Spring 2021 Class Notes

USD campus beauty.

Learn what your fellow University of San Diego alumni are sharing. Submit your own class note by emailing classnotes@sandiego.edu.



LOUIS R. CAPPELLO (BBA) is a retired mortgage banker.



MARY DUGAN (BA) writes,  “I love New York! I’ve now lived here 38 years. Meanwhile, one son, John Louie, is a scientist and professor at U Nevada Reno, approaching retirement; the other son, Tom, is a longtime 4th grade teacher in Los Angeles; and my daughter Nancy transports horses in her 8-horse trailer. I’ve been careful during COVID, staying in with my companion, Robert Mentken, who is a Holocaust survivor; I did attend the Juneteenth Black Lives Matter march. Since 2016, I’ve been a part-time grant writer at the Ice Theatre of New York, now working from home (I miss my office — and my church). I’m blessed to live a block from Central Park where I exercise first thing in the morning. Life is good, though I mourn three friends who died of COVID-19.”


JOHN BAXTER (BA) celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary on Aug. 19, 2017.

VERN D. SCHOOLEY (JD) announced the move of his offices, Fulwider Patton LLP, from West Los Angeles to Long Beach. He is no stranger to Long Beach, having served as president of the Long Beach Bar Association and founding president of the Ball/Hunt/Schooley American Inn of Court. He has played a leadership role with the AIC for many years, serving as West Coast director and coordinating many joint meetings. He arranged for Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye to speak at the 100th anniversary celebration for the Long Beach bar and for the Hon. Ken Starr to speak at a joint meeting held on the Queen Mary. Vern continues his practice of intellectual property law, both for patent prosecution before the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office and trials and appeals at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and in the various federal courts.



PATRICIA (COBB) WHEELER (BA) received her Montessori certificate and subsequently opened the Montessori Achievement Centre in 1984. “I have a daughter and a son, plus four grandchildren,” she writes. “I am also treasurer of the San Diego Dachshund Club.”


FATHER THOMAS SIMONS (BA) retired last fall from Holy Trinity Parish and school in Comstock Park, Michigan, after nearly 44 years of priestly ministry in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. West Catholic High School, his alma mater in Grand Rapids, is presenting him with the John Paul II award for his contributions to the school and community. He looks forward to a different pace and will continue to assist parishes in the diocese.


PETER WEINSTEIN (JD) has retired from active law practice. “I will always love USD — a great institution,” he says.

MARK ZECCA (BA) received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Top Tech Awards sponsored by the San Diego Business Journal and Cox Communications. He has held various chief information officer roles including living and working with several companies in France and teaching at the Ecole Superieure d’Ingenierurs de l’Universite de Montpellier.


Corporate headshot of Charles LiMandri '77 (BA)

Charles LiMandri

CHARLES S. LiMANDRI (BA), along with Milan L. Brandon ’13 (BA) and Noel J. Meza ’19 (JD), published “Business Interruption Coverage for the COVID-19 Pandemic: Insurance Industry Fights Biggest Battle Ever Against Difficult Odds” in the Insurance Litigation Reporter last summer. They published “Pandemic of Coverage Litigation for Business Income Losses Due to Coronavirus Plagues Insurance Industry” in the California Insurance Law & Regulation Reporter last spring. The three argued that many California businesses with “business interruption” insurance should be entitled to compensation from lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

JOAN STEIDINGER (BA) is a licensed psychologist teaching sports psychology at San Jose State University and has written two books on woman athletes. Stand Up and Shout Out: Women’s Fight for Equal Pay, Equal Rights, and Equal Opportunities in Sports was released last March. Major female leaders from the U.S. and other countries were interviewed for the book. Her first book, Sisterhood in Sports: How Female Athletes Collaborate and Compete, won five literary awards. “I’ve resided for 31 years in Mill Valley, California, living with my wonderful husband, John Poulson, and two Goldie dogs, Parker and Jesse,” she reports. 

HEATHER RUTH WISHIK (JD) retired from the Nature Conservancy last spring and is now happily writing a memoir and making art prints, paintings and collages. “I expect to continue teaching MBA students one quarter a year at the Darden School, University of Virginia when and if COVID-19 permits,” she says.


REBECCA BLAKELY BROWN (BA) reports that she won a federal lawsuit against the San Diego Police Department in 2020 over civil rights violations. “My attorney, Gene Iredale and his firm were phenomenal in defending my rights,” she says. “USD helped me to understand how to stand up for what’s right — no matter how hard the journey.”


BRIAN BRINIG (JD) is an adjunct law professor and has published his fourth book, Mastering Self-Discipline: A Thoughtful Approach Gets Better Results. It is available on Amazon.com.

PAUL LEEHEY (JD) reports that he closed his Fallbrook, California law office but is still practicing civil rights law with his high school buddy from Hawaii. He built a separate office next to his home and calls it his “mancave.” He has fixed his home “so daughter/SIL and grandkids can live below us — a blessing during this COVID life. Keep safe and healthy!”



JAIME PAREDES (BBA) worked in asset management and investigation for the last 15 years. Prior to that, he spent 14 years on the Spalding/Gatorade Pro Handball Tour in the U.S. and around the world. Two years ago he attended the 40th reunion of the 1978 Torero baseball team that went to the NCAA Division II World Series. He and his son have started Tuga & JP’s BBQ & Catering. Jaime and his wife celebrated their 23rd anniversary last spring. His son is a sophomore at Grossmont Junior College and daughter is a junior at Our Lady of Peace High School in San Diego;
he hopes both will attend USD.


