SDSU Alumni

Welcome to the official page for alumni of San Diego State University.

SDSU Alumni represents a diverse community of alumni who are located throughout the United States and abroad.

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Thank you, Aztecs! ❤️ You helped make this year's Day of Giving a great success. We are grateful for the hundreds of donors, supporters and advocates who stepped up to make a difference for San Diego State University.


“If you are passionate about working in a specific field, my advice would be to learn everything you can about that industry.”

Get ready for this year’s SDSU Alumni Awards of Distinction on April 20th by learning more about this year’s event emcee, San Diego State University alumna, ABC 10 reporter, and Emmy award-winning journalist Natay Holmes (‘12).

As a San Diego native, representation meant everything to Natay as she was inspired to pursue a career in journalism and TV news after seeing former anchor Lisa Lake. This passion fueled Natay through her academic pursuits, eventually graduating in May 2012 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies specializing in Journalism & Media Studies, Television, Film & New Media, and Communications.

Through her career, Natay has uplifted voices and shared impactful stories from within her community. Starting off behind the scenes as a producer and writer to her current role as a Reporter/Multimedia Journalist at KGTV ABC 10 News, Natay’s dedication to journalism earned her a 2022 NATAS-PSW Emmy Awards Winner in the Breaking News-Multiple Reports category.

“I love that I get to share the stories of the people in my community. I get to highlight the amazing things happening in the neighborhood(s) I grew up in.”



“Say yes to every opportunity, connect with people, learn from them, and be humble.”

Meet San Diego State University alumna Nirit Wigdor (‘15), better known for her Instagram handle . What originally began as a college hobby pivoted her career path into culinary entrepreneurship.

Nirit started during her senior year of college, gradually garnering attention from local restaurants offering food in exchange for a review. Post-graduation, she initially envisioned a career in the corporate world. However, Nirit realized her true calling was elsewhere. Drawing from her creative expertise behind , she transitioned to Kelly Companies, a restaurant group in San Diego.

During her maternity leave in 2021, Nirit took the jump and signed four clients to her restaurant marketing agency, ultimately deciding to embark on her entrepreneurial journey full-time.

“I never imagined this is what I would be doing. I always thought I’d be at a big brand, but when I saw there was potential to do it myself, I made the leap. It took guts.”



There is still time to be a champion of change on the SDSU Day of Giving! ❤️ We have already seen an outpouring of generosity from our San Diego State University alumni and the Aztec community.

Join hundreds of your fellow friends and by making a gift online by midnight tonight!



Today we celebrate the SDSU Day of Giving! Join us as we come together to support students, scholarships, programs and departments at San Diego State University. Find your cause and make a gift online today at


“Embrace your unique background and use it as a source of strength and motivation in your career.”

Social justice advocate and San Diego State University alumna Stephanie Hernandez (‘17) shares her passion for serving underrepresented communities. Growing up in a high-crime area of San Diego as the daughter of immigrant parents, Stephanie recognized the need for advocacy within her community from early on.

Through middle and high school, Stephanie honed her passion for social justice as she took part in programs like the Barrio Logan College Institute and the Aaron Price Fellows Program. Throughout her time at SDSU, Stephanie studied International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR) with an emphasis on environment and security which laid a strong foundation for her career in public service.

Today, Stephanie works as a Program Coordinator for the County of San Diego’s Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement where she works to protect the safety of workers, manages initiatives, supports wage theft victims, and more.

Learn more at


SDSU Alumni are invited to attend the 8th annual Women in Leadership conference on Thursday, March 7th from 12 pm - 4 pm at Montezuma Hall. Featuring keynote speakers Elaine Welteroth and Anna Sitar, along with an SDSU alumnae panel, free headshots, networking opportunities, refreshments, a taco bar, and $1000 worth of prizes.

Elaine Welteroth is best known for being a New York Times bestselling author, journalist, and Project Runway judge. Additionally, in 2017, she was appointed as the youngest Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue.

Anna Sitar is a content creator, model, and entrepreneur with over 12.1 million followers on TikTok. Aside from posting on social media including Instagram and YouTube, Sitar is the CEO of her own merchandise line under the brand ANXNA.


