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Alumni Spotlight and Mentorship Network

Erika Kelley smiles in front of artwork featuring a cactus
Erika Kelley

Erika Kelley (BA '22) works toward MA at Johns Hopkins, and gains experience at the RAFFMA

Erika Kelley graduated from California State University, San Bernardino in the spring of 2022 with her Bachelor of Arts in Public History, a minor in Anthropology, and certificates in Egyptology and Museum Studies.  During her time at CSUSB, Erika contributed as an author to the History Department's award-winning student journal, History in the Making (link), including her University Honors Thesis "Coping with Trauma: Evidence that Suggests the Ancient Egyptians used Transpersonal Psychology to Cope with Birth-Related Trauma". She is obtaining her Master of Arts in Cultural Heritage Management through John Hopkins University. Erika currently works at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art where she works as the visitor services and administrative support coordinator, museum educator, and docent supervisor. After obtaining her Masters, Erika hopes to continue her work in museums, specifically working with collections and researching provenance and repatriation. 

Cecelia Smith
Cecelia Smith

Cecelia Smith (BA '13, MA '22) worked as 911 operator, History faculty, and now in SB County Public Defender's Office

Cecelia Smith received her BA in History in 2013 and her MA in History in 2022, both from CSUSB. Smith was born and raised in Los Angeles County and attended Howard University before returning to San Bernardino County as an adult and resuming her pursuit for higher education at Chaffey College and California State University, San Bernardino. She retired from her position as a 911 police operator/dispatcher for the city of Los Angeles in 2017, with over thirty-five years of service. Smith is currently an office assistant in the Public Defender's Office of San Bernardino County working with veterans who have been incarcerated. She has also taught as an adjunct professor at La Sierra University in Riverside. Her MA thesis at CSUSB was "Causal and Contributing Factors in Lynching Women," advised by Dr. Marc Robinson.

Fred R. DeLeon, smiling at camera, red background and Japanese writing on wall
Fred R. DeLeon

Fred DeLeon (MA '22) works as Contract Analyst for CA High Speed Rail Authority

Fred R. DeLeon received his BA from CSULB, his JD from Whittier College School of Law, and completed his Master of Arts in History at CSUSB in 2022. His thesis, advised by Dr. Cary Barber was "Mashiah: Messianism in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature of the Second Temple Period." De Leon began his career as a Deputy Labor Commissioner with the State of California's Labor Commissioner's Office enforcing prevailing wage law.  DeLeon currently works as a Contract Analyst in the Legal Section of the CA High Speed Rail Authority with the State of California. DeLeon is considering a return to his studies in a doctoral program. Although contract work can be dry compared to history scholarship, he notes that it is nice to be involved in a small way with the first in the nation high speed bullet train. 

Sarah M. West

Sarah West (MA '22) pursues PhD at Mississippi State examining gender and class in the Civil War and Reconstruction eras

Sarah graduated from the University of California, Riverside, with her bachelor of arts in history in the fall of 2020. In 2020, Sarah enrolled in the Master of Arts in History program at California State University, San Bernardino, where she earned her MA in the summer of 2022. Her MA thesis, “The ‘Honorable’ Woman: Gender, Honor, and Privilege in the Civil War South,” advised by Dr. Ryan Keating, examines the concept of Southern honor and its application to women during the Civil War. During her internship with the University of Southern Mississippi, Sarah furthered her research on Civil War-era women in the South by working with The Civil War & Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi Project (CWRGM), digitizing, transcribing, and annotating documents from Mississippi’s governors’ offices and making them freely available online.  Sarah currently serves as the CWRGM project's Senior Assistant Editor of the Metadata team while she is enrolled in a PhD program at Mississippi State University where she is excited to continue her work under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural, with whom she hopes to further explore gender and class in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

Hannah Knight, brown hair, gray sweater, smiles at the camera
Hannah Knight

Hannah Knight (BA '14, MA '22) inspires and empowers students of Rialto High School, and returns to advise CSUSB History students

Hannah Knight graduated with a BA in History from CSUSB in 2014 and proceeded to earn her teaching credential through CSUSB’s Credentialing Program in 2016. She started her current position at Rialto High School first teaching U.S. History. Since then she has gone on to teach World History, AP World History and AVID 11.  In 2020, Hannah returned to CSUSB to earn her MA in History, graduating in 2022. She has published her work in the award-winning student journal, History in the Making, including "Manchus: A Horse of a Different Color" (2015), and "Barbara Johns: A Lasting Legacy in National Statuary" (2021). She remains an active participant in the History Program at CSUSB through the Future Teacher’s Panels. Throughout her years of teaching, Hannah’s goal has not only been to address all perspectives of history but to instill the skills students will need to be successful beyond the walls of high school.

