Recent Alumni News

Recent Alumni News

July 2017 — Jacqueline Eng ’99, analyzing bones of Kyang Cave, Nar-Phu Valley, Nepal, during a 2013 expedition, was featured among a team of researchers and climbers in an episode of the PBS series “NOVA” in January. Eng, a faculty member at Western Michigan University, is interviewed in the “Secrets of the Sky Tombs” episode about the team’s efforts to understand human settlement in the Himalayas.

July 2017Angela Naef (B.A. ’96, Ph.D. ’00, chemistry) has been chosen as the new chairperson of the American Chamber of Commerce in Denmark. Naef is the Vice President of Global Technology & Innovation at DuPont Nutrition & Health in Copenhagen. She has lived in Denmark since 2014, when she joined DuPont in Brabrand near Aarhus as a Site Manager. She relocated to Copenhagen in 2016.

July 2017 — Stunt pilot Vicky Benzing (B.S., chemistry, ’80), an accomplished aerobatic performer and air racer, was recently featured in a Tacoma News Tribune story about her flying career. Benzing performed aerial stunts for the Tacoma Freedom Fair and flew over a Fourth of July parade in Steilacoom, Washington, during the 2017 holiday weekend. She currently holds the record for fastest woman ever at the prestigious Reno Air Races.

July 2017Alvaro Reynoso (B.A., sociology and Chicano studies, ’07) joined the Woodland police force in June as a patrol officer. After graduating from UC Davis, he earned a master’s degree in marriage family and child therapy from Sacramento State, then worked 11 years as a Yolo County probation officer. A longtime volunteer, he tutored migrant farmworkers’ children while attending UC Davis. As a probation officer, he taught parenting classes to people whose children were on probation.

July 2017Jerry Fletcher (M.A., economics, ’79), a professor of agricultural and resource economics at West Virginia University, died of cancer June 19 at his home in Morgantown, West Virginia. He taught at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, before joining West Virginia University in 1989. At WVU, he was founding director of the Natural Resource Analysis Center, past director of the Division of Resource Management, and director of a federally funded U.S.–China Energy Center. Over his career, he served as principal or co-principal investigator on nearly $60 million in research grants, wrote hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and other papers, and mentored dozens of students and young faculty from around the world. In addition to his economics master’s degree, he earned Ph.D. in agricultural economics at UC Davis and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Wyoming. Survivors include his wife, Marsha; four children; two grandchildren; and three siblings.

July 2017 — Cindy (Jones) Derosier (B.A., international relations, ’94; Credential, ’95) co-authored What Would Jesus Patent? 101 Ingenious Inventions for Christians with patent attorney Adam Diament (Ph.D., genetics, ’04). This is her first book and Diament's third. They met in 1997 as members of the Telemark Dance Troupe at UC Davis. She blogs at My Creative Life.

July 2017May Wilson (MFA, art, ’13) has won the 2017 San Francisco Artist Award from The San Francisco Art Dealers Association (SFADA). As winner, she will have a solo exhibition at the Themes + Projects gallery, Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota St., Sept. 9 – 30. Wilson creates sculptures and installations with industrial materials — vinyl, industrial felt, nylon strapping, sand and concrete. Around 30 artists were nominated for the biennial award by art professionals, collectors and other artists.

May 2017 — UC Davis graduate Douglas A. Girod was named the 18th chancellor of the University of Kansas on May 25. A head and neck surgeon, Girod (B.A., chemistry, ’81) joined the University of Kansas Medical Center faculty in 1994 and was named executive vice chancellor of the Medical Center in 2013. Girod grew up in Oregon and attended two years of community college in the Bay Area before transferring to UC Davis in 1979. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Girod attended medical school at UCSF, earning his medical degree in 1985. Girod completed his residency and an NIH research fellowship at the University of Washington. Between 1991 and 1994, Girod worked at the Naval Medical Center in Oakland. A veteran of the Navy Reserve, Girod rose to the rank of lieutenant commander and earned the Meritorious Service Medal. Girod is scheduled to replace retiring chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little in July 2017. Girod and his wife, Susan, have three adult children and live in the Kansas City area. 

May 2017 — Mike Jameson (B.A., economics, ’85) recently joined TH Real Estate's as a senior executive. A managing director based in San Francisco, he is responsible for originating commercial real estate debt transactions in the western U.S. He previously spent 26 years with Prudential Mortgage Capital Company. In addition to his UC Davis degree, he earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. TH Real Estate, an investment affiliate of Nuveen, is one of the world's largest real estate managers. 

