October 2018 Newsletter: Student Researchers Look at Sport and Social Change

Students Aurelyn Ancheta, Joanna Peet and Anthony Abuyen will present their analysis of content on ESPN and ESPNW at a Student Research Fair October 15. Photo: Melissa Anderson

Students Aurelyn Ancheta, Joanna Peet and Anthony Abuyen will present their analysis of content on ESPN and ESPNW at a Student Research Fair October 15. Photo: Melissa Anderson

As San Jose State University’s Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Spartans Tommie Smith and John Carlos taking a stand for human rights at the 1968 Olympics, a new crop of students will be sharing their own research and ideas around how sports and athletes can change the world. The inaugural Institute for the Study of Sports, Society and Social Change Student Research Fair will feature the research and scholarly work of more than 50 students from several departments across campus, according to Interim Director of the Institute and Professor of Sport Sociology and Sport Psychology Ted Butryn.

The Student Research Fair will be Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. It will kick off with a keynote address by Marques Dexter, a third-year PhD student from the University of Georgia. Dexter is studying sports management and policy with a research focused on the racial, athletic and academic identities of African-American male athletes.

“There are three central pillars for the Institute—research, programming and education,” Butryn said. “This ties into all three. Monday morning on the 15th (of October) will be the kick off of an incredible week of events.”

The students involved in the research fair fall into three categories: some will be presenting proposals for future research studies, others will be presenting posters related to the subject of this year’s Campus Reading Program book The John Carlos Story, and several teams of students have completed research and analyzed data.

Many of the student research teams worked on their projects over the summer, not for course credit, but for the experience of participating in important scholarly work. Aurelyn Ancheta, Joanna Peet and Anthony Abuyen, all kinesiology undergraduates who plan to graduate in 2019, were encouraged by Professor Bethany Shifflett to work on a research project. They all were enrolled in Shifflett’s Measurement and Evaluation course, where they formed a study group.

“I thought, ‘Yes, it’s finally my first chance to do research,’” said Ancheta, who also shared that the experience has opened her to the possibility of pursuing a career in research.

The students set about analyzing the content on ESPN and ESPNW, a spin-off site that targets female readers, to see how much coverage each provided of female athletes. They will represent their findings from analyzing the content on both sites for three weeks over the summer at the Student Research Fair.

Abuyen found working as part of a team to be the most rewarding part of the experience.

“We all have school, work and exams, but if I wasn’t there I felt like I was letting them down,” he said.

Ancheta estimated the team spent well over 160 hours setting up their hypothesis, creating a method for collecting data, reviewing articles and analyzing their findings.

“I learned hard work and dedication is important to answer the questions that we need to answer,” said Peet, who wants to become an adaptive physical education teacher after she graduates. “Even with more awareness of female sports since Title IX started, women athletes are still underrepresented. In Sports Illustrated only two percent of the coverage consists of women. We are fighting for more female representation.”

Butryn said his department has taken the first step toward creating a new interdisciplinary minor in sports and social change that will broaden the opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in research in the coming years. The proposed minor is being reviewed at the College of Health and Human Sciences Curriculum Committee. After any revisions, if it the minor is approved at the college level, it will go to the University level for review.

“We look forward to making any necessary modifications so that, if all goes well, a year from now the research fair is one of the central experiences of all students in the minor,” Butryn said.

For a full list of events and activities, including tickets to the Oct. 17 Words to Action: Landmarks and Legacy of Athlete Activism Town Hall, visit the Institute website.

SJSU Professor’s Design work Sets Stage for Fun Home

A scene from the musical Fun Home shows the set design of SJSU Assistant Professor Andrea Bechert.

A scene from the musical Fun Home shows the set design of SJSU Assistant Professor Andrea Bechert.

Andrea Bechert, an assistant professor and designer in the Department of Film and Theatre, will have her scenic design on display during an October run of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fun Home at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts. The show, presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, is based on MacArthur Fellow Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel that details her experience growing up in a loving yet dysfunctional family that owns a funeral home.

The set design was an especially challenging project as the storyline is based on Bechdel’s memories—it moves back and forth between the author’s childhood, college years and present life—sometimes with three actresses playing Alison at different ages on stage at once. Rather than building fully realist sets, she played with filing the stage with elements to suggest a home, such as a couch, a chair, with windowpanes and curtains in the background.

Bechert talked about her work on Fun Home in a recent San Jose Mercury News article, and noted that she felt an especially personal connection to Bechdel’s story.

“When I was an undergrad, I feel like I went through a lot of the same things that Alison Bechdel did,” Bechert said. “I was coming out and trying to come to grips with my sexuality, and it was still something that wasn’t talked about too much. People were starting to be okay with it.”

Fun Home will be presented October 3 – October 28 at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View. For more information, visit TheatreWorks.org.

