Coastlines Online, UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association


Spring 2016



Fran Mancia, ’80

Fran Mancia

The UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association Board of Directors has elected Fran Mancia ’80 to serve as one of four University of California Alumni Regents. Fran Mancia’s term will begin July 1, 2016 as a Regent-designate. He will serve as a voting Regent from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

Mancia is vice president of government relations for MuniServices LLC, a Sacramento based revenue enhancement and protection advocacy firm that specializes in representing government agencies, including cities, counties and special districts. He served as chair of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association’s Advocacy Committee for the past two years and is an active member of the Alumni Council of the UCSB Department of Communication.

UCSB’s Alumni Association elects a Regent every six years as part of a rotation with the other 10 campuses that is based on alumni populations. Mancia will also serve as the President of the Alumni Associations of the University of California in 2017. That is the organization of all UC alumni association presidents and executive directors.

Don Hertzfeldt,`98

Filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt `98 was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for his 17-minute animation “World of Tomorrow,” a science fiction film about a little girl named Emily, played by Hertzfeldt’s niece, who views a troubling future for the human race. This is Hertzfeldt’s second Academy Award nomination.

Hertzfeldt’s animations often feature handdrawn stick figures, with emphasis on the film’s writing, editing and sound. As a film major at UC Santa Barbara, he created four 16mm animated student films that gained steady popularity at community viewings and at film festivals, and aired on MTV. His subsequent works have since been recognized and awarded at over 250 film festivals around the world.

Don Hertzfeldt

Photo credit: Screen capture from World of Tomorrow trailer.

Shane Stanger `09 and Andrew Yakub `10

Two UCSB graduates, made this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list of America’s most important young entrepreneurs, creative leaders and stars

Shane Stanger `09 co-founder of The Baked Bear, a popular SoCal ice cream sandwich chain, made the list’s Food & Drink category.

Rayton Solar founder Andrew Yakub `10 was recognized in the Energy category. His company uses laser deposition technology to make silicon wafers 1/100th the thickness of standard wafers used in solar panels.


San Mateo’s Mission Hospice & Home Care program honored Kathryn Breaux `68 with the 2016 Lotus Award for her outstanding support of the organization. Breaux has served as a founding member and Chair of the Mission Hospice & Home Care Board of Directors.

Susan Dunn Susan Barbour Dunn `69 celebrated the birth of her first grandchild Stevie Grace Barnhart on February 2, 2016.


Obie Award-winning actor, writer and director Diane Rodriguez `73 was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate as a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts. Rodriguez, who serves as the associate artistic director at the Los Angeles Center Theatre Group, co-founded El Teatro de La Esperanza and the comedy troupe Latins Anonymous.

Wenonah Valentine Wenonah Valentine `77 delivered the keynote address at the 24th Annual Unity Luncheon at Cal Poly Pomona. The Black Faculty and Staff Association hosted the event honoring six diversity champions representing all campus affinity groups. Over 500 students, faculty and staff attended the event. Valentine serves as a member of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association Board of Directors. She founded iDREAM for Racial Health Equity, a project of Community Partners® and reimagined community-defined practices for health leadership coaching and skill-building that advances first-generation college graduates to work in the global digital marketplace as early career professionals. She has inspired inter- generational and multi-cultural advocates and transformative leaders since 1996.

Phillip Spector Phillip Spector ’72 will be inducted this month into the Society of Satellite Professionals International Hall of Fame, after a long career as an attorney who helped to shape the U.S. communications satellite industry. This year’s Hall of Fame includes some of America’s most influential communication players, from inventors to CEOs. Spector is only the second attorney to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which has recognized 80 pioneers in research, government affairs and aerospace.

Spector currently is an attorney in the Space and Satellite Group of Millbank, Tweed, Hadley and & McCloy, a 150-year-old New York law firm with offices around the world. Spector serves at the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

of possibilities,” said Spector of his time at the University. He majored in political science and spent a year studying in England in the Education Abroad Program. He went on to graduate from Harvard Law School and eventually won a prestigious clerking job with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

He admitted that “youth is wasted on the young” when recalling his days working for Marshall on some of the most important cases of that time -- including Bakke vs. University of California, the landmark reverse discrimination case involving college admissions. He said he was too young to appreciate the times that Marshall would pull up a chair and regale the clerks with stories of his activities as a crusading black lawyer in the South. Spector was one of only 36 law clerks assigned to the Justices and his workload was immense.

