2012 Scholarship Recipients

Strengthening the academic reputation is among the strategic goals of the College's Build-on-Strengths (BOS) Plan and the Academic Blueprint.

In 2012, the School of Economics and Business Administration (SEBA) awarded 24 graduate scholarships, about $130,000, to attract high caliber students to support the College's goal of enhancing Saint Mary's College's academic reputation. This is a significant improvement compared to two years ago when the school was not awarding any scholarships to graduate business students. These scholarships help in reducing student debts, which is a national issue in the current state of the economy. Below are brief bios of our 2012 recipients.

Hamed Mirabdal, 
recipient of the Wilder Trust Scholarship in October 2012, earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration with options in human resources management, corporate management, and economics from California State University Easy Bay in June 2011. While at CSUEB, Hamed directed a small group that presented at the Stanford/CSUEB Peace Innovation Laboratory and won for his original idea on crowd sourcing for community agencies. With this and his experience as club president for Amnesty International at Diablo Valley College, Mirabdal is ready to pursue his Professional MBA. 

Anthony Kim is the recipient of the Wilder Trust Scholarship in October 2012. Anthony earned his bachelor of science in organizational behavior and leadership from the University of San Francisco. He is a past recipient of James F. Kenney Memorial Leadership award from his alma mater. He is an active member of Net Impact, International Association of assistance Dog Partners, Canine and Companion for Independence. Anthony is also on the volunteer committee that helps organize the annual Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish 5K Walk fundraiser that take place on Saint Mary's campus. He's currently an independent organizational development (OD) and change management consultant working on a project for the Episcopal Diocese of California. He has an entrepreneurial background with fifteen years of experience in startups, residential mortgage, as well as paralegal background. 

Erin Johnson, recipient of the Wilder Trust Scholarship in October 2012, graduated with honors from Kansas State University with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering. During her junior and senior years at Kansas State, Erin was named a Dow Chemical Company Foundation Scholar and interned with the company’s Environmental Regulatory Department in Pittsburg.  Upon graduation, Erin joined Dow Chemical and is now a production engineer at the same facility. 

Brian Caughell, recipient of the Wilder Trust Scholarship in October 2012, is currently the advancement director, finance and administration, for the Sierra Club. Over the last ten years, Brian has acquired experience in numerous political campaigns, serving as an intern, compliance officer, communications assistant/business manager, assistant comptroller and finance manager, which has driven him to pursue his Executive MBA from Saint Mary's. Brian earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science (cum laude) from San Diego State University and a master of arts in political management from George Washington University. 

Ashley Schwenoha, recipient of the Wilder Trust Scholarship in October 2012, is a program manager and budget analyst for Cisco Systems in San Jose. Prior to Cisco, Ashley worked as a financial coordinator for a family dentistry office and as a program manager for Union City Leisure Services. Ashley graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a bachelor of science degree in business administration and a concentration in corporate finance.

Yijing Ding is a recipient of the Wilder Trust Scholarship in October 2012. Yijing earned a bachelor of arts degree in English with a specialization in finance and business and a bachelor of management in business administration from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) in the People’s Republic of China. Yijing was awarded a national scholarship for two consecutive years for her outstanding academic performance at SJTU. Yijing is also enthusiastic about various volunteering work. Yijing is pursuing the Professional MBA program at Saint Mary's in order to expand her business and leadership skills.

Mahalakshmi Kumar is one of three recipients of the William L'Heuruex Scholarship in October 2012. After over ten years of experience in business analysis, project management and software quality assurance, Mahalakshmi is ready to pursue the Executive MBA at Saint Mary's. She presently works as a senior project manager for Wells Fargo in San Francisco. Prior to this she was employed at Visa, Inc. as a senior project manager. Mahalakshmi earned her bachelor of arts in English, master of arts in English literature and a diploma in advanced computer applications from Madras University, Chennai, India.

Punnyatowa Ghosh, recipient of the William L'Heuruex Scholarship in October 2012, has over five years of experience in the areas of human resources, training and development and marketing communications in one of the world's leading consumer goods company, Unilever Ltd. This experience in the business field has driven her to pursue the Executive MBA program. Her most recent position was with Unilever Ltd.( India ) as marketing communications executive where she was the chief editor in charge of the bi-monthly company magazine, leading its conceptualization, design and print, and was also responsible for reinventing and improving marketing and communication strategies, plans and tools for the business unit. Prior to this, she worked as the capability development executive in the human resources team of Unilever (India), where she was responsible for the training and development activities for the business. Punnyatowa graduated from Mumbai University with a bachelor of commerce degree and a dual degree of bachelors and master of business administration specializing in human resources and marketing from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Mumbai.