Save the date! San Diego State University's Day of Giving is coming up on Tuesday, March 12. Luna, SDSU's therapy dog, shares how you can help support the university's departments, students, initiatives, and programs you care about the most this year. 🐶

Visit to learn more about how you can make a difference.


Leap Year is only once every four years, but joining SDSU Alumni is for a lifetime!

Receive 15% off during our one-day Leap Year flash sale by becoming an SDSU Alumni lifetime member for $429 (or $552 for a dual membership).

Leap into membership today, and join thousands of proud SDSU Alumni lifetime members!

Learn more at


"We wanted to do something to repay him, to give back.”
With a generous donation to San Diego State University, brothers Ron and Lloyd D**g Jr. honor Gus and Emma Thompson, who helped their immigrant parents settle in Coronado.

The D**gs’ gift is a gesture of gratitude to the couple who gave their parents a boost when they needed it most, not only with housing but also helping Lloyd D**g Sr. expand his business.

The $5 million donated by the D**g family will go to 's Black Resource Center (BRC), which will be renamed in honor of the Thompsons.

Read more:


“My advice is to make time for hobbies and interests and get to know other people with the same passions. You never know when you’ll find your lifelong partner.”

San Diego State University alumni Adam and Ashley Riggs-Zeigen’s love story is all about the right person at the wrong time. The two originally met while pursuing their graduate degrees in a business marketing class at Fowler College of Business. Not thinking much of their interactions, the two would go their separate ways until post-graduation, when their paths crossed while working at Qualcomm.

After running into each other at work and hanging out with mutual friends, the two would eventually become a pair and after a few years of dating, they got engaged and were married the following year. While the two remain a solid pair, they have both grown to individually excel within their professional careers and have credited SDSU in part for their successes.

“It was an incredibly valuable experience that I still think about, and I use some of the lessons I learned from my MBA program to this day.”



“I am very proud to be an alumna of such a prominent and progressing school.”

San Diego State University alumna Marlene Ruiz (‘75) currently serves on SDSU Alumni’s Board of Advisors. From her favorite spot on campus to the advice she has for fellow alumni, Ruiz delves into her past with SDSU and what motivated her to join and stay involved in the community.

After receiving a career-saving scholarship, Ruiz tasked herself with the mission of paying it back and committing to the idea of helping upcoming generations of students. This has led to her motivations for staying involved with the university in a multitude of ways. Her notable roles include being an affiliate faculty member in the school of nursing, leading the International Heal group trips abroad for 14 years, consistently donating, attending sporting events, and volunteering.

“Stay connected to your school, and volunteer to help those sitting in your old chairs.”



“I was so grateful to have this opportunity to be able to work around my schedule and to be able to do it with people who really actually understand at their core.”

San Diego State University’s Aztecs Going Pro has launched a new internship program to help increase internship opportunities for student-athletes by working around their busy schedules. This program has already made a huge impact on student-athletes, more specifically, seniors Christiana Williams and Jack Browning.

Christiana was among 16 students who were chosen to participate in the summer internship program. Possessing a passion for diversity and inclusion, Williams was able to work alongside Paige Diggs, the Associate Director in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office. Here, she helped promote diversity in sports, research major universities and more.

Another student-athlete who participated in the program was Jack Browning. As a kinesiology major, he has never previously explored any internship opportunities but after some encouragement from faculty members, Jack got to work under Coach Eddie Padilla in the strength and conditioning department.

“I was able to expand and grow my network with all the coaches in the strength room, and I feel like it prepared me a lot.”



Aztec ❤️ Story: “When I dropped her off that night, we could both tell something was different.”

San Diego State University alumni Scott Pansky (‘91) and Yovita Pansky (‘94) reminisce on their SDSU love story and six simple words that forever changed their lives.

As Scott walked into the VA dorm of a girl he had previously met, he was greeted by a different girl, none other than his future wife, Yovita Pansky. After allowing him to enter the dorm, she sat back down on the couch to continue watching ‘Days of Our Lives.’ It was then that Scott asked, “Are Bo and Hope still on?” Astonished that Scott knew the famous couple, the conversation began to spark and the rest is history.

Despite their time on campus coming to an end over 30 years ago, the pair remain active within the SDSU community whether it’s watching football games, volunteering, mentoring students and alumni or even watching their legacy grow by being proud parents to a new SDSU Aztec.



