Your Alumni Board

Members of the board are elected by the alumni and meet throughout the year to establish, in collaboration with the dean and UC San Diego Alumni, the goals and objectives for the School. The board assists the staff in the implementation of programs for more than 3,000 alumni worldwide annually.

Message from the President

Aaron JacobsonDear fellow alumni,

As we embark on a brand new school year, I’m inspired by what is to come. This year is of particular importance because we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of GPS.  Anniversaries give us the opportunity as a community to look back at all that we have achieved together, while affording us the space to think big about our collective future.  Now, more than ever, the school’s intellectual rigor and boundless curiosity combined with our reputation for problem solving is vital, as we continue to tackle some of the biggest social and economic challenges of our time. I’m already looking forward to the next 30 years!

The year is off to a great start, with the GPS Alumni Board having had its first official meeting of the year in July to select new board members. I’m pleased to announce that this year, we welcome four new board members: Darcy Cook, MPIA '91, Maura Deignan, MPIA '13, L. Lin Ong, MPIA '10 and Tamiko Sher, MPIA '91. I’m thrilled to be joined by this new group of enthusiastic members.  

I’d also like to take a moment to thank Aaron Jacobson, MPIA '08 the outgoing GPS Alumni Board President, who has spent the last two years guiding the strategic direction of the board. As I step into this new role, I know I have big shoes to fill and am grateful for the leadership he’s shown during the last year as we transitioned leadership. 

Also, as we look towards the coming year, the GPS Alumni Board continues to focus on our strategic goals, which ultimately drive towards our mission of supporting the school, current students and the alumni community. These goals include:

  • Raise the global visibility of the School
  • Increase the quality and quantity of students to the School;
  • Promote and increase the value of GPS to its alumni;
  • Expand giving from alumni to the School; and
  • Leverage the use of technology/social media to reach more than 3,000 alumni.

These goals remain largely the same as in previous years, but this year we will take on a new focus on board governance. This new focus will allow for enhancements to the overall health and productivity of the board. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!

Finally, the upcoming year is peppered with exciting opportunities for us to get together to celebrate our anniversary. These activities will culminate in a big celebration the weekend of April 26-27. I would like to encourage the entire community to participate in these activities and to stay in touch with GPS.

As always, there are some easy ways to stay in touch. Please continue to read the GPS alumni newsletter, reach out to our LinkedIn group, get involved with regional clubs, update your information with Director of Alumni Relations Nurit Mandel and submit a class note. Also, should you have an idea or wish to get involved in some other way, feel free to get in touch with me directly.


Blake Tye, MPIA '10

Board members

  • Parul Agarwal, MPIA '15, World Bank (Washington, D.C.)

    Parul Agarwal, MPIA '15, World Bank (Washington, D.C.)

    Parul is a statistical analyst at the World Bank in the Development Economics Data Group. She works on collecting and analyzing international debt data and leads the team's Data Automation Lab. She also enjoys graphic design, illustration and building digital products. Parul holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University.
  • Amandine Berro, MIA '16, PlayStation (San Diego)

    Amandine Berro, MIA '16, PlayStation (San Diego)

    Berro is currently a data analyst for PlayStation, where she works closely with the IT team to predict what the gaming studios will need and find new ways to reduce costs. While at GPS, she was involved with student-led consulting clubs both at the School and with the wider UC San Diego community. Berro also founded the GPS Francophone Club, a student-run organization aimed at increasing the understanding of politics, economics and culture in any and all French-speaking countries or regions.
  • Coralie Bordes, MPIA '11, maxiaNET (San Diego)

    Coralie Bordes, MPIA '11, maxiaNET (San Diego)

    Bordes is the cannabis and hemp business manager at maxiaNET, an export management firm based in San Diego, Calif. She is also the CEO and founder of Coco Ana Chocolate. From 2011-17, Bordes was at Saint-Gobain, a French manufacturing corporation and world leader in habitat and construction markets. During that time, she held various marketing and operations roles as a market analyst, production control manager and global product manager. Prior to GPS, Bordes earned her B.A. and M.A. in international business from La Sorbonne University in France.
  • Michael Buesa, BA/MIA '13, Credo Mobile (San Francisco)

    Michael Buesa, BA/MIA '13, Credo Mobile (San Francisco)

