University 100 Faculty

  • Lizette alonso

    lisette alonsoLizette Alonso is a Cal State Fullerton alumnus. She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degree from the College of Communications in Human Communication Studies. Her research concentrations include Instructional and Intercultural Communication. During her undergraduate career, Lizette had the opportunity to serve as an FYE peer mentor where she quickly identified and connected with the mission of the program. Subsequently, due to her positive experience with the OFYE, during her graduate program in the HCOM department, Lizette had the opportunity to teach HCOM 100 for two years as a Graduate Teaching Associate. In essence, serving as an educator allows Lizette to be a steppingstone for these students in their academic journey.

    “My desire to educate others derives from the lack of assistance and support I experienced prior to higher education. Especially for those first-generation students, like myself, who struggle to integrate themselves to the college life and community. My goal is to produce confident and competent individuals for society as these individuals are the future.”— Lizette Alonso

  • Noha Abdou

    noha abdouI truly believe that education is the key to success and the leveler of the playing field for many marginalized communities in attaining middle-class status and beyond. I am the Associate Director of Institutional Research at CSUF and a passionate student advocate that is vested in the well-being and success of my fellow Titans. We are fellow Titans, as I earned my Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from CSUF #TitansReachHigher!

    I am excited about our journey together in UNIV 100, helping you navigate your first semester at CSUF and exploring all the campus resources available to you, to make this journey as successful as possible!

    For fun, I love to cook, travel, play tennis, binge watch with my husband, and go to Zumba and yoga classes at my gym. Let’s make this a great first semester!

  • Michael Biesiada

    michael biesiadaGreetings! I am originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. I enjoyed my hometown so much, I earned a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from UNLV. I am currently a Research Analyst in the Office of Assessment and Institutional EffectivenessOpens in new window and will be serving as an Academic Senator for the 2019-2020 academic year.

    I am teaching University 100 because it is one of the most important foundational courses that students can take to ensure their college success. In fact, I taught a similar first-year experience course at the Lee Business School for several years prior to coming to CSUF. Therefore, I greatly appreciate the value that the first-year experience course brings to the university curriculum.

    One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is to go for long runs on the beach. I find exercise as a way to give me a nice work-life balance.

  • Dr. Shelly Hsu

    shelly hsuDr. Shelly Hsu is a passionate student advocator, educator and researcher. She began working at CSU Fullerton in 2014, and currently serves as Articulation Officer at CSU Fullerton. Prior to join CSU Fullerton, she also worked at UC, Riverside, and Ohio University. She was born and raised in Taiwan, then moved to the U.S.A in 2005. She obtained the B.A. in Real Estate & Built Environment from National Taipei University, M.Ed. in Cultural Studies in Education from Ohio University, and the Ed.D in Educational Leadership from California State University, Fullerton.

    I enjoy working with all students and learning from you in OUR classroom. UNIV 100 is a great navigator to start your college journey and I cannot wait to share this unique experience with you.

    When I am free, I enjoy doing yoga, watching a movie with my husband, spending time with my daughter, and travel.


    DANNY JUAREZMy name is Danny Juarez aside from being an instructor for UNIV 100, I also serve as an EOP counselor at CSUF. I teach UNIV 100 because I firmly believe that serving undergraduate students is at the forefront of creating and sustaining social change – I have learned that students are not at risk, but at promise. To be able to connect with students, hear their stories, and have a chance to witness the unfolding their promise, is a gift. I have a wide array of interests, which include the Fast and Furious franchise, toy collecting, swap meet culture, Marvel comics, and the horror genre.


    MIGUEL MARTINEZMy name is Miguel A. Martinez, I am a Career Specialist for the College of Education at California State University, Fullerton Career Center. I earn my Mater of Science in Education with a concentration in Higher Education and Community College certificate from Cal State Fullerton, and his Bachelors in History for San Francisco State University. l has over 15 years of experience in Student Affairs and have worked in varies program like Upward Bound, EOPS and MEP, that helped support first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students succeed in higher education. I strive to help students develop holistically, to think broadly, and to learn about themselves. Currently my work includes working with undergraduate students, credential teacher, administrators, student affairs practitioners and future educational leaders.

    Why am I teaching UNIV 100? The first year of College is such an significant part of the college experience, I want to support students in transiting form high school to college. I’m excited to be a part of that journey with incoming EOP students and want to help students growth and learn about themselves. I look forward to seeing you.

  • Dr. Christine Mayfield

    christina mayfield I've been teaching in the Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education at CSUF since 2000. I was an elementary school teacher for ten years before I came here. I've always loved my students, no matter what their age or interest. If you are thinking about being a teacher someday, be sure to let me know! It's a great profession! I realize how critical it is to get a solid start to college. Students need an advocate who will support their ability to balance school, work, family, social life and new-found freedom. I look forward to supporting students on this journey.

    I like to complete marathons. I appreciate the perseverance it takes and the pride I feel when it's over. I also LOVE to matter what day it is.