Miguel Bustos, recipient of the William L'Heuruex Scholarship in October 2012, has over 20 years of work experience in government and industry making Miguel an excellent addition to the Trans-Global Executive MBA program. Currently, Miguel is senior vice president and california regional servicing director for Wells Fargo. Prior to Wells Fargo, Miguel was the senior program manager for the americas for the Levi Strauss Foundation in San Francisco. In his professional career, Miguel has been appointed to several government posts: director of intergovernmental affairs for Mayor Ronald Dellum, City of Oakland, director of boards and commissions for Mayor Gavin Newsom, City and County of San Francisco, deputy district director and grants manager for U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, California and policy advisor in the office of the president and vice president during President William J. Clinton’s Administration, the White House, Washington, D.C.  In addition, Miguel has worked and volunteered with organizations and foundations on specific projects and deliverables. Miguel is fluent in Spanish and has a master of arts in political science, international affairs from the American University in Washington D.C. and a bachelor of arts in political science, international relations from Holy Names University in Oakland, California.

Christian Sizemore, recipient of the Dean's EMBA Scholarship in October 2012, graduated magna cum laude from California State University Chico with a bachelor of arts degree in religious studies and a minor in philosophy. Christian has eleven years of experience in director level positions in management and presently is the infrastructure and finance director for the Focal Point, LLC in Oakland. Prior to the Focal Point, Christian worked for Peet’s Coffee & Tea as director of retail operations and director of new stores. 

Christine Tat, recipient of the Dean's EMBA Scholarship (in) October 2012, is the vice president of wholesale commercial services at Wells Fargo. She oversees teams in both northern and southern California that were established to address the financial servicing needs of the venture capital-backed sector. Prior to that, she was an associate at KPMG where she managed audits for fortune 500 companies. Christine holds a bachelor of science in accounting degree from Santa Clara University, where she graduate cum laude. Christine is pursuing her Executive MBA at Saint Mary's.


Ana Martins-Deneys, AAA Diversity Scholarship recipient in July 2012 and Executive MBA student, currently works for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland as senior business analyst and is part of Kaiser Permanente’s business intelligence & reporting human resource operations team. She has been in the information technology field for over 10 years. After earning her bachelor of business administration degree in Brazil, Ana obtained a master of science degree in information systems from Pace University, White Plains, New York.

Diana Borova, recipient of the Dean's Executive MBA Scholarship in July 2012, has been with Burr Pilger Mayer, Inc. since 2006, first working as payroll manager and office administrator and now currently as controller. Overall, Diana has 20 years of experience in office management and administration, allowing her to pursue her Executive MBA. She earned her master of science degree in molecular and functional biology and Ph. D. in biological sciences from Sofia University in Sofia, Bulgaria. 


Lauren Alexander, Dean's EMBA Women's Scholarship recipient in April 2012 and Trans-Global Executive MBA participant, is currently the director of marketing at Granicus, Inc., an award winning cloud computing provider for the government that has experienced more than 600% growth over the past four years. Lauren is currently overseeing Granicus’ global marketing strategy including, product launches, outbound campaigns, social media, public relations, and online marketing.  Prior to her time at Granicus, Lauren was an intern for Senator Dianne Feinstein and the subcommittee on terrorism, technology and homeland security.  Lauren is currently serving as a board member and the director of member marketing for the San Francisco chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).  She graduated with Honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in law and society and a minor in English.

Alexis Fischer, recipient of the William L'Heuruex Scholarship in April 2012, is currently a property specialist at Chevron Environment Management Company in San Ramon. In this position, Alexis manages access portfolios within three different business units and oversees environmental business disruption claims, among many other duties. She first worked for the company as a gateways intern in Chevron pricing/marketing while a student at Saint Mary’s College of California and was invited back by the company to apply for a full time job. Alexis graduated with honors from Saint Mary’s College with a bachelor of science degree in accounting, with a minor in business administration with a finance emphasis. She returns to Saint Mary's to pursue the Trans-Global Executive MBA program.

Meher Venigalla, recipient of the William L'Heuruex MBA Scholarship for Global Business Leadership (in) April 2012, has over a decade of experience in technology and people management. He is currently the senior manager of IT, working from the Walnut Creek headquarters for the western division of ERM. His primary job responsibilities involve developing, directing, implementing and managing IT technology standards and protocols in line with business requirements and industry “best practices.” Meher earned his bachelor of commerce from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India and is persuing the Executive MBA at Saint Mary's.

