January 18, 2022

Dispatches Winter 2022

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Chad Slattery [LibArts] parlayed his experience editing the 1968 and 1969 LMU yearbooks into a lifelong photography career, specializing in aviation. His most recent book is “Inside Aviation Photography.” His most recent assignment was photographing the engineer who remotely flies JPL’s Mars helicopter.


Nona Rafferty [LibArts, GradEd ’76] sent $70 to 70 friends on her 70th birthday with instructions simply to give the money away. “How you do that is entirely up to you,” she told them. “Touch someone’s life.” A story about her unusual birthday celebration appeared in the Orange County Register, Aug. 10, 2021.


Erithe Smith [LibArts], a judge with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, was named a legal legend by the John M. Langston Bar Association at the 29th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon in October 2021.


Maria-Elena (Medina) Giner [SciEng] was named U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission by President Joe Biden. The commission is a federal government agency that implements boundary and water treaties between the United States and Mexico. Giner took up her post in September.


Cris Liban [GradSciEng], an expert in environmental, sustainability and energy initiatives, was elected to the National Academy of Construction, which is based in Austin, Texas. Liban is chief sustainability officer with LA Metro in Los Angeles. He was formally inducted into the academy in October 2021.  


Kimberly Taniyama [SciEng] was appointed a judge in the District Court of the Third Circuit in Hawaii. Taniyama also was the recipient of the Hawaii State Bar Association Government Lawyers Section 2016 Pro Bono Legal Service Award.


Kenneth Diashyn was named chief strategy and development officer for the Centre for Neuro Skills, which provides traumatic and acquired brain injury rehabilitation services and is headquartered in Tarzana, California.

Chester Hinds [LibArts] was promoted to chief prosecutor of the Criminal Division in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in October 2021.


Kimberlyn King-Hinds [LibArts] was elected president of the Association of Pacific Ports. She is chairwoman of the Commonwealth Ports Authority, which oversees three airports and three seaports in the Northern Mariana Islands.


Diana Mogollón [SFTV] is senior vice president and general manager of Stage 13, an original content studio owned by a Warner Bros.


Darryn Harris [LibArts] was named chief of staff by U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) this past August. He was raised in Los Angeles and had been the director of the representative’s district office there. Harris also is founder and president emeritus of Black Los Angeles Young Democrats.


Sebastien Reyes [LibArts], vice president for communications at U-Haul International, was named to the 2021 PRWeek 40 Under 40 list this past August.


Kevin Kiley [GradEd], a member of the California State Assembly representing Rocklin in suburban Sacramento, was among the Republican Party candidates for governor in the September 2021 recall election that failed to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom.


Daniel Braunstein [SFTV] produced Spiritbox’s debut heavy metal album, “Eternal Blue,” this past September. The album went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums and Hard Rock Albums charts.


Michael Flores [LibArts] joined Fender as a public relations and communications manager. He will lead all strategy for the brands and will be a main point of contact for Jackson Guitars and Gretsch, which makes drums and guitars. He previously worked for The Walt Disney Company.

Sara Vlasach [GradBusAdm] has been hired by Emetry, a software company based in Napa, California, as senior director of product marketing.


Jamal Adams [GradEd] was announced in April as the next principal of La Salle College Preparatory High School in Pasadena. For the past 16 years, he has been the basketball coach at Loyola High School in Los Angeles as well director of faculty and director of equity and inclusion.

Sharet Garcia [GradEd] founded UndocuProfessionals, an online community that offers mentorships and programs for undocumented immigrants. A guidance counselor and professor at Palomar College, a community college in San Marcos, California, Garcia is pursuing a doctorate at Pepperdine University.

Kelly (Fitzpatrick) Gonez [GradEd] was selected as president of the L.A. Unified School District in December 2020. She represents District 6, which encompasses most of the East San Fernando Valley.

Claudia Greene [GradSFTV] is the founder and CEO of Mayhem Entertainment Public Relations in Los Angeles.


Connor DeVane [LibArts] is a programs coordinator at Daily Acts Organization, and director of the independent film “Hike the Divide: A Conversation About Climate Action on the Continental Divide Trail.” The documentary was an official selection at the One Earth Film Festival in 2020 and the Portland EcoFilm Festival in 2019. He was featured in Outside magazine’s Backpacker column in August 2021 in a story titled “Meet 11 Heroes Who Are Saving Hiking’s Future.”


Christopher Kalil [SFTV], Peter Schrupp [BusAdm ’16], Matthew Sutton [BusAdm ’16] and Colin Boppell [SFTV ’17] are the members of Arms Akimbo, a band they formed as LMU undergraduates. They turned their debut release, “East LA, ETC,” into a YouTube TV series in July 2021.

Hallie Spoor [CFA], now a singer/songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York, released a video for her song “City Angels.” 

Nate Townsend [SFTV] directed a documentary about suicide and suicide prevention titled “Wake Up,” which made its premiere at the St. Louis International Film Festival in July 2020.


Heather Domingo [LibArts] joined the Sacramento office of Fisher Phillips, a labor and employment firm that represents employers. After graduating from LMU, she earned a law degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.


Kaila Patrick [LibArts] has been hired by Howard & Howard, a law firm based in Royal Oak, Michigan. Patrick began working with the firm as a summer associate in 2019 and will work in the firm’s Las Vegas office on business and corporate law.


Petr Herman [LibArts, GradEd ’19] is a graduate assistant with the LMU men’s basketball program. Before returning to the Lions’ program, he played professionally in the Czech NBL, the Czech Republic’s top professional basketball league.


Erik Johannson [LibArts] is a graduate assistant with the LMU men’s basketball program. He was a four-year veteran of the men’s team from 2016–20. He played in 118 games as a Lion, placing him fifth all-time in that category.

Carlo Juntilla [GradEd] is an English teaching assistant in Taiwan with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program during the 2021–22 academic year. He assists English teachers in classrooms while also serving as a U.S. cultural ambassador.

Jaida Macklin [LibArts] is an English teaching assistant in South Korea with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program during the 2021–22 academic year. She assists English teachers in classrooms while also serving as a U.S. cultural ambassado