Cal State Fullerton’s Taylor Dockins inspires softball teammates, community in her fight against cancer

By LOU PONSI

The call could come at any time.

In a month, a week, or even today.

But until the call comes, informing Taylor Dockins to schedule liver transplant surgery, the Cal State Fullerton pitcher just keeps doing her job in the circle.

Friday, March 30 is not only our conference opener against @UCSBgauchos, but “No One Fights Alone” night as we support Taylor Dockins in her fight against cancer #TaylorStrong #Play4Tay

🎟: https://t.co/0kqfP21RdR

Release ⬇https://t.co/mdYLvzX19a

— Titan Softball (@CSUFSoftball) March 24, 2018

Dockins, 19, is a freshman who joined the Titans from Norco High School in Riverside County having captured virtually every piece of hardware that exists at the high school level, including MaxPreps Player of the Year, California Gatorade Player of the Year and National Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.

 

  • Taylor Dockins, the softball star who recently graduated from Norco, does an interview on the red carpet before the ESPYS in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Gatorade)

    Taylor Dockins, the softball star who recently graduated from Norco, does an interview on the red carpet before the ESPYS in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Gatorade)

  • Taylor Dockins, right, walks down the red carpet before the ESPYS in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Gatorade)

    Taylor Dockins, right, walks down the red carpet before the ESPYS in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Gatorade)

  • Taylor Dockins, fourth from left, poses with other Gatorade national player of the year sport winners on the red carpet before the ESPYS in Los Angeles.

    Taylor Dockins, fourth from left, poses with other Gatorade national player of the year sport winners on the red carpet before the ESPYS in Los Angeles.

  • Taylor Dockins, right, poses with Brie Oakley, on the red carpet before the ESPYS in Los Angeles. Dockins (softball) and Oakley (cross country) were chosen national players of the year in their respective sports. (Photo courtesy of Gatorade)

    Taylor Dockins, right, poses with Brie Oakley, on the red carpet before the ESPYS in Los Angeles. Dockins (softball) and Oakley (cross country) were chosen national players of the year in their respective sports. (Photo courtesy of Gatorade)

  • Norco’s Taylor Dockins, the national softball player of the year, speaks at the 15th annual High School Athlete of the Year Awards at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in Marina del Rey, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

    Norco’s Taylor Dockins, the national softball player of the year, speaks at the 15th annual High School Athlete of the Year Awards at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in Marina del Rey, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

  • Two-time Olympian Jennie Finch surprises Norco’s Taylor Dockins with the 2016-17 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (Photo Credit/Gatorade).

    Two-time Olympian Jennie Finch surprises Norco’s Taylor Dockins with the 2016-17 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (Photo Credit/Gatorade).

  • Norco’s Taylor Dockins, center, reacts after being awarded the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year by two-time Olympian Jennie Finch, right. Dockins’ father, Rick, is to the left. (Photo courtesy of Steven K. Doi)

    Norco’s Taylor Dockins, center, reacts after being awarded the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year by two-time Olympian Jennie Finch, right. Dockins’ father, Rick, is to the left. (Photo courtesy of Steven K. Doi)

  • Norco’s Taylor Dockins, left, was chosen the 2017 Ms. Softball winner, the overall state player of the year honor given by CalHiSports.com. Kinzie Hansen, right, was chosen the state’s top sophomore. (Photo by Mark Dustin for The Press-Enterprise/SCNG).

    Norco’s Taylor Dockins, left, was chosen the 2017 Ms. Softball winner, the overall state player of the year honor given by CalHiSports.com. Kinzie Hansen, right, was chosen the state’s top sophomore. (Photo by Mark Dustin for The Press-Enterprise/SCNG).

  • Norco pitcher Taylor Dockins is the HSGameTime Softball Player of the Year in Norco, CA. wednesday, June 14, 2017. Dockins returned to the field after being diagnosed with liver cancer in July 2016, and she went 33-1 as a senior and also set the CIF-Southern Section record with 108 career wins. TERRY PIERSON,THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG

    Norco pitcher Taylor Dockins is the HSGameTime Softball Player of the Year in Norco, CA. wednesday, June 14, 2017. Dockins returned to the field after being diagnosed with liver cancer in July 2016, and she went 33-1 as a senior and also set the CIF-Southern Section record with 108 career wins. TERRY PIERSON,THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG

  • Norco’s pitcher Taylor Dockins pitches against Centennial in the 4th inning during the Big VIII League game in Norco on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Dockins sets the CIF-Southern Section record for career for 104th wins as Norco defeats Centennial 5-1. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

