Dispatches Winter 2016

Jerome Chris
[LibArts, GradLibArts ’73] published his 12th book from Royal Fireworks Press: “Brain Launch,” a collection of short stories intended for middle school students.

Dan Vistica
[BusAdm] and his son, Jeff Vistica [LibArts ’00], have formed Vistica Wealth Advisors, which has offices in Carlsbad, California, and Sacramento.

Eugene Gleason
[LibArts] was ordained a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Archbishop José H. Gomez. The ordination took place this past June at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Gleason is a parishioner at Beatitudes of Our Lord Church in La Mirada, California.

Farrell Webb [SFTV] was appointed dean of the College of Health and Human Development at California State University, Northridge. He was associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Los Angeles. Earlier, he had a 19-year career as a faculty member in family studies at Kansas State University.

Lecia Brooks
[LibArts] recently presented a TED talk on “Fighting Hate, Teaching Tolerance, Seeking Justice” at the 44th Annual Norman Thomas Memorial Lecture, held at Ohio State University at Marion in Ohio.

George Billinger III
[CFA] was elected president of the Society of Camera Operators in February 2016. During his career as a camera operator, he has worked with Wes Craven, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, Joss Whedon and others; and on films including “Lincoln,” “War of the Worlds,” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

Carol (Kelly) Pirsztuk
[BusAdm] was elected to the El Segundo City Council in April 2016. Pirsztuk has been executive director of the El Segundo Education Foundation, a community organization that raises funds for the El Segundo Unified School District.

Kevin Shinnick
[SFTV] successfully completed the triple crown of open water swimming this past summer. Following his solo swim across the English Channel in 2013, Kevin swam the 28 miles around Manhattan Island in New York in June 2015. And, on July 9, 2016, he completed the 20-mile swim across the Catalina Channel, becoming one of fewer than 150 swimmers worldwide to have successfully swam all three open water swims.

Robert D. Leon [GradBusAdm] is one of four people who were added to the sales professionals team of CIT Group, based in New York City, in its Mid-Cap Restaurant Franchise Finance group.

John Masche
[SciEng] has been elected to the Board of Directors for the AZ Water Association, which is based in Queen Creek, Arizona. The association serves as the Arizona section of the American Water Works Association.

Kristen Tracy
[LibArts], who has written 12 novels for young adults and young readers, launched a new series for tweens this past June with Random House called “Project (Un)popular.” Her first teen novel, “Lost It,” was selected by the New York Public Library as one of their Books for the Teen Age.

Maria (Alonte) McCoy
[LibArts] was appointed senior vice president of Film & Television Synchronization for Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Republic Records this past July. She oversees licensing music from Def Jam, Island and Republic, Universal Music Group’s East Coast labels, for use in film, television, video games, commercials and all other visual media.

Daniel Norton
[LibArts] currently represents writers and showrunners of properties such as “Mr. Robot,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Snowfall.”

Emad Georgy
[BusAdm] is chief technology officer at Experian Marketing Services, which has offices in the Los Angeles area and elsewhere. He leads global software engineering, development and product management for the Experian Marketing Suite.

Jose Rivas [SciEng], a science teacher at the Lennox Math, Science and Technology Academy, Lennox, California, received the Northrop Grumman Foundation Excellence in Engineering Education award in April 2016 at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Rivas teaches physics and AP physics. The award consists of $5,000 for classroom materials and equipment, a cash prize of $3,000 and $2,000 to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education.

Helena Smith
[BusAdm] married Joe Lopez on May 7, 2016, at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Philip Denlea
[BusAdm, GradBusAdm ’08] was named in June 2016 to the Board of Governors of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley in Agoura Hills, California.

Desean Terry [CFA] played the starring role of Hero in Suzan-Lori Parks’ drama “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3),” which was performed at the Center Theater Group/Mark Taper Forum in April–May 2016.

Megan (Desmond)
[CFA] and Cyrus Martinez, along with big brother Rex, welcomed Ronan Olivier to their family on May 13, 2016.

