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Chico State

Class Notes: Spring 2022

Rose bushes in the foreground with academic buildings on a college campus in the background
Courtesy photos

Flowers bloom in the on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer/Chico State)


Kenneth Chew

Kenneth Chew (Biological Sciences, ‘55) As a national and international authority on the biology, planting, cultivating, and harvesting of commercial shellfish, “retirement” is a loose term for Kenneth. The University of Washington professor emeritus, former director of the Western Regional Aquaculture Center, and retired associate dean of the UW College of Ocean and Fishery Science still consults on necessary practices to address diminishing water quality and species diversity. Pinto abalone and sea cucumbers are now being grown in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hatchery that bears Kenneth’s name, and the young creatures are being replanted in the wild. When not strolling the beaches near his home overlooking Seattle’s Shilshole Bay, he enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren.

Ed Schoenstein (Industrial Arts, Credential, ‘58; MA, ‘66), a former community college professor for over 30 years. was featured in the November 2021 issue of Punch magazine. In an article titled “Digging for Family Treasure,” Ed describes his recent foray into amateur archiving. Working from boxes full of memorabilia that he inherited years ago, he and his wife, Pat, drafted a detailed lineage of the Schoenstein family-encompassing 13 generations spanning centuries and continents!

George Fosgate (Speech Arts, ‘59) is a retired professor of theatre arts at the University of Minnesota, Morris, where he directed approximately 70 plays and musicals, created and performed in the campus’ summer theatre program, and helped form the Meiningens, the campus student theatre group. He also established the Fosgate Theatre Scholarship, which supports students pursuing degrees in theatre arts. In December 2020, UMN Morris renamed its experimental and intimate theatre space used for performances and classes the George C. Fosgate Black Box Theatre in honor of his work. Fosgate has also enjoyed a second career as a senior lifestyle model and stage, screen, and commercial actor with numerous credits in plays, film and television.

Mary Frances Kelly-Poh

Mary Frances Kelly-Poh (Nursing, ‘68) recently retired as a registered nurse and has found an exciting second career as a watercolor and textile artist. She has been enjoying the pleasures of needlepoint since 1971, stitching almost exclusively with metallic and silk threads and using mostly her own designs. Mary is also skilled in cross-stitch, and specializes in color, mixed-media compositions, and decorative, meticulously detailed designs that often take months to complete. She is a member of the HQ Gallery in Benicia, the California Watercolor Association, Arts Benicia, and the Embroiderers’ Guild of America. She has won several awards for her work.

Orval Hughes (Biological Sciences, ‘69) is a senior loan officer for Summit Funding. Orval serves on the Chico State Alumni Association Board of Directors. the Chico Chamber of Commerce, and the Butte-Glenn Community College District Measure J Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. He is also president of the board for the Peg Taylor Center, which provides adult day health care. Orval was awarded the Chico State Hall of Fame Mac Martin award in 2016.

Wayne Edmiston

Wayne Edmiston (Industrial Arts, ‘71) released his first children’s book, Ellie and Her Elephant, about a young girl who wins a contest to name a baby elephant at the local zoo. Wayne is an ordained minister and involved with Readers Theater at the South County Historical Society in San Luis Obispo County. He and his family have a long history in Chico—his great-aunt Ellen Deering established the Ellen Deering Endowment Fund in the ‘70s to support the development of the Meriam Library Special Collections and University Archives; his great-uncle Ellsworth Deering was honored and inducted into Chico State’s Sports Hall of Fame in the ‘80s; his aunt Virginia Edmiston taught at Central School (the first high school in Chico) before it was demolished where Meriam Library sits today; and Wayne himself graduated from Aymer J. Hamilton Elementary School. He and his wife, Jacque, reside on the Central Coast with their dog, Sophie.

Gary Hilbert

Gary Hilbert (Communications, ‘75) has been fighting for LGBTQ+ individuals to have the freedom to live their truth without fear and with equality under the law for most of his life. He is deeply involved with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group in the United States, having served six years on the National Board of Governors and two years as co-chair for the HRC Greater New York Gala. He has earned numerous awards for his efforts to legalize marriage equality in New Jersey and his ongoing work on the HRC National Steering Committee. He currently serves as co-chair of the HRC San Francisco Bay Area Gala. A creative studio manager based in San Francisco, Gary has also won multiple national advertising and design awards for his 40-plus years of work in advertising and branding in the Bay Area, Minneapolis, and New York City.

