Class Notes

Catch up on alumni milestones and accomplishments


John Graffigna (1967) was inducted into the San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall Fame for his contributions to agriculture and to the community.

Paulette Janian (1968) was presented with the Justice Pauline Davis Hanson award by the Fresno County Women Lawyers in recognition of her leadership, mentorship and support for the advancement of women in the legal profession.

Betty Miller (1968) taught French and drama in Sacramento for 38 years. She founded the Readers Theatre program at Rio Americano High School and wrote “The Readers Theatre Experience.”


Lynne Ayers Ashbeck (1976, ’77) was reappointed to the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. She is now senior vice president for community engagement at Valley Children’s Hospital.

Joseph Audelo (1979) was named the first vice president, commercial relationship manager at Heritage Oaks Bank for Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and is the newest board member at Maritime Museum.

Robert Beltran (1978) is director of the play “Mariela in the Desert,” which ran for five weeks in Los Angeles and was presented by CASA 0101 Theatre and Angel City Theatre Ensemble.

Jim Boren (1972) served as a juror for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize awards in the editorial writing category. He has been inducted into Fresno State’s Media, Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame, and is the executive editor and senior vice president at The Fresno Bee.

Jeffrey Bowman (1975) and Ben Deutscher created a short film for the holidays, “The Fare Before Christmas,” which played at Maya Cinemas, Campus Pointe, in November.

Lee Brand (1973) is now mayor of Fresno. He previously served on the Fresno City Council, representing District 6.

Harry C. Carinio (1971), an engineer, retired after 44 years from the Department of the Navy serving as a supervisory mechanical engineer, most recently at the NAVAIR Weapons Division
in Point Mugu.

Jean Fuller (1972) was re-elected Senate Republican leader for the 16th Senate District.

David Heitz (1974) and his Heitz Cellars family winery were featured in the Napa Valley Register as a wine that helped create Napa Valley.

Bob Kampf (1978, ’79, ’88), director of supplemental services for Clovis Unified School District, was named Fresno County Office of Administration’s Administrator of the Year.

Jon Kawamoto (1978), former editor of the Los Angeles Times, the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune, is editor for the Alameda Journal, The Montclarion and the Piedmonter.

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff (1979), a well-known author and memoirist, visited Saratoga and Gilroy libraries for book signings in October.

John Leal (1974) is now board president for the State Center Community College District.

Larry Oda (1972, ’75), is now superintendent of maintenance services for the City of Salinas Public Works Department.

Col. Janet Setnor (1976), an authority on anesthesia providers in combat zones and a Nurse Corps veteran with 25 years as a U.S. Air Force reservist, is now chief anesthetist and director of nursing at the Austin-Weston Center in Reston, Virginia.


Tony Cantu (1985) was posthumously awarded the Leadership and Cultural Excellence Award. He served as president for Fresno City College.

Henry de la Torre (1989) is now postmaster for the City of Madera.

Lance Hairabedian (1987) is now a physical therapist at Alliance Health.

Lynn Kovach (1981), owner and surveyor for Polaris Consulting in Carmel Valley, was featured in the Point of Beginning Online Magazine.

Michael Leonardo (1981) is now executive director for the Fresno County Transportation Authority, overseeing projects funded by the county’s Measure C transportation sales tax.

Brad Lewis (1980) is executive producer of “Storks,” a Warner Bros. animated movie that was released in September.

Dana Lucka (1981, 2000, ’15) is now coordinator of the Graduate Medical Education Residency Program at Saint Agnes Medical Center.

Irene B. Mendes (1982), a nurse of 42 years who served as school nurse at the Corcoran Joint Unified School District, will join the International Nurses Association with a publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare.

Karl Merten (1986) is owner of Café 225 restaurant, a unique epicurean delight in downtown Visalia.

David Munksgard (1980), is winemaker for the Iron House Vineyards. He created special edition cuvee wines for the winter and summer seasons.

