Graduate Student Biographies | Alumni
MALAS is the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences program at San Diego State University--on this page we document our legions of interdisciplinary and cultural studies graduate students!

MALAS Graduate Students, Spring 2017
Click here for MALAS Alumni!

THIAGO A. ARELLANO
Não sou nada
Nunca serei nada,
Não posso querer ser nada,
À parte isso, tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo’

Álvaros de Campos – Fernando Pessoa

Dreamer on board! Originally from Brazil and a Literature major at the University the São Paulo (USP), I had the pleasure of joining the MALAS Family in 2015. Certainly, it has been an amazing experience. MALAS Classes are extremely interesting and relevant, and I have been learning so much since the moment I joined. If you are a dreamer and you are more worried about enhancing your cultural background than anything else, this is your place to be! Another great experience out of the MALAS program was having the opportunity to teach Portuguese at San Diego State University (SDSU) during the ProjectGo summer program--an inspiring experience that I will carry with me the rest of life. More about me? Ok, I moved to the U.S because the love of my life happened to be a handsome Mexican-American living in California. I am extremely passionate about Latin America, Brazilian and Portuguese Literature and, as a writer-to-be, I try to travel as much as I can and go to my native Brazil and also any place south of the American border as often as possible in an attempt to experience and miss less, the Latin America vibes I love so much. Also, I believe that, now more than ever, it is time to dream of a better world: a world made from all of us and for all of us! Silly dreamers are still here! We will resist! (=


CHRISTIAN BENAVIDES
“Caminante, no hay puentes,
se hace puentes al andar.”

- Gloria Anzaldua 

Saludos! Fall 2015 marks the beginning of a new journey for me and I have MALAS to thank for that. In Spring 2015, I became the first person in my family to graduate from a 4-year university. After many last minute changes, I ended up graduating with a BA in English and a minor in Television, Film, and New Media. The past 5 years contained very difficult times but also some of the most beautiful experiences of my life. For many of the beautiful experiences, I have MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan) at SDSU to thank. MEChA has been more than an organization but my guiding spirit as it helped me shape who I was, gave me motivation, inspired me, and gave me a purpose. I’m a Chicano now and forever. And being a Chicano comes with a responsibility to always be a part of your community and help improve it so that social equality can be made possible. 

Besides activism, my passion also lies in literature. I come from a working-class family so my experiences are limited. By that, I mean that my parents were working all the time and I spent many many many days home alone. Plus, I grew up in San Marcos, CA, which didn’t really give me much to work with. Drawing, films, and especially fiction was how I traveled and saw new places. And when when my quiet high school senior self needed a way to let out all the thoughts and feelings I’d bottled up, creative writing became the voice I needed.
      
I’m excited to join MALAS because it is the perfect program for me to explore multiple different subjects I am passionate about on and off campus. That list would include: Chicanismo, literature, creative writing, social justice, anthropology, immigration, and latin american art/culture. It is safe to say that my future plans are still under construction but I know I’ll be sticking to academia until my PhD is hanging on a wall. In the meantime, besides studying, you’ll catch me scribbling in a journal trying to channel Ray Bradbury, hiking somewhere, playing soccer, joining a rally, or just binge-watching anime.


ALEIAH BRANDON

Hey there! My name is Aleiah Brandon and I am a first year MALAS graduate student from Corona, California. I completed my undergrad here at SDSU as well. I majored in Business Administration with a specialization in Entrepreneurship and minored in Communications. I am also a member of the SDSU women's basketball team, GO AZTECS! In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends and watching movies. I am so blessed to be apart of this very special graduate program and I am looking forward to making the best of this wonderful opportunity!


kim
                      ellison, malas graduate studentKIM ELLISON


What's up! My name is Kymberly Ellison, and I am originally hail from beautiful Columbus, Georgia. Along with being a member of the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (MALAS)  graduate program, I am a member of the SDSU Women's Basketball team. I received my bachelor's degree in Business Administration from SDSU in May, 2016 with a specialization in Entrepreneurship. I am excited to be a part of this program to figure out exactly what I want to do in life.




BRENT ERICKSON


Hello all! I hail originally from Los Angeles, where I grew up doing Junior Lifeguards each summer until I overcame my utter lack of coordination and became a proficient surfer. With my umbilical cord still attached to the Pacific I moved to San Diego to study Anthropology at UCSD and further delve into the Ocean’s bounty by gorging myself on the meaty peaks at Black’s beach. Early travel to far flung regions such as Micronesia, Mexico, and Greece had opened my eyes to the adaptability of humans and inspired a fascination with the interaction between culture and environment. I am excited to be at MALAS as it seems an ideal place to further my grand ambition to promote the positive cultural exchange tourism makes possible. I aim to create a thesis that looks into how positive potentials can be maximized by empowering local cultures in the process of development. As a pragmatist with a radical bent towards equality and cooperation (!Freedom throughout the Universe!) I see advancing technology and a growing understanding of the potentials and pitfalls of tourism combining to lead a revolution in how tourism is both developed and received.


CASEY HANDS


Hello everyone! My name is Casey and I’m a first-semester graduate student in MALAS. I graduated this May from San Diego State with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Philosophy, focused in Ethics. My specialties are in English & Comparative Literature; specifically, late 20th/21st century novels, poetry, art, and everything in between. I’m a seasoned editor who enjoys working with other students on literary analyses/critiques, copy editing, and idea synthesis. I’m a self-proclaimed bibliophile, so I hope to spend the remainder of my time in MALAS sharpening my eye for great literature and learning as much as possible from fellow academics and faculty. You can find me on campus holding writing labs and tutoring students at the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) or at the CSU's oldest publishing house, San Diego State University Press, selling diverse academic texts to readers and educational institutions across the globe. I look forward to working with all of you!


CARI KENNY
Hey, I am from Chicago and received by Bachelor of Arts in Music at Lake Forest College, just outside of Chicago.  I have been involved in theater for 10 years, as a tech/writer/director and actor and currently teach improvisation and started my own group, Easily Amused.  I am also involved with a long-form improv group, Unraveled. I decided on the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences program at SDSU because I like its flexibility, its unique classes, and how the program encourages interdisciplinary thinking--all important if you wish to be an effective artist.

KARESHMEH KABIRI

Hi everyone, my name is Kareshmeh Kabiri. I was born and raised in San Diego and attended SDSU as an undergrad and receiving my degree in Biology. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with that so I thought I should try MALAS out to explore my options and so far I love it. I have worked everywhere from managing a restaurant to working in a biotech company. My parents are from Iran so I visit there often and other countries as well. I absolutely love traveling and aim to visit one new country a year. My hobbies include dancing and figure skating. I used to be a competitive figure skater and now I am hoping to coach ice skating.

JULIE KITTERMAN
Hmmm… The story of MALAS and Me. Though it has barely begun, it appears to have the potential of a perfect match. I was sure that I wanted to go to grad school, but there was a bit of an unresolved issue--how can I mesh my inspirations, experience, and former studies together so that they coalesce into a credentialed, progressive and cutting-edge degree?  This task seemed certain to be a huge challenge, until I stumbled upon the glorious MALAS website and …behold!  I now feel confident that I have an excellent opportunity to combine my Fine Arts degree, my Chicano/a Studies degree, and my twenty years experience in Sustainability and Conservation and take things to the next level.  I look forward to the plethora of seminars to choose from and hope to come out of MALAS as an expert, an artist, a scholar….and a trailblazer of some sort...


