News

New Hires at DRBU!

Sep 20, 2022

Welcome to Our New Hires!



Name: Dillon Balmaceda
Position/Title: Student, Campus Coordinator at Sudhana Center
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
Study of Buddhist text and Sangha led me to DRBU
Anything you're looking forward to regarding your new position at DRBU?
I am looking forward to working with the new students. Also, talking about Dharma and listening to Dharma.
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? What brings me joy is waking up very early and reading/studying sutras.

Name: Kimberly Deckman
Position/Title: Outreach Fellow
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
After graduating from the MA program in the spring of 2020, I began to get much more involved in the local Ukiah community. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the DRBU campus was closed to guests and former students. As a result, I had to invest in more relationships and resources for myself outside of the DRBU community. I discovered that the Ukiah community has a lot to offer local residents. As DRBU begins to again open up a bit, I am excited to connect back with the University but also interested in exploring possible ways that DRBU might draw on local resources and partnerships to enhance its offerings. I am joining the DRBU's Outreach Team to further this conversation on how DRBU might benefit from increased local connections.
Anything you're looking forward to regarding your new position at DRBU?
Connecting with old friends and making new ones!
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? 
These days I get a lot of joy out of my little garden and sharing its bounty by hosting dinner parties. Also, finding local swimming holes! And as always, the joy of deep contemplative silence. 
What's your favorite snack/meal/food? My favorite food of late has been whole yogurt with fresh peaches, granola, and chocolate chips. Yum.

Name: Tomas Fletcher
Position/Title: Sudhana Center Head Chef
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
I’ve been part of the DRBA community for about 15 years now. Joining DRBU was mainly about continuing this fruitful relationship while broadening my academic skills. I’m now working as head chef at Sudhana Center and feel very fortunate to have a job that I really enjoy doing.
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? 
Playing classical guitar and piano, writing/recording music, playing basketball at the Sudhana Center gym, movies, board games, soccer, mountain hiking.
What's your favorite snack/meal/food? 
Pizza, cookies, and soda water.
 


Name: Sandy Lamerson
Position/Title: Academic Affairs Fellow
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
I moved to Ukiah with Dillon and Kalyani last fall, and I'm happy to be a part of the DRBU community. I have a degree in East Asian Studies and Chinese. I speak Mandarin, though I need to practice more, so please speak Chinese with me :) I am a student of Buddhism, Yoga and Ayurveda. I have been teaching yoga for the last 10 years. I am certified in the Iyengar Yoga tradition and am studying to be an Ayurvedic practitioner. I am interested in what DRBU has to offer and am considering doing the MA program in the future.
Anything you're looking forward to regarding your new position at DRBU?
I'm looking forward to getting to know the students, faculty, and staff and supporting the community.
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have?
Right now I am a full time mama to Kalyani. That brings both joy and challenges. I enjoy nature, travel, arts and cultures, doing my yoga practice, gardening, and cooking.
What's your favorite snack/meal/food? Mostly Indian food.

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Name: Frank Liu
Position/Title: Information Technology Fellow
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
BA graduate + technology background + pandemic + want to contribute back to DRBU.
Anything you're looking forward to regarding your new position at DRBU?
Working with everyone, back with the community.
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? Joy: life liberation; Hobby: basketball.
What's your favorite snack/meal/food? Pizza.
 


Name: Daniel Nguyen
Position/Title: Registrar Assistant, Health Services Fellow 
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
I just want to help out this community and be more self-reflective. I have a deep wish to change my habits and transform towards what's more wholesome.
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have?
Reciting great compassion mantra and devotion to Guanyin Bodhisattva.
What's your favorite snack/meal/food? 
I love Viet food and fruits!
 


Name: James Nguyen
Position/Title: Marketing & Outreach Fellow
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity. 
While my fellowship is formally starting now, I’ve been helping out with the DRBU Outreach team since the end of MA1 as a masters student, so it’s now been well over a year already. It was an easy continuation following my graduation to take on this role, though I’m now also helping out with some IT/AV work, in addition to some other projects. Before coming to DRBU, I worked in technology marketing for a number of years at large, medium, and startup companies. 
Anything you're looking forward to regarding your new position at DRBU?
This new position brings a continuation of my Outreach work, though there are always new things to work through. The other new responsibilities also bring diversity. The trick now is to manage my time across all of them, and scoping what I can take on with the time that I’ve got. Never a dull moment!
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? 
I enjoy spending time with the dharma, which takes more effort now; as a student I was always immersed in it from all the classwork reading and writing. Now, I have to intentionally put it into my schedule. At home, I’m working on the backyard when I can; right now I have some peaches I’m trying to germinate, though I don’t have a very green thumb.
What's your favorite snack/meal/food?
I like good vegetarian sushi. 
Anything else you want to add? 
I’m happy to be staying around in the community after graduation to do this fellowship and helping out where I can!    


Name: Abigail Setera
Position/Title: Student Activities Fellow
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
After spending one and a half years online, I only got to experience DRBU in person for one semester, which is too short!! So I decided to stay back for a while longer.
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? Being with friends, embroidering, watching figure skating.
What's your favorite snack/meal/food? Grass jelly.


Name: Grace Woo
Position/Title: Translation Fellow
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
I grew up in a very Catholic family, but I just never felt like it spoke to me. I first became interested in Buddhism when I traveled to Tibet and Nepal in 2000, but I was too busy with the so-called life of career pursuit and having fun. I followed a Sri Lankan monk for a few years, but it was not until 2018 when I went to the Guan Yin Session at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas that I felt like I had come home. I have this feeling that this life is running out and I really should focus on cultivation. Last year I left Corporate America after 20+ years and joined the translation program at DRBU, and it was nothing short of being transformative. I am grateful for the opportunity to stay in the community!
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? Attempts to read Tibetan Buddhist texts with my tenuous grasp on Classical Tibetan.
Anything else you want to add?
You won't really see me on campus as I work remotely, but really, feel free to email me anytime!! I love all the personal stories I heard in the orientation and would love to get to know each one of you despite the distance.



Promotions

Name: Hasan Friggle
Position/Title: Associate Director of Recruiting and Enrollment
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
I spent a few years after undergrad traveling around and working in education, before deciding to come do the MA program at DRBU. After graduating in 2020, I decided to stay on and work in admissions.
Anything you're looking forward to regarding your new position at DRBU?
I'm looking forward to finding new cool students!
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? Biking, painting, Russian novels, horror movies.


Name: Brenda Li
Position/Title: Senior University Relations Manager
Share a few words on your background/what led you to DRBU in this capacity.
I graduated from the Master's program in 2019 and have been working at DRBU in various capacities since.
Anything you're looking forward to regarding your new position at DRBU? Working with the awesome Outreach team to develop creative ways to engage with more people and share what we do at DRBU! 
What gives you joy? Hobbies you have? Rock climbing, surfing, coffee, walking, trying to do nothing at all :)
What's your favorite snack/meal/food? I love edamame! I've been on a tempeh kick for a bit as well.