Summer 2019 Class Notes

view of USD campus from Maher Hall

LOUIS CAPPELLO (BBA) retired from his job as a mortgage banker in 2010.

ELOISA THOMPSON (BA) is enjoying blessings of good health, family and living by the ocean in Baja. She has three grandchildren. “Thank you to our Sacred Heart for a wonderful education,” she says.


JAMES JOSEPH (BA) was inducted as a Golden Torero, an alumnus who graduated 50 or more years ago.

DANNY WILSON (BA) retired in 2014 after a 47-year career teaching at University of San Diego High School and Cathedral Catholic High School.


RUBEN ESCOBOSA (BS) has been a commercial real estate broker for 43 years. His daughter, Rachel, graduated from USD in 1999 and is a human resources director at TargetCW; his daughter, Emilie, graduated from Otis College in 2009 and is an international fashion designer. He has two grandchildren: Jack, 10, and Avery, 7.


PAKA ANDERSEN (MEd) is very happy to give back to her community and its ministries. She is also giving health care and retirement advice to her son and her son’s employees.


BERNARD CIERNICK (BA), ’82 (MA) is proud that his oldest son entered the Army.


ANNE (CAREY) HENSEL (BA), ’80 (MEd) retired in October 2017 from her position as a special education director. “I currently am enjoying retired life as well as working part time supervising special education student teachers and interns through National University,” she says. “Life is good!”


ADAM SARANCIK (JD) published his second book: Takeaway Quotes for Coaching Champions for Life. It helps coaches be proactive in designing practice plans that offer lessons for life beyond the game.


JOHN SPITTERS (BA) splits time between the Bay Area and Haverford, Pennsylvania. His stepson, Christopher, is a Menlo College alumnus and head football coach at ASA College in Brooklyn, New York.


MICHAEL BERG (JD) was appointed a federal magistrate judge for the federal court in the Southern District of California.

PAMELA HERKNER-CHASSE (BA), ’82 (MA) reports that her daughter, Samantha, married Hunter Gemmill on June 22, 2018. Samantha and Hunter both work for Paramount Pictures. Pamela adds that her mother passed away in August 2016 and her sister’s husband passed away in March 2017.

THOMAS LOFFARELLI (MBA) reports that he was married in July 2017 and relocated to San Diego. He practiced law for 12 years and worked as a real estate broker, property manager and investor. He also has volunteered for the Wine Classic, the Bridges Academy lecture series and other USD events.

LISA MATT (MA) is retired after teaching for the San Diego Community College District for 28 years. She now works in the public library system.

MARYANN THOMSON (BA), ’82 (MEd) retired after teaching in the San Diego Unified School District for almost 40 years. “Loving it!” she says.

STEVE VASQUEZ (BBA) moved his investment adviser office to San Clemente, California, after more than 30 years in Los Angeles County.


GAIL CONNERS (BA) says she is “quite elderly now,” but is getting along the best she can, thanks to the loving support of her children.

RICHARD HUVER (BBA) has officially closed his law practice after 30 years as a trial lawyer. He is transitioning into full-time mediation and enjoys mediating a variety of cases throughout Southern California.

ELLEN PHELAN (BBA) signed on with VOX Space, a subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, as the director of contracts.


DESIREE (WHARTON) COLLINGS (BBA) celebrated 38 years of USD friendship at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club with fellow alumnae Roberta (Joslin) Barry ’83 (BA), Claudia (Denigan) Cox ’82 (BA), Lori (Neilsen) Lavik ’83 (BA) and Virginia (Stehly) Yourg ’83 (BA). Some are grandmothers now, she says, and many of their children have attended their alma mater. “We love USD. Go Toreros!” Desiree says.

SUSAN DeLINE (BA), ’86 (MEd) reports, “Life has been busy for the DeLines! Two of our daughters recently got married; one moved to the Big Apple and the last is a sophomore in college in Colorado. I am a reading teacher and loving it. Matt (DeLine ’83) is a Realtor and surfing as often as he can. Life is good!”