After the Supreme Court, Spector moved across town to the White House. For two years, he worked on policy issues for President Carter. The assignment that left the deepest mark was his job acting as the liaison between the White House and the families of the Iran hostages. “It was fascinating and difficult,” he recalled.

Spector went on to work in private practice where he was a key attorney in the battle to overturn the international communication monopoly of Intelsat, on behalf of his client, PanAmSat. Years later, he joined Intelsat as General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Business Development, where he was instrumental in Intelsat’s acquisition of his former client, PanAmSat.

Spector serves as a trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation. “I look at UCSB as being very formative in my life,” he said. “Now it’s time to give back. I want to help Chancellor Yang with resources to make this a great university.”

Pamela Coats VandeKamp `79 completed her doctorate in educational leadership at UC Berkeley. She earned her Ed.D. with the dissertation titled “Complex Learning around a Simple Tool- Improving Instructional Supervision by Improving Lesson Analysis.” She is the Coordinator of State and Federal Programs in the San Lorenzo Unified School District. For seven years, she served as the principal of Hillside Elementary School and has worked as a teacher in the district for nearly 15 years.


Ken Katsura `89 launched his new company Nexus Nova Scientific, a national security research contractor.


Barb Beainy `92 is Director of Development, Engineering and Sciences at UC Santa Barbara. Before accepting her new position, Beainy served as Wellness and Fitness Director in the Exercise and Sport Studies and Recreation Department.

Joshua Isenberg `93 is a partner at Morrison & Foerster’s Tokyo branch. He will enhance the firm’s inbound practice representing global investors acquiring assets in Japan, and will also grow an outbound practice supporting Japanese corporate clients investing in the United States.


David Meeler David Meeler PhD `00 is the Harry & Becca Dalton Endowed Chair of Environmental Sciences & Studies at Winthrop University in South Carolina.

Dr. Lila Abassi `02 is the Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. After she received her degree in anthropology at UC Santa Barbara, Abassi earned her medical degree at St. George’s University and completed her residency at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Chris HerbertTrackR founders Chris Herbert `02 and Christian Smith `08 just premiered the latest version of their locator product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. TrackR is a battery-operated location disc used to tag personal belongings. The quarter- sized disc emits a personal signal allowing the owner to find the item using a mobile app. The product is now on sale at Staples and Brookstone.

Business publication L.A. Biz named Kristen Nesbit `02 as one of the fifty “Women of Influence” recognized in 2016 for their strong community commitment and outreach. Nesbit is a partner at Fisher & Phillips LLP based in Los Angeles, California. She also serves a member of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Andrew Kaven `02 is a partner at Ernst & Young LLP’s Assurance practice in San Francisco, California. Kaven serves technology companies in the enterprise software and cloud computing space, and has taken clients from start-ups through their IPOs and beyond.

Russell D. Terry `03 is an associate attorney at Reicker, Pfau, Pyle & McRoy LLP, a Santa Barbara business law firm. After graduating from UCSB, Terry received his law degree from the University of Washington’s School of Law.

Josh Cornett Josh Cornett `06 is the director of sales at Earthpack, the original premium recycled packaging company based in Irvine, California. Before he took on his new position, Cornett was the sales manager at Tec Color Craft in Los Angeles.

Nicolasa Sandoval PhD `07 has been reappointed to the California State Board of Education, where she has served since 2013. She is the education director of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. She also is a featured lecturer at UC Santa Barbara and serves as a member of the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Holly Butterfield Russell `07 received her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in August 2015. She is an autonomous driving researcher at Renault Innovation Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, California.

Sabrina Ricci Kruger `09 and Garret Kruger `10 are the hosts of the dinosaur-themed podcast I know Dino, now available for streaming on iTunes. The show has featured many top dinosaur enthusiasts like Jack Horner, who inspired Dr. Alan Grant in the book and film Jurassic Park, Peter Larson of Dinosaur 13 fame, dinosaur museum curator and paleontologist Phil Currie, Utahraptor discoverer Jim Kirkland and the developer team for Saurian.


