Graduate Alumni


Maribel Martínez is Director of Santa Clara County's Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Affairs, the first county-level office of its kind in the US. Maribel received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2012. Her graduate projects included ethnographic-based evaluations and infusing arts and social justice curriculum in local community-based organizations serving women and immigrant leaders. Before accepting her current position, Maribel served as founding director of SJSU's César E. Chávez Community Action Center for seven years. There she applied her anthropological skills to cultivate student leaders among communities of color on campus and to build bridges to immigrant and marginalized communities.


Kanhong Lin is Regional Manager for Disaster Preparedness with the American Red Cross of New York City. He received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2012. Over the past three years, Kanhong has worked with Red Cross teams to provide relief for people affected by gas line explosions, train derailments, and snowstorms. Recently he worked with a group that developed New York's landmark Home Fire Safety Program, implemented jointly with the Mayor's Office and the Fire Department of New York. Apart from helping him manage projects, his anthropological training has allowed him to help immigrants from Haiti, Nepal, Tibet, Jamaica, Russia, Haiti and many other countries.

Ida Wilson

Ida Wilson is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Scientific Analysis, in partnership with the Center for Critical Public Health, an Oakland-based research center focused on improving health outcomes in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is part of a team that conducts qualitative research projects and analyzes the results. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2015. As a graduate student, she conducted research on the underground economy in Oakland and presented her work at numerous conferences and colloquiums, including the annual meetings of Southwestern Anthropological Association and the SJSU College of Social Sciences Dean's Student Research Colloquium. 


Amanda Feldman is a Qualitative Research Analyst with Precision Consulting, LLC, an academic research consulting company based in Wilmington, Delaware. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2015. In her current position, Amanda designs research projects using qualitative and mixed methods, provides consulting services to clients, and conducts coding and data analysis. She has held positions as a graduate assistant and laboratory assistant at SJSU and UC Santa Cruz. Amanda's graduate thesis, which explored new methods to analyze sharp force trauma on bone, was awarded SJSU's prestigious 2015-16 Outstanding Thesis Award. 


Armando Ayala is a UX Researcher at Facebook, where he works on the payments team. He conducts international and domestic research, including foundational and evaluative qualitative research. He works as an embedded member of a payments-centered product team, collaborating closely with engineers, designers, and product managers to improve the user experience of Facebook's products. Previously, Armando worked at Google and UEGroup as a UX researcher. As a graduate student he conducted ethnographic and user experience research for a San Francisco-based start-up, Trnio, exploring the possibility of designing and marketing a web-based app for 3-D printer users. As an undergraduate, Armando participated in the prestigious McNair Scholars Program. He received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2015. 


Nicole Conand is a Product Manager at AcquisBI, a Los Gatos-based company that develops cloud-based programs for government and health care markets. She received an M.A in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2011. Her current work incorporates behavioral research and user interface design for a rehabilitative health care system in Ireland. For several years Nicole has worked as a freelance researcher, contributing to projects ranging from mobile app development and HR program design to data management system research for large government agencies. Her graduate research integrated anthropology and media to address issues of civic engagement in Silicon Valley. Nicole is a part-time lecturer in SJSU's Anthropology Department. 


Jacqueline Gamboa is a Community Outreach Coordinator at Teatro Visión, a San Jose-based theater company and non-profit organziation promoting the value and artistic vision of Chicana/o theater. She received her M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2009. Jacqueline is currently involved in outreach efforts including presentations for elementary, junior high, and high school students. Prior to her current position, she worked as a community organizer at Sacred Heart Community Services where she conducted various projects, including an educational equity campaign with bilingual and low-income immigrant families. Jacqueline currently teaches courses in Chicano/a Studies and Ethnic Studies at San Jose City College. 


Michael Boero is an Archaeologist with the US Forest Service in southwestern Oregon. He serves as a resource specialist for a wide range of projects and activities, from ecological restoration and wildfires to public outreach programs. As a graduate student, Michael worked with Bok Kai Chinese Temple in Marysville, California to document hundres of objects dating back to the temple's founding in the mid-1800s. For his thesis work, Michael conducted ethnographic work in the Sierra Nevada to understand how traditional ecological knowledge informs contemporary forest restoration. He received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2017. 