ALLICIA MARTINEZ
Greetings! My name is Allicia Martinez and I am a San Diego, CA native. I attended the lovely Grant Elementary, Blessed Sacrament Parish School, and then my parents decided to keep me away from boys and sent me to Our Lady of Peace, an all girls school, claiming it was for the education. I then took advantage of my freedom after graduating and moved away to San Francisco to attend SFSU. After two years of "experimenting" with my education, traveling Europe, and sipping caipirinhas on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, I decided to come back to San Diego and finish school at SDSU. I received my B.A. in Arts and Sciences emphasizing in applied design, and then my teaching credential in Art Education. I am now apart of the wonderful MALAS crew at SDSU and am enjoying the flexibility of being able to explore many disciplines that will eventually serve as a useful tool for me in the classroom. As an educator I feel it is important to incorporate as much knowledge as possible to help kids learn to think critically about themselves and their environment.

JOHN
McEVOY
  
I am a lawyer who retired from practice in December 2014. MALAS works for me as a retired professional seeking the challenges of a graduate program at a major university. For some years, I was an American Bar Association liaison in Eastern Europe. I set up an office in Bratislava not long after Czechoslovakia overthrew its Communist government (the Velvet Revolution) and, soon thereafter, broke up into two nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia (the Velvet Divorce).  I worked with the Slovak government as it replaced its Communist legal system with a western system, and prepared itself for entry into the European Union.The experience helped to develop a deep interest in the way that a legal system can advance (or impede) the progress that a society makes towards achieving its goals. Now that I am free of the need to practice law on a daily basis, I want to continue to study in the general area of law and society. It would be difficult to fit my proposed area of study into a single discipline (philosophy, history, political science, etc.?)  So, when I learned of the MALAS program, I felt that it was designed to give me freedom to experiment. The MALAS graduate emphases in Social Justice, American Studies and Intellectual History provide a perfect framework for the graduate curriculum that I want to pursue.


MARLENE MOORE

Hi there!  I’m Marlene, native San Diegan, middle sister, super-mom, university employee, lover of all things Italian, oh, and most notably, a MALAS student!  I graduated from SDSU in 2010 with a BA in English and am excited to be returning to begin my graduate studies in the multi-disciplinary realm that MALAS offers.  I actually began my pursuit of higher education some time ago but got mildly distracted by life!  I took a big break from school, worked for many years in the world of the 'corporate American cubicle,' had four kids (several of them SDSU graduates), went back to SDSU, and completed my degree, then jumped back into the working world the past five years, all the while planning my return to my favorite university to begin work on a graduate degree.  For anyone out there who may think it’s too late to begin pursuing the dreams and goals you may have lost along the road of life, take it from me - it is NEVER too late!  I got braces on my teeth, graduated from college, and accepted to grad school way beyond the typical and predictable timeline of life. The MALAS program was designed for someone just like me - a lifelong learner!  And did I mention that my daughter is already in the MALAS program and we will be attending classes together?  It doesn’t get much better than this!  Ciao!


THOMAS MURPHY
Hello, my name is Thomas Murphy, I’m originally from northern Indiana but I did my undergrad work in Albuquerque, NM. At the University of New Mexico I received Bachelor’s degrees in English (Creative writing), as well as Religious studies/History. Traveling is one of my strongest passions and I have spent time in 22 countries throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. I was born in America but hold dual citizenship in The EU/Ireland through my father’s side of the family and love every opportunity I get to roam the countryside there. I don’t know if my love for traveling or my love for history came first, but they are irrevocably intertwined. I travel to the places I study, to experience them for myself, and along the way I expand my studies into the people/places/cultures I continually encounter. Like many of my fellow MALAS students I often have a hard time explaining to people “what I study.” My other academic interests include areas of art history, architecture, religion, theology, philosophy, mythology, geography, and literature. I am excited to continue exploring the world and pursuing knowledge within the MALAS program at SDSU!


JEFFERY OVERBAUGH

Hello everybody! My name is Jeffery Overbaugh and I'm from Anchorage, Alaska.  I'm tremendously excited to begin my graduate coursework with MALAS! I graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Environment and Society. I am headed into my final year of eligibility with the SDSU football team. Growing up in Anchorage, I was able to enjoy the great outdoors by hiking, river rafting, and sea kayaking. These experiences have influenced my academic interest in pursuing either sustainability or recreation from a psychological standpoint.

PAUL PITTS
Wassup World!??? My name is Paul Pitts III and this is my first semester officially in the MALAS graduate program! I graduated Undergrad from SDSU with a BA in Religious Studies with a Counseling and Social Change Minor. My future are aspirations are to be a Christian Pastor as I love the Lord Jesus Christ and am thankful for his Gospel! I also play football for SDSU and have played on the team since 2011--Go Aztecs! I'm a blessed here and looking forward to growing in my education enlightenment! God Bless, Grace & Peace!











LUCKY RADLEY


Hola amigos, my name is Lucky Radley from Los Angeles, California. I’m currently a graduate assistant football coach for SDSU. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology along with a Master’s degree in Exercise Sports Science with an emphasis in Special Ed Education from the University of Utah. I’m an adrenaline junkie that enjoys all sports especially football, traveling the world, and exploring different cultures. I look forward to challenging myself and broadening my overall academic and life experiences. I’m extremely blessed for the opportunity and excited to be a part of the MALAS program. Let’s Get It!


DEE EDWIN REED


¡Hola, MALAS! Es genial estar aquí! ¡Tengo la identificación!
I am totally “ecstatic” to be in the MALAS graduate program. After shuffling around SDSU for years, a professor friend introduced me to the MALAS Program. MALAS is exactly what I have been looking for as a graduate: So much electricity, so much energy, so much excitement!

 
In 1979, I graduated from SDSU with a BA degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences.  I have 23 years of city government experience working in city planning. Now officially retired, I still work with CEQA as a student intern in Facilities Planning SDSU Administration. I will graduate this year with a second Bachelor’s degree as an Art Education major and Art History minor. My artistic interests are painting, ceramics and furniture.  I even made my own paper out of lint from my clothes dryer!

My new interest is Latin America: history, politics, culture, art, language, customs, family and food. Did I mention food? I want it all. By merging my art experience with a working knowledge of Latin America, my goal is to advise potential art students, from across the border, not only in the different disciplines of art, but in the incredible amount of art content they bring with their heritage. My hobbies are travel, travel and more travel, Europe (three times), Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii. Favorite places: Edinburgh’s Military Tattoo, the Blue Grotto Isle of Capri, bicycling the Danube, Beach Pub in Sidney, and Kalalua trail on Kauai.  As a grad student, I believe that we will only get out of MALAS what we put into it, so let’s go for it!  ¡Buene suerte MALAS estudentiantes de postrado!

DAMIEN ROSALES

Hello all, I’m Damien Rosales and I am excited to begin the next chapter in my life as a MALAS graduate student this fall 2015! I’m interested in the MALAS program because of it’s flexibility to create a master’s program based on coursework that I can select myself. When researching appropriate graduate programs, I had a hard time deciding on one single program because my interests vary substantially. When I discovered the MALAS program I knew this is the program I was destined to be a part of! When I first began school at the community college level, I was attending Cuyamaca College working towards a graphic design degree. I eventually transferred to San Diego State University and earned my B.A. in Multimedia Design in 2009. After SDSU, I went back to Cuyamaca College and have been working towards earning multiple A.A. degrees in Ornamental Horticulture. My focus is in Sustainable Urban Landscapes, Landscape Technology, and Nursery Technology. I should be earning my degrees at Cuyamaca soon! I am interested in ecology, geography, geology, photography and sustainability. I plan to focus my MALAS studies in these areas. I dream to one day work in a field that helps to protect and preserve the environment. I currently work at Cuyamaca College and SDSU. At Cuyamaca I work in the Ornamental Horticulture Department as the Plumeria Production Assistant and at SDSU, I am the Department Coordinator of Aerospace Engineering!


