Search Currents Currents Archives Contact Currents UC Santa Cruz Home Page
Currents Online


April 11, 2005

UCSC alumni are an integral part of life on the Central Coast

By Jennifer McNulty

Of the thousands of students who have attended UCSC over the last 40 years, no one knows how many have stayed in the area to become a part of the culture and community of the Central Coast region. But UCSC’s 40th anniversary and this weekend’s Banana Slug Spring Fair seemed like a good time to put out some feelers and see who’s around and what they’re up to.

By no means comprehensive, the following is an informal attempt to bring us all up to speed about the ways in which UCSC grads are helping make Santa Cruz the special place it is.

One caveat: For the most part, you won’t see the names of UCSC staff, instructors, and faculty. We know you’re out there, but the focus this time is off campus.

Know someone who’d like to be added? Send e-mail to

Arts and letters

Painting by Ronna Schulkin Pearce.

In the art world, fans of Open Studios may be familiar with the work of painter Ronna Schulkin Pearce (Porter ’90, art), who opened 17th Avenue Studios five years ago, providing artist work space in Live Oak for 25 women. The artists will host a group show May 21-22. . . . Legendary book artist Felicia Rice (Cowell ’78, individual major in fine printing) is still hard at work, with a new book of French poetry that features illustrations by her late father coming out next year. . . . Artist Jeanne Rosen Sofen (Merrill ’76, art) creates pastels, paintings, and collage, and shows her work from time to time at Many Hands Gallery. . . . On the photography side of the art world, Paul Schraub (Stevenson ’75, politics) is a commercial advertising photographer with a studio downtown. . . . Wildlife photographer Kennan Ward (College Eight ’80, natural history/environmental studies and wildlife biology) travels the globe to capture amazing photographs of animals in their natural habitats. He has published numerous books, as well as notecards, calendars, and posters. He and his wife, Karen, will show slides and share stories from their recent four-month trip to the Antarctic on April 22 at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz. . . . Award-winning author Laurie R. King (Kresge ’77, religious studies), whose books of crime fiction include A Grave Talent, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, and The Game, has a new book coming out in late June, Locked Rooms. . . . Laura Sutherland (Porter ’76, art history) has penned five family travel books, most of which have been published by St. Martin’s Press. . . . Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Martha Mendoza (Kresge ’88, individual major), who played on the UCSC soccer team in the 1980s, is a national writer for the Associated Press based in Santa Cruz. . . . Sandor Nagyszalanczy (Stevenson ’77, environmental planning and an individual major in design theory) is a self-employed author, photographer, furniture designer, and craftsman. He is also a founding member of the UkeAholics trio and the Ukelele Club of Santa Cruz, which he is certain is the largest ukulele club in the United States.

Sports and fitness

Soccer moms and dads throughout the county are indebted to Corinne Houston (Porter ’87, graduate certificate in theater arts), who co-owned Santa Cruz Soccer Camp for seven years, managed Soccer Central in Watsonville for more than two years, and coached many teen girls through the Santa Cruz County Premier Soccer Club. . . . And if there’s anyone who practices what he preaches, it’s Emiliano Aragon (Cowell ’97, sociology), who teaches physical education and health at Santa Cruz High School and coaches girls varsity tennis and jayvee boys soccer. Aragon, an elite triathlete, placed second overall in last year’s Escape from Alcatraz triathlon. He’s also an avid snowboarder and mountain biker. . . . Daniel Chamberlain (College NIne ’03, Earth sciences) is director of coaching for Catalyst Soccer Camp in Monterey and is goalkeeper for semi-pro soccer’s Salinas Valley Samba. He also coached soccer at St. Francis Central Coast Catholic High School in Watsonville. Nicholas Kowba (College Eight ’04, sociology) is also a defender for the Salinas Valley Samba, and he’s coaching for Catalyst, too.

