The Transfer Hall of Fame honors former West Valley College students who have gone on to achieve outstanding educational and career success. WVC is very proud of our inductees and we wish them continued success. Their journeys have been remarkable. May they continue to inspire current West Valley College students on their educational journey!
J. Brian Allman
J. Brian Allman, DDS is an accomplished alumni of West Valley College. Hailing from the San Jose neighborhood of Willow Glen, Dr. Allman comes from a family with meaningful ties to education – his grandparents were both teachers and his father William “Bill” Allman was a highly respected business counselor and instructor at West Valley College.
From 1978-1980, Dr. Allman attended West Valley College on both of its campuses— the old Campbell site and the current Saratoga location, where he was involved in campus activities and served as student body president.
After receiving his Associate of Science Degree from West Valley College, Allman transferred to Santa Clara University and completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Physics. While attending SCU, he was sought out by IBM to work on a special project at its South San Jose Campus. He then continued his education at UCLA’s School of Dentistry.
Today, you’ll find Dr. Allman in Reno, Nevada, where he has a successful dental practice. In addition, Dr. Allman is one of the nation’s top specialists in the areas of sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. He is the founder of the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Nevada, where he and his team practice a holistic approach to treating patients with TMJ disorders, sleep disorders, and dental problems.
Dr. Allman has always considered education to be the foundation to his success. As such, he has served as a senior instructor at the International Association for Orthodontics and is an internationally recognized lecturer. Additionally, he has served multiple terms on the Nevada State Board of Health as well as the Board of Regents for the American Society for Geriatric Dentistry. Allman is the recipient of seven fellowship and diplomatic awards.
Giving back to his community is imperative for Dr. Allman. He is a founding supporter of The First Tee of Northern Nevada, a program that teaches youth about golf while instilling key life skills like honesty, respect, and integrity. Dr. Allman also serves on the board for the Hayek Group, an organization that promotes the value of education to high school students with a focus on financial literacy.
West Valley College welcomes Dr. Allman as the 2019 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
Dr. John Hannigan enlisted in the United States Air Force as a Security Police Officer out of High School. Separating from the Air Force to pursue his education, he attended West Valley College and received an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. He went on to transfer to San Jose State University to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies before receiving his Master of Arts in the same field. Dr. Hannigan earned his doctorate from Capella University in Organizational Management.
As a student, Dr. Hannigan struggled. Not learning he was dyslexic until taking Introduction to Psychology 1A, he began working closely with WVC DESP. John learned to develop successful strategies, allowing his strengths to compensate for limitations. This fueled him to help parents advocate for their students with learning disabilities and to encourage struggling students.
Dr. Hannigan started his career at West Valley College in 2002 as a full-time tenure track faculty member in the Communication Studies Department. Since then, he has taken initiative on multiple committees including the Leadership Development Academy, Program Review, Accreditation, and more. He has also served as the Chair of the Communication Studies Department since 2009.
Dr. Hannigan’s teaching philosophy models Choice Theory, which creates high expectations for students to follow through on their commitments. He has been described by students as tough yet always encouraging and welcoming. His dedication to student success and educational equity, along with his exemplary educational and career achievements, make him a valued and essential member of the West Valley College community.
West Valley College welcomes Dr. Hannigan as the 2018 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
Zakhary Mallett grew up in the California foster care system and faced many obstacles in his childhood and early adult life. Not having a stable home life made his early years extremely difficult and ever-changing.
Being transit-dependent as a youth and young adult, Zakhary developed a fascination in transportation operations and planning, so he set his mind on a career in transportation at a young age. He began his college education at West Valley College before becoming one of just twenty of 1,400 transfer applicants accepted into Stanford University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies in 2009. Zakhary then earned his master of city planning (MCP) degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012.
The same year that Zakhary earned his master’s degree, he ran for public office as a member of the governing board for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART). Just 25 years old at the time, Zakhary won his election, beating out a veteran politician and becoming the youngest person ever elected to the BART Board of Directors. As BART Director from 2012 to 2016, Zakhary was a voice for sensible and rational leadership on the BART Board of Directors. Among his accomplishments are advancing the need to address Interstate 80 congestion with a possible BART extension in West Contra Costa County, championing the inclusion of affordable housing in BART station developments, and promoting financially conscious policy-making at BART.