May 2017 — An NBC Bay Area/KNTV series of reports on the misuse of school police officers—produced by Michael Bott (B.A., international relations, ’07)—won a 2016 Peabody Award. The award judges cited the investigative team's "tenacious efforts and hard-earned findings in uncovering a disturbing trend in student civil rights violations and for its contribution to the larger conversation about rebuilding trust between police and their communities." Watch the series, "Arrested at School." Follow Bott on Twitter at @TweetBottNBC.

May 2017 — Attorney Jacob C. Smith, (B.A., political science, ’03) recently joined Reynolds Law, a business and estate planning firm, in Vacaville. He graduated in 2014 from University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, where he received Witkin Legal Institute awards for business associations and legislative drafting and was inducted into the Traynor Honor Society and the Order of Barristers. He served four tours in Afghanistan with U.S. Army special operations, and received two Bronze Star medals. 

April 2017 — Investigative reporter Matthias Gafni (B.A, English/rhetoric and communication, ’98), who got his journalism start at The California Aggie, was a lead writer in a series of articles on the Ghost Ship fire that won the East Bay Times the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. Gafni is one of two UC Davis alumni on the East Bay Times staff. Angela Ruggiero (B.A., communication/Italian, ’10), has contributed to the paper’s continuing Ghost Ship coverage.

April 2017 — Tom Nesbitt (B.A., psychology, ’75, and M.D. ’79) is stepping in as interim vice chancellor of UC Davis Human Health Sciences while the university conducts a search for permanent leadership for UC Davis Health. 

April 2017 — Jimmy Franco (Ph.D., chemistry, ’08) is an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. As assistant professor there since 2011, Franco was recently granted tenure and promoted. His research focuses on developing new treatments for tuberculosis, histoplasmosis and other diseases, and identifying engaging methods for teaching chemistry and biochemistry. Before joining Merrimack, Franco was a visiting professor at the University of Toledo in Ohio.

April 2017 -  Libby Balter Blume (B.A., art, 1971) has been awarded fellow status by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). She is a Certified Family Life Educator and professor of psychology at the University of Detroit Mercy. Fellow status is awarded to 3 percent or fewer members of the NCFR.

March 2017Brian Ebbert (B.A., political science-public service, '92) was recently appointed as the floor director for California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). Ebbert is a registered parliamentarian, a longtime Capitol staffer, and serves on several nonprofit boards, including the Cal Aggie Alumni Association

February 2017 — Lisa Trivedi (Ph.D., history, ’99), a history professor at Hamilton College in New York, curated a Feb. 7 – March 31 exhibition at the Sacramento City Hall of Pranlal K. Patel photographs. Refocusing the Lens features Patel's images of women at work in Ahmedabad, a city in northwest India, in the early 20th century. Trivedi learned about Patel’s photos in 1996 while on a Fulbright Scholarship in Gujarat, India. She worked closely with him for two years before his death to organize the first U.S. exhibition of his work at Hamliton College in 2014. [Watch a video about the exhibition] The UC Davis Middle East/South Asia Studies (ME/SA) Program sponsored the Sacramento showing. Trividi is the author of Clothing Gandhi’s Nation: Homespun and Modern India (Indiana, 2007) and is currently working on a book titled Bound By Cloth: Women Textile Workers in Bombay and Lancashire, 1890-1940

February 2017 — Kate (McIlvaine) George (B.A., anthropology, ’96) is the author of the Bree MacGowan mystery series, which started when she took up a dare to write a book. The soon-to-be-released Bohemian Catastrophe brings the series to four novels. The first three titles are Moonlighting in Vermont (2009), California Schemin’ (2011) and Crazy Little Thing Called Dead (2012). You can read about her books and follow her blog on her website. A resident of Vermont, she was recently featured in the Valley News (West Lebanon, New Hampshire). 

February 2017 — Cara Anzilotti (B.A., history, ’78), an associate professor of history at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, wrote She-Devil in the City of Angels: Gender, Violence, and the Hattie Woolsteen Murder Case in Victorian Era Los Angeles (Praeger, 2016). Her book examines the public reaction to the arrest, trial and acquittal of a woman charged with the 1887 slaying of her married lover. 