BETH ROSENBERG


Greetings Earthlings!  I'm Beth. I grew up here in sunny San Diego, and studied Dramatic Art (Dance) at UC Berkeley.  After undergrad, I lived in NYC for 4 years, where I studied dance, trapeze, improv, and yoga.  I have been an English teacher since 1999; more recently my focus has been on teaching ESL.  Besides dance and literature, I study American Sign Language and enjoy life with my 3-year-old son. There are so many places where my interests intersect. Just a few of these are: the use of narrative in the classroom as an educational strategy; the form and function of ASL storytelling vs. that of spoken storytelling; detective fiction (specifically "The Continental Op" and other short fiction by Dashiell Hammett); and many inquiries into social injustice, poverty and child abuse in our country, in relation to the corporate greed that is bent on destroying every aspect of the immanent health and choice that should be our birthright as sentient beings. I am thrilled to be embarking on this journey with y'all.  See you soon!



SEAN TRACY

Hello all! Sean Tracy here. One of the essential elements that brought me to San Diego State University for my undergraduate studies was the encouragement and freedom of exploration. It took some time for me to find my natural cadence, but once I did, it was one of interdisciplinary motions that found a home away from home in the Philosophy Department. Storytelling, imagination, art, and the shaping of consciousness through philosophy, depth psychology and mythology have had pivotal effects in the unfolding of my life’s poem. These influences resound within me at great depths, and the warmth received from family, friends, colleagues and faculty continues to nourish my passions both inside and outside of the academic setting.

Educators hold a prism that may, at its best, translate light into color. The light can be expressed as the vast and bountiful information of the world, and the colors expressed as forms of inspiration that liven and vitalize the approaches we take towards the world. Such has been my experience here at SDSU. When it came to applying for graduate studies, the MALAS program was one that resonated with my own best educational experiences, and continues to do so. I seem to thrive in an atmosphere where one is free to traverse and examine relationships and connect dots along multidisciplinary lines. As Joseph Campbell suggests: “The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” It is a vivifying and gratifying pursuit – a journey that I am grateful and honored to be able to continue in such a dynamic learning community. 

MAURA WALTERS

Hi! My name is Maura Walters. I graduated from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky with a BA in Art and English. I never planned to work in art libraries, but luckily for me that is the way things turned out. After a brief stint at the Huntington Library outside Pasadena I was hired by the  Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, where I have happily worked since 2005. I am looking forward to learning about curating and organizing quality arts programming. SDSU's MALAS program appealed to me for the flexible schedule and wide range of subjects available.

PAUL WENTURA

Hello, my name is Paul Wentura and I am a MALAS graduate student. Growing up in San Diego, I have been fortunate with regard to the ocean’s proximity to my home. For the last 15 years, I have been surfing and spending time in the water and I see an opportunity to explore my passion for surfing--both literally, in San Diego's amazing surf sites, and academically, through the diverse channels of investigation afforded by our interdisciplinary MALAS program. I completed my undergraduate work at San Diego State University in philosophy with a minor in history. I intend to continue research in these fields with a plan to investigate the history, philosophy, and science of surfing. With the support of MALAS, I hope to learn more about the influential moments, people, and technologies associated with the surfboard industry and ultimately survey the impact it has on cultures external to its own. 




FERNANDA VEGA

¿qué tal? MALAS is a program that nourishes interdisciplinary, adaptable, innovative and creative individuals who will lead and continue the construction of an inclusive society. Me, I was never interested in just one field as I have always firmly endorsed multifaceted approaches to learning. I am a translator/ interpreter and print graphic designer; in addition, a food justice advocate (Eat City Heights co-founder), reading promoter (in Spanish), plant-based chef, cooperative-worker and zen supporter. Understanding how different (and similar) cultures are stays a priority in my life;  therefore, during the summers I spend at least four weeks traveling or visiting another country —of course I always go see my abuelas amidst my journeys.



NORMA WITZEL

Hi there, my name is Norma Witzel and I am a new MALAS graduate student. I received my BA in Sociology & Political Science with a minor in History from the University of California San Diego in 2010. I have always loved school and learning, and I have a special love for all things related to liberal arts and humanities. After undergraduate school I took a few course at community college just for fun, but I always knew I would eventually want to get my masters. When the time felt right to go back, I began to look into graduate programs, but I was beginning to feel defeated since I did not want to commit myself entirely to one field. This is when I stumbled upon the MALAS website. After reading the description I instantly knew that this was the right program for me. Through MALAS I will be able to pursue my academic interests without being held within the confines of one subject. I have not yet definitively decided whether I will be taking the comprehensive exam or the thesis, as that decision is a year away for me at the moment, but there are definite pros and cons to both routes. If I do pursue a thesis I am interested in the idea of social deviance and how that idea has developed and changed throughout history. I am excited to begin this new chapter in my life and the embark upon the journey that is the MALAS program.




Our Amazing MALAS Alumni

JINANE ABBADI
Hi, I am Jinane Abbadi, and I have been enjoying the diversity, and the multiple possibilities of MALAS☺. The interdisciplinary concept became very appealing to me when I was looking to enroll in a graduate program. I received my Bachelors degree in fine Art from San Diego State University, and I have been working in the areas of painting, printmaking, and bookmaking since. I love making artists books that deal with different topics such as culture, diversity, and identity.  Here is a page from my thesis/project:

I grew up in Morocco, and I have a special interest in race, identity, and the many constituents of history, politics, and economics, which have affected the culture of the people in that area.  My thesis project is an artist book entitled “Speaking Subaltern” that discusses the traces of orientalism and colonialism in the shaping of my personhood as a postcolonial artist.

STEPHANIE AWALT
Hi there!  I am a San Diego native who attended UCSD for my undergraduate studies--my BA is in Sociology with a minor in Critical Gender Studies.I am currently a second year SDSU graduate student in the MALAS program and couldn’t be happier! I also work full time as an adolescent substance abuse counselor, so the MALAS program allows me the freedom to choose courses that both fit my hectic schedule and eclectic academic interests.In my free time, I enjoy attending shows, being artsy-craftsy, and occasionally sleeping. My thesis topic is still in the works, but will most likely focus on media representations and socialization of adolescent marijuana use.

VINCE BIONDO
{From his bio page at CSU FRESNO, where he serves as Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Pre-Law and Middle East Studies Program}

" In 1963 the Supreme Court of the United States in Abington v. Schempp recognized that understanding the world’s cultures and the role of religion in them is vital to national interests.  Justices Goldberg and Harlan clarified how this would occur when they wrote that there is a clear difference between teaching religion and teaching about religion.  As a professor of Western Religions at a public university I am committed to increasing knowledge and understanding about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam without indoctrinating students into a particular faith or ideology. I do this using a History of Religions methodology that is comparative and multidisciplinary and examines how religious phenomena interact with their historical and political contexts.  Mircea Eliade popularized this approach in the United States and influenced a generation of scholars including my teacher at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1999-2005), Richard D. Hecht.  Another important scholar in this field was Ninian Smart who argued that scholarship pursued with empathy and epoché, or bracketing one’s own judgment, makes it possible to apply the leading social scientific methods of the twentieth century to increasing our understanding and appreciation of religion and its role in the world.  At the undergraduate level, an exploration of the richness and complexities of the world’s religions effectively sharpens critical thinking and communication skills."  