LYNNE GULIZIA (JD), ’86 (MBA) retired on June 30, 2020 after 39 years in the water purification industry.


MICHAEL J. DiTOMMASO (BA) and Janet (Swem) DiTommaso ’86 (BBA) reconnected at their USD 25th reunion and report that they married in 2018. Their son, Michael D. DiTommaso, is attending USD this fall.


SHARON STEGMULLER (BA) is president and wner of Imperial Premix LLC, in Imperial, California. She writes, “I’m leading a 60-year family company providing livestock supplements (vitamins and minerals) to 400,000 head of cattle daily.”


ANDRE DOUZDJIAN (BBA) received the 2020 CFO of the Year Award in the government agency  category from the San Diego Business Journal. As the chief financial officer for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), he provides a consistently high level of excellence, demonstrated through sound financial management with intelligent risk-taking and empowerment opportunities for his staff. “It’s unfortunate it happened during COVID,” Andre says. “It would have been great to see and receive this award with my peer group.” 

MARY (LIVINGSTON) McCORMICK (JD) recently retired from the practice of law, having spent the last nine years as a Department of Defense appellate lawyer representing those convicted of war crimes at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

CHRISTOPHER A. WELLBORN (JD) was sworn in as secretary of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at its annual meeting on August 15, 2020. A solo practitioner defending people in South Carolina accused of crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felony charges in state and federal courts, he also is the recipient of the NACDL’s 2019 Heeney Award, given annually to the criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the goals and values of the NACDL and the entire legal profession.



TOM DAVIS (BA) was elected in June 2020 to serve as the next president of the San Diego Diocese Chapter of the Knights of Columbus. The San Diego chapter helps guide Knights in 82 parishes across San Diego and Imperial counties as they serve their churches and communities, conducting charitable works for those in need. Becoming a Knight shortly after graduation, he was motivated to join because of all the charitable outreach he saw while at USD; the Knights offered an opportunity to continue that spirit of service.

DIANE (FATOVIC) MORRISON (BBA) reports that she lives in Incline Village in Lake Tahoe, Nevada with her husband, Robb, and children, Jack, 17, and Lili, 12. Diane works as a financial advisor and estate planner for Dailey Morrison Financial. “Girls’ trips with fellow ’90s alumni Sarah (Tierney) Sparkman, Regina Doody, Megan Dunn, Katrina Smith and Catey (Truman) DeBalko are a yearly highlight!” she says. Their last big trip celebrated their collective 50th birthdays in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.


MARY JOAN BARCELON (BACC) is looking for a job in accounting in Southern California. She previously had worked as a consultant and accountant at two small accounting firms; after five years at a sporting goods company, she was let go due to the evolution of a small company. “Good friends and good family relations are of high importance and I keep those dear to me close, including my two pooches who I take on five mile walks once a week,” she says. “One of my biggest investments is my education at USD, which I am very proud of. Keeping in contact with alumni is great!”

CANDACE (CASUTT) GIBBS (BA) says she and her husband, Lee, “are overjoyed that our daughter, Alexa, was admitted to USD and started in August. Our son, Max, recently graduated from the SDSU School of Business!”


STEVEN MELEN (BBA) has published his first book, Killer Graces. Written with Matthew Hose ’15, who was editor of The Vista as a student, it is the story of Steven “bouncing back and navigating through cancer, addiction, adoption and other of life’s biggest challenges.”


APRIL JOHNSON (JD) is now vice president of Claims and Corporate Compliance with BETA Healthcare Group, the largest hospital professional liability insurer on the West Coast. She recently celebrated her 20th employment anniversary.


MARGARET DeREMER (BA) is completing her doctorate in sport and mental performance psychology. She’s also started DeRemer Coaching, focusing on mental performance for athletes as well as within corporate settings. “My kids are what keep me driven and always moving forward!” she says.


JENNIFER BOWHEY (BA) writes that she and her family sold their home in greater Seattle and moved to Kilmarnock, Virginia, to operate a Visiting Angels agency. “It was wonderful to find such an effective team here already and to relocate with our daughters (11 and 12) to another coastal town,” she says. “Virginia is beautiful!”


ELIZABETH MARIE HIMCHAK (BA), ’02 (MA) has been promoted to editor of the Rancho Bernardo News Journal and Poway News Chieftain, which are part of the Union-Tribune Community Press. She has won more than 80 journalism awards from the San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club and California News Publisher Association. She also is an SPJ San Diego board member and a member of the San Diego Civic Dance Arts Ensemble, a performance dance company whose members are chosen through audition, and is an active member of the FBI San Diego Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

TOMÁS (JOSÉ) H. LUCERO (BA) writes that he has moved from San Diego to New York City to become a crimes victim paralegal at the Empire Justice Center. “In my fourth year as a paralegal, I will help bring justice to low-income individuals, including undocumented immigrants, who fall victim to crimes such as domestic violence.”

KIM (SWEENEY) POLO (BA) has produced a documentary, Don’t Forget Them, about refugees in Kurdistan. She hopes the film will be presented at film festivals worldwide, including San Diego’s. Learn more at www.facebook.com/DocumentaryDontForgetThem



NATHAN SCHNEIDER (BS/BA) reports that he and his family moved from Hawaii back to the mainland in December 2019. The Navy commander is living in Corpus Christi, Texas and is a T-45 instructor pilot out of VT-22 in Kingsville.

RICARDO VALERDI (BS/BA) has been named a distinguished outreach professor at the University of Arizona in the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering.


