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UC Davis Magazine

Class Notes: Summer 2009

1981LESLIE COOKSY, an associate professor of education at the University of Delaware, recently established a graduate program in evaluation—the study of the quality and effectiveness of human service organizations, programs and policies. The new program is an interdisciplinary collaboration of three departments in the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy.    JONATHAN MAYHEW had two books published last April—Apocryphal Lorca: Translation, Parody, Kitsch (University of Chicago Press) and The Twilight of the Avant-Garde: Spanish Poetry 1980-2000 (Liverpool University Press). Mayhew was recently promoted to full professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.
1983JANE STANFIELD, M.S., started the business Where Is She Going, which helps people plan vacations revolving around performing volunteer work. She also wrote a workbook, Mapping Your Volunteer Vacation, that helps people plan their own vacations. She was inspired to embark on her new career after quitting her job in 2005 and volunteering in eight different countries by 2006. She recently contributed a chapter for The Voluntary Traveler, which will be released in September. She lives in Lakewood, Colo.
1987JOHN GALBRAITH was recently hired as communications director for the Davis-based Geothermal Resources Council. He will be responsible for media relations and the council’s bimonthy bulletin. Galbraith previously worked for the California Children’s Hospital Association and managed media relations. He lives in Davis with wife SARA GALBRAITH ’86, son Jake and daughter Carly.   KATHRYN (MCCLELLAND) YARKONY, writing under the pen name Hunter McClelland, has had a novel published. Men of Gain (AEG Publishing Group) is about a Boston hedge-fund manager caught in the middle of a securities scandal during Wall Street’s worst-ever financial crisis. Yarkony holds a Ph.D. and a B.S.N. from Johns Hopkins University and works as an operating room nurse at Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute at Greenspring Station. She lives with her husband and three children in Baltimore, Md., and is writing her second novel.
1988Sheldon Fung By Elizabeth Stitt Occupation: Special Agent for the FBI since 1998, currently works as a bomb technician and the assistant weapons of mass destruction coordinator and was formerly a counterintelligence agent. Was recently given the prestigious U.S. Attorney General’s award. Cutting through the red tape: When Sheldon Fung graduated from UC Davis with a degree in biochemistry, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. “I wanted to go into the FBI straight out of college,” he said. He applied in 1990, but he heard nothing from them until 1995 while he worked at a pharmaceutical company in Fresno. To meet one of the bureau’s prerequisite of working in law enforcement, he left the lab in 1996 to patrol the streets of North Sacramento for the Sacramento police department. In 1998, he was officially hired by the FBI—eight years after he applied. “The hardest part is getting past the bureaucracy,” he said, adding that’s the only bad part about his “dream job.” The reward: Fung received the U.S. Attorney General’s award for distinguished service as a member of a team that successfully caught and prosecuted individuals attempting to spy for the Chinese—the first time in over a generation the FBI successfully stopped a Chinese intelligence mission, according to Fung. The case involved two brothers smuggling Navy information via encrypted discs, and it consumed three years of Fung’s life. “You know, you put your whole life into it,” he said. When Chi Mak, the main espionage agent, was sentenced to 24 years in prison and the rest of the suspects pleaded guilty, he said he felt elated, to say the least. A lucky man: As a Special Agent, Fung worked all over the United States. “I feel lucky to do what I do,” he said. “I got to do what I wanted to do with life. It’s a little dangerous, but so is anything in law enforcement.” And though he’s not at liberty to discuss his current whereabouts, he said he’s now somewhere in Northern California, living with his wife and two children. “It’s a little dangerous, but so is anything in law enforcement.”
1989SUE CHAN, M.P.V.M., established the Phoenix Ranch in Vacaville six years ago and founded the California Education Through Animals Foundation in 2007 with the goal of promoting positive relationships between humans and animals.   TRUDY MILBURN recently wrote Nonprofit Organizations: Creating Membership Through Communication (Hampton Press). She is an associate professor of communication at California State University, Channel Islands.
1992MANUEL BARAJAS wrote the book The Xaripu Community Across Borders: Labor Migration, Community and Family (University of Notre Dame Press), which studies a community that has had home bases in both Michoacán, Mexico, and Stockton for more than a century. Barajas is an associate professor of sociology at California State University, Sacramento.    CHRISTINA HAYS recently accepted the position of director of asset management for Tenaska Inc. She lives in Gretna, Neb.    CELESTE INEZ HOLMES retired after 24 years at United Airlines and is now an international affairs graduate student at Georgetown University. She lives in Palo Alto and Washington, D.C.    RANDY SCOTT WONG is a Newport Beach real estate developer and attorney. He recently finished developing and constructing one of the largest self-storage facilities in California, which caters to small to medium business owners and retail clients.