Mandi Gascoigne de Witte MA `10 is the 2015 Educator of the Year in Ventura County. She leads the STEM magnet school implementation at the Will Rogers Two-Way Immersion School of Environmental Science. She is also the lead teacher in the UCSB-led South Coast Science Project.

Taylor King `10 celebrated the fifth anniversary of the opening of her boutique Espionage on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

Carson Weiss `12 and Alex Ilnicki `12 will be getting married in Santa Barbara in July 2016.

Apeel Sciences, founded by James Rogers `12 received the Central Coast Innovation Award in the Agribusiness category from Pacific Coast Business Times. Soraa, the company founded by Shuji Nakamura, Nobel Prize laureate and UCSB professor, took home the Energy & Environmental Science award.

UCSB graduate students and alumni received the prestigious California Sea Grant State Fellowship in January. The fellowship recipients will work with host agencies involved in marine policy, environmental quality and resource management in California. This year, the Office of Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project and NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center will be hosting Science Fellows for the first time.

Paige BerubeAt the Ocean Protection Council, Paige Berube `15 will focus on climate change projects related to changing ocean conditions, including sea level rise and El Niño, as well as ocean acidification and hypoxia.

Lindsey PeaveyAs the first State Fellow with the NOAA NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Lindsey Peavey `16 will develop ways in which dynamic ocean management (a process to identify where and when resource users can maximize profitability and reduce ecological damage) can be implemented in fisheries management at the state and federal levels.

Heather DennisHeather Dennis `15 will help coordinate wetland restoration projects throughout Southern California by collaborating with scientists, professionals, and stakeholders to implement on-the-ground coastal conservation, restoration, and protection.

Hilary WaleckaHilary Walecka `15 will help strengthen the Conservancy’s coastal climate adaptation and resiliency work by refining programmatic priorities, facilitating regional coordination, engaging stakeholders, and developing pilot climate studies and adaptation projects.

Daniel EllisDaniel Ellis `16 will help develop and implement state policies under the California Ocean Plan, which protects water quality in coastal waters.

Michelle Belko `13 is the Stewardship Reporting and Analysis Manager on UCSB’s Engineering and the Sciences Development team. Belko interned at Santa Barbara Fitness Magazine and worked as a development and program specialist for Jodi House.

Samantha Alvarez `13 delivered the keynote address at the Partners in Education Annual Leadership Breakfast in Santa Barbara, California. Alvarez is the volunteer manager of Partners in Education, a coalition of Santa Barbara business and education leaders.

Al Williams ’14 has returned from a season of playing professional basketball in China, where he received the second richest contract ever given a rookie. Williams is working out in his home town of Oxnard hoping to land on an NBA team this year. In China he played for the Qingdao Doublestar Eagles and was nicknamed “Zhang Fei,” an ancient bearded warrior. The description came from his long hair and beard which did not appear to slow him down on the boards. He led the Chinese Basketball Association in rebounding.

In Memorium


Marion Bates Whitwill `41 died on December 23 in Novato, California. Whitwill worked as an educator for over 30 years.

Patricia Lea Lunch died on January 18 in Bakersfield, California. After attending UC Santa Barbara, Lynch worked at the Bank of America and the Arvin Unified School District.

Donald Vanderford `49 died on December 7 in Fullerton, California. After serving in the Army during World War II, Vanderford graduated from UC Santa Barbara and went on to work as an accountant at Southern California Edison for over 30 years.


Geraldine LaVerne Wheldon Jones `50 died on January 9 in Santa Barbara, California. She taught at Hope School and Monte Vista Elementary, and was honored for her achievements as an educator by President Truman at the White House Rose Garden.

Patricia O’Reilly Levesque `52 died on January 15 in Merced, California. For over 40 years, Levesque taught at schools in Santa Barbara, Visalia and Merced.

Robert G. Douglas `59 died on February 20 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Douglas went on to earn his doctorate at UCLA. He served as the dean of natural sciences and mathematics at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and was chair of the Department of Earth Sciences. He also served as the director of USC’s marine studies program and the Institute for Marine and Coastal Studies. He retired as professor emeritus in 2009.

Selena Pedersen died on January 2 in Cedaredge, Colorado. Pedersen served as an elected official on the Cedaredge City Council and worked as treasurer of the nonprofit Pioneer Town Museum. She also served as the director of the Montecito Association and as a member of the Cold Springs School District Board.