Robert Aversano (Humanities, ‘74) spent 32 years as a US Forest Service firefighter in the Los Padres National Forest. Robert has been working as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for the past 13 years and is currently writing a screenplay for a movie about fire.

Susan Browne

Susan Browne (Liberal Studies, ‘74; MA, English, ‘80; Credential, ‘82) has retired from Diablo Valley College, where she taught English for many years. An accomplished poet. she has received a fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, been nominated for three Pushcart Awards, written three collections of poetry, and has had poems published in numerous journals throughout her long career. Her third book, Just Living, recently won the Catamaran Poetry Prize. You can find Susan reading her work in venues across Northern California and leading writing workshops throughout the year.

Diane Getsinger (Microbiology, ‘74) has been a clinical laboratory scientist in microbiology at UC Davis Health for the last 46 years. She also served for 23 years as a reference technologist for the acid-fast bacteria and mycology section of Stanford Medicine hospital and clinics. Diane credits her time at Chico State for providing an excellent education that prepared her to do the work she loves—most importantly, being able to provide critical information that can help improve patient outcomes.

Geoff McKnight (Mass Communication Design, ‘74) is a working actor and member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Among many credits, he starred as John Allen on the acclaimed historical drama Edgar Allen Poe’s Mystery Theater streaming on Amazon Prime.

Conley Smith (English, ‘77; MA, English, ‘79) saw his second book published in March. The Corporate Weenie Almanac takes a satirical look at current pop culture and the modern workplace, as gleaned from his 30 years of experience as an advertising executive in the telecommunications industry. It’s available on Amazon and in select bookstores. Smith has also been working to turn his first book, Tongue in Chico: A Decade of Merriment and Mayhem in a Town Near Normal, into a graphic novel and potentially a TV series.


Jim Maher (Business Administration, ‘80) built a long career in accounting after graduating from Chico State—he worked for his dad’s accounting firm in Merced right out of the gate and then moved on to Chevron, where he stayed for 30 years. After retiring, Jim began a new career in music, his lifelong passion. He is now a dedicated composer and musician, and has written two musicals for the stage. The first, Workforce, was postponed due to the pandemic. The second, The Invisible Man, a Musical, is based on the H.G. Wells classic, and premieres this June at the Martinez Campbell Theater in Martinez.

Colette Kudumu (Home Economics, ‘81) completed a 24-year career as a resource and referral program manager and director of compliance at the Community Child Care Council of Santa Clara County. Colette was also self-employed for 20 years as a small business owner. She now works for the US Postal Service and looks forward to eventual retirement and volunteering in her community.

Greg Weiss

Greg Weiss (Business Administration, ‘83) is managing director of investments and a private wealth advisor for Wells Fargo. Greg built his career around serving high-net-worth families and helping them navigate their philanthropic planning. Greg previously worked in a variety of executive positions for several leading financial companies and holds a master’s degree in finance from San José State.

Annette Lewis (Psychology, ‘85) is trustee and board president for the Contra Costa County Board of Education, elected in November 2018.

Lori Mole

Lori Mole (Art. ‘85) works as a contemporary painter near Santa Barbara and had new work on display in the 2021 Fall Exhibition at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in New York City. The exhibition was an exploration of the abstract, figurative, and natural worlds, while Lori’s acrylic compositions were musically inspired and included a tribute painting for Eddie Van Halen. The gallery named Lori one of its Contemporary Emerging Masters in the renowned international contemporary art magazine Art in America.

Michael Smith (Geography, ‘85) works as an aggregate resource and government relations manager for Teichert Materials.

Matthew Nichols (Sociology, ‘86) currently works as an auditor for Ayers Hotel Group of Southern California. Previously, he worked 20 years for Best Western International Hotels and Resorts, and as a social worker for seniors requiring home health care.

Ann Reynolds (Social Science, ‘88) has entered her 13th year as CEO and founder of the Napa-based Wine Compliance Alliance, where she works as a consultant helping wineries comply with federal, state, and other regulations. Last year, she launched her own online training school to help winery staff understand these difficult regulations. Ann has been busy in all things wine since graduating from Chico State. She is a Napa Valley industry veteran and worked in wineries throughout the area for 16 years before starting her company. In 2012, she even wrote a book, The Inside Story of a Wine Label, where she gives the inside scoop on US wine labels and what they can tell you about the wine itself.

