Alumni News

If you’re one of our alumni, we’d love to hear from you! Please let us know what you are doing now.

Kathleen O'Neal Gear (Religious Studies 1977)
Kathleen is a best-selling author and award-winning archaeologist who has authored 10 novels herself and co-authored another 37 with her husband, W. Michael Gear. Their "People Books" series of historical novels imagine the lives of the First North Americans in the American West. Kathleen also worked for the United States Department of the Interior as the Wyoming State Historian, and later as the Archaeologist for Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska. She has twice been the recipient of the federal government's "Special Achievement Award" for outstanding management of our nation's cultural heritage. She and Michael currently operate an anthropological research company called Wind River Archaeological Consultants. Kathleen received her B.A. in Religious Studies from California State University in Bakersfield, and her M.A., summa cum laude, from California State University in Chico. She conducted Ph.D. studies at the University of California in Los Angeles and did post-graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Kathleen was inducted into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015. She and Michael live on a buffalo ranch in the Owl Creek Mountains of northern Wyoming.

Dr. John Clevenger (Philosophy 2007)
John is currently a Senior Data Scientist at Netflix where he helps drive product innovation through experimentation and analytics. John earned his PhD in Experimental Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017, where he studied the cognitive and neural processes underlying human object recognition and visual attention. After graduating from CSUB, John earned an MA in Philosophy from CSU Long Beach in 2011. He lives in San Francisco with his wife (and fellow PhD) Pamela.

Neil Richmond (Philosophy 2010)
After earning his JD from Loyola Law School in 2016, Neil joined the professional services and accounting firm Ernst & Young as a Tax Senior specializing in international tax law. Neil also earned an MA in Philosophy from CSU Long Beach in 2013. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife (and fellow CSUB grad) Chantal.

Katie Garcia (Religious Studies 2016)
During her time at CSUB, Katie was a member of the Hawks Honors Society, and she was the outstanding graduate in Religious Studies in 2016. Katie was accepted to the Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina.

Erin Barker (Philosophy 2016)
After achieving glory with legendary 2015-16 CSUB Ethics Bowl Team, Erin was accepted to study law at the Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon.

Travis Rosenlieb (Philosophy 2016)
After leading the CSUB Ethics Bowl Team to victory at the 2015 California Regional competition, Travis is working on his Master of Arts degree in Philosophy at Arizona State University.

Magda Bogacz (Philosophy 2016)
Magda was accepted into the MA program in Philosophy at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Jacob Lanier (Philosophy 2016)
A Belgian double! Jacob was also accepted into the MA program in Philosophy at the University of Leuven.

Scott Porter (Religious Studies 2009)
Since graduation, Scott has continued to work as an IT Specialist for clients through Breakthrough Financial Services—a management consulting firm for small- and medium-sized businesses—co-owned and operated with his wife, Celeste.  Since 2010, Scott has taken on an additional job as a substitute teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Parish School in Bakersfield. As a way to share the knowledge he acquired from CSUB’s Religious Studies Program and personal research, Scott teamed up with his friend Bryan Gesinger to launch a website,, to assist Catholic teachers, parents, and students of religion to discover the teachings of the Catholic Church, including the Early Church Fathers. A recent website redesign allows visitors to view the site on both desktop and mobile devices while also providing content translation into over fifty languages. The website has received recognition from many Catholic organizations, has attracted visitors from over 90 countries, and was recently granted permission from the Vatican to use the Official Vatican Widget.   

John Clevenger (Philosophy 2009)
Philosophy graduate John Clevenger completed his M.A. in Philosophy at CSU Long Beach and has accepted an offer of admission to the PhD program in philosophy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne. John was offered admission to a number of prestigious PhD programs, but chose Illinois because of its commitment to Experimental Philosophy (or X-Phi) and excellent program in the philosophy of cognitive science.

Alex Slabey (Philosophy 2009)
Philosophy graduate Alex Slabey completed his Single Subject teaching credential for the state of California in English in 2010. He is currently an Information Technician Manger (IT Manager) for Pavletich Electric and Communications company. His job consists of troubleshooting computer problems with the company's computer network, managing the company cell phones, modifying AutoCAD electrical and fire alarm plans, and making "calls" to residential and commercial locations to resolve any computer related issues.

James Brannen (Philosophy 2008)
Philosophy graduate James Brannen completed his J.D. from UC Davis School of Law in 2011. During his law school studies, he completed a clerkship with Judge Kimberly Mueller at the Federal District Courthouse for the Eastern District of CA in Sacramento and an internship at Weintraub, Genshlea, Chediak, a large law firm in downtown Sacramento. James has accepted an offer to be an associate with Weintraub, Genshlea, Chediak.

James Harvey (Philosophy 2007)
After graduating from CSUB in 07, James headed off to pursue his J.D. at the UC Davis School of Law.  While there, he worked as a research assistant on a project researching corporate governance in India.  James also had summer clerkships with two firms—the Ryan Law Group in Sacramento and Klein, DeNatale, Goldner, Cooper, Rosenlieb & Kimball LLP in Bakersfield. James graduated in May 2010 and took the California Bar Exam in July 2010. In August 2010, James returned to Bakersfield to work for Klein, DeNatale, Goldner, Cooper, Rosenlieb & Kimball, working in the firm’s complex litigation group. His practice is a mixture of personal injury defense, contract claims, fraud claims, employment litigation, collections, appeals, and business counseling. James is also active with the Kern County Bar Association and its Young Lawyers Division.