“Our love for our alma mater runs deep, and it's amazing to see alumni from across the decades connect with each other and with the students currently on campus.”

San Diego State University alumna Tara Johnson (‘96) currently serves as the President of the SDSU African American Alumni Chapter (AAAC). Starting from just a small group of friends who reconnected at Homecoming every year, the group members were all individually accomplished within their careers and were a part of organizations that helped support the Black community. Using their knowledge, resources, and skills, they set up the foundations of the organization and started partnering with BRC to begin a scholarship program.

As the organization continues to grow, its upcoming goals involve growing its membership amongst recent grads, increasing mentorship opportunities, and awarding $25,000 in scholarships annually.



“Those experiences of times when you're really proud of something you created and you're telling a story to people that might not have been seen otherwise. I really enjoyed that.”

From journalism student to content architect at Intuit, San Diego State University alumna Patricia Swesey’s (‘11) career path starts traditionally but ends unexpectedly. Post-graduation, Swesey was working in traditional media roles for The La Jolla Light and Pacific San Diego Magazine and would later transition to work for the Museum of Contemporary Art. However, she was met with an unexpected setback when she got laid off by the art museum.

Despite her disappointments, Swesey says she was fueled to overcome this setback and pivoted her career path towards technology. Armed with expertise in user experience design, she was contacted by a recruiter from Intuit and from there landed a job as a product content designer. Since then, she has worked her way up to her current role as Principal Content Architect for Intuit Design Systems where her work focuses on AI experiences.

She credits her degree in JMS to her tech career as she learned transferable skills such as strategically employing voice and tone. Swesey aims to assure other JMS students that opportunities are waiting for them in the tech industry.



We are saddened by the loss of San Diego State University alumnus and San Diego State Football legend, Carl Weathers. We are grateful for his time and impact on our alumni community.

Weathers was truly an Aztec for Life, and he will be deeply missed.


, Carl.

Our community mourns the passing of SDSU alumnus Carl Weathers. Many of us grew up watching Weathers on television and saw his rise to fame in pro football and in film. Weathers will be rightfully remembered for his phenomenal talent, for championing sports and the arts and for staying connected to SDSU. , Carl.


“I believed in myself enough to do it, and to know you believe in yourself is enough.”

San Diego State University alumna Sandrien “Sandy” Mekany (‘23) is an aspiring immigration rights attorney who has her eye on working in the White House. During her time at SDSU, Mekany was a part of the Webers Honors College, double minored in sociology and honors interdisciplinary studies, and was involved in SDSU Intercultural Relations, Cru @ SDSU, Tijuana Home Build, and Rotaract just to name a few.

Over the years, Mekany has built an extensive resume of extracurriculars and accomplishments. This past fall, she accomplished another as she became the first SDSU student in the Rhodes Scholarship’s 120-year history to make it to the final round. This prestigious and highly competitive award is given to 100 people globally and only 32 nationally.

Read more about her story at


“The skills I learned in my SDSU geography courses really propelled my career."

San Diego State University alumnus Raul Leon's story is one for the books. After coming to SDSU as a first-generation transfer student passionate about geography, he eventually became the Geography Club's first president and an SDSU Green Love representative.

Utilizing his geography background with a focus on environmental and sustainability issues and policy, he was able to secure an internship at the United States House of Representatives where his skill set and knowledge were utilized within the U.S. Rep Robert Garcia’s office. Some of his contributions included translating scripts for speeches delivered in Spanish by the representative, which to Leon, was a particularly touching moment that highlighted the importance of representation and the commitment to serving the needs of the Latinx community.

Read more at via College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University--The Official Page


⭐ Meet the 11 San Diego State University Alumni Awards of Distinction honorees. ⭐

The awards are a symbol of achievement presented to distinguished alumni from each of 's seven academic colleges and SDSU Imperial Valley. Distinguished service awards also are given to an exceptional alumni volunteer and an outstanding university employee.

This year's honorees include 10 alumni and a university employee.



“It’s how you get up that matters. If you are strong and capable, you can overcome any obstacle that life throws your way.”

Obstacles are no match when it comes to San Diego State University alumna Michelle Cross (‘22). Born with cerebral palsy, Michelle has defied any expectations becoming a two-time competitor and Paralympian. As she reflects on her athletic career, she shares how her journey was able to open up a new door of opportunity.

Cross began to compete in track and field during high school after her sister introduced her to the sport. After competing in the CIF State Championship in 2016, she would catch Paralympian and SDSU alumnus Ahkeel Whitehead's, (‘17) attention who, at the time, was starting SDSU Adapted Athletics. Impressed with her run times and seeing her potential, Ahkeel recruited her to become SDSU Adaptive Athletic’s first recruited athlete.

Read more about her story at


Join us before the Aztec Women's Basketball game on Jan. 20 at The COURTyard for music, prizes, food and fun!

Help us pack Viejas Arena for the nationally televised game vs. San Jose State!


San Diego State University Athletics


Celebrate with us on the Aztec Network! This month reminds us of the transformative power of mentorship. Let's seize this momentum to create impactful mentoring connections for San Diego State University students and on the Aztec Network (

Through formal programs like the Aztec Mentor Program (AMP) or Aztecs Going Pro or informally, by connecting with fellow Aztecs through the user directory, everyone on the Aztec Network is empowered to connect, learn, and grow together.

Are you already connected? Share your mentor stories with us to inspire the next generation of Aztec mentors and mentees!

We invite you to join the Aztec Network:


Have you visited the SDSU Mission Valley River Park yet?

San Diego State University invites alumni of all ages to reconnect with their alma mater in an entirely new light through the recently opened SDSU Mission Valley River Park!

Spanning an expansive 34 acres, the park is a hub of recreational amenities, combining multi-use fields, scenic walking and biking trails, a children's play area and a dedicated fitness zone.

One of the intentions behind these features is to ensure that the park becomes a new destination for alumni and family outings.

Read more:


“To be an alumni means that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It is a duty to give back to the next generation.”

San Diego State University alumnus Dirk Epperson (‘06) currently serves on the Board of Advisors and discusses his experiences at SDSU and how they shaped the rest of his life.

Born and raised in San Diego, Epperson has a long-running history with the city and all that it has given him. After attending Grossmont College for a year to play volleyball, Epperson went on a church mission to Venezuela for two years, where he learned about the importance of helping others and making a difference. Coming back to San Diego with this newfound passion, he enrolled at SDSU and started working towards his civil engineering degree.

Fast forward to now. Epperson loves being involved with the community, attending Aztec games, engineering events, as well as participating in mentorship.



JOB OPPORTUNITY: Associate Director, Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center

Join the team! The Associate Director will oversee all aspects of services and functions related to the scheduling and operation of meetings and events in Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center facility.

Apply today!


Congratulations to San Diego State University alumnus, Joe Kiani ('84, '88, Sc.D. '21), on receiving FDA 510(k) clearance for the Masimo W1 Medical Watch to be used over-the-counter and for prescription. Joe and his team at Masimo continue to deliver technology that changes people’s lives.

We can’t wait to see what you do next!

Read more:


"Tammy's dedication to sharing the game has exposed hundreds of thousands to quality women's sports broadcasts."

Tammy Blackburn (‘94, ‘01) is a former Aztec Women's Basketball student-athlete and currently serves as San Diego State University's University Relations and Development Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.

She was recognized and awarded the inaugural Aztec Impact on Women in Sports Award during last month's San Diego State University Athletics' Women’s Fund Luncheon.

Her passion for and women in sports comes from being a starter on the basketball team in college and throughout her career as a women’s national sports broadcaster. Blackburn has utilized her fundraising skills to develop the “Buck-A-Board Challenge" and the SDSU Courage Through Cancer Fund to help the SDSU community further.



“I think when you share these kinds of moments, you’ll always have a link with them even if you don’t see them for years.”

As San Diego State University alumnus Mark Jacobs (‘87) boarded his seemingly normal flight from New York to Milan, he was unaware of how small the world truly is and how you can find connections in even the most random of places.

After the flight landed from its eight-hour journey across the Atlantic Ocean, Mark talked with the passenger next to him, and they both realized that they were both . The passenger was Tommaso Inghirami, a former exchange student from Italy.

While they may be countries apart, Mark and Tommaso will not let that get in the way of their newfound friendship.

“We both attended SDSU, and we both are Aztecs! I think this is the real meaning of family.”


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