Masako was born in June of 1931, on the Yaeyama Islands, in the Okinawa prefecture of Japan, the eldest daughter of a large family who were descendants of the Satsuma Samurai Clan. Growing up during the war, she and her family faced many perils and hardships. She met her husband Carl on a military base in Okinawa in the spring of 1951; they were married in the fall of 1953; and in July of 1954, Masako came to the United States to begin a new life. At the Easter Vigil, of 1985, through the celebration of the Easter Sacraments, she became full member of the Catholic Church.
After a sixteen-year career with Japan Airlines, she embarked on a course of study that included a Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude, major in Theology and a Master in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University Chicago. In 1993 she and Carl were commissioned by the Chicago Archdiocese and sent as Lay Missionaries by the Society of St. Columban to the priestless Kainan church in the Osaka Archdiocese of Japan, where they served for three years. Masako and Carl are today part of the St. Thomas More Parish in Oceanside, California.
Ann Camacho has been an English teacher for more than 23 years. She currently teaches Honors American and World literature and AVID (a college support program) at North High School in Riverside, California. Many of her students are in the school's International Baccalaureate program, Pre-Advanced Placement and AVID elective classes. In 2012, she and her students published a book, Bookmarked: Teen Essays about Life and Literature, a compilation of 50 essays in which the students anchored their life philosophies in a single quote from any book they had read. These students come from wide and diverse backgrounds, and their essays explore diverse topics as well, including suffering the loss of a parent, facing a life-threatening illness, letting go of perfectionism, making friends, realizing goals, and grappling with questions of faith and sexuality. Books cited ranged from classics, such as The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby to Twilight, Lord of the Rings and The God Delusion. Each essay also includes a brief biographical sketch letting the reader know where the essay writer is today. Ann grew up in Lakewood, Colorado, and received a swimming/academic scholarship to Cornell College. She transferred to Penn State, earning a bachelor's degree in English, then went on to get a master's equivalent in secondary education from the University of Denver, and a master's degree in English from National University. She lives in Riverside, California with her two daughters, Madeline and Scout.
Mike Horton has been a science teacher, science coordinator, AVID Administrator, and is now the assistant principal for the Western Center Academy, a STEM middle school in Hemet, CA. Mike has written two science books (“Take Home Physics” and “Take Home Chemistry”), hosts multiple podcasts, wikis, websites, and social media outlets about science, technology, college readiness, and leadership.
Julie Shafer is a Los Angeles based artist working primarily with photography and video. Julie received a B.A. from UC Irvine and an MFA from the University of Southern California. Julie also teaches photography as an adjunct faculty member at several schools in Southern California including UC Irvine, CSULA, CSUSB and Chaffey College.
As an original member of the World Famous Beat Junkies, DJ Icy Ice has amassed a resume that includes nearly two decades of performing on the world’s biggest stages. Icy Ice’s artistry has been showcased at the largest music festivals, hottest club venues, and celebrity private parties throughout the US, Australia, China, Canada, Dubai, Europe, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and more.
He has also been the exclusive party DJ for Manny Pacquiao, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, the Sundance Film Festival, NBA All-Star Games, The Democratic National Convention After Party, The Magic Convention, SEMA, LA Fashion Week, X-Games, and hundreds of other corporate and private events. Icy Ice is universal across the DJ spectrum spinning for LA’s top-rated radio station, Power 106, to hosting music TV shows, to appearing in movies, to owning multiple retail shops and music websites - StacksTV.net, ExclusiveGrooves.com and TurntableU.com.
Icy Ice is currently featured as a DJ & Video Mixer on LA’s top-rated radio station, “Power 106” as well as doing mixes for Wave 891 in Manila. His mixes are also heard weekly by tens of millions throughout the US and the Philippines via syndication on Superadio. For the past several years, Icy Ice has been expanding the exposure of, “Visual Turntablism,” through a variety of high profile online platforms and can be seen live every Tuesday at StacksTV.net and BReal.TV (Cypress Hill’s online channel).
Icy Ice’s accomplishments include spinning for acclaimed radio stations such as KKBT 92.3 The Beat, 93.5 KDAY, Divine Forces Radio on 90.7 KPFK, and Movin 93.9 FM with Rick Dees in the Morning. Icy Ice has been the resident DJ for Guerilla Union’s “Rock The Bells” Music Festivals and toured as the DJ for legendary Hip Hop artist, KRS-One.
A renowned turntablist, entrepreneur and elite party rocker, DJ Icy Ice continues to push the boundaries into the future.
John Hill is a Systems Engineer at UTC Aerospace Systems in Brea California. UTC designs and manufactures lifesaving rescue hoists for Coast Guard, Fire Department and Military helicopters worldwide. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where his claim to fame was driving the Cal Poly Rose Float entry; an MBA from the University of La Verne; and he is a registered Professional Engineer in California. Prior engineering experience includes Walt Disney Imagineering where he worked on It’s Tough to be a Bug, Test Track, and Countdown to Extinction rides and Vertigo where he worked on test equipment for NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander. In addition to engineering, John previously taught high school physics at Glendora and West Covina High Schools.