    Buesa currently is a pricing analyst at Credo Mobile in San Francisco, where he helps shape both customer-facing and wholesale pricing. In addition to providing wireless mobile services, Credo also empowers its customers to advocate for social justice policies and progressive change. Previously, Buesa served as a project analyst at Opinion Dynamics Corp. and as a capital markets analyst at Waypoint Homes. While at GPS, Buesa worked for The Brookings Institution, where he collaborated with fellow alumni board member Ross Bixler on the Institution’s Metropolitan Export Initiative, creating an exhaustive evaluation and analysis of San Diego's engagement with international markets.
  • Darcy Cook, MPIA '91, Clear Blue Sea (San Diego)

    Darcy Cook, MPIA '91, Clear Blue Sea (San Diego)

    Cook is currently the director of development for Clear Blue Sea, a nonprofit dedicated to cleansing oceans of plastic debris by designing an offshore platform to remove plastic pollution. She is on the board of the Berry Good Food Foundation, overseeing their sustainable seafood activities in an effort to educate, connect and support local food producers and consumers. While at GPS, she co-founded the Journal of Environment and Development, co-established the school’s initial recycling program and after graduation, was a founding alumni board member.
  • Santiago Davila, MPIA '07, U.S. Department of State (Washington, D.C.)

    Santiago Davila, MPIA '07, U.S. Department of State (Washington, D.C.)

    Davila works in the public affairs section at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru, where he leads alumni and education programs. He and his wife Cynthia Davila, MPIA ’07, are both members of the foreign service. An experienced international business manager, technology and education enthusiast, he previously spent eight years at Hewlett Packard in the U.S. and China working in various international business roles. He also holds a B.S. in applied economics from Virginia Tech.
  • Maura Deignan, MPIA '13, Booz Allen Hamilton (San Diego)

    Maura Deignan, MPIA '13, Booz Allen Hamilton (San Diego)

    Deignan is a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton where she provides communications expertise, strategic planning and program management support to government clients. She is also the current president of the San Diego GPS Alumni Regional Club. Previous work includes managing the executive MAS-IA degree program at GPS, volunteering as an AIF Clinton Fellow in India and teaching English in Japan on the JET Programme. She holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from UCLA.
  • John Edwards, MAS-IA '15, U.S. Navy (San Diego)

    John Edwards, MAS-IA '15, U.S. Navy (San Diego)

    Edwards is a department head and flight instructor at Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron FOUR ONE (HSM-41), based in Coronado, Calif. He instructs students in the MH-60R Seahawk and is responsible for safety, standardization and mentorship of more than 50 instructor pilots and 35 instructor aircrew. At GPS, Edwards founded the Strategic Studies Group in 2015 and continues to support its growth and outreach to defense and policy professionals in the San Diego Area. He also holds a B.S. in history from the U.S. Naval Academy. Beginning in February 2017, Edwards will serve as a department head at Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron THREE FIVE (HSM-35), acting as an Officer-in- Charge of a MH-60R helicopter detachment to Seventh Fleet (Asia).
  • Diana Fakhrai, MPIA '04, Law Offices of Diana G. Fakhrai (San Diego)

    Diana Fakhrai, MPIA '04, Law Offices of Diana G. Fakhrai (San Diego)

    Fakhrai is an experienced immigration attorney. She is a graduate of UC San Diego with a MPIA from GPS in 2004 and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Fakhrai currently serves as the liaison for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is also a member of the National American Immigration Lawyers Association Pro Bono Committee, sits on the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles Athletic Club and has served as the liaison the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

  • Chihiro Fujimoto, MAS-IA '11, World Bank, (Washington, D.C.)

    Chihiro Fujimoto, MAS-IA '11, World Bank, (Washington, D.C.)

    Fujimoto is a financial officer in the capital markets division of the World Bank in Washington, D.C., where her responsibilities include managing World Bank’s liquidity and performing trading activities for World Bank’s funding program. Prior to joining World Bank in 2013, Fujimoto worked at Bank of Japan, executing interventions in the foreign currency markets and providing economic analysis of Asian, British and U.S. markets. She also holds a bachelor of economics from Waseda University.
  • Mark Higgins, MPIA '04, Strategen Consulting (San Francisco)

    Mark Higgins, MPIA '04, Strategen Consulting (San Francisco)

    Higgins is vice president and chief operating officer for Strategen Consulting in Berkeley, Calif., which offers strategy consulting for ventures in clean energy markets. Higgins’s career in the energy industry has focused on renewables project development and utility regulatory strategy. Prior to Strategen, which he joined in 2014, Higgins held positions at Pacific Gas and Electric Co., SunEdison and Hu Honua Bioenergy, among other companies. He also holds a B.A. in government from the University of Notre Dame.
  • Aaron Jacobson, MPIA '08, United Technologies Aerospace Systems (San Diego)