Lisa Marie Vasquez, recipient of the William L'Heuruex MBA Scholarship for Responsible Business in April 2012 and Trans-Global Executive MBA participant at Saint Mary's, is a lecturer/reading instructor in the language arts division of San Jose City College in San Jose, where she holds a tenure-track position. She also serves as the reading department interim coordinator there and is concurrently a lecturer/reading instructor in the language arts division at De Anza College in Cupertino and Mission College, Santa Clara. She holds the paralegal degree with a specialization in civil litigation, a bachelor of science degree in political science with a minor in ethnic studies, a teaching program credential (CLAD emphasis) and a master of arts degree in reading all from Santa Clara University.

Carla Sorey-Reed, William L'Heuruex African-American Diversity Scholarship recipient in April 2012 and Trans-Global Executive MBA participant, is the owner of Reed & Associates, a media consultancy located in Oakland. Carla works as an executive speaker, press and media coach. Her private client list includes fortune 500 C-suite clients in the technology and financial sectors, as well as several non-profit executive directors.  She also contracts with Mandel Communications in Capitola as a certified business communications trainer. Partnering with 3G Selling, Inc., located in Walnut Creek and via live online virtual training, Carla is lead host and trainer of global teams located throughout the USA, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and India. Clients include Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Tata Communications, American Express and AWS Truepower. She is presently contracted as lead broadcast producer with SAP Labs US, in Palo Alto for global all hands meetings and other executive video projects. She is a contractor on the Diversity Ensemble of Life Theatre Services, in San Francisco, where she conducts workshops in university and corporate environments on diversity issues in the workplace. Previously, she worked as a contractor on the corporate communications team in the roles of executive media coach, writer and lead producer for Charles Schwab,Inc. in San Francisco where she undertook a number of mission-critical media projects for the company. Carla has held similar positions and done contract work for Oracle, Hewlett Packard and Sun Microsystems. She was host and segment producer for ABC-TV, “Log-on TV” and KRON/Bay-TV “Nite Time” in San Francisco. Carla received her bachelor of arts degree inspeech communications from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Nora Goyes, a recipient of the William L'Heuruex Scholarship in April 2012, currently works as a website support, web content collector and advertising consultant at AT&T. Nora previously owned her own business, Delicious Café, at the Regional Medical Center in San Jose. She has also worked as an office manager, chief of promotions and chief of marketing at CHE Farina in Ecuador and as a market research analyst at 3M, Graphic division in Ecuador. Nora earned her bachelors of arts degree in advertising from the University of San Francisco. She currently serves as the vice president of communications and operation for HACEMOS, an employee resource group at AT&T. Nora is fluent in Spanish and is pursuing her Executive MBA.

Devaki Narayanan, recipient of the Wilder Trust Scholarship in April 2012 and pursuer of a Professional MBA program, brings project management and social work experience to Saint Mary’s, which she gained through her time with Prototypes Women's Center, Boys and Girls Club and the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, as well as her experience with the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Devaki earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California, a bachelor of arts in sociology with an emphasis in behavioral science from Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, California.


Phuong “Mary”Nguyen, recipient of the Dean's EMBA Scholarship for MS-FAIM in January 2012, is a finance professional who is trilingual in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a bachelor of arts in global & international studies with an emphasis in socioeconomics and politics in Latin America, Mary went to work for Kaiser Permanente. During her tenure with Kaiser, Mary has worked in the capacities of regional account payable analyst, data base manager, financial analyst and now lead senior financial analyst. Mary is pursuing her Executive MBA at Saint Mary's.

Keith Washo, recipient of the Dean's EMBA Scholarship (in) January 2012, has 10 plus years of sales and marketing experience in the consumer electronics, hardware, software, and internet industries. He is currently the senior business development manager at Qualcomm after they acquired the start-up he worked for, Bigfoot Networks where he served as senior director of sales. Keith earned his bachelor of arts in music and broadcasting from the University of New York at Oswego graduating cum laude. He later earned a masters in music business and entertainment industries at the University of Miami graduating summa cum laude. Keith now returns to pursue his Executive MBA at Saint Mary's College.

Julie D. Smith D.V.M., DACVS, CCRT recipient of the Dean's EMBA Women Scholarship in January 2012, has 20 years of experience in the veterinary medicine profession as a boarded veterinary surgeon. She has been a partner with Sage Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care for 15 years and managing partner for three years.  She has over 12 scholarly publications, several scientific presentations, 26 continuing education courses and has helped train 13 surgical residents. Dr. Smith earned her diploma at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1997, doctor of veterinary medicine in 1992 and a bachelor of science degree in bio resource sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, California. Dr. Smith plans on completing her Executive MBA at Saint Mary's.