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Featured MA Alumni Profiles

 Megan BlashMegan Blash (MA 2009) is the Social Science department chair at a local high school, where she is also the curriculum leader and teacher of both AP U.S. Government and Politics, and AP Macroeconomics. “The Political Science MA program was a great fit for me as a working professional. I knew that the faculty would provide rigorous course work which would enhance my teaching and greatly increase my depth of knowledge, and I knew that I would be working with professors that offered support and worked to build a community of learners. I believe that the mentoring I received through this program prepared me for my current position.”

Professional and academic activities of recent MA alumni


Sabrina Van der Linden Gonzalez (MA 2016) will begin the law program at the University of California, Irvine in fall 2016. 

Brian Henderson Barrick (MA 2015) is a Student Services Specialist at East Los Angeles College.  Brian organizes campus workshops on topics of diversity, cultural responsiveness, and student equity.  Additionally, he is working to establish a campus Safe Zone initiative aimed at better serving the needs of undocumented and LGBTQ identified students.

Yasmine Arsala (MA 2015) After serving as a Development and Relations Intern for The Middle East Institute, Arsala has accepted a Sr. Development Coordinator position with JHPIEGO, an international non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.

Melissa Nordall (MA 2015) will enter the law program at the Boalt School of Law at UC Berkeley in fall 2016. Nordall also was accepted to law school programs at the University of Washington, American University in DC, the George Washington University, University of Minnesota, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of San Diego.

Alysse Florez (MA 2014) is working as a Litigation Assistant at a law firm in Century City.

Matthew Highland (MA 2014) recently was hired to be the Communications Director for the State of Iowa’s Medicaid program. Highland states, “Though I had an extensive communications background and experience, I know it was my Master’s degree from Cal State Long Beach that pushed me past the other candidates.”

Sam Juliano (MA 2014) is in the teaching credential program at CSU Fullerton, and is also substitute teaching in Orange County and coaching.

Berny Lazareno (MA 2014) is a PhD student in the Politics Department at U.C. Santa Cruz.  He is part of an international research project funded through the US Dept. of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative that investigates the factors that contribute to individuals becoming or not becoming terrorists. As part of this project, he has coauthored a chapter for an edited forthcoming book. In February, he and his co-authors presented that chapter, entitled “Approving of but Not Choosing Violence: Paths of Nonviolent Radicals,” at the Naval Post Graduate School’s Department of National Security Affairs.  The chapter has also been accepted for presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association in Philadelphia.

Ryan Ashlock (MA 2013) is a financial associate for a private investment company in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas.

Othman (Ozzie) Ramadan (MA 2013) teaches 9th grade English at a local high school.

Donnie Bessom (MA 2012) is an adjunct professor of political science at Long Beach City College, where he teaches American Government. He is also involved in environmental curriculum development.

Brittany Conrad (MA 2011) teaches at Long Beach City College and Pasadena City College, and is the Events Coordinator for Barks of Love Animal Rescue.

Jacob Lenerville (MA 2011) is a social science teacher, and an instructor at Barstow Community College. He is also Adjunct Professor of History/Political Science at Vanguard University of Southern California.

Vahid Niayesh (MA 2011) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine, and a research affiliate with the Center for the Study of Democracy at UCI.

Amy Fernandez (MA 2010) is earning her J.D. this semester at California Western School of Law, and will graduate on the Dean’s List. For her work as a legal intern for the California Innocence Project, Fernandez received the Joe Walsh Award for outstanding performance.

Veronika Zubo (MA 2010) has been working as a research and communications associate in Washington, DC at a media and messaging company dedicated to state and local politics.

Stephanie Crahen (MA 2009) teaches English in Italy for the Cambridge Centre of English. In early 2016, she met with her former mentor, Dr. Mary Caputi, while Dr. Caputi was on leave in Florence.

Dana Randazzo (MA 2009) has been an Executive Assistant for a CA Congressman, as is currently working in public affairs at the UCLA Medical Center.

Alfredo Carlos-Marquez (MA 2008) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine. He is studying comparative political economy. In Fall 2012 he began teaching at CSULB.

Katie Kruger (MA 2008) is a PhD candidate in the Government and Politics Department of University of Maryland. She is studying American politics and public law, with an emphasis on the federal legal bureaucracy and the Supreme Court.

Jacob Larsen (MA 2008) is working as an associate employment law attorney for Perona, Langer, Beck, Serbin, Mendoza and Harrison, APC in Long Beach, CA.

Allison Evans (MA 2006) received her PhD in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Western New Mexico University (WNMU). In 2015, she was named WMNU’s “Professor of the Year” (as determined by students’ votes), and in 2016 she was nominated for WNMU’s “Excellence in Teaching Award” (which is awarded by a faculty committee).

Laurie Houske (MA 2006) teaches political science at El Camino Community College. In spring 2016, she mentored current POSC MA student Joshua Casper in a “college teaching practicum.”

Tracey Somerville (MA 2005) taught liberal studies courses at CSULB, and political science courses at several community colleges in Southern California until 2012. She is now working in the private sector doing business development for an international professional services firm.

Ali Taghavi (MA 1997) is the Director of Communications at Pepperdine University. He also has worked in public relations for the University of California and the UCLA Health System.

We welcome news from our MA alumni! Please email and let us know how you are doing.