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Alumni Stories


Kendra Aronson (MLL 2009)

"I admire Celia Sacks—my friend and small business owner of Omnivore Books—on her recent window display, "People from these countries are now banned from entering the U.S., learn about them." It's an honor to have the The San Luis Obispo Farmers' Market Cookbook on her book shelves.


“We think food is inescapably political, inescapably part of a wider world.”—Amanda Hesser & Merrill Strubbs (co-founders of Food52) in their article Our Answer to 'Politics Don't Belong on Food52. I applaud their whole team for being refreshingly honest and courageous. Food is political. Period. It's a privilege to be a contributor on their inspiring site and be part of this larger discussion.


Immigrants (and their cuisine!) are what make America great. I admire my Nana, who immigrated from Michoacán, Mexico. She and my Tata opened their restaurant Tony's Jacal in Solana Beach in 1946—which is still owned and operated by our family today. 71 years later, and still going strong. The restaurant has always been a hub for giving back to the community, whether that be sponsoring Little League baseball games or hosting fundraising dinners or cooking for events at local schools. My Nana, Catalina Gonzalez was one of a few community leaders that provided the financial backing to start the Mexican American Educational Guidance Association (MAEGA). For the past 50 years they have given over $1 million in scholarships that have helped local Mexican American youth attend college. I'm proud of their legacy and want to continue in their footsteps of community-oriented kindness and selfless generosity.


What a heartbreaking few days it’s been reading about the wall and the bans. It’s been uplifting to see my social media feed filled with friends and folks I follow voicing their thoughts, their opinions, and most importantly, their actions."

Jasmine Elliott (MLL 2017) 

Seeking asylum from credible fear | UU world Magazine

Summer Carlson (MLL 2016) 
Is currently living and working in Spain as an English language conversation assistant at a high school. She is in the North American Language and Culture Assistants program run by the Spanish government for the 2016-2017 school year. She absolutely loves the work she gets to do every day, and is eager to gain more experience in the area of English language teaching. 

Daniel Brosnahan  (MLL 2014)
Most recently employed as a Field Organizer with the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Noë Klein (MLL 2014) 
Language arts teacher (English & Spanish) at Ukiah High School  

Paris Badat (MLL 2013)
Worked in the Summer and Fall of 2013 with a non-profit called EduAction that sponsors internships in six countries throughout Latin America. She was in Uruguay and Bolivia from July until October working with local kids to educate them (all teaching is in Spanish) on issues such as cultural diversity, sustainability, social responsibility, leadership, creativity, and personal development. Paris is pictured with students and coworkers below.

Shannon Blike (MLL 2012)
Bilingual Applied Behavior Analysis therapist with Kids Overcoming, Inc. in Oakland, CA. 

Sienna Robertson (MLL 2012, minor in Global Politics) 
Accepted a teaching assistant position in France for the 14-15 academic year through the French government TAPIF program.

Asia Croson (MLL 2011) 
Owner Acro Photography, San Luis Obispo. Produces monthly SLO What? online magazine.

Kelsey Abourezk (MLL 2011) 
Personal Banker, Financial Services, Wells Fargo Bank, San Luis Obispo. 

Kurt Schultheis (MLL 2011)
In 2nd year as North American Language & Culture Assistant in Madrid; planning graduate study in Spain.

Rachel Hines (MLL 2011, certificate Teaching English as a Second Language)
Shortly after finishing her degree, she went to Guatemala for three months to teach an intensive English program for Cal Poly’s Guateca Summer School in the small village of San Pablo. In August of 2011 she went to Japan to teach English through the JET Programme. She spent a year in the northern prefecture of Yamagata teaching in several high schools. Rachel now resides in Los Osos and works as an English Learner’s Aide at San Luis High School and Laguna Middle School. She is also studying yoga at the Yoga Centre in San Luis Obispo where she teaches weekly classes.

Alicia Howard (MLL 2010) 
International Merchant Accounts Specialist at 
MindBody Software, San Luis Obispo.

Krista Collins (MLL 2010, minor in Linguistics, certificate Teaching English as a Second Language) 
Bilingual instructional aide at Pacheco Elementary.

