Spotlighting alumni achievers in the worlds of eco-chic fashion, national politics, athletics, public service, entertainment, astronauts and more.
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Nancy Seymour, ’52, has assisted her husband Bert, in publishing an autobiography of his 29 years in the Ventura County Sheriff’s office. The book is titled, "Cow County Lawman."

Don Lake,’65, has just released his new book “One Lap Around San Diego Bay.” It features 100 different attractions around the San Diego region. He was a member of the first engineering class at UCSB and had a career in micro-electronics. He has published a number of travel and history books and took many of the photos for his most recent book.

Dave Forman, ’66, has published a new book, “Fearless Talent Choices That Can Make or Break Your  Business.” According to Amazon, the book is for “business leaders who want to capitalize on their most valuable asset—their talent—to drive business results.” The book identifies six major directional choices that can make or break your business. Forman has published several books on leadership, including his first one “Fearless HR.” He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the UCSB Alumni Association.

Steven James Bartlett ’68, has published a massive philosophical treatise, “Critique of Impure Reason: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning.” The nearly 900-page study seeks to offer new and compelling solutions to a wide range of problems that have occupied philosophers for millennia. The book’s central focus is the unavoidable limitations of knowledge, reference, and meaning. Renowned German philosopher and physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker contributed the book’s Foreword. Bartlett received his Master’s degree in philosophy from UCSB and then his Ph.D. from the Université de Paris.


Peggy O’Toole Lamb, ’72 and MA ’87, has published “Darling Love: Letters from World War II.” It contains the letters sent from her uncle, Lt. Frank Frost from the World War II front to his wife, Catherine. The letters were censored during the war, locked away in a metal box, and only discovered in 2015. It is Lamb’s second book of nonfiction centered on letters. Her first was “Then I Won’t Seem So Far Away,” letters from an American traveling in Europe during the 1970s.

Lin Loring, ‘72, has been inducted into the Intercollegiate Women’s Tennis Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place in Williamsburg, VA at the William & Mary Indoor Tennis Center. Loring was the winningest women’s tennis coach in NCAA Division 1 history. He coached women’s tennis at UCSB after his graduation and then went on to coach for 30 years at the University of Indiana. He was twice named national women’s tennis coach of the year and won nine Big 10 championships .

Stanley Moss, ’72, has published a new work of fiction, Arborea. According to Amazon, this work of fiction describes the collision of a wealthy couple on retreat at an ultra modern resort in the Callifornia redwoods, and a band of eco warriors engaged in a stealth operation. The storm of the century hits in this comedy of errors. Moss is a former member of the board of directors of the Alumni Association and past president of the New York alumni chapter.

George Thurlow '73, former Executive Director for UCSB Alumni Affairs, has joined the Board of Directors for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. After earning a BA in sociology at UCSB, Thurlow embarked on a 20-year career in journalism, including a three-year stint as Professional in Residence at CSU Chico, before returning to Santa Barbara to become publisher of the Independent in 1994. His writing and reporting have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Sacramento Bee, TIME magazine, the San Francisco Examiner, and numerous other newspapers and magazines. he retired from Alumni Affairs in December 2020. 

Anabel Ford, ’74 MA ’76, has received a $289,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue her decades-long research at the Belizean Mayan site El Pilar. Her work is focused on how the Mayan built dense villages in the middle of tropical rain forests. Her work has shown that the Mayans were skilled managers of the forests in which they lived. That stewardship was detailed in Ford’s co-authored work, “The Maya Forest Garden: Eight Millenia of Sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands.” Ford is an adjunct faculty member in the UCSB Anthropology Dept.


Gregory Ruiz '80 has been announced as a finalist in the 2021 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (the Sammies), otherwise known as the "Oscars" of government service. The Sammies are presented by the nonpartisan, non-profit Partnership for Public Service. Gregory is one of 29 finalists. The Sammies recognize the unsung heroes in our federal government who have made phenomenal contributions to the health, safety and prosperity of our country. They will be honored at the 2021 Sammies Award show this fall.

Diana Mittelberger, ’81, has retired after 37 years at AT&T. She continues to teach technical writing and career development at DeVry University. She has worked in marketing, information services and customer care at ATT.

