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Class Notes

Class of 2008 Michael Thomas

Michael D. Thomas of nationwide employment law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. has been named a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility Visionary by the Los Angeles Times. The publication highlighted prominent thought leaders in the California business community who prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion policies within their respective sectors. Michael is a principal in the firm’s Orange County, California office where he focuses his practice on representing employers on various employment law and corporate diversity matters. 

Class of 1976

Larry Lazaro Badajos – dedicated father, brother, uncle, and friend to many – passed away on December 2nd, 2022, at the age of 71 at his home in El Monte, California. Larry Badajos was born in El Centro, California, and proudly resided in El Monte, California. He graduated from Arroyo High School in El Monte, California, before attending community college at Imperial Valley College then transferred to UC Berkeley, where he studied Criminology. He then found his passion for studying law and helping others at the University of California, Los Angeles. He started working in legal aid and opened his private practice, Disability Law Clinic, in Los Angeles, California. While pursuing his passion for helping others, he loved raising his daughter, Lauren Badajos, and being a role model for others. Through the years, he dedicated his life to reinvesting in his community in El Monte and devoted his time to helping others. Over the years, he generously volunteered for Lauren’s sports teams, such as The El Monte Fillies, the All-Star teams, and the Arroyo High School cheer and softball team. He also volunteered for the City of El Monte and dedicated his time to helping the local schools Lauren and Larry attended growing up; Le Gore Elementary School, Frank Wright, and Arroyo High School. He continued to support local programs and organizations that dedicated their work towards bettering the community and their mission to invest in education and the youth.

Larry
Larry Lazaro Badajos

Larry was an incredible friend and role model to countless people that knew him over the years. He found his true purpose in sharing the successes and joys, with those around him and in his community.

Larry authentically and wholeheartedly loved his family and those around him. He exemplified unconditional love, kept a strong faith through his dedication to work, and continuously helped others.

Larry never retired and worked until the week before he passed (He won his last case!). His work gave him gratification every day because he loved his job being a representative for those who needed support, assistance, and a friend. He helped countless people from different identities, backgrounds, personal experiences, and ages. He loved meeting with his clients and continued to have faith no matter the challenges he faced while representing his clients and in his own life. Larry is a virtuous man, and we will remember him for his; strength, warmth, patience, friendliness, resilience, and heart of gold. 

During his time off, he enjoyed watching the Los Angeles Dodgers and Rams play. He loyally and proudly rooted for the USC football team, despite being a UCLA alum. He loved spending time with his daughter on early Sundays and watching movies or documentaries at home with fresh coffee and pancakes. 

Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Petra Soria Badajos and Silvester, and his brother, Antonio (Bebop) Badajos. He is survived by his children, Lauren Badajos, and Jesse Estrada. Larry has two sisters, Chavela and Rosemary, and his brother Sylvester. 

In his memory, donations can be made to his GoFundMe, which will support the family and be donated to the schools Larry attended and the church in Calexico he loved so much.

Class of 1972 Downer on a beach

Warm New Year greetings for 2023, everyone!  Hope you’re all doing well and progressing along your path.  Craig Carpenter Downer was just very impressed with the article about the artist Joan Brown that appeared in the current issue of California. Since he has recently written a published a book that shows a similar copacetic view of life as Joan had/has, he thought he would share this with his fellow UC Berkeleyans. Please check it out at https://ccdownerbooks.com and feel free to comment. It is entitled Wonder Streams of the Soul and has over 500 pages including poems and passages many of which are illustrated with either his or other’s photos. Also, there are paintings and other type illustrations. He thinks dear Joan would appreciate the diverse messages and reconfirmation of the higher spiritual life and the great unity of all sentient beings regardless their outward forms that is convincingly expressed in his book.  

The above link is also to another recent book of his The Wild Horse Conspiracy, which champions the cause of America’s wild horses and burros. He is fighting hard to restore these beneficial and pulchritudinous returned natives to viable populations and habitats, as the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act has been recklessly undermined. But this can and must change! He has a nonprofit organization — the Andean Tapir Fund / Wild Horse and Burros Fund that is a full fledged 501 c 3. It’s two links are: 

https://andeantapirfund.com

https://thewildhorseconspiracy.org.

The wild horse book also has many revealing photos and illustrations and takes a very well-rounded and holistic view. Much of what he learned at UC Berkeley, especially concerning mammals, physiology, ecology, paleontology and wildlife protection and management (upper division class under Dr. A. Starker Leopold) helped him greatly.  

Class of 2001

Jate Samathivathanachai ’01 joined Foundery Innovations, an immunotherapeutics-focused venture fund and studio, as Chief Business Officer in December 2022. Foundery validates and develops early drug concepts to produce pre-IND candidate packages in collaboration with academic investigators that are spun-out into independent NewCos or out-licensed to industry partners for clinical development.

Class of 1997
Devin Fei-Fan Tau
Devin Fei-Fan Tau

Devin Fei-Fan Tau (B.S., Business Administration, 1997), independent director and producer, is pleased to announce an option on the film rights to Jen L. Hanson’s (B.S. Mass Communications, 1994) speculative fiction novel, “Sensored Souls.” The sci-fi thriller, “The Gallery,” will be Tau’s fourth feature film, following the thriller-suspense “Half Sisters,” to be released in 2023. Go Bears! 

Class of 1994
Sensored Souls book cover

Jennifer L. Hanson (B.S., Mass Communications, 1994) is pleased to announce her book “Sensored Souls,” published in October 2021, has been optioned for a feature film by production company No Sunrise Wasted, headed by Devin Fei-Fan Tau (B.S., Business Administration, 1997). 

Class of 1975
Carol Brandt
Carol Brandt

Carol Brandt is a Senior Project Control Analyst for Environmental Science Associates (ESA). She is a founding member of the Cal Women’s Crew Team (1975). Carol lives in Petaluma, CA with husband Gregg. She is a published photographer and loves the outdoors, taking photos of birds, landscapes and everything else in between!

Class of 2012 Juno Song headshot

Juno Song has been promoted to Senior Associate at Kuth Ranieri Architects in San Francisco. He joined Kuth Ranieri in 2015. His current work includes a private residence in Napa Valley and ongoing projects at Terminal 1C at San Francisco International Airport. He received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley and his Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Class of 1996

Melinda Ng‘s debut novel Mattie and the Machine has been released by Santa Monica Press (under the pen name Lynn Ng Quezon). The YA historical is a fictionalized account of 19th century inventor Margaret Knight’s journey to obtaining her first patent.

Publishers Weekly wrote this about the book:

Nineteenth-century inventor Margaret “Mattie” E. Knight (1838-1914) struggles to win legal rights to her invention, which automated the paper-bag-making process, in this empowering, well-paced STEM narrative by Quezon, a fictionalized account of Knight’s life. Mattie, a 15-year-old mechanic living in post-Civil War Massachusetts, works in Columbia Paper’s all-female division. While the other women fold bags, Mattie maintains the machines that aid the process. When dismissive Charles Yates, Columbia’s original owner’s grandson, takes over, he employs several male workers, including Frank Niebuhr, whom Mattie trains as a mechanic. Mattie and Frank grow close until she learns that all the new male hires earn more than the women. After Mattie asks Yates for equal pay and is denied, she claims that she can invent a machine to fold the bags automatically. Yates proposes a bag-manufacturing competition between Mattie and Frank; if Mattie wins, he’ll give the women raises. But if Frank wins, she’ll be demoted from her mechanic role to paper bag folding. By populating the cast with resourceful women, such as Mattie’s roommate Eliza and her coworker Ida, a widowed mother of two, Quezon examines historical societal working conditions and expectations through a nuanced, feminist lens.

For more about her and her book, visit: https://ngquezon.wordpress.com.

Class of 1974
No Barnyard Bullies book cover

In October 2022, bestselling author, actor, and radio personality, Cynthia Brian, published her first book in the children’s picture book series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures, with her charming true-life cadre of critters and endearing illustrations in No Barnyard Bullies, a colorful book about learning to be kind and inclusive. The diverse animal family of Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures experiences complex encounters that challenge their integrity, individuality, and character while amplifying an assortment of
expressions and original viewpoints to co-exist as a group. The barnyard animals address critical issues facing children including bullying, nature, power struggles, adversity, adoption, homelessness, creativity, justice, health, kindness, ethnicity, and being different through a cultural lens of hope and resolution. www.CynthiaBrian.com/books. Artistic NFTS of the stars in the book are available www.StarStyleCommunity.com where Cynthia provides numerous exclusive experiences members. Proceeds benefit Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity empowering women, families, and youth through increased literacy and positive media messages. www.BetheStarYouAre.org

Class of 1955

From Richard Rahl: My wife and I were in the end zone where the touchdown was made, so we could see the whole thing developing in front of us.  We were in the Stanford section because we have a mixed marriage – I graduated from Cal in 1955 and Boalt in 1961.  She graduated from Stanford in 1964.

The famous Oakland Tribune photo, which I recall was named the top sports photo for that year, was in black and white.  I think I may be the only person who has a color rendition of it.  I started doing needlepoint about 50 years ago and I have done over a hundred pillow size projects, but I think this is my favorite.

The Play pillow
Class of 1968

Class of ’68 Class Gatherings are for Cal ’68 members and friends of Cal. Contact Cal68@blueconnect.org for details and to join the Class of ’68 email list. Learn about upcoming Class of ’68 events as they evolve.


The Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement (CCDE), founded by the Class of ’68, cosponsored a panel discussion with the Goldman School during Homecoming weekend, September 23–25, 2022. The panel’s topic was town/gown relations, a discussion on how enrollment and development issues should be analyzed and addressed in the future. Panelists included: Nancy Skinner, State Senator; Jesse Arreguin, Mayor of Berkeley; Rigel Robinson, Berkeley Council member District 7 (south campus); Kate Harrison, Berkeley Council member District 4 (west campus); and David Wilson, Dean, Goldman School. The moderator was Dan Lindheim, Faculty Director, CCDE, Goldman School.


For Center programs, including digital recordings of public lectures, see: https://gspp.berkeley.edu/centers/ccde/public-events


Many thanks to those who contribute to the Center. To make a contribution, see: https://gspp.berkeley.edu/centers/ccde/give-to-the-center.