January 2016 Steve Cote (Ph.D., history, ’11) has published Oil and Nation: A History of Bolivia’s Petroleum Sector, the inaugural book in West Virginia University Press' new Energy and Society series. Oil and Nation places petroleum at the center of Bolivia’s contentious 20th-century history. Bolivia’s oil, Cote argues, instigated the largest war in Latin America in the 1900s, provoked the first nationalization of a major foreign company by a Latin American state, and shaped both the course and the consequences of Bolivia’s transformative National Revolution of 1952. Oil and natural gas continue to steer the country under the government of Evo Morales. Cote is an interpretive ranger for the National Park Service, stationed at Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay.

January 2016 — Shelly Mateer (B.A., international relations, ’97) has written three books influenced by her experiences as a CIA officerSingle in the CIA and two volumes in her Mingling in the CIA serieswith another series installment on its way. Learn more about her books and follow her blog at her website

January 2017 — Chris Petersen (B.A., psychology, ’87), head coach of the University of Washington football team, was recently featured in a Washington Post article, "At Washington, Chris Petersen is making noise with a quiet approach." The Dec. 28 story—published a few days before the Huskies lost their first College Football Playoff game to No. 1-ranked University of Alabama—traces Petersen's successful career back to his days at UC Davis, where he played for and assisted legendary coach Jim Sochor. The Post describes Petersen as "one of the best coaches of his era, a West Coast answer to Nick Saban and Urban Meyer." 

January 2017 — Ken White (B.A., history and English ’72, Cred. ’73), wrote his first children’s book, That Happiness Thing: A Hometown Fable (White & Wilkinson, 2016), a Christmas story that takes place in 1958 Modesto. Prospect Theater Project in Modesto will stage his play, Migrant Mother, from Jan. 13 to Jan. 22. The play depicts the encounter between Florence Owens Thompson and photographer Dorothea Lange, which led to the iconic Great Depression photograph. White's nonfiction book about his hometown of Modesto will be released in spring 2017. 

January 2017David Ashby (B.A., political science, and rhetoric and communication, ’99) was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in December to the Sutter County Superior Court bench. Ashby, 39, of Yuba City, has been an owner and attorney at the Ashby Law Firm since 2002. After graduating from UC Davis, he earned his law degree from UC Berkeley. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Chris Chandler (B.A., English, ’73) last May. A former state Assembly member, Chandler served 23 years on the bench, including a 2006–12 stint as the court's presiding judge. 

January 2017 — C. Matthew Snipp (B.A., sociology, ’74), a sociology professor at Stanford University, was recently appointed by President Barack Obama as a trustee of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, one of three of the nation's Congressionally chartered colleges. At Stanford, where he has worked since 1996, he is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences and the director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences’ Secure Data Center. He also serves on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee. In addition to his UC Davis degree, Snipp earned a doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

December 2016 — José Quiñonez (Chicano Studies alumnus, ’94), receives a MacArthur "genius" Grant.

December 2016 — Oxford University Press recently published a book by Willie Hiatt (Ph.D., history, ’09) — The Rarified Air of the Modern: Airplanes and Technological Modernity in the Andes. Based on his dissertation, The Rarified Air traces the development of Peruvian aviation. Hiatt is an associate professor of history at Long Island University’s Post Campus in Brookville, New York.

December 2016 Eva Mehl (Ph.D., history, ’11), an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, wrote Forced Migration in the Spanish Pacific World: From Mexico to the Philippines, 1765-1811 (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

December 2016 — Christina Bueno (Ph.D., history, ’04) wrote The Pursuit of Ruins: Archaeology, History, and the Making of Modern Mexico (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). She is an associate professor of history and Latino/Latin American studies at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. 

December 2016 — Marc Greendorfer (B.A., economics and psychology, ’86) practices corporate law in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, he established the Zachor Legal Institute, a nonprofit foundation combating the Palestinian-based boycott movement against Israel. He also filed amicus curiae briefs in two U.S. Supreme Court cases — Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores in 2014 (where the court ruled family owned companies cannot be forced to provide contraceptive coverage against their religious beliefs) and Obergefell vs. Hodges in 2015 (which made gay marriage a national right). Language in his second brief was used by Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissent. Greendorfer has had several papers published in prominent law reviews; One article, “The BDS Movement: That Which We Call A Foreign Boycott, By Any Other Name, Is Still Illegal,” was cited by Israel’s Supreme Court in its 2015 decision upholding the nation’s domestic anti-boycott law. 

December 2016 — Cindy (Jones) Derosier (B.A., international relations, ’94; Credential, ’95) has a blog called My Creative Life.

December 2016 — Tom Garrison (M.A., political science, ’76) released Hiking Southwest Utah and Adjacent Areas, Volume Two. The book provides a guide to 25 different hikes, with maps, photos and other details about each hike.