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Alumni Highlights

Marlene Montanez PhotoMarlene Montañez (BA 2011)

Marlene Montanez has 16 years of experience in grassroots organizing, civic engagement, and leadership development in immigrant rights, workers justice, land use, and youth ministry. As a community organizer she has a background in popular education, coalition building, and political strategy. 

Marlene has been on the forefront of creating systemic change by growing labor and community partnerships. Her role in organizing several successful policy campaigns led to the passage of groundbreaking policies that include a living wage for Long Beach workers, the passing of Measure WW, and the Long Beach Justice Fund. She prides herself in nurturing a number of interns and fellows that are now organizers throughout the county and state. 

Marlene migrated with her family from Zacatecas, Mexico at the age of three and was raised in south central Los Angeles and Fillmore, California. During her time at CSULB she was co-chair of FUEL, and contributed to the passage of the California DREAM Act. She participated in the first cohort of Dream Summer and interned with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition in 2011, and the CLEAN Carwash Campaign in 2012. In her free time, she loves gardening and reading. 


Jamilet Ochoa Photo


Jamilet Ochoa (BA 2019)

Jamilet is an abolitionist, queer identifying, community organizer with the Long Beach Immigrant rights Coalition. Jamilet was raised in El Valle de Mexicali until 9 years old, and moved to Coachella Valley, CA where she grew up before moving to Long Beach 6 years ago. Growing up as a daughter of immigrants, she learned about the inequities immigrant families face, such as the lack of access to basic resources. Jamilet’s priority as an organizer is to activate and to amplify the leadership in immigrant communities. Her role is to prepare community members in local advocacy efforts through LBIRC’s Leadership Academy. Jamilet received her bachelor’s degree in Women’s Gender and Sexuality studies & English Literature. In her free time she enjoys reading, skating, and cooking.


Class of 2014

Amber Melvin (BA, 2014), winner of the Sharon Sievers “Scholarly Achievement Award”  will be joining the team at the Reproductive Health Technologies Project in Washington DC.

Class of 2012

Debbie Blalock has been accepted to the Masters in Social Work Program at USC, the Irvine campus. She was 1 off 100 applicants accepted to the program.

Erika Flores has been accepted to the MS Counseling Program at CSULB. She was offered one of only 20 available spots in the program.

Class of 2011

Diana Avalle has been accepted to the California School of Forensic Science (a division of Alliant University) in Alhambra. She will be pursing a PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology. She hopes to offer counseling services to women in prison.

Class of 2009

Alaina Chamberlain has been accepted into San Diego State University’s MSW program.

Class of 2008

  • Evelyn Castillo has been accepted into the Teacher Education program at Claremont Graduate School.
  • Ashleigh Klein is now a Program Specialist for Sexual Assault Crisis Services at the Long Beach Program for YWCA of Greater Los Angeles.

Class of 2007

  • Melissa Ausilio has an internship in the Jump Start program for the Mental Health Association of Los Angeles.
  • Joshua Delgado is the Legal & Youth Project Assistant at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, an organzation committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Class of 2006

  • Trista Akers has been accepted into a Master’s program in Feminist Health Issues at Suffolk University in Boston.
  • Dina Barajas is in a Masters program in American Indian Studies at Arizona University.
  • Melissa Carillo completed her Master of Education(M.Ed.)in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in administration from Dallas Baptist University.
  • Lindsay DeVeny, who was a double major with WST and Mathematics Education,is now teaching high school mathematics for LA Alliance for College Ready School, a non-profit located at Cal State Los Angeles campus. She is also working with the Center for Math and Science Teaching at Loyola Marymount University.
  • Megan Harris has begun a Master’s program in Environment and Community at Humboldt State University.
  • Setsuko Izumi is now an English instructor at Takamatsu National College of Technology in Japan.
  • Thu-Ha Tran moved to Oakland, CA, where she works for Girls. Inc., in the GITLStart Literacy Program.
  • Jessica (Post) Zaylia is attending the University of San Diego School of Law. She is externing part-time for a federal judge and has an article coming out in theJournal of Bisexuality.

