California State University, Dominguez Hills’ (CSUDH) 4th annual Professor for a Day on April 13 provided 29 alumni the opportunity to teach college-level courses and impart to students their knowledge, insights, and advice, while also providing students a glimpse at opportunities available to them after graduation.
Organized by the Office of Alumni Relations, Professor for a Day features lectures and interactive activities led by the honorary professors who are matched with classes relevant to their fields.
“Professor for a Day is a great opportunity for students. There are no better role models than those who are in the trenches and have already developed those skills that students will need to succeed,” said Jennifer Trapp, a liberal studies lecturer at CSUDH whose class was taught by alumnus Carlos Montes (’99, B.A., music; ’10, M.A., education), principal of LAUSD’s David Starr Jordan High School in Watts. “Our alumni also do a great job of helping our students build those critical connectors to what they are learning in the classroom so they may better apply them after entering the workforce.”
Montes, who has been principal of Jordan High school since 2011, was very passionate and personable while lecturing to Rosenfelt’s class. Those characteristics have also helped him lead the development of the “restorative practices” that have transformed Jordan from the lowest performing high school in LAUSD in 2011 to the “physically, emotionally, and intellectually safe space committed to social justice” that it is today.
During his talk, Montes shared one of the most important traits Jordan High School now looks for in teacher candidates.
“A growth mindset is a must. I’m bringing on a physics teacher and met with a potential candidate this morning. He wanted to go in and take a look at Jordan, because like most, they believe the hype,” said Montes. “Then, all of a sudden, it’s ‘Oh man, this is a pretty cool place.’ So I talked to him to try to get a better idea of where his mind was. I wanted to know if he’s ready to embrace restorative practices, our collaborative norms, and the culture that we now have here at Jordan. At the end of the day, we want a team player, someone who is willing and excited about riding this momentum that we’ve worked so hard to build.”
Michael Gonzalez (’86, B.A, economics), a forensics accountant for the Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), taught in assistant professor of accounting HakJoon Song’s advanced accounting class. He touched on several of the personal skills needed for professional success in his and all fields, such as good communication skills, the importance of fostering success for others, and only spending time processing information that increases productivity, as well as how to work with a forensics accountant.
Gonzalez, who also told students in his matter-of-fact style that the most important skills they can develop are “critical thinking and the ability to speak to anyone,” placed flyers out for students who may be interested in applying to the FBI when the bureau begins seeking new applicants in May 2017.
“A forensic accountant has to provide a systemic and disciplined approach to evaluating, researching and analyzing information. Most of my work has to do with establishing predication, the violation that occurred, or corroborating singular source information,” explained Gonzalez. “Often you have to find information, either through a subpoena or search and seizure. If you’re trying to prove a violation of law, it’s essential to know the elements of the law that have to be proven. The key is to give your organization or customer financial results that can be understood and used to solve a case.”
Patricia Franklin, who is studying journalism at CSUDH, enjoyed the lecture presented by alumna Markette Sheppard (’02, B.A., communications), host of the Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate morning show “Great Day Washington.” Sheppard spoke via Skype to a feature and critical writing class about public relations writing and how it relates to her role as a television news host.
“I really loved her presentation. I think it’s great that alumni like Markette are coming back to campus to give us the encouragement we need to get to where we want to be, and to support us in our endeavors,” said Franklin. “It’s just encouraging to know that they were here—they were us at some point—and now they’ve moved on and are very successful.”
2017 Professor for a Day: Guest Lecturers
- Robert Anderson, teacher, Compton Unified School District
- Janet Andrade, Project Lead the Way instructor, Bud Carson Middle School
- Cuauhtemoc Avila, superintendent, Rialto Unified School District
- Susana Chavez, teacher, Lynwood Unified School District
- Lisa Collins, director of Human Resources, Telepictures Productions, Warner Bros Entertainment Group
- Erick Garcia, attorney
- Michael Gonzalez, forensic accountant, Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Robert Goodwin, co-owner, Stone and Compass Foundation
- Tahlia Grond, associate, PwC
- Tonya Haynes, senior manager of call center operations, Fandagno
- Gilbert (Gil) Ivey, chief administrative officer (retired), Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
- Chardae Jenkins, publicist, Cashmere Agency
- Keith Kauffman, chief of police, City of Redondo Beach
- Chiraz Kelly, CEO, City National Security Services
- Rafi Manoukian, city treasurer, City of Glendale
- Mary Sue Maurer, mayor, City of Calabasas; district director for California Conservation Corps
- Brandon Mims, city treasurer, City of Compton
- Carlos Montes, principal, David Starr Jordan High School
- Laura Perdew, director of communications, Irvine Chamber of Commerce
- Andy Perez, director port affairs, Union Pacific Railroad
- Kishore Ramlagan, marketing coordinator, LA Galaxy
- Marcia Reed, principa, 186th Street Elementary School
- Sabrina Rivera, attorney, Western State College of Law
- Michael Rouse, VP, Diversity, Philanthropy & Community Affairs (retired), Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
- Emilio Salas, deputy executive director, Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles
- Markette Sheppard, host of “Great Day Washington,” WUSA Channel 9
- Robert Smith, writer’s production assistant for “EMPIRE,” Twentieth Century Fox
- Leo Terrell, radio talk show host, KABC 790; attorney, Law Office of Leo Terrell
- Eileen Yoshimura, financial manager, Port of Los Angeles
Click here to view photos of all the guest alumni lecturers during Professor for a Day.