Ph.D. Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (2005) (With Critical Theory coursework at UC Irvine and Intensive Arabic at The American University in Cairo)

M.A. Liberal Arts and Sciences, MALAS, San Diego State University (1998) (Also enrolled in Teaching Credential Program)

B.A. Religious Studies, University of California, San Diego (1995) (With Pre-Med, Buddhism, and Economics coursework at UC Davis and University of London, SOAS


STEPHANIE BOBP

Hi! My my name is Stephanie Bobp and I received my BA from SDSU in Religious Studies department, 2008. I am a first-year MALAS student with interests in globalization, poverty, urban renewal, culture, population issues, religion, equal rights, and so much more! When I am not working or attending school you will find me somewhere abroad. I live to travel and it is my number one passion. I have traveled to thirty-nine different countries and cannot wait to see the rest of the world! In the MALAS program I aim to focus my study analyzing our many worlds’ problems in hopes of finding sustainable solutions!


JENNIFER CARTER


I'm a writer, poet, and German-English translator from the San Francisco Bay Area. My passion for academia stems from the interconnection between my many studies, my inherent love of reading, and culminated in the founding of The California Journal of Women Writers in September 2012. My work has appeared in The New Union, the UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal and is forthcoming in Pomona Valley Review and various other capacities. My research has been presented, or is forthcoming, in a published collection on Jane Austen, and at conferences by CSULA and Ryerson University. I have a BA in English, with an emphasis in Women’s Studies, and an MA in Liberal Arts & Sciences, with emphases in Literature, Ethnic and Women’s Studies, and Media and Popular Culture. I'm truly bicultural and divide my time between my homes in California and Germany. My love affair with words has given me the fuel to publish and submit my work, long after graduating from MALAS. I have the incredible program and its dedicated professors to thank for my continued success.

MARIO CHAVARRIA
Hello there. I received my BA in the fall of 2006, and studied abroad in Europe for a year, one of my best experiences ever. Some of the things that I enjoy doing are reading at the beach, surfing, exploring new places, road trips, and I like meeting people from all over the world. One of the craziest things that I do is to constantly train for 5K, 10K, and full marathons. I love to sing all kinds of music, especially rock and gospel music. One of my favorite books is The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) by Thomas Kuhn, and two topics that I’m very passionate about are globalization and nanotechnology.  I’m currently serving as the Vice President of University Affairs for the Graduate Student Association, and the main reason I was drawn to the MALAS program is because of its flexibility and the wide range opportunities it presents after graduation. And since I didn’t want to be limited to just one area of study, the MALAS program was a perfect fit for me. The topic for my thesis is still developing and taking shape, but it could possibly be “the impact and the relationship of nanotechnology with the environment.” One last note to prospective graduate students: once you join our program, you’ll soon find out that it has the coolest students and most awesome professors at SDSU.  Cheers!


NATALIA CLINGAN
Hey! I'm Natalia Joanna Clingan and I have a B.A. in Comparative Literature, where I focused on British Literature. I studied at Oxford University for a wee bit and could easily pick up and move there at any moment. I hope to journey into the book publishing world after I complete the MALAS program. I was drawn to MALAS because although I'm a nutty Anglophile, I do enjoy dabbling in a wide range of topics. So this is obviously a perfect fit!



INEZ COQUEREAU

As you get to know me, you’ll find that I am full of random facts.  I’ve been known to drop little nuggets of information, like “Lions can’t purr,” casually into conversation.  I am a collector of unusual tidbits of information, but I’m not a hoarder--I share what I learn.  This strength is good for two things. One, I make an excellent party guest. Two, it makes me a perfect fit for MALAS!  I have always been naturally curious and I am so excited to be in a program that values this Rainman-esque quality in me.  Definitely. I did my undergraduate work at California State University, Long Beach, where I received my B.A. in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Bilingual Education.  Today my passion/focus is on sustainability, the creative process, design, alternative economies, the power of women, and much more.  I love group collaborations, making connections, and I have lots-a-ideas.  In my spare time I like to find adventures, which means pushing me out of my comfort zone (locally or on travel).  I train in Muay Thai and I love to hike.  Now, let’s mix it up and see what happens, MALAS!           


VICTOR FABIAN DELGADILLO
Hello MALAS. My name is Victor Fabian Delgadillo and I too am a San Diego native. I studied briefly at Southwestern College where I received an AA in photography. I then went on to study film and cinematography at UNLV where I eventually received a BA. My interests revolve mostly around technology, although I do also enjoy fine dining, classical music, and nature, particularly Baja California. I dabble in graphic and web design as well as video production. I am intrigued by the technological evolution of photography and the influence the digital age has placed upon it. Having said all that I found the multidisciplinary diversity of MALAS to be an ideal match for my interests.


YADIRA DIAZ

Mucho gusto… me llamo Yadira Diaz. I was born and raised in San Diego.  I am very fortunate to have grown and been partially raised en el otro lado, Tijuana.  I obtained my B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis on social problems and I minored in Chicana/o Studies.  I am a proud Xicana who is passionate about being part of a movement that creates social justice.  I am driven to end violence against women, racism, and social inequalities.  I have spent the last six years working and advocating for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I have a special interest in working with the undocumented community because they are my community.  My thesis project focuses on the lives of women that are forced to live on the margins of our society because they are undocumented and living in a relationship where there is intimate partner violence.  They live in fear and stay silent. My goal is to allow their voices and concerns to be heard.

ANNALISA DUARTE

Hi everyone, my name is Annalisa Duarte. Originally from Hayward, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area, I chose to come down to San Diego for undergrad and ended up falling in love. I just received my Bachelor’s in Sociology this May. I was really unsure what master’s programs I wanted to apply to and I’m very thankful that my coach pointed me in the direction of MALAS . The flexibility and wide range of courses I can take in this program is great for me. I currently don’t know what I would like to focus on within this program but I know in time I will figure it out. I am currently a member of the women’s rowing team here at SDSU--this will be my final year competing. I am ready to take on the challenges and adventures this program has to offer just like I accepted the challenges of rowing when I walked on to the team several years ago.

MICHAEL EDMISTON

“The only true voyage… would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees, that each of them is.”

- Marcel Proust     

“So what do you study?” It’s a very common question, but I’ve been trying to come up with a concise answer to it for quite some time now. “Life, the Universe and Everything” seems like a bit of a cop-out as answers go, after all. Another answer is that I am interested in understanding the connections and liminal spaces between areas of knowledge than in one particular field or discipline. Of course, I am ravenously curious about anything and everything, which I am happy to say is par for the course around here! I would also say that I am engaged in a sort of “epistemological archaeology”, digging through the massive mounds of information and knowledge that have been discarded, discounted, or simply ignored by the academic mainstream. Dumpster diving behind and between the Ivory Towers. I’ve spent some time inside those towers, too. I’ve acquired a Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College, with a major in Theater and a minor in Environmental studies, which ought to give you a sense of the range of my interests. I’m still working on a way to connect the two together in an artistically interesting and politically relevant way. I’ve worked a variety of jobs from food service to summer camp counseling, but am currently employed as a G.A. in the Education department. And just before school starts this semester, I’ll be attending Burning Man, an amazing art-explosion, festival, and temporary city constructed in the Black Rock Desert. But enough about me, my fellow linguistically-enabled ape; I want to know about you!
      


RITA ENDERS
Hi, I'm Rita Enders, a returning MALAS student.  I earned my BA in Sociology with a minor in Women's Studies at SDSU.  Living with a passion for travel and academics I found a niche with Semester at Sea, currently having sailed 14 voyages in the past 8 years.  I work as a freelance computer technician and voyage administrator, which allows me to travel the world and ardently practice being a part of one race, the human race.  Look for me at the beginning of the lineup for a "World Passport" when that queue forms. MALAS is providing the opportunity to make my Master's degree dream a reality. The flexible format offers the perfect opportunity to further my interests in the lives of women worldwide … how they reinvent themselves to achieve self-sufficiency and survival for themselves and their families.  My love for cooking, growing anything with roots and good conversation finds me in kitchens, gardens and often unusual educational environments.  By choice I practice and appreciate learning from personal experience and close observation so live without TV or movies.  Real life situations are my preferred reference points so I plan to incorporate these in my MALAS work.  I'm very excited to be back!