    Aaron Jacobson, MPIA '08, United Technologies Aerospace Systems (San Diego)

    Jacobson is a materials manager with United Technologies Aerospace Systems in Chula Vista, Calif. where he advises and trains the organization in lean logistics and material flow. Additionally, he is responsible for the strategic material planning for the organization's Airbus portfolio. Prior to joining United Technologies in 2010, he worked as a marketing and sales analyst for eBioscience. Jacobson holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

  • Jason Kim, MAS-IA '12, U.S. Embassy Seoul (Korea)

    Jason Kim, MAS-IA '12, U.S. Embassy Seoul (Korea)

    Kim is a Foreign Area Officer working as the Deputy Chief of the Joint-U.S. Military Affairs Group – Korea (JUSMAG-K), the Security Cooperation Office of the U.S. Embassy Country Team in the Republic of Korea (ROK). JUSMAG-K’s mission is to support the ROK Government in the modernization and sustainability of its armed forces through strategic plans and engagements, co-production and scientific development, and security assistance operations focusing on foreign military sales. Prior to his assignment in Korea, Kim served as the Country Desk Officer for India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam at U.S. Army Pacific Headquarters in Honolulu, Hawaii. Kim also holds a B.S. in information systems from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

  • Jessica Megill, MPIA '10, U.S. Department of State (Washington, D.C.)

    Jessica Megill, MPIA '10, U.S. Department of State (Washington, D.C.)

    Megill has served as a political officer in the U.S. Foreign Service since 2004. Her overseas postings include China, Germany, Paraguay and East Africa. Domestically, she has served at the State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., as well as at U.S. Pacific Command. She earned her bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Cornell University.
  • Peter Moritzburke, MPIA '96, Consultant (San Francisco)

    Peter Moritzburke, MPIA '96, Consultant (San Francisco)

    Moritzburke is an independent consultant based in the San Francisco area with over 20 years experience in renewable power project development, energy market entry strategy, energy policy and water resource management. He has held leadership positions with E.ON, SunPower, BESST and CERA, as well as board positions with multiple renewable energy trade associations. Moritzburke has supported GPS over the years through hosting student delegations, internships and working with alumni and faculty focused on carbon reduction strategies.
  • L. Lin Ong, MPIA '10, Cal Poly Pomona/Carolina Population Center (Los Angeles/Chapel Hill)

    L. Lin Ong, MPIA '10, Cal Poly Pomona/Carolina Population Center (Los Angeles/Chapel Hill)

    Ong is an assistant professor of international business and marketing at Cal Poly Pomona's College of Business Administration. Her research interests center on vulnerable consumers and low-income marketplaces and the strategies of hybrid organizations and social enterprises that develop market-based solutions to address social issues. She is also a research scholar in data innovation for the Family Planning Country Action Process Evaluation (FP CAPE), which is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)-funded project taking a complex systems lens to improve modern contraceptive use in the DRC and Nigeria (based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's (UNC) Carolina Population Center (CPC)). While at GPS, Ong was a Dean's Fellow, co-president of Southeast Asian Link (SEAL) and a graduate research assistant for the Global Information Industry Center (GIIC). Ong also holds a doctorate and master’s of science from UNC and a bachelor's from Vanderbilt University.
  • Liliana Pao, MPIA '02, European Commission (Brussels)

    Liliana Pao, MPIA '02, European Commission (Brussels)

    Pao is a human resources management officer at the European Commission in Brussels, where she designs and manages communication and talent management strategies. Prior to joining the European Commission in 2010, Pao was a senior consultant for strategic and corporate communications at FleishmanHillard and board member of the Belgian Public Relations Consultants Association. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and political science from UC San Diego.
  • Jamal Russell Black, MIA '16, Veridian Analytics (San Francisco)

    Jamal Russell Black, MIA '16, Veridian Analytics (San Francisco)

    Russell Black graduated from GPS in 2016 and is an experienced data scientist and marketing specialist. Directly after obtaining his MIA, he began work as a quantitative analyst in Washington, D.C. Through his work he aims to identify, implement and evaluate sustainable practices in both the private and public sector. More recently, Russell Black has founded Veridian Analytics, a data-driven firm that provides actionable insights into the renewable and clean tech industries. He is a firm believer in the power of data analytics, aiming to use it to positively influence change throughout the world.