Steve Larson (Criminal Justice, ‘88) recently retired after serving for almost 30 years in the California Highway Patrol as a lieutenant.

Bill Jostock (Business Administration, ‘89), recently retired from a 19-year career as appraisal manager for the Shasta County Assessor. He has spent time working in both public and private accounting.


Sean Garry (Mechanical Engineering, ‘92) is the director of mechanical engineering at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. He has been in the industry for more than 19 years, including numerous roles and locations with Lockheed Martin, supporting and leading the development, design, build, test and launch of world-first technologies. Prior to aerospace, Sean worked at a photonics start-up in the Silicon Valley where he supported its rapid growth through IPO. After graduating from Chico State, Sean earned a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Denver.

Stacy Young (Music, ‘91; Credential, ‘92) is the arts program manager for the Humboldt County Office of Education and was recently awarded a federal grant of $3.3 million to boost intellectual, social, and creative potential in local schools by developing social and emotional learning through art. The grant will pay for professional development, instructional supplies, and teaching strategies to address trauma and pandemic-induced stress for both students and staff, and to increase student performance and emotional well-being through creativity. Stacy also holds a master’s degree in education from Humboldt State University.

Kamie Loeser (Geography and Planning, ‘93; MA. ‘97) has been hired as director of the Butte County Department of Water Resources Conservation. Kamie has focused most of her career in Butte County, working in wastewater and watershed management. community planning, environmental consulting, and regulatory compliance permitting for local land-use and infrastructure projects. In her new position, she will promote sustainable management, conservation, and protection of Butte County’s water and resources by cooperating with local, regional, and state agencies and engaging with area citizens, landowners, and stakeholders.

Randy Schriefer (Kinesiology, ‘94) is a police captain for the city of San José and was recently appointed a California State Automobile Association board member.

Trevor Caulder (Electrical Engineering, ‘95) is the principal technologist for multinational technology company Nvidia Corporation.

Mindy Fattig (Credentials, ‘96) has been promoted to senior advisor-professional expert in special education with the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. Mindy is a veteran in her field, having spent 24 years in education after graduating from Chico State. She previously worked as executive director for the Humboldt-Del Norte Special Education Local Plan Area for the last 10 years, and she continues to work as a lecturer in graduate studies at Cal Poly Humboldt, where she teaches educators in teaching special education. Mindy was named Humboldt County Teacher of the Year for 2005-06 and received a Humboldt County Excellence in Teaching award. In 2006, Mindy co-authored a practical guide to hands-on teaching in a mixed-ability classroom, Co-Teaching in the Differentiated Classroom, and was honored to be asked back to Chico State to discuss the book with those in our special education credential program.

Lisa Reener (Health Science, ‘97) is working as a sterile processing tech II at Kaiser Hospital in Pleasant Hill.

Samuel Grizzle (Communication Design, ‘99) is currently head of global business development, partnerships, and alliance at the streaming video platform IBM Watson Media, where he manages technical sales, training, and vendor relationships. Samuel is a broadcast and streaming veteran with 20-plus years of video-streaming knowledge and experience in operations, engineering, production, and management. He has served many high-profile clients including Netflix, Discovery, and HBO.


Garrett Gatewood

Garrett Gatewood (Computer Science, ‘01) was appointed to the Rancho Cordova City Council in 2017, which made him the first Black citizen to hold a seat in the city’s history. It also paved the way for him to become its first Black mayor in 2021. Over the last year, Garrett dedicated himself to supporting minority-owned businesses and youth sports, as well as preserving housing and bringing in new development. In addition to serving in local government, Garrett runs his own IT company, Business Computer Services of Sacramento, which provides support to companies in more than 30 states. One of his priorities as CEO has been to train people from underrepresented backgrounds to work in the technology industry and to see technology jobs increase in the Sacramento region. He also coaches Little League and soccer in his spare time.

Peter Eugenio (Exercise Physiology, ‘01) works as a fire extinguisher technician for Stanford University.

Emily Hoekstra (History, ‘03) is a self-employed author and spiritual life coach living in San Diego. She has released three books, published by Rockpoint Books: Moonlight Gratitude; Find Your Glow; and Feed Your Soul Sunrise Gratitude. Now she is working on her fourth!