MEGAN DORSEY (BA), ’87 (JD) has worked in Las Vegas since 2002. “Competitive poetry is my life,” she says.

JAMES HITCHCOCK (BBA) was awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary AIF designation on April 1, 2018.

MATTY SANDOVAL (BA, JD ’87) and fellow alumnus Tony Samaniego assisted USD rugby head coach Kevin Eaton at the West Coast Sevens collegiate tournament in the fall of 2018 on Treasure Island in San Francisco.


DENNIS CHAMBERLAND (BA) is the author of Finding Your Divine Purpose. He has recently launched his latest workshop series, “Living the Power of Yes!” He writes, “Anything is possible when you believe in yourself! God and your Angels want you to be happy and to live a life of joy, love, peace and abundance. God is saying YES. What are you waiting for?” His website can be found at

LYN ROSSI SEMETA (JD) worked in the LEAD San Diego chapter after graduating from USD, which inspired her to enter public service. Now she serves on the Huntington Beach City Council in California. She initiated efforts for a new Huntington Beach public art master plan and for a commission to oversee the Huntington Harbour waterways. She is a director on the Orange County Water Board and is the vice chair of the Public Cable Television Authority.

MARK SPERRAZZO (BA) has worked in the Diocese of San Diego for 33 years. His teaching career took him from School of the Madeleine to the University of San Diego High School, where he transitioned into administration. He is now the principal of St. Therese Academy in San Diego.

PAMELA STAMBAUGH (MBA) leads lunch-and-learn events for senior and emerging leaders in a program called Gain Strategic Ability Through Paradoxical Leadership.

KENNETH WINANS (BBA) is president and founder of Winans Investments, as well as a philanthropist and critically acclaimed author. He has set a world record for the most awards won in major book competitions for a finance/business author in the English language, according to the World Record Academy. The U.S. Senate honored Kenneth for this achievement with a certificate of commendation. His four published works have won 33 awards in international competitions.


ARTHUR FARO (BBA) reports that he was married on Jan. 1, 2019.


ROBERT REINCKE (MBA) writes, “I am an artist and writer. I write business plans for investor immigrants (, wrote and published two books (, and continually produce fine art: painting and sculpture.”


JOHN DASHER (BA) joined security startup RiskSense as the vice president of product marketing.

STEPHANIE (DAVIS) HOGUE is celebrating five years for Latitudes Fine Art Gallery at its Main Street Ventura, California, location with a select book of images of the picturesque town by Stephanie and Steve Munch, both acclaimed photographers and Latitudes co-owners. Stephanie has lived in Ventura since the 1990s and had a successful career as a political photojournalist and then wedding and portrait photographer. After she connected with Steve, they opened a fine arts gallery in Ventura and then on Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands.

JAMIE RIOS (BBA), ’95 (MEd) lives with her two sons, who keep her busy with their sports, school events and travels. She is the regional director for Partners in Special Education and was a special education teacher in the San Diego Unified School District for 19 years. Jamie hikes with her dogs, visits the beach and is a distance runner.

STEVE SCHUSTER (BBA) writes, “I am looking forward to coming out to USD for my 30-year reunion in October, and hope to see other former classmates there as well.”

JOEL SELIK (LLM) spoke at the Nevada Children’s Law Conference in September 2018 in Reno, Nevada.


CAROL ANN HEASLEY (MA) continues to write poetry, fiction and nonfiction pieces for publication. She also volunteers to help candidates get elected to office who value public policy that represents the neediest of San Diegans.

MARY ANN SIMANELLO (BSN), ’06 (MSN), ’07 (PhD) retired from full-time work in February 2018 after 40 years in the nursing profession. She now reviews complaint cases part time as an expert practice consultant for the California Board of Registered Nursing.

SARA (SCHWAB) SMITH (BBA) writes, “Our daughter, Emily, is a freshman at USD! Fun to be back as a parent. Campus looks amazing.”