KENNY ENG


My name is Kenny Eng and I am a singer/songwriter/musician/nice guy. I use music to inform my understanding of the world, the people and experiences around me, and most importantly, myself. It works the other way around, too. I came to San Diego from the Bay Area after studying music theory and political science at UC Davis to find adventure and my way in life. I've held all sorts of odd jobs from freelance construction to working in an OB-GYN office to what I do now as a web content and social media manager. I am constantly looking out for new and exciting experiences to help broaden my perspective of life and the world, or at least to have an interesting story to tell when I come back home. I have no idea what I want to do with a masters degree from the MALAS program, but I'm up for the challenge.


LETICIA GOMEZ FRANCO
Hello everyone! I was born and raised in Los Angeles (Pico Union).  I received a B.A. from UC Berkeley, where I double majored in Chicana/o Studies and English (class of '04),  I actually started working on my Masters in 2005 as part of the first cohort of the new Chicano Studies graduate program... after a year of being in the program, I decided to take a one year leave to birth other projects...its been 5 years. I have an awesome little boy who will soon be 5 and have also spent the last 5 years working in the border community of San Ysidro as the Director of Arts & Culture for Casa Familiar. I run THE FRONT art gallery (we got named best Community Cultural Space by the Citybeat Best of 2010! ;-0), our new art space, el salon, and am also the organizer and co-mother of the Annual Dia de la Mujer Celebration--now in its 4th year. I've always been fascinated by sexuality and its many manifestations, and so I plan to focus my research on sexuality, visual representations/art, and space. That's pretty much it--I'm a very open minded person, who has created her own identity by taking bits and pieces of what thrills her about everyone else's... I'm a little bit of a lot of things: a xicana xingona, sexual activist, Macondo-residing poeta (moonlighting as an arts director) and am very excited to be joining the MALAS team this year!


CHRISTOPHER GONZALES
‘Hi, hello, how are you? Well I guess I’m doing fine.’ I got my AA in Liberal Arts from Ohlone college in Fremont CA, then transferred to San Diego State, where I got my BA in English literature. Best decision of my life! After graduating I moved back home and promptly realized how much I loved San Diego, SDSU, and learning. Other than being a rock star, education is the only career I’ve ever been interested in, and MALAS gives me the opportunity to explore the broader issues, and ask the tough questions, about politics, the increasing role of government in our lives, and the repercussions of technological development. Though I still haven’t quite given up on the former, as I love all sorts of music and playing guitar. Some other hobbies include classic cars, camping, and traveling. And I will be studying abroad next semester in Estonia and backpacking all over Europe. Cheers! UPDATE: Mr. Gonzales is well on his way to becoming Dr. Gonzales; he is presently in the American Studies doctoral degree program at Charles University, Prague.


MALI HINESLEY

As our globe becomes smaller and our knowledge expands, information constantly intersects and this is why I love the MALAS program. The interdisciplinary freedom allows me to satiate my curiosity through multiple departments, broadening not only my awareness but imagination as well. After receiving my B.A. in English Literature from U.C. Berkeley and living in Mexico for four years, I’m back in my native San Diego to research deconstructing literature from a Buddhist perspective.


ALEXANDRA HUNT 
Hi! I’m Alexandra. I’m happy to be living back home in San Diego after living in Orange County for my undergraduate work at UC Irvine. I majored in Global Cultures, an interdisciplinary program that is structured similarly to MALAS. I’m very happy with the freedom and creativity this type of program provides. For example, this semester I am taking a Geography class on human geography of urban areas and an Education class on curriculum development for urban schools. The content of both classes inform each other and are leading me in the right direction for my thesis. I would like my thesis to address issues of language, power, and bilingual education. I spend most of my time on research and reading, but I’ve always loved sailing and have recently been getting into running.




PATRICE JACKSON

Hey all! My name is Patrice Jackson and I received my BA in Economics in 2013 from SDSU and did not want to leave. I wanted to further my education, but didn't want to limit myself into one topic. The MALAS program was perfect for me--I could still further my education while getting to meet other amazing classmates and expanding my horizon about the way people think. I want to eventually start my own business and I believe in order to do that I need to learn and understand the way we as humans think and view certain things. This can lead to larger conversations that I am eager to learn about and I know that MALAS will certainly teach me!



SOPHIA JACOUB
I grew up in San Diego and began my higher education at SDSU for a B.A. in English, followed by a teaching credential in 2007. I currently teach high school English in El Cajon and love every aspect of my job that doesn’t involve administrative politics, state testing, or budget cuts. I decided to return to State for a MALAS degree because it was the most appealing and eclectic program I could find. A part-time masters program and full time career is definitely challenging, but how else could I avoid a social life? I’m uncertain as to what I want to “focus” on in the program. Right now, I’m just sponging up all that the liberal arts have to offer. When I’m not neck deep in learning and teaching, I dabble in photography and write comedy sketches for my school’s Faculty Follies in which I make a complete fool of myself.


DANIELLE JOHNSON
I grew up in south Orange County and began to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2004. During the first few weeks of class, I realized that I didn’t want to become an elementary school teacher after all, and spent the next two years trying to find my “perfect fit” major. The university approved a new degree in Comparative Ethnic Studies at the end of my sophomore year, and after taking a few of the department’s courses I fell in love with the field. I switched majors and took a leave of absence to work for a year with a college-based nonprofit in China.  Once I returned from China to my studies at Cal Poly, I graduated Magna cum laude with a B.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies and a minor in Spanish. I planned to begin a doctoral program in Afro-American Studies that fall, but after much soul-searching I decided to turn down the fellowship offered to me because of uncertainty over whether my passions truly existed within academia. I considered various other career avenues, including photography, divinity school, and opening a bakery-bookstore. However, I became increasingly aware that my passions were teaching and fighting against issues of social injustice.
 
After a few years of what I call my “quarter-life crisis,” I started working for a local school district with at-risk middle and high school students, many of whom were enrolled in special education programs.
During that time my passions merged: I had the opportunity to work with students of color, support the needs and goals of individuals facing disenfranchisement and discrimination, and teach. I plan to become a special educator and advocate for students of color who are over-represented in special education programs. I always knew I would eventually end up in graduate school, and I joined the MALAS program once I realized that my diverse interests couldn’t and wouldn’t be sufficiently accommodated in a more traditional program. Through MALAS, I am able to pursue my ever-evolving interests in Ethnic, Sex/Gender, Religious, and Disability Studies, and find my own niche within academia. When I’m not reading scholarly works or writing academic papers, I enjoy taking photos of and writing haikus about my miniature schnauzer.


PATRICK JOHNSON
After receiving my BS at Ithaca College in Television-Radio with a minor in Scriptwriting, I moved to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. After having several jobs at talent agencies and on reality television shows, I worked as a researcher on documentaries for Discovery Channel and History. In 2008, I returned to school to get my masters, originally in Television and Film, but ultimately switched to MALAS @ SDSU, where my current research is mainly focused on how media influences culture. UPDATE: Patrick Johnson begins his Ph.D. program in media studies Fall 2014 at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


STELLA KARL

I graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Art History in 2013 and with the MALAS program, I will continue to expand my horizons.Though art is my first love, I am excited to brush up on my writing, knowledge of history, linguistics, politics, business, a language or two, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and anything else I can fit in. Somewhere along the way I discovered that my true passion is learning and though I will never know enough, I will certainly work to know more. For the past five years I have been working for nonprofit arts organizations while pursuing my BA.  I have the great fortune of being able to see live classical music, dance, visual arts, and more right where I make a living. I plan to focus my career and my research on understanding and infecting others with the arts bug that has bitten me.


