Your Alumni BoardMembers 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 2,700 alumni worldwide annually.
Message from the President
Dear fellow alumni,
It has been a year of change within the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS). It was the first full year of the new name and strategic vision, and, in June, the first graduating class of GPS celebrated its commencement (the School’s 28th graduating class). Additionally, five new faculty joined the School, with research interests ranging from the interplay between the environment and health to the political economy of China’s outward direct investment and to improving governance in developing democracies.
These are perhaps the most visible changes as GPS works to enact Chancellor Pradeep Khosla’s vision of a deeply interconnected university, with our School often at its center to work out the policy implications of advances in computer science, engineering, medicine and entrepreneurship being made, across campus.
The GPS Alumni Board supports the School in its endeavors, as well as strives to serve you, our 2,700-plus alumni. We continue to work to represent the diversity of our alumni and work to enact our four core goals:
- increase the visibility of the School, globally;
- increase the quality and quantity of students to the School;
- increase the value of GPS to its alumni; and
- increase giving from alumni to the School.
Additionally, we work to better utilize social media and technology to reach out to our alumni and achieve our goals.
In keeping with the theme of changes, I would like to thank our outgoing president, Jeff Rector, MPIA ’97, as I humbly begin my own term as president of the GPS Alumni Board. Jeff started in this role two years ago with a very clear vision of what we as a board—and alumni as a whole—could do to serve ourselves and the School. The board is certainly better off for his efforts and engagement, and I would like to thank him for the past two years, as well as his continuing service on the board.
Finally, I would like to thank Ross Bixler, BA/MIA ’13, Natasha Hanshaw, MPIA ’10, Catherine Harris, MAS-IA ’11, Omar Parbhoo, MPIA ’09, and Carol Sato, MPIA ’90, for their services as board members. I also want to welcome and introduce our six new board members this year: Ken Davenport, MPIA ’90, Santiago Davila, MPIA ’07, John Edwards, MAS-IA ’15, Jennifer Feliciano, MPIA ’12, Nancy Li, MPIA ’12, and Jessica Megill, MPIA ’10.
The board looks forward to continue to support and represent all of you in the coming year, and we sincerely hope to see you at an event in the near future. In the meantime, 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.
Aaron Jacobson, MPIA ’08
Steve Bingham, MPIA '91, Global Enterprise Theater (Irvine)
Bingham is director of collaboration sales at Global Enterprise Theater, based in Irvine, Calif. He is responsible for global sales of collaboration solutions to Cisco’s largest Enterprise clients. Steve matches customer business needs to Cisco’s service and product portfolios, maps collaboration sales resources to clients on a global basis, recruits and develops sales teams, and provides regular feedback into the product development organization.
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 customer-facing pricing and offers strategies. 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.
Andrew Curry, MPIA ’06, U.S. Government Accountability Office (Seattle)Curry is a senior analyst and project manager with the U.S. Government Accountability Office in Seattle, where he focuses on issues of homeland security and justice. Most recently in this role, Curry received a Meritorious Service Award for his work on issues related to critical infrastructure security and resilience. At GPS, Curry received the Joseph Grunwald Memorial Award for promoting inter-American understanding. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in international political economy from Colorado College.
Ken Davenport, MPIA ’90, Mission Edge (San Diego)Davenport is CEO of Mission Edge, a social enterprise that provides operational and strategic support to nonprofits and other social impact organizations. A serial entrepreneur with previous forays into healthcare and software services, Davenport has served on the board of Social Venture Partners, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at CONNECT and is currently a mentor at The Founder Institute. He is active in working with veterans and is on the board at the Travis Manion Foundation, which connects veterans with youth in the service of others.
Santiago Davila, MPIA '07, U.S. Department of State (Peru)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.
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 (Los Angeles)
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.
Jennifer Feliciano, MPIA '12, Obsidian, A Cadmus Company (Washington, D.C.)Feliciano is a homeland security, emergency management and defense policy associate with progressive experience in exercise planning, incident management training and strategic planning for Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense clients. Her expertise lies in working with interagency partners to develop analytical and strategic products and services related to policy and planning guidance, weapons of mass destruction issues and security cooperation. Feliciano also holds a bachelor's degree in political science-international relations from UC San Diego.
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.
