’s academic reputation and small class sizes; an opportunity to play soccer at the NCAA Division II level sealed the deal. He made the most of his college experience, majoring in international business, minoring in Spanish and pre-law and graduating from the honors program.

What was your favorite part of your experience at Dominican? I was the first Dominican Study Abroad student designated to go to Australia. I attended the energy-efficient Charles Sturt Uni versity campus in New South Wales and was cap tivated by two classes — international marketing and natural resource management. The educational experience exceeded my expectations. When I got back to Dominican, I thought, “Why didn’t I do this like three times?”

Which DU faculty had the most significant impact on you? Dr. Rajeev Sooreea, my interna tional business professor. My teachers and their support during my years at the University had an impact on my general mentality and how I live my life. I’m much more engaged and self-reflective in my values. Dominican has been a huge influence on that. How did Dominican help lay the groundwork for success in your current field? Almost in a cliche way, the most important thing I learned is how to understand and critically evaluate things. International business courses prepared me to learn about the global business landscape, supply chains, distribution and sales.

Thanks to his varied and diverse course load, Justin studied the international business landscape, supply chains, distribution, and sales, preparing him for his role as a changemaker at Athleta. After noticing inefficiencies in how the company tracked inventory, Justin advocated for the resources needed to improve the system. He built a sequel server database, added an “absolutely gigantic amount of data in there,” and created an analyticsbased process to calculate future inventory pur chases based on historical sales data. The new inventory system also gave Athleta additional data to support its goal of increasing inclusive sizing options.

Justin Read ’15 BA, Business Administration System and Analytics Senior Planner, Inventory Strategy, Athleta


Which DU faculty had the most significant impact on you? Professor Margaret Fink was the anatomy and physiology class instructor my first year, and she was phenomenal. She helped with understanding the content in a way that made sense to me, she was supportive when I struggled, and she was supportive of my volleyball career as well. She had a great way of relating to the millenni al cohort that she was teaching and was always able to keep our busy minds engaged.


There were always numerous tasks, projects and work that needed to be done simultaneously, and my clinical helped develop my patient interaction pathways early on. I interacted with my patients in meaningful ways while learning how to be an effi cient nurse. Dominican helped with the prioritization of all of my tasks as well.

How did Dominican help lay the groundwork for success in your current field? Nursing is one of the most rigorous studies at Dominican, and the coursework did a great job teaching discipline early on. I had to be on top of everything constantly.

Jessica Jones ’14 BS, Nursing Assistant Unit Director and RN University of California, San Francisco Medical Center

What advice would you give to current Dominican students? Be kind to yourself. College is tough no matter what your major or your field is. You are not only learning a new level of education, but you’re growing and finding out more about who you are as a person. There will be some bad days, but there will be some amazing days that you find yourself doing or achieving things that you never thought you could. It’s a beautiful journey, and I challenge you all to embrace every piece of it. When you look back, you'll be grateful for every struggle and achievement that came along the way.


were recognized by the DAISY Foundation in 2021 when she was honored with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, and by Dominican University of California in 2022 when she was honored with the Outstanding Re cent Graduate Award. Jessica coaches youth volleyball in her spare time, paying forward the skills she gained as a studentathlete at Dominican. She competed for the Pen guins from 2010 to 2013 as they made their transi tion into NCAA Division II and the Pacific West Conference.

What was your favorite part of your experience at Dominican? The tight-knit community.

A s a nurse in a medical oncology unit that specializes in end-of-life care, Jessica is committed to making her unit as equitable as possible for patients of color. Last year, she launched the first-ever unit-based diversity equity and inclusion council for adult inpatient care units at UCSF. Jessica provides compassionate care and is continually looking for ways to improve, whether that is working closely with the palliative care team to improve end-of-life care for patients or partnering with her oncology colleagues to enhance safety measures for the administration of chemotherapy.Heraccomplishments

Between athletics (volleyball) and the student nursing community, I always felt welcomed and had a group that I could count on. I was appreciative of all the instructors who helped me and encouraged me along the way.


