Cheruzel Research Lab Connects Students to Skills

Dr. Lionel Cheruzel, an associate professor of chemistry in the College of Science, has been working on light-driven biocatalysts work with students in his research lab since joining San Jose State in 2009.

“We are making good progress, thanks to a great team of research students over the years,” he said, on a Friday afternoon in his Duncan Hall office.

Cheruzel will be sharing his research on Oct. 19, at noon, in MLK 255/257, as part of the fall 2016 University Scholars Series. His research is currently funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and he strives to offer opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds in his lab.

Most semesters he has 15 to 20 students working with him on biocatalysts that may someday create green and sustainable synthesis pathways for pharmaceuticals, fragrances and fine chemicals. He and his students have published 10 articles since 2010. He focuses on recruiting undergraduate students, but also hosts high school interns during the summer and supports graduate-level researchers.

“I like recruiting lower division students because they can stay in the lab longer – for three or four years,” he said. “I get to see them grow as a researcher.”

Cheruzel recruits his students from chemistry, biology and engineering classes. For the last three years, Mallory Kato, ’09 Chemistry, ’13 MS Chemistry, has helped with the experiments and managing the lab.

Like Cheruzel, Kato enjoys working with students in the lab, and she sees the benefit of lab work to understanding the curriculum from her own experience as a student.

Chemistry master’s student Caroline Harmon and Evelynn Henry, ’16 Biochemistry, said one of the greatest things they learned from Cheruzel is how to conduct research with limited resources.

“The way Dr. C uses things in an original way – making it work for what he needs – is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned,” Harmon said. “Sometimes I can see how the wheels are churning.”

Henry placed as a finalist in the 2016 SJSU Student Research Competition for her project with Cheruzel as her faculty mentor.

“We are getting to apply things we learned,” she said. “It is very different. I learned a lot on site, and it made me appreciate my education.”

While Cheruzel said he enjoys teaching, his true passion is working with students in the lab.


“Research makes me happy,” he said.

Student Animator Wins Scholarship

Maaike Scherff

Maaike Scherff

Association Internationale du Film d’Animation-Hollywood (ASIFA – The International Animated Film Society) and Animation Educators Forum (AEF) awarded SJSU Animation/Illustration student Maaike Scherff a scholarship to support her continuing education in the field of animation. Scherff is one of eight students from animation schools around the world to receive a total of $30,000 in scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year. Applicants submitted portfolio/demo reels, individual proposals and letters of recommendation from faculty. Scholarships were awarded based on merit and are intended to support the students in their course of study.

Scherff is currently a contract artist and production assistant at Sony PlayStation, in addition to being a senior in the A/I program. Previously, she has worked on projects such as “The Green Ninja Show” and “Bound for Glory.” She has also interned at Nickelodeon and freelanced for various books, mobile games, and board games. She is set to graduate in May 2017.


Faculty and Staff Invited to Submit Publications for Annual Author Awards

Attendees of the Annual Author Awards look at the 2015 publications.

Attendees of the 2015 Annual Author Awards look at faculty and staff publications. Photo by Brandon Chew.

San Jose State Univeristy faculty and staff who have published a book or other major work in 2016 will be celebrated at the Annual Author Awards on Nov. 7, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229.

Authors who have penned scholarly books, works of fiction or non-fiction, poetry, art books, textbooks, anthologies, edited books, plays, video or music published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016 are invited to submit information about their publication and a brief summary to be recognized at the annual celebration on Nov. 7. (Vanity press, self-published books, unpublished manuscripts, pamphlets, brochures, custom-published course anthologies, book chapters and course packs do not qualify.)

Submissions for the Annual Author Awards will be accepted online at through Oct. 7. Please deliver a copy of the book or publication to the Library Administration Office on the fourth floor or send a copy to Elisabeth Thomas via campus mail zip code 0028 by Oct 14. Notify Elisabeth Thomas if the publication is only available in e-book format.

The Annual Author Awards is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, University Library and the Spartan Bookstore.

For more information or questions, call Library Dean Tracy Elliott at 408-808-2419 or Outreach Librarian Elisabeth Thomas at 408-808-2193.

sjsu-authors-request-for-submission_2016 (PDF)

SJSU Librarians Use Research to Guide Student Success

Bernd Becker, left, and Diana Wu, have been recognized for prolific research, with the most publications in their areas of expertise in the nation for the last five years.

Bernd Becker, left, and Diana Wu, have been recognized for prolific research, with the most publications in their areas of expertise in the nation for the last five years.

Bernd Becker and Diana Wu, along with other faculty members who work at SJSU’s University Library are more than just librarians. They are prolific researchers who study how students use libraries in hopes of improving student success and information literacy.

San Jose State University’s Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr. Library has been recognized as having the most prolific university library researchers in the nation based on number of articles published in subject specialty journals in the last five years (2011-2015), with Becker recognized for the most publications in the category of behavioral/social sciences and Wu recognized for the most publications in the category of information literacy and business resources. SJSU was ranked third overall out of 278 four-year institutions of higher learning for all categories. The rankings were announced at the Special Libraries Annual Conference in Philadelphia on June 13.

