Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing class notes submitted in the last year by graduates in the 2000s
Brian Thorsett ’00 is now an assistant professor at Virginia Tech University in the School for Performing Arts. Thorsett also recently performed at the prestigious Festival del Sole in Napa, Calif., in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti.
Richard S. Smudin MBA ’00 recently took command of the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade. He has had 27 years of military service. Colonel Smudin's most recent assignments include Battalion Commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 304th Infantry Regiment (United States Military Academy), Chief of the Civil Information Management Cell at the 353d Civil Affairs Command, and Chief of the Functional Specialty Team at the 353d Civil Affairs Command. His operational deployments include service as the Mobilization Plans Officer at Fort Drum in 2003, Civil Affairs Team Leader in Baghdad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom II - III, and Division Engagements Officer for the Commander of Multi-National Division North at Contingency Operating Base Speicher Iraq during OIF 2007-2009.
Stephanie Rocha '00, J.D. '09 appeared in the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 2014 40 Under 40 list. She is an associate attorney at Miller Morton Cailat & Nevis LLP, where Rocha represents developers, builders and prime contractors in construction litigation, including defect and payment disputes. She also represents real estate agents and brokers, homeowners, landlords, tenants and other individuals and entities in a variety of real estate- and business-related matters.
Jeff Nishita MBA ’00 has joined Novogradac & Company LLP, a San Francisco-based accounting and consulting firm that specializes in affordable housing, community development, historic preservation and renewable energy tax credits. Nishita performs numerous services in the real estate industry, including audit and tax services, consulting, forecasting and training. He works with for-profit and nonprofit developers, syndicators and direct investors.
Mr. Nishita speaks at various affordable housing conferences throughout the year and is in charge of maintaining the firm’s Financial Forecast Model. He is also the founder of the firm’s community service program and one of the founders of the firm’s LIHTC Working Group, a membership organization that addresses technical issues in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.
Before joining Novogradac & Company LLP, Mr. Nishita worked with several start-up companies and small businesses in executive positions.
Nilofer Merchant MBA '00 has been appointed to the Martin Prosperit Institute (MPI), which is a research center at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. A leading thinker in innovation, business ethics, management, and public policy, Merchant will look at society's emerging power infrastructure for the Infrastructure for Democratic Capitalism project. She teaches innovation at Stanford and Santa Clara Universities. During a 20-year career, she has personally launched 100 products amounting to $18B in revenue. Her career includes stints at Apple, Autodesk, GoLive/Adobe as well as service on both public and private boards. She is the author two best-selling books: The New How (2010); and 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra (2012). She won the 2013 Thinkers 50 Future Thinker Award. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, written innovation columns for Businessweek and Forbes and is a contributor to Harvard Business Review, Wired, and Oprah.
Kristen Lewis '00 married Brian Howards on May 10, 2014, in San Francisco.
Crystal Lequang-Gonzales ’00 is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her company, Amazae Events Inc. The company has recently relocated to Willow Glen with an expanded team, where Gonzales continues to provide exceptional event planning and design services for corporate functions, social gatherings, and wedding celebrations.
www.amazae.com www.facebook.com/AmazaeSpecialEvents www.yelp.com/biz/amazae-special-events-san-jose
Jane Duong Davaransky ’00 created a petition on www.change.org to ask Medela, a leading manufacturer of breast pumps, to create a program to recycle old breast pumps. After 2,002 signatures, Medela responded by creating a recycling program called Medela Recycles. Each pump received through Medela Recycles supports the donation of new hospital-grade, multiuse breastpumps and supplies to Ronald McDonald House Charities to support parents who have babies in the NICU. Medela expects to recycle 12,000 pumps with this program. As of mid-January 2015, the company has recycled 171 pumps.
Janelle (Pereira) Charles ’00, husband Ryan, and big brother Mason (3) welcomed identical twin baby boys, Tyler and Aiden, on Nov. 24, 2014. The family lives in Morgan Hill.
