Meet Us

The CSUF Comm 438T class gets together for a photo.

Cal State Fullerton / Comm. 438T Class Photo

(Left to right) Lucio Villa, Katie Widner, Phillip Cabrera, Larissa Bahr, (a photo-friendly local), Jeff Brody, Sophia Islas, Melissa Hoon, Johnny Le, Mark Samara, Keith Cousins, Mario Davis, Don Stefanovich, MaryAnne Shults, Peggy Bockman (Asst. Dean of Students, CSUF College of Communications).
Jeff Brody

Jeff Brody / Professor

Jeffrey Brody is a professor of Communications and member of the Asian American Studies Program Council at California State University, Fullerton. He teaches advanced writing classes, courses on mass communication and society, and media and diversity. He has a distinguished record advising student publications. His research interests include the internet, ethnic press, newspaper industry and the Vietnamese American experience. He is co-author of "The Newspaper Publishing Industry," and an oral history of Yen Do, the founder of the Nguoi Viet Daily News, the largest Vietnamese-language newspaper in the United States. Brody also has been associate producer of "Saigon USA," a documentary film, and selections from his documentary photography exhibit, "The Vietnamese: Self Portrait of a People," were included for an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum in Washington, D.C. and for a touring Smithsonian exhibit in cities across the United States. Brody has a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and received doctoral equivalency from California State University, Fullerton. He is an award-winning reporter with more than a dozen years experience the newspaper industry and has written freelance articles for newspapers and magazines. Brody has appeared on a ABC "Nightline" segment and been interviewed by "The New York Times," "The Los Angeles Times," and other major publications. He has received grants from the Ford Foundation and been a Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii.

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Melissa Hoon

Melissa Hoon / Teaching Assistant & Writer

Melissa Hoon is the graduate teaching assistant for the 2011 Vietnam class (Comm. 438T Specialized Reporting) and traveled to Vietnam this spring for her second consecutive year with the class. As of spring 2011, she is a graduate student in the American Studies Department, and has a B.A. in journalism and American studies. Melissa does freelance work for the Orange County Register and volunteers at a high school newspaper class. She has been Detour (A&E) Editor and Assistant Opinion Editor for the Daily Titan, Cal State Fullerton’s newspaper, and is the Vietnam Editor/Web Coordinator. She will study abroad in South Africa in summer 2011, while volunteering at a home for abandoned, abused and neglected children, and will write about social issues in the country. Melissa is passionately devoted to practicing Yoga and writing about it. She is an avid hiker, and fan of Stevie Nicks and Seinfeld. She is interested in studying and writing literary journalism, and hopes to teach journalism at the collegiate level. Melissa will continue to travel the world volunteering, and will write fiction and non-fiction based on her travels, similar to Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac, who has profoundly inspired her.

MaryAnne Shults

MaryAnne Curry Shults/ Writer

MaryAnne is a senior print journalism student who will graduate cum laude with a B.A. in Communications in May 2011. She is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society, which recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication. She returned to college after her children were in high school and she was free to pursue her passion of writing. She is co-owner of a web development business, which she started with her husband in 1994. She has also worked in the health care field and has served in many volunteer positions, including V.P. of Communications for the Fourth District of the California State PTA. Her journalism experience includes serving in various editor positions with the Lariat newspaper at Saddleback College and a staff writer for the Daily Titan. She traveled to Vietnam in March 2010 with Cal State Fullerton’s Specialized Reporting class and Project Vietnam, working in surgery and with the primary care team. She plans to return to CSUF for graduate study and hopes to become a journalism professor at the community college level. MaryAnne built the class website for the 2011 mission trip.

Johnny Le

Johnny Le / Photographer

Johnny is a freelance photojournalist and senior visual journalism student with an anticipated graduation date of May 2011. He is a photo editor at the Daily Titan and staff photographer for Tusk Magazine. He wishes to use his mass media education as a vehicle to raise awareness and promote public dialogue towards sociocultural and human rights issues, and further the understanding of this world. He is passionate about the power of images and impact of multimedia presentations. He believes that strong images are becoming the first paragraph of many stories. Johnny enjoys traditional world folk music, playing the guitar and is learning to play the coronet (to the barking objection of the neighborhood dogs).

Katie Widner

Katie Widner / Videographer

Katie is a broadcast journalism major who first traveled overseas in 2004 to compete in the Gothia Cup in Sweden. She was a section editor at the Lariat newspaper, as well as host for the student-produced South Coast Focus at the Saddleback College. In 2006, Katie traveled to Scotland and Ireland to study clan heritage. She is the president of the CSUF chapter of the Society of  Professional Journalists and a member of Phi Beta Delta, the Honor Society for International Scholars. Katie received the J. William Maxwell International Study Scholarship at the Cal State Fullerton Communications Awards and was a recipient of the Jerry Dunphy Memorial Scholarship given by the Radio Television News Association of Southern California. Katie studied at the American Institute for Foreign Study in Florence, Italy. She has worked as a field producer and reporter for the KCET-CSUF venture OC Insight. Katie hopes to one day work as an anchor or correspondent for a major television network.