MARLA LAGUARDIA
Greetings! My name is Marla Laguardia and I graduated from San Diego State University in 2009, receiving a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis in Media Studies and minor in Sociology. I love and enjoy working for the community and hold a strong interest in social justice movements. I’m currently a part of AF3IRM, a transnational women’s movement. I’m also a member of the Organizing Committee of the Filipino-American Arts and Culture Festival, also known as FilAmFest, held in National City annually. The diversity of the MALAS program is giving me a chance to continue exploring the many interests that I have, including race and gender issues and how they are perceived in the mainstream media.




ANDERS LARSSON

Hi Everyone! My name is Anders Larsson, and I'm ecstatic to be returning for my second year of study in the MALAS program this fall. I am currently working on my MA thesis, entitled The LP as Post-WWII American Zeitgeist.  Cultural Studies allows me to explore different interests of mine, including Sound Studies and Complexity Theory. I've enjoyed studying everything from Vampires to Bruce Springsteen to Susan Sontag to Sigmund Freud to Deleuze....and that's just scratching the surface! When I'm not at SDSU I'm usually behind the drum kit, playing for artists like Gary Wilson, Two Wolves, Westside Inflection, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Jim Gibson, and Archie Thompson.


ASHLEY LAZARE
Hi! I was born and raised in San Diego, and in June 2010, I completed my undergraduate work at UCSD where I majored in History with an emphasis in the Middle East.  I like to travel to faraway places, experience other cultures, and eat good food!  I am interested in history, religious studies, gender/sexuality, and all things ancient and Near Eastern, so my planned thesis will attempt to undertake an investigation of some sort of mixture of that.  The MALAS program saved me from studying something restrictive, so to all you present and future graduate students reading this who are looking for a fun program full of variety, come join us!


VICKI LINDEM
Hi, I'm Vicki and I am just starting my journey as an MALAS student this year. I was born and raised in San Diego and attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo for my undergraduate degree. I started in Computer Science and then switched to Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies, a major which gets a "huh?" response from most people. How can you study liberal arts AND engineering? Well you just do. Meanwhile I traveled, worked on a reality TV show, and got to go stormchasing! All of which I never could have done in a traditional major. After graduating I was faced with the prospect of getting a "real job" which I did for a
couple years until I realized that I was living the life of Peter from Office Space. I have always wanted to go to graduate school but my interdisciplinary undergraduate degree along with my array of interests deterred me from doing so. Then one magical day I was scrolling through all the possible graduate programs at SDSU and found MALAS!  I'm not quite sure what I want to focus on but my general interests include documentary film, cultural studies, non-profit organizations, computer science/technology and I'm sure I could go on forever so I'll just stop there. MALAS feels like the perfect fit for me because it doesn't actually require me to fit in anywhere. I'm so excited to start the program!


ILIMA-LEI MACFARLANE

Aloha mai. My name is Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and I am a second year MALAS student. I am originally from the islands of Hawai’i, but flew here to San Diego in 2009 to pursue a “mainland” college education. Although I was miserable at first and enjoyed nothing about Southern California (in fact I hated it and almost moved back home after a year!), I grew to love San Diego and am proud to call it my new home...just don't ask me to go in the water--I'm still a beach snob and miss my Hawaiian waters!

I studied Anthropology here at SDSU for my undergrad, but was unsure if I wanted to pursue it as a graduate student as it has always been a dream of mine to become a teacher. I spent the better half of my senior year applying to the teaching credential program here at State, so you can imagine my disappointment when I didn’t pass the CSET by five points and did not get into the program. However, I suppose it was fate, because in doing so I stumbled upon MALAS (by seeing Bill’s crazy office door!), visited the website, and transferred my application. MALAS has allowed me to take courses that I have always been interested in, but didn’t get a chance to explore in my undergrad, as well as pursue my love of anthropology and indigenous rights issues. I’ve taken the most inspiring, challenging, and eye-opening seminars that truly reflect the interdisciplinary and liberal arts nature of the program. My MALAS seminars have ranged from water sustainability, to homeland security--all of which I have been able to tie back into Native-Hawaiian issues and share with other scholars back home, as well as relate to teaching and education. I am forever thankful for Bill’s dedication and whimsical door décor, and am proud to be a member of the MALAS ‘ohana!



 GUADALUPE MEDINA

Hola me llamo Guadalupe Medina but please call me Lupe. I consider myself a Midwestern girl from Columbus, Ohio, a BUCKEYE of course. And yes, I did attend THE Ohio State University where I received my B.A. in Public Affairs with a minor in Communications. While I love my Buckeyes, I have grown to love SDSU, MALAS in particular and have made a special place for it in my heart.
 
I am Latina, but growing up I had little to no exposure to Latinos outside my family. I was interested in discovering more about who I was as a Latina, as well as giving back, which led me to the L.A.S.E.R. (Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research) program. It was exactly what I needed! It was through that program that I finally began to appreciate and love being Latina, and the reason I applied to the MALAS program.
 
I would have never imagined what was in store for me, more than just an education, but an experience of a life time. Traveling is something I have always wanted to do more of and I had the amazing opportunity to represent MALAS and present my research at two international conferences, one of which took place in JAPAN, another country to check off my bucket list.

My excitement with the program continues this semester as I work closely with different Native American tribes, while teaching Kindergarten Spanish to students in La Jolla. I am loving the diverging experiences, as I close out my last semester with MALAS.


FRANCISCO MIRAMONTES
¿Que onda my fellow MALAS Heads? Hope your journey here has been as amazing as mine. A little about me: first off mi nombre es (my name is) Francisco Antonio Miramontes, El Segundo, or "Cisco" for short. Right out of high school I joined the U.S. Navy as an IT (Information Systems Technician); next came four years service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Through the military I have been able to see the world, one of my many passions in life. I recently graduated from SDSU with a degree in Television, Film, and New Media. I joined MALAS to diversify my intellect, and in hopes of using my degree to become a professor of either/both Film and Chicano Studies, as both subjects fascinate me very much. Other miscellaneous items of note include my love of/indulgence in fine dining and my work as a professional beatboxer/musician; lastly, I have been known to occasionally plank on a random surface if my back permits it. I have many passions in life as does any other living, breathing homo sapien sapien, and am greatly looking forward to MALAS being an amazing opportunity for me, and my fellow colleagues.


OZZIE MONGE

Hey there, I’m Ozzie!  I’m from Los Angeles, but my family is from Southeastern Arizona.  For fun, I play the doumbek, perform with bellydancers and play the Native Flute.  I serve on the Arts Advisory Committee of the Centro Cultural de la Raza, the Council of American Indian Organizations of San Diego County, and the USD Native Alumni Association.  I’m a member of the American Indian Warriors Association and I am also a Gourd Dancer.  I am an honorary member of the San Diego Cherokee Community (they put up with me), and I volunteer at the local elementary as a tutor.  I may be joining Veterans for Peace, if time allows.  I’m an occasional activist, although I dare not lay claim to being a real Activist, since there are so many out there doing far more good than me. I earned my BA in International Relations from the University of San Diego in 1989.  After a brief 23 year hiatus from academia, and a minor case of procrastination, I’ve elected to make my return to academia by joining the infamous and glorious MALAS program!

