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Student and Alumni Highlights


Kimberly Jenney (formerly McKenzie; History BA, 2012; Credential, 2015) was among four coastal North County high school teachers honored in March 2019 at the 23rd Annual Crystal Apple Awards ceremony. Ms. Jenney has taught social sciences for four years at Oceanside High School.

 Kimberly Jenney


History major and senior Lynda Vernia won the undergraduate prize in the 2018 CSUSM Grand Slam with her paper, "Race, Riot, and Recovery:  Identifying Motive and Methods of Response to the Violence of the 1863 New York City Draft Riots." Congratulations to Lynda on this outstanding achievement!

History MA student Blanca Drapeau has been hired to coordinate events and programming at the Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park.

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park


2018 History Department Outstanding Alumni Award

The History Department has recognized Candace Van Dall with the 2018 Outstanding History Department Alumni Award.

Candace, who earned her CSUSM degree in History (1995), has been a CSUSM employee from the very beginning of the institution. Having begun her career at San Diego State University in 1976, she is now retiring with 30 years of CSU experience. She certainly has a unique perspective on the university, and its history, from her position in the office of Registration and Records.  In the early years, when the university did not yet have academic advisors, Candace often assumed that role.  As a student, Candace focused her attention as undergraduate on women and higher education.  After finishing her degree at CSUSM, she earned a Masters of Education from SDSU.   Over the years, Candace has been a active supporter of the History Department and its activities, and she is a donor to the university.  The faculty of the History Department congratulates Candace upon her retirement and commends her as a dedicated and exemplary student, colleague, and community member.

history faculty

Dr. Alyssa Sepinwall, Dr. Jill Watts, Candace Van Dall, and Dr. Jeff Charles.

Photo: M. Henderson.


Chase and Chad Spear

Congratulations to twin brothers Chase Spear (left) and Chad Spear (right).

Photo: Emilee Ramirez

2018 CSUSM Library Award for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

Chase Spear’s paper, “Oriental Masquerade: The Cultural Impact of Japanese Kimonos in America,” won the 2018 CSUSM Library Award for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. Chase was nominated by Dr. Zhiwei Xiao, who relates that the paper, a case study of kimonos' growing popularity in America, is well documented and supported by data collected from extensive research. The central argument is that just as Western culture has been influencing non-Western countries, Asian culture is penetrating into American society as well. Taking issue with “cultural imperialism,” Chase points to the two-way nature of transnational cultural flow. The paper demonstrates his ability to grasp abstract conceptual issues, superior skills in research and judiciousness in using his sources.

Chad Spear presented his paper "Global Otaku: The Global Phenomenon of Anime and its Attack on Cultural Imperialism" at the CSUSM Humanities and Arts Graduate Student Conference, "Civil Discourse: The Journey So Far" on April 21, 2018. The acceptance of a paper by an undergraduate at a graduate student conference demonstrates a high level of achievement in historical research and writing.


Alumni Updates

Zane Cooper (M.A. in History 2016), currently in the Ph.D program at the University of Pennsylvania  Annenberg School for Communication, has completed his MA degree.

Tribute to Wally Taibleson

Gabriel Becerra (BA, 2014) works full-time as the site manager of a behavioral health clinic in Escondido and is currently enrolled in the CSUSM MSW program. He is enjoying his path towards becoming a licensed clinical social worker, and expects to graduate in the summer of 2019.

2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from the CSUSM Department of History

Sean Murphy received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from the CSUSM Department of History. Sean graduated cum laude in December 2007 with a B.A. in History. He has worked with a number of non-profit organizations, including a tour in the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan. He currently works as a corporate and business recruiter for LinkedIn, and now serves on the Board of Directors of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of New York City. The department found that Sean embodies our highest values of sustained civic engagement.  He is a wonderful model for our new graduates and a worthy recipient of the2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.


Sean Murphy and Dr. Nava

Juan Duran

Juan Duran recieves the 2018 Frederick Douglas Global Fellowship

2018 Frederick Douglas Global Fellowship

History major Juan Duran has been selected as one of ten students nationwide to receive the 2018 Frederick Douglas Global Fellowship. The Frederick Douglass Global Fellows were nominated by their college presidents and selected from a large pool of applicants in a national competition. These fellows are meritorious individuals who demonstrate high academic achievement, possess exemplary communication skills, display the hallmarks of self-determination, exhibit characteristics of bold leadership, and have a history of service to others. This prestigious award is a full scholarship for a unique study abroad experience, to attend the 2018 CIEE Summer Open Campus program in Cape Town, South Africa.


Alumni Updates

  • Andrianna Martinez (CSUSM History BA, 2011) accepted a position at the UC San Diego Institute of Arts and Humanities department as an academic advisor/program coordinator. She will oversee some seven programs (Jewish Studies, Middle East Studies, European Studies, Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, German Studies, Italian Studies, and Classical Studies) and work with the faculty program directors on co-curricular programs.
  • Adam Purvis (B.A 2015) has been accepted to the American University and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
  • Doris Morgan (M.A. 2016) was accepted into the Ph.D program at UNLV.