COMPOSER/PRODUCER -Matthew Ferraro is a unique artist who has the ability to live between worlds. As a composer, his musical skills have been used in everything from BBC dramatic productions to commercials for over 300 companies (Visa, The Chicago Blackhawks, Habitat for Humanity…), to video games such as "Medal of Honor" and “Spiderman”, to the acclaimed television series "Futurama" and Academy Award winning films "The Insider", "The Incredibles" and many more. As a contemporary classical composer, Ferraro's work focuses on two things: multi-culturalism and the human experience. His choral hymn A.M.D.G., published by Boosey & Hawkes, is performed by choirs worldwide. His multi-media work "The Tension of Opposites" was deemed a new art form - "Orchestral Journalism" by the California Arts Council. It opened to standing ovations at the Barbican in London in 2009. The work gave way to a book entitled, “13 Seconds: The Tension of Opposites” (Amazon) featuring the verbatim libretto of the work. 2012 marked Ferraro’s first venture into music for dance with the collaboration entitled AscenDance (Hedwig Dances) – the highly acclaimed multi-media piece utilizing sculpture, video, Ferraro’s music and featuring premiere dancers from Cuba. Ferraro has worked with Grammy winning artists from Aaron Neville, to Sinead O’Connor, Barbara Streisand, Hugh Masekala, Chuck Mangione, and more. As a conductor, he has worked with orchestras from Hollywood to London. He is currently setting the prayers of Pope John Paul II to music using contemporary artists from around the world for the Vatican. He wrote the forward to the book called “I Thought The Sun Was God: The memoir of the last descendent of the Satsuma Samurai” by Masako Kimura Streling (Amazon). Ferraro is a past TEDx fellow and speaks to audiences around the world about creativity, spirituality and the arts. Ferraro continues to live and work between London, Los Angeles and Rome.
For the past 30 years, Mike Stax has been the editor and publisher of Ugly Things magazine, a rock & roll fanzine focusing on the greatest, overlooked bands and music of the 1960s and beyond. He has written and edited several rock-related books, and provided liner notes for dozens of reissues, including the track-by-track liners for Rhinos’s first two Nuggets box sets. He is also the lead singer of the San Diego-based rock & roll band, the Loons. Born in England in 1962, he lives in La Mesa, California with his wife, Anja, and their son Philip.
Michael Harrington, grew up in brown sky Southern California during the 1980’s. Harrington an automotive photographer and journalist, has written and photographed for a variety of publications over the last ten plus years. His past journalistic endeavors have been seen in the pages of the following magazines: The Horse Backstreet Choppers, Super Chevy, Rod & Custom, Custom Rodder, Street Rodder, Low Rider, Hot Rod, Classic Trucks, Street Trucks, Muscle Car Power, Car Culture Deluxe, Ol School Rodz and others.
His latest effort with Car Tech Books, Rusty Trucks American Work Horses put to Pasture, was his first coffee table art book. Currently Harrington is working on the first Lowrider photographic ibook book due soon, and is currently attending Mt. San Antonio College working on an AA in science with an emphasis in welding. When he is not traveling and photographing Harrington calls the Inland Empire of southern California his home.
Associate Executive Director, AVRI
Kimberly McWhorter, MPH, CPH, DrPH(c)
Kim has her Master’s Degree in Public Health from Loma Linda University, CA and is Board Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Kim is currently working on her Doctorate in Public Health Policy at Loma Linda University. She is Associate Executive Director for Animal Venom Research International. Kim is also the Program Chief for the Riverside County, Department of Animal Services. Some of the projects Kim has implemented include community veterinary services programs, educational outreach, grant writing and financial development. One of the programs initiated by Kim was the recipient of a California State Association of Counties Merit Award as an innovative local government program. An avid naturalist with an interest in herpetology, Kim also worked as a veterinary technician for six years with a special focus on reptile medicine and husbandry.
Roy Malleappah, BSc, Executive Director, Animal Venom Research International
Roy Malleappah is a Los Angeles, California based General Contractor with successful private business. He is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, in Pomona, California, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Roy has had an intense interest in humanitarian efforts and wildlife conservation. As a founding member and the Executive Director of Animal Venom Research International, he has been able to combine both of these passions to help the people of Sri Lanka by working to develop a species specific snakebite antivenom. This project has taken years of coordination and networking, across three countries, to get it to the point it is today, a feat that has taken much more than science alone. Roy has had extensive experience working with venomous and non-venomous reptiles, is endorsed by, and has aided the City of Los Angeles in capturing and finding permitted facilities for exotic reptiles that are difficult to handle or illegal to own in California.
In addition, Roy organized a relief project to build and supply equipment for a physiotherapy gym to rehabilitate disabled veterans in Sri Lanka. He successfully worked on a project to furnish up to date computer equipment for disabled veterans in the country as well and coordinated an effort to provide gel socks and artificial limbs for amputees. He was the recipient of two Service Awards from the Commando Regiment, Sri Lanka Army.