Marilynn Kelley died on January 25 in Sacramento, California. She founded Kelley Contact Lenses, a business she owned and operated for nearly twenty years. She served as president of the Sacramento Children’s Home, the Sacramento Children’s Home Guild and was a founding member of Los Amigos.


Robert William Frierson Jr. `64 died on November 18 in Camino, California. After graduating from UCSB, he served as a deputy at the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department. In 1974, he worked as a bail bondsman before deciding to become a flight attendant. He worked at United Airlines until he retired in 2012. He also served as a volunteer policeman at the Placerville Police Department.

Stephen Duncan Hooper `66 died on November 18 in Camino, California. He was last employed at Santa Barbara City College.

John Ronald Pack died on January 28 in Redwood Valley, California. After he enrolled at UC Santa Barbara for two years, Pack graduated with an economics degree from UC Berkeley and earned his teaching credential at Sonoma State University. For 28 years, he taught at Pomolita, Potter Valley and at Ukiah High School.

Jim Barber Jim Barber ’67 died on January 10 in Walnut Creek, California. A dedicated student athlete, Barber was a member of the Gaucho football squad that played the Camellia Bowl in 1965.

After graduation, Barber served as a second lieutenant in the US Army during the Vietnam War. He went on to attend law school at the UC Hastings College of Law where he became the editor of the Hastings Law Journal. For thirty years, Barber practiced law in San Francisco where he went on to become a partner at Hancock, Rothert and Bunshoft.

Barber served on the Board of Directors of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. During his tenure on the Board, Barber was the driving force behind the creation of the All Gaucho Reunion. In 2008, he received the Graver Alumni Service Award for his exemplary service and dedication to the University. He also founded the Gaucho Athletics Association and served as the organization’s first president.

After retiring in 2005, Barber was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Throughout his nine-year battle against the disease, Barber became a prominent advocate for ALS research. He co-founded the California ALS Advocacy Committee and helped create the California ALS Research Network. In honor of his contributions to the ALS community, Barber received the 2010 Iron Horse Award and the 2011 Heroes Living with ALS Award.

Shelley Kathleen Macdonald `67 died on January 1 in California. For 34 years, Macdonald worked as the business manager of the Bodega Marine Laboratory. After she retired in 1996, she managed her own home hobby business Sticks and Stones.

Anne Mitchell Llewellyn `69 died on February 13 in Miami, Florida. Before she retired in 2013, Llewellyn was senior vice president of the Investment Company of America.

Daniel R. Frumkes died on January 19 in Manual Antonio, Costa Rica. A lifelong activist for marine conservation, Frumkes championed California Prop 132 banning the use of gill nets within three miles of the coast and worked toward the establishment of Point Dume Marine Reserve in 2010. He also worked on the Rigs to Reefs initiative with American Sport Fishing and participated in the Vantana Project at the Occidental College. Before his death, Frumkes was working on a proposal to ban pelagic long line and gill net fishing in Costa Rica.


William David Walker ’71 died on December 30. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Walker worked as a medical malpractice defense attorney in the Bay Area and became a partner at Craddick, Candland, and Conti.

George Solinas ’73 died on December 19 in Santa Cruz, California. A US Army veteran and an active civil rights advocate, Solinas was recruited by activist Cesar Chavez as general contractor of the Agbayani Village retirement community building project to house elderly Filipino farm workers. Solinas also served on the board of La Casa De La Raza and volunteered at community organizations like PUEBLO and the Fund for Santa Barbara.

Michael McKay Lindsey ’77 died on December 7 in Ventura, California. A veteran who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, Lindsey went on to work as a local high school substitute teacher and insurance agent.

Otis MadisonUCSB professor Otis Madison MA `79 died on December 29 in Goleta, California. Madison served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War before he returned to the United States to earn his B.A. in political science at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

In 1975, he moved to California to pursue his doctorate in political science at UC Santa Barbara. He served as a teaching assistant in the political science and Black Studies department and was a Research Fellow at the Center for Black Studies. He also taught courses in the STEP program.

Madison has served as a lecturer at the Black Studies department since 1984. In 1992, UCSB’s Mortar Board named Madison “Professor of the Year.”