What have I been doing during my break?  Well, how kind of you to ask! At the beginning of my hiatus, I served as an officer in the United States Navy.  Of course, given the diplomatic nature of my degree, it would naturally follow that I would go to war during Desert Shield/Storm.  After my stint in the Navy, I went on the become a defense contractor, eventually working my way up to VP of Business Development at a local, major defense contractor (which has since been assimilated by an even more major defense contractor).  I spent about 14 years as a “legal” international arms dealer, working mostly with the Aegis Weapon System, but the last 5 years of that time were spent working with (dramatic music) drones.

The great thing about those years was the travel.  That job took me pretty much everywhere in the world the U.S. has an ally (since I was a “legal” arms dealer, I couldn’t go to those “other” places).  Of course, the bad thing about those years was that I was a merchant of death.  A petty one, perhaps, in the grand scheme of things.  Regardless, my earnings came things that kill people.  While I didn’t peddle the things that go “boom,” I did sell the things that tell the things that go “boom” where to go “boom.” (Without going too much into my psyche and the details of my childhood, there has always been an aching within me.  It got louder and more pronounced the longer I worked in the defense industry, and it eventually became a gnawing "I don’t belong here” feeling.  Then, in late 1996, a series of seemingly unrelated events began.  First came the voice of Guillermo Gomez Pena on NPR talking about “Temple of Confessions,” then a chance encounter with an Ndeh (Apache) elder on a flight to DC, then my time as a delegate to the “San Diego Network for Homeland Security” where I witnessed the dirtier side of the defense acquisitions world (working directly with politicians, including congressmen and senators) and finally, the build-up to the Iraq War.  It all lead to me discovering a dusty box in my closet that contained my soul, which I promptly reclaimed.  And that led to me being a bit more vocal about the inner workings of my company, and being a vocal critic of sabre rattling of the Dubya/Cheney administration, which naturally lead to my semi-voluntary departure from being a VP at a Major Defense Contractor.  The Iraq War started a couple months later.

And so I began to walk the earth--of course,you can only do that for so long before becoming a bum. I worked in the Video Games Industry for a bit, but it wasn’t meant to be.  And so, here I am.  I’m done procrastinating.  I’m going to grad school!  I’m in MALAS!  And so it begins.

NATASHA NACE
Hello! First off, let me introduce myself. I am a lover of music, film, and art! I was born and raised here in San Diego and received my BA at SDSU in Television, Film, and New Media. A year or so later after graduating, I had the desire to go back to school. I felt like there was still so much more to accomplish. There were still so many areas that I wanted discover and grow in. In the 2-3 years I’ve been with MALAS, I have uncovered and explored topics on economics, philosophy, ethics, globalization, religion--courses on religion and violence, future technology, poetry, art, and even, the history of rock and roll! It’s an excellent and outstanding interdisciplinary program. I am sad that I will be graduating soon because the classes get more and more interesting each semester. During this journey I am thankful to have had some of the most incredible and influential teachers in all my education; Professor Choi and Professor Jeroen Pinckaers. After reading “Mountains beyond Mountains” and after taking an “Ethics and Globalization” course, I felt compelled to write my thesis on the subject of Poverty. Specifically: ‘Neo-Liberalism and its impact of Poverty.’ It is currently a work in progress and has been quite challenging and much harder than I had anticipated! I have been so lucky as to have worked at several incredible places. Last year I had the opportunity to work at Legend 3D, a company specializing in the newest cutting edge of 3D filmmaking. Before that I was the Site Manager at High Tech High International. I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the most amazing and extraordinary friends. Currently I’ve decided to focus on my thesis and my passion for non-profit work. I support and volunteer for several local non-profits including: USD Joan Kroc institute for Peace & Justice, the International Refugee Committee, and more recently I started an annual toy drive for a children’s orphanage in Tecate, Mexico. Lastly the other love of my life is my 10-year-old son Isaac! Simply put, he is amazing!

SHARON PAYNE
Hi, I'm Sharon Payne, and I've been in the MALAS program for 4 years...the slow and steady option of one class per semester. My area of interest is globalization and issues of poverty, so I'm piecing together a program from all over the university. My interests stem from my global travel experience and my two boys, both adopted as babies from Kazakhstan.  By trade, I am a certified financial planner, specializing in socially responsible investing. This my second masters degree; the first was after my first mid-life crisis (I say with a wink) in 1995 in Cultural and Spirituality from Holy Names University in Oakland.  Mid-life crisis' (plan on a few) are a perfect opportunity to go back to school.  See you on campus!



ALLIE SCHULZ
As a roaming artist and student I have seen much of the beautiful American west. I now work as a technology instructor, but my favorite part about life is the great outdoors. I completed my undergraduate work at Oregon State University where I focused on the study of global social and economic inequalities, environmental sociology, and our modern interactions with technology. With the help of MALAS I hope to continue to creatively express my knowledge while making an impact on some of the world's most pressing social and environmental injustices.



ZACHARY SHULTIS

I graduated from California Lutheran University with a BS in Political Science and a minor in History. After spending a year coaching football at my alma mater, I have been given the opportunity to become a Graduate Assistant for San Diego State Football. Upon hearing that the MALAS program allows individuals the freedom to form a Masters degree that fits their interests, I knew it was perfect for me. While I do not know what challenges this life has in store for me, I am ready to take them head on. There will always be people telling you that you're not good enough. But all that matters is what you think of yourself. Go after our dreams because, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."



CARLOS B. SOLORIO
Hello fellow MALAS compas! My name is Carlos B. Solorio. Fronterizo aka transborder alien! I was born in Tijuana, BC, Mexico and raised in San Diego, CA. I received my BA in TV, Film & Media Studies from CSULA after transferring from SDSU. My interest for the visual arts spawned from my grandfather who collected antique cameras and captured family gatherings with his polaroid cameras. Growing up as the travieso kid from both sides of the border where the wild things are, the arts always brought me closer to finding my center. While at Mission Bay High School, I learned the language of photography and the process of dark room developing. While at SDSU, I took film history and theory classes that inspired my first short film "Think", which was selected to the Best Fest Student Film Festival, motivating my move to Los Angeles, CA for the film experience. The plan was to stay in the mecca of motion pictures after film school, but I knew my odyssey was to return home to my dual world and capture positive images and stories of our modern day US/Mexico border. I've been blessed to work behind the camera in various projects for non-profit organizations, art movements, musical concerts, tv/radio shows, film festivals, documentaries and independent films. I'm excited and ecstatic to embark on the MALAS journey and believe that the jedi powers gained from the program will catapult me to master the next phases of my personal, professional, and educational careers. I like movies, baseball/soccer, traveling, kerouac books, beer, tacos and love raising two beautiful children with my wife. In honor of my father, my ancestors and all the vatos, chucos, socios, mentors, and compas that came before me, Ahi los wacho!  


LUKE SPONSLER


Born in another era, I would have likely been part of a nomadic empire or a cavalier. Alas, in the 21st century the bicycle is my steed which I have ridden over much of North American and Europe. Adventure and travel keeps my spirits high and my mind at ease. I was born in Chicago, but have lived in San Diego almost half my life and currently teach Social Studies for SIATech High School at the San Diego Job Corps site. I served on the SIATech Board of Directors from 2010-2013 and in June 2010 I was awarded the San Diego SIATech Employee of the year. I obtained my Teaching Credential from San Diego State University, and received my bachelor of arts in Anthropology and American Culture Studies from the Washington University in Saint Louis. I am currently working toward the Masters of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences at San Diego State University and have been involved in my community as Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation Board Member and Project Manager.



CALEB RAINEY

Caleb Rainey graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and majored in Women's and Ethnic Studies with a minor in Sociology. His research interests include social justice, gay male literature and politics, sexuality, and environmentalism. He is hoping to teach and do activist work in local communities upon graduation.


