March-June 2020 Alumni Update

Catherine Jalomo (BS ’20) is pursuing a Ph.D. in the materials chemistry program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Alisen Moore (BA ’20) is an education specialist for Visalia Unified School District and is earning her special education credential at FPU.

Payton Miller (MA ’19), published the paper “John 9: A Question of Healing or a Question of Allegiance?” the fall 2019 edition of the Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability. Payton analyzes the passage’s story of Jesus healing a blind man, discussing the historical context in which it was written and the relevance of the story today.

Taylor Moore (MA ’18, BA ’16) started as an accountant auditor for the County of Tulare Auditor-Assessor Office in January 2020 and was accepted into the Master of Professional Accounting Program at Colorado State University in February 2020. She will start the CPA exam process in October 2020.

Donte McDaniel (BA ’17) showed his love of drumming as healing in a March 4 Selma Enterprise article.

Amanda Toste (BA ’17) was promoted to executive officer of the Merced County Superior Court.

Tyler Hodges (TC ’17, BA ’16) is a teacher at Crossroads Christian School.

Maxton Viera (TC ’17, BA ’16) was selected KSEE 24 Teacher of the Week in February 2020, based on a student recommendation.

Nuriddin Ziyadinov (BA ’16) is executive director of the Northern California Chapter of the American Red Cross, serving 15 counties and 1.2 million residents.

Sunbird standout Renato Bustamante (FS ’15) is men’s soccer coach at College of the Sequoias.

Kenneth Burchard (SEM ’14, BA ’09) was promoted to executive director of the Lake Tayler Transitional Care Hospital Foundation, Norfolk, VA. He had been vice president of resource development at United Way of Hampton Roads, VA.

Brandon Croft (BS ’14) was selected in March 2020 for a residency in internal medicine in the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine’s Fresno program.

Former men’s soccer team member Fabricio Nazare (BA ’13) is head coach for Cruzeiro Esporte Clube Academy in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Lynne Ashbeck (MA ’12) was featured in the article “The Women Who Shaped Clovis” in the March 18, 2020, Clovis Roundup. A former FPU Board member and adjunct instructor, Ashbeck has been Mayor of Clovis, a long-time member of that city’s council and held many other service posts.

Marcel Woodruff (SEM ’12) wrote an opinion piece in the April 27, 2020, Fresno Bee.

Mark Ottusch (MA ’11) was named athletics director at New Fairfield High School, New Fairfield, CT.

Vicencia Abundis (BA ’10) is the community outreach coordinator for the Lowell Community Development Corporation and is also earning her Master’s in Community Leadership and Transformation at the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.

Former Sunbird men’s basketball standout Todd Brown (BA ’10) stepped down as boys basketball coach at Kingsburg High School, according to the May 20 Kingsburg Recorder.

Brandon C. Benzinger (BA ’08) edited the anthology A Charitable Orthopathy: Christian Perspectives on Emotions in Multifaith Engagement published by Pickwick. The book is available on Amazon and at A graduate of Denver Seminary (M.Div. ‘16, Th.M. ‘18) and freelance editor, primarily with Baker Academic, Brandon is director of ministry operations at Community Bible Church in his hometown of Waterford, CA.

Efrain Tovar (MA ’06, BA ‘95) was a guest panelist in June 2020 for a California Teachers Association webinar titled: Elementary Educators: Communicating with Families of English Learners During Distance Learning.

Matthew Blythe (BA ’05) is a field scout for Sun Pacific Farming.

Rici (Bell MA ’05, BA ’02) Skei’s plea for people to support restaurants owned by African Americans was the subject of a May 31 Fresno Bee article.

Dave Highbaugh (MA, ’04) retired in June 2018 after a 42-year career teaching mathematics and music in the Campbell Union High, Riverdale High and Selma Unified School Districts. He also coached the Selma High Academic Decathlon team for 20 years. During his career, Dave was honored as school Teacher of the Year four times and was the recipient of Selma High’s Yearbook Dedication in 2000 and 2018. He also sings in the Fresno Master Chorale, plays in the Kingsburg City Band, works part-time as a substitute teacher and mentor, travels, volunteers for the Fresno County Academic Decathlon and serves as an elder, spiritual growth team leader and occasional musician at Selma First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Christa Wiens (TC ’00, BA ’99) published the article “Labels” in the May/June 2020 edition of Christian Leader magazine.

Ty Amundsen (BA ’98) was featured in an article published March 26 by the Arizona Republic

Dina Gonzalez-Pina (MA ’98, BA ’90), former assistant dean of multicultural ministries at FPU and now ethnic and gender equity specialist at Mennonite Central Committee, an international Christian relief organization, contributed to the article “Moving Past Theory” to the spring 2020 issue of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities magazine

Johhny Baltierra (MA ’97) is a provisional member of Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and provides a college access program (Bridge2College) for exemplary underrepresented high school students.

The promotion of alumnus William White (MA ’94) to superintendent of Williams Bay School District was the subject of February 22, 2020, article in the Lake Geneva (WI) Regional News

Terry Collier (BA ’84) is a partner at EFG Architects in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Efren Iglesia (BA ’72) retired as a Monterey County Superior Court judge May 22, 2020.



Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations