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NSS Dean's Board of Advisors

For more information on how to join the NSS Dean's Board of Advisors, please contact Marissa Garcia, Director of Development, at [email protected] or (323) 343-3043

Dean's Board of Advisors

Thanks to the following NSS alumni who give their time and talents to the college and students. 

Chair - Jeffrey Silverman

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Jeffrey (Jeff) Silverman, NSS Dean's Board of Advisors chairman, retired as corporate vice president for Technical Operations at Celgene Americas in April 2018. He previously worked for Alpha Therapeutics, acquired by Grifols in 2003. Jeff received a B.S. in biochemistry in 1977 from Cal State LA and was honored as the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus of NSS. He received an MBA from Claremont Graduate University. Silverman enjoys travel, cooking, photography, camping, and hiking. He lives in Pasadena with his spouse and Cal State LA alumna, Amelia Perez-Silverman. Amelia received a BS in Environmental Health Science in 1976.

Silverman is a second-generation Cal State LA alum. His late father, Ron Silverman, was alumnus and faculty emeritus of Art. He taught at Cal State LA from 1955 – 1988. The elder Silverman established the Ronald Silverman Endowed Scholarship Fund, which was set up to provide financial support to art education students at Cal State LA. He passed away in October of 2017. Jeff Silverman's mother and Ron Silverman's widow, taught kindergarten in Montebello before focusing on raising a family. Marilyn lives in a retirement home in Pasadena. She is not a Cal State LA alumna. Jeff Silverman is the chairman of the NSS Dean’s Board of Advisors

Nelson Algaze

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Principal in Charge and CEO, Nelson Algaze, consults with clients to develop and evaluate real estate, facility development and design strategies. With over 30 years of industry experience, Nelson has made a commitment to innovation and authenticity in his approach. His personal portfolio includes corporate designs that have been described as innovative and timeless. He encourages everyone at the firm to "Design Think", which can be described as the overall vision of our company: To provide business-drive design solutions with artistry and savvy. He understands how to make a good company. He invests in our people and has a strong interest in professional development in his role. His energetic personality and down-to-earth attitude weave enthusiasm and transparency into all interactions, highlighting his passion for the company, our employees, and clients.​

Ron Bates

Headshot of man with gray hair and glasses in black suit, link pink shirt and black and white polka dot tie. US flag in backgroundRon Bates, Ph.D. has served the public for more than 50 years beginning in 1969 as an administrative assistant for the City of Los Angeles and rising to the position of city manager for several Southern California cities, including Buena Park, South Gate and Pico Rivera. He also has worked in the private sector as a financial consultant; served as Mayor on the Los Alamitos City Council; and was president of the League of California Cities and the Southern California Association of Governments. In 2014, Bates received a National Public Service Award from the American Society of Public Administrators and the National Academy of Public Administration. The award recognizes government leaders who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to public service.

Derek Cotton

Headshot of Black man in black suit, white shirt and blue tie Derek Cotton is with Capital Group where he serves as a Manager of Talent Acquisition, responsible for a team of four, which handles the recruitment for the sales and sales operations group. He has direct recruitment responsibility for Private Wealth Advisors within the Private Client Services Group. Derek has over 15 years of recruitment experience through his previous employment with TPx Communications, Farmers Insurance, and Egon Zehnder International, a global retained search firm where he identified top candidates for some of the world’s leading firms.

Derek has an International MBA from Pepperdine University, which included a year of study at Mexico’s Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from San Diego State University where he also earned a minor in Naval Science.

Derek formally sat on the Board of Southern California Leadership Network and served as the Chair of the Marketing Committee. He previously was a founding Board member of the Southern California Diversity Council, a membership organization committed to advancing the diversity and inclusion conversation.

Derek is deeply involved in the Olympic sport of fencing, has sat on the Board of Directors, been the US referee to three Olympic games, and was elected to an International Commission overseeing referees.

Derek is married and is the proud father of one son.

John Dietler

Headshot of white man with glasses and a beard. Wearing a light purple shirtJohn Dietler is the vice president at SWCA Environmental Consultants, a national firm that provides comprehensive environmental planning, regulatory compliance, and natural and cultural resources management services. In this role, he provides strategic direction and leadership in the region's financial performance, business and client development, staff management, and in maintaining the firm’s reputation for high-quality scientific and technical consulting.

