Graduate Alumni


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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 


Marissa Massaro is a Field Technician at Cogstone Resource Management, a company that specializes in paleontology, archaeology, and history, and serves both public and private sector clients. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2018. As a field technician, Marissa works at various sites throughout the Bay Area and Nevada. Her responsibilities include surveying land, taking photographs, searching for human remains, historical materials or other signs of material cultures, and documenting historic or prehistoric finds. Marissa also assists with excavations. 

Arianna Heathcote  

Arianna Heathcote is a permanent Archaeologist
with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)working with an interdisciplinary team managing 1.7 million acres of public lands within Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. She received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from SJSU in 2019. As a graduate student, Arianna partnered with California State Parks to perform cultural resource surveys of a historic lumber town in Nisene Marks State Park. She has worked as an archaeological technician for the US Forest Service and National Parks Service, Albion Environmental, Pacific Legacy, Cogstone, Holman & Associates, and Ohlone Family Consulting Services.


Brett Witteck is a Design Researcher for IBM (Silicon Valley Location), an American multinational technology corporation. Brett received an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from San Jose State University in 2020. Their graduate project focused on a student-led HIV education and advocacy program on San Jose State campus. In their current position, Brett identifies high priority opportunities for tactical improvements, identifies and communicates appropriate research methodologies, conducts research methods and activities, and delivers compelling stories to communicate actionable insights. Before accepting their current position, Brett worked at SJSU as an academic advisor in the ACCESS Success Center.