Matt Patino, short-sleeved blue shirt, standing in front of Pfau library
George "Matt" Patino

George "Matt" Patino (MA '23) returns to teach at Crafton Hills College, and gives back to CSUSB through the Conversations on Race and Policing

George "Matt" Patino (MA '23) currently is teaching as an Adjunct Instructor at Crafton Hills College, where he began his higher education journey. He is teaching dual-enrollment classes at two local high schools (11th and 12th graders) and an on-campus class this spring. He continues to research and write about history, and he has served as a chief editor and contributing author on the CSUSB History Department's award-winning student journal, History in the Making (link), contributing articles on the lives of David McCullough and Betty White. Mr. Patino continues to serve on the organizing team of the ongoing CSUSB Conversations on Race & Policing (link), which he considers to be an informative experience that aligns with his experience in law enforcement and his academic expertise, evident in his MA thesis, "Full Court Press: The Influence of Midnight Basketball, Talk Radio, and Racial Coding on the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994" (link), advised by Dr. Marc Robinson.

Celeste Nunez in a pumpkin patch

Celeste Nunez (BA '20, MA '22), CSUSB instructor with published work in departmental award-winning journal

Celeste Nunez is currently teaching at CSUSB for the Ethnic Studies and Social Science departments in addition to the Online CEGE Criminal Justice Program. She is also currently applying to Ph.D. Programs, after completing her Bachelor's (2020) and Master's of Arts (2022) Degrees in the CSUSB History Department. Ms. Nunez served as an editor and author on multiple issues of the CSUSB History Department's award-winning student journal, History in the Making (link), with contributions including work on topics ranging from FDR's "fireside chats" in "Discovering a Purpose in a Listening Democracy: The People's Voice in 1930s-40s America," and the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in "The Great Dissenter."

Kristina Cardinale

Kristina Cardinale (BA '20, MA '22), History Doctoral Student (UC Riverside) and Lecturer

Kristina Cardinale is a Ph.D. student at the University of California Riverside where she studies the American West with an emphasis on Public History. Her research is heavily focused on the intersections of sex, race, and citizenship within the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Her CSUSB History Master's thesis (2022) centered on the California Women's Suffrage Movement, a project she aims to expand in her dissertation. She is a lecturer at California State University, San Bernardino where she teaches social science, U.S. History, and World History. Her previous experience in the field includes her time as section editor for History in the Making (award-winning CSUSB student academic journal) along with museum and archive management. She is currently working on a research project with Dr. Clifford Trafzer on indigenous boarding schools in the Pacific Northwest.

Jose Castro in front of the Homestead Museum
Jose Castro

Jose Castro (MA '22), Docent at the Homestead Museum, and Scholar of Progressive Catholicism

Jose Castro (MA '22) is completing a second MA in Chicano Studies at CSU Northridge, and has been accepted in the UCLA doctoral program in Chicana/o Studies. He is also doing historical research on progressive Catholicism and its influence on the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles. In winter 2023, he will publish an article in the Catholic Historian JournaI and also hopes to publish another article next year in the Southern California Quarterly. He works as part-time docent in the Homestead Museum in City of Industry (link), which he reviewed (link) for the CSUSB student journal, History in the Making (link). His related work on Mary Julia Workman (link) was also published in the journal.

Thomas Donovan in front of his school in Gisors, France

Thomas Donovan (MA '23) English Teacher in Northern France

"Currently I am assisting in the instruction of English as a second language at a public lycée in Gisors, France as a part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France. After a year or two of teaching, I intend on applying to history PhD programs in both the United States and Europe. Until then, I am taking the opportunity to gain some perspicacity of teaching, become cognizant of how history is taught in France, and take pleasure in speaking and listening to the French language." Following his undergraduate work at UCLA, Thomas Donovan (MA '23) joined the CSUSB MA program and conducted research in several languages in his work on a rich historiography of the Taiping Rebellion for his MA thesis, "Interpreting the Taiping Rebellion."