Katie (Pursley) Busch '00 and Dave Busch welcomed their second child, Anna Kathryn, on July 10, 2014. The family lives in Colorado.
Sowmya Ayyar '00 lives in Bangalore, India, and is the founder and executive director of Prafull Oorja Charitable Foundation, an organization co-founded with Madeleine Sears '11. Prafull Oorja brings yoga and other holistic practices to populations in need, such as special needs children and rural women.
Jane Duong Davaransky ’00 and husband Anthony announce the birth of Carson Thai Davaransky, born on April 27, 2014. Carson spent 5 weeks at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford for apnea, aspiration, and reflux. He is now home with mom, dad, and big sister Emerson. He is growing and improving every day.
David Terrazas MBA '01, J.D. ’06, has been re-elected to the Santa Cruz City Council. He is a manager with Valley Transit Authority.
Gladys (Garcia) Lopez '01 and her husband, Ivan Lopez, are proprieters of Ultimate Performance & Fitness, which was selected for the 2015 Best of Westlake Village Award. Their business, which was recognized in the Gym category for the third year in a row, was selected for enhancing the positive image of small businesses through service to their customers and the community.
Ultimate Performance & Fitness is one of the largest private personal training facilities in the Conejo Valley, with nearly 5,000 square feet of new top-of-the-line cardio and strength equipment. All personal trainers that train clients at UPF must meet strict qualifications in terms of professionalism, training, education and level of certification. These gifted certified personal trainers must also continue to educate themselves in the latest fitness and healthy trends and innovations to better serve the clients of the Conejo Valley.
Mark "Rusty" Johnson '01 is in his first year as head coach of De Anza College’s men’s soccer team and was named the Coast Conference Coach of the Year. Prior, he was an assistant coach at Santa Clara University for 10 years. Johnson decided he wanted to coach a team of his own. During his years playing at Santa Clara University, Johnson played in two College Cups and one National Championship game. His expertise has been recognized throughout the game, giving him a respectful reputation.
Sarah (Petersen) Hicks ’01 and husband Dave welcomed their second daughter, Cora Elouise Hicks, on Feb. 17, 2014. She joins 2-year-old sister Carsen Rose at the family's home in San Jose, Calif.
Angel Diaz ’99 and Alma Diaz Parra ’01 welcomed their second child, Antonio Ernesto, on Oct. 27, 2014. He joins big brother Eduardo Angel who is three years old and the family resides in Los Angeles.
Adam Blaylock ’01 was promoted to partner from senior manager. Blaylock is a member of Ernst & Young LLP?s Assurance practice in San Jose, where he serves technology clients, including large multinationals, as well as clients in the solar industry. He previously served as a Professional Practice Group resident in the West Region, where he assisted client service teams with complex technical accounting matters and facilitated executive training sessions. Blaylock graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor?s degree in Accounting and a minor in Mathematics from Santa Clara University. He is a Certified Public Accountant licensed to practice in California and a member of the American Institute of CPAs.
Jimmy Williams ’02 is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland. He writes on the Santa Clara University blog, "I have been working on an approach to identify concrete signatures of the Majorana particle. In some sense, the work I participated in with Professor Betty Young doing research for the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) looking for exotic particles has come full circle. It’s a great job! I have a big lab and a bunch of money to do whatever physics I want. It doesn’t get any better than that."
Melissa (Walker) Sullivan ’02 is a criminal prosecuting attorney in Mount Vernon, Washington. Her husband, Brian Sullivan ’02, is also an attorney and runs his own law practice in Everett, Washington. They welcomed a baby boy, Max, on April 28, 2014. Max joins big sister, Fiona, who will be 3 years old on March 16, 2015. The family lives in Everett, Washington.
Blaze Smallwood ’02 and wife Annie welcomed their second child, Brady Drue, on May 17, 2014. Big sister Avery Mae (4 years old in Oct 2014) loves giving her new brother smooches any chance she gets.