Terri Hilliard Olson, ’82, was featured in the recent edition of the Pacific Coast Business Times as one of the “Who’s Who in Professional Services.” She is the president and founder of Terri Hilliard PC. Her legal practice centers on estate and business succession, asset preservation and special needs trusts. Her company has offices in Westlake Village, Burbank and Santa Barbara.

Jeffrey Stine '75, MA '78, Ph.D. '84, the curator for environmental history at the National Museum of American History, has published Green Persuasion: Advertising, Voluntarism, and America’s Public Lands with Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. The book is available online as a free downloadable PDF from the Press’s publication archive

Laurie Von Straussenburg, ’84, has launched her own CPA firm in Mesa, AZ. Her firm provides tax and accounting services for both individuals and corporations. She has been in the accounting industry for 30 years and a CPA for 20 years. She is certified in California, New York and Arizona.

Eric P. Wendt '86, the longest-serving Green Beret on Active Duty, retired on the 19th of August, in California overlooking the beautiful Monterey Bay. The US military conducted a joint service retirement ceremony for the Lieutenant General. With a remarkable career, spanning over 34 years of active duty, including over 4 years in the Light Infantry, followed by 30 years as a Green Beret. He also retired at the highest rank achieved by any Special Forces branched/career-long Green Beret since the Green Berets were created in 1952.

Susie Willet, ’88, has been named director of development at the Santa Barbara Dream Foundation. For the past six years she has been the director and senior director of donor and corporate relations. She also worked with Visit Santa Barbara in their sales and marketing department.

Kristine (Fowler '88) Cirby, received the Marin Trial Lawyers Association's 2021 President's Award on September 23, 2021 for her career-long commitment to assisting families and children in need of critical legal services. Congressman Jared Huffman ’86 assisted in introducing the award through a video presentation.

Jeanette Morgan Shaw, ’89, has been elected to the Tigard City Council in Portland, OR. Shaw is the co founder and partner in Techolicy LLC in Portland. She currently is the senior director of Policy, Communications and Marketing for Forth. Previously she was vice president of government relations for National Semiconductor. She also previously served as the executive director of the Oregon Wine Board. She received her executive MBA from Stanford and previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association.


Joe Acaba, ’90, has been named by NASA to the team that will make the early Artemis Moon missions. NASA’s goal is to put people on the moon by 2024 and Acaba joins a team of 18 astronauts that will be assigned the first missions. Acaba has been a NASA astronaut since 2004. He has logged a total of 306 days in space on three different missions. In 2009 he served on the International Space Station and conducted two spacewalks. In 2012 he flew a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the Space Station and served as flight engineer. He has served as a flight trainer for the Soyuz in Star City, Russia. He received his degree from UCSB in geology, received a masters of science in geology form the University of Arizona, and a ME from Texas Tech in 2015.

Jeff Baglio '90, received recognition from BTI Consulting Group for providing superior service to clients in its 2021 BTI M&A Client Service All-Star report. Baglio is the managing partner of DLA Piper’s San Diego offices. In his practice, he represents both mature and emerging technology, healthcare, life sciences and consumer products companies in all facets of their business, including mergers and acquisitions, financing, and general strategic and corporate counseling.

John Hinderaker, ’91, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the U.S. District Judge of Arizona. He is one of 94 federal district judges in the U.S. He was nominated by President Trump in December 2019 and confirmed in September 2020. He previously served on the Pima County Superior Court in Arizona from 2018-2020. He received his law degree from the University of Arizona.

Gregory Schell '92 has produced a feature film called, Mayberry Man. The movie follows an arrogant movie star is trapped in a modern day Mayberry where he's given a chance to discover the true meaning of friendship and family.

Stephen Davis, ’93, has been named to the 2020 Forbes/Shook Best-in-State Wealth Advisors. Davis is a financial advisor in the Westlake Village office of UBS Wealth Management. Davis has more than 27 years of experience in the financial advising industry. The Forbes/SHOOK list is made up of 4,000 financial advisors across the country that are judged on the basis of interviews, compliance records and revenue generated for the firm. Davis is a member of the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Dawn Wright Ph.D. '94, is among the newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts & Science. She completed an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in physical geography and marine geology. She is the chief scientist at the Environmental Systems Research Institute 

Shawn Landres, MA ’95 PhD ’13 is serving as the chair of the Santa Monica City Planning Commission. He is also a leader on the Los Angeles County Innovation Commission, which helps plan and coordinate local government efforts in land use planning. Landres is a senior fellow at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and volunteers as a mentor to graduate students in the area of public policy and planning.