Michele Frawley [SciEng] was installed as the 2017 president of the Los Angeles Dental Society on Oct. 29, 2016. She is the youngest president in the organization’s 81-year history and one of only three women to hold the post.

Liliana Lucia
was born on July 3, 2016, to Sara (Mijares) [BusAdm] and Greg Del Fium. Sara’s article, “Diversity: Making Good on an Investment,” was published on April 27, 2016, by LinkedIn Plus. Sara and her husband also have started a scholarship fund for African American and Latino accounting students at LMU.

Jesse Goodwin [SFTV] was named in May 2016 the first vice president of music supervision for The Hit House, a custom music composition and sound design company in Los Angeles. Goodwin previously was music supervisor with Seismic Productions, also in Los Angeles. He has won two Golden Trailer Awards for best music.

Kahlil Joseph [SFTV] is one of the directors who helmed “Lemonade,” Beyoncé’s visual concept album that premiered on HBO in April 2016.

Shannon (Cozzo)
[LibArts] and Kerry Mahon welcomed their daughter, Caroline Diane, into their family on April 12, 2016.

Emily Marie was born to Johnnie Mata Jr. [CFA] and Erin (Fregoso) Mata [CFA ’05] on April 22, 2016.

Leezel Tanglao [LibArts] is assistant managing editor for programming at CNNMoney. She leads a global team of multi-platform editors who are responsible for programming content on mobile, social and emerging platforms for CNNMoney, Tech, Travel and Style, and HLN.

Lisa Abbott
[LibArts], a former member of the softball team and LMU student, welcomed future Lion Bennett Niel into her family on May 19, 2016.

Nia Marley
was born to Christopher Pearson [LibArts] and Maria (Jarquin) Pearson [LibArts ’07] on Feb. 22, 2016.

Rachel Horn
[LibArts], who was a member of the LMU swim team as a student, swam the Santa Barbara Channel from Anacapa Island, in the Channel Islands National Park, to Oxnard on Sept. 17. The distance of the swim is about 12.4 mi., and Horn’s goal was to raise money for the Santa Barbara branch of the Special Olympics.

Adam Trent
[BusAdm] performed his magic routine at the Historic Ritz Theatre in Talladega, Alabama, on April 23, 2016. Trent has also performed on shows such as “Ellen,” “Good Morning America” and “The Rachel Ray Show.”

Cynthia Salim
[LibArts] launched Citizen’s Mark, an online retailer that bills itself as “the lifestyle brand of the socially conscious, empowered woman,” in April 2015.

Courtney (Relph) Kassakhian
[GradEd] was named principal of LaSalle High School in Pasadena, California, as of July 1, 2016. She was previously principal of Incarnation Elementary School in Glendale.

Loretta Johnson
[LibArts] received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Columbia University in New York in 2016.

Bennett Lasseter [SFTV] has been touring film festivals, including in Los Angeles and Cannes, to promote his award-winning short family drama “Stealth,” for which he won a 2015 Student Academy Award.

Alexa Garcia
[CFA], who began working at Disneyland in 2009, was named to the Disneyland Resort Ambassador Team in September 2016. Garcia’s is a two-year post in which she represents the company at public events.

Jhia Jackson [CFA] is an author for Idealist, an online nonprofit organization that connects people to a searchable database of organizations and opportunities.

Felicia Arriola
[SciEng], LMU volleyball assistant coach, was named to the 2016 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 Awards list in April 2016. In her two years as assistant coach, she helped lead LMU to two NCAA tournament appearances, including a spot in the Sweet Sixteen in 2015, the second time in program history that LMU women’s volleyball has advanced to that tourney stage.

Riley Stauffer [CFA] is a kindergarten teacher for KIPP NYC, a charter school organization in New York.

Kenya Kinski-Jones
[LibArts] was featured in the August 2016 issue of NYLON in an article titled “Get Ready To Fall In Love With Kenya Kinski-Jones.”