SALLY HERR (BS/BA) is working at TrellisWare Technologies as head of Program Management. As a member of the USD Alumni Council, she has employed a project engineering intern from USD and welcomes more interns from USD to gain hands-on engineering experience and exposure.

GISLENE WEIG (BS/BA) reports that since graduation she has worked on low voltage system integration and implementation of Information Technology Systems (ITS), audio visual and security systems. Her design portfolio includes museums, large hospitals, colleges, multistory offices and mix-use buildings. Her passion is to design highly efficient and sustainable buildings. She is an associate principal at Integral Group, a deep green engineering consulting company.


IAN NAUHAUS (BS/BA) lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and children (ages 5 and 3). He is an assistant professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the principal investigator of a lab that uses microscopy and signal processing methods to understand cortical circuits underlying visual perception. Each spring, he teaches a laboratory course on microscopy to undergraduates majoring in neuroscience. He will go up for tenure in the spring of 2021.

MATTHEW WILLIAMS (MA) is a planner for the Department of Defense was transferred to the  Northern Command Headquarters at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, after 15 years in the Washington, D.C. area.


SABA HERITAGE (MA) writes, “Hello, Torero family. It is with great pleasure I report to you that I have received my PhD in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University in May 2020.” 

JEFFREY McATEE (MSGL) was selected director of External Affairs for the Environmental Protection Agency in Region 6, a five-state area headquartered in Dallas. Daughter Julia is a sophomore at USD.


MELODY ABLOLA (BS/BA) has been featured twice on the 40 Under 40 lists for her work in engineering building design and is the newest member of USD’s Industrial and Systems Engineering Advisory Board.

ANNETTE LO (MA) is in charge of the Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Literacy and Learning Project with the City Contemporary Dance Company. The project recently won the Certificate of Merit (Non-School Division) for Arts Education at the 14th Hong Kong Arts Development Awards and the Outstanding Dance Education or Community Dance Award at the 22nd Hong Kong Dance Awards.

TAMI G. VAIL (JD) has joined the firm of Kahana Feld as managing partner of its new San Diego office. She most recently was a partner at Liedle, Larson & Vail and is an outstanding AV preeminent rated trial attorney with a deep understanding of San Diego and its courts. She has more than 15 years of experience representing businesses and governmental entities in personal injury, wrongful death, construction and employment matters and also volunteers in her children’s schools and with local nonprofits providing food and resources to underprivileged families.


KATIE CONLON (BA) was awarded a National Geographic Explorer Grant 2020-2021 and is leading a team of researchers on an expedition across the Himalayas through India, Nepal and Bhutan. The project’s goal is raise awareness and find solutions for plastic pollution in this highly sensitive socioecological region of the Himalayas, also known as the third pole. She also is the lead consultant on a second National Geographic Explorer project working on environmental education in Tamil Nadu, India and completed her PhD at Portland State University this year.

THOMAS CONGDON (BS/BA) works at Google as a senior hardware design engineer focused on bringing the next generation of Google Nest camera products to market. His wife and 3-year-old son recently relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area from San Diego.

MATTHEW DOMINICK (BS/BA) reports that he completed his NASA astronaut training candidacy in January 2020 and is now eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars. The graduation came after more than two years of basic training.


MARCOS VARGAS (BS/BA) works as a responsible engineer, sustaining a production line of integrated microwave assemblies at Cobham in San Diego. He says that he and his wife, Monica, are blessed with two tremendous little boys that fill their lives more than they expected.


ALI AlMATROUK (BS/BA) is vice chairman and managing director at Jadeite Group, a family-owned business focusing on real estate ownership, development and investments. Jadeite Group launched its first residential project called JADE in Kuwait in May 2020. Further, Simsim Outstanding Shawarma, a Jadeite Group subsidiary, opened its second restaurant location in Carmel Mountain in the fall of 2019. Ali was also elected as a board member for the Wedian Real Estate Company, his grandfather’s real estate arm.

IROQUOIS JOHNSON (BA) graduated with a master’s in Regulatory Affairs and Services from St. Cloud State University in 2019 and is working for a medical device company in Minnesota. She reports she was married on the beach in Kauai, Hawaii in February 2020. She has a son, Kai, and daughter, Peyton.

MICHAEL MARKUNAS (JD) was recently named general counsel and chief compliance officer for B. Riley Wealth Management, Inc. in Los Angeles. He also was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the city’s Leaders in Law.

REBECCA (SCHMIDTKE) SPARKS (BACC/BBA) is the chief operating officer and owner of MacRebur Southern California that takes plastic waste destined for landfills and incineration sites and turns it into plastic roads. The organization has been featured on CBS, CNN, CNBS, BBC and, recently, on every local San Diego news station. It recently opened a manufacturing plant in San Diego and diverted the waste equivalent of almost three million plastic straws.


REBECCA FRAZEE (EdD) writes that she is teaching at San Diego State University in the Learning Design and Technology graduate program and also served her community over the summer as an edtech first responder by providing professional development and support to more than 1,000 faculty as they transitioned to online teaching. She also serves as associate director of the Flexible Learning Environments Exchange initiative (Flexspace.org), an award-winning global education resource with more than 5,000 members from 67 countries.

CHRIS GIANELLI (BS/BA) graduated from the University of Florida with a PhD in electrical and computer engineering and took a position as a radar systems engineer with Aptiv in Indianapolis, Indiana. He and his wife have been adjusting to the cold weather and exploring the city with their dog, Mimo.

SCOTT GOLDSMITH (JD) has joined FisherBroyles LLP as a commercial litigation and class action defense partner in Southern California.

