Maria Pulido: Bell Gardens City Council Member. Guess Her Major?

February 23, 2015

Major: Human Development

Degree: BA, class of 2012, minor in Criminal Justice. 

Image of Maria Pulido

Maria Pulido

Maria Pulido’s CSULB journey began as an incoming Freshman and Marine Biology Major. But like a fish out of water, she knew that it wasn’t the right fit for her career aspirations. Not one to flounder for long, Pulido eventually found her way as a Human Development Major and discovered that it was her life’s passion to help people. As an undergraduate student, she interned at Briarcrest Nursing Center in Bell Gardens and eventually became the activities department assistant. Following the tragic death of former Mayor Daniel Crespo, Pulido was presented the opportunity to step into a new role.

Pulido applied for the position just like everyone else, but believes that she was chosen because she went the extra mile to prove that she was the right candidate. Like other applicants, she advocated for herself and wrote letters of interest to each of the current council members. What differentiated her from the crowd, however, was that she requested to meet the council members before the decision was made. During this meeting they spoke about what she could offer if chosen for the position. This extra step was not required of applicants, but it paid off for Pulido in the end. The city decided to forgo a special election and appointed 24-year-old Pulido on November 24th, 2014 as one of the youngest persons ever to hold a council seat in the city of Bell Gardens.

As a City Council Member, Pulido’s priorities include collaborating with her City Council colleagues to find common ground and solutions to the many challenges that face their community. Her focus is on continuing to provide essential services like public safety and working with community groups like Neighborhood Watch to maintain Bell Garden’s current low crime rate. Other goals of Pulido’s include maintaining the city’s parks and recreation programs, the local public transportation system, and the ongoing effort to attract affordable housing projects. Pulido will serve as a council member for 3 years, in which she hopes to bring about much positive change for the city and its residents. While the foreseeable future is one full of politics for Pulido, she plans to return to CSULB in 2015 to earn her Masters in Social Work.

Mike Phu: Mental Health Assistant. Guess His major?

February 11, 2015

Major: Human Development

Degree: BA, class of 2013, minor in Theater Arts. 

Image of Mike Phu

Mike Phu

Mike Phu is living proof that following your dreams is the only way to go. Phu’s CSULB journey began in 2008 as biochemistry student whose family dreamed that he would become a doctor one day. But it was their dream, not his. After three years of increasingly becoming disillusioned with his major, Phu decided to make a much-needed change. He spent some time thinking about his next move. While he was great at science and math, it wasn’t his passion. Inspiration struck and he decided to switch his major to Human Development in hopes of becoming a counselor. The change was a struggle for him at first. He’d come from an almost completely analytical background and now he was doing lots of reading and writing as a College of Liberal Arts student. Phu powered through and by the end of the first semester he found his stride within the discipline. His first opportunity knocked in the form of an internship on campus at Disabled Student Services. He faced a number of challenges at the beginning, as he was new to the field of mental disabilities. The training was extensive but worth it in the end. After his graduation the director of DDS and his supervisor gave him good news—he was hired! Phu currently works on campus as an Autism Services Assistant for the Disabled Student Services and is excelling in the position. His goal is to be a constant in students’ lives that may need him. He’s adamant about meeting with students once a week in order to establish a clear channel of communication. Off campus, Phu also works as a Behavioral therapist with children on the autism spectrum at a clinic in Anaheim. He envisions being able to partner with psychiatrists and open up his own counseling office one day. Phu looks forward to the moment when the students he’s helped have graduated and moved on to follow their dreams.

Michael Lozano: Beat Reporter at VoiceWaves.Org. Guess his Major?

