Alumni Profiles

Our alumni are thriving in fields as diverse as the arts & stars, math & music, chemistry & cinema, economics & English. Knowing that we provided the foundation for these doctors of pharmacy and mathematics, data scientists and policymakers, leaders in tech and social justice, is the inspiration that drives our work each and every day. We couldn't be prouder of our L&S Aggies as they achieve, lead and exceed our wildest expectations. 

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Stephen Mew
B.A., Economics, ’06

November 2017 — A 'tug of heart' took economics graduate to 22 countries over 21 months aboard charity ship. 

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Christian (Joel) Lee
B.A., History, ’90

A love of stories led Christian “Joel” Lee (B.A. ’90) on a journey from undergraduate history major at UC Davis to a career as an actor and independent filmmaker in Singapore.

Rene Aguilera

Rene Aguilera
B.A., Political Science, '83

When Rene was an undergrad, he got some great advice on community organizing from one of the very best: activist Cesar Chavez.

Seth Bardacke

Seth Bardacke
B.A., American Studies, '00

American Studies alumnus puts love of sport and communications to work in his dream career.

Lori Bettison-Varga

Lori Bettison-Varga
M.S., Geology, '86; Ph.D. '91

Growing up afraid of earthquakes in Los Angeles, Lori Bettison-Varga threw herself into a lifelong interest in geology and ultimately the directorship of the city's lauded Natural History Museum.

Neal Benezra

Neal Benezra
M.A., Art History, '78

Having spearheaded an expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and now envisioning the looks of a contemporary art museum, Neal Benezra looks ahead by asking, “What is the next big idea?”

Sonya Berg

Sonya Berg
Ph.D., Mathematics, '12

When Sonya Berg came to UC Davis to study quantum computing, she didn’t know her training would lead her to Stitch Fix, an online retailer that delivers a personalized shopping experience.

John Bikoba

John Bikoba
B.S., Earth and Planetary Sciences, '15

John’s graduate experience at Davis was vastly different from his undergraduate studies, where computers were only available in slow-connection Internet cafés requiring payments for access.

Jack Boyl

Jack Boyl
B.A., Economics, '05

Jack Boyl went from UC Davis all-star to all-around star at Wells Fargo’s commercial real estate finance department. "You're a part of UC Davis long after you graduate." 

Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye

The Honorable Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye
B.A., Rhetoric, '80; J.D. '84

Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye has returned to UC Davis to speak on several occasions, including at the King Hall Outreach Program, helping college students from underrepresented communities prepare for the law school admissions process. 

Danielle (Chatterton) Czelusta face with big smile

Danielle (Chatterton) Czelusta
B.A., Communications, ’08

Danielle appreciates the multidisciplinary communications program at UC Davis and her time as a UC Davis Medical Center patient as both prepared her for a flourishing health care philanthropy career.

Dominique Gebru

Dominique Gebru
B.A., International Relations, '12

Dominique Gebru is a Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica and serves as the youth literacy advisor in a small, rural primary school in Trelawny Parish. 

Darryl Goss

Darryl Goss
B.A., African American Studies, ’83

Darryl says it was at UC Davis where he gained the basic principles that have driven his career as a nontechnical leader in the very technical field of high-tech manufacturing.

Darius Graham and family on basketball court

Darius Graham
A.B., Sociology, '17

At a young age, Darius Graham learned from his close-knit family how to balance busy academic and basketball schedules to ensure his success as an athlete and a student.

Fawzi Haimor

Fawzi Haimor
B.A./B.S., Music and Neurobiology, '05; M.A. '07

As a music and neurobiology double major, Fawzi Haimor never envisioned himself becoming the music man he is today. Serving as a young conductor for some of America’s finest orchestras, Haimor believes he has “...never worked a day in my life.”

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Jennifer Johnson
B.A., Physical Education and Economics, ’87

A member of a very small club—the 4 percent of women who run a Fortune 500 company—Jenny Johnson says an open mind and persistence are the secrets to her success. Oh, and she also is the mother of five. 

Zoe Kelsey

Zoe Kelsey
B.A., Communications, '16

Zoe says, “the first time I stepped onto the campus to take a tour, I felt like I was meant to go here.” On the list of her post-graduate goals: becoming an active alumna.

Sara Margulis

Sara Margulis
B.A., Music, '97

Sara Margulis runs Honeyfund, a nationwide wedding registry that specializes in honeymoon and experiential gifts and has plenty to celebrate: $330 million in lifetime gift transactions so far. 

Portrait photo of Will Marks

Will Marks
B.A., Economics, ’88

As a longtime equities researcher, Will found he often drew upon his education from UC Davis when he became the go-to source for business reporters and Wall Street investors in the hotel and ski resort industries.

Tim McCarthy

Tim McCarthy
B.A., International Relations and Economics, '73

Tim knows the value of a liberal arts perspective from his own education, as well as his forty-two years in financial services - including stints as president of Charles Schwab and Nikko Asset Management. 

Gwen McKinley

Gwen McKinley
B.S., Mathematics, '15

Gwen is hard at work in a mathematics doctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge; she says her studies at UC Davis well-prepared her to continue her education on the other coast.

Paty Millan

Paty Millan
B.S., Statistics and Mathematics, '09

As a senior data scientist for Nielsen, now leading their Mobile Performance Product in San Francisco, Patricia Millán often relies on her UC Davis training in mathematics and statistics.

Gabby Nepomuceno

Gabby Nepomuceno
B.S., Chemistry, '15

Gabby is now using her science background to help translate information to policymakers. Thanks to Gabby's skill, legislators are able to quickly grasp technically challenging issues and then find creative ways to solve problems for everything from healthcare and water quality to education.

Jonathan Pedroza

Jonathan Pedroza
B.A., International Relations, '02

Having served in Afghanistan and now working with Amazon in Seattle, Jonathan Perdroza says his passion for leadership developed while he was still an undergraduate student at UC Davis.

Jennifer Pugh

Jennifer Pugh
B.A., English, '10

Jennifer’s studies at UC Davis refined her storytelling and writing skills – ones she now utilizes every day working for a tech start-up in San Francisco. Next stop for Jennifer: a master’s degree in British literature.

José Quiñonez

José Quiñonez
B.A., Chicano/a Studies, ’94

“I wanted to bring my story out of my immigrant experience to tell a different narrative about who we are as a people and what we want to do in this country.” José credits his time at UC Davis with the beginning of figuring out how he would enact real change.

Portrait photo of James Rizzo

James Rizzo
B.A., Political Science, ’15

An associate in an early career leadership program at software firm Intuit, James is considering a career in strategy consulting for the public sector. He says an early sociology class at UC Davis helped get him there.

Mindy and Isabella Romero

Mindy Romero
B.A., Political Science and Sociology, '01; Ph.D. '14

Isabella Romero
B.A., Communication, '17

Isabella Romero has been preparing for a career in civic engagement since the third grade. That was about the time her single mother of three, Mindy Romero, first enlisted Isabella’s help in a political campaign.

Anthony Swofford

Anthony Swofford
B.A., English, '99

Former marine and author of Jarhead, Anthony Swofford believes attending UC Davis proved essential to his becoming a writer.

joseph tam

Joseph Tam
Ph.D., Chemistry, ’69

Joseph Tam, the man responsible for bringing biotechnology to Hong Kong, says his time at UC Davis gave him more than an education: It gave him a new way of life.

Joshua Tillman

Joshua Tillman
B.A., Political Science and Economics, '05

Joshua Tillman's company DialSource has taught top clients like Stanford how to leverage technology and humanize the customer experience through analytics.

Mariah Watson

Mariah Watson
B.A., International Relations, '16

Mariah was a born leader so it's no surprise that she became president of the Associated Students at UC Davis and runs a $13 million nonprofit organization.

Winnie Wong

Winnie Wong
B.S., Pharmaceutical Chemistry, '15

Winnie is in the doctor of pharmacy program at the California Northstate University College of Pharmacy in Elk Grove; she says her years majoring in pharmaceutical chemistry at UC Davis prepared her perfectly her for her post-grad passion.

Robert Woods

Robert Woods
B.A., Psychology, '76 

Robert Woods is a leader of the Cal Aggie African and African American Alumni Association (Chapter 5A) and is excited about assisting UC Davis students of African descent.