Today, Zakhary is preparing to return to school to earn a Ph.D. and pursue a career in planning and policy research and teaching.
Zakhary resides in West Contra Costa County and in his spare time enjoys nature and the outdoors.
West Valley College welcomes Zakhary as the 2017 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
David Meads attended West Valley College in the fall of 1994 where he began his studies in the Architecture Department. He then transferred to the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where he finished his studies and receive his Bachelor of Architecture degree. After Cal Poly, he then started his career at Barry Swenson Builder in their Architecture Department. David went on to earn his state license in 2013 and he is a member of the American Institute of Architects. Through his tenure with Barry Swenson Builder, he has designed or has been on the design team for numerous residential buildings, such as the Oak Grove Garden Townhomes and the recreation hall at Boy Scouts Camp Chesebrough in the Santa Cruz mountains.
Currently, his primary focus is on residential high rise projects like The Ohlone - Block A in San Jose and Piper Drive Residential Tower in Milpitas. The project that he is most proud of is Century Towers, which is a twin 12 story residential tower project that contains a small portion of retail and 368 apartment units on First Street in San Jose near the airport. The sheer-scale of the project from start to finish reminds him that to build something great takes time and attention to detail. His advice to students is something very similar- "Never give up. I’ve encountered many instances where challenges seemed insurmountable, whether in school or at work, but I always knew that if I set my mind to overcoming the challenge and sought help from others, I would be successful in reaching my goals. I hope you make the same choice and never let the world tell you no.”
West Valley College welcomes David as the 2016 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
Director of Instrumental and Choral Music, Westmont High School
Jesse Sanchez, a graduate of Lincoln High School, played in the WVC Jazz Band and sang in the Chamber Singers & Masterworks Chorale prior to transferring to the University of Idaho in 2009 where he received a BA in Music and Jazz studies. After receiving his teaching credential, Jesse Sanchez was hired in August 2013 to “build a program” at Westmont High School. He started with a little more than 50 students and in just a year has been meeting the needs of 305 students. The program now offers an array of ensembles ranging from the Westmont Warrior Regiment Marching Band to the Carnegie Hall-bound, Chamber Chorale. His ensemble, in a short span, has received superior ratings at CMEA Festivals, the Los Gatos Holiday Parade, NCBA Field Show Competitions, WBA Field Show Competitions, and CCGC Winter Guard Competitions. Recently, his Chamber Chorale received a Unanimous Superior rating at a CMEA Choral Festival. Jesse also serves as the California All-State Music Educator’s Conference Special Projects Coordinator, working to meet the needs of music educators throughout the State of California. Jesse Sanchez has been nominated for Teacher of the Year at Westmont High School and we recognize him as the 2015 Transfer Hall of Fame inductee. More info here.
West Valley College welcomes Jesse as the 2015 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
Assurance Associate, Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP (PwC)
Michael Armstrong attended West Valley College and received an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Business Administration and transferred to San Jose State University in 2010. He is an Assurance Associate at Price Waterhouse Coopers. He was 1 of 20 in the US chosen by PwC to participate in an international exchange program in Slovakia. Michael is described by his instructors as one of those students that “you don't easily forget.” He was an outstanding Business student at West Valley College. He also traveled to Shanghai while he was at San Jose State.
More recently, Michael helped spearhead an event at West Valley College for students interested transferring to four-year institutions and those who want to pursue careers in business, accounting, and finance. Michael, along with a few of his colleagues, reached out to West Valley College’s Honors Program, the counselors, and the Business Department at the College. This collaboration resulted in a presentation/workshop designed for WVC students who might be considering a career in business, accounting, or related fields. The topics covered included resume preparation, interview tips, what corporate employers look for when considering students for summer internships between their junior and senior years, and what large firms look for when considering four-year graduates for permanent positions.