Dr. Dietler has over twenty years of experience conducting archaeological research in academic and applied settings. His research interests are broad, and he has published on the intersections of craft production and the origins of political complexity in prehistory, technological innovation at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and Victorian mortuary practices. His projects have received awards from the California Preservation Foundation, the Los Angeles Conservancy, and the City of San Gabriel

With master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from UCLA, the majority of Dietler's work has centered around the Los Angeles area. His Southern California team at SWCA includes numerous California State Los Angeles graduates.

Pam Duffy

white woman with blond short hair with black sweater and white collared shirtPam Duffy practices in the areas of commercial real estate, land use, and development, with a special expertise in large public and private entity transactions. She has acted as lead counsel for numerous major development projects, including one of the largest rebuilding projects in San Francisco history, the $2.5 billion Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center, which includes five campuses and two new hospitals spread across the city. She is currently lead counsel for the LA Clippers’ new Inglewood, CA arena.

She is renowned for her in-depth understanding of the long-term implications of development requirements and how they affect construction, financing, operation, leasing, and sale of a development project. Pam is unusually skilled at helping clients find elegant solutions to the challenges that arise in the development of complex public/private projects.

Pam serves on the Board of Directors of the National Advisory Council of the Institute of Governmental Studies at U.C. Berkeley and is a member of the Advisory Board of the College of Natural & Social Sciences at California State University, Los Angeles. She has previously served on the boards of the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, the San Francisco Chapter of Lambda Alpha, The Exploratorium, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR), The City Club, the International Museum of Women Advisory Committee, the Old Mission Dolores Restoration Project, the Margaret Jenkins Dance Co., the United Cerebral Palsy Association of San Francisco, and KQED, Inc.

Additionally, she was a member of the San Francisco Mayor’s 2015 Housing Working Group, and a mayoral appointee to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on the Reuse of Treasure Island Naval Base.

Pam graduated with honors from California State University, Los Angeles, in 1970 and earned her law degree, cum laude, from Loyola University, Los Angeles, in 1978. While at Loyola, she was elected to the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society and served as a Lead Articles Editor of the Loyola Law Review.

Monica E. Guardian

Woman with dark hair and black jacket and mustard shirtFrom 2011 – 2015, Monica E. Guardian served as the Special Operations Administrator for the Family Violence Operations Division of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. She served the City of Los Angeles for over 14 years, including two Mayoral Administrations.  In 2014, Monica was selected to be part of the U.S. Speaker and Specialist Program Bureau of International Information Programs through the U.S. Department of State.

Monica spent four years assigned to the City Attorney’s award-winning Neighborhood Prosecutor Program where she collaborated with the Los Angeles Police Department, city agencies and area stakeholders on projects designed to improve the quality of life and increase safety in the community. She has been recognized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with their 2009 Public Service Award and by the City of Los Angeles for her continuous efforts to educate and raise awareness among its residents.

She is committed to her communities and proves so by serving as a board member of the Los Angeles Police Department Hollenbeck Police Activities League (Hollenbeck PAL) and a board member of Northeast Community Clinics. In May of 2016, Monica was appointed as Senior Advisor by Sheriff Michael J. Brown of the Bedford County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department and designated Director of West Coast Operations for the Safe Surfin’ Foundation – a non-profit organization preventing children from being victimized by Internet predators. Monica is now serving a second term and as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Northeast Community Clinics, a Federally Qualified Health Center. (FQHC) member for 4 years.

In 2016, Monica joined the healthcare sector and in 2018 was appointed as the Director of Workforce Development Department for AltaMed Health Services Corp., the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in the U.S.  Monica also serves as Director for the East Los Angeles Area Health Education Center (AHEC), through the California Statewide Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program. She currently serves as an instructor for the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking. 

Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Mount St. Mary’s College and is the proud parent of two college-bound children.


