Fresno State Alumni Association
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May 2017  
Bringing girls into the boy's club of coding
Alejandra Maravilla
Thomas Strentz
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program
Jennifer Leahy
Cecilia Ballesteros
Nathalie Gomez
Other top news…
Debbie (Koligian) Poochigian (1974) is being recognized as the Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the Sequoia Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Poochigian currently serves as a supervisor with the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. She was named an Outstanding Alumna by the Fresno State Alumni Association on behalf of the College of Health and Human Services in 2016.
Joel Halfhill (1976) was recently hired as Vice President of Operations with MTM Drywall & Specialties in Garden City, Idaho.
Melvin Ely (Alumnus) will be inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame on November 2 at the Fresno Convention Center. He was a star center for the Bulldogs basketball team from 1999 to 2002; and finished as the program’s leading scorer with 1,951 career points. Ely was a first-round pick (12th overall) in the 2002 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Leonel “Leo” Barajas (2013) has been named the talent coordinator of “Noches Con Platanito,” the only Spanish Language Night Talk Show in the U.S. It airs on the Estrella TV network. Prior to this, he was the associate producer and social media specialist for “Noticiero Estrella TV,” the network’s national newscast. As a student, Barajas was a four-time Bulldog Pride Fund scholar, a coordinator with USU Productions, and worked as student assistant at the Smittcamp Alumni House.
Stephen P. Ortega (1990, 2005) is a worldwide account manager with FedEx Division of Government Services, based in Sacramento. In this capacity he services FedEx national accounts maintained with the U.S. Department of Defense. Ortega has worked for FedEx since 2006.
Dr. Elvin Bell (1959) has published his 12th book, A Life Beyond Infinity. In it, he recounts personal encounters and interactions with celebrities including: Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, John “Duke” Wayne, Elvis Presley, Richard Nixon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Neil Armstrong, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, Vic Damone, Lana Turner, Pierre Salinger, Jimmy Carter, Gregory Peck, Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney and Billy Graham. He closes the book on page 1,111 with an inclusion of Fresno State’s Alma Mater, “Thy sons and daughters hail thee great; Our Alma Mater, Fresno State.”
Gary L. McDonald (Alumnus), the chairman of the board for Gary McDonald Homes, will be inducted into the California Homebuilding Foundation Hall of Fame on June 27 in San Diego. A Florida native, McDonald served in the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1966, bringing him to Naval Air Station, Lemoore. After receiving an honorable discharge, he attended Fresno State in 1970 and embarked on a 47-year career in land development, homebuilding and banking. Mr. McDonald is currently building several gated, planned developments at Copper River Ranch.
Juan Garza (1976, ’76), the superintendent of the Kings Canyon Unified School District, has announced he is retiring on June 30, 2017. He is in his 15th year as the top administrator for Kings Canyon Unified and has worked 27 years in total for the school system. Garza has the longest tenure of any superintendent among the 32 school district chiefs in Fresno County, and probably is the current longest-serving superintendent in the San Joaquin Valley.
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Leon S. and Pete P. Peters Educational Center
Student Recreation Center
Fresno State
Leon S. and Pete P. Peters Educational Center
Student Recreation Center
Fresno State
The SF LGBT Center
1800 Market St., Room 201
San Francisco, CA 94102
Veni Vidi Vici
1116 N. Fulton St.
Fresno, CA 93728
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