Patty Lopez (Philosophy 2007)
Philosophy graduate Patty Lopez graduated from San Joaquin College of Law in May 2011. She is currently studying to take the CA Bar Exam.

Teresina Hone (Philosophy 2007)
Philosophy graduate Teresina Hone currently works for Valley Oasis (previously known as The Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council) as a Case Manager/Group Facilitator. Valley Oasis is a comprehensive social services agency, offering a 24 hour Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline, a 60 day emergency shelter program for victims of Domestic Violence, and transitional housing programs for shelter clients. Her job consists of educating victims of Domestic Violence; teaching them how pervasive a problem Domestic Violence is and teaching them to recognize the signs of a violent person in the hopes that they will stop the cycle of violence.

Annie Neri (Religious Studies 2005)
Congratulations to Annie Neri, Religious Studies major from the Class of 2005, who has been awarded a Graduate Teaching Assistantship at the University of Kansas starting next Fall. That is wonderful news Annie. We’re very proud of you! Please keep us up-to-date on how you are progressing.

Wim Laven (Religious Studies 2003)
Wim Laven, a former Religious Studies major who went on to receive his M.A. in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University, has passed along an update from Sri Lanka, where, among other projects, he is helping to rebuild from the tsunami. The update contains, in part, a poignant description of the ongoing ethnic violence between the Tamil Tigers and the Sinhalese government forces. It is also preceeded by a heartfelt letter from Wim’s father. You are doing good, noble, and important work, Wim. We’re very proud of you!

Michael Aguilar (Philosophy 1995) 
We have just heard from former Philosophy major from the Class of 1995. Michael is president and owner of Five Tool Group, Inc., a small special event transportation consulting company, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since October of 2003, Michael has been the Programme Manager of Transport & Signage for the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee for the 15th Asian Games, to be held in Doha, Qatar in December of 2006. Congratulations, Michael. We are very proud of you!

Ed Lucero (Philosophy 1976)
We have just heard from Ed Lucero, a philosophy alum from the Class of 1976, who has been working in the aerospace industry. What a terrific surprise, Ed! It’s great to hear from you, and great to hear you are doing well. Please continue to keep us up to date.

Deborah Privett (Religious Studies)
We have just heard from former Religious Studies major Deborah Privett, who is now teaching English full-time at Ridgeview High School and part-time (Eng 110) here at CSUB. She is also finding time to coach mock trial at Ridgeview. Great work, Deborah!

John Pinheiro (1992)
John Pinheiro, former Religious Studies major (1992) makes history (literally) and meets President Bush! John is now Assistant Professor of History at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. Keep up all the good work, John. We’re very proud of you!

Rebecca (Jones) d’Angelo (Religious Studies 1997)
We have just heard from Rebecca d’Angelo, a former Religious Studies major, from the Class of ‘97. Rebecca completed an M.A. degree in Statistics in 20001 and has recently been formally accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Kentucky, where she intends to pursue her interest in the exercise of end of life wishes, particularly with respect to spiritual fulfillment and emotional closure for those living in nursing facilities. Thank you for keeping us up-to-date, Rebecca. We loved hearing from you. Congratulations on your M.A. in Statistics, and we wish you all the best as you pursue your interests at UK!

Peter Kight
Here is a link to a profile of former philosophy major, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of CheckFree Corporation, Peter Kight, who mentions his time here at CSUB. Congratulations, Peter! We’re very proud of all that you have accomplished.

Scott Sorrell
We have just heard from a former major, Scott Sorrell. Scott is a speaker and trainer, and is CEO and Founder of Sales Adrenaline. Congratulations, Scott! We’re very proud of you.

Here are what some of our alumni are doing now!

  • Dustin Adams, Bakersfield Christian High School
  • Donald Albright, Bell-Carter Olive Company
  • Michael Aguilar, President and Owner of Five Tool Group, Inc.
  • Robert Bartell, Southern Kern Unified School District
  • Vicki Brown, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President, Enron Wind
  • Michael Einhaus, Professor, Bakersfield College
  • Jeffrey Garrison, Associate Professor, Komazawa University
  • Robert Kagler, US Department of State
  • Peter Kight, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of CheckFree Corporation
  • Susanne Langham, Lecturer, Bakersfield College, & CSUB
  • Jackie Peaveyhouse, Roosevelt Elementary School-Teacher
  • John Pinheiro, Assistant Professor of History, Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Deborah Privett, English Teacher, Ridgeview High School
  • Nicholas Scanlon, Business Educator
  • Scott Sorrell, Speaker, Trainer, and Founder and CEO of Sales Adrenaline (
  • Bryan Walters, Tulare City Counsel
  • Darren Wellington, Management Analyst, Oregon Department of Transportation
  • James Wilhelm, Prime Time Video, Florida
  • Reggie Williams, Professor, Bakersfield College
  • Jeanette Zemeke, Director of Information Systems, UC, Berkeley

Here are some recent alumni who have gone on to law school or graduate school in Philosophy or Religious Studies!