  • Tamiko Sher, MPIA '90, Z.A. ZEN Consulting (Johannesburg, South Africa)

    Tamiko Sher, MPIA '90, Z.A. ZEN Consulting (Johannesburg, South Africa)

    Sher is the founder and CEO of Z.A. ZEN Consulting, which specializes in strategic entrepreneurship development through innovation-based solutions for international corporations, government organizations and nonprofit operations. The company works with over various consultants, coaches, mentors and other specialists, ranging from new graduates to seasoned veterans. In addition, Sher owns an export agency of SMME customers in Southern Africa that manufactures handmade arts and craft, selling R6+ million goods to Japan, representing 120+ artisans, nonprofit organizations, crafters and micro-enterprises. She earned her bachelor's degree in business administration from San Diego State University and her master's degree from GPS.
  • Hrishikesh Somani, MIA '16, Nielsen (Ho Chi Minh City)

    Hrishikesh Somani, MIA '16, Nielsen (Ho Chi Minh City)

    Somani is a senior analyst with Nielsen in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He is responsible for leading the market research for Personal Care segment of Unilever's total business in Vietnam. He uses Nielsen's proprietary data to analyze trends in the market and help Unilever create strategies for their brands to gain/maintain leadership positions in the market. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication and used to work in a wildlife documentary film crew before coming to UC San Diego.
  • Elias Terman, MPIA '94, Integris Software (Mill Valley)

    Elias Terman, MPIA '94, Integris Software (Mill Valley)

    Terman is vice president of global marketing at Integris Software in Mill Valley, where he is responsible for global marketing and communications strategy. He started his career as an entrepreneur in Mexico City and now enjoys helping grow venture-backed startups into industry leaders. He helped Distil Networks create and dominate the bot mitigation market, built out the marketing and business development organizations at OneLogin, and helped establish SnapLogic as a leading application integration company. Terman also holds a B.A. in economics from San Diego State University.
  • Blake Tye, MPIA '10, Intel Corp. (San Diego)

    Blake Tye, MPIA '10, Intel Corp. (San Diego)

    Tye is the director of technology advocacy and spectrum strategy at Intel, leading various advocacy efforts that aim to drive adoption of next generation technologies. In this capacity, Tye oversees a custom research program focusing on advancements in 5G and adjacent technologies. Blake also represents Intel in various trade associations, notably serving as a board member for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) Foundation. Prior to Intel, Blake worked as a manager of government affairs at Qualcomm where she directed technology demonstration programs in emerging markets for the company’s Wireless Reach™ initiative. Tye holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with double majors of international studies and Spanish literature.

  • Karla Yee Amezaga, MIA '16, Inter-American Development Bank, IADB (Washington, D.C.)

    Karla Yee Amezaga, MIA '16, Inter-American Development Bank, IADB (Washington, D.C.)

    Amezaga's work focuses on strengthening the statistical capacity of Latin American countries, specifically to help improve the way government offices collect, analyze and disseminate official data. Before joining the IADB, she worked at the World Bank on issues such as measuring poverty and other socioeconomic indicators, as well as monitoring external debt levels. Her professional experience also includes leadership roles in strategic communications, development work in rural areas of Mexico and collaborations with the OECD, Ashoka Changemakers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. She holds a bachelor's degrees in political science and international relations from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM).

Past presidents

  • Past Presidents

    We would like to acknowledge and thank the past presidents for their service.

    Aaron Jacobson, MPIA ’08 (2016 – 2018)
    Rebecca Eyre, MPIA '90 (1991 – 1993)
    Mark Spalding, MPIA '92 (1993 – 1996)
    Mike Stankiewicz, MPIA '94 (1996 – 1998)
    Heather Shepard, MPIA '95 (1998 – 2000)
    Jennifer Kellogg, MPIA '93 (2000 – 2002)
    Melissa Dennis, MPIA '97 (2002 – 2004)
    David Freitas, MPIA '97 (2004 – 2006)
    Matt Hill, MPIA '04 (2006 – 2008)
    Ben Bahney, MPIA '06 (2008 – 2009)
    Anne Craib, MPIA '93 (2009 – 2010)
    Brooke Partridge, MPIA '91 (2010 – 2013)
    Jeff Rector, MPIA '97 (2013 – 2016)