Alumni Spotlight: Shaun Tai

He is the founder and executive director of Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center (ODALC), which mission is to empower under served communities to participate and succeed in the digital economy. Shaun also owns his own creative agency SHAUN TAI Films, a company that focuses on creating high impact new media with clients such as Facebook and the City of San Francisco. In 2002, Shaun earned a BA in Digital Graphics at California State University East Bay (CSUEB). Ten years later in 2012, Shaun has teamed up with his former professor Suzy Wear on Inspire Hayward, a program that provides professional development and the opportunity for two artists to have their artwork featured on commercial billboards. Students get the chance to work with a real-world client and submit their Inspire billboard design to a panel of distinguished professionals. The program started with Inspire Oakland (now on its third year) and will expand to Inspire Berkeley next year and Inspire San Jose in 2014. Shaun’s passions are design, community and technology. Shaun’s advice to current students is to “Follow your passion but make sure that the path has an end goal. A path headed in the right direction, and that makes a positive impact.”


Alumni Spotlight: Gene Daniels

A Newark, CA chairman of the Newark Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and insurance agent at State Farm. At State Farm he oversees education and business issues. Gene plays an important part in mentoring student at Newark Memorial High School by serving on the Advisory Board of Ohlone College. Gene is a well accomplished individual and recently received an African American Heritage Leadership Award for being such a prominent community leader. As a charter member of the Fremont Union City Newark Sunset Rotary Club (F.U.N. Sunset Rotary Club), he is a part of numerous community service projects. You can check out Gene’s business page over at Gene Daniels-State Farm Agent

Alumni Spotlight: Shakira Niazi

 Shakira is the founder of Salvare La Vita Water, which launched in February 2011. Shakira earned her B.S. in Finance from California State University East Bay (CSUEB). She has worked in the banking world at credit unions, mortgage companies and in real estate. After reading Creating a world without poverty by Muhammad Yunus she was inspired to start her own business, Salvare La Vita Water, to help solve the world water crisis. The way Salvare La Vita Water functions is very different from a non-profit it does not rely on donations. Part of the proceeds from each bottle of water goes towards building wells and providing “water points” to poor villages around the world, and Shakira often gives ownership to local women.  Shakira partners with local non-government organization (NGO) in villages in countries like Afghanistan that relies on wealthy people. Shakira states that when you have to walk an hour from residence to a creek, when you are only nine years old, when do you have time for school?  Shakira wants people to choose this brand when they shop at the grocery store because choosing this brand is a noble choice. Shakira goes on to say: “Business was built by humans and they have a conscious” Shakira advice to current students is to “Marry your hobby and passions.”

Alumni Spotlight: Nick Vasallo

Nicholas Vasallo is a Dublin, CA based composer and adjunct lecturer at Cal State East Bay. Since he earned his B.A. in Music back in 2007 at CSUEB he’s accomplished quite a bit. After graduating from CSUEB, Nick earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) in Music Composition from UC Santa Cruz. In his first year at UC Santa Cruz he was honored with the David Cope Award for Compositional Excellence and went on to win the UCSC Student Composer’s Award, San Francisco Choral Artist’s New Voices Award, Truman State University MACRO Award, International Prize for Excellence in Composition. Nick has recently released a new CD he composed entitled “MONUMENTS EMERGE” released internationally by Innova Recordings. You can check out his CD here: Nick’s most recent project was the formation of a technical post-death metal band called OBLIVION where he writes and does the lead vocals. Oblivion’s debut album is set to release this summer. You can check out Oblivion here: Even after achieving all of this, Nick passion for music drove him back to the classroom.

Nicks says:

“During my dissertation research/writing year–2010-2011, I was lucky to find adjunct professor and lecturer positions at Los Medanos College, Gavilan College, and here at CSU East Bay. I have been teaching every since and completed my doctorate in June of 2011. I absolutely love teaching and working in academia, I truly believe that teaching music is my calling.”

All of us at CSUEB are very proud of Nick for his accomplishments and giving back to Cal State East Bay by becoming a professor and  teaching  future generations of Music talent the same art he learned several years ago.

Alumni Spotlight: Rick Casqueiro

Cal State East Bay Alumnus Richard “Rick” Casqueiro graduated in 1973 with a Bachelors of Science in chemistry. Rick is winemaker and his specialty is sparkling wine. His grandfather who originated from Portugal introduced Rick to wine. According to Rick sparkling wine is often overlooked as something that accompaniments food. Rick’s wines come with delicate aromas and flavors that are balanced by natural fruit acidity and complexity from aging.Rick has been featured in many newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. Won countless awards, Most Medals Won by a winery in1983, Most Medals Won by a winery in 1981 to name a few. He has other accomplishments such as being the President of the Alameda County Winegrowers Association, and being a professional wine judge in several wine competitions. Rick constantly produces outstanding wines to bring happiness to his consumers.

Alumni Spotlight: Brian Slater

Brian Slater works as a professional Life Coach and owner of Follow Dreams Coaching. Brian earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Cal state East Bay. Brian practices as a motivational life coach for Follow Dreams Coaching. He uses his life coaching skills to help people find balance, live their passions, and follow their dreams.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Jenny Taylor

 Cal State East Bay alumna Dr. Jenny Taylor, she was just recognized for her clinic Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center in Oakland with “Beast of the Bay” awards for “Best Veterinarian”, “Best Alternative Medicine Provider”, and “Best Overall Veterinary Clinic.” Taylor earned her biology degree from CSUEB.“I attended other universities before starting at Cal State [East Bay],” said Taylor. “My professors were the best because they were interested in teaching students rather than doing their own individual research projects. I had a great experience at CSUEB.”
– Dr. Jenny Taylor
Congrats Dr. Taylor on your success!