HOANG TAING (BA) is a White House Fellow regional finalist, Fulbright fellow, award-winning poet, author, international motivational speaker, counselor, entrepreneur and personal coach. Her new memoir, Buffalo Girl: My Journey to Freedom is described as a “powerful tale of survival, loss, and redemption.” The book is available on Amazon.


MARY JOAN BARCELON (BAcc) writes, “Life is nourished through friends and family and other people we encounter in life; and most importantly, through charitable acts.”

SUSIE BARRETT (MA) writes, “Recently graduated our fourth and final child from high school via homeschooling with Heritage Christian School, completing 21 years of home education.”

ROBERT JACKSON (BA) published his eighth novel, Hester and the Battle of Bannockburn, a Scottish medieval tale of a female wizard trained by Merlin. The novel is available free on


NEIL GREER (BBA) was awarded a seventh patent and is celebrating his 19th year in business in 2019. He reports that he and his wife, Lisa (Toole) ’93, plan to celebrate their 25th anniversary on Oct. 22, 2019.

ERIKA SANCHEZ (BA) has written and published two books, Ernestine and Elodie. Both are available on


BRENT HODGES (BAcc) received his doctorate from Creighton University in July 2018 and continues to serve as superintendent at Scottsdale Christian Academy in Phoenix. His son, TJ, graduated from USD in 2017.

ERJA JÄRVELÄ (IMBA) writes, “Just complemented my well-being studies with a degree in nature and environment issues. I am passionate about the well-being effects of nature.”

SUSAN MOSBY (BA) writes, “Still teaching Spanish at Cherry Creek High School. My husband, Peter, and I are enjoying our hobby farm and watching our three kids grow spiritually, athletically and academically. We purchased a Montessori school in Conifer, Colorado, and we are kicking it off for the 2019 school year. I wear my USD alum shirts with pride on college Wednesdays at my school.”

KATHIE O’NEIL (BA), ’95 (MEd) writes, “Getting ready to retire! Yippee! A few more short years!”


JENNIFER McCOY (BSN), ’98 (MSN) is the child protection coordinator at St. Mary’s International School in Japan.

GOETZ NEUMANN (LLM) has held the position of general counsel of Wacker Chemie AG since 2007. In 2016, he was promoted to president and CEO of the Wacker Pensionfund, an institutional investor with about $3 billion in invested money.

ALFREDO SILVA (BA) moved to Hodgenville, Kentucky, in 2011, where he is the chair of the foreign language department at Larue County High School. He teaches Spanish and assists the football team as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. His oldest son, Christian, is majoring in nursing at Northern Kentucky University; his daughter, Ariana, is a junior in high school; and his youngest son, Aaron, is in the eighth grade. Alfredo’s wife, Claudia, is a marketing assistant at Amerifirst Home Mortgage Company in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

SHAWNA SUCH (BBA) is a certified financial planner and has been working as a wealth management adviser for 21 years.


DAVID ARNOLD (JD) is the chief legal officer for Omnitracs, a transportation technology company.

LISA HOEHLE (MBA) was hired by two school districts and she also still serves as a local business consultant in Los Angeles/Ventura counties.

STEPHANIE LANE (BA) writes, “Balancing marriage and motherhood of two with my professional life of providing psychotherapy to individuals in need of caring for their mental health needs.” Stephanie earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California.

APRIL STEINGREBE (BA) reports, “Scott and I are living a full (and busy!) life in San Diego with three pretty amazing kids; currently touring colleges with our oldest!” Her company, NewWest Property Management, is a boutique management firm in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. April specializes in leasing and managing condominiums and townhomes located in the 92101 zip code; her firm currently counts nearly 200 properties managed full time. She adds that her husband is a licensed Realtor working in an executive position with the Neuman Team of Berkshire Hathaway and “has been an integral part of this award-winning sales team for 21 years.”

ALEIDA WAHN (JD) is an attorney and a true crime writer. She was featured on the national true crime show, Snapped, for her coverage of the Diana Lovejoy trial.


TERENCE BANICH (BA) has been practicing law in Chicago since 1999 and is a partner at Fox Rothschild, a national law firm where he focuses on commercial bankruptcy and litigation. Terence and his wife, Katherine, have two daughters: Sadie, 6, and Eloise, 3.