Service providers and merchants

Cruzio logo

From organic seedlings to Internet service, UCSC grads have their hands in just about every kind of business imaginable. Greg Carter (Stevenson ’99, community studies) is executive director of the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce. . . . Computer consultant Annette McGarity (Kresge ’88, history) provides part-time IT assistance to the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce. . . . Sarah Machado (Porter ’80, art) and her husband Basil Machado (Porter ’79, art; MA in art ’80) run Upstarts Organic Seedlings out of greenhouses they lease at Long Marine Laboratory. Their seedlings are available locally and as far north as Napa and Marin County. . . . Hilary Bryant (Porter ’94, biology) has been a realtor with Karon Properties for nine years. . . . David G. Bushnell (College Eight ’76, art) is a residential building contractor. . . . Former business and real estate lawyer David Nixen (Stevenson ’80, American studies) now owns The UPS Store in Scotts Valley and pitches in as a beach lifeguard for the City of Santa Cruz. . . . Kai Shane (Kresge ’00, literature) owns Bugaboo Mountain Sports on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz and is working on a master’s in literature. . . . Scott Roseman (Oakes ’79, sociology) is founder and co-owner of New Leaf Community Markets. . . . Peggy Dolgenos (Stevenson ’92, computer and information sciences) is cofounder of Cruzio-The Internet Store, providing DSL and Internet access to individuals and businesses throughout the region. Cruzio recently opened a satellite store in Watsonville. . . . Tom Ralston (Porter ’73, politics) is the owner of the third-generation Santa Cruz company, Tom Ralston Concrete, pouring concrete for everything from foundations to countertops, and pizza ovens to barbecues. He is writing a book about concrete countertops. . . . Seth Schapiro (Porter '85, community studies) has founded WiseSkills Resources, which provides character-building educational curriculum to elementary, junior high, and high schools across the country. . . . Emily Reilly (Porter '82, art) divides her time between her Westside bakery, Emily's Good Things To Eat, and Santa Cruz City Hall, she serves on the City Council after a stint as mayor.

Children and education

Matt Koumaras

The hearts and minds of children on the Central Coast are in good hands, if the number of UCSC alumni working in the field is any indication. Matt Koumaras (Crown ’91, English) is executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz. . . . Gino Raugi (Porter ’82, music) was named 2001 Arts Educator of the Year by the Santa Cruz County Cultural Council after building a music program for K-6 students that pairs undergraduates with schools that had to cut their music programs because of budget shortfalls. Raugi, a Title 1 teacher at DeLaveaga Elementary School who plays jazz and classical guitar, also founded Santa Cruz Ensembles. . . . For 12 years, Celeste Baross (M.A. ’80, art) has operated Santa Cruz Studio School, providing art instruction for children and young adults ages 3-19. Baross has also taught at various schools through the SPECTRA Program. . . . After years of coordinating Santa Cruz County’s Court Appointed Special Advocate program, which protects children who have come under the court's care, Susan True (Oakes ’95, community studies) was recently named executive director of First 5 Santa Cruz County. First 5 administers almost $3 million in annual revenues from the tobacco tax approved by voters in 1998 to ensure children reach their fifth year of life ready to learn, healthy, and emotionally well-developed. . . . Youth who do enter the court system have benefited from the leadership of Scott MacDonald (Merrill ’83, psychology), former director of the Juvenile Division of the Santa Cruz County Probation Department. The division is considered a model program of juvenile detention reform, having reduced unnecessary detentions and the overrepresentation of minorities in the juvenile justice system, and reforming substance-abuse treatment programs. MacDonald was recently named assistant chief for probation in the county and is applying similar reforms to the adult side of the Probation Department. . . . Alumni are involved in all levels of education, from the classroom to the district office. Jamie Andres-Larsen (M.S. ’92, computer and information sciences) teaches at Monarch Community School. . . . Tatiana Fredericksen Miller (College 8 ’95, environmental studies and politics; M.A. and teaching credential ’00) teaches fifth grade at Bay View Elementary School, where she is enjoying assistance provided by a UCSC student teacher this year. . . . Kristin Champion Kennedy (Cowell ’72, American studies) also teaches at Bay View. . . . Elizabeth M. Nava (Oakes ’82, politics; M.A. ’90, history) teaches U.S. history at Evergreen Community College. . . . Kenneth Hamilton Coale (Oakes ’76, biology; Ph.D., ’88, biology) is director of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, which serve seven California State University campuses in Northern California. . . . Rebecca J. Garcia (Oakes ’82, politics) is an assistant director of the Santa Clara County Office of Education, overseeing Beginning Teacher Support & Assessment and the Region Five Preschool Instructional Network in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Clara counties. Garcia has also been a trustee on the Cabrillo Community College Governing Board for 12 years and was elected to the statewide California Community College Trustee Board of Directors. . . . On this side of the hill, Ralph Gomez Porras (Oakes ’90, biology and a single-subject life science teaching credential and a bilingual multiple subject credential) is the assistant superintendent of the Santa Cruz City Schools. Porras, who was principal at Santa Cruz High School and DeLaveaga School, plans to enroll this summer in UCSC’s new Ed.D. program. program. . . . Katy Stonebloom (College Eight ’76, individual major in bilingual multicultural education) is a bilingual teaching specialist for the Aromas-San Juan Unified School District and a trustee on the Cabrillo Community College Governing Board. Stonebloom helped launch the “Kids Around the University” program to increase awareness of higher education among K-12 students in the region. . . . Diane Marvin Koenig (Cowell ’76, art) teaches art at Lakeview Middle School in Watsonville. She shares her love of flamenco dancing with students in the after-school program, who will perform June 2 at the Henry Mello Center. Koenig danced in “Duende Makes a House Call,” a play that was produced last year at Capitola Theater. . . . Jenny Towne Nixen (College Eight ’82, environmental studies and special studies in environmental education and sociology) is a math teacher at Mission Hill Junior High School. . . . Steve Walton-Hadlock (Porter ’75, aesthetic studies) teaches writing at De Anza College and Gavilan College, as well as writing and the Porter College Core Course at UCSC. He also writes plays and screenplays and had his play, “Soldier’s Joy,” performed by Actors’ Theater as part of its popular “Eight Tens @ Eight” Ten Minute Play Festival. . . . R. Rock Pfhotenhauer (M.S. '84, computer and information sciences) is dean of instruction, career education, and economic development at Cabrillo Community College.