Image of Clifford Armstrong

Clifford Armstrong III, First Chief Equity Officer, Anchorage

Clifford graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from CSUSB in 2011. From 2016 - 2021, he worked for the City of Tacoma, Washington in their Community & Economic Development Department. Clifford’s work has focused on increasing opportunities for two specific groups: Minority & Women-Owned Businesses (MWBEs []) as well as local employees on publicly funded construction projects.  In April, 2021, he was appointed Anchorage's first chief equity officer.  In this role, he is responsible for "developing, supporting, and implementing the municipality's equity agenda."  

In his previous role at the City of Tacoma, Clifford wrote three policies for the city that have been adopted by its City Council. The most important policy was the Equity in Contracting program. This made the City of Tacoma the first city in WA state to have mandatory utilization of MWBEs on City projects where data shows they have been historically underutilized. He credits his final paper at CSUSB on the political economy of American companies during WWII with thinking about how laws and their various levels of implementation impact the resource distribution among different populations. “Without that understanding, it would have been impossible to think about how to write a policy that gets right to the legal edge of affirmative action and ensuring it can be meaningfully implemented in a transparent fashion irrespective of the personal beliefs of the administrators of the program.”

Dr. Gutierrez-Romine

CSUSB History Alum, Dr. Alicia Gutierrez-Romine Publishes Book 

CSUSB History Alum, Dr. Alicia Gutierrez-Romine, currently Assistant Professor at La Sierra University, recently published her book with University of Nebraska Press, From Back Alley to the Border: Criminal Abortion in California, 1920-1969.  

In From Back Alley to the Border, Alicia Gutierrez-Romine examines the history of criminal abortion in California and the role abortion providers played in exposing and exploiting the faults in California’s anti-abortion statute throughout the twentieth century. Focused on the women who used this underground network and the physicians who facilitated it, Gutierrez-Romine describes the operation of abortion providers from the 1920s through the 1960s, including regular physicians as well as women and African American abortionists, and the investigations and trials that surrounded them. During the 1930s the Pacific Coast Abortion Ring, a large, coast-wide, and comparatively safe organized abortion syndicate, became the target of law enforcement agencies, forcing abortions across the border into Mexico and ushering in an era of Tijuana “abortion tourism” in the early 1950s. The movement south of the border ultimately compelled the California Supreme Court to rule its abortion statute “void for vagueness” in People v. Belous in 1969—four years before Roe v. Wade. Gutierrez-Romine presents the first book focused on abortion on the West Coast and the border between the United States and Mexico and provides a new approach to studying how providers of illegal abortions and their female clients navigated this underground network.

From Back Alley Cover

To hear about the book, she attended the Western History Association annual meeting and was interviewed about her research about abortion in California by CSPAN.  See Interview

Klein smiles at the camera in front of green bush

Joseph M. Klein, from Historical Analysis to Data Analytics

Joseph M. Klein graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 2017. He is currently a Ph.D. student of International Politics and Computational Analytics at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. He is a published author in Springer International on the subjects of waste recycling and computational simulation. Joseph is currently studying how simulated data can help policy-makers and business leaders better understand their surrounding circumstances, and the complex interplay between people, institutions, and their environment. In addition to teaching elementary students in San Bernardino City, he is currently developing a network simulation to investigate changes to shipping networks emerging from the melting Arctic ice.

To Joseph, data analytics and statistics are natural extensions of historical analysis. A historian gathers primary sources, understands the context, and looks for patterns. Similarly, a data scientist gathers data, contextualizes the data, and measures the patterns mathematically. Thus, his time spent in the CSUSB History Program has instilled in him the commitment to analyze evidence dispassionately and to approach a problem within its full context. In this sense, the study of history has provided the invaluable skillsets and mentality that have shaped Joseph’s academic and professional pursuits in data-heavy fields.

Rocio Gomez

Rocio Gomez is an Interpretive Park Ranger for the National Park Service 

Rocio Gomez graduated from CSUSB in 2016 with a BA in History. During her time at CSUSB she served as vice president (2014-2015) and president (2015-2016) of the history department's History Club and Phi Alpha Theta chapter. She and her cohorts organized several events on campus, including the award-winning Chican@ History Lecture Series. After graduating she joined the Latino Heritage Internship Program (an initiative of the Hispanic Access Foundation) and interned for one year at Manzanar National Historic Site. During this time she also collaborated with César E. Chávez National Monument and helped them develop the site's oral history program. Rocio has also guest lectured at CSUSB, presenting her research from Manzanar with the talk 'Allegiance Beyond Confinement: The Ralph Lazo Story.' She is currently working as an interpretive park ranger for the National Park Service and working towards applying for a Ph. D. public history. "My experience at CSUSB provided every opportunity that helped guide me to where I am today," she states, 'I'm very thankful for the continued support from the faculty that mentored me as an undergraduate.' Rocio has also been published in CSUSB's History in the Making journal in their 2017 and 2018 issues (Vol. 10 and Vol. 11).

