Updates on Our Graduates

Recent Alumni News


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Feb. 7, 2018 — Ken White (B.A., history and English '72, Cred. '73) has two new books out, with more on the way. 12 Days of Central Valley Christmas, the second of a trilogy of children's Christmas books, and Touchstones: Life and Times of Modesto, a nonfiction book about White's hometown, were both published in 2017. Twas the Night Before Christmas … in Modesto will be released in November 2018. White is also writing Beautiful Day, set at UC Davis in 1969 and a sequel to his first novel, Getaway Day. Follow him on Facebook. Listen to a Feb. 7 interview with White on Capitol Public Radio's “Insight with Beth Ruyak" about his play, Migrant Mother, which tells the story of the women behind Dorothea Lange's iconic photograph. 


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Jan. 16, 2018Joe Sasto (B.A., communication, ’10) is a contestant on the latest season of Bravo’s Top Chef television series. This season, according to the show’s website, takes 15 chefs on “an epicurean road trip” through Denver, Boulder, Telluride and Aspen, Colorado. Sasto, the executive chef for Cal Mare restaurant in Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Daily News that cooking gives him a way to stay connected to his mom, who died of cancer during his freshman year at UC Davis: “She’s my whole inspiration for cooking. Growing up, she instilled in me that power of food, and the way that food connects people. And I realize now how much food can evoke memories.” After graduating, he worked in restaurant kitchens in Ukiah and the San Francisco Bay Area. He was working as executive sous chef at Lazy Bear in San Francisco when Top Chef’s producers came in to eat. “I never saw an episode, and didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Sasto told Eater LA. “I refused to apply initially, and my girlfriend called me an idiot. Next thing you know, I’m flying to Denver to compete on a show that I knew nothing about.”


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Jan. 5, 2018 — Ken DeCamp (B.A., geography, ’72) had his first book published: Wildflowers of the Trinity Alps including the Marble Mountain Wilderness, Russian Wilderness, and Trinity Divide. The book, released by Backcountry Press, is the first comprehensive field guide to the wildflowers of northwest California’s botanically diverse Klamath Mountains. DeCamp, an avid backpacker, has been drawing and photographing wildflowers for more than 40 years. He retired from the USDA Forest Service in 2008 after a 38-year career in fire, land management planning and public affairs. He lives with his wife, Pam, in the community of Shasta Lake.


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December 2017London Breed (B.A., political science, ’97) became the acting mayor of San Francisco on Dec. 12 after Mayor Ed Lee died from a heart attack. Breed, 43, is the second woman and the first African American woman to serve in the position. Elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2013, she has been its president since 2015. A special election will be held June 2018 to choose a new mayor to serve out the rest of Lee's term, which ends in January 2020.


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DeWayne Quinn, his father, Val, and Dave Camboia pose for a photo before departing on the Walt Gray charity motorcycle ride in 2009.

December 2017DeWayne Quinn (B.A., political science, ’92) chose a living tribute to honor the memory of David Camboia (B.A, chemistry, ’93)—a contribution to an “Adopt an Acre” program at UC Davis' Russell Ranch sustainable research farm. Camboia, of Tracy, died in September 2015. “The Camboias are farmers from Gustine, so this gift seemed to resonate with his life and his background,” Quinn said. The two men had been friends since their days playing defense for the Aggie football team. Quinn today is head of a global information systems department at Apple Inc. Read more about his memorial gift. 


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November 2017Carlos Francisco Tobar (B.A., economics, ’93) has been named the new manager for Baldwin County, Georgia. He has worked in public administration for counties, cities and regional transit authorities in Georgia, Florida and Northern California—serving since June 2013 as administrator for Grady County, Georgia. In addition to his bachelor’s degree from UC Davis, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of West Florida. He and his wife, Rebekah, a preschool teacher, have four children, ages 14 to 21.


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November 2017Stephen Mew (B.A., economics, ’06) recently completed 21 months serving aboard the ship MV Logos Hope, operated by a German Christian charity, to bring books and aid to people around the world. 


