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Bachelor's Degree for Professionals

Complete your bachelor's degree on your own schedule

Administration, Staff, and Faculty

Lisa L. Buono, Ed.D.


Dr. Buono joined the faculty of Cal Lutheran in 2004. She is a native of Los Angeles, CA and has a background in counseling and guidance in secondary and post-secondary settings as well as in higher education leadership. She has taught a variety of courses in the Pupil Personnel Services and College Student Personnel specializations in the Department of Counseling and Guidance. Through a collaborative effort, Dr. Buono also taught distance-learning courses to counseling candidates in the Federated States of Micronesia.

In her current role as Director of the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals, Dr. Buono proudly serves the students, faculty, and staff. Her association with the Professionals program (then the Adult Degree Evening Program) began in April 2012 when she was appointed as the Interim Director. After a national search, Dr. Buono was selected to be the Director in spring 2013. Since her initial appointment, Dr. Buono has worked with a talented and dedicated staff to enrich the academic and student life experiences of our students. She remains a staunch advocate for the students in the program and the faculty who guide them. Dr. Buono’s aim is for the students in the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program to use their academic journey to discover or refine their purpose, and ultimately to see all students in the program persist to graduation. 

Dr. Buono possesses a strong interest in educational technology; her dissertation work focused on student experiences with blogs in skills-based counselor education courses.  She is also interested in research related to retention and persistence of non-traditional adult learners. 

Prior to Cal Lutheran, Dr. Buono taught at UCLA in the MFA Producer's Program.

Kristy Fenstermaker

Academic Advisor

Kristy serves as an academic advisor to our Thousand Oaks students.  She is a two-time Cal Lutheran alumnus, having earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance with a Pupil Personnel Services credential.  She has a variety of education and counseling experiences, from working in a private School classroom as a Behavior Specialist to working as a School Counselor for at-risk youth in grades 7-12.  Kristy believes assisting students in reaching their academic goals is of paramount importance.

Maggie Serna

Academic Advisor & Retention Specialist

Maggie serves as an academic advisor to students at the Woodland Hills Center as well as to students receiving military benefits. Prior to serving in the Professionals program, she gained experience advising non-traditional adult learners in EOP&S at Pierce College.  Besides advising Maggie is also our Retention Specialist. In this role she provides additional support and assistance to our students.  She also complies and analyzes data to determine what type of programming may be most beneficial to help our students persist to graduation.

Maggie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from CSUN and her Master’s degree from Cal Lutheran in Counseling and Guidance with a specialization in College Student Personnel. She is passionate about helping underserved students and will assist and support them to the best of her ability in their journey to reaching their educational goals.

Christina Helm

Administrative Assistant

Christina recently graduated from California Lutheran University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She is continuing on to graduate school at Cal Lutheran in the MBA program starting this fall!

Christina serves as Administrative Assistant in the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals office. She was a student worker in the office for two and a half years prior to graduating and has a lot of experience in helping serve students, staff and faculty. While she was a student worker, she had the opportunity to learn more about working in an office environment, how to multitask, and she met and built relationships with many staff on campus. Christina's future goal is to work in the non-profit sector and eventually open her own bakery. Aside from baking, her hobbies include singing, dancing, hiking, spending time with friends and family, and having lots of fun!

Ariana Young, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Dr. Ariana Young is a social psychologist interested in the social nature of the self. Her research investigates how the self is influenced by the actual, imagined, and implied presence of other people. In her primary line of research, Dr. Young explores how social surrogates (i.e., symbolic social bonds) including books, movies, television shows, celebrities, fictional characters, Facebook, Twitter, and comfort foods affect how people think and feel about themselves. Her work demonstrates that engaging in these social surrogate activities has real psychological benefits, such as providing a sense of belonging, alleviating loneliness, and bolstering self-esteem and body image. Dr. Young’s research has been published in high-impact journals and has received considerable recognition, including a Best Paper Award from the Midwestern Psychological Association. She is excited to continue her research at Cal Lutheran and mentor students in their research endeavors.

Dr. Young is enthusiastic about working with students in the classroom. She has taught a variety of courses, including General Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods, Social Psychology, and Psychology of Prejudice. For her efforts in the classroom, Dr. Young received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She looks forward to teaching these and other courses at Cal Lutheran.

Dr. Young earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology from the University of Buffalo, SUNY.

Aaron Heresco, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Communication

Dr. Heresco earned his Ph.D. in Mass Communication, as well as a graduate minor in Social Thought, from Penn State University in 2013. His academic interests include media theory and critical and cultural perspectives on the media.Dr. Heresco's most recent research has examined the intersection of media and finance, specifically the CNBC television network and the growth of the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.Dr. Heresco has previously taught courses on media and the public, cultural aspects of the mass media, and the political economy of communication. Dr. Heresco was the 2012 recipient of the Harold F. Martin Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Heresco was very active at Penn State, serving on multiple committees. His dedication led to a scholarship from the College of Communications for his service. Dr. Heresco looks forward to continuing his teaching, research, and service at Cal Lutheran.

Tim Weaver, MBA

Visiting Professor, Business

After a 40-year career, Tim retired from banking in August 2011. During much of that time he was an adjunct instructor at Moorpark College. During his tenure there, Tim served as the Chair for the Department of Business for 6 years (the only adjunct faculty member to ever hold a department chair position within the Ventura County Community College District). Twice Tim was awarded “Adjunct Professor of the Year.” Since 2011 Tim has been an adjunct professor with the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals. He is a member of the Thousand Oaks Rotary Club and he consults with the Valley Economic Development Corporation as their chief credit officer relative to government guaranteed loans (SBA and state of California).

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