Kate Mook, Wildland Firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management

Kate Mook graduated from CSUSB with a BA in Public and Oral History in 2017 and continued on to CSUSB's graduate Interdisciplinary MA program, graduating with an MA in Public History and American Indian Studies in Spring, 2020. During her time at CSUSB, she worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service in visitor services and education. While working in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Yosemite National Park, she utilized her background in history, specifically American Indian's practice of using fire on the ecosystem, to research fire ecology and prescribed fire history for various government education programs. This experience led to her current career as a wildland firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management where she works on a type 3 and a type 6 fire engine in the eastern Sierra Nevadas. "The history department at CSUSB gave me the skills to pursue multiple career paths and enabled me to combine my passion for American Indian history and the outdoors," she states. 

Perez stands on a mountain top

Rafael Perez Shares His Passion for History with Students in Alvord

Alum, Rafael Perez, graduated from CSUSB in 2016 after completing a BA in Teaching History and an Education Credential from the College of Education.  He has been teaching in Alvord since 2016 and is currently serving at Norte Vista High School.  He has taught Economics, World History, and US History, while also coaching cross country and track.  He has greatly enjoyed his time sharing his passion with students that come in unmotivated to learn about the past.  'I have made it a goal of mine to show students a diverse look at history that reflects their various backgrounds in order to empower them with the subject' he states.  Rafael also had a paper published in our History in the Making journal in our 2016 issue (Vol 9).

Slider stands in the snow in front of background building

Renee Slider, Cultural Resource Specialist Reflects on her CSUSB Education

CSUSB Alum graduated from CSUSB in 2012 and went on to earn her MA degree from the University of Wyoming in 2015.  After she graduated, she landed her dream job as curator of the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site for Wyoming State Parks.  Since she was hired, she has worked on a number of projects, including acquiring a temporary exhibit from SITES about the Bracero Program.  She also implemented a chromebook program for school tours and completed a number of updates to the tours and information packets.  She is currently in the process of getting her NAI certification and she is in the Certified Public Manager Program.  'CSUSB History provided a great foundation for me to be successful,' Renee commented, 'I appreciate all that was done for me.'   For more information about the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historica Site, see prison 

Gutierrez-Romine lectures on stage

Dr. Alicia Gutierrez-Romine Speaks at CSUSB at Mellon Mays Fellowship Celebration

Dr. Alicia Gutierrez-Romine, CSUSB alum was the guest speaker at the Meet the Fellows reception on November 27th, 2018 to honor the winners of this year's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.  Dr. Gutierrez-Romine completed her BA in History at CSUSB in 2010, and completed a PhD at the University of Southern California in 2016.  She is now is an Assistant Professor at La Sierra University. Her forthcoming manuscript, From Back Alley to the Border: Criminal Abortion in California, 1920-1969 (University of Nebraska Press) traces the history of a medical procedure from the proverbial 'back alley' to the U.S.-Mexico border. She spoke on the importance of 'Creating an Engaging and Meaningful Scholarly Community for Your Success.'  

Q& A with Lauren Kirschke of Great Oak Press

Interim director and editor for Great Oak Press, and CSUSB alum, Lauren Kirschke discusses her vision for the press in a recent interview with the San Diego Union Tribune.  She outlines her dedication to Californian Native American history.  She discuses how her education and involvement in CSUSB's History in the Making journal led her to this appointment.  Incidently, one of the first books published by the press, which focuses on California Indian history, cultures, and langues, is one of CSUSB's adjunct faculty members, Dr. Michelle M. Lorimer's Resurrecting the Past: The California Mission Myth (2016).Click here for the San Diego Union Tribune article.

Jauss plays guitar, blue shirt
George Jauss

George Jauss Appointed Museum Educator at National Association of Music Merchants 

CSUSB History alum, George Jauss was appointed museum educator for NAMM in July, 2018.  The NAMM foundation promotes active participation in music and has a division of of the Museum of Making Music, which 'explores the unique accomplishments and lasting impact of the music products industry through permanent and special exhibitions, concerns and educational programs.' The museum aims to promote a world where every child has the opportunity to experience music.  For further information, see museum.  George is also a musician and has recently released an album entitled Front Porch Sessions.