Warren R. Paboojian (1980) was selected by the CAL-ABOTA board of directors as the 2017 Trial Lawyer of the Year, the highest honor.

Fran Pomaville (1982, ’84) presented on pediatric traumatic brain injury at the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association annual conference in March in Pasadena.

Leslie Richelle Scott (1985) authored the memoir “Outside-In, Inside-Out: A Transgender Journey,” about her gender transition from man to woman at 61 years of age.

Luke Serpa (1985) is now interim public utilities director for the City of Clovis. Before coming to Clovis, Serpa previously worked at the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and at Cal Fire.

Jill Silva (1986), retired chief probation officer for Stanislaus County, was named 12th Assembly District’s Woman of the Year for 2017.

Rick Stark (1980), a growers relations manager at Sun-Maid Growers of California, was appointed to the Fresno County Farm Bureau board of directors.

Mariam Stephanian (1975, ’77) was featured in the The Fresno Bee. She is president and general manager for Valley Public Radio, KVPR 89.3 FM and KVPR Bakersfield.

Penelope Tamm (1984), was promoted to lieutenant by Pleasanton Police Chief David Spiller.

Patrick Warrick (1985) is a forensic scientist for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Maryellen Willis (1984) is co-owner of Nonnie’s House, a women’s boutique and day spa in Old Town Clovis with a second location in Fresno.


Pedro Avila (1999) is now vice president of student services and assistant superintendent at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Jamie Christian (1992), a former Bulldogs fullback, was named Fresno State’s running backs coach and special teams coordinator.

Ben Drati (1997, 2010) is now superintendent for Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

Tamara Epperson (1999), accounting and business administration professor at the Madera Community College Center, was inducted onto the Wall of Honor at the State Center Community College District.

Shonna Halterman (1991) is now general services director for the City of Clovis.

Mike Hamasaki (1993) is now Stanislaus County chief probation officer.

Dave Kreske (1990) is now vice president of construction at Meridian, a full-service real estate developer that specializes in acquiring and developing real estate facilities.

Pao Lee (1999) is now a counselor at Western Nevada College. He previously served for two years as an adviser at Oklahoma City Community College.

Kristan Lundquist (1995) was featured on the Californian, City Snapshot. She works for the City of Salinas Library and Community Services as the recreation and community services superintendent.

Lisa Manes-James (1997) hosted her first solo expressionism exhibition at Arts Visalia in October.

Sam Mann (1993) is now president of the Public Agency Risk Management Association overseeing California.

Daniel Martinez (1998) was elected to the Sanger City Council, representing District 3.

Jack T. Patton (1993), family medicine consultant, was included in the Marquis Who’s Who, a publisher of directories containing short biographies.

Jerry Pearson (1990), attorney, was featured in a profile. He manages the Young Wooldridge LLP business law department and practices in labor and employment matters.

Barbara Perkins (1999) is now leading small business administrator lender for Santa Cruz County Bank.

Debra Russell (1992) was promoted to vice president for community relations and real estate operations for Signal Hill Petroleum, Inc.

Jay Schengel (1996) is now finance director for the City of Clovis.

Mary Lourdes Silva (1999, 2003), retired writing professor, was granted emeritus status at Ithaca College.

Scott Thompson (1999), a former standout tight end for the Fresno State football team, is now the Bulldogs’ tight ends coach.

Billy Volek (1999), a standout Fresno State quarterback and 13-year NFL veteran, was inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame in November.

J.D. Williams (1997), a former All-American defensive back at Fresno State and the school’s first-ever first-round NFL draft pick in 1990, was hired as the football program’s defensive backs coach. He previously served in the same role in 2000-2001 after seven years in the NFL, including four straight Super Bowl appearances with the Buffalo Bills.

Danny Yeo (1996), author, child actor, theatre director, media lecturer and emcee, was featured on Straits Times Lifestyle in an interview as the founder of Pure Talents Agency and wearing many hats as part of his job.