  • Dr. Futoshi Nakagawa, Ed.D.

    futoshi nakagawaI never really liked school, except for getting to hang out with my friends and play sports. This wasn’t because of the academic part, (in general, I got good grades, mostly to please my parents). I just didn’t like transitioning from one grade to the next and having to figure everything out all over again; to clarify, I was OK once I got the hang of things, but until then, things were always so stressful. Fast-forward to now: I’m currently the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at the CSUF Irvine Center. In sum, my job is to make students feel welcomed, valued, and connected to our campus. I was initially hired at CSUF in 2014 as an Academic Counselor for NCAA Division 1 student-athletes, helping them navigate our large, fast-paced institution and making sure they were eligible and graduating in a timely manner. And then, I served as Interim Director of Athletics Academic Services before my current position. Prior to working at CSUF, I assisted in developing various academic support programs for special populations in a community college setting, including an academic support program geared toward students who self-identified as men of color. Before that, I was an ESL Instructor. I used to teach English to immigrant learners at community colleges and adult schools at night. While on the surface it may seem as though I have veered from one position to the next, the truth is that the majority of my career in education has been focused on helping students prepare for what’s next; that is, helping them navigate academic settings, successfully transition into new environments, and build solid foundations for their bright futures. That’s why being a part of the OFYE Team feels like a natural fit to me. I’m looking forward to seeing you in our class this fall.

    As a side note, if you’re interested in knowing a bit more about me, I grew up in Garden Grove, went to UC Irvine, double-majored in anthropology and Japanese, and then got my master’s in education and my doctorate in educational leadership at CSUF. In my free time enjoy fishing and I’m a fourth-degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Kendo. And, guess what? Like many freshmen, I started as an undeclared first year student. Although my path has been windy, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. So much of our real learning occurs with these twists and turns.

  • Dr. Judith Pérez

    judith perezDr. Judith C. Pérez is an interdisciplinary scholar with a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah. Her research areas include educational leadership, Chicana/x & Latina/x racialized educational experiences, Chicana feminist thought, Latina/o Critical Theory (LatCrit), Critical Race Service Learning, the K-20 educational pipeline, university-school-community engagement and Chicana Mothers in Academia. I enjoy family movie nights, painting, and eating my mom' s homemade food.

    As a first generation undergrad, I remember how scared I was my first year of college. The first semester in college is critical, I hope to do my best in helping first year students' curiously navigate their college experience.

  • Dave Plouffe

    dave plouffeI have been a faculty member in the Visual Arts Department here at Cal State Fullerton since 2008. You will probably find me teaching either Introduction to Art or The History of Modern Art.  Prior to teaching I served as a Collection's Manager at the Los Angele County Museum of Art. I hold degrees in Art, Art History, and Liberal Arts.  My first book, Art Appreciation:  An Introduction to the Formal Elements and Mediums was published in 2017.

    Teaching University 100 has been an important part of my life over the past six years. My goal is to help students effectively face and overcome the challenges of being a first-year student.  I struggled early on in college, found myself on academic probation, and dropped out...not once, but twice. I know that if I had had a course, such as University 100, I would have been much more successful in college and life.

    For fun you can find me at rare and used bookstores throughout the United States. I am an avid reader and collector of books, plus the traveling is pretty cool too. The subjects that I am interested in vary widely from art and history to detective noir and weird fiction.  Some of my favorite authors include Raymond Chandeler, Ross MacDonald, H.P. Lovecraft, Ross King, and Alberto Manguel. 

  • Dr. Fernando Rodríguez-Valls

    fernando rodriguez-vallsProfessor at the Department of Secondary Education in the College of Education at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Rodríguez-Valls has created partnerships with school districts and local educational agencies to develop and implement community-based [bi/-multi]literacy programs. At CSUF, Fernando coordinates the Bilingual Authorization Program and the World Languages Program. In this capacity, he recruits and prepares future educators to design, implement, and evaluate asset-based and heteroglossic practices. As a scholar, Dr. Rodríguez-Valls’ publications focus on equitable and linguistically inclusive methodologies for emergent bilingual, newcomer, and [im]migrant students as well as on the socio-cultural factors affecting their academic achievement, educational continuity and school engagement.

  • Nanci Carol Ruby

    nanci carol rubyNanci Carol Ruby received her MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University. She currently teaches Psychodrama for the Human Services Department at CSUF and teaches in Television Production at Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. She holds professional memberships in Actors Equity Association (AEA) and Women in Film, Los Angeles (WIF). Nanci Carol has directed, acted, and collaborated with theatres across the nation and has served as an agent-recommended, on-camera acting coach throughout her career. Her students have played roles on television, Broadway and major motion pictures. She is married to CSUF Human Services Professor, Dr. James Ruby.

    I am excited to join the First Year Experience Team! As an artist and teacher in multiple mediums, I have spent my life creating safe space and fostering creativity. We all have an important story to tell, unique perspectives to share, and I believe, we thrive when we are intentional in encouraging each other. I look forward to creating community and supporting Titan Student success! #TitansReachHigher

    I am fortunate to have “fun” at work; I love what I do – working in ensemble to tell stories. I love seeing students realize their full potential. When I am not at work, I can be found on a yoga mat or a paddle board (not simultaneously) or rehearsing/performing with the band, Comfort Food.