October 2018 Newsletter: Nursing Professor’s Research on Postpartum Depression Offers Advice to Clinicians

Deepika Goyal

Deepika Goyal

Deepika Goyal, a professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences Valley Foundation School of Nursing, will present the second University Scholar Series lecture on Oct. 24, from noon to 1 p.m., in MLK 225/229. During the event, she will share her research about Asian American women and postpartum depression. Her research suggests stigma, shame and lack of knowledge regarding postpartum depression symptoms may prevent this group from receiving timely treatment. Her findings provide information for clinicians on how to provide culturally-informed care and promote optimal maternal-child well-being outcomes.

In addition, Goyal has co-authored a new study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine Postpartum Health special issue Sept. 27 that suggests a link between perinatal depression and the season in which a woman gives birth. Goyal worked with colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco to analyze information from 293 first-time mothers who had been involved in a randomized clinical trial on sleep before and after pregnancy.

The researchers found an overall risk of depression of 30 percent, with the lowest incidences when a woman’s final trimester coincided with longer daylight hours when the risk dropped to 26 percent. For the women who gave birth from August through early November when days are shortening, the risk was the highest at 35 percent.

“Among first-time mothers, the length of day in the third trimester, specifically the day lengths that are shortening compared to day lengths that are short, long or lengthening, were associated with concurrent depressive symptom severity,” Goyal said.

Based on these findings, the team has suggested that clinicians could suggest light therapy, outdoor activity during daylight hours and vitamin D as measures to minimize postpartum depressive symptoms.

“Women should be encouraged to get frequent exposure to daylight throughout their pregnancies to enhance their vitamin D levels and to suppress the hormone melatonin,” added Goyal, who said that clinicians should also advise their patients to get more exercise outdoors when weather and safety permit. “Daily walks during daylight hours may be more effective in improving mood than walking inside a shopping mall or using a treadmill in a gym. Likewise, early morning or late evening walks may be relaxing but would be less effective in increasing vitamin D exposure or suppressing melatonin.”

For more on the University Scholars Series, visit the events page online.

Video: Engineering Students Gain Global Perspective on Technology

It’s a fun, intense, fascinating three-week multi-cultural experience across the Pacific that can change a San Jose State University student’s life. Students who traveled on the Global Technology Institute’s summer 2018 trip to Taiwan kicked off the Charles W. Davidson’s College of Engineering’s Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium on September 13 with a pitch to attract 2019 participants.

The program aims to educate college students on issues of the global economy, technology,energy and the environment while also providing them with a research or entrepreneurial experience. The most recent cohort shares highlights about their lectures and seminars at Chung Yuan Christian University in Jungli, Taiwan, as well as their cultural immersion. Students visited Taiwanese companies and government facilities, art museums, amusement parks, aboriginal villages, night markets and national scenic areas.

Watch the student’s presentation, videos of recent speakers and view upcoming lectures on the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium website.

Study Finds Tech-Savvy Students May Still Lack Cybersecurity Sense

Abbas Moallem

Abbas Moallem

By David Goll

Though HCI, or the study of human-computer interaction, is widely offered at dozens of American universities, its application in the rapidly growing field of cybersecurity is far less studied, understood or even recognized. Abbas Moallem, an adjunct professor in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, is on a mission to sound the alarms and raise the profile of the human component in cybersecurity through his undergraduate and graduate courses.

In the middle of the world’s high-tech hub, Moallem regularly surveys swaths of college students to help him research the issue of public awareness of online privacy, cybercrimes, cybersecurity and the importance of user knowledge of those issues. Silicon Valley tech companies hire more SJSU graduates than students from any other university so awareness of cybersecurity is especially pertinent to graduates.

Moallem said because there are no large-scale studies determining the level of HCI/cyber security awareness in the general public, his 180 students provide an excellent sample audience. About one-third exhibit a strong familiarity with the subject.

“It’s very hard to sample a large swath of adult consumers, so my students provide lots of information,” he said. “They’re a young, tech-savvy demographic group.”

The early results of his surveys found that despite their ease with using technology, students have a relatively low HCI/cybersecurity consciousness and don’t always practice “safe” online behavior.

“We must do more to educate students and the larger population about the importance of cybersecurity and its human element,” he said. “Most organizations, whether private companies, public agencies or universities, still approach cybersecurity from the technical side. And there are lots of technical solutions out there. Human factors is still not considered anywhere near as important as technical concerns and solutions. There’s a huge disparity in the amount of money most organizations spend on technical solutions over HCI solutions.”

Moallem recently edited a book, Human-Computer Interaction and Cybersecurity Handbook that provides insight into how understanding human factors could change how companies invest their resources in what is currently a $101 billion industry. Moallem’s book will be among the dozens of works recognized during the annual Author & Artist Awards, Nov. 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the Grand Reading Room on the eighth floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The gathering is sponsored by the library, the SJSU Office of the Provost, the SJSU Office of Research and the Spartan Bookstore.

“Cybersecurity has become such a key issue and not only from a coding and technical point of view,” said Jacob Tsao, associate dean of the Extended Studies in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. “The focus needs to be on the human role played in cybersecurity, but there is still so much more time and money spent on the technical level.”