LAUREL GLASS LEES (BA) reports that over the past year, she cofounded two businesses, A STELLAR CO and Shirt Sauna, and joined the executive team for Controlled Thermal Resources. “With a focus on stakeholder capitalism, I work toward permitting the Hell’s Kitchen Power & Lithium Project at the Salton Sea, launching a consumer product that eliminates ironing, hosting the ORION Podcast and Runway
to Regeneration events, and providing regenerative business consulting services,” she says. “I’m serving my second two-year term on the California Board of Directors for the Association of Environmental Professionals. I live part time in Ocean Beach and Imperial Valley with my husband and two dogs. We love outdoor adventures and travelling, especially to our new family home in Ketchum, Idaho. Although my USD 7×7 talk was cancelled this year due to COVID, I look forward to sharing my entrepreneurial story when the time is right!”

VICTORIA LUND (BA) reports that she and a friend, Iman Gibson, have created an album of antiracism mediations. “Created through the lens of a Black and a white teacher, the album is designed to support people of all races seeking to be true allies,” says Victoria. The project is live on Spotify, AppleMusic, Soundcloud and Insight Timer. “We were recently featured in Yoga Journal and I would love to share this with the USD community.”

LISA SALDIAS (BA) writes that she is “happy to share the birth our son, Julian Saldias Ceisel. He came into the world just before the quarantine began on Feb. 8, 2020. He is the greatest gift!”



VERONICA GERETZ (MA) is using her degree from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies to offer mindfulness and trauma-informed yoga to incarcerated youth and adults with the Prison Yoga Project and working with local governments to support antiracist policy with SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice).

LAUREN KENNEDY (BS/BA) works at YouTube as a technical program manager. She and her husband, JP, love to cook with their daughter and expect to welcome a new baby this fall.

MATT LEIGH (BS/BA) recently won a Grammy for engineering work on Willie Nelson’s Ride Me Back Home. This is Matt’s first Grammy win after two previous nominations with Natalie Grant. Matt, a mechanical engineering major, continues to work as a music producer in Nashville, Tennessee.

LISSETTE LIZÁRRAGA (BA) has planted roots by purchasing her first home in the San Francisco Bay Area and landing her dream job at Airbnb. She says her international relations major and three study abroad experiences at USD have paid off.

ALISA SIEBER-JOHNSON (BS/BA) says she recently left active duty service with the U.S. Marine Corps as a KC-130J pilot. She continues as CEO of a national nonprofit, Dogs on Deployment, and is enrolled in USD’s part-time MBA program with her husband, Shawn Johnson ’06 (BA).

MAUREEN TRUXTON (BA) graduated with an MBA from Georgetown University last May. She accepted a position with Ruben’s Americas, a fine Swiss lactose-free chocolate company. “We are looking to introduce the brand to the U.S. and I am excited to be part of a female-led team,” she says.

CHAD WILSON (BS) reports that he and his wife, Katie (Gosen) Wilson ’09, had their first child in June 2020, a baby boy named Ridge Henry Wilson. “Mama and baby are healthy and well,” he says. “As his outdoorsy name suggests, Ridge recently joined us for his first camping trip in Mammoth. I joined WestPac Wealth Partners as a wealth management advisor and CPA. My move to join WestPac was fueled by my desire to make a bigger impact in the lives of our family, friends and community.”


CHASE TUSHAUS (BS/BA) reports that he has joined his father and brother in business as a financial advisor for Tushaus Wealth Management, where he and their team provide guidance to others, especially during economically challenging times such as these. Chase says that he and his wife, Julia, “enjoy living in downtown San Diego where Julia eagerly awaits to be surprised with a puppy one day!”

DANIEL YAGOUBZADEH (JD) reports that he and his wife, Abbie, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Naomi Rose Yagoubzadeh, on April 6, 2020.

TAY YOUNG (BS/BA) recently started a position as the quality materials manager at Purple Innovations, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.


KRISTOPHER Di GIOVANNI (JD) was accepted into UCLA’s Fully Employed MBA program.

AARON PAXTON (BS/BA) was recently promoted to a marketing and applications manager position at Texas Instruments. He continues to reside in Tucson, Arizona.


Genevieve M. Ruch ’12 (JD)

GENEVIEVE M. RUCH (JD) was honored by Best Lawyers for the first time on the Ones to Watch list for commercial litigation. She is a partner at Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP in San Diego.

MICHAEL ZARCONI (JD) was selected for the Ones to Watch list by Best Lawyers for commercial litigation. He is a shareholder in the firm of Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel with offices in San Diego and Las Vegas.


JESSICA BUCKLEY CARLSON (BS/BA) reports that she is living with her husband, Brett, in Swansea, Wales. The couple were “alloyed” in Estes Park, Colorado last August and moved to the United Kingdom for Brett’s post-doctoral research position three weeks later. After working as an engineer in the tunneling industry for three years, Jess is exploring the education sector during their time abroad.

KEVIN FOREY (BA) is finishing the final year of his residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

MAYA MANCUSO (BA) reports that she and Chase Mendoza ’12

Maya Mancuso ’13 (BA) and Chase Mendoza ’12 (BAC)

MAYA MANCUSO (BA) reports that she and Chase Mendoza ’12 were married in Napa, California on September 21, 2019. The two met as undergraduates when she was a campus tour guide and he worked in the undergraduate admissions office. “A true Torero love story,” she says. Members of the wedding party included fellow alumni Chloe Lingle, Kacie Forker, Hannah Emory, Courtney Monheit, Christopher Castleberry, F. Mikael Rosenberger and Samuel Hartfield. Chase is an accounting manager at Stockbridge Capital Group while Maya is U.S. business relationships manager with Bird & Bird. The couple live in Mill Valley, California and Maya is president of the Bay Area Torero Club. 

