Today - Fall 2014


Envisioning Tomorrow

President William A. Covino is installed as Cal State L.A.'s first new president in 34 years during the Investiture. Read all about the week's events and the new vision for the 67-year-old university. read more

Moving Forward

One year into President Covino's term, he's turning his vision for an engaged campus in action. read more

L.A. Story

L.A. Story

Right after graduation, Aaron Chua ('14) headed to Sacramento as part of the Capital Fellows Program. read more

Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

Bob Laemmle's family theater business is full of drama, but it all unfolds on the silver screen. read more

Around L.A.

Around L.A.

Our regular feature on ways in which Cal State L.A. engages and serves the community highlights the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs and Civic University. read more

University Events

University Events

Cal State L.A. officially opens the new Television, Film, and Media Center. Plus: A list of upcoming events. read more


Profile in giving

Profile in giving

Senior Maria Daniela Nina is one year away from a bachelor's degree in nursing with help from the Aurora Martinez Endowed Scholarship. read more

University News

App puts campus experience in the palm of your hand

Download the Cal State L.A. mobile appThe university’s first-ever mobile application was unveiled in May to rave reviews from the campus community. The app aims to provide students and visitors alike with a better campus experience.

“We’re dedicated to reaching our students in a way that will resonate, and that means going mobile,” said President William A. Covino. “We’re very excited about this application because students, staff, faculty and visitors will be able to engage with one another through the platform, and better utilize campus resources. It’s an important step forward for the University.”

The mobile app was developed internally by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and Information Technology Services. Los Angeles-based developer Mobile Roadie built the application on its award-winning platform. The app reached more than 12,000 downloads within four months.

The core features of the app include a transportation hub with up-to-the-minute bus and rail arrival information, an interactive campus map and events calendar. But by far the most talked about features are the live-stream of the line at Starbucks on campus and the social media section, which allows users to have conversations inside the app while signed on through Facebook or Twitter.

The application is available for download in Apple’s iTunes store and on Google Play.


Eco-Car challenge rolls on for a new generation

Cal State L.A. has received the invite to participate in the next EcoCAR 3: Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition. The only university representing California, Cal State L.A. will face stiff competition against 16 other universities, including the Ohio State University and Virginia Tech.

“Participating in this highly selective competition gives our students the opportunity to learn real-world technology and engineering skills, the ability to work as a team, and to commit themselves to building a more sustainable environment for Los Angeles,” said Dean Emily Allen of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology.

The EcoCAR 3 team will have four years (2014-18) to redesign and re-engineer a Chevy Camaro in an effort to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse emissions of the vehicle, while maintaining consumer acceptability, performance, utility and safety. At the end of the fourth year, the student-built vehicles will participate in an over-the-road event, raising the stakes for vehicle readiness, dependability and safety.

EcoCAR2 Update: Cal State L.A.’s EcoCAR2 team, which was featured in the Fall 2013 issue, completed its third year of the competition in June. And although they didn’t win, it was a great learning experience for our engineering students. In fact, four team members—Chris Reid, Yessenia Toscano, Guadalupe Banales and David Schmidt—were all hired by General Motors as a direct result of the competition.


7 commencement ceremonies, 7 times the excitement

Regional labor leader Maria Elena Durazo receives a CSU Honorary Doctorate.The Class of 2014 got a little extra pomp in their circumstance with a complete revamping of this year’s commencement ceremonies.

The new format called for smaller, more personalized events for each college, which were spread across three days, from June 13-15. At each of the seven ceremonies, every graduate’s name was called as he or she walked across stage to shake the hand of President William A. Covino. And the master's hoodings and diploma case presentations were aired on the Jumbotron to the cheers and hollers of supportive family and friends.

For the first time in many years, the campus hosted the presentation of a CSU Honorary Doctorate. Regional labor leader Maria Elena Durazo (pictured), executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, was honored during Saturday morning’s College of Arts and Letters ceremony.

Additionally, Cal State L.A. graduated its inaugural class from the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree, a joint program launched with Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach in 2012.


Extended education college gets new identity

The College of Extended Studies and International Programs has a new name that better captures the essence of its evolving work: College of Professional and Global Education.