1993JOHNATHAN EDWARDS co-authored the book Chasing Dakar (E&H Offroad Productions) about his experience as the U.S. team physician during the Dakar Rally motorcycle race from Paris to Dakar. He has previously worked for public hospital systems in Dakar, Senegal, and Chacalacayo, Peru, and interned one year in Lyon, France. He is currently an anesthesiologist in Las Vegas, Nev.   Alicia Ybarbo By Elizabeth Stitt Occupation: Emmy Awarding winning producer, currently working for The Today Show and author of Today’s Moms: Essentials For Surviving Baby’s First Years. From Davis to New York: Alicia Ybarbo ’93 may be a producer at one of the most successful TV morning shows in the history of television, but she didn’t start out that way. The Woodland native and daughter of a UC Davis staff electrician got her start in television as an intern at Sacramento’s KCRA while attending UC Davis. Her boss, Special Projects Producer Ed Chapuis, encouraged her to pursue a quarter-long internship at NBC in New York City, which gave Ybarbo her first exposure to the major television network. “Growing up in small-town California, going to college in small-town California and then moving to the Big Apple was quite frightening, but once a few days were under my belt I grew to love it.” Climbing the ladder: Shortly after graduation Ybarbo moved to New York City to try her hand at a television career. She started as a page at NBC, which led to a job in their sports department. “I have NBC in my blood now,” she said. “I feel like part of the family here.” Four producing jobs and two Emmy Awards later, Ybarbo is currently a producer of the Today Show, a position she has held for the past nine years. “It’s kind of like a continuing education course,” said Ybarbo, who does research and conducts background interviews for east story. “I love to stand in the control room and watch the segment come alive.” Mother and author: Ybarbo wrote her first book with another Today producer, Mary Ann Zoellner. Today’s Moms: Essentials For Surviving Baby’s First Years, which was released this past April, contains advice and anecdotes from all of Today’s anchors, as well other contributors to the show, like nutrition expert Joy Bauer and finance editor, Jean Chatzky. “It is our way of making a connection between the women who watch the show and the women who make the show,” said, Ybarbo, who was inspired to co-author this book while she was pregnant with her second child. “We're hoping to make a series out of Today’s Moms. Next book: The Toddler Years.” Ybarbo lives in New York City with her husband, Mark Zimmerman, and their two children, Jack, 6, and Lucy, 4. “Everything about Davis and Northern California shaped who I am…. It’s a great, great place. I’ve been to many campuses to do stories and nothing compares.”
1994LUIS RIOS JR. has been appointed to the Community Service Action Board Committee of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. He has also launched a Web site dedicated to poet Octavio Paz: www.octaviopaz.com. He and his wife have a 3-year-old son, Michael. They live in Davis.
1995JOSHUA BUHS has had his second book published—a cultural history titled, Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend (University of Chicago Press).    JONATHAN FLORA, M.A., has joined the Philadelphia law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP as a partner in its tax and wealth management department. He was previously a partner with the firm of Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg & Ellers LLP. He advises clients on federal, state and local tax issues.
1997MICHELLE MCCLIMAN, J.D., recently started her own practice in Ladera Ranch, the McCliman Law Firm, which concentrates on intellectual property, business and employment law. She also teaches intellectual property classes at Saddleback Community College and Coastline Community College, as well as civil trials and evidence, and contracts.   Fenglaly Lee By Elizabeth Stitt Occupation: Is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, a volunteer faculty member of the UCSF-Fresno OB/GYN Residency Program and a Mentor for the CSUF Health Careers Opportunities Program. Born with a purpose: Born into a Hmong family with eight other children in an underserved area of Fresno, Fenglaly Lee ’97, M.D. ’03, always wanted to return and give back to the community. She noticed at an early age that among many Hmong people there is “sometimes a large gap between what they think is healthy and actually what is,” Lee said—a gap that’s widened by the language barrier. Most medical terms do not have a direct translation into Hmong, so Lee has to explain a diagnosis by using pictures or further elaborating on the topic. As someone Hmong women can relate to, she started convincing the Hmong women in her community, who are traditionally distrusting of physicians, to get help. “I also believe that they are more comfortable with me because I am a woman, and I come from a similar background and had similar struggles,” she said. One of few: She’s the only Hmong OB/GYN in California, as well as one of the few female Hmong doctors in the country. “In the U.S., there’s one in Minnesota and one here in California—she’s an anesthesiologist also at UC Davis,” Lee said. “There’re a couple of us, finally.” Lee said Hmong women often have social and economic challenges that prevent them from pursuing professional careers. Hmong women usually marry young and are held responsible for raising children, taking care of the in-laws and maintaining the house. “I was lucky in the sense that my husband and family were so supportive,” said Lee, who got married at the age of 19. All three of her children were born while she was in school or during her residency, and she head help caring for them from her parents, in-laws and husband. Giving back: Currently she is working in downtown Fresno, where about 80 percent of her patients cannot afford medical care. “I really enjoy that population,” she said, because it gives her a chance to educate and change her community for the better. She has reached out to her area by talking at high schools and appearing on Hmong radio shows, promoting a healthy lifestyle. “It is my duty to serve all women,” she said. “However, I especially feel a need to reach out to my community.” “It is my duty to serve all women…. By overcoming the language and cultural barriers, I can provide better patient education, promote health awareness, and dispel myths.”
1998JULIE DALRYMPLE is the marketing director of the Napa Valley Opera House. She graduated from St. Mary’s College in Moraga in May 2008 with a Master of Science in liberal studies.