Marina Corrales is a Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. She received her M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2010. For the past six years Marina has worked as a research assistant, graduate mentor, tutor, student evaluator, and program developer. Currently, Marina serves as a program coordinator for a U.S. Department of Education initiative to address retention of underrepresented, first-generation college students. Her research explores the impact of social capital on retention of students of color. While at SJSU, Marina participated in a project that brought together researchers from anthropology, urban planning, industrial design, and nutrition and food science. The project goal, funded by Kaiser Permanente, was to support health and wellness at SJSU.


John Schlagheck is an Associate Archaeologist at Holman & Associates, a San Francisco-based archaeological consulting firm. He received his M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2011. John's graduate research focused upon obsidian hydration dating methods, which he used to conduct original research at a Middle Holocene site located along California's north central coast. His interests in maritime and historical archaeology led him to conduct shipwreck archaeology in the West Indies island nation of Nevis and in Baja California. Closer to home, John worked on a Gold Rush-era lighter from Yerba Buena Cove. He recently completed a treatment and discovery plan for the archaeologically sensitive areas at the site of the Port Chicago navel munitions disaster of 1944 along the shore of Suisun Bay.


Loan Luu is a UX Customer Success Mentor at UserZoom, a San Jose-based company specializing in usability testing and user experience research. She is currently on assignment in the Netherlands. Loan received her M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2012. Her responsibilities include helping UserZoom's clients integrate new programs, providing training on user experience products, and managing work teams. After graduating from SJSU,Loan was employed as a program coordinator at Kapor Capital and a researcher at Bronze Investments. Her graduate project informed the design of a public landmark at San Jose's Diridon Station.


Jessica Donohue is Education and Prevention Coordinator with the Santa Cruz AIDS Project, which serves HIV-positive men, women, and children in Santa Cruz county. The Santa Cruz AIDS Project is connected with Encompass Community Services, a non-profit organization. Jessica received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2012. In her current position, Jessica develops evidence-based HIV prevention education curricula, conducts needs assessments to determine barriers to HIV prevention, and provides onsite HIV and hepatitis C testing. As a graduate student, she worked as part of a team that produced a documentary film on terminal breast cancer patients.

Sabrina Morales

Sabrina Morales is a Senior Associate at Circlepoint, an Oakland-based firm specializing in communications and environmental services. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2012. Sabrina's graduate project focused on the accessibility of health and social services by Latina immigrants. She conducted an ethnographic evaluation of a women's health group in San Jose and provided recommendations for group sustainability and network building. Her experience includes project management, evaluation, and rapport building with public partners. Sabrina currently collaborates with agencies and businesses to provide strategic communications to Bay Area communities concerning public works projects.


Kristy Keller is Program Director with San Francisco-based Compass Family Services. She has experience in program management, service development, and evaluation. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology in 2013 from SJSU. In graduate school, Kristy developed and implemented programmatic interventions to enhance volunteer services at an Oakland-based refugee resettlement agency. These interventions responded to an examination of refugee resettlement policies in practice, as well as various institutional barriers to effective service delivery. In her current position, she directs the Drop-In Center at Compass Connecting Point, a program of Compass Family Services. She also serves on the Communications Committee of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology.


Greg Cabrera is a Research Analyst for TRC Staffing Services, an Atlanta-based company. He received his M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2008. Greg is currently working on TRC's Voice of the Customer Project, an initiative that focuses upon providing customized market research to clients in the food industry. He also has several years of experience collecting, analyzing, and presenting market research data for two major insurance companies, State Farm Insurance and Apex Systems. As a graduate student, he was involved in projects on entrepreneurship and financial literacy.