  • Michael Aguilar, The Ohio State University
  • John Brandon, Law School
  • Eddie Carvajal, Claremont Graduate School
  • Victor Frayre, Long Beach State
  • Amanda Galloway, McGeorge School of Law
  • Quentin Gee, Western Michigan University
  • Robert Green, University of California, Santa-Barbara
  • Susanne Langham, Loyola Marymount
  • Wim Laven, Portland State University, Program in Conflict Resolution
  • Annie Neri, University of Kansas
  • Paloma Shearin, Law School
  • Christopher Steel, CSU Sacramento
  • Bryan Wagstaff, Argosy University
  • Reggie Williams, University of Illinois

Letter from Wim Laven and His Father

Dear Bruce [Jones],

I am so proud of Wim for what he's doing this summer, I wanted to share this letter from him. He's come such a long way since he started CSUB. I am grateful for the generous guidance he received from the faculty in the then Religious Studies and Philosophy Departments. I am certain what he is doing is consequent to learning the values displayed by the faculty. Please pass it along to any you might think interested.

Written by Wim Laven from somewhere near the east coast of Sri Lanka:

Greetings all,

It has been a while since I have had the chance to sit down and write a good letter. I have had a few problems. The hard drive on my laptop crashed, and I have been away for a while as per my usual. My trip is almost half over. On Thursday, I will have been here six weeks and I will have six weeks left--time really flies.

The report for the first village for which we installed solar powered lighting systems is now available on the web. You can check it out at: It might give you a sense of some of what I am doing here. I do not know if any of our other reports are going to be made available. The villages here are all very different. I would have to say that going to the relief villages has been the most gratifying part of my trip. As my responsibilities with my other project increase, I am afraid I might not have as many chances to get my hands dirty. However, I know I will still have the chance sometime. The next installation I go on I have asked to sleep in the village, and I am very excited about being able to spend more time with the families. Times are tough in Sri Lanka, and it amazes me that none of what happens here makes the news, or, rather, so little of it does. Perhaps, there just is no interest in reporting all of the assassinations that take place (I don’t know if the newspapers here can keep up with them all). But, the reason I mention it is because there have been a couple recent assassinations of particular significance. Last week a state of emergency was declared in Colombo because the Foreign Minister was killed. I was told 7,000 troops were dispersed there. Of course the LTTE have been blamed for the death and of course they denied responsibility. The Cease Fire Agreement continues to be questioned, mostly because particularly high ranking officials continue to be targeted, and many people are asking for the Norwegians to come back (they negotiated the three year old agreement). Perhaps, they will make it to the table before I leave the country. While I was in Jaffna, there was a particularly interesting chain of events. Apparently there was a group of soldiers getting haircuts. They were bored and started cleaning/playing with their guns and, oops, one of them accidentally shot the barber. What made matter worse was that the barber happened to be Tamil. I don’t know what the rumors surrounding the event were but it only took a few hours before an angry mob had formed. I am also not sure exactly at what point it was officially termed rioting. In any case, the chief of police was asked to calm down the angry mob and he was asked to do so unarmed. Needless to say it didn’t work. The chief was abducted and in the morning his dead body was discovered. The picture in the newspaper showed the trickle of blood coming out of his mouth, but it did not show that he had both been shot and had his throat cut. We learned about all of this our first morning there and we were informed about the curfew. It meant that no one was allowed out after 10 at night or before 5 in the morning. For lack of better terms, this would be their basic curfew. On our way to work we had to change roads because there were demonstrations in the road with roadblocks and flames. In Point Pedro things were calmer and we were doing installations in one of the smaller relief villages. Seventeen families got solar power that morning. One man lost thirty one members of his family to the three waves that hit there. They were tremendous people who were very excited to see us and eager to help. Anyway, as soon as we finished that village we were informed that we needed to go back to our hotel. The curfew had changed; all the shops were closed and everyone was advised to stay home. You get used to hearing the words, "Change of plans" and "Whattado."

Last week I went to the Parahera in Kandy. I have absolutely no idea how to describe this event, so I will try two different ways. First, the Parahera is like a cross between the Disney light parade, the Superbowl, and Mardi Grah. The only difference is that here they use real elephants, instead of having teams they have Buddha’s tooth, and the women keep their clothes on. Second, the Parahera is a festival celebrated on poia, otherwise known as full moon. It is the most important full moon of the year. Many cities in Sri Lanka celebrate with smaller Paraheras but the festival in Kandy is the largest. It features over a hundred elephants and by the looks of it several thousand people who dance, play with fire, and beat drums as well as the already mentioned Buddha’s tooth. It is a time for renewing vows; however, I am not sure which ones. Between two and three hundred thousand Sri Lankans make it to Kandy for this celebration and many people will sit for twelve hours to reserve good seats. Tourists and the aristocracy can pay for good seats on the balcony at the Queen's Hotel.

So, I miss home, but I am having a good time here and I hope everyone is doing well.