    Norco’s pitcher Taylor Dockins pitches against Centennial in the 4th inning during the Big VIII League game in Norco on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Dockins sets the CIF-Southern Section record for career for 104th wins as Norco defeats Centennial 5-1. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Norco High School softball player Taylor Dockins, left, and two-time Olympian Jennie Finch after Dockins won the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at Xpresso Urban Cafe in Corona. (Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

    Norco High School softball player Taylor Dockins, left, and two-time Olympian Jennie Finch after Dockins won the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at Xpresso Urban Cafe in Corona. (Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Taylor Dockins, CSUF star freshman pitcher on the softball team is on the list to get a liver transplant. in Fullerton on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Sam Gangwer, Contributing Photographer)

    Taylor Dockins, CSUF star freshman pitcher on the softball team is on the list to get a liver transplant. in Fullerton on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Sam Gangwer, Contributing Photographer)

  • Taylor Dockins, CSUF star freshman pitcher on the softball team is on the list to get a liver transplant. in Fullerton on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Sam Gangwer, Contributing Photographer)

    Taylor Dockins, CSUF star freshman pitcher on the softball team is on the list to get a liver transplant. in Fullerton on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Sam Gangwer, Contributing Photographer)

  • Taylor Dockins, CSUF star freshman pitcher on the softball team is on the list to get a liver transplant. in Fullerton on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Sam Gangwer, Contributing Photographer)

    Taylor Dockins, CSUF star freshman pitcher on the softball team is on the list to get a liver transplant. in Fullerton on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Sam Gangwer, Contributing Photographer)

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“She basically ran the table with everything there is to win at the high school level and she has a whole other career in travel ball,” Titans coach Kelly Ford said.

With a record of 6-4 and a no-hitter in the books, Dockins is excelling in college as well, knowing that at any time, she could be called in for surgery.

“Being on the softball field, I always say it’s my getaway,” said Dockins, who was diagnosed almost two years ago with a rare form of liver cancer called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma. “I don’t think about anything on the field. It’s kind of like just me doing my job.”

For eight months prior to being diagnosed, Dockins was experiencing stomach and back pain.

She was tired and fatigued.

Routine tests didn’t reveal anything abnormal.

In summer 2016, Dockins was in Colorado for a softball tournament and when the pain became so severe, she was taken to an emergency room, where blood tests revealed abnormalities in her liver.

A CAT scan ultimately revealed a softball-sized mass on her liver

The tumor was removed and everything was seemingly OK.

A year later, however, three new spots appeared on her liver.

Chemotherapy was successful in getting rid of those tumors, however spots were then discovered on Dockins’ lungs.

With the fear of the cancer spreading from her liver to her lungs, doctors feel the best course of treatment was to do a liver transplant, Dockins said.

“It’s not the option I want to go through but whatever is going to keep me alive longer,” Dockins said of the transplant. “It’s not like I’m in dire need of it right now, but I do need it to live out my years.”

In the meantime, Dockins continues to inspire her teammates and others in the softball community and beyond.

High school softball players have been seen wearing green wristbands that say #Pray4Tay and #TaylorStrong.

Dockins’ family regularly posts medical updates on social networking sites as they become known.

Dockins has 1,673 Instagram followers and 1,310 Twitter followers.

“I have the whole softball community, my family, and then people who have reached out,” Dockins said. “So many people from other states are following my Instagram and following my story.”

Dockins was placed on the national liver transplant registry in August and is now on top of the list.

Because Dockins is only 19 and is in an athlete in excellent shape, recovery from the surgery could be just a few months, she said.

Depending on the length of the recovery period, Dockins may redshirt to not lose a year of eligibility.

Until she is summoned for surgery, Dockins can continue playing and competing the way she always has.

“She’s a fierce competitor,” Ford said. “Composed for a freshman. She is out there on the mound as if she is a seasoned senior. She is very present.”

Not every day is easy, Dockins said.

Concerns always arise about what the next blood test or biopsy will reveal.

That is where family, friends, teammates and the game of softball itself come in.

Said Ford, “However, our paths took us here to Cal State Fullerton Softball, we are all in this together.”

No One Fights Alone Night

In honor of Taylor Dockins’ fight against cancer, the Cal State Fullerton softball team is hosting “No One Fights Alone Night” on its conference opener on Friday at home against UC Santa Barbara.

The first 100 fans in attendance will receive a “No One Fights Alone” t-shirt and there will be “#TaylorStrong” wristbands available for every fan in attendance.

