The Dean's Management Excellence Award

Our 2016 Dean's Management Excellence Award winners represent the gold standard for leaders in government and non-profit fields. As required by the scholarship terms, these four students have shown a special disposition, through work or life experiences, to serving the public good in Southern California. 

Meet our winners below, and learn more about their inspiring paths to the University of Redlands Master of Arts in Management program. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to learn more about this year's MAM Capstone Scholarship.


David Mascetti

Sheriff's Deputy
San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

Dave Mascetti has spent most of his career chasing down bad guys, but as he climbs the ladder at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, he’s finding his management skills are becoming more important. “I deal with human problems every day. I have to motivate people to work as hard as they can while always doing the right thing,” he says.

That’s why he applied for the Master of Arts in Management program at the University of Redlands. In the decade since he entered law enforcement, he’s been a patrol deputy, a police academy instructor, a detective, a SWAT team sniper and a U.S. Marshall, but since he’s been appointed to the rank of sergeant, managerial issues are a growing part of his job.

Redlands’ management program, he feels, can help him excel in this. “Higher education is becoming more of a necessity than it ever was,” he says.

Mascetti became aware of the University of Redlands’ management program through his colleagues: Numerous high-ranking local law enforcement officials hold management degrees from Redlands. “It has a reputation of being a challenging program,” he says.

Another incentive to join the program was being awarded the Master of Arts in Management Scholarship, which not only lets him spend more time with his wife, Carin, but it means he can focus better on his studies. “I won't need to work the hours of overtime I was planning on working to afford to attend the school,” he says. “This enables me to spend basically all my spare time on studying.”


Michael O'Brien

Administrative Services Manager
City of San Dimas

After spending his career in public finance, Michael O’Brien is ready to take on more managerial duties. The San Diego State University graduate started his career working as a payroll technician for the City of Hawthorne in ’05. Since then he’s worked for the finance departments of the cities of Seal Beach and Claremont, taking higher-ranking positions each time until he landed as the administrative services manager at the City of San Dimas.

O’Brien has picked up a lot of management know-how along the way. “What’s nice about working in small cities is everything’s thrown on you and you get to work with staff from all the different departments really closely,” he says.

But he believes his type of informal know-how is only going to take him so far. “I’m going to need the next level of education to move up,” he says.

He had been thinking about getting a master’s degree for years, but when he heard about the Master of Arts in Management Scholarship, that motivated him to apply. When he won the scholarship, it took a huge strain off the finances of his family—he has a wife and two girls: one born in 2012 and another last April.

Michael goes to school only once a week at 6 p.m., which works perfectly with his work schedule since he’s off duty at 5:30 p.m. “It’s nice to get it all done during one day a week,” he says. “Now I just have to figure out when I can do my studying. During my lunch time, probably, because when I get home, it’s dishes, laundry, getting the kids fed and off to bed.” ​


Samantha Morrison

Academic Program Analyst
University of California, Riverside

After more than a decade working in higher education administration, Samantha Morrison is ready to move up into a management position. But to get there, she knows she needs to prove she can do the job.

To get where she wants to be, Morrison enrolled in the Master of Arts in Management program at the University of Redlands. “I know this master’s program can help develop my leadership skills,” she says. “I’m hoping it will help me get to know myself a little better, my strengths and my weaknesses in the management arena.”

Morrison, who grew up in the Lake Matthews area south of Riverside, began her career at UC Riverside in ’06 not long after she graduated from the same school with bachelor’s degrees in sociology/administrative studies. She first worked for the university’s Early Academic Outreach Programs as a data analyst, then in ’13 she took a position as an academic program analyst for the university’s School of Education.

She had considered going to UCR for her master’s degree since she works there, but no program matched her goals very closely. Then she heard about the Master of Arts in Management program at University of Redlands and learned about the scholarship opportunity, so she applied. Winning the scholarship made a big difference in her decision to go back to school, she says.

Morrison goes to class only once a week in the evening. Between her full-time job and her volunteer work—she’s active in the Junior League of Riverside and the president of the Inland Empire chapter of the UCR Alumni Association—this fits into her busy schedule.


Oswaldo Diaz

High School Facilitator
Think Together, Hemet

When Oswaldo Diaz first transferred from Mt. San Jacinto College to California State University San Bernardino he thought he wanted to get into marketing, but that changed after he took his first management class.

“I ended up liking management a lot more than marketing,” he says. So Diaz signed up for some extra classes, and in 2012 he earned two bachelor’s degrees—one in marketing and one in management. “I felt like I had finally found the passion I was looking for,” he says.

While he was doing his undergrad work, Diaz took a position as a substitute program leader for Think Together, a non-profit organization that provides after-school activities. After a year, he was promoted to the position of site facilitator at Tahquitz High School in his home town of Hemet.

Diaz wants to continue moving up the ladder at his organization, but he feels he will need a more advanced degree. So he looked into the University of Redlands Master of Arts in Management program and found out that a scholarship was available. He applied for and received it. “That’s a huge benefit. The stress of paying off loans is not as harsh,” he says. “I was so happy to get that scholarship.”

Oswaldo’s class works well with his schedule: He goes every Wednesday from 6-10 p.m., just after he gets off work. He does one course at a time and each takes about two months to finish.

“It’s perfect for someone who works Monday through Friday and since you do just one class at a time, I can focus on just one topic,” he says.