Molly Gavin, MPIA ’03, Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego)Gavin is vice president of government affairs at Qualcomm Inc. in San Diego, where she oversees Qualcomm’s public policy agenda for Japan and Korea on issues including intellectual property and information and communications technology policy. Gavin has been at the company since 2000, during which time she has represented Qualcomm on business matters in more than 50 countries. She also holds a B.A. in government and Spanish from the University of Notre Dame.
Sam Gordon, MPIA ’99, Deloitte Tohmatsu Tax Co. (Tokyo)Gordon is a partner with Deloitte Tohmatsu Tax Co. in Tokyo, where he provides international tax advice to multinational corporations (MNCs). Gordon primarily focuses on transfer pricing for financial services MNCs across Asia as well as on bringing operations- and technology-driven solutions to MNCs facing international tax management challenges. Prior to joining Deloitte in 2014, Gordon served as an executive director and director at Ernst & Young and Lehman Brothers, respectively. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in development studies from UC Berkeley.
Ben Grayson, MPIA '07, UBS Asset Management (Chicago)In 2015, Grayson joined UBS Asset Management as a fixed income product specialist. Grayson has more than eight years of experience in the asset management industry, including in roles such as product development, performance, compliance and risk operations. Before joining UBS, he worked at Guggenheim Investments, MFS Investment Management and State Street Corp. Prior to GPS, Grayson spent approximately a year in China to enhance his language skills and learn more about his ethnic background. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Boston College and also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Mark Higgins, MPIA ’04, Strategen Consulting (Bay Area)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)
Jacobson is an operations manager with United Technologies Aerospace Systems in Chula Vista, Calif., with responsibility over sheet metal fabrication, special processing, logistics and materials management. He implements and sustains lean manufacturing at all levels and functions of an organization, including training new employees on the lean toolkit. In addition, Jacobson focuses on optimizing inventory and product flow throughout the entire manufacturing process, which encompasses more than 1,500 unique products. He also holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
Nancy Li, MPIA ’12, King County Department of Transportation (Seattle)Li is a transportation planner at the King County Department of Transportation in Washington state. Her work focuses on developing and implementing strategic transportation plans and programs, with an emphasis on commuter ride-sharing services. Previously, Li worked as a business analyst at Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in San Francisco, gaining experience with regulatory rate case, strategic planning and utility cost models. Currently, she sits on the board of the Association of Energy Services Professional Evergreen Chapter, with responsibilities for developing seminars and networking opportunities for energy professionals in the Puget Sound area. Li also holds a bachelor’s degree in international political economy and Chinese literature from UC Berkeley.
Kahori Matsui, MPIA ’99, SoftBank Group Corp. (Bay Area)Matsui is the vice president of strategy at SoftBank Group Corp. in San Francisco, where she leads various projects involving major assets in the U.S. market, including in 2012-2013 an acquisition of Sprint Corp. Prior to joining SoftBank in 2010, Matsui worked in management consulting and new business development at Accenture and Recruit. She also holds a B.A. in international affairs from international Christian University.
Jessica Megill, MPIA ’10, U.S. Department of State (Ethiopia)Megill has served as a political officer in the U.S. Foreign Service since 2004. She currently is based in East Africa—specifically in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—as the regional environment officer for 15 countries. Her past postings include China, Germany, Paraguay, Honolulu and Washington, D.C. She earned her bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Cornell University.
Jeff Rector, MPIA '97, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton (San Diego)
Rector is a sustainability-focused project finance lawyer and partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP. Representing project developers, investors and lenders on domestic and international transactions involving new investments and financings of clean energy, water and other infrastructure projects, Rector enables clients to develop, invest or lend to socially beneficial projects and earn good financial returns. He completed his law degree at Stanford Law School and has been recognized as a notable Projects and Energy Expert (2015, 2014 and 2013 edition of Chambers Global).
Elias Terman, MPIA ’94, Distil Networks (Bay Area)Terman is vice president of marketing at Distil Networks in San Francisco, 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 in Silicon Valley. He 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)
Tye is a senior manager for the next generation and standards group at Intel Corp. In this capacity, she oversees various initiatives focused on technology advocacy and spectrum strategy. Tye also supports aspects of Intel’s engagement with industry coalitions such as the Wireless Broadband Alliance, Global mobile Suppliers Association and MulteFire Alliance. Prior to Intel, Tye worked at Qualcomm Inc., where she directed technology demonstration programs in emerging markets, with focus areas in China and mobile health. She also holds degrees in international relations and Spanish literature from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
We would like to acknowledge and thank the past presidents for their service.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)