The softball team encourages everyone going to the game to wear emerald green attire as the team supports not only Dockins, but everyone throughout the world fighting liver cancer.

 

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Cal State Fullerton students learn to brand themselves for the job market

In the photo you last posted on social media, were you holding a glass of beer or a laptop?

That’s the kind of question job seekers need to ask themselves, Yvon Nguyen told a room of students at Cal State Fullerton recently. She asked them a lot of questions to get them to realize that landing a job these days is all about branding and marketing themselves — just as though they were a business.


Yvon Nguyen, CEO of VANT4GE, a marketing and public relations agency in Orange, presented “The Business of You” to the Center for Leadership in Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. (Photo courtesy of VANT4GE LLC)

And that needs to be done before an applicant even applies for a job.

As CEO of VANT4GE, a marketing and public relations agency in Orange, Nguyen presented “The Business of You” to Leadership Scholars from the Center for Leadership in the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

Her tips ranged from old-fashioned, such as how to have an effective handshake, to up-to-date techniques for using social media to present an image to potential employers of a committed, work-ready applicant.

“When you’re submitting your resume and you’re trying to get that interview, there are already people talking about your brand,” Nguyen said. “What they say about you is up to you. That’s the power of social media.”

Seventy percent of employers use social media to screen candidates, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder.com study. About 57 percent are less likely to interview candidates they can’t find online, and 54 percent have decided to not hire a candidate based on social media profiles.

“Resumes aren’t enough,” she said. “You must build your brand.”

She showed the group a list of desirable traits employers look for. Only one was technical skills; the others were so-called soft skills, such as eagerness to learn, flexibility, focus, problem-solving and teamwork. “They say they can teach tech skills. They can’t teach personality,” she said.

Nguyen asked the students to write down a few of their strengths. Those are the things to build their brand around, to include in their bios, to get across quickly to potential employers and to reflect in their social media presence.

Google yourself, Nguyen told the students. Does your LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram show up on the first page of results? These will show potential employers who you are before they meet you.

“Your public persona can help you or hinder you in getting an interview” Nguyen said. “Employers will Google you.”

Applicants should have at least one public profile online, even if they opt to keep others private, she advised. Those with common names could add their middle name to be found more easily.

LinkedIn is like a digital resume and has the best search engine optimization, she said; that’s why it’s often the first site to pop up in a search. It should have the same name as the one on your resume, she told the students, and a business headshot.

Don’t forget to include achievements, such as what obstacles you’ve overcome, she said.

Instagram is good for showing what your life is about, how well-rounded you are, what you do outside of school.

“People are visual,” she said. “If you don’t think employers care about what you post on your Instagram, you’re wrong. They want to see who’s the person they’re going to see when they come in for an interview.” (see box)

Post pictures of your volunteering, Nguyen suggested. “The fact you’re here in the Center for Leadership, that you’re participating, that’s huge,” she told them. “Are you talking about that on social media? Are you posting pictures of the events you attend? Employers will give you just 5-10 seconds to determine if you are work-ready.”

Ask a friend to take a photo of you working on your laptop on a bench on campus, she suggested, and add a caption about being excited about a project. One member of the audience shared how she took a photo of her old work badge and a new one to show how proud she was of a new job.

Post articles about business from Inc. or Forbes or about self-improvement, Nguyen advised. Just don’t share political or relationship material.

Along with a social media presence, Nguyen advised the students to pull together a portfolio — either digital or hard copy — with five to 10 examples of their work. This isn’t advice just for visual artists, she emphasized. Writing samples, results of a fundraiser or a newspaper clipping are all things that show something to be proud of.

“If everyone else comes in with a one-page resume and you come in with a portfolio, you will stand out,” she said.

Leadership scholars from Cal State Fullerton's Center for Leadership pose with Yvon Nguyen and John Barbuto Jr., the center's director. (Photo courtesy of VANT4GE LLC)
Leadership scholars from Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Leadership pose with Yvon Nguyen and John Barbuto Jr., the center’s director. (Photo courtesy of VANT4GE LLC)

Nguyen ran through a number of free online tools students can use to bolster their online presence. LinkedIn Pulse; Wix and Weebly; and Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides are good for writers. The Photo Editor app, Gimp, Fotor.com, Pexells.com and Ripl app can help visual artists.

If all those tactics work and a student lands a job interview, Nguyen had more advice:

“Starting today you are no longer going to interviews,” she told the group. “You are going to a sales presentation every single time.” What they are selling is themselves.