Which DU faculty had the most significant impact on you? Dr. Christopher Leeds. He really goes the extra mile for his students and matched me with my first internship at Juice Beauty. I was also invited to go to Italy as an undergrad business student with MBA students and Dr. Leeds, and that experience was so inspiring — and fun. How did Dominican help lay the groundwork for success in your current field? My internship launched my career path. Juice Beauty was so small at the time, and I had the opportunity to work in different areas around the business to figure out what I wanted to do. Facebook launched business pages in 2007 and the CEO asked me to “figure out social media.” It was so incredible because, at that moment, Juice Beauty was on the same scale as, say, Estee Lauder in utilizing social media marketing. We were all figuring out social media as a new marketing channel. What advice would you give to current Dominican students? Jump in, learn to swim and never stop learning. You grow in every choice you make in life; even the ones that don’t “work out” align you toward some thing else.

Cady Marsh ’07, MBA ’09, BA, Business Administration; MBA, Sustainable Enterprise Owner and Founder, Cadydid Social Marketing

C ady has transformed from a business student to owning her own social media marketing agency to becoming presi dent of the Dominican Alumni Association Board ofDuringDirectors.aninternship at Juice Beauty while at Dominican, Cady harnessed the power of social media. On the 100th anniversary of Interna tional Women’s Day, she posted on Facebook, asking followers to mention an inspirational woman in their lives. Juice Beauty offered free samples to those who responded. Cady thought she might receive 100 or so responses. She received four times that many. Cady’s internship at Juice Beauty evolved into a job as social media and marketing man ager, a position she held for almost four years. She eventually joined CSAA Insurance Group, an AAA insurer, as a social media insurance specialist. After five years there, Cady decided to create her own business and founded Cadydid Social Marketing. What was your favorite part of your experience at Dominican? Confidence. I transferred from a community college as a sophomore during the middle of the year. I truly thrived in the small class environment and my confidence just took off. I also made incredible life-long friends at Dominican.

Which DU faculty had the most significant impact on you? I wasn’t sure what major to take for almost two years, so I took classes that looked interesting. After hearing great things about the psychology professors, I took an introduction to psychology class with Afshin Gharib, and the rest was history. The psychology faculty made the study of the human mind so fascinating that the program was irresistible to me. I would also like to acknowledge Matt Davis of the psychology department, with whom I studied extensively in my major, and Dr. Craig Singleton, former chair of music department, who helped orchestrate independent study partner ships for my training at Ali Akbar College.

Arjun Verma ’07 BA, Psychology Sitarist

How did Dominican help lay the groundwork for success in your current field? Dominican helped lay the groundwork for success by expanding my ability to seek out knowledge for myself, providing talented faculty who invested personally in helping me reach my goals. The ability to create a customized learning experience was a great boon for me at Dominican. In addition, my particular major, psychology, is nearly a universally appli cable discipline since it touches on all areas of human experience, so it has been a helpful framework with which to approach the world and my work. What advice would you give to current Dominican students? I would encourage current students to find something that excites them academically and then use the resources of the University, as well as outside resources, to dive deep into that passion. For those who don’t know what they are interested in yet, taking a variety of interesting classes and participating in unusual events can provide possibilities to explore.

The greatest benefit of education is when one not only intellectually understands the principles and knowledge of a given field, but also embodies and applies those princi ples and knowledge, expands on them creatively, and lives them in one’s own life. To make academics more than just academic — that’s where the big learning opportunity is.

A rjun away3,000movedmilesfrom home and found a supportive, welcoming community at Dominican University of California, majoring in psy chology, and the Ali Akbar College of Music (AACM), where he studied directly with world-renowned sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan.