SCOTT MARCUS (BBA) is a Navy lieutenant and SEAL and plans to retire in June 2023 after 23 years of active duty service.

SAMANTHA SLAVINSKY (BA) was honored as Teacher of the Year at Rauner College Prep last spring in Chicago and also was a High School Teacher of the Year finalist for the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.


PHILIP HOSKINSON (BS/BA) has published his thesis and used his mechanical engineering degree by teaching MENG 260 at USD last spring after buying his first house.

COURTNEY OCHI (BA) is now principal of Lemon Grove Academy Elementary School in San Diego County.


SARAH BAKER (BA) successfully defended her thesis, “Blood-Derived Plasminogen Modulates the Neuroimmune Response in Both Alzheimer’s Disease and Systemic  Infection Models” and received her PhD from The Rockefeller University last spring.

HELEEN BENNETT (BA) was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia from 2016 to 2018.

NICHOLAS DILONARDO (BA) is an English teacher and head lacrosse coach at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School. He is working on a book project.

KELSEY ENGELHARDT (BBA) found a company she loves working for five years ago in consulting.

ADAM KREBS (BS/BA) has transitioned roles from manufacturing to supplier quality. The company he works for, Ventec Life Systems, ramped up production at their Bothell, Washington facility in parallel with partnering with General Motors at their Kokomo, Indiana facility to meet the demand for critical care ventilators to combat COVID-19.

SAMUEL McCLAY (BS/BA) continues to work as a nuclear submarine officer for the Navy. He is stationed at Trident Training Facility Kings Bay, Georgia, as a submarine tactics instructor, and is responsible for the training and certification of Ballistic and Guided Missile submarine crews prior to at sea operations. He and his wife, Taylor ’14, celebrated their third wedding anniversary in June.

KATELYN MCCULLOUGH (BBA) started her own business (Elwynn + Cass) in San Diego in the summer of 2015 and has expanded to working with clients nationally and internationally. Locations include Northern and Southern California, Arizona, Colorado, Las Vegas, Minnesota, New York City, Seattle, Texas, Italy and Mexico.

DAN PARTYNSKI (BA) moved to Japan in March 2019, where he intends to pursue his online contract work while immersing himself in Japanese culture — a lifelong dream. His mom, Maureen Partynski ’82, is supportive and intends to learn Japanese so they can converse.

DIANA SÁNCHEZ (BA) graduated from the Stanford University School of Law last spring.

ANGELA VANELLA (BA) was put in charge of orchestrating the design, coordination, and construction of a 14,000-square-foot house on her own.

KIM WOODBURY (BS/BA) continues to work at Thermo Fisher Scientific as a kit development manufacturing engineer. Based in San Francisco, she has been working with her team, research and development, and operations on new product development and continuous improvement initiatives supporting their Clinical Next-Generation Sequencing Division. As much as she misses San Diego, she is really finding her place in San Francisco, as she has become actively engaged in Thermo Fisher’s Women’s Employee Resource Group, participated in her first set of 5Ks, the 2019 San Francisco Pride Parade as well as networking by coordinating team building events.

TROY ZAWLACKI (BS/BA) is approaching his fourth year working for Apple, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been in several different positions in that time; he currently works as a mechanical design engineer in the hardware organization.


MICHAEL BAGIAN (BS/BA) is working at Solar Turbines and has been keeping busy during the pandemic with work duties. He is slowly switching from a mechanical design focus to a controls design focus. Michael is happy to announce his recent engagement to fellow Torero Lauren Riley ‘17 (BA).

GRAHAM BENNETT (BA) reports that he and his wife, Alex, have lived in Newport Beach, California for the past three years. He recently quit his job to pursue a career advocating for social justice.

RISHIKA DARYANANI (BS/BA) is an industry solutions and services consultant with Accenture and continues to provide energy companies on the West Coast with premier technology services. She is enjoying time with her family in San Diego and is utilizing her party planning skills to throw digital get-togethers. “If you need any tips or tricks, feel free to reach out!” she says.

TANNER FRANKLIN (BS/BA), ’18 (MS) has moved to Maple Valley, Washington, where he works as a system security engineer at Boeing. He is assigned to the Presidential Airplane, commonly referred to as Air Force One. Additionally, Tanner works as a police officer for a neighboring town of Black Diamond. Tanner reports that he has been married to Ashley for more than five years; together they have three sons, Noah, 4; Isaac, 3 and Joshua, 1.

CRISTINA GARCIA-CARTAGENA (BS/BA) continues to work for BN Builders managing construction projects for the pharmaceutical industry. Last year she traveled to Graceland to celebrate her promotion to senior project engineer.

KEANU GUTUTALA (BS/BA) continues to work as a radio frequency hardware engineer for Northrop Grumman in San Diego. During quarantine, he has been honing several important skills, including “solving jigsaw puzzles, wine critiques and long hair management.”

KARLY JERMAN (BS/BA) is a senior data scientist at Vanguard where she and her team are developing and deploying machine learning and natural language processing tools for the Investment Management Group.

JESSE NEBRES (BBA, BACC) has moved to New Hampshire to earn an MBA at the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business. He also has started a company, SurfStraw, the first water bottle for wetsuits.

ERIC ROBBIBARO (BS/BA) works as a sales engineer for VEGA Americas, where he and his team are designing new ways to implement safety systems in industrial processes. He and his fiancé, Abby Flannery ’17 (BS/BA), live in Los Angeles and spend their time exploring the city and relaxing with their family in Orange County.