Justin Balser '97, an experienced litigator and compliance attorney, has joined Troutman Pepper’s nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Practice Group as a partner. Balser joins from Akerman where he was managing partner of the firm’s Denver office. Balser works with financial institutions, mortgage lenders, loan servicers, and other credit related entities throughout the United States on consumer finance litigation and compliance matters. He previously served as legal counsel and advisor to senior management at Lehman Brothers’ mortgage subsidiary, Aurora Loan Services LLC and its affiliated companies.

Justin Balser '97, an experienced litigator and compliance attorney, has joined Troutman Pepper’s nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Practice Group as a partner. Balser joins from Akerman where he was managing partner of the firm’s Denver office. 

Victor Geraci, PhD ’97, has published “Wine By Design: Santa Barbara’s Quest for Terroir.” Geraci’s doctoral thesis produced the book “Salud! The Rise of Santa Barbara’s Wine Industry.” After receiving his degree he worked as a wine expert for the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. He is almost finished with a new book on John DeLuca and the California Wine Institute’s late 20th Century fight against neo-Prohibitionism. In 2017 he published “Making Slow Food Fast in California Cuisine.”

Sheila Hwang, MA '97, PhD '08, was among 100 St. Louis-area educators to receive “Emerson’s Excellence in Teaching Award.” The awards pay tribute to area educators from kindergarten to college teachers for their achievements and dedication to the field of education. Emerson is a global technology and engineering company. Hwang is a professor of English at Webster University in St. Louis. She is current working on a project entitled “The Watering Place in Jane Austen’s Novels: Space, Language and Consumerism.”

David Tappeiner, ’97, has opened a law practice in Santa Barbara with longtime friend Mark DePaco. Tappeiner received his law degree from the University of Denver College of Law and practiced in Colorado from 2000-2006, before returning to Santa Barbara. He was previously a partner in the Santa Barbara law firm of Fell, Marking, Abkin, Montgomery, Granet and Raney.

Stephanie Harris-Uyidi ’97 is featured as The Posh Pescatarian on Emirates Airlines channels and has been featured in Cuisine Noir magazine. The Pescatarian diet is more of a lifestyle which eliminates pork, beef and chicken consumption. Pescatarians choose seafood as their primary source of protein. The diet is featured on Uyidi’s website and her YouTube Channel.


Mike Magpayo, '01, has been named the interim head coach of the UC Riverside men’s basketball team. Prior to that appointment in July he was the associate head basketball coach at UCR. His career has involved basketball positions at Columbia University, Campbell University, USF and finally UCR. He is the founder and president of the Asian Coaches Association and for seven years had a successful real estate business. He is the first NCAA Division 1 head coach of full Asian heritage.

Meagan (Christiansen '01) Bainbridge, who earned her academic degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara has been named Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyer 2021.

Arvind Gupta, ’02, has published a new book “Decoding the World: A Roadmap for the Questioner.” The book explores how to use clean-tech to solve some of the most vexing problems facing the world, from food shortages to climate change. Gupta founded and grew IndieBio into the largest biotech seed-fund VC in the world, according to his publicist. Gupta received his degree in microbiology.

John Lardas Modern Ph.D. '03, is working on his new book Neuromatic: Or, A Particular History of Religion and the Brain. In this book, John Modern offers a powerful and original critique of neurology’s pivotal role in religious history.

Pearl ’04 and Aron ’04 Mizrahi, welcomed their little Gaucho Lilah into this world on Aug. 14.

Steve Ortiz, ’04, has been honored by Hospice of Santa Barbara with its Philanthropy Award for his work during the COVID-19 crisis at the United Way of Santa Barbara. Ortiz serves as the President and CEO of the Santa Barbara United Way office. The award honors Ortiz’ work with other area foundations and non-profits in providing child care assistance to front line medical providers and support for quarantine, contact tracing and isolation efforts.