Food and dining

O’mei Sichuan Restaurant is practically a culinary landmark on the Westside of Santa Cruz. Owned by Roger Grigsby (Merrill ’75, history), O’mei first opened at Kresge College in 1979. Grigsby opened the Mission Street location in 1981 and shuttered the Kresge venue three years later. . . . Just down the street, Paul Geise (Stevenson ’82, linguistics) owns Ristorante Avanti. Geise traveled for a year after college to see where he wanted to live, landing back in Santa Cruz and opening his first restaurant, Mona Lisa, just down the block from Avanti’s current location. . . . Another fixture of the local food scene is The Bagelry, cofounded 21 years ago by John Hamstra (Porter ’75, economics), who’s still boiling, baking, and outlasting low-carb diets all these years later. . . . Ed Hoffman (Porter ’76, European intellectual history) owned a successful bakery in Kirkland, Washington, before returning to Santa Cruz and opening Hoffman’s on Pacific Avenue. . . . Joe Platin (Crown ’78, sociology), who remembers making midnight doughnut runs to Ferrell’s during college, owns Golden Sheaf Bread Company in Watsonville. . . . As cofounder of Carmel-based Earthbound Farm, the largest organic produce brand in North America, Drew Goodman (College Eight, ’83 environmental studies and environmental design) is at the forefront of organic farming, processing, and packaging.

Nonprofits and government

Logo of Volunteer Center

Graduates in many subject areas are active in the nonprofit sector of the region. Christine Johnson-Lyons (Stevenson ’70, community studies) is the executive director of the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc., an antipoverty agency that provides advocacy and direct services to low-income county residents. . . . Helen Ewan-Storey (Oakes ’90, sociology) is the program director the Women Ventures Project of the Community Action Board, providing job training and placement for low-income women in nontraditional careers in Santa Cruz and Monterey County. . . . Richard Zinman (Ph.D., ’89, history of consciousness) is the annual giving manager for Second Harvest Food Bank. . . . Lance Linares (Porter ’74, aesthetic studies) is the executive director of the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, and Robin Larsen (Cowell ’77, history) is a fundraiser for the foundation. . . . Karen Delaney (College Eight ’81, environmental studies) is executive director of the Santa Cruz Volunteer Center, which recruits and prepares volunteers to work with nonprofits and to provide direct services through specific Volunteer Center programs, including The Literacy Program, The Transportation Program, and the Adopt-a-Family Holiday Project. . . . Don Lane (Merrill ’78, politics) has worn many hats in the community. He opened the Saturn Café in 1979 and ran it until 1994. He served on the Santa Cruz City Council from 1988-92 and was mayor in 1992. In 1992, he helped establish the Homeless Services Center and still sits on the Board of Directors. He is currently a program officer with the Fund for Nonviolence, a small charitable foundation. . . . Twenty years ago, Ann Simonton (Oakes 77, individual major in dance and psychology) established Media Watch, a national nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to media literacy education and helping people become more critical viewers of media. As an undergraduate, she established the Psychiatric Inmates Rights Collective, which is still in operation. . . . John McKeon (Oakes ’00, environmental studies) is director of grower certification at California Certifies Organic Farmers. . . . UCSC alumni are literally helping shape the community through their work in the Santa Cruz County Planning Department, from director Tom Burns (Merrill ’76, Earth sciences) to housing program chief Erik Schapiro (College Eight ’80, environmental planning and policy, and politics), who oversees affordable housing programs and projects, works with nonprofit developers, and manages first-time homebuyer assistance programs. . . . Ken Hart (Kresge ’78, biology and environmental studies) manages environmental planning for the Planning Department. . . Jerry Busch (Crown ’85, biology and environmental studies) is a land-use planner in the Santa Cruz County Planning Department, and he established the nonprofit Watsonville Wetlands Watch 15 years ago. The author of a book about Elkhorn Slough, Busch is anticipating the opening this fall of the Wetlands Educational Resource Center on the campus of the new Pajaro Valley high school. . . . John Ricker (Kresge ’76, biology and environmental studies) is the program coordinator for land use and water resources in the Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Department. . . . Patrick M. McCormick (Crown ’73, individual major in planning and community policy) is the executive officer of the Santa Cruz Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), which regulates the boundaries of cities and special districts in Santa Cruz County. . . . Linda Jean Wilshusen (Crown '72, anthropology) recently retired from her post as executive director of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission.