Keith Cousins

Keith Cousins / Writer

Keith is a senior majoring in print journalism. He is in love with the pursuit of truth and telling people’s stories. Travel is also another huge calling in his life. He has been to Ireland and spent a month in Rwanda working with street kids. During the trip, he visited Nairobi, Kenya, which furthered his desire to explore new cultures. Some of his hobbies include reading and taking photos.

Mario Davis

Mario Davis / Videographer

Mario is a student majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in speech communication. He began his journalistic career in high school when he first excelled in a multimedia production class under the instruction of KFMB's "Unknown Eater". Mario’s skills include visual storytelling, video production, editing, voice overs, shooting video, writing copy/script, packaging, directing and producing. He is familiar with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, lighting, mic placement and HD. He has developed a number of news packages for Cal State Fullerton in areas of politics, environmental challenges, public transportation and foreign documentaries. Mario hosted the number one radio show on Titan Internet Radio where he interviewed industry professionals, faculties, models and celebrities. VIsually, he produced news pkgs for KCET, OC Insight, KNBC and OC News. Mario loves to network, cook and travel!

Larissa Bahr

Larissa Bahr / Photographer

Larissa is a senior majoring in photo communications. She has been a professional photographer since 2007. She completed the photography program at Riverside Community College where she was awarded Student of Distinction for photography. She has traveled throughout the United States for vacation and work. Larissa has traveled with Winning Medical International for the BMX games and looks forward to doing more work with them this year. Her hobbies include sports, writing, traveling and anything adventurous. Larissa was home schooled until she entered full-time college. She began college at 15 years old as a concurrent enrollment student. She actively attends Crossroads Christian Church in Corona and studied photography under her pastor’s wife for a year and a half. The experience Larissa gained from helping with weddings and other photography sessions led to developing her own business in photography. Larissa is looking forward to seeing how her experience with Project Vietnam will develop my skills and experiences, and allow her to reach out into even more areas and cultures.

Lucio Villa

Lucio Villa / Photographer

Lucio is a visual journalist who incorporates stills, video and audio to create multimedia pieces. Lucio has been a photo editor for the Poly Post at Cal Poly Pomona and is photo editor at the Daily Titan. He wants to be foreign correspondent who travels documenting news, events, people and cultures. He currently freelances for Zuma Press.

Mark Samala

Mark Samala / Photographer

Mark Samala is a senior majoring in visual communications. He was a photo editor at the Daily Titan. He is a photographer for Zuma Press, Canadian Press, Walk Industries Fashion Group, Associated Press, Corbis, Splash News and the Garden Grove Journal. His experience in photography spans to approximately three years in news, sports and entertainment. He served in the United States Marines during 1998 to 2002, gaining experience in special operations, foreign relations and cultural understanding. Mark has been involved in humanitarian missions in Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates. Various photography works that he has shot can be found in Newsweek, Life Magazine Online Edition, America Online, Yahoo, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times and several other publications.

Phillip Cabrera

Phillip Cabrera / Videographer

Phillip is a broadcast journalism major. He has taken courses in multimedia design and interned for where he would create online articles, quizzes and ads. Phillip has backpacked solo across Europe and studied abroad in Florence, Italy. He is expected to graduate with top honors in May 2011. Phillip enjoys meeting new people and making new friends. He has a fond interest in music and video games.

Phillip Cabrera

Sophia Islas/ Writer

Sophia Islas is a senior majoring journalism and American studies. She enjoys writing news and feature articles on music, books, entertainment, visual arts and popular culture. She also has a deep interest in studying history and culture in an interdisciplinary manner. She has been a contributor and social media manager for, but has shifted her position to Copy Editor to focus on academics. This spring she will serve as an editorial intern at Coast Magazine, an affiliate of the Orange County Register Communications. Sophia’s mother is Vietnamese, so she has been exposed to certain facets of Vietnamese culture throughout her life. She is excited to not only help those in need with Project Vietnam, but also to step foot on her mother’s native soil and learn more about her heritage.

Don Stefanovich

Don C. Stefanovich/ Writer & Photographer

Don C. Stefanovich is a student journalist graduating with honors from California State University Fullerton in spring of 2011. He worked as a staff writer and news editor at The Daily Titan, CSUF’s student newspaper. Don is also a member of Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society for journalists and 2009 recipient of the Alfred and Louise Hewitt Journalism Fund scholarship. He received his associates of applied science in journalism from Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania where he was the founding member of the Amnesty International student chapter that still operates today. Don was also honored as the youngest serving member on the steering committee of the local Interfaith Resource Center for Peace and Justice and received the “Student for Peace” award. After graduating Don was contracted to write, edit and design several publications for LCCC’s Alumni Foundation and marketing offices. He moved to Southern California in 2005 where he became the Senior Editor of Skinnie Entertainment Magazine for four years before returning to complete his bachelor’s degree at CSUF. He has also done a variety of freelance PR and promotions. Don is an avid skier and mountain biker and is currently interning at Bike magazine.