  • Katie Gressit-Diaz (M.A. 2017) was accepted into the Ph.D program at Rutgers.

  • Emily Hammer (M.A. 2015) was accepted into the Ph.D program at UCSD.

  • Patty Manley (M.A.  2011) was hired as a tenure-track professor at Miramar College.

  • David Howes (B.A. 2017) was accepted into the MA program at Fordham University.

  • Nichol Roe (M.A. 2016) has been hired as the Associate Dean of workforce Development an Extended Studies at Palomar College 

Article: The Importance of Looking at Rocks

Tony Acevedo (BA, CSUSM, 2004; MA, SDSU, 2007) has published an article in the Community Colleges Humanities Review: "The Importance of Looking at Rocks." Tony was recognized by the CSUSM History Department as the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus.

Tony Acevedo
Journal of San Diego History

The Journal of San Diego History: Alumni & Faculty Features

Charla Wilson (MA 2016) has published in the Journal of San Diego History.

Read Charla's article 

Doris Morgan (MA 2016) has published a book review in  Journal of San Diego History. 

Read Doris' review 


Alumni Exhibit: Rockin' the Political Boat: Women of the Second Wave

CSUSM History grad Julia Friedman is the current Collections Manager at the Women's Museum of California.

She has curated the current WMC exhibit titled "Rockin' the Political Boat: Women of the Second Wave." It will be on display from September 2 to October 30 

Check out: Making Waves 

Julia Friedman
Mayela Caro

Alumni Awarded Smithsonian Minority Awards Program

Mayela Caro (M.A. in History 2015) was awarded the prestigious Smithsonian Minority Awards Program-Visiting Student Internship. As part of the 10-week internship at the National Museum of American History, Mayela is helping to plan the national museum and research center’s Hispanic Heritage Month Festival that will be held September 17. Mayela is in the Ph.D program in History at UC Riverside, and her dissertation research focuses on the representations of gender and ethnicities in film, media, popular culture, print culture, and material culture.


Alumni Book Review

Doris Morgan (M.A. In History, 2016) had a book review published in The Acentos Review, a quarterly literary and arts journal that promotes and publishes LatinX work. She reviewed Rosario Tijeras by Jorge Franco. She recently completed her M.A. Project, “Crime, Kids, and a Panic on the Border."

Student Update


Fawad Alizada is set graduate with a BA in History. He was accepted to the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies for an M.A in Middle Eastern history. He was also accepted into London School of Economics M.A. Program in the history of international relations.

He will attending LSE and will focus his thesis on a transitional history of terrorism of Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda and ISIS.    

Fawad Alizada
Zane Cooper

Alumni Update: "Raw Data" Thesis


Zane Cooper (M.A. in History 2016) has been accepted to the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania with full funding.

His thesis, "Raw Data: The Geopolitical History of Hard Drive Technology, 1978-2016", concerns the material and infrastructural history of digital storage, focusing specifically on the mining, processing, and acquisition of rare earth magnets. He plans to continue this work at UPenn and expand it into a dissertation. He presented his research at the History of Science Society Annual Conference in November.


Alumni Update: Chicano Studies Graduate Program

Laura Padilla (B.A. History; Minor in Ethnic Studies, 2014) is completing her first year of the Chicana and Chicano Studies Graduate Program at SDSU.

Her thesis will consider immigration reform discourse from the 2006 marches with regards to the family as a mode of reproducing heteronormativity which isolates and excludes non-normative individuals/families that identify as LGBT or Queer.

Laura Padilla
Sarah Wolk FitzGerald

Alumni Update: Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Curator

Sarah Wolk FitzGerald, a Ph.D. candidate and CSUSM history department alumna ('12), will be joining the team at the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site as their new Curator.

The Rancho, located in Long Beach, is a public museum housed in a Monterey-style adobe built in 1844. The museum's collections and programs reflect the Native, Spanish, Mexican, and American history of the site and region. The site also includes historic gardens, archives, and a research library. The Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site offers tours, public programs, and other events on a regular basis 

Visit: for more information.


Alumni Book Review

CSUSM History M.A. Student Chelsea Snover had a book review published: Snover, Chelsea. Review of Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and Documents, by Vincent Phillip Muñoz. Western Legal History: The Journal of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society 27, no. 2 (Summer/Fall 2014): 232-234. The working title of Chelsea’s thesis project is "All Are Welcome: The New Thought Movement in San Diego, 1900-1930."

Alumni Update

Jason Halub (History, 2004, magna cum laude), Major, U.S. Army, has completed two years at West Point as Instructor of International History and International Division Executive Officer. He will be attending Peking University as a senior visiting student in their History Department. The Department of History recognized Jason as a Distinguished Alumni in 2009.