Ashley M. Ratcliff '06, graduate of UCSB (major: Sociology, minor: Professional Writing - Editing Emphasis) recently published a self-help memoir, Jesus Year, about her journey with multiple sclerosis — from the jarring decline in health to her diagnosis, to finding her new normal and inspiring fellow chronically ill people along the way. It became a bestseller on Amazon earlier this month. 

Niki Sandoval, PhD ’07, has joined WestEd a worldwide consulting firm that works toward improving educational outcomes for youth and adults. She will be focusing on strategic planning and resource development. For the past 11 years she has been Education Director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and previously served as a director of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Candace R. DesBaillets '07 has joined Fox Rothschild LLP in Seattle as an associate in the Labor & Employment Department. Candace defends employers in individual and class action litigation, including against claims involving discrimination, disability accommodations, harassment, retaliation and wage and hour violations.

Kevin Hall, ’08, has been honored by the Santa Barbara Independent in its 2020 Best of Santa Barbara issue. His real estate firm was named the “Best Real Estate Team”in Santa Barbara.

Cody Makela '08 has been named standout financial planner by Arlington Financial Advisors, an independent financial advisory firm located in the heart of Santa Barbara.


Orlando Johnson, ’12, a star basketball player at UCSB has signed a contract to play in Australia with the Brisbane Bullets of the National Basketball League. Johnson was selected in the second round of the NBA draft in 2012 by the Sacramento Kings and was immediately traded to the Indiana Pacers. Johnson has played in the NBA and professional teams in Spain, the Phillipines, China, Lebanon, Bosnia and Taiwan. Last year he played for the Avtodor Saratov in Russia averaging 14 points and four rebounds per game.

Genna Promnick '12, recently joined Downey Brand as an associate attorney. Genna joins the firm with several years of experience as a Deputy Public Defender in the Northern California area where she worked for the Solano County Alternate Public Defender’s Office and most recently for Placer County’s Public Defender’s Office. During her tenure as a Deputy Public Defender, she litigated numerous misdemeanors and felonies, including DUIs , domestic violence actions, and juvenile cases. Genna’s time working as a juvenile criminal defense attorney helps position her to excel while practicing family law.

Chloe Martinez, PhD ’13, has published a chapbook of poems “Corner Shrine.” She is currently the program coordinator of the Center for Writing and Public Discourse and a lecturer in Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Award in poetry three times.

Diana De Los Santos '14, Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science, founded a bilingual stationery company called Rose Splash Creations.

Petra Persolja, ’18 MA, ’19 PhD, led a children’s concert at the UCSB Summer Music Festival. The event was virtual and featured Persolja’s piano virtuosos.

Gabe Vincent, ‘18, the star standout for UCSB basketball was a backup reserve for the Miami Heat in their recent NBA championship series against the Los Angeles Lakers. He is only the second UCSB player to play in the championship series. Brian Shaw made the finals with the Orlando Magic in 1994-95 and then played on three Lakers championship teams. Vincent is the ninth all time scoring leader for UCSB.

Kelly Edyburn, ’16 MA, '19 PhD, has been appointed assistant professor at the School of Psychology at Loyola Chicago. She worked as an intern at the Travis County Juvenile Probation Dept. in Austin, Texas and later did postdoc research at the Children’s Equity Project at Arizona State University. The program she joins is based on the scientist-practitioner model and emphasizes social justice and ethics.

Preston Maag, ’19, has produced a new film titled “10 Miles Out” celebrating backpacking in the Los Padres National Forest. It premiered at the Nature Track Film Festival. Maag works in Southern California as a social media producer and as a sales specialist at REI. He received his degree in Film and Media Studies.


Patty Flores, ’20, launched a new tech company called Festively. During the holidays the company opened an online marketplace featuring holiday gifts from more than 100 different women and minority owned businesses in Southern California.

Sofia LeBlanc, ’20, has been named the newest digital strategist at Witmark. She will work on strategic planning projects and public relations programs.

Vianna Mabanag,’20, has been appointed a media assistant at Witmark. She will be developing digital strategies and original social media content.