West Valley College welcomes Michael as the 2014 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
Architect, IBI Group Architects & Planners
Steve is a Principal with IBI Group Architects & Planners, a member of the American Institute of Architects, a member of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, a LEED Accredited Professional, and is a West Valley College Puente Program mentor. Among his most memorable projects include West Valley College Campus Center, especially working with West Valley College students during the design completion of the Viking Grove, the West Valley College Science & Math Building, Don Callejon School in Santa Clara, the San Jose YWCA, Prusch Park, and the Anne Darling facility for the severely disabled.
Steve shares his wisdom with West Valley College students by saying, “You may not know it now, but the experiences you have had and the lessons you have learned here will benefit you for the rest of your life.” He received his A.S. degree in Architecture from West Valley College in 1975. Transferring from WVC to the University of California at Berkeley, he earned a B.A. in Architecture from the College of Environmental Design, graduating with honors.
Steve began his career in 1977 working in San Francisco on the design of Pier 39. He also became a realtor and was active until 1989. He received his Architectural license in 1983 and has been involved with the design of educational, civic, commercial housing, correctional and judicial projects. He received several Project awards from various entities including the Builders Industry Association (BIA) and the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH).
West Valley College welcomes Steve as the 2013 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
Sergeant Todd Trayer
San Jose Police Department
Sgt. Todd Trayer attended West Valley College from 1992 – 1995. He transferred to San Jose State University and completed his Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminology in 2004. During his studies at West Valley College, he participated in the West Valley Police Cadet Program. At 21 year of age, Sgt. Trayer was selected for the San Jose Police Officer position and since 1995 he has worked as an officer in patrol, the Field Training Program, Sexual Assaults Investigations, Internal Affairs, Patrol Administrative unit, and is currently assigned as the sergeant in the Vice Unit. He has been with the San Jose Police Department for 17 years. In 2001 he received the Crime Stopper Award. He recently has been featured on CreaTV for his role in the Internal Affairs Unit. He gives credit to West Valley College for building his criminal justice foundation through excellent instruction and developing a network of resources that helped him obtain his career.
West Valley College welcomes Todd as the 2012 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
West Valley College Math Instructor
Faun Maddux's passion for helping students succeed in math began at West Valley College when she was voted as the Most Patient Tutor by the students in the Tutorial Center. Faun transferred to San Jose State University in 1999 and received a BA and MS in Mathematics. In 1999, she received an AA in Mathematics and an AS in Physics from West Valley College and was the class Valedictorian. In 2002, she was selected as one of two Outstanding Graduating Seniors at San Jose State University. She received numerous awards as a student at both campuses, including the West Valley College Emeritus Scholarship, AAUW Scholarship, Loly Award (through Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society), and the Golden Key Scholar Award and International Student Leader Award through Golden Key International Honor Society. Other honors include the Outstanding TA of the Year Award at San Jose State University (2005), the President's Medal for Distinctive Contributions (Foothill College), and the League of Innovations Award for her participation in the Math My Way program in 2007. Faun is extremely honored to be "back home," teaching math full time at West Valley College.
West Valley College welcomes Faun as the 2011 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
Dr. Lucha Ortega
Vice President of Student Services, Shasta College
Dr. Lucha Ortega transferred to Santa Clara University in 1981. She has a B.S. in Political Science, a Masters in Education Degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of La Verne. While at West Valley, her study of emphasis was Court Reporting. She served as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at CSU Monterey Bay, was a past board member to the San Benito High School Board of Trustee in Hollister, a former Board of Trustee at Gavilan Joint Community College, and is currently the Vice President of Student Services at Shasta College.
West Valley College welcomes Lucha as the 2010 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.
Executive Director, Michael Lee Environmental Foundation
Ralph Schardt transferred to San Jose State University in 1999 and received a BA in Environmental Studies and a Masters Degree in Non-profit Business Management from the University of San Francisco. He is a published photographer. While at West Valley, his study of emphasis was Park Management. He is currently the Executive Director of Michael Lee Environmental Foundation.
West Valley College welcomes Ralph as the 2010 Transfer Hall of Fame recipient.