Jessica Moreno (Psychology, ‘04) is clinic coordinator and assistant professor of marriage, couples. and family counseling at Sacramento State. Jessica is also a licensed marriage and family therapist working in private practice. She completed her doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from Loma Linda University in 2014.

Clayton Benway (Business Administration, ‘06) recently celebrated three years as relationship manager for the financial services company TD Ameritrade. Clayton is also newly married and welcomed a baby in August 2021.

Jessa Kay Cruz

Jessa Kay Cruz (MA, Interdisciplinary Studies, ‘06) recently received the 2021 Frank R. Beeler Stewardship Award for her extraordinary efforts to protect and enhance the Mokelumne River watershed, to promote the best use of the area’s natural resources, and to engage and educate the surrounding communities. Jessa is the senior pollinator conservation specialist for The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, an international nonprofit that supports the protection of pollinators, other insects, and their habitats. Jessa is also a partner biologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Antonio Rivera and Tom Gatto

Antonio Rivera (Communication Design, ‘06) and Tim Gatto (Communication Design, ‘08) successfully launched Gatto Rivera Branding, a Napa-based design company serving the wine, beer, and spirits industry, in August 2021. The duo combines a unique, collaborative approach with more than 25 years of industry experience to create strategic and impactful designs for leading brands including Seghesio Family Vineyards, Trefethen Family Vineyard, and Maitre de Chai. As branding and packaging are major factors in whether consumers decide to purchase a product. Antonio and Tim play an influential role in driving sales for their clients. and they apply the theory and practical skills they gained at Chico State every day!

Cristina Ramirez (Kinesiology, ‘08) works as an assistant superintendent for the construction engineering company Snyder Langston.

Jason VanBuskirk (Business Information Systems, ‘09) works as a corporate accountant for The Towbes Group in Ventura, where he manages the books for corporate and residential property management and the construction division. He married in May 2020, and he and his wife, Laine, welcomed a baby boy, Jack Charles, in February 2021.


Jeffrey Cutter (Business Information Systems, ‘10) works in telephone and chat support for Apple Inc. and has completed his Linux Admin CompTia Certificate.

Lena Heffern

Lena Heffern (Mechanical Engineering, Physics, ‘13) Lena is a PhD candidate at Arizona State University finishing her dissertation on exploration systems design, with plans to graduate in May 2022. She is also a team member on two of the most exciting recent journeys into space: The NASA LunaH-Map mission that sent a shoebox-sized spacecraft to the lunar south pole to map hydrogen enrichments this spring, and the NASA Psyche mission that is sending a tennis-court-sized spacecraft to visit a metal-rich asteroid orbiting the sun. An instrument Lena helped design is also flying on two additional upcoming space missions: the NASA Dragonfly and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency MMX! Lena credits Chico State physics professor Christopher Gaffney for facilitating an internship with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory—launching her into a successful career.  

Shelby Chase (Business Administration. ‘14) is the founder of HRIQ, a thriving Chico-based human resources company committed to helping local businesses navigate all manner of functions including employment law, payroll management. health benefits, and employee relations. Shelby is also a lecturer in the Department of Management at Chico State, has been a member of the board of directors for the ACLU of Northern California and Inspire School of Arts and Sciences, and continues to establish herself as a leading female entrepreneur and role model in Butte County. She also holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Western Governor’s University in Utah.

Jeannette Arrabit (Animal Science, ‘16) is the cheese production supervisor for the Tillamook County Creamery Association in Oregon, where she leads a team of 23 employees in making Tillamook-branded cheese—her favorite is the extra sharp cheddar. After graduating from Chico State, she completed her master’s degree in professional studies in dairy products and technology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Jeannette also just bought her first house!

Gabrielle Berce

Gabrielle Berce (Communication Sciences and Disorders, ‘16) is a speech language pathologist in an elementary school during the day, works nights at a skilled nursing facility, and still finds time to pursue her passion for horses and agriculture. Last summer, she was crowned Miss Rodeo Hawaii 2021, and she competed for Miss Rodeo America 2022 in November, where she earned honors for personality and the Congeniality Award. In her role, she has been promoting rodeo, Hawaiian ranching and farming, and the paniolo heritage. She also educates children on basic agricultural skills like gardening and animal husbandry. With a master’s degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, she next hopes to pursue certification in applied animal behavior to implement equine care and horseback riding into speech therapy.