Paul Amador (2004) was elected Idaho legislator for District 4, Seat B.

Brittany (Nielsen) Avila (2009) earned her Ph.D. in developmental psychology in May from the University of Mississippi.

Tina Beddall (2004), an administrator in admissions and records, retired after 31 years of service at Fresno State.

Britt Beene (2003), a certified crop and pest control adviser, is now a crop vitality specialist for Tessenderlo Kerley’s Crop Vitality in the Pacific Northwest region.

Daniel R. Bernard (2003, ’05), was named to “40 under 40” by Business Street Online, recognizing 40 accomplished area professionals under age 40.

Zachry Boswell (2007) is now principal at West High School in Tracy.

Jenny Chang (2005) coauthored a journal article titled “The Hmong in the United States: From Preliterate to College Success” that was published in the American International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. She is now a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Jed Chernabaeff (2004, ’15) is now a public information officer for the Ventura County Harbor Department.

Jessica (Henley) Chernabaeff (2004) is now a registered nurse at Community Memorial Hospital Ventura. She previously worked at Fresno Heart and Surgical Hospital for 10 years.

Kuyler Crocker (2009) was sworn into the Tulare County Board of Supervisors for District 1.

Sebastian Donoso (2007) is now organic winemaker for Fetzer Vineyards.

Devon Goossen (2013) is in the first residency program at Valley Children’s Hospital, a partnership with Stanford University.

Scott Graham (2005) and Lereena Patidar created Coin Up, a secure mobile donation
app that allows users to round-up transactions from the debit or credit card for a charity of the user’s choice.

Jose Guzman (2012) was sworn in as a California Highway Patrol officer and assigned to the San Diego area.

Desiree Heckman (2008, ’10) opened Old Town Yoga in Clovis.

Brenna (Wylie) Hughes (2006) presented on pediatric traumatic brain injury at the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association annual conference in March in Pasadena.

Tim Lutz (2003, ’05), with 12 years of Tulare County government experience, was selected as Calaveras County administrative officer.

Paul Melikian (2001, ’03) is now Reedley assistant city manager.

Samuel Molina (2010) is now state director of Mi Familia Vota.

Joey Myers (2003), a former outfielder at Fresno State, authored two books, titled “The Catapult Loading System: How to Teach 100-Pound Pitchers to Consistently Drive the Ball 300 Feet” and “The Science of Sticky Coaching: How to Turn Ordinary Athletes into Extraordinary.”

Frankie C. Olivares (2016) is now administrative analyst for City of Selma.

Yvette Roberts-Haynes (2006, ’16), a star Bulldogs basketball and track and field athlete from 1986-1989, was inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame. As a social work supervisor in Fresno, she was also honored as a Fresno State Alumni Association Top Dog in 2011.

Eunice Rosas (2008) and husband Cesar Rodriguez established Run for All, Inc., a nonprofit organization bringing awareness to and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Benjamin Ruiz (2000) is now director of Tulare County Resource Management Agency after serving as interim director for nine months.

Demitrius Snaer (2005), professor and men’s cross country coach for Modesto Junior College, spoke for the Modesto Junior College’s Positive People Speaker Series in February.

Chad Stock (2006) is winemaker at Minimus Winery in Carlton, Oregon.

Angie Taylor (2003), certified accountant, now works for Novogradac & Company LLP in San Francisco. She is pursuing her master’s degree at Golden Gate University.

Nini Thomas joined the Mount Nittany Physician Group. She is a member of the American Thyroid Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the Endocrine Society.

Kasie West (2000) published her new novel “La Distancia Entre tú y yo.” She is also author of “On the Fence,” “The Fill-In Boyfriend,” the biography of “Pivot Point” and “P.S. I Like You.”

Justin Wilson, the College World Series-winning pitcher for Fresno State in 2008, is now the closer for the Detroit Tigers.


Davante Adams, wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, had a breakout year with 75 catches for 997 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Monique Bienvenue (2015) was elected president of the California Women for Agriculture Fresno Chapter.