Class of 2005

  • Jacqueline Belloso has been awarded a Vera Strayer Fellowship and accepted to the Teacher Education Program in the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies.
  • Heather Hamilton finished her serivce in the Peace Corps in Guyana, South America, and has been accepted into the Masters in Social Welfare program at UCLA. She works at Planned Parenthood.
  • Brooke Minson has been accepted to the Whittier School of Law.
  • Julie Rindone earned her M.Ed. and Oregon teaching license. She is currently working as a substitute teacher and is also selling coffee to cafes for a Portland microroaster who buys his beans from a feminist co-op in Latin America. And lastly, she is working on a coffee industry podcast with her partner.

Class of 2004

  • Charissa Jefferson received her Master’s of Arts degree in Cultural Studies from the Department of Arts and Humanities and Claremont Graduate University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Library and Information Science through California State University, Northridge.
  • Marissa Krause (WST minor) has joined the Peace Corps and will be in Tanzania for the next 2-4 years.
  • Hayley Miller completed her MBA in Nonprofit Business Management from the University of Judaism and is now working at the Orange County Museum of Art.
  • Jessica Reyes is currently on her MA in Liberal Studies at the University of Minnesota. She has previously worked as a Women’s Advocate for Women of Nations and currently provides specialized outreach and case management to young adults with serious and persistent mental illness for Spectrum Community Mental Health.
  • Danielle Sawyer has completed her Master’s in Education-Social and Multicultural Foundations. She is teaching at Poly Tech high school in Long Beach.
  • Jennifer Yanez has been accepted into the accelerated nursing program at CSULA.

Class of 2003

  • Rebecca Susan Bailey is very involved in providing volunteer counseling services to rape survivors at the Greater LA YWCA.
  • Renee Beaudoin Stokes received her Masters in Counseling Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy option at CSULB. She continues to provide volunteer counseling services at the Sexual Assault Crisis Agency (SACA) and works full time for Star View Community Services as a Mental Health Specialist counseling children and families.
  • Rachel Klimke has completed her Masters in Education at CSULB and is now teaching in Venice, California.

Class of 2002

  • Thuc Luu received her Teaching Credential in 2003 and is currently teaching 5th grade at Fryberger Elementary School in the Westminster School District. This year she begins work on her Master’s in Education at Concordia University.
  • Jolene Sagan finished a second Masters, this time in the Social Work program at Portland State University. Her first Masters is in Public Policy & Administration (MPA) from CSULB. In her spare time, she is an emergency response Children’s Social Worker with Los Angeles County.
  • Rosemary Tayor is finishing her Masters in Teaching from Grand Canyon University. . She earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Fullerton, in December of 2002, and is currently teaching 2nd grade in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.
  • Denalee Eaton Valler received her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Western University in Pomona. She has been practicing for about 4 years, in family practice and women’s health. In her spare time, she is involved in medical missions to China and Ecuador.

Class of 2001

  • Allison Hoffman is in the Ph.D. program in film at UCLA. She teaches a class for us here at CSULB in the Fall.
  • Lana (Lott) Hadded is an Administrative Analyst for the Commission on the Status of Women, City of Glendale.
  • Carol Toney Tran is attending the University of California, Riverside, working on a Masters in U.S. History.

Class of 2000

  • Suzy Zepeda is in the sociology Ph.D. program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • Mae Hendersen rceivd her Ph.D. in Women Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle and is currently doing a post-doctoral fellowship and lecturing there in the school of social work.

Class of 1999

  • Michelle Aragon (Mica) has entered a MA program in counseling at New Mexico State University.
  • Stephanie Evans completed her Ph.D. in at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Afro-American Studies with a concentration in History.
  • Yvette Jorgensen is the Director of Public Policy for the California Family Health Council in Los Angeles.
  • Michelle Ribeiro earned her Single Subject Credential in English in December of 2005 and teaches 8th grade English at DeMille Middle School in Long Beach.
  • Monica Stel received her Masters in Social Work from CSULB. She is executive Director of Harbour Area Halfway Houses, four homes for sober living and women transitioning out of prison. She is now teaching WST 392: Feminist pedagogy for us in her free time.

Class of 1997

  • Our very first official Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies majors graduate!

Class of 1994

  • Gina Bowers (interdisciplinary major) is the Western Region Communications Director for Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In her spare time, she is the President of the Board of Directors for Lamp Community, serving homeless men and women living with mental illness through nine locations in Skid Row.

Class of 1987

  • Josey Curone earned a Women’s Studies minor and Criminal Justice Bachelor of Science in 1987. Josey received her Masters in 1990 in Criminal Justice. She currently works as a Supervising Deputy Probation Officer for the Los Angeles County Probation Department. She has been with the department since March 1990.