TORRI SHERLIN (JD) received the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award in Environmental Litigation from the Daily Journal in the spring of 2020.


KIEFER GRINGLE (BS/BA) continues work at Collins Aerospace (formerly UTC Aerospace Systems) as a manufacturing engineer, supporting manufacturing operations and producibility transformations throughout the Aerostructures division. In 2019, Kiefer was granted a patent which was filed in 2016 during his internship at UTC Aerospace Systems. In 2019 Kiefer returned to USD’s School of Business to pursue his graduate studies and is working on an MBA.

JAKE HALLGRIMSON (BS/BA) works as a management consultant at Accenture in his hometown of Seattle, Washington. Jake is part of the Customer Sales and Service strategy practice and has spent most of his early career on business model strategy, business process design and large-scale digital transformation engagements.

IAN LITUCHY (BS/BA) works in software development for the rapidly growing dermatology and skin care company, Apostrophe, in Oakland, California. In addition, he continues to build out his own software platform, City Flavor, which provides event planners with the means to create, manage and organize their events through a large network of vendors and venues.

DUY NGO (BS/BA) continues to work as a mechanical systems engineer for Boeing’s 787 program in Everett, Washington, while starting the MBA program at University of Washington, Bothel, and getting
a private pilot’s license.

BRANDON PRUSSAK (BS/BA) continues to work as an operations program manager at Viasat Inc., leading a team in the commercial aviation sector.

GERALYN WILLIAMS (MA) is celebrating two years of working at Princeton University in its Pace Center for Civic Engagement. She keeps busy in her local community in New Jersey by volunteering with youth groups and being a part of the Board of Directors of ReThink Theatrical, a community theater company.


DEVYN BRYANT (BS/BA) has worked for SDG&E for the past two years and is enjoying it very much. He recently received a promotion to engineer II. He loves his new position within Substation Construction and is working to learn and soak up all that he can.

MICHAEL DOYLE (BS/BA) continues to work for The MITRE Corporation as a machine learning engineer, researching new techniques in artificial intelligence and machine learning and how to apply them to different government projects. He likes to spend his off time playing drums, boxing and headbanging at punk concerts.

CHRIS SHEEHAN (BS/BA) started his career as a quality engineer for Alphatec Spine, a medical device company that designs implants and instruments used in spine surgery. In November 2019, Chris transitioned into research and development; he works as a design engineer for the Access and Advanced Technology Team.


LAURA BECERRA (BS/BA) is a PhD student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program at UCSD. She is co-advised in the nanoengineering department, where she investigates haptic feedback and flexible electronics for medical devices. She balances her time by salsa dancing, running half marathons and visiting family back home when she can.

AMY DADDARIO (MEd) completed her master’s with a concentration in school leadership and was promoted to special education manager in the San Jose Unified School District. She also began the doctoral program in education at the University of Arizona.

DANIELLE GADBOIS (BS/BA) continues to work as a mechanical engineer at GenMark Diagnostics in Carlsbad, California, where she implements reliability improvements for their ePlex system, a sample to answer diagnostic system. Most recently, GenMark Diagnostics has had such a high demand for their product that Danielle spent time installing new systems at UCSF and UC Davis for COVID-19 testing, as
well as performing maintenance on existing systems at Stanford, and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco for Respiratory Panel testing.

ERIC GERSBACHER (MASI) writes that he is “looking for THAT job, and keeping life worthwhile in the process. Getting back in touch with my blue-collar roots in Buffalo, New York, has put me back where I came from, but with a completely new mindset. It’s been fulfilling to work in farms, factories and schools, while seeing my autistic sister regularly.”

AUSTIN HIRSH (BS/BA) graduated last June with a master’s in Entrepreneurship from the University of Washington Foster School of Business. He has now launched his own startup, The 2050 Company, which aims to reduce food waste and create “food for the future.” Last summer, Hirsh’s company launched its first product, the 2050 Smoothie, which transforms rescued produce into a nonperishable, ready-to-blend smoothie.

BRIAN LEE (BS/BA) is an engineer for the Naval Information Warfare Center ¬Pacific in Point Loma. He has been working as a design engineer for various projects and systems that help increase the reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities of the Navy. Outside of work, he spends time with his wife, Ally, and two kids by going on daily walks, gardening and tinkering in his workshop.

MOLLY McGARVEY (BS/BA) has settled into her new role as a manufacturing support team Member Asc at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas. Despite the hurdles brought by COVID-19, she continues to report to work each day and some weekends to support the Defense Industrial Base. Since moving to Dallas after graduation, Molly has enjoyed exploring the new city and is looking forward to relocating to Fort Worth to be closer to work.

LAUREN MOHRMAN (BS/BA) continues to work as a project engineer for Critchfield Mechanical, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite working at home since mid-March of last year, she went full speed designing the HVAC system for two high-rise residential buildings in San Francisco. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she continues to donate whole blood and platelets at the Stanford Blood
Center to help those in need.

MATTEO SALOM (BS/BA) continues in his first year at Qualcomm Government Technologies as an embedded software engineer. He supports various projects to help the government leverage the full potential of commercial technology. He remains in close (virtual) contact with his fellow integrated engineers while adjusting to post-grad life.

MICHAEL SWEEN (BS/BA) works as a test engineer at Blue Origin. The firm develops rockets, engines and lunar landers to carry astronauts (including USD alumni) to the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis Program.