Rodney Bosch (2016) is editor for Security Sales and Integration magazine.

Hannah Brown (2013) was named UC Merced’s second head women’s soccer coach.

Derek Carr (2013), the Oakland Raiders quarterback named to his second straight Pro Bowl, was selected to receive the 2016 Commitment to Excellence Award by teammates.

Christopher Davidson (2015) won his first Yosemite Scratch 6-Gamer bowling tournament, earning a $398 prize.

Julio Garibay (2012) is now providing care as a family nurse practitioner at Adventist Health/Community Care in Kerman. He previously served as a medic in the U.S. Air Force.

Paul George of the Indiana Pacers earned his fourth straight NBA All-Star appearance just months after winning an Olympic gold medal
with Team USA basketball.

Tyler Johnson (2014), a guard for the NBA’s Miami Heat, was featured in an ESPN the Magazine story titled “Mad Money.”

Aaron Judge appeared on the cover of
Sports Illustrated as a rookie with the New York Yankees after he tied the Major League record for most home runs ever by a rookie in April.

Justin Kamimoto, founder of My LGBT Plus, visited Washington D.C. for the White House Convening on Advancing LGBT Progress in
Rural America in December.

Kevin Loewen (2010, ’12) was named director of parks and planning for the El Dorado Hills Community Services District.

Gilbert Magallon (2015) joined the NBC Right Now News team in Washington state.

Leslie Abasta McGowan (2010) was honored by Assemblymember Adam Gary at the state capitol as the 21st Assembly District’s Woman
of the Year.

Matthew Mendoza (2010), a respiratory therapist at Valley Children’s Hospital, was recently featured in the Career Advice section of the American Association for Respiratory Care.

Jim Nakamura (2016) is co-founder of Space Bar Technologies, which developed a new app to curb texting while driving. The app rewards drivers who refrain and awards points that can be redeemed for discounts at local businesses.

Jasmine Orozco (2016) graduated from Tulare-Kings Counties Law Enforcement Training Academy and was sworn as a deputy for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.

Micolette Peña (2016) is now manager of community relations for the Visalia Rawhide.

Fabiola Ramirez (2016) is now a multimedia journalist for the KSBY news in San Luis Obispo.

Pedro Ramirez (2011), former ASI president, is head of voter outreach for the Visalia-based Community Water Center.

Cody Stacy (2010) was appointed assistant winemaker for the King Estate Winery.


Special Announcements

(A) Brittany (Nielsen) Avila (2009) and Scott Avila welcomed their first child, Lucas Joseph, on June 17, 2016.

(B) Katie (Adamo) Bewarder (2009, ‘12) married Shane Bewarder on Oct. 22 in Madera. Also pictured are Tobias and Sophia Bewarder.

(C) Tom Brandstater (2007, ’09) and Haley Brandstater welcomed their first child, Dallas Lively on Feb. 10 in Nashville.

(D) Amanda Bunch (2005) and Kyle Bunch (2005) welcomed their second child, Kylie Grace on March 31.

(E) Heather (Halsey) Martinez (2008) and Benny Martinez welcomed their first child, Harrison Grant, on Oct. 24 in Clovis.

(F) Robert Medina (2004) and Jessica Medina (2008, ’12) welcomed their second child, Alexander James, on Oct. 13.

(G) Jenna (Nielsen) Mills (2005) and Matt Mills welcomed their second child, Brandon Dennis, on Nov. 20.

(H) Adriana Salazar (2015) and Angel Ledesma announced their engagement and are planning an August wedding.

(I) Blair Smittcamp and Nathan Martin will be married Nov. 4 in Clovis.

(J) Beth Wilkinson (2006) and Colin Wilkinson welcomed their first child, Wren Ariadne, on Aug. 25.

(K) Andrew Worth (2015) married Dana Wilhite (2010) on April 15 in Sanger.

Special Announcements