Molly McFarland (MLL 2010) 
Since graduating, Molly has kept busy. Shortly after graduation, she left for Lyon, France, to teach English for nine months through the TAPIF (Teaching Assistantship Program in France) program. Following that, she returned home for one year to work at the SLO Headquarters of MINDBODY, Inc., - a business management software company with whom she completed her senior project of a Spanish translation of part of their software. During that year, Molly worked on her Peace Corps application, and in June 2012, left the area to begin her Peace Corps service as a university English teacher in China. Now she's been serving in a small rural town outside of Zigong, Sichuan for almost fifteen months. Molly writes: "China is fascinating and perplexing, and is giving me a perspective so absolutely different from my other time abroad. My Chinese is coming along well, although not nearly as quickly as Spanish or French ever did! Despite its small challenges, I love it here, and, lately, I'm constantly in shock that I only have about nine months left in my service! My next step from here will be graduate school. I hope to obtain a master's degree in an International Development-related field, with the end goal of a career in international humanitarian work, be it through public service or work with an NGO." 

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Brooke Alderman (MLL 2009, minor in Psychology)
Primary Therapist at A New Journey Eating Disorder Center, Los Angeles.

Christian Rojas (MLL 2009)
Premium Account Coordinator at MindBody Software, San Luis Obispo.

Christina Paredes (MLL 2009)
Technical Recruiter at Google.

Courtney Mellblom (MLL 2009, minors in Sustainable Agriculture and Biology)
Worked with California agriculture consortium; currently Educator at Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School in San Luis Obispo.

Fabián Londoño (MLL 2009, certificate Teaching English as a Second Language)
Spanish/English Interpreter at American Language Services, Imperial; Planning Spanish Interpreter at Dyett & Bhatia; Bilingual/Spanish Program Coordinator at Baldwin Academy.

Jeffrey "Jake" Hare  (MLL/BioSci 2009)
Jake worked at a veterinary clinic in Paso Robles until his acceptance to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, he will graduate June 2015.  Jake uses his spanish language frequently with clients and with his extended family. He writes, "I like what my MLL education did for me. Sometimes I dream in Spanish."

Alicia Valladares (MLL 2008)
Teaching English as a Second Language at California Pacific Language School.

Samantha Schermerhorn (MLL 2008) 
Atascadero Shelter Manager, North County Women's Shelter.

Leslie Van Meel (MLL 2008) 
Founder of WORLD2U (online translation services) and owner of the California Pacific Language School, San Luis Obispo.

Alexandre Dohrmann (MLL 2007)
Senior Account Manager, West Coast at Sugar Inc (Online Media).

David Jeffcoach (MLL/Bio 2007) 
Doctor of Medicine, currently resident at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine.

Lia Bettinelli (MLL 2007, minor in Linguistics)
Teaches middle school (Spanish and courses related to organic/sustainable agriculture).

Marquel Ramirez (MLL 2007, minor in Psychology)
Worked in waste management (reusing, zero-waste, recycling, packaging) and the environment through AmeriCorps with Conservation Corps North Bay (CA); served as assistant canvass director for Progressive Future in Saginaw, Michigan and Las Vegas, Nevada; served as the national coordinator of SeneGAD (Peace Corps Senegal's Gender and Development Committee). 

Marquel will graduate from law school Spring 2017, she is graduating from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. It is D.C.'s only public school, and the mission of the law school is focused on social justice.

Some of her accomplishments during law school have been serving the Treasurer of the Student Bar Association and the President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. She is also a Founding Law Student Member of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of D.C. During her first year, she received the Peggy Browning Fund Fellowship with Unite Here Local 2 in San Francisco. This past semester she was on the D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition Team, and they placed in the semi-final round.

Marquel writes, "I have endured three years of stress, finals, and legal internships, and I am thankful for each of you who have supported me throughout the long journey. Of course, I still have to study for and pass the California Bar Examination in July 2017, so that I may practice law and represent clients in California. After the bar, I do not know where my career path is going to lead, but I am sure it will be a good place."

Paul Goldberg (MLL 2006, certificate Teaching English as a Second Language) 
Vineyard manager at 
Bettinelli Vineyards and a director of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers.

Kevin Van Houten (MLL 2005, minor in Business)
ESL Instructor at Pasadena City College, ESL Instructor at Los Angeles Mission College, ESL Instructor at Glendale Community College.

Brittany Anderson-Cain (MLL 2004)
Ph.D. in Spanish from Emory University, teaching Spanish at Cal Poly. 

Kathrin Theumer (MLL 2003)
Ph.D. in Spanish from UCSB, visiting assistant professor at Franklin and Marshall college in Pennsylvania.

Arturo Araiza (MLL 2002)
Senior Production Training Supervisor at Bay Area Boston Scientific.

Are you a World Languages and Cultures Alum? We'd love to hear from you! Please let us know what you are up to!

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