First, though, she told them to do their homework. Research the interviewer online to be prepared. If it’s not clear whom the interviewer will be, ask. If the research turns up something in common, such as you’re both hockey fans, remember it and use it to relate to the person during the interview, she said.

“Chances are the nine candidates who came before you didn’t do that.”

They probably also didn’t rehearse handshakes, as Nguyen did with some students. Don’t hold it too long; just shake and release, she told them. “You’re not trying to get a date.”

Make eye contact and smile. Those are important nonverbals, along with walking with confidence and not slouching in a chair like a college student might, she said.

Dress for business. H&M has affordable work clothes, she pointed out. And you don’t need to buy a suit. Women are fine in a dress and blazer, and men are OK with a sport coat and pants as long as the shirt matches one or the other, she said.

Communicate why this employer needs you. Seek problems you can solve.

Demonstrate “intrapreneurship” — treating the employer’s business like it’s your own, she said.

Mention something about the company you read in a news article you found in your pre-interview research, she advised.

Ask about the company’s priorities now and in three to five years. That shows commitment, something employers value, she said.

Lastly, send a thank-you card, not just an email. “That sets you apart. Do something they may not expect.”

Nguyen illustrated one piece of her own advice. Each slide in her PowerPoint presentation had a photo of a puppy.

“You’ve met lots of executives. Anyone shown you pictures of dogs before?” she asked. “Be memorable.”

What social media posts should show

Positivity

Work ethic

Community service

Friends

Achievements

Team

School

Ambition

Work-ready content

What they shouldn’t show

Negativity

Partying

Politics

Partly dressed

Oversharing

Unready to work

Gossip

Center for Leadership

The Center for Leadership connects CSUF business students with chief executives from local corporations, provides opportunities for networking and leadership development, and offers a chance to give back to the community.

To apply to be a Leadership Scholar, go online to the Center for Leadership or contact leadership@fullerton.edu.

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San Bernardino probationer arrested in Orange County, suspected of trafficking 32 pounds of methamphetamine

PLACENTIA — A probationer suspected of trafficking 32 pounds of methamphetamine was in custody Tuesday after being arrested during a traffic stop in Placentia.

A Placentia officer stopped a vehicle about 8:10 p.m. Saturday in the area of Kraemer Boulevard and Crowther Avenue for a vehicle code violation, said Placentia police Sgt. Chris Anderson.

The officer discovered that the driver, identified as 27-year-old Stewart Garcia Hernandez of San Bernardino, was on supervised probation, Anderson said.

Authorities found 32 pounds of methamphetamine in the vehicle packaged in several vacuum sealed plastic bags, Anderson said.

The estimated street value of the methamphetamine seized is about $480,000, according to Anderson.

Hernandez was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale and transportation of methamphetamine. Hernandez was being held at the Central Men’s Jail in lieu of $2 million bail, according to online inmate records.

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Woman rescued from Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park after suffering injuries while mountain biking

TRABUCO CANYON — A woman who was injured while mountain biking in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park was rescued and airlifted to a local hospital Sunday morning, March 25, officials said.

About 10:45 a.m., Orange County Sheriff’s Department Helicopter Duke 3 responded to a report of an injured woman, sheriff’s Lt. L. Downing said.

Paramedics were lowered from the helicopter to the woman to triage her injuries before she was hoisted to safety. She was then transported to Mission Hospital, Downing said.

The extent of the woman’s injuries wasn’t immediately disclosed.

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Cal State Fullerton voice Nicole Kruczynski: One strong woman raises another

By Nicole Kruczynski

The name Nicole fits me well. Nicole is of the Greek origin and means “victory of the people.” If you had asked me 10 years ago if this was true, I wouldn’t agree. I didn’t know where I was going or what I would be doing. I had given birth to a beautiful baby girl and thought this was it.

At the same time, I became mother to an amazing 2-year-old boy who didn’t have his mother in his life. Although motherhood is a blessing and has brought much joy to my life, I didn’t know if there was more this world had to offer.