Now an internationally recognized sitarist himself, Arjun reached out to his broad community of friends and fans to raise funds for hospitals in India, many of which have run out of critical supplies as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic. Arjun had been in the process of putting together an online solo concert when he got the news about how overwhelmed India was by COVID — not only through the international news headlines but also by hearing directly from his friends and relatives there. He donated the proceeds from his online concert to provide hospitals with oxygen supplies and equipment through three different Indian nonprofits. During the pandemic, Arjun responded to the pause in live concerts by recording and publishing a new solo sitar album titled “Epiphanies” that explores his personal rela tionship with the sitar and Indian classical music. Hear more from Arjun and his music on Instagram @sitarify What was your favorite part of your experience at Dominican? The community and the friendships. There were so many bright young people from all over the country and abroad. I am grateful to have met, collaborated with, and become friends with them.


A passion for music and art, coupled with two degrees from Dominican, makes Annabelle uniquely suited for their role as Project Manager at ArtMovement. Their deep understanding of the field and ethical approach to their work means individuals and organizations throughout the art world are receiving high-quality assistance and service.

With more than 25,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, Anabelle Freedman (known on the platform as Annabelle Maginnis) is also making great strides in the music industry. Annabelle has performed, recorded, and released music for the last five years and is currently working on an album they describe as their “biggest accomplishment.”


As far as life beyond simply surviving capi talism/employment, my advice would be to stay a student. The resources that students are afforded at DU (databases, access to faculty, etc.) assisted my understanding of how to access and assess information. The professors I mentioned were all lovely exam ples of how imparting knowledge is not a one-way endeavor but based on the ability to grow. I certainly hope other students will be able to dig into challenging conversations and implement critical thinking beyond and even about the classroom settings. I hope teachers and students will continue to remind each other that theory is lived.

Annabelle Freedman ’16, Art History/ BA, Psychology Project Manager, ArtMovement

What was your favorite part of your experience at Dominican? I enjoyed the people I met, the proximity to trails, gorgeous natural wonders, and some outstanding faculty members.

Which DU faculty had the most signifi cant impact on you? Lynn Sondag, Heidi Chretien, Rabbi Schreibman, Leslie Ross, Mojgan Behmand and Julia Van der Ryn all made notable impacts on my time at DU. How did Dominican help lay the ground work for success in your current field? I’m currently working as a project manager at Art Movement in Los Angeles. My experience history since they prefer to have a manager who can speak directly with clients about art. What advice would you give to current Dominican students? Make solid connections with faculty. With jobs I've been employed for that were relevant to psychology and art history —my two majors—no employer asked to see my transcript or even my degree. The most directly applicable part of my experience was having faculty I could list as a reference on my resume.


Which DU faculty had the most significant impact on you? I had two professors who made a huge im pact during my time at DU, and their classes helped me become the successful reporter I am today. First, Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann, who taught my TV News class. On one of my papers, she wrote, “You have a knack for jour nalism.” That one sentence made me think, “Maybe this is what I am meant to do? Maybe I can do this.”

Dr. Melba Beals was one of my biggest cheerleaders while at DU. She saw my potential in this industry before I even saw it. When I was doubting myself, she made sure to remind me about how far I can go if I continue to work hard at this craft. I’ll never forget how she would let me take charge of our The Habit newspaper class — us ing my news judgment to pick what stories to include in the paper, making sure my fellow classmates made deadlines and offering guidance to them when needed. I believe this helped me show, at every station I’ve worked at, that I am a strong newsroom leader. What I really liked about all the professors at Dominican was that they were very supportive. They constantly chal lenged me to do better than my best. How did Dominican help lay the groundwork for success in your current field? I truly believe I got my work ethic from DU. No matter what station I’ve worked at, my co-workers and managers know that I am some one they can rely on, am dedicated to improving my skills, and I’m a go-getter. This shows in my reporting too, which helps community members trust me. What advice would you give to current Dominican students? Make the most of your college experience. What you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it. Take risks. Take the class you’ve been eyeing, join clubs, play sports, and believe in yourself. The one person you can always count on is yourself.

TV News Reporter


Amanda Aguilar ’13 BA, AndCommunicationMediaStudies

Amanda then moved to KSNC in Great Bend, Kan., for an entry-level reporting position. She made such an im pression with her variety of reporting, editing and pro duction skills that, in less than a year, she was promoted to KSNW in Wichita. She served as a reporter for the morning show “Kansas Today,” and as a fill-in anchor for “Kansas Today” and “KSN News at Noon.”