In a campus memo circulated after Madison’s death, Chancellor Henry Yang called Madison a “powerful intellectual and phenomenal teacher whose career had a profound impact on countless students and colleagues.”

Ronald DeShon died on December 4 in Klamath Falls, Oregon. While attending UC Santa Barbara, DeShon played professional rugby in the United States and Australia. He went on to run his own heavy equipment brokerage business and founded Klamath Basin Crisis, an online industry news site for farmers, ranchers and local community leaders.

Susan Jane Holmes died on January 11 in Santa Barbara, California. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, she worked as a paralegal in Los Angeles before moving back to Santa Barbara to work for the Myers Law Group.


Dana Marie O’Neill died on December 13 in Colorado. She worked as a youth tour guide in Steamboat Springs.

John S. Diaz died on December 21 in Ventura, California. Diaz was a standout golfer at Santa Barbara High School and went on to compete at the collegiate level at Santa Barbara City College and at UC Santa Barbara. For twenty years, Diaz worked as a golf professional at the Birnam Wood Golf Club.

Michael James Lawler `76 MA `80 died on January 7 in Goleta, California. A talented woodworker and boat restoration expert, Lawler co-authored the book Rowable Classics with Darryl Strickler. He also worked with several nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara and San Rafael.

Jean Thomson`81 died in Santa Barbara, California. She worked at the Air Pollution Control District.

Lisa Ann Levenstein died on December 29 in Los Angeles, California. Levenstein graduated from UCLA after attending UC Santa Barbara. She worked at the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) in Los Angeles.

Carol Czyzewski `84 died on January 8 in Shingle Springs, California. An accomplished musician and vocalist, Czyzewski worked at KTYD-FM and did events planning for Info World Magazine and Logitech.

Amy Ford Scott died on January 20 in Santa Barbara, California. Throughout her life, Ford was a dedicated activist for animal rights.


Anthony Lawrence Van Rees ’91 died on December 2 in Sacramento, California. After graduating from UCSB, Van Rees studied at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He founded Little Rae’s Bakery in Seattle in 1995, and went on to launch FatCat Bakery in Sacramento in 2002. He also served as an instructor at Sacramento’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.


Kelsey Dresser `14 died on December 4 in Los Angeles, California. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Dresser was accepted into USC’s graduate program in marriage and family therapy.

In Rememberance


UCSB sophomore Lilian Feng died on January 10 in Goleta, California. She was a pre-psychology student at the College of Letters and Science.

Joan M. Petersen died on December 9 in Santa Barbara, California. She worked as an administrative assistant at UC Santa Barbara.

Architect Steve Nolan Carter died on December 7 in Santa Barbara, California. As a partner and project architect at DesignArc, Carter worked on the UCSB Manzanita Village construction project.

Horacio RamirezUCSB Chicano/ Chicana Studies professor, author and LGBTQ activist Horacio Roque Ramirez died in December 2015 in Santa Barbara, California.

When he was 12 years old, Ramirez and his family left El Salvador during the Salvadoran Civil War and immigrated to Los Angeles, California. He earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA, where he co-founded the Latin American Students Association and was honored with the Outstanding Senior Award from the UCLA Alumni Association. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in ethnic studies at UC Berkeley where he received the Cervantes Permio in 2000 for his work entitled “Gender, Sexuality, and Transnational Community Migrations: The `Local Third World’ and San Francisco’s Gay Latino Alliance.”

After working with Proyecto ContraSIDA Por Vida, Ramirez joined UC Santa Barbara as part of the core faculty of the University’s first Ph.D. program in Chicano/Chicana Studies. His research included a chronicle of the oral history on la matanza and recovering stories from marginalized communities.

Kenji OtaMartial arts and ballroom dance sensei Kenji Ota died in November 2015. Ota and his wife Miye opened a dojo for martial arts on Magnolia Avenue in Old Town Goleta in the 1960s. They also opened the Cultural School for ballroom dance, cotillion and etiquette.

Ota taught martial arts at UC Santa Barbara since the 1970s, where he also served as the advisor for the UCSB women’s judo team. He also taught at Cal Poly, the YMCA and the Montecito Country Club.

He taught ballroom dancing at UCSB as a physical education class, inspiring students to start their own swing, ballroom and competititve ballroom dancing social clubs.