Michelle Nero is Owner and Manager of Nero & Associates, a San Jose-based private investigations company. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2010. Michelle's company provides business and individuals with a range of services including background investigations, locating missing persons, business litigation, insurance fraud investigation, and adoptee and birth parent searches. Her graduate project focused upon ways in which residents in San Jose's Olinder neighborhood might find new opportunities for improving public safety. (Note: To protect Michelle's identity, we are not using her real photo!)

chris avery

Christopher Avery is a Senior User Experience Researcher at eBay. He received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2011. In his current position, Christopher is responsible for carrying out design research in support of eBay's business to consumer products. He is also exploring ways in which qualitatively informed approaches to big data might improve its analytical effectiveness. Before beginning his current assignment, Christopher conducted user experience research at Yahoo! and design anthropology at SonicRim. His graduate research was an archaeological investigation into agricultural expansion and intensification on Hawai'i Island from 1400-1650 AD.


Mayra Cerda is Savings Program Coordinator for The Opportunity Fund, a San Jose-based non-profit organization that supports the advancement of the economic well-being of working people by helping them earn, save and and invest in their future.  Her programs serve more than 350 college students and single mothers seeking better financial futures. Mayra received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2011. Her graduate work focused upon an experimental micro-finance program in Silicon Valley. Before accepting her current position with The Opportunity Fund, Mayra worked as a financial researcher for US Financial Diaries, a joint project of New York University's Wagner's Financial Access Initiative and the Center for Financial Services Innovation.

James Battle

James Doucet-Battle is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He received an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from San Jose State University in 2005 with a committee made up of anthropology faculty. After graduating from SJSU, James attended the UC Berkeley/UC San Francisco Ph.D. Program in Medical Anthropology and received his doctoral degree in 2012. He has received a number of prestigious fellowships including the University of California's President's Postdoctoral Fellowship. His current work focuses upon the intersection of race, science, and medicine.


Chelsea Bahr is SaaS (Software as a Service) Implementation Coordinator at Brown and Brown, a national insurance intermediary. She manages software implementation for an employee benefits administration system and is responsible for collecting and formatting data, developing educational and marketing materials, and training clients and colleagues. Chelsea also designed custom project management workflows to use in Salesforce and is now a Salesforce Administrator. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2015. As a student she worked with NOVA, a workforce development agency, to uncover soft skill sets that lead to career success in the tech industry.



Robert Johnston is Program Manager for Student Leadership and Engagement at San Jose-based International Technological University. He received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2014. In his current position, Robert oversees student events, works with student government and organizations, and helps develop initiatives to increase student engagemnt. His graduate research focused upon the challenges faced by women immigrating to the San Francisco Bay Area from Taiwan. Prior to attending SJSU, Robert served as a US Army Infantry Lieutenant and was stationed in Germany and Iraq.


Jing Li is a Human Resources Generalist at Suning Commerce R&D Center in Palo Alto, a research and development lab that supports one of China's largest retail companies. She is responsible for a range of activities, including recruiting top talent for Suning's research center and serving as a cultural broker between the company's Palo Alto office and its headquarters in Nanjing, China. Jing Li received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2013. Her graduate project was a critical analysis of the development of a national park in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan.

gustavo flores

Gustavo Flores is an Adjunct Faculty member of the Evergreen Valley College Department of Social Sciences at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. He is also involved in the Bay Area Cultural Landscape Research Group, a collaborative effort between researchers at Foothill College, Stanford University, and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Gustavo received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2014. His graduate research, based upon ethnohistorical methods, examined the ways in which Bay Area Native American groups resisted Spanish colonial institutions during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

 Christine M

Christine Moellenberndt is a Community Manager at Reddit, a San Francisco-based online discussion site. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2013. Her graduate thesis, which focused on the relationship between online communities and the companies that run the sites on which they gather, was the College of Social Science's Outstanding Thesis for 2014. Christine uses her anthropology skills for serving as a bridge between Reddit's community and company, surfacing community sentiment, and solving community issues. She was interviewed about her work by the public radio program Marketplace in 2016.  


Chris Keith is a Content Writer and Social Media Marketer at Software Developers Incorporated, a Silicon Valley company specializing in mobile app design. He also works as a Regulatory Analyst for Caldwell Consulting Engineers, an environmental engineering firm. Chris received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2014. As a graduate student, he worked for two different cultural resource management companies. He also served as field director for a field school in the Caribbean island nation of Nevis. Chris's research project, which analyzed the prehistoric skeletal remains of a Nevisian woman, won SJSU's Outstanding Thesis award in 2014.