TAYLOR WONG (BS/BA) is a technical product manager for RiskSense, a provider of risk-based vulnerability management technology. Her expertise spans security automation, web application security, black box penetration testing and machine learning for risk quantification. She recently closed on her first house in Albuquerque, New Mexico.



MEGAN BAILEY (BS/BA) is working as a site reliability engineer for Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) based out of San Diego. Megan interned with GTRI while attending USD.

ELEANOR CECELIA BARNHILL (BS/BA) is an associate software engineer for Cubic Transportation Systems in San Diego. She interned with Cubic through the Industry Scholars Program.

AVA BELLIZZI (BS/BA) was the valedictorian for the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering and graduated with an impressive 3.99 GPA in mechanical engineering. She was active in undergraduate research, a member of three honor societies and served twice on the board of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers student organization. Ava also participated in the USD Honors Program and was a member of the chool’s Industry Scholars and Mentorship programs.

CALEB BENSON (BS/BA) is an industrial engineer for Medical Devices, based out of San Diego.

CHARLES BULLARD (BS/BA) launched LyfBox, which offers a basecamp solution for natural disasters. The Lyfbox entrepreneurship team participated in five pitch competitions over two years leading up to graduation, winning thousands of dollars in seed funding. Lyfbox was awarded the Innovation Award in the 2020 Fowler Global
Social Innovation Challenge.

CHRISTOPHER CAYLOR (MEd) has been doing lots of workouts as he prepared for a powerlifting meet at the end of 2020. After 11 interviews with schools and school districts, he accepted a full-time position at Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego teaching 12th grade economics and 11th grade literature.

ARICA CHRISTENSEN (BS/BA) interned for Booz Allen Hamilton while attending USD. She was one of 400 interns selected from more than 7,000 applicants across the U.S. to participate in its Summer Games program and now works as a data scientist for the firm in San Diego.

EMILY COCKELL (BS/BA) is a data analyst at Intuit in San Diego. She interned for the firm as a student.

MICHAEL DANA (BS/BA) is working as a quality engineer for ServiceNow in San Diego. He interned with the company while at USD.

JESSICA DIAZ (BA) began working on her doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Tennessee a month after graduating from USD last spring. She’s excited about becoming a dentist over the next four years and hopes to return to San Diego afterward.

MICHAEL DOPKISS (BS/BA) interned for Dassault Systemes while at USD and now works full time as a consultant for the firm in San Diego.

KALEB DUKE (BS/BA) accepted a position as a mechanical engineer for the Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC) for NAVSEA in San Diego.

ABBY DYKAS (BS/BA) moved to Boise, Idaho where she works as a management trainee for Simplot, one of the largest privately owned companies in the world.

BRIANNA DYRDAHL (BS/BA) is a systems engineer in cybersecurity for Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, New Jersey.

ALTHEA FASTIDIO (BS/BA) is working in El Segundo, California as a technical development program engineer I for AT&T.

VALERIYA FOX (BS/BA) works in Redondo Beach, California as an associate electronics engineer for Northrop Grumman. 

ZACH FUKUHARA (BS/BA) accepted a position as software engineer for Clearwater Analytics, which is based out of Boise, Idaho.

KELLEN GAEIR (BS/BA) interned for DPR Construction while at USD. He received three job offers prior to graduation and works as an inside sales representative for DMG, Inc. in San Diego. DMG sells construction equipment to contractors, such as HVAC equipment, chillers and water pumps.

JUAN PAULO GALINDO-DeWITT (BS/BA) received three job offers and works as a manufacturing transformation production supervisor for Bimbo Bakeries USA in Montebello, California. He monitors procedures and standards to ensure and maintain a food safe environment.

EVAN GRATTENDICK (BS/BA) received three job offers prior to graduation and is working for Spacex in Hawthorne, California, as an associate build reliability engineer intern.

ANDRE HELD (BS/BA) works as an associate engineer at Hi-Q Environmental Products Co. based out of San Diego.

VICTORIA HOLMES (BA) found her first job after graduation as a reporter for WNCT CBS’ 9 On Your Side in North Carolina.

ERICA JENKINS (BS/BA) interned with Dexcom as a student at USD and is now a technical project manager for the firm in San Diego.

ANDREW JONES (BS/BA) accepted a job as a test engineer for General Atomics based out of San Diego.

CHRISTOPHER JUNG (BS/BA) received three job offers and works as an associate software engineer in San Diego for Insulet Corporation.

ELIZABETH KRESOCK (BS/BA) turned down two job offers prior to graduation to attend the University of Tulsa for a PhD in computer science. She is part of the TU-Team8 Cyber Fellows program, which selects 10 students from different STEM disciplines to complete an accelerated PhD in four years.

CASSIDY KUHN (BS/BA) works as an electrical engineer for Northrop Grumman in Baltimore, Maryland.

BRYAN LEONOR (BS/BA) interned at Cubic Transportation Systems while at USD and is an associate mechanical engineer for the firm in San Diego.

DANIEL LEY (BS/BA) started a new position as supply chain intern at Bumble Bee Foods in San Diego.

ALVARO MARTINEZ (BS/BA) works for Chosen Foods, LLC in San Diego as a data analyst to develop automated forecasts through software tools.

MADISON MINIER (BS/BA) interned for Raytheon while at USD and is a full-time mechanical engineer there, working on a combination of design and analysis out of the firm’s Sunnyvale, California office.

CREIGHTON MORFITT (BS/BA) received two job offers and accepted a position at Thermo Fisher Scientific working in the Waltham, Massachusetts location within their operations leadership development program. He connected with Thermo Fisher at USD’s Fall Career Fair.

MADELINE NELSON (BS/BA) interned for Northrop Grumman while studying embedded software and is now working for the firm’s Mission Systems as a software engineer in their San Diego location. She will be working on a product called TIGER used for testing and training.

AGUSTIN OCHOA (MBA) is working at Borrego Solar Systems in San Diego. “I am ecstatic and immensely grateful, as this is a dream come true for me, and I couldn’t have done it without the MBA education and USD’s network,” he says. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to fight climate change, an issue that I care deeply about, and to help build a greener and more sustainable world. Here’s to becoming an active Changemaker in the green energy revolution!”

EDUARDO ORTEGA (BS/BA) works as an associate test engineer for Insulet Corporation in San Diego. Ortega’s role is to conduct automated tests and debug solution implementation for Insulet Omnipods, an innovative insulin delivery system.

JAMES PALA (BS/BA) was commissioned in the U.S. Navy, beginning training as a Surface Warfare Officer last summer. He received the Alcalá Award for the Class of 2020. The award is presented to two seniors who have achieved the balanced and holistic development that is the goal of a USD education.

JOHN PENDAS (BS/BA) works as a data analyst for Viasat in Carlsbad, California. He obtained the opportunity through an on-campus recruiting function.

DANIELLE ROMASANTA (BS/BA) was hired directly by Northrop Grumman, starting as a manufacturing engineering intern while attending the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, and now serves as an industrial/manufacturing engineer in Woodland Hills, California.

ALEXANDRO SCALCO (BS/BA) is a test engineer at General Atomics working out of its San Diego office.

ZACH SOURWINE (BS/BA) found his first professional job out of college through the USD Fall Engineering Career Fair. He works as a naval architect for the Southwest Regional Maintenance Center SWRMC) for NAVSEA in San Diego.

MICHAEL STEAD (BS/BA) received four job offers and accepted a position as a software developer for Leidos based out of San Diego. His position requires him to aid the software architect and algorithm team to develop a cohesive system that works across multiple platforms using different programming languages and operating systems.

SAMANTHA TERRANOVA (BS/BA) works for General Atomics in Poway, California as a price/cost analyst. This position is responsible for analyzing statistical and proposal data to develop independent price and cost recommendations to support negotiations with customers and suppliers.

THERESA THOMAS (BA) has moved to Omaha, Nebraska to begin her first year of medical school at Creighton University. She is interested in specializing in surgery. “I have so many mentors and advocates at USD to thank for their support along the way,” she says. “I am beyond stoked to be joining other alumni as part of the Torero-Bluejay family!”

WILLIAM TREVENA (BS/BA) received the University of Florida Graduate School Preeminence Award for its PhD program. The program helps academic units offer highly competitive research/teaching assistantship stipends to their most attractive PhD applicants.

KYLE WILLIAMS (BS/BA) received three job offers before graduation and works as a test engineer for General Atomics in Adelanto, California.

[in memoriam]

LARRY CAUDILLO, the second-winningest coach in San Diego softball history and a letter winner and/or coach with three different Torero programs, passed away September 10, 2020. He was 68. For five years in the 1980s, he was both the softball head coach and an assistant football coach. He also played Torero football and baseball for two years as a student. Caudillo was the head softball coach from 1986 to 1993 after serving as an assistant coach for 15 years. He was the program’s first Division I head coach as the team transitioned from Division III starting with the 1986 slate. In eight seasons leading the team, he had a .500 or better record in seven campaigns and won 30 games three times. He won 211 games, making him one of only two head coaches in program history with 200 or more career victories. In 1991, Caudillo and the Toreros won 34 games — the second-most wins in a season in program history — and posted a .708 winning percentage, which is the best mark ever for the program. Before leading USD softball, Caudillo began his USD football career in 1973 as a linebacker and running back for a program that was returning to the Division III level after a 12-year hiatus. He helped the Toreros reach the Division III playoffs in his first year before finishing out his playing career with the 1974 season. Since leaving USD softball, Caudillo had been a high school coach and teacher in the San Diego area. Prior to his passing, he was a biology and math teacher at Hoover High School in San Diego. “As both a Torero scholar-athlete and as a coach, Larry made immense contributions to our program, and hundreds of young women and men benefited from his coaching expertise and leadership. He will be remembered as one of the Torero greats,” says Executive Director of Athletics Bill McGillis. Survivors include his wife, Judy, and their two sons, Joe and Woody.

GREGORY S. KUZNIEWSKI, JR. ‘92 (BBA) passed away on July 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia; he was 50. Greg was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, to Gregory and Lorraine Kuzniewski on January 29, 1970. As the son of a Marine Corps family, he lived in several states and overseas. As such, he started high school in Yuma, Arizona, and finished in Yokosuka, Japan. Greg attended USD on an AROTC Scholarship and was commissioned in 1992 in the U.S. Army, served as a signal officer in Germany, was honorably discharged in 1996, later joined the reserves and was promoted to captain. He eventually became a small business/disabled veteran entrepreneur in government contracting for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He had a vibrant personality, loved everyone he met and had the uncanny ability to make deep personal connections with others. Greg loved his family, country, athletics and music but most of all, his Catholic faith. He was a true patriot and devout Christian who will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

LELAND POTTER ’81 (BBA) passed away on April 13, 2020 after a battle with colon and esophageal cancer. He worked as an appraiser for the County of San Diego. Lee had many fond memories of his time at USD. He looked forward every year to working as a volunteer at the Homecoming tailgate parties. He considered it a high point in his year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *