Class Notes


Share your professional or personal news with former classmates and friends! Submit class notes at alumni@pacificoaks.edu.

1977 | Ann Stark McKusick (M.A. HD) of Pasadena, Calif., is the owner/consultant of Giving Ventures, specializing in philanthropy and development for individuals, families, and nonprofits and is also a partner in a new organization, Women Doing Well.

1970s-80s | Mary Ann Payne (NG) of Ontario, Calif., saw her book Grant Writing DeMYSTiFied published and used by DeVry Institute in a Contemporary Issues in U.S. Education class. Because of her experiences at Pacific Oaks, the book is full of activities that encourage people to “learn by doing.”

1982 | Judy Bordin (M.A. HD) of Chico, Calif., earned a Ph.D. at Fielding Institute and became a professor in child development at California State University, Chico, where she is the director of faculty affairs in the Provost’s Office. Judy has taught the Pacific Oaks thesis development course for the Northern California cohorts and writes, “The values of inclusion, advocacy, and diversity have stayed with me throughout my professional life.”

1984 | Mark Smith (B.A. HD) of Wailuku, Hawaii, works as a public elementary school teacher and plans to retire soon. Pacific Oaks prepared him well for the modern classroom and offered a wide range of philosophy and values that have guided him through 28 years in American public schools.

1990 | Linda Smith Kimura (M.A. HD) of Woodland, Calif., teaches and consults with infant, toddler, and early childhood educators through her companies, Babies Can’t Wait and Infant Toddler Specialist Group. “When I mention Pacific Oaks, I always get acknowledgements of what a fine institution it is—either folks attended, know others who did, want to attend, know its reputation, or know its publications,” she writes.

1992 | Denise Michaels (M.A. HD) teaches psychology at Cascadia Community College in Bothell, Washington. She saw five poems published in Broken Circles: A Gathering of Poems for Hunger to promote contributions to food banks.

2000 | Louella Christy Komuves (M.A. HD) of Evansville, Ind., published an autobiography called Silent Sagas: Unsung Sorrows—Heterosexual Wife, Homosexual Husband. She has taught early childhood education at Ivy Tech Community College both online and in the classroom.

Stephanie Rottmayer (M.A. HD) of Columbus, Ohio, is the director of the School for Young Children and credits Pacific Oaks with enriching her teaching and abilities to direct her program. “I know that my work at Pacific Oaks gave me the knowledge and confidence to step beyond the classroom to advocate for young children,” she writes.

Efrat Mazin (M.A. MFT) completed a Psy.D. in clinical psychology with a forensic concentration in 2005 from Phillips Graduate Institute and became a licensed clinical psychologist in September. Efrat currently works at Coalinga State Hospital.

2002 | Teresa Valenzuela (M.A. HD) of Los Angeles, is the senior director for Health Sciences Alumni Outreach at UCLA after working in student affairs and alumni relations for UCLA and earning a certificate in print journalism from UCLA Extension. “None of these opportunities could have happened without the education I received at Pacific Oaks. I was taught to reach for more, go forth and keep going,” she writes.

Karen Merchant-Yates (M.A. HD) of Los Angeles has taught art in early childhood and elementary sites in Idaho and California, and worked in senior centers, children’s hospitals, and violence intervention programs with children at risk, using art media to help students express their feelings and imaginations.

2005 | Joanne Diaz-Koegl (M.A. MFT) is the aftercare producer on the Dr. Drew Lifechangers show. She also works as an adjunct professor in the MFT department at Pacific Oaks.

2007 | Carol Archambeault (M.A. HD) of Pasadena, Calif., is using inspiration from her master’s thesis, Family Meals: A Multi-Generational Perspective on the Developmental Impact of the Family Meal Ritual to write a book about “sharing meals as social activism, and reclaiming balance and connection in our fragmented lifestyles.”

Julie Mossad (B.A. HD) of Chesapeake, Va., is earning her M.A. in Church Doctrine and History from Regent University.

2008 | Laura Fierro writes that she, Andrew Kami, and Adrianne Moore (M.A. MFT) are all now Ph.D. candidates in clinical psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

2009 | Natasha Morisawa (M.A. MFT) of Alhambra, Calif., is working toward her marriage and family therapy license. She works at Pasadena Mental Health Center with other MFT graduates Joanna McNeil ’09, Gordon Sheldall ’08, and Tere Montalvo ’11.

Jeremy Tang (M.A. HD, TCred) of Los Angeles received a Special Education authorization in Autism Spectrum Disorder at Cal State Northridge last spring. This fall, he began his seventh year in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and teaches autism students at 4th Street Elementary School.

Degree Abbreviations: HD - Human Development | MFT - Marital and Family Counseling | TCred - Teacher Education Credential | FR - Friend