  • Nicole Kruczynski Photo courtesy of the author

    Nicole Kruczynski Photo courtesy of the author

  • Nicole Kruczynski romps with her 10-year-old daughter, Kaylynn, and her then-13-year-old son, Cameron. Photo courtesy of the author

    Nicole Kruczynski romps with her 10-year-old daughter, Kaylynn, and her then-13-year-old son, Cameron. Photo courtesy of the author

  • Nicole Kruczynski and her daughter, Kaylynn, visit Bridal Veil Falls in Pollock Pines last summer. Photo courtesy of the author

    Nicole Kruczynski and her daughter, Kaylynn, visit Bridal Veil Falls in Pollock Pines last summer. Photo courtesy of the author

  • Nicole Kruczynski and her son, Cameron, 14, pause along the San Francisco Bay Trail last summer. Photo courtesy of the author

    Nicole Kruczynski and her son, Cameron, 14, pause along the San Francisco Bay Trail last summer. Photo courtesy of the author

  • Nicole Kruczynski and her daughter, Kaylynn, are bundled for December temps on the Eagle Falls Trail in Tahoe City. Photo courtesy of the author

    Nicole Kruczynski and her daughter, Kaylynn, are bundled for December temps on the Eagle Falls Trail in Tahoe City. Photo courtesy of the author

  • Nicole Kruczynski stands next to her daughter, Kaylynn, while son, Cameron, balances atop a rock along a tributary of the American River in 2017. Photo courtesy of the author

    Nicole Kruczynski stands next to her daughter, Kaylynn, while son, Cameron, balances atop a rock along a tributary of the American River in 2017. Photo courtesy of the author

  • Nicole Kruczynski Photo courtesy of the author

    Nicole Kruczynski Photo courtesy of the author

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I was raised by a strong, single mother who worked hard every single day to give me what she didn’t have. She taught me to never give up and trust myself. She showed me that she could be successful without the help of anyone. Growing up I didn’t care to focus on education much and definitely didn’t think I was smart. It wasn’t ’till my daughter started school that I realized I needed to better myself by going back to school. This was the best decision I ever made, and it gave me back my confidence in a way I never thought was possible.

I had been in a challenging relationship and couldn’t seem to break free. I had been at my all-time low and didn’t know what to do. I knew I had to do something, so while my kids were in school, I began taking classes to earn my A.A. degree in business.

I never thought going to college would be an option for me, so this was a new, exciting adventure. I quickly learned that I was an amazing student, making the Dean’s List every quarter with A’s and B’s and surprising myself. I had finally started to get my confidence back and decided to move my family to South Lake Tahoe, where I continued to go to school at Lake Tahoe Community College.

In 2015, I graduated with an A.A. in business administration and started working at the college in the Disability Resource Center. I knew I wasn’t done with school, so I continued at LTCC to get my accounting certificate and another A.A. — in medical office assistant: administrative.

Life seemed to be turning around for me. However, things took a turn for the worse when my kids’ father, my partner at that time, was diagnosed with stage 4 follicular cancer. Things were still not good between us, but I decided to stick it out for the kids and help him through his chemotherapy treatment. The next year and a half was extremely difficult while tending to school, work the family and his illness. It was one thing after another, but I knew I could hold it all together. After a long road of surgeries and chemo, he was lucky enough to go into remission.

For a time, I thought that things would settle down … boy, was I wrong. Last year, I lost my mom in a tragic incident that rocked my world. She was my foundation, and I thought: How am I going to get through this? It was tough at first, but I just kept thinking of everything she had taught me and pulled myself out of a dark hole.

Thinking to myself, I need to cherish my mom’s life and practice what she had preached. She was a caring woman who would have given the shirt off her back to a stranger who needed it and would help anyone in her life. I knew I had to do something to make her proud. I finally had the strength to leave a horrible 11-year relationship and focus fully on my kids and me.

Last summer, I graduated with high honors and was president of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society. I was accepted for admission to Cal State Fullerton and started taking online classes in the fall. This month, I was awarded the “Live Your Dream” award by Soroptimist International of Tahoe Sierra and have never been so proud of myself. The woman I have become today is a strong, independent woman who owes it all to hard work, dedication and my mom!

Nicole Kruczynski is a junior majoring in business administration at Cal State Fullerton. She plans to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in 2020 and pursue the field of marketing.

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Anaheim sex offender sent to prison for possession of child pornography

SANTA ANA — A 36-year-old registered sex offender from Anaheim pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of child pornography and was handed a two-year prison term.

Santos Chris Hernandez entered his plea to one felony count each of the sale or distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt said Hernandez was found in possession of child porn photos and videos after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children alerted police to suspicious files on Snapchat.

In a previous case dating to 2012, Hernandez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of possession of child pornography, as well as carrying a dirk or dagger, according to court records.

