Distinguished Alumni

The Department of Justice Studies recognizes alumni who after graduating excelled in life, achieving distinction and enhancing the reputation of the Department through their exemplary career, contributions to their field, and/or contributions to the Department.

Roster of Distinguished Alumni 

Karla Padilla - B.S. Justice Studies, 2017

Karla PadillaKarla Padilla graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S. in Justice Studies in 2017. During her time, she was actively involved in student leadership groups, including Alpha Phi Sigma and the Justice Studies Task Force. She then earned her M.S. in Social Work at San Jose State University in 2020. Karla is in the process of obtaining her Clinical Social Work license through the Board of Behavioral Services. Currently, Karla works as a forensic social worker at the Public Defenders Office in Santa Clara County, where she is able to combine her passion for criminal justice and social work. Karla conducts extensive biopsychosocial interviews and provides mitigation reports to the court to humanize and potentially reduce her client sentences and/or identify alternative mental health and substance use treatment to reduce recidivism. She provides services to juveniles, adults, and mentally ill persons who are involved in the criminal justice system.

Stan Bielous - B.S. Justice Studies, 2017

Stan BStan Bielous graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S. in Justice Studies and a minor in Forensic Studies in 2017. He then obtained an M.S. in Forensic Science from Syracuse University, along with advanced certificates in Medicolegal Death Investigation and Firearm and Toolmark Examination. During his time at both institutions, Stan was heavily involved in student leadership groups including Alpha Phi Sigma, The Justice Studies Task Force and Delta Alpha Pi.

Since graduating, Stan has worked as a Medicolegal Death Investigator for multiple Medical Examiner’s offices. He is a well-rounded investigator, having conducted investigations in many different climates and jurisdictions. He has a particular interest in unidentified remains and has worked closely with NAMUS, DHS and the FBI on cold cases. He is driven by helping families find answers during difficult times and works under the motto “Every scene, every time.” as he believes ethical, efficient death investigation is an essential service in every community.

Rosa Vega - B.S. Administration of Justice 2000

Rosa VegaRosa Vega received her Master's of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration with a concentration in Forensic Science Administration from Loyola University New Orleans and a Bachelor's of Science degree in Administration of Justice with a minor in Physical Anthropology from San Jose State University. Rosa is a Diplomate Registered Death Investigator through the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. In September 2022, she was appointed as the Coroner for a well-established and reputable California Coroner's Office. Rosa is dedicated and passionate about the Medicolegal field. She is an experienced Investigator who has personally investigated over 3,000 deaths including mass shootings, airplane accidents, child deaths, and homicides. In 2017 Rosa was awarded San Jose State University's Department of Justice Studies Distinguished Alumni award.

Samantha Peek - B.S. Forensic Science 2012

Samantha PeekSamantha Peek is a San Jose State University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science Concentration in Chemistry. She obtained her Master's Degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University. She completed an internship with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives researching explosives and fire debris analysis. She later worked as a Lab Assistant for the Santa Clara County Crime Lab.

Currently, she is the Chief Executive Officer and a Certified Fire Investigator for her company, Fire Investigation Industries, where she completes fire investigations, conducts training for law enforcement and fire departments, and researches fire and explosives. She has been a fire investigator for 9 years and has conducted over 400 fire investigations. She is currently teaching as a lecturer at San Jose State University.

Kenneth Kwok - M.S. Justice Studies 2006

Kevin KwokKenneth Kwok graduated with a Master’s in Justice Studies in 2006.  He joined the Fremont Police Department right after graduation and has been with the department for 18 years. Kenneth attended the San Jose Police Department Academy as an “allied agency” and graduated in the winter of 2006.  His collateral assignments as an officer included Field Training Officer (FTO- 9 years), SWAT Technology Officer (9 years), Crime Scene Investigator (CSI- 5 years), Detective (1 year of financial crimes, 2 years as sexual assault/child abuse), Defensive Tactics instructor, explorer advisor (5 years), and peer mentor.  In 2016, he was one of the department’s first UAV pilots. 

In 2019, Kenneth was promoted to sergeant, and he is currently assigned to the Professional Standards and Accountability unit.He is also the Special Investigator to Chief Sean Washington (another SJSU J.S. Alumni) and the supervisor of the UAV unit. Kenneth helped implement an experimental program known as Drone as First Responder (DFR), making the City of Fremont the only city to have a joint Public Safety Drone Program.

Virginia Montelongo - B.S. Criminal Justice 1989, M.S. Criminal Justice Administration 2002

Virginia MontelongoVirginia Montelongo is a lecturer in the Department of Justice Studies. She is a native of San Jose City, was a field worker in our "Valley of Heart's Delights," and lived with and through many of the changes that have occurred in Santa Clara County. Virginia is an alumnus of San Jose State University, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Criminal Justice (with an emphasis on Female Offenders). She is a lecturer in the Justice Studies Department. She is also an Associate Faculty at Evergreen Valley College (EVC) in the Administration of Justice Department for the past thirteen years.  While at EVC, she created the curriculum for three classes she teaches "Women and the Criminal Justice System" and “Probation, Parole, and Intermediate Sanctions.” The third class she created is “ Introduction to Public Safety Community Service Officer,”  which is part of a statewide four-course Badge Certificate, “ Certificate of Achievement in Community Service Officer.” Virginia is a retired Santa Clara County Deputy Probation Officer with 29 ½ years of service. She supervised juveniles and adults in controlled environments and the community. She created and taught an 8-hour certified course, “Female Offenders,” for the Probation Department for Probation staff to gain an understanding of the gender-responsive services and needs of female offenders. Virginia also held the assignment of Court Officer in the Proposition 36 Drug Court.

Eric Kwong - B.S. Forensic Science 2015

Eric Kwong is a lecturer teaching Forensic Science Applications and Crime Scene and Evidence Photography. He graduated San Jose State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Science and later earned his Master's Degree in Forensic Science at the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom.

Dina Kameda - M.S. Justice Studies 2006, M.A.

Dina Kameda

Dina Kameda earned a B.A. in Psychology (1995) with minors in English Literature and Sociology and M.A. in Counseling Psychology (1996) from Notre Dame de Namur University. She worked for several years as a Senior Research Analyst including EMQ Children and Family Services, Stanford University, and the Palo Alto VA Hospital. In 2006, she went on to earn a M.S. in Justice Studies (formerly Criminal Justice Administration) from San José State University.

Dina has been teaching in the Department of Justice Studies since the spring of 2007, and is currently a Senior Lecturer. She was awarded assigned time for Exceptional Levels of Service to Students AY 2018-2019, AY 2019-2020, AY 2020-2021, and AY 2023-2024. Dina serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma at SJSU, and is a member of several committees including: the Lecturer’s Development Committee, Justice Studies Scholarship Committee, and the Justice Studies Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. She has also served as an academic advisor since 2021.

Susie Rivera - M.S., J.D.

Susie Rivera




Sheree Martinek - M.S. Justice Studies 2013, M.P.A.

Sheree Martinek



Archived Distinguished Alumni