In 2019, Amanda became an anchor/reporter for WTOC, a CBS-affiliated television station in Savannah, Ga., where she and her team won a Southeast Emmy Award for Best Daytime/Evening Newscast in August of 2021. A month later, Amanda accepted a job as a reporter for Action News AM Live at ABC30 Action News in Fresno back home in California. What was your favorite part of your experience at Dominican? I was the managing editor of the Uni versity’s print newspaper, the Habit, which I called “my baby.”

After graduation, Amanda earned her master’s degree in journalism and public affairs at American University, which led to an internship at NBC News 4 in Washing ton, D.C. Though she had little experience reporting in front of the camera, Amanda seized opportunities when they arose, shadowing reporters who let her practice speaking in front of the camera.

ABC30 Action News - Fresno Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals, chair emeritus of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Dominican, inspired and encouraged Amanda to follow her dreams and become a reporter. Dominican’s closeknit community gave her just the right amount of space and support to make that dream a reality.

The importance of community is rooted in our University as one of our core values. As alumni, we are vital members of the Dominican community, and as you read this issue of The Torch, I encourage you to think about why you love our alma mater. Whatever it may be, your reason is unique and important to our community.

Dear Fellow Alumni,

With every challenge comes opportunity and the silver lining of going virtual was that our Penguin family all over the world was able to connect and join us via Zoom. When we were finally able to come together in person for Re union 2022, the joy all over campus was palpable.

I will be concluding my term as the president of the Dominican Alumni Association and handing the reins to Brian Moore ’05 on June 30, but I will stay on the board for a year as past-president, so please keep in touch!

It has been a true pleasure and an honor to serve as your alumni association president for the past two years. As you can imagine, July 1, 2020, was a tough time to take office with all events, meetings and retreats being virtual.

As you’ll read in this issue, my love for Dominican blossomed as I em barked on my internship and had the opportunity for career exploration and development. My DU community — caring faculty and friends that have become family — supported and encouraged me along the way.

Thank you, and Go Pengs!

Connecting with so many alumni during my time as president has reminded me that every Penguin has a story, and behind every story is another reason to love DU.

ALUMNI NEWS 2021-2022 Alumni Board of Directors Sr. Patricia Dougherty O.P., ’67 Sr. Maureen McInerney O.P. ’68 Stewart McRae ’77 Jennifer Morrissey-Dallasta ’88 Jennifer Kelly ’98 Christian Lorentz ’02, MBA ’12 Natisa Dill ’02 Danny Ballesteros ’03 Anne Torok ’04 Brian Moore (President-Elect) ’05 Claudia Fromm, MS ’05 Gigi Gillard ’06, MBA ’07 Felicia Bell ’06 Sherri Bridgeforth ’06 Cady Marsh (President) ’07, MBA ’09 Lorel Geidt (Secretary) ’10, MS ’14 Chris O’Mara ’10, MS ’18 Matt Gaulding, MBA ’12 Cynthia Roldan-Frias, MBA ’14 Kim Harris ’15, MS ’16 Salvador Chavez ’16, MSOT ’17 Alexis Rauschkolb ’18 Robert Daley ’18, MS ’19 THE TORCH | SUMMER 2022 22

Cady Marsh ’07, MBA ’09

What makes All In for Dominican special is the oppor tunity for gifts of all amounts to go further, thanks to several generous challenge donors. Most notably, this year, thanks to a special 2-to-1 matching donation from the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, gifts to the Center for the Dominican Experience were tripled. From scholarships and academic departments to athletic teams and art programs, donor support reached all corners of campus. However, All In for Dominican is more than just a day of fundraising; it’s an annual tradition for the entire Penguin community to come together to celebrate our University and transform lives. The Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement hosts the All In campaign to showcase our fundraising priorities and instill our campus community with a culture of philan

Collectively, alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, friends and fans came together to go All In for Dominican. These shared acts of generosity are empowering reminders of the Penguin community’s commitment to

All In for Dominican: More Than Just a Day of Giving ALUMNI NEWS

Afterthropy.a two-year, online-only giving day, 2022 saw a return of the on-campus, in-person All In for Dominican celebration on Caleruega Plaza. At the event, President Nicola Pitchford announced that thanks to the generosity of donors, the Center for the Dominican Experience project, which will occupy a portion of Archbishop Alemany Library, will break ground this summer. The more than 100 attendees participated in activities that included taking a photo with an object representing their Dominican Experience, philanthropy poster displays, and writing thank-you cards to first-time donors.

23 THE TORCH | SUMMER 2022 O n March 22, Penguins from all over the world celebrated and answered the call for Dominican University of California’s sixth annual day of giv ing: All In for Dominican. Six hundred and seventyeight donors gave $365,945, including more than $200,000 in challenge and matching gifts.


Sr. Barbara Green, O.P. ’69 serves on the Board of Trustees.

he Dominican Sisters of San Rafael were thrilled to have students, faculty and staff back on campus this year! From the very founding of the University, the Sisters have played an integral part in the University community, bringing their Dominican commitment to pursue truth, love and justice. They serve in multiple facets of campus life as professors, ministers, advisors, board members, and more. Here’s a glimpse at what they were up to this school year.

Spotlight on the Dominican Sisters

Sr. Margaret Diener, O.P. ’70 serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees as Secretary.

Sr. Patricia Dougherty, O.P. ’67 serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.


Sr. Maureen McInerney, O.P. ’68 serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.


Sr. Sue Pixley, O.P. '60, CHEM 1500 Introduction to Chemistry Sr. Aaron Winkelman, O.P. '59, EC 1000 Effective Communication 1: Verbal and Visual Literacies Sr. Aaron is proud to be a SEIU 1021 Chapter Board Member, Labor Management Committee member, and Steward Sr. Patty Dougherty, O.P. HIST 3155 Biographical Approach To History: Queen Victoria



Sr. Anne Bertain, Sr. Bernice Garcia and Sr. Joan Hanna participated in the Healthy Senior wellness program, facilitated by occupational therapy students and faculty. Sr. Brigid Noonan, O.P. ’62, Sr. Cynthia A. Cammack, O.P. ’06, Sr. Margaret, Sr. Gervaise Valpey, O.P. ’61, and Sr. Patty celebrate at the annual Alumni Christmas Mass and Celebration. Sr. Mary Kieffer, O.P. ’04, administrator at Our Lady of Lourdes Convent, offered a blessing with nursing students as their clinical studies concluded for the semester.

Sr. Patty offers an invocation at Reunion Weekend. Sr. Patricia Ottoboni, O.P. ’62 and Sr. Brigid Noonan, O.P. ’62 celebrate their 60th reunion with their class at Reunion Sr.Weekend.Marion


Irvine, O.P. ’53, MS ’71 walks four miles around campus every day, and attends as many athletics events as possible, to cheer on the Penguins. Sr. Carla Kovack, O.P. ’69, prioress, offers a benediction to the class of 2022 at commencement.


Pat Miller ’69

1950s Dayle (Antongiovanni) Reilly ’57 is now retired and enjoying her last chapter of life. Much joy and many blessings filled her 87 years and continue to do so now. She is grateful for Dominican, where she laid a solid faith foundation lasting to today. Thank you to all those Dominican people who enriched her life. 1960s Karlene Lowe Ryan ’61 goes by Karlene Kay Ryan as an author. She published a children’s Christian picture book through Halo Publishing: “Curious Li’l Lilli, The Lamb With Amazing Grace.” Karlene has also recently received certification as an art therapy practitioner.

Sara (Sally Marr) Cornelison, ’62 (grandson Matthew Lewis Cornelison)


Sara (Sally Marr) Cornelison, ’62 shares that her son Matthew and his wife, Marianna, are the proud parents of Matthew Louis Cornelison, who will be 6 years old this July. He attends kindergarten at The Learning Experi ence and loves numbers, drawing and his trampoline.

Sandra (Mugford) Overton ’65 is still following her heart and traveling as much as possible. She just returned from a cruise through the Panama Canal and ticked off a bucket list item: swimming with a dolphin. Pat Miller ’69 has been married to her wonderful husband, Paul, for 35 years now. Paul is now retired from his career in animal protection, while Pat is still working her tail off as a certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant. She has pub lished seven books on dog training and behavior and is training editor for the Whole Dog Journal since its inception in 1998. This year (2022) she was the voted No. 1 dog trainer in Washington D.C. and No. 2 in Mary land. Pat received a lifetime achieve ment award from the Association of Professional Dog Trainers in 2018, and was named one of 45 people who have changed the dog world by Dog Fancy magazine in 2015. She is an internationally acclaimed seminar speaker and has traveled to Australia (twice) and New Zealand once to speak at dog trainer conferences. She is loving life on her 80-acre farm in western Maryland with their three dogs, three cats, three horses and one pot-bellied pig. 1970s Denise Park ’70 began her career as a seventh-grade teacher in Iowa, but quickly morphed into project manage ment disciplines in the world of IT. Denise raised two boys (one a foster) and has two beautiful grandchildren. She still does what she loves full-time for Kaiser.

1980s Meg Bagley ’85 has been busy since her Dominican graduation. She graduated with her BSN from Creigh ton University in ‘87, worked at UC Davis Medical Center SICU from 1987-2001, completed her MSN in anesthesia in ‘03, and has been working as a certified RN anesthetist since 2004. She married Maurizio R. Sabini in 2003 and is the mother of two children: Cherie Sabini (17-yearold high school senior, graduating in `22 as a great student, leader and volleyball player) and Robby Sabini (17-year-old high school junior, prepping for college search and is a serious student, artist and soccer player). They previously lived in Cleveland and are now located in Springfield, Mo. They are hoping to retire in the near future with plans to live between Chicago and Italy.

Louanne Lee-Kraynik ’87 is married with four boys and is currently working as a school nurse for San Francisco Unified School District as a central nurse coordinator. She’s been with the district for 22 years and counting. Louanne is privileged to be part of the first graduating nursing class at Dominican in 1987 when it was called Dominican College of San Rafael. One of her sons also graduat ed from Dominican recently, in 2019

2000s Anne Lea Hedges ’02 graduated from Dominican with her MA in humanities and has since enjoyed life-changing opportunities as an English teacher. She continues to teach despite the pandemic and plans to sing a spectacular piece with the UC Alumni Chorus in a few months. She has sung most of her life, but this will be her first choral opportunity in two years.

Christina (Jimenez) Mayes ’08 felt lost after completing her counseling psychology degree. Here she was, the first on her mother’s side to have com pleted a four-year degree and now the first to finish a master’s degree. At the time, she was 29 years old, attempt ing to plan a future with her partner. While she felt accomplished, and her family was proud of this academic milestone, she felt unsure about what to do next. Christina transitioned professionally from working in financial aid to becoming a staff member for the Student Success Center. Over the last 16 years, Dominican has offered her the personal and professional space to rise into the role of an integrative coach, offering holistic mentorship to students. From feeling professionally lost, to now guiding students on their Dominican Experience, Christina feels empowered through this purposeful and meaningful occupation. She finds it rewarding to share her story with undergraduate and graduate students and leaves this thought for our new alumni members, “You may not be the professional you envisioned right upon graduation. If you are feeling unsure or lost, check back in and share where you are in your story. Your ‘Penguin-ship’ does not end after degree completion, it’s just beginning. Let’s go, Penguins!”