Sharon Kennedy

Black woman with braids wearing a gold shirt and gold necklace. Background is redDr. Sharon Kennedy is a research scientist and STEM advocate who uses her scientific ability to solve complex business problems. As a product developer at Colgate Palmolive, she successfully uses her knowledge of chemistry and science to develop some of the personal care industry’s most exciting new products. Passionate about innovation, Dr. Kennedy delights in the process of taking a new consumer product fully through the phases of prototype development, proof of concept, consumer testing and validation. As an expatriate in Mexico, she currently leads the Product Development and Implementation technology groups responsible for Global Underarm Arm Protection in the Personal Care Category.

Passionate about STEM, Dr. Kennedy has served as a board member of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers where she has been able to mentor dozens of upcoming scientists. In 2017, she created the Wells4Girls Foundation whose mission is to provide resources and access for women in STEM. One of her current focuses is to expand the foundation to support and connect more young women. In 2014, NOBCChE presented Dr. Kennedy with the prestigious Winifred Burks-Houck Women’s Professional Leadership Award for the work she has done to give back to students in STEM. In that same year, Dr. Kennedy was also awarded the coveted Colgate Technology Excellence award, an honor bestowed upon a cohort of exceptional professionals whose work moved a game-changing idea forward in their category. During her Colgate tenure she has authored numerous internal publications, a book chapter and has over 45 patents.

Dr. Kennedy received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from North Carolina A&T State University in 1996. She received her PhD in Physical Chemistry in 2000 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She went on to be awarded and complete a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Polymer Division.  In 2002, she joined Colgate Palmolive as a research scientist working in advanced technology in Research and Development. While at Colgate Palmolive she has worked in a number of diverse research and development and leadership positions.

Gary Matus

Gary Matus is Managing Director of RSR Partners.  He recently received the Alumnus of the Year Award in February of 2017 and received the College of NSS Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2004. 

Prior to RSR Partners, he was a managing partner of Egon Zehnder International, heading the firm’s Financial Services Practice. Before entering search, Gary held a number of senior management roles with Bank of America, including chief marketing officer. He has also served as president and chief executive officer of Iwerks Entertainment. Gary began his career as a national brands product manager with Colgate-Palmolive.

Man with gray hair, dark blue shuit, blue and white collared shirt, and red print tieGary graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a degree in history. He also received an MBA from the Arizona State University/Thunderbird School of Global Management. Additionally, he has a post-graduate degree from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA in director education and certification. Gary lives in Pasadena, California and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, where he received his MBA, on the Board of the Los Angeles YMCA, Board of the Los Angeles Ketchum-Downtown YMCA. He is also actively involved with his alma mater CSULA, serves on its President’s Council and is a member of the College of NSS Advisory Board.


Alma Rosa Nieto

Woman with dark hair, gold earrings, and dark blue suitAlma Rosa Nieto is an immigration attorney and legal analyst based in Los Angeles, CA. She is a frequent contributor to Telemundo, Al Jazeera America, MSNBC, MSN Latino, NBC Latino, CNN, La Opinion. Alma Rosa was born in Los Angeles, California but raised in Mexico City. At 11 years old, she moved to Mexico City where she attended the prestigious “Instituto Anglo-Español.” Upon completing her education in Mexico City, Nieto returned to Los Angeles where she completed her undergraduate degree at California State University, Los Angeles. She then earned her Juris Doctorate degree at the University of California Hastings College of Law. 

Over the course of her legal career, she has represented thousands of clients and educated millions through her frequent educational appearances on television, radio, and weekly presence on social media. Notwithstanding her regular weekly appearances on Telemundo, Nieto hosts a weekly Facebook Live segment through the Telemundo Facebook page in Spanish on Thursdays reaching 250,000-500,000 viewers per segment. She highlights the latest in immigration news and answers hundreds of questions from the audience. Her video coverage of the immigration implications of the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act took social media platform Facebook by a storm, reaching over 74,000 people and the video being re-shared 774 times in only a matter of one hour.

Her expertise is sought after by many leaders in the telecommunications arena and landed her an exclusive invitation to President Obama’s town hall meeting in Miami where he discussed his 2014 Executive Actions on Immigration. Nieto is currently a board member of the Media Advocacy Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Also, she currently is the Immigration legal analyst for Network Telemundo news. In 2018 she was the recipient of an Emmy award for Noticias Telemundo Mediodia.