LAURA (CLARK) FEE (BA) reports that she was married on June 11, 2016, and is a first-grade teacher.

CHERIE VERBER (MA) writes, “I retired in the central highlands of Mexico, where I am spending my time teaching sewing to women and empowering them with their new abilities to form a cooperative and earn money.”


HEATHER HIRSCHKOFF (BA) has taught from first grade to eighth grade and earned a master’s degree. “I am blessed to be teaching my faith once again in a Catholic school,” she says

RACHEL (KOWARDY) IRELAND (BA) moved to Point Loma in San Diego and is “happy to see lots of USD alumni driving around — go Toreros!”

KRISTI MILLER NICHOLS (BA) is the Alamo archaeologist and the collections manager for the Alamo Trust Inc. This is the first time the Alamo has had a staff archaeologist, Kristi says. “The winter and spring of 2019 aims to be an exciting time at the historic site as several major archaeological investigations are set to take place,” she adds.

ROBERT PALM (IMBA) moved to Athens, Greece, to work at the U.S. Embassy. He retired from active duty in 2018 and is staying in Athens to search for new opportunities.

BRIAN SANCHEZ (BA) reports that his baby boy was born on Dec. 26, 2018.


JAMES BRITT (BA) has been a police officer with the Seattle Police Department since 2002. He is a lieutenant in the patrol operations division. He has been married for 13 years and has a 9-year-old son.

TINA (LUKOMSKI) CASOLA (MA) is president of First Alarm Wellness, a specialty behavioral health practice providing services to the first responder community. Recognizing a deficiency in services for first responders, Tina created educational content and introduced evidence-based interventions that she knew worked with the military community. Tina’s programs have become a resource in departments throughout California and the United States. She also speaks nationally on the topic of behavioral health in emergency services.

JESSICA CHALOUPKA (BA) is a first officer at SkyWest Airlines and was promoted to CDR/O-5 in the U.S. Navy Reserves.

RACHEL (DANJCZEK) CLOUSER (BA) earned a doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is dean of academic and student life at La Jolla Country Day School. “I am so glad to be back in San Diego, joined by my husband and two puggies,” she says.

ANNIE PETERSEN (BA) reports that after a healthy career as a producer in broadcast journalism, she took her headset off for the last time in 2016. After working briefly in public relations, she enrolled in the Coaches Training Program through Accomplishment Coaching. Annie is now a life coach and is taking referrals and new clients (


BEATRICE (PAS) ANDRE (BBA) reports that she welcomed a daughter two years ago.

JENNIFER BAUMANN (JD) was promoted to senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Alliant Insurance Services. Her core responsibilities include mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, intellectual property, litigation and equity. Jennifer had served as assistant general counsel for a decade. Prior to her tenure at Alliant, Jennifer was an employment attorney with two San Diego law firms. She recently received the First Chair Award, which recognizes the nation’s most innovative and accomplished in-house counsel for their significant contributions to the legal community.

HEATHER DOOLEY (BA) ended her term and presidency on the USD Alumni Board in June 2017 and reports that she and her husband, Kevin ’93, welcomed their first child in September 2017. Heather is in her 14th year as a resource specialist with the San Diego Unified School District.

ALLISON MARIE QUINN (BA) reports that she and Todd Durbin were married on Sept. 15, 2018. The couple lives in the Seattle area.

JULIE SEIDENSTEIN (BA) earned a JD in 2005 from Seattle University School of Law and is an attorney at the law firm of Lane Powell PC in Seattle. She was awarded The Best Lawyers in America 2019 for banking and finance. Julie has been married to her post-college sweetheart for 13 years and has two children: an 8-month-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.

MICHAEL SPENCER (BS/BA) writes, “I continue to work at SSC Pacific and am taking the lead for the Navy’s network design facility for TTNT.” In his spare time, he runs Scripps Mesa Fireworks, the nonprofit corporation that raises funds for the Fourth of July fireworks show in Mira Mesa, California.

CHRISTOPHER WALKER (BBA) is CEO of BBC Electric and writes, “I have been involved in the LA Metro project and the USC Village project. We are supplying the materials for both of these projects.”


BONNIE ANN DOWD (EDd) was appointed Executive Vice Chancellor for the San Diego Community College District to the Community College Student Success Funding Formula Oversight Committee in January 2019. The committee was formed pursuant to an Assembly bill which specified that the Senate Rules Committee would appoint four members of the community to this committee. In the appointments made, Senate Rules made every effort to ensure geographic representation, diversity in background and expertise. This oversight committee will review the funding formula for all 73 districts and 115 community colleges in California.


NANCY SLAVIN (MA) writes, “On December 1, 2018, I was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.”


KATIE CONLON (BA) is working toward a PhD at Portland State University. She received a 2018-19 Fulbright Research Fellowship in Sri Lanka for research on plastic waste minimization in the Global South. She also does outreach and education in the region for zero waste and plastic pollution awareness.

CHELSEA DINKINS (BA) joined Gryph and IvyRose, a Miami-based startup baby company co-founded by model Karolina Kurkova. Chelsea is the marketing director;  she reports that she loves “being part of a company that makes wonderful, high-quality wellness products for kids.” Chelsea also has a 14-month-old son with her husband. “We love being back by the beach,” she says.


JIM GARDNER (BA) left active duty as a Navy SEAL officer after 11 years of service. He writes, “Now pursuing HR leader opportunities in San Diego.”

DAVID LEWANDOWSKI (BBA) is a corporate attorney at Fennemore Craig, serving entrepreneurs and high-tech companies.

CHRISTINE McKAY (BA) is a social work supervisor at Harborview Medical Center–Madison Clinic, one of the largest HIV/primary care clinics in the Pacific Northwest. For nearly 10 years, she has been working with individuals living with HIV and reports that more recent projects have focused on the prevention of HIV transmission by getting PrEP into the hands of those who need it the most. “Between work and parenting a toddler, life is busy!” she adds.

BRIAN MELROSE (BA) reports that he and Alexis Olsen ’08 are married and have three beautiful children. Brian earned a master’s degree in educational technology from San Diego State University in 2012.

ILEANA OVALLE (MA) holds the position of principal, privacy and regulatory, in Google’s Global Trust and Safety department.


EMILY CLAWSON (BA) writes, “I got promoted this year to supervisor of the Intercultural Competence, Diversity and Inclusion Training Specialist team at the Peace Corps.”

JONATHAN FOSTER (BAcc) is a certified public accountant and an incoming partner for a CPA firm in Orange County, California. “Married with three wonderful kids!” he adds.

MELANIE (MINO) HEAP (BA) reports that she and her husband, Andrew, welcomed their second son, Ford Anthony, in the fall. “Our oldest son, Harris, is very excited to be a big brother,” she says.

ATHENA JUAREZ (BBA), ’07 (BAcc) and Gabriel Pallares ’05 welcomed their first child, Elisa, on Aug. 21, 2018.

NICOLE PENA (BA) and her husband, Garrick Higgins, have a beautiful 2-year-old named Mia Valentina.


BRENDA FISCHER (PhD) writes, “Leading healthcare organizations to successful achievement of ANCC Magnet designation and redesignation.”

KRISTEN GOODELL (BA) and her husband, Greg, have a 10-month-old daughter, Kambria. The family lives in Carlsbad, California. Kristen is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in downtown Carlsbad; Greg is a senior real estate agent with Redfin. Kristen and her family enjoy going on hikes with their dog, Scotland.

MEGAN ROBERSON (BA) is in the inaugural class of the three-year pharmacy doctoral program at the University of California, San Francisco. Her husband, Zachary Moody ’08, is an active-duty U.S. Navy officer specializing in meteorology and oceanography. “Megan has supported me entirely over the last decade as we have moved from duty station to duty station every two years,” Zachary says. “I am currently at my last duty station and will be retiring in just over a year. We will keep you posted about our adventures as Megan takes the reins and it is my turn to follow her! Thank you for the great magazine and terrific alumni group.”

J.T. ROGAN (BBA) reports that he married Mara Koplitz ’13 on July 14, 2018, in Enumclaw, Washington. After living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for two years, the couple relocated to Walnut Creek, California, where J.T. is working with QB Collective, a football startup company, while Mara is continuing her work in the accounting field. They add that they are excited to be closer to home.


LIZ BARLOW (BBA) reports that in 2018 she got engaged, graduated from the University of Colorado’s Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program and started working as a physician assistant with Greenwood Pediatrics in Colorado.

LESLIE REYES (BA) reports that she was married at The Immaculata in April 2016 and had her first daughter in May 2018. Leslie is working to build her law firm and anticipates hiring an associate in 2019.

JENSEN SHIRLEY (EdD) earned a master’s degree in professional clinical counseling from Walden University in 2017 with a specialization in military family services.

MELISSA (CARRADE) SMITH (BAcc) welcomed a son, Connor William, on June 6, 2018.

ZIARA SOTO (BAcc) writes, “Happily married to Edward Ibarra and proud mother of a 6-year-old daughter, Alessandra Valentina.” After serving as a staff accountant for a San Diego property management firm for seven years, she joined Westcore Properties in San Diego in 2016 as a senior accountant.

LOUIS VARGAS (BA) reports that he and Stephanie Kishbaugh ’09 were married on Oct. 13, 2018, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, surrounded by family and friends.


ASHLEY HALBERDA (JD) was promoted to partner at Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger, an employment, labor and business immigration law firm. Ashley has had many years of experience using her expert advice to guide employers through movements like Me Too and Time’s Up, lending expert advice to employers on how to protect themselves through such policy changes. She also has a special emphasis on employment defense in the hospitality industry.

GABRIELLE McGINNIS (BA) has spent the past four years in Australia working on her PhD, which included working in remote Aboriginal communities to develop sustainable tourism and heritage conservation digital outputs for, with and by the communities. The Wagiman people of Pine Creek in the Northern Territory of Australia worked with her to create websites and maps of their country to share with tourists, younger Wagiman generations and the world: and Gabriella also researched, wrote and edited policy documents for the United National World Tourism Organisation and the 2016 UN General Assembly resolution and report, which is published on the UNGA portal of UN resolutions.

BEVERLY (HUTCHINGS) MIELING (BA) and her husband, John, report that they welcomed another boy, Kenton Calvin, on March 17, 2018.

SARAH MIRALLES (BA) earned a master’s degree in ethnic studies from San Francisco State University. She also taught Asian American/Filipinx American Studies in local high schools and community colleges through Pin@y Educational Partnerships. Sarah now teaches Asian American/Ethnic Studies at California State University Long Beach and is involved with the Asian American Advisory Board at The Claremont Colleges.


AUDREY (WOLFFE) CASTLEBERRY (BA, MAPJ ’14) and her husband, Christopher ’13, welcomed a daughter, Rémy May, in November 2018. Audrey is the manager of the general resources department for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe and Christopher works for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

MERCEDES (KASTNER) CONSTANTINE (BS), ’12 (MBA) reports that she and her husband, James ’11, were married in Santorini, Greece, in August 2018. She handles strategy and operations for the creative marketing group at Netflix.

JORDAN CUMMINGS (BA) is in her sixth year of teaching; her current position is as a kindergarten teacher in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. “I absolutely love working with the little ones and watching them grow and learn,” Jordan says.

JASMINE STOFKO (MA) reports that she and her husband, Ben, welcomed a baby boy in December 2017. She was promoted to assistant director of admissions at Chapman University’s College of Performing Arts.

ALEXA STROBRIDGE (BBA) moved to Indiana for a new job as senior marketing manager with the Indianapolis Colts.

KURT WHITMAN (JD) joined the law firm of Gatze Dillon & Ballance in Carlsbad, California. He practices in the areas of land use, real estate and litigation.

DANIEL YAGHOUBZADEH (JD) was named a 2019 Rising Star by Super Lawyers Southern California.


ALEXANDRA (PREVITE) KREITZER (BA) and her husband, David, were married on Oct. 20, 2018, at Founders Chapel. The couple enjoyed a honeymoon in Bora Bora and they live in New York City, where Alexandra and David both work in the finance industry.

CATHERINE QUIRK (BA) reports that she and Chris Hanneke ’12 were married in 2018.

NICOLE SCHMIDT (BA) has a new job as a marketing strategist at Chapman University in Orange, California.

STEPHANIE (ATIENZA) VIANA (BA) writes, “I just got married March of 2018 and started a new job at the Walt Disney Company this past October!”


SOPHIA CARRILLO (BA) graduated from Stanford Law School, where she continued her interest in human rights advocacy and represented women and children in immigration detention, asylum seekers and an individual seeking executive clemency. She also received the John Hart Ely prize for excellence in American constitutional history. Sophia is a judicial clerk for a federal judge in Sacramento, California. She says that she looks forward to a career in litigation and hopes to teach law someday.

EDDIE FAAMAILE (BBA) worked in the mortgage industry from graduation through June 2018. He is now working on creating a new business idea in the realm of real estate.

ELIZABETH LEIRO (BA) launched a podcast in early 2018 focused on writing and related creative topics. She is currently revising her first novel and drafting her second.

JULIAN LEIRO (BA) earned a master’s degree from the University of Utah and is now working at Viking Cruises in Woodland Hills, California.

ALEXANDRA MEDRANO (BA) joined the Teach for America corps in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She taught Spanish at her placement school, Harrison High School, for three years and then moved to Vail, Colorado, to continue teaching Spanish for native speakers. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in educational equity and cultural diversity with an emphasis in bilingual education at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is also teaching Spanish 1 and Español Para Hispanohablantes 1 at an award-winning public charter school, Denver School of Science and Technology: Conservatory Green.

ROMYN SABATCHI (BBA) moved to Oahu, Hawaii, to be an academic adviser.

ELLEN THOMPSON (BAcc) reports that she was married in September 2018, and a month later was promoted to assurance manager at EY.


RICK BLANKE (BA) is a financial adviser for the Blanke Schein Group in Palm Desert, California. He reports that he has been married for four years and has two children.

AINI FANG (MEd) is originally from Shanghai, China, and has been active in education since graduating from USD. “I brought what I have learned in USD and applied it into my teaching practice,” Aini says. “I have a passion for immersion education and inquiry-based learning in elementary school.”

DANA (WILLIAMS) LEAHY (BBA) reports that she met her husband, Chris, at USD and they married in October 2018. Dana is a project manager at Northrop Grumman and Chris is a captain in the Marine Corps.

DANIELLA LISLE (BBA) is the community development manager at the American Cancer Society (ACS) of Alaska, where she oversees the Anchorage Wine and Food Festival, the largest fundraising event for ACS and for the state of Alaska. Daniella also oversees other large-scale ACS fundraising events throughout the state and serves as the staff liaison for several ACS volunteer committees.

ASHLEY (KLAHR) LUSSIER (BA) reports that she was married in the last year and became a mom to her husband’s 5-year-old daughter. “We moved up to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington and began our lives together!” she says.

ALEXANDRIA MORGAN (MA) completed her master’s degree in marital and family therapy and started a private practice, Her Healing, in Los Angeles.

LARRY NOVELO (BS/BA) was promoted to continuous improvement specialist with the U.S. Postal Service and is based in Washington, D.C.

LAUREN STERN (MA) is a licensed professional clinical counselor and a national certified counselor. She works with adolescents and adults, providing therapy to individuals, couples and families. Her specializations include depression, anxiety, mood and personality disorders, trauma and stress management.


KRYSTELLE ASHBAUGH (BA) works as a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher for the Diocese of San Diego. “I’m using the knowledge I gained here at USD to give my students the best education and to prepare them for their future,” she says.

JIMMY BRIED (BBA) joined CareerBuilder as a major account executive managing enterprise accounts in the Southwest after graduating from USD. He made president’s club and finished at 109 percent his first year and 98 percent the second year, winning the Q4 Award of Excellence. He is in Pepperdine University’s Flex MBA program and moved to Seattle to be a cloud sales consultant for enterprise accounts in the Northeast.

CAROLINE BUYAK (BA) is a legislative assistant for U.S. Representative Martha Roby.

MACKENZIE DANDOY (BS/BA) left Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, reports her mom, Cindy Dandoy. Mackenzie is now handling industrial and system engineering projects for Universal Studios.

TAZ DE ALENCAR (BA) moved back to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to start a company with his brothers and parents based on integrating sports and education. He notes that “this is very common in our experience living abroad in the USA, but not normal in Brazil, where athletes are taught to disregard school if they want to professionalize themselves in a sport.” The family created Techset Academy, a training center that integrates education with sports. In addition, Taz developed, a college-based social community that enables individuals to “find good deals and do good deeds” using the currency of karma credits.

STEPHEN FERRARO (BA) finished his second year of medical school at the University of Washington.

EMILY FRASER (BA) works for Kyle House Group, an international government relations firm.

COURTNEY GALLIMORE (MSN) is a nurse practitioner at Falmouth Hospital.

KAREN (HARRIS) MATHIS (MSEL) expects to publish a fashion book in March 2019.

ZACH MELLEN (MA) is the event manager for the EU Policy Outreach Partnership.

ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ THOMPSON (MA) was elected co-president of the San Diego Leadership Alliance with the mission of developing progressive leaders for San Diego. “I utilize many of the skills I learned in the SOLES Nonprofit Management and Leadership program in this role, collaborating with board members to craft a vision and execute our mission,” Ashley says.


MEREDITH CLINE (MS) completed her master’s degree in law enforcement and public safety leadership at USD. She is a detective in the sexual assault investigations department for the Los Angeles Police Department.

ZACHARY DWECK (BA) is in the comedy talent department at ICM Partners.

KAREN (CLARK) MEZA (BA), ’18 (MA) reports that she was married in June, finished her master’s degree and started working at her former middle school teaching seventh-grade history. “Crazy 2018 — can’t wait to see what God has in store for 2019,” she says.


GARY DINOSO (MS) writes, “In my last semester of graduate school, I founded my first company with the help of The Brink at the University of San Diego.” Established in 2018,
Beyond the Bedside ensures that registered nurses have a chance to explore alternative career paths. “Through industry knowledge, unlimited opportunities and a job board platform, we are dedicated to supporting nurses who want to thrive in nontraditional roles and environments so they can provide patient care in a unique way.”

LEIF KJONEGAARD (MBA) reports that he is married with four kids and is managing business for Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp. in the Hawaiian Islands, and enjoys surfing and paddling. “Living a blessed life,” he says.

MARY KUCKERTZ (BA) is a lab assistant in a child clinical psychology lab at the University of California, San Diego. Mary started in the lab as an intern at the end of her sophomore year after the USD psychology department recommended the internship to her. Two years later, it turned into a full-time job. “Thanks USD, for getting me connected,” she says.

MARIANA MONTES (BA) writes, “I’ve been busy working at the San Diego Eye Bank.” She adds that her manager is a USD alum as well.

PRISCILLA PEREZ (BA) joined the International Rescue Committee in San Diego as an AmeriCorps VIP fellow in September 2018.

CHANDLER ROGERS (BS/BA) is an electrical engineer for Black & Veatch, where he designs and updates hydroelectric plants.

ABIGAIL SCHRADER (BA) is on the media team at a digital advertising agency in downtown Portland, Oregon.

SAMUEL SELLERS (MS) is in law enforcement and was promoted from detective to corporal.

JUSTINA TRUSEVICH (MEd) is a math teacher at Del Lago Academy in Escondido, California.


GREG STOCKING ’84 (BA) passed away.

Please note that content for USD Magazine has a long lead time. Publication of Torero Notes typically occurs 4-6 months after we receive them.



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