He was sentenced in January 2013 to 120 days in jail, but violated probation four months later and was sentenced to another 45 days in jail. When he violated probation again in October 2013, he was sent back to jail for 120 days, and then was sentenced to another month in jail in September 2014, court records show

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Here’s something to check out at the Cal State Fullerton library, and it’s not a book

 

  • What’s now Pollak Library is seen in the early 1970s. The building was constructed by J.B. Allen & Co., whose $4.1 million bid was the lowest of six competitors. File photos

    What’s now Pollak Library is seen in the early 1970s. The building was constructed by J.B. Allen & Co., whose $4.1 million bid was the lowest of six competitors. File photos

  • Cal State Fullerton’s library was built in the brutalist style then popular for universities because of its association with social utopian ideology.

    Cal State Fullerton’s library was built in the brutalist style then popular for universities because of its association with social utopian ideology.

  • A photo from 1990 shows students walking past the Cal State Fullerton library.

    A photo from 1990 shows students walking past the Cal State Fullerton library.

  • Wooden card catalogs used to be a staple in libraries. A 1981 quote from the Daily Titan on display in the exhibit tells of library improvements that included two copying machines, two telephones and new banks of card catalogs.

    Wooden card catalogs used to be a staple in libraries. A 1981 quote from the Daily Titan on display in the exhibit tells of library improvements that included two copying machines, two telephones and new banks of card catalogs.

  • A student in the late 1960s looks over citrus crate labels depicting early Orange County.

    A student in the late 1960s looks over citrus crate labels depicting early Orange County.

  • After the June 28, 1992, Landers quake, volunteers formed a clean-up, repair and reshelving crew to replace more than 300,000 books shaken off library shelves.

    After the June 28, 1992, Landers quake, volunteers formed a clean-up, repair and reshelving crew to replace more than 300,000 books shaken off library shelves.

  • Rare books, literary manuscripts, fine press books, local history materials and antiquarian maps are among the library’s holdings in its Special Collections department.

    Rare books, literary manuscripts, fine press books, local history materials and antiquarian maps are among the library’s holdings in its Special Collections department.

  • Comic books and graphic novels are among the treasures in the library’s Archives of Popular Culture collection, part of Special Collections.

    Comic books and graphic novels are among the treasures in the library’s Archives of Popular Culture collection, part of Special Collections.

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Pollak Library is taking a selfie.

In an exhibit space that typically showcases art and history of such topics as Buffalo Soldiers and Latina activists, Cal State Fullerton’s library this spring is turning the lens on itself.

“Pollak Library: 60 Years of Community Service” takes advantage of the university’s 60th anniversary to look at the library as a member of the CSUF community and the services it has provided over the years, said Trish Campbell, the library’s exhibit committee chair and program coordinator.

“The idea is to think about, or consider, the library as a living, breathing entity,” Campbell said.

The university’s first library was in a room at Sunny Hills High School that was sometimes lit with a Coleman lantern, according to the library’s website.

The current building, constructed in 1966 after the school had enough students to warrant it, was the fourth building on campus. In 1998, it was renamed for Paulina June and George Pollak, who donated $1 million so their name would be carried on, since they didn’t have any children.

Pollak Library has hosted and witnessed an array of activities over the years, some of which are documented in the exhibit. Among these are the aftermath of the 1992 Landers earthquake and a 2009 sit-in in which about 40 students demanded to know how budget cuts would affect the library.

Also documented is the darkest day in the library’s history. On July 12, 1976, seven staff members and patrons were killed and two injured by a custodian in the basement and on the first floor. It was the worst mass homicide in Orange County history until 2011.

Not everything in the library is a book or publication. The oldest treasure within its walls is a small pagoda from the eighth century that held rolled-up Buddhist prayers.

For many students, some of the equipment on display will be unfamiliar, while older visitors will get a flashback to all-too-familiar tools of an earlier era: a black desk telephone, a microfilm scanner, a Smith-Corona typewriter, tape recorders, a slide carousel, and, of course, card catalogs.

The exhibit runs through June 22 in the Salz-Pollak Atrium Gallery.

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Cal State Fullerton alums the Fratzke twins meld charm, Disney skills and digital smarts

Meet one Fratzke twin and you have someone who’s creative, bright, charming and funny.

Put the two of them together and you have … a company.

Since Ryan and James Fratzke graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2014, they have created Fratzke Media, a digital marketing consulting firm.

The company builds on the marketing lessons the brothers learned at CSUF, the values they picked up working for Disneyland and the skills from a tech company that employed them both. Add in some entrepreneurial zeal they acquired from family members and it’s been enough to create a business that supports them both.