“My research focuses on the advances in technology as it influences the way academic librarians deliver their services and expertise,” said Becker, who has worked with the University Library for more than seven years, and was promoted to associate librarian in August 2015. “This interest is fueled by the innovative spirit that resides in Silicon Valley, and the readiness of the SJSU University Library to explore new approaches to academic librarianship.”

SJSU was cited as “best in the nation” in behavioral/social sciences for Becker’s work and business for Wu’s contributions, accounting for 26 percent and 28 percent of the national share of papers. SJSU librarians, who are classified as faculty members, published 36 articles in subject specialty journals in the last five years, outpacing their publication record for the previous 10-year analysis period (2000-2010).

Valeria Molteni, the interim associate dean for Research and Scholarship, said the active research by SJSU librarians ranges from research to improve how students use library resources in specific disciplines to collection development to how to best incorporate technology to how to help people develop skills to get the information they need in the moment.

“We are also doing research about space and how students experience it so we can improve services,” Molteni noted, adding that digital screens were added to 22 study rooms because through research librarians discovered that students wanted a way to practice presentations.

Emily Chan, the academic liaison librarian and scholarly communications coordinator, agreed that much of the research is focused on making libraries a third place where students spend their time outside of their homes or work places.

“The library is not only a place to study, but to eat, to socialize and to play,” Chan said.

Becker’s research is focused on developing best practices and principles for implementing high-tech, efficient library services for students and the university.

“Our library supports students who are going to be tech leaders,” Chan said. “We want to try to incorporate that and be responsive.”

During a sabbatical this fall, Becker plans to refine a longitudinal assessment tool of information literacy skills that he developed with fellow SJSU psychology professor Clifton Oyamot.

“My hope is to make this tool scalable so that any SJSU department interested in assessing information literacy can easily adopt it into the curriculum,” he said.

Diana Wu, who has worked with the University Library for nearly 30 years, said she is interested in how users receive and use information to fulfill their daily needs.

“For our students, I am especially concerned with how they educate themselves to become productive citizens,” she said.

Since she started with the University Library, she has been focused on information literacy and has coauthored multiple papers with other SJSU colleagues including Malu Roldan, Sue Kendall, Marilyn Easter, Bobbi Makani, Ann Agee and Connie Haley, from Chicago State University. Her articles, available on SJSU’s Scholarworks, have been downloaded 2,385 times by scholars at 111 institutions in 64 countries.

Wu and Becker’s research is ultimately focused on supporting student success. Becker said he appreciates his library colleagues and administration’s focus on placing student success above everything else.

“Student success is at the heart of my research,” he said. “Being that SJSU is a research and writing-intensive university, we have found that our students rely heavily on the University Library as they progress towards graduation. My research is dedicated to uncovering what their library needs are, and how we can best meet those needs.”

Wu said she helped to develop a campus-wide survey to collect data assessing information literacy proficiency, which has been helpful since information literacy has become one of the core proficiencies for graduation that is assessed by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for accreditation.

In the coming year, she plans to work with junior colleagues on investigating student’s information seeking behavior in an era where most students rely on mobile devices to access information.
“Doing research is a long journey, and sometimes it can be lonely,” Wu said. “It requires dedication and self-discipline, but also requires support and encouragement. We need one another to generate and share knowledge for our students and the scholarly community – so be supportive and ready to listen.”

Wu said she has appreciated the encouragement through the years from administrators, including former Provost Carmen Sigler and former library Dean Patricia Senn Breivik, both of whom supported her as she completed “Information Literacy at the Workplace: a Cross-Cultural Perspective” with a grant from the Business Reference and Services Section of the American Library Association.

“We are always presenting and always moving forward,” Molteni said. “We are always looking for change.”

Read the full report.

CommUniverCity Honored by APA

Using a map of the neighborhood, profesor Rick Kos leads youth through an exercise that helps them identify neighborhood assets and constraints. Photo by Dayana Salazar

Using a map of the neighborhood Rick Kos, an SJSU lecturer and practione-in-residence, leads youth through an exercise that helps them identify neighborhood assets and constraints.
Photo by Dayana Salazar

The California chapter of the American Planning Association awarded San Jose State University’s CommUniverCity program an Academic Award of Excellence for the Greater Washington – Voices of the Community neighborhood planning project in July. The planning project was previously recognized with the American Planning Association’s California Northern Chapter Academic Award in June and will go on to compete on the national level.

The project was overseen by CommUniverCity with support from faculty members and instructors in the departments of Urban Planning, Anthropology and Spanish. Classes included H. Fernando Burga’s fall 2013 URBP 201, Richard M. Kos’ spring 2014 URBP 203, Chuck Darrah’s fall 2013 ANTH 149 and Damian Bacich, whose students provided the Spanish translation of the report from English.

SJSU affiliates worked closely with city officials, Santa Clara University’s Ignatian Center and neighborhood partners such as Mamas Unidas, Sacred Heart of Jesus Community Parish, Community United San Jose and Catholic Charities in reaching out to community members.

Through personal conversations with community members, the report found that residents had five priorities for their neighborhood:

Fostering healthy lifestyles

Improving walkability and pedestrian activity

Supporting information retail

Promoting affordable housing

Identifying the needs of middle school students