November 12, 2014

Major: Sociology

Degree(s): BA, class of 2011, minor in Journalism with a Peace Studies Certificate

Image of Michael Lozano

Michael Lozano

Michael Lozano developed a passion for social justice through Dr. Nielan Barnes, who explained complex social issues in a logical and compelling way and exposed him to macro social concerns. His goal is to accomplish the same for others through journalism articles on topics ranging from education to immigration. In his current position as a beat reporter at VoiceWaves, Michael accomplishes his goal through articles and videos, while focusing on social subjects and concerns like immigration, undocumented immigrants, education, post-traumatic stress disorder, healthcare, and trauma. Prior to this opportunity, Michael spent six months as a research intern for the Orange County Child Support Services, which gave him the experience and initiative to begin his own radio show, Biographic Voices. Michael had the amazing opportunity to present one of his VoiceWave videos at the Latino Film Festival. Michael shared that, “I feel incredibly blessed to write stories about real people in a diverse city, giving a voice to those who have yet to find theirs”.

To see some of Michael’s pieces on VoiceWave, click here:

Michael’s Professional Road Map:

  • Beat Reporter at VoiceWaves
  • Intern at VoiceWaves
  • Founder of Biographic Voices radio show
  • Research Intern at Orange County Child Support Services

Elsa Ramos: Multi-Service Center Coordinator for the City of Long Beach. Guess her Major?

October 8, 2014

Sociology Major

Major: Sociology

Degree(s): BA, California State University, Long Beach, class of 2000

Image of Elsa Ramos

Elsa Ramos

Elsa Ramos has always wanted to help people with macro level issues pertaining to psychology. In order to explore the possibilities while at CSULB, she took an internship in the Department of Public Health, where she worked outreach and gained a broader perspective with her education. In her current position at the City of Long Beach, Elsa coordinates multiple services to end homelessness, including program operations, on site non-profits and scheduling services in order to end homelessness with veterans and civilians. From her 7 years at the City of Long Beach, she helped raise the success rate of those entering the program. As a professional, she said she was, “proud to be a part of that process”. Her degree in Sociology allowed her to apply her knowledge of the different social systems, system impacts, labeling theory, and limited access to city and government programs to a fulfilling career addressing the broken social systems.

Elsa’s Professional Road Map:

  • Multi-Service Center Coordinator- City of Long Beach
  • Service Coordinator- Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center
  • Outreach Service-The Department of Public Health

CLA Distinguished Alumni 2014

September 22, 2014
Nelson Farris

Nelson Farris

Nelson Farris (Speech Communication ’69) is Nike’s longest tenured employee and estimates that he has held 20 different jobs during his 41+-year career and traveled to more than 50 countries on six continents. His journey with the “swoosh” began in 1972 when he opened a retail store in Long Beach that carried a line of running shoes from Blue Ribbon Sports, Nike’s original business name. In 1973, he accepted a position as the company’s Southern California promotions, direct sales and retail manager. Career highlights include launching numerous international offices and promotional/sports marketing programs, overseeing the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games’ marketing efforts and managing the EKIN training program. Farris is active in the community, serving on the board of directors for Marathon Education Partners and Marylhurst University (emeritus). He is also Sigma Pi national fraternity’s educational foundation director and a Special Olympics of Oregon volunteer. While attending CSULB, he joined the Sigma Pi fraternity and was a member of the Blue Key Honor Society. As an alumnus, he is a founding member of the 49er Athletic Foundation and donates to the 49er Athletic Fund. He and his wife, CSULB alumna Sharron Dach (deceased), have three children and six grandchildren.




Clyde Kendzierski

Clyde Kendzierski

Clyde Kendzierski (Political Science ’69 and Economics ’72) is considered a leading expert in the field of fixed income and equity investment. Before he joined Financial Solutions Group in 2007 and Kendzierski Associates in 2009, he was a manager of the Capital Markets Fixed Income Group at Bank of the West until 2002. Previously, he served as a senior bond trader for Union Bank and chief Eurodollar trader for First Interstate Bank. He is also a licensed contractor. When Orange County went bankrupt in 1994, Kendzierski was appointed to the Treasury Oversight Committee and continues to serve as an advisor. His financial expertise has resulted in interviews for media including radio station KFWB, L.A. news station KNX and the Wall Street Journal. While attending CSULB, he participated in leadership roles with several clubs, including the sailing and ski clubs and the Acacia Fraternity. As an alumnus, Kendzierski is both a donor and supporter of the Economics Department, regularly attending the Economic Forecast and sitting on its advisory board. Both of his siblings, Marjorie Hudson and Edmund Kendzierski, attended CSULB, and his youngest daughter, Kerrie, pursued a year of post baccalaureate studies. He and his wife, Susan, have three children and three grandsons.