Lianni Castro ’04 and James Teets were married in a small intimate ceremony in Daly City, Calif. on March 20, 2021. Brian Moore ’05 was recently elected to Concordia University - Ir vine’s alumni board of directors and the City of Newport Beach’s civil service board. After Elizabeth Thurman ’06 recently obtained her MBA from Syracuse University, she moved on from her role as Director of Client Solutions in higher education to accept a new position with Amazon Web Services (AWS). For nearly 10 years, DeVry University has been a place for her to grow personally and professionally, affording her opportu nities to work across the business in career coaching, operations, campus leadership, B2B sales and strategy, academics, product development, consulting, and client advisory. Liz now starts a new chapter to lead and innovate the talent development and workforce strategy for the AWS Worldwide Public Sector Professional Services group. Day One is more than just the start of this journey, it is an Amazonian philosophy to remain relevant and fiercely approach each challenge with a fresh perspective. Today and each day she will lead, collaborate and grow to be an innovative agent of change and global solutions. As a side note, when onboarding, Liz noticed Amazon didn’t yet have a DUC community in their global network, so she promptly created one. Cheers to Penguins of Amazon and cheers to Day One!


1990s Joy Phoenix ’93 has joined the artists at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael. In addition to working on her own photos, she is enjoying helping others get their photo memories into the “cloud,” and creating books and photo gifts with FOREVER. She also is enjoying her time with Dominican’s Women, Leadership & Philanthropy Council. It’s a great group. Lindsay (Crumbliss) Aranha ’98 was encouraged by the opportunity to give back to a school that has provided many learning and career opportuni ties. She is proud to share that she recently achieved her doctorate. Her dissertation includes understanding the cultural influences on Latinas in the workplace, across generations. She hopes to return to the Dominican University of California as a guest lecturer and continue contributing to the legacy of learning.

Lianni Castro ’04 Elizabeth Thurman ’06Anne Lea Hedges ’02 Christina (Jimenez) Mayes ’08

Barbara McVeigh ’17’s award-win ning documentary film (her first full feature) has been selected by a grand jury to The film tells the story of the life of Brazilian guitarist José Neto, sharing the inspiration of loyalty, generosity and positivity. Many music legacies and international artists supported the project including Harry Belafonte, Deborah Santana, Narada Michael Walden, Steve Winwood, and Brazilian greats Flora Purim and Airto Moreira. The film has won international awards, including best biopic at the Alwar International Film Festival in India 2020. Barbara completed her master’s in the Gradu ate Department of Humanities in 2017. Stephanie Manieri ’17 was elected to the Santa Rosa City Schools Board of Education in 2018 and is currently running for a second term. She is also the director of programs at a local community-based organization, Latino Service Providers.

Germaine Semien ’19 has complet ed two master’s degrees since she graduated. One is in teaching English to speakers of other languages, and the other is an MS in e-learning. She also accepted a new position in January and now works for a nonprof it in San Francisco.

Jeremy Boucher ’08 and Cristy Boucher (Roberts) ’09 welcomed a daughter, Shelby June, on October 7, 2021, in San Rafael, Calif.

Cameron Sawyer ’08 and his wife, Gina, are expecting their first child in early August.

Jeremy Boucher ’08 and Cristy Boucher (Roberts) ’09 Deborah (Estrada) Jaramillo ’11 Francesca Whitcomb ’12 (far right) Stephanie Manieri ’17Barbara McVeigh ’17

2020s Ashlyn Allan ’21 has continued working at her field placement since graduation. She was recently promot ed for the second time in one year and is working as an admissions counselor for Bayside Marin. Every day she is applying skills she has learned throughout her academic career. Ashlyn has definitely collected some valuable tools to add to her belt.


Deborah graduated from Dominican University in 2011 with a BA in business administration and a minor in communications. She furthered her education by completing an MBA from Dominican University, completing her last semester at our sister school in France, France Business School. Francesca Whitcomb ’12 (far right) became the new director of human resources for NUSD in 2022-2023.


2010s Deborah (Estrada) Jaramillo ’11 co-founded dev/Mission in 2017, a nonprofit in San Francisco that trains untapped youth for careers in the tech industry. This year, dev/Mission will celebrate five years of growth in the community. Their vision is to continue to build wealth and prosperity in our local diverse communities through jobs in the tech industry. Deborah, her husband and 4-year-old daughter recently moved to Frisco, Texas. She also continues to sing at church.