  • Michelle Schwartz

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    I have been an academic advisor in the CSUF School of Nursing since 2013. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Communication and my Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance, with a specialization in College Student Personnel. Working with college students is my passion, and I am excited to be part of the UNIV 100 family. As a nursing academic advisor, I assist current and prospective nursing students in reaching their educational and career goals. The world of nursing education can be complicated, and I am happy to help students through understanding the requirements for becoming a nurse.

    In my spare time, I love to see Broadway musicals, craft, and spend time with my husband, and our cat and dog. I am a huge animal lover, and always have been. In fact, my husband and I were engaged at the St. Louis Zoo, we took our engagement photos with Monty the Penguin at the Santa Barbara zoo, and we got married at the San Diego Safari Park, where we had a lizard, serval, fox, and cheetah at our wedding reception.

    I look forward to meeting everyone in class!

  • Masako Ura

    MASAKU URAI have been teaching Psychology at CSU Fullerton and several community colleges since 2015. I was born and raised in Japan. After high school, I started my higher education in the U.S. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies emphasizing intercultural communication at Cal State Long Beach. I continued my graduate education in Psychology at Cal State Fullerton. I have a passion in building connections with my students and enjoy being an interpreter who helps students navigate their academic journeys. It is an honor to come back to the community where I was given an opportunity to grow and succeed as an educator.

    I believe that the first-year experience plays an important role in student success. As a first-generation undergrad, I had trouble navigating the school system, finding the right major, and building a sense of belonging. I even failed my first ESL class, and I lost my confidence. I was about to return to my home country. However, with diligent support from my professors and staff members, I was able to move forward and get to where I am now. I wish I had a class like University 100 when I was a student. It would have made my academic life less stressful.

    I strongly believe that UNIV100 can be a place where first-year students experience a positive learning environment at CSUF. With skills learned, students can continue their education and get connected with the school. I look forward to fostering a classroom where students can feel that they are important to CSUF, and their education matters.
    In my spare time, I enjoy learning new languages, practicing yoga, hiking with my husband, and playing with my cats. 

  • Dr. Rohanna Ylagan-Nicanor

    Dr. Rohanna Ylagan-Nicanor As a proud product of CSUF, I have earned my undergraduate degree (BS in Child & Adolescent Studies), Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and master’s degree (MS in Elementary Education, focus in Curriculum & Instruction) with the support and expertise from the amazing faculty and staff here. After teaching in the elementary school setting for a few years, I became a student again and studied abroad to pursue another master’s (MRes in Education & Social Science) and my doctorate at King’s College, University of London. Achieving my PhD in Education Research provided an opportunity to combine and explore my personal and career passions and interests: art, learning, and memory. Currently, I am a Clinical Coach for teacher candidates in the Multiple Subject Credential Program within the College of Education’s Department of Elementary & Bilingual Education. In addition, I am absolutely overjoyed to be a lecturer for the Office of the First Year Experience’s course UNIV 100!

    I am teaching UNIV 100 because this course offers students essential skills to be successful not only throughout this important transition from high school to college, but throughout their entire education, career(s), and lives. I strongly believe UNIV 100’s goals and learning objectives are instrumental in preparing students to be well-rounded, prosperous individuals in society, and I am excited to support these students along their lifelong learning journey!

    For fun, I love running on trails and training for ultramarathons because I enjoy the mental and physical challenges of the sport. My husband (an IronMan triathlete) and I combine races and vacations, so we can race and travel simultaneously. Since my husband and I love spending time in the mountains and disperse camping, we (including our crazy and sweet pup Paddi) head to the mountains on the weekends whenever we have the chance. 

  • Austin Ysais

    austin ysaisHello, my name is Austin Ysais and I am a coordinator of Leader and Program development at Associated Students here at the amazing campus of Cal State Fullerton. I have the privilege in working with students who are passionate about creating the TITAN EXPERIENCE through programs for California State University, Fullerton. I have worked in Higher Education since 2011 and have truly found my passion in helping students reach their goals personally and professionally. My mother went to CSUF, and this University has always been a big part of my life, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be here and support the students on this campus.

  • Silvia Zamudio

    silvia zamudioSilvia Zamudio currently serves as the Student Leadership Development Coordinator (SLDC) and the Instructor for a UNIV 100 section and UNIV 397. Her role as the SLDC allows her the opportunity to develop and support student leaders working within the Office of First Year Experience. Additionally, as a faculty member, Silvia has helped create the curriculum utilized in UNIV 100/397, serve as a Faculty Mentor, and has led study abroad groups in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Silvia’s teaching philosophy includes creating a classroom environment in which students can focus and explore their own experiences. Silvia believes that students need the opportunity to have conversations, activities, and encounters that inspire critical thinking, allow civil discourse and promote a sense of community. Silvia is a current doctoral student at Azusa Pacific University in the Higher Education Leadership program. Silvia is a double alumna of California State University, Fullerton having earned her Master of Science in Higher Education in 2016 and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a minor in Chicano/a Studies in 2014. Lastly, Silvia completed the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree in 2012 from Chemeketa Community College.