Kael Heath (English, ‘16) has been working as a management assistant for the Internal Revenue Service for the last two years.

Gloria Lopez (Child Development. ‘17) works as the center director for a private Spanish immersion preschool and school-age program in San José. She is also a member of the San José Women’s Club, is a Mission College mentor, and recently went back to school to finish her master’s degree.


Uriel Galarza (Construction Management. ‘20) recently joined Bernards Construction as a project engineer, working for the Desert Sands Unified School District.

Corey Wheeler (Music, ‘21) is working as a barista trainer at Starbucks.

Have you recently changed jobs, been promoted, or started your own business? Perhaps you’ve gotten married, crossed something off your personal bucket list, or achieved a lifelong dream. Send an email to to share where life has taken you since your days at Chico State.

Fond Farewells

The University and Alumni Association note with sorrow the passing of our alumni, students, and colleagues.


Melba (Abdelaziz) Parke (Attended, 1981–84)

Joe Adams (MA, Political Science, ’86)

Robert Allen “Bob” Curry (Political Science, ’70)

Steven Ray “Armo” Armocido (Attended, 1982–85)

Gloria Bettencourt (Education, ’53; General Elementary Credential, ’53)

William Bettencourt (Business Administration, ’54)

Thomas Birch (Industrial Arts, Credential, ’60; MA, Industrial Arts, ’62)

Gary Blain (Social Science, ’70)

John Brayton (Agriculture, ’66)

Kaye Fehliman (Physical Education, ’60; Credential ’86)

JessieAnne Goldberg (Attended, ’71)

Carl Anthony Goslovich (Business Administration, ’67)

Ellis Hamilton (Attended, 1941–46)

Emily Hornaday (Journalism, ’84)

Marjorie Houser (Attended, 1940–42, 1961, 1963–64)

Richard Hull (Agricultural Business, ’89)

Charmaine Celeste Hunton-Rone (Education, ’82)

Robert Johnson (Industrial Arts, ’81)

Christine Y. Jones (Spanish, Social Welfare, ’72; Credential, ’73)

Herbert Langdon (Civil Engineering, ’65)

Laurel Lusk-Gary (Liberal Studies, Credential, ’85)

Robert Madlem (Economics, ’71)

Mark Clifford Mallicoat (Mass Communication Design, ’72)

Michael A. Manera (History, ’71; Credential, ’72)

John Maple (Business Administration, ’66)

Andrea McAfee (Recreation Administration, ’91)

Paul McCreary (Recreation Administration, ’92)

Patricia Moynahan (Nursing, ’74)

Sally Morris (Journalism, ’82)

Gail Nemy (Social Science, ’71)

Susan Powell (Home Economics, ’83)

Laurie Roberts (Broadcasting, ’76)

David Sutphin Jr. (Business Administration, ’90)

Theodore “Ted” Urton (MA, Political Science, Credential, ’73)

Eileen Murphy Vigo (Business Administration, ’86)

Mary Jane Watkins (Education, Credential ’56)

Howard Wellsfry (Civil Engineering, ’63)

Barbara Joan Wood (Attended, 1957–60, 1973–74)


Cassi Tejeda, History

Terry Nilsen, Jr., Psychology

Faculty and Staff*

Bill Babb (MA, Biological Sciences, ’83), Instructional Support Technician, 1981–2013

Randy Barrett, Mail Services, 2017–21

Robert Colwell, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, 1966–90

Donald Gerth, Academic Affairs, 1964–76

Jim Jacob, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 1995–2016

George Johnson, College of Business, 1969–98

Patricia Johnson (Business Administration, ’78), Associated Students, 1989–2012

Bill Lane, Computer Science, 1960–92

David Mallory, Music, 1969–1991

Pete Mathiesen, Wildcat Athletics, 1970–87

Tom McCready, Mathematics, 1968–2011

Don Miller, Wildcat Athletics, 1967–2002

Sandy Parsons, Student Affairs, 2006–2021

Al Richardson, Electrical and Computer Engineering, 1989–2013

Jim Roberts, Child Development, Regional & Continuing Education, 1970–98

Inge Schmidt (Speech Arts, ’53; Theatre Arts, ’88), Theatre and Costume Design, 1968–77

Stephanie Yule, (Business Administration, ’91; MA, ’00), Business and Finance, 1974–2007

* Years of service