“There’s some secret sauce here,” James said. “When you put us together, it’s like chemistry. I’ll start with the big idea and just go to the moon and back. I’ll be like, ‘Ryan, what if we did this and we did that.’ Then Ryan goes, ‘Let’s put it on a white board and see how this might actually work.’ ”

Identical twins Ryan and James Fratzke make videos partly to satisfy their own curiosity and partly as a marketing strategy to promote their consulting business. (Photo by Anna Lee)
Identical twins Ryan and James Fratzke make videos partly to satisfy their own curiosity and partly as a marketing strategy to promote their consulting business. (Photo by Anna Lee)

The identical twins’ appeal can be seen in online videos they make on subjects including holiday shopping, net neutrality and cosplay, interviews with alternative rock bands, and podcasts with business leaders including Jacob Jaber, CEO of Philz Coffee; and Don DiCostanzo, CEO of Pedego Electric Bikes.

While those projects gave them experience in building websites, video editing and search engine optimization, there’s also a business strategy: The online offerings prompt potential clients to ask, “Can you do something like that for us?”

“It gives people perspective,” James said. “If we reach out to them over the phone, or send an email and they’ve never talked to us, they might Google search us and then they see a video and say: ‘These guys are kind of fun; I’ll take his call next time; I’ll answer his email.’”

The twins don’t just make videos, but craft a holistic strategy to solve clients’ problems through eight channels of digital storytelling: website development, SEO, social media, email, digital ads, content, local search and reputation management.

For Florida-based TruTeam, a building-products installer, the pair took a website development project that another agency said would take six months to build but stretched to a year and a half. The Fratzkes wrapped it up in two months.

The brothers approached it by taking a step back, asking the client: “Let’s look at what you’re trying to accomplish as a brand. What are your customers looking for? What is the experience your employees are trying to provide?”

They accompanied the marketing team to a couple of locations and interviewed employees and previous customers. They brought in content writers and asked their own website developer to audit the project.

“Fratzke Media continues to help our marketing team at TopBuild take a huge step forward in our digital transformation,” said Joelle D. Palmer, marketing manager for TruTeam’s parent company. “All along the way, they have continued to add valuable insights and to provide us with 11-star service. They truly have been a strategic partner.”

Palo Alto-based Paysa Inc., which helps users figure out their market value, hired the twins after seeing their “Two Curious Guys” video about self-driving cars. They’ve produced two videos as a start on  building a holistic strategy.

“As a data-driven company based in the Bay Area, we are always looking for innovative ways to help tell Paysa’s story online,” said Houston Jayne, marketing director for Paysa. “Fratzke Media helps us do just that. They’re always bringing innovative ideas to the table and help us execute them.”

Looking back, the Fratzke brothers appear destined for marketing. When they were growing up, they would put on plays, but the part they liked best was making promotional posters and hanging them up around the house.

“The idea of telling a story but also marketing a story is something we’ve always been really, really passionate about,” Ryan said.

They also believe they were destined for entrepreneurship. Their grandmother owned the Prairie Sampler store in Fullerton; their father owned a landscape business with his twin brother.

Always fans of Disneyland, they worked at the park while attending Cal State Fullerton, assigned to the old Innoventions showcase of cutting-edge ideas for the home.

Fratzke Media uses its founders' love of storytelling to solve clients' digital marketing challenges. (Illustration by Veronica Gallardo)
Fratzke Media uses its founders’ love of storytelling to solve clients’ digital marketing challenges. (Illustration by Veronica Gallardo)

“Every six minutes a group of 70 strangers would walk in, and you’d have to get up there and try to entertain them, talking about a Taylor Morrison home or the new Microsoft PC,” Ryan said. “You could go up and totally bomb and it didn’t matter because six minutes later you had to get up and do it again. It was just eight hours every day of just getting up and trying to find ways to entertain people with really dry content. And I think it made us experts at public speaking.”

The twins moved into special events marketing for Disney, then were hired to deliver eight-hour scripted courses on Disney history for new employees.

“So we got even better at talking,” Ryan said.

While in school, the pair picked up web skills by starting a blog, F&F Presents. They interviewed alternative bands about what inspired them to name a song, for example, then learned how to build a website and edit film.

After giving a speech at Mihaylo College of Business and Economics’ 2014 graduation ceremony – in which they shared inspirational stories about Walt Disney – Ryan went to work at Royal Hawaiian Orchards in Dana Point, a position he credits to Catherine Atwong, associate professor of marketing.

