With 37 alumni teaching hundreds of students in dozens of classrooms, California State University, Dominguez Hills’ (CSUDH) 5th annual Professor for a Day on March 14 was its largest and most professionally diverse gathering of honorary professors to date.
Organized by the Office of Alumni Relations, each year Professor for a Day enables CSUDH alumni to share their knowledge, experience, and advice with students in classes matched to their fields. The majority of the alumni were new to Professor for a Day, but quickly found the students to be engaging, enjoyed reconnecting with former professors, and many relished in the opportunity to teach at the university level for the first time.
Others returned to Professor for a Day to continue giving back students and their alma mater, such as Bree Nguyen (’12, B.S., finance), head of talent partnerships at Facebook. She taught CSUDH lecturer Deborah Casanova’s Principles of Marketing course.
Nguyen shared with students several aspects of her position at Facebook, from pitching ideas to the company’s top executives to secure funding for her team to generate more celebrity video posts, and helping celebrity clients take advantage of the social media platform’s promotional and interactive capabilities. She then opened the lecture up to student questions to engage them better.
“I thought this time I’d keep it a bit looser and let the students tell me what they wanted to know because real-world experience is so valuable,” she said. “Overall, this is just a fulfilling thing for me to do. I got so much out of my experience here at Cal State Dominguez Hills, so it’s important for me to come back as an alumni and represent what a CSUDH graduate can do, and to be a good resource for the students.”
Nguyen also talked about her early struggles balancing work and college, which forced her to put her education on hold. She told a story from that time about the challenges of trying to get funding from venture capitalists for an Internet startup, which ultimately led to her becoming a Toro.
“That was tough, so I decided to become a venture capitalist myself. I went back to get my MBA, but still needed to finish my bachelor’s degree, and ended up a Cal State Dominguez Hills because it was affordable,” she Nguyen. “That turned out great for me because I had the most amazing experience here. When I finished my bachelor’s degree it felt more like I already had an MBA. That’s just one of the reasons why I’m very proud to be a Toro.”
Two of the newcomers to Professor for a Day were twin brothers Wade (’85, B.S., accounting) and Lyle (’92, B.S., business administration) Downey, partners in the Lakewood-based tax consulting firm Downey, Smith and Fier.
The brothers taught Professor Richard Malamud’s Income Taxation course, who is their former accounting and finance professor. They discussed how they found their niche in sales taxation, which ultimately led to their success. They also gave advice regarding breaking into the field, and praised the quality of a CSUDH’s faculty and interns.
“There was a lot of interaction on this campus. We were both presidents of the Accounting Society when we were here, and are still connected to Professor Malamud to this day. It was just a great environment to learn in,” said Wade. “So there should be zero question in your minds about if you can do this. We’re evidence of that. I can tell you that Cal State Dominguez Hills grads are as good and can compete as well as anyone out there. If you know what you need to do, are prepared, and put yourself in the right position, you’ll make it.”
2018 Professor for a Day: Guest Lecturers
- Austin Dove, trial attorney, Austin Dove Law Corporation
- Bree Nguyen, head of talent partnerships, Faceboo
- Chiraz Kelly, CEO, City National Security Services
- Deedra DeCoster, employee program representative, California Employment Development Department
- Gene Rogers, chief technologist, Boeing
- Gregory Haeseler, investment officer
- Harmony Frederick, director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, USC School of Social Work
- Janelle Matthews, program manager, Playworks
- Jason Duncan, administrative specialist, UCLA Health
- Jason Grant, probation officer, County of Los Angeles Probation Department
- Jose Solache, mayor, City of Lynwood
- Joseph Herrera, corporate vice president of human resources, AEG
- Joyce Paraico, Patient Engagement Program Coordinator, Asian Pacific Health Care Venture
- Juan Martinez, director of Information Technology, Phenomenex
- Juanita Dawson, Information Systems and Technology, Raytheon
- Keith Kauffman, chief of police, City of Redondo Beach
- Kyle Lee, field representative, Assemblyman Mike Gipson
- Leticia Villa, teacher, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District
- Lisa Valdez-Kidd, Outreach Librarian, Pierce College Library
- Maria Villa, attorney/partner, Law Offices of Lathrop & Villa
- Mario Flores, co-founder/managing director, Sportivo
- Matthew Cain, assistant professor, San Diego Miramar College
- Megan McCorvey, family service worker, Children’s Institute
- Olympia Woods, graphic designer, CSUDH Campus Dining
- Patrick West, city manager, City of Long Beach
- Raymund Diaz, Deputy District Attorney, Office of the District Attorney, Orange County
- Sanjeev Weerasuriya, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Systems Technology Inc.
- Sgt. Delaney Jones, Los Angeles Police Department
- Ted Ross, General Manager, Chief Information Officer, City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency
- Tieko Nejon, founder, Tieko Nejon Brand Strategy + Design
- Tonya Mitchell, territory manager, Internal Revenue Service
- Wade and Lyle Downey, partners, Downey, Smith & Fier, LLC.