A volunteer stocks a student food shelf on campus. The Academic Affairs Division raised $7,000 for the SJSU Food for Students fund to support this and other efforts to help students with food insecurities.
The California State University is currently surveying all students by email as part of an extensive research study on food and housing security. The survey findings will be used to develop campus and system programs that address student needs so they can succeed in their pursuit of a degree. The data will also be used to mobilize public policies.
San Jose State University students received an email invitation to participate in the CSU system-wide study, which is now open until December 5, 2016. Students who take the survey have a chance to win a $40 gift card.
How can you help with the survey as faculty?
Mention the survey before or during class. Students have positively reacted to faculty members who have shared resources, invited them to research opportunities, and are able to articulate the importance of good data.
Email or post about it in emails to your class, via social media, or in online information areas such as Canvas.
Have students find the email with the subject line “CSU Study on Food and Housing Security” and complete it today.
SJSU has had students respond so far, but the campus received special permission to extend the survey until Dec. 5 to gather more responses. The survey is critical to the second phase of the study, which was originally commissioned by the CSU Chancellor’s Office in April 2015.
SJSU students participated in the MESA Leadership Conference in October.
San Jose State University students participated in the 13th Annual Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference Oct. 14-15, in Santa Clara. The students engaged in many creative activities designed to sharpen their professional skills, including an elevator pitch challenge styled after the television show “The Voice,” a team-building Lego challenge and networking games.
Henry Nguyen, a member of SJSU’s MESA Engineering Program, won first place in the elevator pitch challenge. He competed against eight other finalists from California community colleges and universities. He received a $500 scholarship as his prize.
According to a press release from the statewide MESA office, the conference provided 1,500 professional development hours to 200 MESA students from 33 colleges and universities. The students engaged with 75 industry professionals from 28 STEM companies. PG&E sponsored SJSU attendees. Other sponsors included NASA, Tesla, AT&T and other industry partners.
During the conference, NASA Astronaut Commander Victor Glover was named the 2016 MESA Distinguished Alum. He participated in MESA when he was in middle school and as an undergraduate. He credits the program as a driving force behind his success as an engineer.
“What you’re doing is so vital, so important to California and the planet,” he said, of staying committed to STEM education.
MESA promotes STEM success for more than 25,000 educationally disadvantaged secondary, community college and four-year college students in California through project-based learning, academic counseling and exposure to STEM careers so that they can graduate from college with math-based degrees. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide went directly to college after graduation compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Sixty percent of MESA students go on to math, science or engineering majors. Ninety-seven percent of MESA community college transfer students go to college as STEM majors.
For the first time in the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete program’s 57-year history, an SJSU player will be honored. Wide receiver Tim Crawley will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and be a finalist for this year’s William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments. The NFF and the College Football Hall of Fame award the trophy to the “best scholar-athlete in the nation.” Crawley graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in business management information systems and is enrolled in the university’s master’s program in interdisciplinary studies. “I have to give my mom [Stacey Tinker] a lot of credit,” he said. “She got on me at an early age to put academics first and be serious in the classroom.” Crawley is this year’s only honoree from a California-based university and the Mountain West.
Edgar Sanchez Lopez is a second-year civil engineering student who received TheDream.Us scholarship.
Edgar Sanchez Lopez just finished his first year at San Jose State and he is already thinking ahead to next fall, when he will take physics and a civil engineering surveying course. In his second year, he wants to get involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter to connect with his peers and he wants to find an internship to get real-life experience in his field.
Sanchez Lopez speaks confidently and his near perfect English belies the fact that he has lived in the United States for less than a decade. He moved to Mountain View from Mexico City when he was 10. His father moved six months ahead of the family, then Sanchez Lopez, his mother and younger sister joined him.
Like 550 other San Jose State students, Sanchez Lopez came to California as a child as an undocumented immigrant. He is one of eight SJSU students who received TheDream.US National Scholarship in 2015-16. The scholarships are provided through a program of the nonprofit New Venture Fund that grants renewable scholarships to eligible students who have been accepted for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. SJSU is one of fourteen universities and community colleges in California who have partnered with the TheDream.Us scholarship program. An additional 30 incoming SJSU students have received scholarships for 2016-17. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition and fees, up to $25,000 towards a bachelor’s degree.