For more than six decades, Cal State L.A.’s extended and international education units have been committed to serving the institution and its students. The names of these formerly independent and disparate units have evolved over the years as the University has increased its focus and emphasis on engagement, lifelong learning, and comprehensive internationalization.

“As we embark on the next evolutionary phase of our great University, it is imperative that we accurately portray to the campus and external communities the importance and value of this unique college within our institution,” says President William A. Covino.

The College of Professional and Global Education is responsible for delivering innovative classes and certificate and degree programs to meet the educational needs of the citizens of Los Angeles and beyond. The college also provides services for international students and scholars and is the lead campus entity on all matters pertaining to global education.

“The new college name signals the investment that Cal State L.A. is making to serve the needs of our students, faculty and community. I am excited to work with Dean Eric Bullard and the college leadership team as they strive to build programs and services to meet the needs of 21st century learners,” says Interim Provost Cheryl Ney.


Elected officials visit Cal State L.A. for discussion on female empowerment

In March, Cal State L.A. hosted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Judy Chu, former U.S. Secretary of State Hilda Solis and State Sen. Holly Mitchell for “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds.” Discussed at the event was a new economic agenda for women focused on fair compensation, paid leave, a healthy work-family balance, and affordable child care.

“We’re privileged to have you all here for this important discussion of a national economic agenda for women and families. I cannot think of a better place to have this dialogue than Cal State L.A.–nearly 60 percent of our student population is women, and 60 percent of this year’s entering students are the first in their families to go to college,” said President William A. Covino in his introduction. “With these students in mind, at Cal State L.A., we pride ourselves on being an institution dedicated to the public good, to access, success, and service that reaches throughout and beyond greater Los Angeles.”

Following the discussion, Chu hosted a Jobs Resource Fair on campus with participants including Planned Parenthood of San Gabriel Valley, Mothers’ Club, Foothill Workforce Investment Board, Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program, the American Association of University Women, and the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.


CSU Health Insurance Education Project reports dramatic reductions in uninsured students

Over the 2013-14 academic year, 30 students and recent alumni led workshops and talked to their peers at 15 California State University campuses in an effort to educate them about health care options available through the Affordable Care Act and encourage them to enroll.

Now that enrollment has ended for the year, it is clear that the project has been a great success.

The number of uninsured students on the 15 campuses has been reduced by approximately 60 percent, from about 100,000 (25-30 percent of students) before Covered California open enrollment to about 40,000 as of May 2014. This reduction leaves just 10 percent of students on these campuses still uninsured, according to a new poll taken by the CSU Health Insurance Education Project, the $1.25 million effort funded by Covered California Outreach and Education and spearheaded by Cal State L.A. Department of Public Health Chair Walter Zelman.

The outcome of the project was announced during Cal State L.A.’s 2014 Commencement Week, with President William A. Covino noting “while we don’t know where all our graduates are going from here, we do know that many more of them will have health insurance coverage when they get there. And that is something that we can all feel good about.”

The 15 campuses on which the project placed student staff to educate students about the Affordable Care Act and Covered California constitute 87 percent of the total CSU student population of about 447,000. Poll results also reveal that about one-third of CSU students on the 15 staffed campuses signed up for Covered California or Medi-Cal.

Additionally, one-third of all student respondents reported that at least one family member signed up for Covered California or Medi-Cal. In total, the poll found that approximately 260,000 students and family members signed up for one of the two programs.


Alumni News

Students take careers for a spin in Job Shadowing Program

Cal State L.A. student Laura Lozano was mentored by alumnus Sergio Gonzales during the Job Shadowing Program.Senior Laura Lozano spent her spring break in board rooms instead of board shorts—and it was all because of the Alumni Association’s Job Shadowing Program.

“I feel that it is such a wonderful experience for students to be hands-on in jobs they might be considering” Lozano says. “It was an opportunity for students, like me, to determine whether they really want to be in the profession for the rest of their lives.”

Student Kaveh Aflakian shadows alumnus Randy Ishino, a community TV producer for Monterey Park.The Job Shadowing Program was started in 2013 as a way to connect current students with Cal State L.A. alumni working in their fields of interest. The 24 students who participated in the spring session received training in business etiquette to prepare them for the visit.

They then spent an entire work day following professionals in the fields of law enforcement, entertainment law, media, education and even comedy. The alumni took them to meetings, introduced them to Alumna Jacqueline Jurado, a speech therapist with Los Angeles Unified School District, mentors student Selene and answered questions about their dream careers.

In April, Lozano, who is majoring in business administration with an emphasis on international business, was paired up with South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzales (’00,’03 M.S.). And although she had never envisioned herself as a city manager, she thought the experience would provide her insight on a different option for her future.

“I feel that just because my major is emphasized on one aspect of business, in today’s world it is better to be knowledgeable in more than one subject,” she says. “I wanted to apply the skills I learned from my management classes into real life, and I wanted to see how a city manager handled daily city issues.”

What Lozano witnessed, though, was not at all what she expected. Instead of being stuck in a cubicle staring at paperwork all day, Lozano attended meetings, took tours at the sites of future projects for the city and participated in local events.

It was the kind of realistic experience that can help refine career paths better than any books can.

As important as it is to see what students like about a particular future career, it’s just as important for them to figure out what they don’t like. That’s what happened in the case of one pre-law freshman, who discovered that the long office hours and stacks of case files didn’t really match the glamorous life of the attorneys she’d seen on television. But that’s OK, according to the Alumni Association.

“Even if they discovered the career path wasn’t for them, the students were happy to figure that out so that they could explore other careers. For others, it cemented that they were picking the right career path,” says Ana Casillas of the Alumni Association.

In addition to observing the daily grind, the job shadowing program allows for practice in the crucial art of networking—a key component to a successful career. In fact, one student was hired as a resident outreach coordinator after shadowing an alumnus in the South Bay Center for Community Development as a result of the program.

As beneficial as the program is for current students, alumni also find it rewarding.

Gonzales, who received his bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in public administration, says he’s a big believer in making himself available to others, especially to students looking for opportunities that will help them make decisions on a career path.

“There is no right or wrong path to get you to where you want to go,” he told her. “The path will not always be a straight one, but the key is to always be learning and seeking new experiences academically or professionally. Find out what you are good at and exploit it, but it’s just as important to find what you are not so good at and work to improve at it.”

If you are interested in volunteering through the Job Shadowing Program or other Alumni Association efforts, call (323) 343-2586.


Get Involved

Calling all volunteers
The Alumni Association is looking for volunteers to contribute their time and talent to benefit the University and its students. Alumni advance the welfare of Cal State L.A. by providing insight, leadership and service that strengthens the connections among students, alumni and friends.

There are numerous ways to volunteer, from helping out at events and serving on a steering committee to joining the Board of Directors. Volunteers are needed for:
- Alumni Scholarship Committee
- Membership/Communications Committee
- Finance Review Committee
- Alumni Mentoring Program
- Job Shadowing Program
- Alumni Networks
Call the alumni office for more information.

Alumni Association is coming to your town
CSU alumni mixers are a great opportunity to meet other CSU alumni in a variety of professional fields in your region. Join fellow alumni from Cal State L.A. and other CSU campuses for an evening of networking and socializing. Check the dates below and visit for updates.
CSU Southern California Mega Mixer
6:30-9 p.m. Nov. 3, 2014 at Madera Kitchen
For more information or to register, visit

CSU Northern California Mega Mixer
February 2015. Details will be available in fall.

Seattle CSU Alumni Reception
6-8 p.m. April 13, 2015 at Washington Athletic Club
For more information or to register, visit

Cal State L.A. Alumni Association
Phone: (323) 343-ALUM (2586)
Email: [email protected]
Look for the Cal State L.A. Alumni Assocition on Facebook and on LinkedIn.


Class Notes


Richard Proctor ('54) was awarded the Parker Medal of the American Institute of Professional Geologists.


John E. Huerta (’65), retired general counsel of the Smithsonian Institute, was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Hank PeralezHenry (Hank) Peralez (’63), a broker associate with Realty Executives Big Bear Lake, was appointed to the Big Bear City Airport Board of Directors. (AT LEFT)

John Thom (’65) has published his latest novel, The Madagascar Pigeon.


Rick Bagley (’79 M.A., ’91 M.A.) has been named superintendent of the Ross Valley School District.

Larry Herrera (’74) is city clerk of Long Beach.

Paul Hewitt (’74 M.A.) is the new superintendent of Fayetteville Public Schools in Arkansas.

Scott LaChasse (’71), police chief of Burbank, has been presented the William Saroyan Award for Community Activism.

Oralia MichelOralia Michel (’77), owner and president of Omagen Inc., was named to the executive committee of the Board of Directors of the environmental nonprofit group Heal the Bay. (AT LEFT)

Ramon “Ray” Silver (’71) will assume the interim city administrator post in Ketchum, Idaho.


Hiroshi EtoHiroshi Eto (’84 M.S.) is director of district 5 of the Federal Way Public Schools Board of Education in Washington. (AT LEFT)

Kathy Potter (’81) is the coordinator of borrower services for the Missouri Student Loan Group and is a guest director with William Woods University’s theater department.


Marvin Roberts (’95, ’99 M.S.) was recently appointed assistant vice president for Student Engagement and Diversity at Utah State University.

Ralph Terrazas (’95 M.S.) has been appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the city’s next fire chief.

Robert VelasquezRobert Velasquez (’99) was promoted to executive director of Ernst & Young LLP’s Assurance practice in Los Angeles. (AT LEFT)



Marisela CervantesMarisela Cervantes (’00) was recently appointed director of Community Partnerships for the California State University Chancellor’s Office. (AT LEFT)

Danny Hammer (’07) is the location sound mixer for CBS’ “Lucky Dog.”

Jennifer Jackson (’00 M.A.), an academic advisor at Cal State L.A., released her debut picture book, The Punkydoos Take the Stage, published by Disney-Hyperion on July 1.

Melvin Jones ('00) is an educator in the Long Beach Unified District and currently serve as an independent study teacher/social studies department head.

Perla Vilhjalmsdottir (’01 M.S., M.A.) has been appointed national trainer for Center for Discovery.


Bo Kyung Kim (’13) published a poetry book, A Multicultural Song That I Sing Alone.



Douglas L. Currell, professor emeritus of chemistry, was an expert in the chemistry and biochemistry of hemoglobin. Currell was a co-founder of the Chemistry Department, served as its chair and later became associate dean of the School of Letters and Science.

Richard Diaz (’70) was longtime director of the Riordan Leadership Institute Programs at the Los Angeles Junior Chamber Charity Foundation.

Samuel Robb Edmonds (’69) worked at Douglas Oil Company after graduation and later became the dean of students at DeVry Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Victoria M. "Vickie" Fisher (’80 M.A.) and her husband reenacted historical eras for schools and historical societies with their business, Living History Interpretations.

Sylvia T. Horowitz was an adjunct lecturer in chemistry at Cal State L.A. In retirement, she co-authored a popular book on the science of cancer.

Sue Kint (’73), the founder and CEO of international consulting and trading firm Kint and Associates, was a prominent Orange County businesswoman and respected civic leader.

Seymour Levitan, emeritus professor of clinical psychology, specialized in counseling and served as department chair from 1965-67.

Larry Moss (’57, ’64 M.A.) was news director at KPFK Radio and a highly sought after dialect coach.

Helen Nelson (’65 (M.A.) was a longtime educator in South Pasadena and La Canada Flintridge schools.

Bruce Wayne Philpott (’71), former police chief of Pasadena, had a lengthy career in public service and was co-founder and board president of Day One, a Pasadena nonprofit focused on addressing issues of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Richard Brian Powers (’62) was a novelist, playwright, mime performer, professor and educator.

Kenneth J. Pratt, emeritus professor of history, taught courses in ancient, medieval and Roman history.

Catherine “Cathie” Marie Ritch (’70) taught in the Mountainview School District in El Monte for 18 years, then worked the rest of her career at Ridgeview School in Yakima.

Robert H. Simmons, emeritus professor of political science, helped develop the department’s public administration program.

John Sanger (’12) was a former chief financial officer of L.A. Eyeworks.

Gunjik Sikand, emeritus professor of civil engineering and beloved friend to the University, founded Sikand Engineering Associates and established The Sikand Foundation.

Joe Soldate, professor emeritus of art, was an influential art professor specializing in ceramics. His formula for clay, Soldate 60, is widely used in classrooms to this day.

William Wong (’73) was an entrepreneur, opening a clothing manufacturing business that he and his wife ran for 26 years.


Sports Feature

Golden Eagle All-Stars

Student-athletes to receive scholarship awards

Four top Golden Eagle student-athletes were among those honored at the 17th Annual Billie Jean King and Friends Event on Oct. 11. A pair of outstanding soccer players earned the Billie Jean King Scholarship, an up-and-coming tennis player received the Joe Shapiro Scholarship and a four-year volleyball star has been awarded the James M. Rosser Scholarship.


Dane NielsenDane Nielsen's stellar 2013 season established him as one of the nation's top defenders.

Nielsen’s playing career at Cal State L.A. began in 2011 when he started in 20 games for a Golden Eagle team that won California Collegiate Athletic Association and NCAA Division II West Region titles and advanced to the national quarter-finals. He missed seven games because of injury as a sophomore, but returned in time to help the Golden Eagles post the best record in the conference and advance to the NCAA playoffs. In a first-round standoff with Seattle Pacific, Nielsen, converted a successful shootout try with the game tied at 4-4 to send the Golden Eagles to the next round.

Last season, Nielsen was instrumental in a defensive effort that saw Cal State L.A. set a new program record for fewest goals allowed in a season, tie a mark for most shutouts and rank fifth nationally in goals against average.

Nielsen is sharing the Billie Jean King Scholarship, given annually to a top student-athlete from any of Cal State L.A.’s 11 intercollegiate athletics programs.


Heather WilliamsThere were high expectations for Heather Williams when she transferred to Cal State L.A. after one year at the University of New Mexico. And she’s delivered on that promise.

Williams earned All-West Region and All-CCAA honors in each of her first two years with the program and is one of the team leaders as a senior. Williams was named the team’s Attacking Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2012 and was the team’s Most Valuable Player as a junior in 2013.

Williams has a knack for making the players around her better. She led the team and was second in the conference for assists with nine, including two in a 3-2 road win at nationally-ranked Sonoma State, which started the Golden Eagles on a hot streak. She also had assists on the crucial, game-winning goals in 1-0 victories over Chico State and Cal Poly Pomona during that stretch.

She is already in the top-10 for career assists at Cal State L.A. and has a chance to climb as high as No. 2 before her Golden Eagle career is over.

Williams is the other recipient of the Billie Jean King Scholarship.


Sonia LanderosWhen Sonia Landeros joined the tennis program after two years at Ventura College, she had no idea what a major part of the Golden Eagle team she would quickly become.

But she made an immediate and positive impact playing in the No. 2 singles spot and will be looking to battle for the No. 1 singles position in 2015 when Cal State L.A. joins the PacWest Conference for women’s tennis.

Landeros, who was undefeated in singles and helped Ventura College to a state championship in 2012, quickly became known at Cal State L.A. for her battling spirit, often falling behind in matches only to come roaring back for a dramatic victory. She played in a team-high eight three-set matches for the Golden Eagles last season and became one of the team’s steadiest performers. Landeros contributed a total of 16 points for the Golden Eagles in singles and doubles and helped Cal State L.A. to a national ranking of 21 by the end of the season.

For her effort, Landeros will receive the Joe Shapiro Scholarship, presented annually to a deserving Cal State L.A. tennis player.


April ReyesApril Reyes came to Cal State L.A. as a quiet walk-on who had to prove herself on the volleyball court in order to earn an athletic scholarship. But after three outstanding seasons with the program, she is No. 4 all-time at Cal State L.A. with 1,201 digs and has a shot at setting a new record with a big senior season ahead.

Her value to the team was confirmed late in the 2013 season as the Golden Eagles went 0-5 when she missed five matches due to injury.

Reyes has so much competitive spirit, she went out for a second sport, running the 100, 200, and 400 meters in track and field.

Reyes is this year’s recipient of the James M. Rosser Scholarship, which honors a student-athlete majoring in a math-related field with at least a 3.4 cumulative grade point average.