Dano Lopez at Sonoma State - Family, fate, or a little of both?

July 2, 2024
Dano in graduation cap - old and current

Dano Lopez

Carrieann with diploma

Carrieann Lopez

Dano in graduation cap - old and current
Carrieann with diploma

Although Dano Lopez graduated from Sonoma State in May, his first lecture at SSU was one he gave more than a decade earlier … as a five-year-old.  

Lopez spent his early years at the Children’s School while his mother, Carrieann, studied for her environmental studies degree. His paternal grandparents, Daniel Lopez and Sally Hurtado, and his aunt, Elisa Velasquez, all were Sonoma State professors at the time. Carriann said Sally, who taught education, and Daniel, who taught art, often provided after-school care for Dano during her longest days on campus.

“Any time they babysat, Dano painted,” said Carrieann. The work of the young artist became part of a Dano/Daniel art show and the subject of a class lecture requested by Elisa.

“I was so nervous for him [Dano], I couldn’t even go in,” Carrieann said, “But I heard he was great and even took questions from the class.”

Mother and son graduated one day apart in 2007: Carrieann with her bachelor’s degree and Dano from the Children’s School.

Carrieann, Dano, and Dano’s father, Gabe, remained in Middletown until the 2015 Valley fire, when they moved to Sonoma County. A highly recruited baseball player his senior year of high school, Dano was offered multiple athletic opportunities but decided to try out with Sonoma State.

Ironically, he never played baseball.  

Carrieann said she received an alumni announcement that the SSU Electrical Engineering (EE) department was looking for students, and passed it along to Dano his senior year.

“Later that night he told us that he was going into the EE program and he wasn’t going to play baseball, because he couldn’t do both,” she said. “He has never looked back.”

This spring, Dano and his team earned the Best Poster award at the 2024 Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Symposium. He’s currently a summer intern with Keysight Technologies and will continue at SSU to get his master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Carrieann says that her and Dano’s degrees from Sonoma State are setting new marks in their family history.

“I was the first in my family to graduate from college, and Dano will be the first to get a master’s degree.”

Media Contact

Janet Durkin