CLA Distinguished Alumni 2013

September 22, 2014


DA CLA Tim Plax, portrait 2013

Timothy Plax

Timothy G. Plax (Speech Communications ’70, Rhetorial Studies ‘71) is a Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Administrative Director of the Hauth Center for Communication Skills at California State University, Long Beach. He has served on the faculty at the University of New Mexico and West Virginia University. His research and teaching focus on social influence and interpersonal and organizational communication, but is he is best known for his research in communication in instruction. His professional experiences include six years as a member of the Executive Staff at The Rockwell International Corporation and 30 years as a consultant in corporate, governmental, and instructional arenas. He has published over 150 manuscript including several textbooks, chapters, research articles, and commissioned research reports. He is listed among the 20 most published scholars in his discipline. He is a recipient of a number awards including the CSULB Distinguished Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award, the CSULB Associated Students Presidential Award, and both the “Triad of Excellence” Engineering Award and the Distinguished Research Award from the Space Shuttle Orbiter Division of The Rockwell International Corporation.




Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook

Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook

Dr. Dianne Van Hook (Sociology ’72) is both the youngest and the longest serving district CEO in the California Community College system. Prior to her present position as the Chancellor at the Santa Clarita Community College District, she served at several community colleges, rising to instruction/student service dean at Feather River College then College District dean at the Lake Tahoe Community College District. During her tenure at Santa Ana College, she launched the New Horizons program for re-entry students, which was implemented at 60 California colleges. She also taught graduate psychology at the University of LaVerne. She began her career as a teacher in the ABC Unified School District. Her civic advocacy includes founding the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) Child Care Task Force, SCV Arts Council and the Network of California Community College Foundations. She has served as president of California’s three major organizations for community colleges. Van Hook has received every statewide award bestowed specifically on community college CEOs, including the Community College League of California’s Five Star Leadership Award, and was named the 2009 L.A. County Woman of the Year. In 2013, she will participate in the CSU Working for California project. Her past CSULB volunteer work includes sitting on the Alumni Association board of directors and emceeing Concerts in the Grove. Her husband, Roger, is an alumnus (B.A., 1966; M.A., 1968; speech communication). Van Hook’s hobbies include yoga and photography.

Sharla Blank: Senior Associate for the National Sales Systems for Hyundai Motor America, Guess Her Major?

September 17, 2014

Major: English, Rhetoric and Composition

Certificate(s): Technical and Professional Communication, Web Design (HTML and Java Script)

Degree(s): BA, California State University, Long Beach, class of 2012

Image of Sharla Blank

Sharla Blank
English, Rhetoric, and Composition Major

Sharla took a love of English and Rhetoric and transformed it into a technical skill. She fondly calls herself a “Computer Nerd” and claims to give the term a new meaning within technical writing. While enrolled at CSULB, Sharla discovered her passion for technical communication through Professor Jennifer Smith, who inspired her to explore and understand the areas of technical writing and technology’s influence on business communication. From her time at CSULB, she was able to gain extensive knowledge in her field, including leadership, working in a group, and effective rhetoric and communication, all of which helped her in customer relations at Hyundai. She developed unique skills throughout her career at Hyundai, including database management, project management, user analytics, problem and decision analysis, security maintenance, risk management, and system usability management.

Sharla’s Professional Road Map:

  • Senior Associate for the National Sales Systems for Hyundai Motor America
  • Technical Writing Intern at Working Wardrobes, a non-profit organization

Geoffrey Kutnik: Founder and Content Director for Rudeluv Designs. Guess his major?

September 15, 2014

Major: Journalism and Mass Communication with a Public Relations emphasis.