Sanchez Lopez recalls his early days in California.
“It was tough. I had a lot of friends in Mexico,” he said. “I didn’t speak any English. I couldn’t even ask the teacher to go to the bathroom.”
He took ELL classes and became more comfortable with English.
“I started making friends and that helped a lot,” he said. “I did well in math. I was at the top of my class.”
Sanchez Lopez enrolled at Los Altos High School, where he participated in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program that aims to prepare high school students for four-year universities. The AVID program provided mentorship and advice about the college process, including an explanation of what a personal statement is and how to apply for scholarships.
Due to California State Assembly Bill 540 (known as the Dream Act), Sanchez Lopez is eligible for in-state tuition and received a Cal-grant, but is ineligible for any federal financial aid.
While he worked full-time in high school and managed two part-time jobs in his first year at San Jose State – as a tutor and working at an Express clothing store – he said the scholarships he received helped him to scale back on his work schedule without asking his parents for financial support.
“My parents haven’t given me money since I was in middle school,” he said. “I buy my own clothes. Pay my insurance, my car and gas. They have their own bills. I’d rather they use money on my younger sister.”
Before applying to college, Sanchez Lopez initially wanted to be an architect. He realized his true passion is for building and not drawing. When he was not accepted at his top-choice school, UCLA, he quickly learned about the prestigious reputation of SJSU’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering and warmed to the idea of studying civil engineering closer to home.
“My dad had friends who had graduated from here and they said it was a good school,” he said, acknowledging that his first year was more challenging than he had expected. “I realized I needed extra help, especially in math, and that was hard for me to admit.”
Sanchez Lopez joined study groups and visited his professors during office hours.
“I had to change my study patterns and work less,” he said.
Now that summer has started, he is back to working two jobs to save up money for the fall semester. He is optimistic that he will stay on a path to graduate in four years and he plans to become a structural engineer who builds skyscrapers.
His role model is an aunt who is the only one in his family to go to college.
“Since I was little, I wanted to do better,” he said. “I saw how my aunt was able to travel and go places. She doesn’t worry about money. I want to be able to live that life and want to provide for my family.”
He also tries to be an example for his younger sister who is 15 and will be a high school junior in the fall.
“I can help her out with her college applications because I went through the process,” he said.
For more stories of undocumented students at SJSU watch The Undocumented Story by Tina Castellanos, available below.
As 9,861 San Jose State students graduated during the 2016 Commencement at Spartan stadium, NPR aired a national story on its Weekend Edition morning show that highlighted SJSU’s plan to increase the number of undergraduate students who complete degrees in four and six years while also improving the educational experience for all students.
Students don decorated caps at San Jose State University’s 2016 Commencement. See more photos from graduation on SJSU’s Facebook page. Photo by Christina Olivas
The story by reporter Gabrielle Emanuel includes interviews with Provost Andy Feinstein, Chair of Mexican American Studies and Co-Chair of the Chicano/Latino Student Success Task Force Marcos Pizarro and students.
“I have to help my family; I have to work; I have to be in school,” Tania Galica told reporter Emanuel. “I feel like it’s overwhelming. There have been times that I just want to quit – but I don’t.”
The story focuses on efforts to increase student engagement and connections to campus, including Pozole study nights hosted by the Chicano/Latino Student Success Task Force. Held around finals week, the events offers students comfort food, tips on studying and access to advisors.
Provost Feinstein and Vice President for Student Affairs Reggie Blaylock released a student success plan in May that aims to address many of the challenges the students noted in the NPR story. Their data-driven, university wide plan aims to improve graduation and retention rates while also improving student experience. SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success: College Readiness, Advising, Student Engagement and Clearing Bottlenecks was informed by discussions and meetings with many campus stakeholders, including students. Some components of each pillar have already been implemented, including additional course sections in key bottleneck courses to be offered in the fall and an expanded summer bridge program for some students in need of remediation. Feinstein and Blaylock aim to fully implement initiatives from the plan in fall 2016.