Karen Johannson is Business Manager at Bookshop Santa Cruz, an independent community-oriented bookstore established in Santa Cruz in 1966. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2015. Kären's position requires her to provide accounting services for the bookstore, to interact with employees and customers from diverse backgrounds, and to support the bookstore's commitment to community values. As a graduate student, she worked collaboratively with the Santa Cruz Archaeological Society and the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park to develop interactive educational modules for young learners.


Andrea Presler is a Senior Scientist and Ethnobotanical Specialist at Northwest Anthropology LLC, based in Richland, Washington. She received her M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2009. She is currently working with members of the Wanapum tribe conducting ethnobotanical surveys and habitat assessments of traditional cultural properties. For nearly a year, Andrea taught anthropology and environmental studies courses at Central Washington University. As a graduate student, she focused on ethnobotany, environment, and culture in Quillabamba, Peru.


Sara Salinas is the Educational Coordinator and co-founder of Comstock Community Farm in Hollister, California. In her current position, she creates curricula for workshops and classes, maintains partnerships with local schools, and coordinates groups of volunteers who work on the farm. She also has experience consulting with a community food bank. Sara received her M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2013. Her project was a needs assessment of food preferences among Latino food bank clients in San Benito County. Sara also teaches introductory anthropology courses at Gavilan College and Hartnell Community College.


Matthew Boehm is a Research Manager and Analyst for Mozaic Group, a global market research firm serving the technology, finance and healthcare industries. He received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2008. He currently conducts and provides analysis of research in the areas of user experience, customer advocacy, segmentation, product design, messaging, positioning and business strategy using a variety of qualitative methods. Matthew's graduate research focused on the evaluation of a Kaiser Permanente funded community education program at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.

robin c

Robin Connors is an Associate Archaeologist with the California State Department of Parks & Recreation's Colorado Desert District, located east of San Diego. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2009. After graduating, Robin worked as an archaeologist at Kalaupapa National Historical Park. Robin is currently involved in diverse projects ranging from protection of Native American cultural resources to public outreach and education. In 2015, her efforts to safeguard Native American artifacts were featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Robin's graduate research focused upon status, gender, and the role of women in pre-contact Hawaii.


Candice Locke is a Sales Enablement Manager at SumoLogic, a Redwood City-based Internet technology company that provides cloud-based data analytics services to private and public sector organizations. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2010. Prior to her current position, Candice held managerial marketing positions at two different Bay Area firms, Blue Coat Systems and Abiquo. Her graduate project was focused upon helping a non-profit organization develop appropriate educational materials for middle-school students.


Emily Green is a Director and Educator at IRIS Science Academy which is located in Scotts Valley, California. IRIS specializes in teaching the sciences to elementary and middle school children through after-school programs and summer camps. Emily received her M.A. in Applied Anthropolgy from SJSU in 2014. In her current position, she ties in anthropological concepts with IRIS Science Academy’s traditional scientific curriculum. As a graduate student, Emily focused upon the civic and cultural uses of public spaces. Her research site was the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy in San Jose.


Stella D'Oro is a Senior Archaeologist, Project Manager, and GIS Specialist at Albion Environmental, Inc., a Santa Cruz-based cultural and natural resources consulting firm. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology and a GIS Certification from SJSU in 2009. At Albion, Stella is involved in a range of activities including project management, field laboratory management, archaeological excavation, ethnographic interviewing, mapping, and co-authoring field reports. She is also an experienced graphic designer. Stella's graduate research explored the impact of climatic changes on southern San Francisco Bay Area Native American populations approximately 1000 years ago.


Varsha Damle is Director of Commercial Effectiveness at ZS Pharma, a San Mateo-based pharmaceutical company. In her current position, Varsha specializes in pharmaceutical market analytics, sales operations, and salesforce effectiveness. She received her M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2016. Her graduate research focused upon the higher educational challenges faced by veterans in Northern California. Prior to working in her current position, she did consulting work for BizInsights, a business information service company.