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October 2017Christian “Joel” Lee (B.A. ’90) is co-founder of BananaMana Films, a production company specializing in creating Asian scripted dramas in English for web, TV and film. After creating two award-winning dramatic series, BananaMana Films has produced its first feature film—Jimami Tofu.


Strange Chemistry

October 2017 — Steven Farmer (B.S. '94, Ph.D. '02, chemistry) recently published his first book. Strange Chemistry: The Stories Your Chemistry Teacher Wouldn't Tell You (John Wiley & Sons, July 2017) focuses on the darker, wilder side of chemistry. The book covers broad subjects that touch on everyday life, including the chemistry of poisons, illicit drugs, explosives, foods, common household products, and radiation.


Jacqueline Eng sitting in Nepal excavation site analyzing bones from Kyang Cave in Nar-Phu Valley

July 2017 — Jacqueline Eng ’99, analyzing bones of Kyang Cave, Nar-Phu Valley, Nepal, during a 2013 expedition, was featured among a team of researchers and climbers in an episode of the PBS series “NOVA” in January. Eng, a faculty member at Western Michigan University, is interviewed in the “Secrets of the Sky Tombs” episode about the team’s efforts to understand human settlement in the Himalayas.


July 2017Angela Naef (B.A. ’96, Ph.D. ’00, chemistry) has been chosen as the new chairperson of the American Chamber of Commerce in Denmark. Naef is the Vice President of Global Technology & Innovation at DuPont Nutrition & Health in Copenhagen. She has lived in Denmark since 2014, when she joined DuPont in Brabrand near Aarhus as a Site Manager. She relocated to Copenhagen in 2016.


July 2017 — Stunt pilot Vicky Benzing (B.S., chemistry, ’80), an accomplished aerobatic performer and air racer, was recently featured in a Tacoma News Tribune story about her flying career. Benzing performed aerial stunts for the Tacoma Freedom Fair and flew over a Fourth of July parade in Steilacoom, Washington, during the 2017 holiday weekend. She currently holds the record for fastest woman ever at the prestigious Reno Air Races.


July 2017Alvaro Reynoso (B.A., sociology and Chicano studies, ’07) joined the Woodland police force in June as a patrol officer. After graduating from UC Davis, he earned a master’s degree in marriage family and child therapy from Sacramento State, then worked 11 years as a Yolo County probation officer. A longtime volunteer, he tutored migrant farmworkers’ children while attending UC Davis. As a probation officer, he taught parenting classes to people whose children were on probation.


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July 2017Jerry Fletcher (M.A., economics, ’79), a professor of agricultural and resource economics at West Virginia University, died of cancer June 19 at his home in Morgantown, West Virginia. He taught at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, before joining West Virginia University in 1989. At WVU, he was founding director of the Natural Resource Analysis Center, past director of the Division of Resource Management, and director of a federally funded U.S.–China Energy Center. Over his career, he served as principal or co-principal investigator on nearly $60 million in research grants, wrote hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and other papers, and mentored dozens of students and young faculty from around the world. In addition to his economics master’s degree, he earned Ph.D. in agricultural economics at UC Davis and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Wyoming. Survivors include his wife, Marsha; four children; two grandchildren; and three siblings.


book cover will cartoon of a priest and thought bubble reading "WWJP?"

July 2017 — Cindy (Jones) Derosier (B.A., international relations, ’94; Credential, ’95) co-authored What Would Jesus Patent? 101 Ingenious Inventions for Christians with patent attorney Adam Diament (Ph.D., genetics, ’04). This is her first book and Diament's third. They met in 1997 as members of the Telemark Dance Troupe at UC Davis. She blogs at My Creative Life.



July 2017May Wilson (MFA, art, ’13) has won the 2017 San Francisco Artist Award from The San Francisco Art Dealers Association (SFADA). As winner, she will have a solo exhibition at the Themes + Projects gallery, Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota St., Sept. 9 – 30. Wilson creates sculptures and installations with industrial materials — vinyl, industrial felt, nylon strapping, sand and concrete. Around 30 artists were nominated for the biennial award by art professionals, collectors and other artists.