Degree(s): BA , California State University, Long Beach class of 2009

Image of Geoff Kutnik

Geoffrey Kutnik
Journalism and Mass Communication Major

Geoffrey Kutnick has always had an interest in marketing and public relations. He came to CSULB to gain the necessary knowledge needed for his innovative mind. After gaining some experience in the field, Geoffrey launched two web-based companies: FoodBeast and RudeLuv Designs. Both were created by combining his academic/career interests with personal passions. In order to form FoodBeast, Geoffrey partnered with businesses to create buzz about their products. He partnered with companies like Jack in the Box and Taco Bell to continuously promote new menu items. Geoffrey shared that his experience at CSULB gave him the necessary tools and skills to create his two companies. He also highly recommends taking advantage of internships and new opportunities.


Geoffrey’s Professional Road Map:

  • Founder and Project Manager for Rudeluv Designs
  • Founder and Content Director for
  • New Media Specialist for the Kreisher Group
  • Public Relations and Marketing Consultant for Smooth’s Bar and Grill
  • Public Relations Consultant for Smolar Corp.
  • Communications and Publicity Assistant for the Inland Empire Jazz Festival
  • Public Relations Intern for Brower, Miller, & Cole.
  • Interviewer and Columnist for Shut Up! Magazine

Ashley Tarkington: Wardrobe Stylist for NBC's Access Hollywood. Guess Her Major?

September 8, 2014

Journalism and Mass Communication Major

Degree(s): BA, California State University, Long Beach class of 2007

Image of Ashley Tarkington

Ashley Tarkington
Journalism and Mass Communications Major

Ashley showed a knack for fashion at a young age. As a child, she purposely failed an eye exam so she could wear purple butterfly glasses as a style statement.  She originally gravitated toward weather reporting as a potential career; however, while at CSULB and living close to Los Angeles, Ashley discovered her love of celebrity news as a form of reporting, as a way to combine both interests. She landed a spot as a Publicity Intern for NBC’s Access Hollywood, which allowed her to became familiar with the company and establish connections. After graduation, Ashley created her own fashion blog, Ash ‘n’ Fashn, which includes daily style tips and fashion choices.  She then joined the team at Celebuzz, a celebrity news website. While working there, she was able to attend award shows, book celebrities and guests, which took her back to her first love of fashion at NBC as a wardrobe stylist. Her networking abilities helped her throughout her career and with her dream job for Access Hollywood.


Ashley’s Professional Road Map:

  • Wardrobe Stylist for Access Hollywood at NBC Universal
  • News Producer for Celebuzz website
  • Creator of Ash ‘n’ Fashn, fashion blog
  • Publicity Intern for Access Hollywood at NBC Universal

Guergana Anguelova: Consultant at PWC Advisory. Guess Her Major?

April 10, 2014

Guergana Anguelova
International Studies and Human Resource Management Major

International Studies and Human Resource Management Major

Major: International Studies and Human Resource Management
Degree(s): MBA in Finance, Webster University in Austria and Thailand, class of 2011; BA in International Studies and Human Resource Management, California State University – Long Beach, class of 2008.

With an interest in international relations and business management, Guergana has established a career in which she has been able to combine her passions. As an International Studies major at CSULB, Guergana’s educational path focused on contemporary foreign politics and geopolitical determinants. During her time at CSULB, Guergana participated in several Honor Societies that focused on International Business and Relations. Upon graduation, Guergana worked as a Research Assistant for a Worlds of Journalism Project in Bulgaria and then as an intern for the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After building on her experience post-graduation, Guergana decided to obtain a higher education by pursuing an MBA in Finance at Webster University. Guergana spent two years in the MBA program, earning her degree on Webster University campuses in Austria and Thailand. Upon earning her MBA, Guergana remained at Webster University briefly as a Global Program Coordinator until she obtained her current position as a Consultant for PriceWaterHouseCoopers in Vienna, Austria.

Guergana’s Professional Road Map:

  • Consultant, PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC)
  • Global Program Coordinator (GPC), Webster University
  • Intern – International Private Banking, Bank Gutmann
  • Science Instructor, Knowledge Learning Corporation
  • Intern – Department Americas, Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Research Assistant, Worlds of Journalism International Project
  • Informational Student Assistant – ESL Specialist, California State University – Long Beach