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Her History: UCSB Alumni Association Panel to Spotlight ‘Exceptional Women, Exceptional Gauchos’

Dr. Betty K. Koed, a former American history professor at UC Santa Barbara, is the first female historian of the United States Senate and head of the United States Senate Historical Office. She earned her B.A. in English in 1983 as well as her M.A. (’91) and Ph.D. (’99) in History from UCSB.

Koed will be honored with the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award at the “Exceptional Women, Exceptional Gauchos” award ceremony and panel discussion at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21, 2016, at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta.

“My UCSB experience, both as an undergraduate and a graduate student, was wonderful,” said Koed. “I owe so much of my success as a professional historian to the gifted teachers and mentors that I worked with at UCSB — Professor John Ridland in the English department and Professors Robert Kelley, Otis Graham, Mary Furner and Randy Bergstrom in the history department. Without their help and guidance, I would not be the Senate historian today.”

As the curator of the U.S. Senate’s institutional memory, Koed hopes to bring into the national consciousness the many contributions of women in government and legislation.

“Over the past 18 years, part of my personal mission as a Senate historian has been to shed light on and bring attention to the important role played by women in Senate history,” she said. “To return to UCSB as part of a tribute to women in leadership positions is a fabulous way to validate that effort.”  

Koed will join other notable UCSB alumnae Jean Fuller (Ph.D. ’89), Becka Klauber Richter (’07), Kasey Edwards (’07) and Maritza Mejia-Wilson (’02) at the “Exceptional Women, Exceptional Gauchos” panel discussion about the opportunities and challenges faced by 21st-century women.

About the Alumnae Panelists

Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) is the first woman to serve as California’s State Senate Republican leader.

During much of her career, Fuller served as the superintendent of Keppel Union School District. In this role, she was recognized for her commitment to education and community with the California Superintendent of the Year award by the Association of School Administrators.

Fuller was first elected a member of the California State Legislature in 2006 and has been honored by numerous commendations like the California Water Agencies’ Legislative Leadership Award, TURN’s Sylvia Siegel Consumer Champion Award and California Business Properties Association’s Legislator of the Year. 

Maritza Mejia-Wilson is a proud Gaucho who currently serves as the assistant director of orientation programs in the UCSB Division of Student Affairs.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in global studies at UCSB in 2002, she received a masters in public administration from CSU, Northridge.

Mejia-Wilson’s work in the community has been focused on helping underrepresented students access college and achieve academic success.

She is a founding board member of the AB 540 Coalition of Santa Barbara and of Adsum Education Foundation, a nonprofit that has provided almost half a million dollars in scholarships to undocumented graduates of Santa Barbara County high schools.

These organizations advocate for broader change in the local community so that immigration status does not keep talented students from post-secondary education.

She has received the Santa Barbara Independent Local Heroes Award and is a current participant in the Katherine Harvey Fellows Program.

She met her partner, Travis, at a boxing match in San Miguel Hall during their freshman year. They are proud parents to a rambunctious and adorable dog named Noli, who loves tennis balls and nibbling small feet.

Becka Klauber Richter and Kasey Edwards are the founders of Helpr, an on-demand childcare app launched last year.

Helpr, an Uber-like booking service for sitters focused on serving clients in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Orange County, grew from University Sitters, a nanny and babysitter placement agency founded by Klauber Richter and Edwards during their college days at UCSB.

The business grew from a core group of six college students living in a house together in Santa Barbara to an agency serving thousands of families in California.

Klauber Richter and Edwards currently help support other fellow female entrepreneurs in Los Angeles through the Female Founders LA (#FFLA) networking group.

They also work together on a much more personal endeavor — as co-foster parents of a ten-year old girl placed in their care by Olive Crest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping at-risk children in California, Nevada and in the Pacific Northwest.

Moderator Nicolasa I. Sandoval (Ph.D ’07) was the first person from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to earn a doctorate from UCSB.

Before she graduated from UCSB, Sandoval earned her master’s degree in museum studies from George Washington University and her undergraduate degree in public relations from Pepperdine University.

Sandoval is education director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and a lecturer in the education department at UCSB.

In 2013, Gov. Edmund G. Brown appointed her to the California State Board of Education, which sets K-12 education policy in the areas of standards, curriculum, instructional materials, assessment and accountability.

Sandoval serves on the boards of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni board of directors and the Santa Barbara Foundation. Her career began at the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art and continued at the Smithsonian Institution, where she held the position of assistant director of community services for the National Museum of the American Indian.

Alumni, students, staff and community members are invited to join in the discussion and to network with other female professionals at the event.

To register for Exceptional Women, Exceptional Gauchos, click here.

Event Committee Co-chairs

Jan Campbell (’74) serves as chief philanthropic officer and senior vice president of the Santa Barbara Foundation. She is also a past president and current member of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association board and served as chair of the All Gaucho Reunion for two years.

She is past member of the UCSB Foundation board of trustees and a current member of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara and Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County.

She is a  founding member of the Central Coast MIT Enterprise Forum and the Women’s Day Conference. Campbell has also served on the board of directors for Montessori Center School and the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

Julie Capritto (’81) is the chief operating officer and senior vice president for AGIA Affinity Services headquartered in Carpinteria.

She serves as president of the Domestic Violence Solutions board of Santa Barbara and is a past member of the Friends of VADA Santa Barbara High School as well as the boards of Santa Barbara Middle School and Santa Barbara County Parks Foundation.

Capritto is a member of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association board and serves as the All Gaucho Reunion Committee chair. She also serves on the Corporate Philanthropy Roundtable Advisory and Steering committees. 

The UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association promotes and cultivates alumni connections to create positive change for UCSB students, graduates and the university community.

Alumni philanthropy, advocacy and service strengthens our future by linking past and present Gauchos to work together to uphold the values of the university.

Marge Perko represents the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association.


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