“I’ll tell students: Get to know your teachers because they know a lot of great people and they can set you up with internships,” Ryan said.

James was inspired by a classroom talk given by Manish Patel, CEO of Anaheim digital marketing firm Brandify, and went to work there. One day his boss told James he wanted another employee just like him.

“I said I knew just the guy,” James said. The twins stayed at Brandify for three years, working as account managers with clients including Walmart, Disney and Dollar Tree. They learned that even big brands don’t necessarily have their marketing figured out. After working with 40 marketing teams of 40 companies, they decided to strike out on their own, offering a broader range of digital marketing services.

The twins relied on savings and their first contracts to fund their business so they didn’t need to raise capital. Their entrepreneur dad had emphasized working harder to make more money.

“Mom was the blue-sky thinker,” Ryan said. “James and I have been blessed to learn from both of them to have big ideas but execute them.”

Fratzke Media specializes in retail and technology. They make sure a company’s story is being told consistently across all digital marketing channels and educate their clients on how they can build on that.

That emphasis on education carries over to their relationship with Cal State Fullerton, where they serve on Mihaylo’s Executive Council and have presented a digital marketing boot camp.

“Cal State Fullerton is a just a really great education for the price,” Ryan said. “The teachers are fantastic. It’s not just them in their ivory tower, but they’re out in the world actually participating. They give students opportunities. They know what they’re talking about because they have that real-world experience.”

The men both live in Fullerton. James lives closer to campus now than he did as a student. Ryan lives with his wife and daughter Liana, 3.

They want to hit $1 million in revenue by age 30 but say their real motivation is in reaching more people and positively impacting their lives. They hope to employ 15 people by 2020, up from the three current part-timers. And they want employees to work from home and get enough expertise to start their own businesses.

“Some people want to get rich, and we don’t,” said James. Purpose is probably the most important thing to them, he said.

“Really what we want to do is support and supply for our family.”

Twin peeks

Age: 27. Ryan is older by 45 minutes, but James is taller.

Family: The twins have an older and a younger brother.

Grew up: In Temecula and Fullerton. High school was at Paloma Valley High

First jobs: Mowing lawns at 13, painting fences and landscaping at 16, graphic design business with a booth at a local mall at 18.

Differences: James is strong on analog tasks. Ryan is strong on digital. They say their competencies are complementary so they don’t complete for the same tasks. Growing up, James was good at painting while Ryan excels at video editing, for example.

Twin discount: Take all the same classes and share your textbooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Montclair woman identified as rock climber who fell to her death in Cleveland National Forest

A woman killed in a 200-foot fall while rock climbing in the Cleveland National Forest was publicly identified Sunday.

She was Joy Welling, 33, from Montclair, the Orange County coroner’s office said.

The Orange County Fire Authority was called at 12:30 p.m. Saturday to a waterfall near the Blue Jay campground, which is just outside Caspers Wilderness Park, OCFA Capt. Paul Holaday told City News Service.

OCFA Helicopter Two picked up technical rescue personnel and their gear and dropped them at the top of the waterfall, where a man who was climbing with the woman was unhurt, Holaday said.

The rescuers assigned to the helicopter were lowered down to where the woman had died and carefully recovered her body, he said. It was taken to Caspers Park, where the coroner was standing by.

The chopper then went back for the man, Holaday said. The mission was completed about 4:30 p.m.

The two climbers were very experienced, he said. The was the fifth waterfall from which they had repelled in the isolated part of Orange County.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department was investigating the fall, Holaday said.

The incident happened off Ortega Highway, which links Lake Elsinore in Riverside County with San Juan Capistrano in Orange County.

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Domestic violence suspect chased from Montebello through Orange County

CAMP PENDLETON >> A domestic violence suspect led authorities on a chase Thursday night from Montebello to the Camp Pendleton area where he surrendered after a PIT maneuver.

The chase began around 10:30 p.m. in Montebello but an exact location was not immediately given.

The suspect, who was traveling in a black Nissan sedan, traveled south on the 5 Freeway through Orange County and into San Diego County.

At some point during the chase in the Mission Viejo area, the suspect traveled over a spike strip, flattening one of the car’s tires. The vehicle traveled at slower speeds before the California Highway Patrol used a PIT maneuver on the car.

The car traveled off the freeway in the Camp Pendleton area just before 11:30 p.m. and the driver came out with his hands up and surrendered to authorities.

The chase caused a large backup on the southbound 5 Freeway late Thursday night.

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