Assemblyman John Laird (Stevenson ’72, politics) is chair of the California Assembly Budget Committee. . . . Mike Rotkin (Ph.D. ’91, history of consciousness) is currently serving his fourth term as mayor of Santa Cruz. . . . Santa Cruz City Councilman Tony Madrigal (College Eight ’98, economics) was recently elected to his first term. . . . Former Santa Cruz City Councilman Scott Kennedy (Cowell ’71, history) is also a graduate of UCSC.

Medicine and care giving

Graduates of UCSC are engaged in many aspects of medicine and care giving. Dana P. Gibson (Kresge ’77, community studies) established the recreational therapy program at the Cabrillo College Stroke Center and is still hard at work at the age of 82 as the center’s director of volunteers. Last year, the City and County of Santa Cruz proclaimed November 17 “Dana Gibson Day” in honor of her remarkable contributions. Gibson is also a member of the Humdingers Kazoo Orchestra. . . . Jasmine Debra Berke (Merrill ’78, politics) is the owner/practitioner of Holistic Health Care: Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz. She was voted best acupuncturist in last year’s Good Times. . . . Larry deGhetaldi, M.D., (Merrill ’76, biology and chemistry) is chief executive officer of Sutter Santa Cruz, encompassing Santa Cruz Medical Clinic & Foundation, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Santa Cruz. DeGhetaldi, who was captain of the 1974 UCSC soccer team that first adopted the banana slug mascot, credits the campus with helping the community’s dire need for medical professionals, because undergraduates are eager to return to the Central Coast after completing their training. . . . David Rose, M.D., (Crown ’75, biology) a surgeon with the Santa Cruz Medical Clinic, said the surf is the other factor that lures doctors to the area. . . . David Sofen, M.D. (Kresge ’79, biology) was named medical director of Santa Cruz Medical Foundation in January. Sofen credits a UCSC internship in Guatemala in the 1980s with launching his career in medicine. . . . Karen Graner Harrington, M.D., (Kresge ’90, chemistry) is a family practitioner in the Aptos office of the Santa Cruz Medical Clinic. . . . Janice Walton-Hadlock (Crown ’74, biology) is a practitioner of Chinese medicine and has founded a web-based nonprofit, The Parkinson’s Recovery Project, to provide information on treating Parkinson’s disease with Asian medicine. She just had a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine. . . . Veterinarian David Shuman owns Westside Animal Hospital on Laurel Street in Santa Cruz. Also at Westside is Craig Himmelwright, D.V.M., (Porter ’82, anthropology and biology), who also works as a field biologist with the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Group.

Music and entertainment

Dan Robbins

Photo: Ken Rabiroff

Guitarist Jason Schimmel (Porter ’00, music performance) is a member of The White Album Ensemble, which will perform “Sgt. Pepper’s Magical Mystery Tour” at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz on May 28-30. Schimmel also performs with Estradasphere, a world jazz-fusion band. . . . Don Stevens (Porter ’76, biology) is a member of the Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra, which travels nationally and internationally and has six CDs. He is also active in the Coalition for Limiting University Expansion. . . . Dan Robbins (Porter ’98, music performance) plays the double bass and performs everything from “jazz to classical, solo to big band.” He is a member of two Brazilian jazz bands, the Santa Cruz-based Claudia Villela Group and the Carmel-based Weber Iago Trio, and he performs with the bands Cowbop, the Velvetones, Phree Radicals, and Alegria. He offers private lessons and participates in the Monterey Jazz Festival Traveling Clinicians Program, taking music into public school classrooms.

Email this story
Printer-friendly version
Return to Front Page