THUPTEN TASHI
Hello, My name is Thupten Tashi. I was born to a Tibetan family in India. I did my high school and undergraduate studies in India, and move to the USA in 1998. While in India, I also studied Buddhist Philosophy from a private institute for seven years.  I was in the MALAS program in 2008, and I had to discontinue for a while. I am glad to be studying in the MALAS program again. With the knowledge that I gain from studying in the MALAS program at SDSU, I strongly feel that I will be able to accomplish my deeply felt goal to serve the Tibetan community and to enrich Tibetan culture with a more modern perspective. Since the Tibetans came into exile in India, Tibetan youths are being taught modern education in science, law, economics, and environments in the medium of English. But Tibetan language has not progressed in these numerous subjects. Efforts are being made to translate and teach all subjects in Tibetan language; however, due to a shortage of highly educated people in our society in these fields, so far no standardized books are being published. I have been urged by my fellow brothers and sisters to pursue my study and to engage in such projects which I personally feel that I can definitely undertake.  Unlike other academic fields, the MALAS program at SDSU allows one to see gain knowledge in many areas. I am enjoying this program.

JONATHAN VALDEZ

I’m a San Diego native and after a year from graduating from San Diego State University with a BA in Asian Studies in 2010, I am back in the mix of school once again. I’ve been involved in community organizing for the last five years and that has deeply influenced my drive for learning about issues that affect all communities. My interests lies in Asian and Asian American Studies, Comics Studies, and Ethnic Studies, but I know I’m a dabbler and with the great diversity in these fields and in the MALAS program I’m excited to see what’s around the river bend  and to challenge myself with new things to learn and how to view the world. I joined the MALAS Program because it provided me the space to focus on comic books as academic literature.With Cultural Studies and Media Studies a core focuses of MALAS, I knew that this was a program where I could get the support and guidance as a graduate student with non-traditional interests. I am currently planning to write a thesis revolving around the Asian American as a superhero and exploring both the rhetorical nature artwork and story and how the writer and artist construct superheroes of color as well as how comic book readers receive them. Besides having my nose stuck in a book or comic, I am a community organizer primarily working with the Filipino American community where I currently serve as a mentor in the Kuya Ate Mentorship Program and as a member of the FilAmFest Organizing Committee educating the youth and putting on awesome events for the community. UPDATE: Mr. Valdez begins his 2nd year in the Ph.D. program in American Studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, Fall 2014. 


JENNY WEISENBORN
I’m what you call a “TCK”- a third culture kid. My parents come from two different cultures and I’ve spent my whole life living in various places around the world. I’m truly an international citizen, from both nowhere and everywhere, and I’m thankful that I’ve had an unusual and diverse lifestyle. Since graduating from UCLA, where I focused on biogeography, I’ve continued on the path of adventure, which has included attending foreign universities, years of experience teaching English as a second language abroad, and of course, traveling! The more off the beaten path, the better.
Photography is one of my main hobbies and I enjoy doing exhibitions. I’m also interested in various global issues, such as conservation. Through the flexibility and creativity of the MALAS program, I’m curious about ways I can combine my passions to create fun, meaningful, and inspiring work. I’m looking forward to another new adventure!  


SIOBHAN WHITE
I am excited to pursue a second master's from SDSU in the MALAS program. I recieved a BA from USF Tampa in 2004, and moved out west to complete a MA in Literature from SDSU's English Dept.  After taking a hiatus from graduate study and immersing myself in the time-consuming labor of being an adjunct English professor in SD's local community college districts, I have returned to my own studies.  Between balancing teaching writing and doing my own writing, I enjoy taking road trips, chasing the Kerouacian charm of our national highway system, tasting and collecting excellent examples of America's booming craft beer industry, and wandering the CA coast to contemplate the abyss.  Academically, I'm putting together a study of apocalyptic theory by contemplating late 20th century literature, contemporary philosophy, and psychoanalytic reasoning for repression of memories.  The MALAS program is flexible enough to allow me to pursue this widely interdisciplinary study and eventually receive a degree for it.  The best of both worlds!

RICHARD WHITEHEAD
Born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I began my college career at the University of Georgia, and then finished my undergrad at Washington and Jefferson College with a BA in History and Russian Language--it was during that time that I studied abroad in Eastern Europe. In 1999, I received my Social Studies teaching certification from Penn State University and taught U.S. History, Government, and World Cultures until June 2010.  I love the game of baseball and was able to go to Europe to coach.  I’ve been known to watch a good movie and even a bad movie on occasion. A member of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society, my interests are broad--and when choosing a Masters program, the MALAS program @ SDSU was the perfect fit.  The current focus of my thesis is to look how technology is influencing religion, culture and society.


KELCEY WILSON
Born in Pasadena, California, Kelcey Wilson studied philosophy at Boston College, where he received his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in 1998. Kelcey has had an eclectic work history, including jobs such as motorcycle courier, U.S. Navy Radioman, production manager for a toy company, Production Editor for Harvard Business School’s Business History Review, and, most recently, owner of a coffee shop. Observing the role media played in encouraging the unprovoked 2003 invasion of Iraq, he became interested in the relationship between media and politics, and enrolled in the Mass Communication and Media Studies program at SDSU in 2004, but quickly found the program limiting and transferred into MALAS. Kelcey has spent his time at State developing strategies for improving government, particularly through Internet-based transparency and campaign innovations. He is currently working on his thesis project, which is mainly a multimedia documentary of his glorious if not entirely successful 2008 campaign for President of the United States of America.

JANEAN THURBER YINGLING

I have found that learning does not end just because I have a piece of paper with a degree stamped on it.  Realizing that satisfying my curiosity was much more interesting than working, I have become a perpetual student ever since leaving college (GO, Boise State Broncos!).  I have slowly worked my way down the Pacific coast, first as a psychiatric aid in Seattle, then as a music student and piano teacher in Sacramento, and now as a happy MALAS graduate student in San Diego.

My bachelor’s degree is in psychology.  After a short stint as a graduate student in neuropsychology, I left the field and finally fell madly in love with music (much to my mother’s happiness after paying for years of piano lessons).  I studied musicology for one semester at SDSU but missed the sciences terribly so I switched to the MALAS program. I now have the unique opportunity to pick and choose from the best of SDSU’s humanities and science courses.

My long list of interests includes wanting to know more about human brain function, the workings of the cosmos, animal evolution, and (finally!) how to play Chopin’s “Black Keys” etude.  I tear up when I see a da Vinci painting and sigh at hearing Rachmaninoff.  I want to understand the thoughts of the great thinkers, work towards women’s equality, hone my debating skills, open educators’ eyes to the power of science and rationality, and help the world’s children to go to bed with full stomachs.

I want to develop in my children the curiosity of Richard Feynman, the wonder of Carl Sagan, and the inspiration of Beethoven.  The MALAS program is the only place I can pursue my education MY way so I can feel prepared to pass on this knowledge to the next in line.

Following my great-grandmother’s lead, for every big birthday (the ones that end in “0”) I am taking on a new challenge. For the last one it was a triathlon.  This time it’s a master’s degree.  Will I learn the cello when I’m 80 like she did?  Stay tuned!  Besides learning, I love traveling and throwing a great party! 

MALAS Home Page
the master of arts in liberal arts & sciences at san diego state university
MALAS is the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts & Sciences, an interdisciplinary/cultural studies graduate program in the College of Arts and Letters @ San Diego State University • office mothership: Arts and Letters, 226B • phone: (619) 594.1516 • fax: (619) 594.4998 • mail: 5500 Campanile Drive, mailcode: 6020, San Diego, CA 92182-6020 • Director and Graduate Advisor: Dr. William A. Nericcio • Administrative Coordinator/Guru: Katie Waltman