InALUMNISympathy Barbara Lyle Wallace ’42 Winifred Felder Little ’44 Patricia O’Connor Ghilarducci Orey ’50 Doloris Johnston Martin ’50 Patricia O’Neill Lauzon ’51 Alice De Martini Rebizzo ’51 Anita Reusch Catalano ’52 Selene Gallien Boehnke Mattson ’52 Nancy LaSalle Castro ’53 Helen Yraceburu Ruppel ’53 Louise Quinn Sifferman ’53 Sr. Mary Neill, OP ’55 Jean Leonardi Colombo ’56 Sr. Martha Ann Fitzpatrick, CSJ ’56 Lynn Mernin Salley ’58 Claudia Perrin Kehoe ’59 Marjorie Riley Summerville ’61 Linda Pometta Schulze ’62 Jody Becker ’67 Portia Lee ’68 Sr. Ruth Poochigian, OP ’68 Constance Spence Powell ’72 Vicka Surovtsov ’74 Eleanor Leith Hill ’75 Penny Chernow ’76 Dianne McSween ’76 Gilberta Guth Pierson ’76 Susan Adamson ’77 Vera Fountain Cook ’77 Lynne Loots ’77 Jane Luckoff ’77 Mary Scanlon Greenfield ’79 Dorothy Lebohner Judson ’83 Marilyn Davis ’84 Lorelei Schmid Evans ’84 Imogene Smith-Schellings ’88 Charles Monahan ’00 Margaret “Annie” Harshbarger Reid ’06, MS Hilary’07Bruce Saltzman ’07 Urso Chappell ’11 FACULTY AND STAFF Etel Adnan TRUSTEE Haskell Rhett SYMPATHY TO Jacklyn Smith Herup ’55 on the passing of her sister, Nancy LaSalle Castro ’53 Mary “Teddy” Sanchez Schnetz ’60 and Yolanda Sanchez-Peterson ’75 on the passing of Mary’s husband and Yolanda’s brother-in-law, Robert Schnetz. Julia Riley Rudden ’62 on the passing of her sister, Marjorie Riley Summerville ’61. Gay Leonardi ’63 and Leslie Leonardi Bronzini ’67 on the passing of their sister, Jean Leonardi Colombo ’56. Patricia McCoy Allen ’65 on the passing of her husband, Roy C. Allen, Jr. Margaret Rudolph Cook ’66 on the passing of her husband, Jim Cook. Laurie Lynch Meyer ’69 on the passing of her husband, Richard Meyer. Paul Salazar ’80 on the passing of his mother, Nellie Salazar. Helen A. Ruppel ’85 on the passing of her mother, Helen Yraceburu Ruppel ’53. 31 THE TORCH | SUMMER 2022

Your Gift ChangesDominicantoLives

Include Dominican in your estate plan. Get started today: contact Marly A. Norris at (415) 257-1396 or There are many ways to support Dominican: (415)

Kassi Aronson ’23 is a double major in business administration and graphic design, and an honors program student who is on track to graduate early. Last year she worried about whether she would be able to return to school due to the pandem ic’s impact on her finances. The University’s Close the Gap Scholarship made it possible for Kassi to return to school and complete her degree.

— Kassi Aronson ’23

Business Administration and Graphic Design major Recipient of the Close the Gap Scholarship

Close the Gap helps juniors and seniors who need a small financial boost to get to the finish line and complete their degrees. Since Dominican estab lished Close the Gap in March 2016, the University has awarded 82 scholarships, totaling $272,575. 100% of Close the Gap recipients have graduated or are on track to graduate.

“Dominican has allowed me to be in the honors program, double major in exactly what I am interested in, and be flexible enough to graduate early. I feel like this wouldn’t be possible at a larger school. Thank you so much for making this an opportunity for students. Close the Gap truly made it possible for me to return to school and be the first in my family ever to graduate.”

NON-PROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGEPAID 50 Acacia Avenue San Rafael, California 94901 Addressdominican.eduservice requested A sneak peek at the Center for the Dominican Experience in the Archbishop Alemany Library.

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