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DNP grads share experience with prospective SJSU students

October 16th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

Christine Tarver said she had considered getting a doctor of nursing practice degree for years when she heard the CSU system had something in the works.

“The timing worked and the stars aligned,” she said. “I always knew I would get one more degree.”

Tarver, who already had a master’s degree, is part of the second cohort of DNP students enrolled in the California State University Northern California Consortium Doctor of Nursing program, a joint effort between San José State University and CSU Fresno.

“The other (DNP) programs were in the city (San Francisco) and one was not affordable,” she said, noting that the online format of the CSU program allowed her to continue working while she earns her degree. “We have faculty from all over because it’s virtual.”

Tarver said she works in administration and she jokes with her hospital director that she just wants to change the world.

But that is not far from the goals of the program. One of the key requirements of the DNP program is that in their five semesters in the program, students undertake a research project that has a direct link to changing healthcare outcomes.

“When I’m talking to a potential student, I talk about the project,” said Ruth Rosenblum, the acting director of the SJSU DNP program. “It is about improving patient outcomes – there needs to be a direct line.”

Mae Lavente is in her first semester with the program, part of the third cohort. She is a nurse practioner who is most excited about the research component of the program. Her project involves delirium and the logistics of musical therapy.

“I want to shape it so it’s not just conceptual, but practical,” she said.

She said the first semester has been challenging.

“It’s been a struggle because I’ve been out of school for so long,” she said, noting she finished her last degree 12 years ago. “I need to get back in the groove.”

When she completes her DNP, she said she wants to teach the next generation of nurses.

The DNP program launched its pilot in 2012, with the first cohort of students graduating in May 2014. Four of the May graduates joined the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Valley School of Nursing professors at a reception and showcase Oct. 15 where they shared their experience with current and prospective students.

“Today is a celebration of nursing in our community,” said Kathy Abriam-Yago, the director of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing, at SJSU. “It is a celebration of nursing excellence.”

Christine Mallon, the CSU Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Programs and Faculty Development, attended the reception to talk about the inception of the DNP program.

“It took a few years to develop,” Mallon said.

It also took an act of the state legislature to authorize the CSU to award a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The state assembly bill itself called for a DNP degree to be distinct from the doctor of philosophy degree offered by the UC system and to allow professionals to earn the degree while working full time. The program allows students to do much of their coursework online, with in-person intensive sessions each semester held alternately at SJSU and CSU Fresno. The first cohort included students from as far north as Redding and as far south as Bakersfield.

“People know nurses and know their value,” Mallon said. “But they are not just giving one person a better experience – with research we get better outcomes (for many.)”

As part of the evening event, the four graduates were introduced by Rosenblum, who shared a summary of their research projects. The graduates then took questions from the audience members, including prospective students who are interested in applying for the fourth cohort.

Lisa Walker-Vischer, a graduate of the program last year, said she started working on her degree without a specific goal in mind.

“I had considered a PhD,” she said. “Part of the piece for me was two years versus four or five years. I loved the application and I am one of those who was transformed. I wasn’t looking for another job, but I got drawn into this.”

Walker-Vischer’s project focused on the experience of Latino parents of hospitalized children during family-centered bedside rounds.

She had been a clinical nurse specialist in pediatric care for nine years. As she was nearing the end of her program, she was offered a position as the director of the Center for Nursing Excellence at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Suzette Urquides, whose research focused on treatment times for adult patients directly transferred to cardiac catheterization laboratories versus the emergency room, said she selected the SJSU-Fresno program because of the emphasis on research.

“I saw things I couldn’t prove and I didn’t have a voice,” she said. “I knew this degree would allow me to have a voice at the table.”

Working for a hospital in Salinas, she said she hopes to share her knowledge as a consultant at other hospitals in the region.

“I’ve been a nurse’s aide and now I’m a doctoral practioner,” she said. “I’ve seen it all.”

CASA faculty among honorees for Helen Stevens Outstanding International Educator Award

October 14th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

Tamara McKinnon, a nursing professor, and Linda Levine, a health science and recreation professor, in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, will be honored with the Helen Stevens Outstanding International Educator Award on Oct. 21, at 4 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Library, Room 225/227. Yasue Yanai, a World Languages and Literatures professor, will also be recognized at the event.

Dr. Tamara McKinnon, far right, and students Mina Paz Arzadon and Claudine Luzano appeared on  "Good Morning Grenada," one of 5 media appearances by the group during their program.

Dr. Tamara McKinnon, far right, and students Mina Paz Arzadon and Claudine Luzano appeared on
“Good Morning Grenada,” one of 5 media appearances by the group during their program.

McKinnon led a pilot international program in Grenada this summer which included 23 nursing and occupational therapy students from SJSU who completed a global service-learning course on the Caribbean island. During their visit, students met with the Ministry of Health, hospitals and clinics and also had an opportunity to visit clinical sites throughout the island. The students participated in a health fair in a rural part of the island, conducting home visits to train family members and local students, and conducted television and radio interviews. The students all kept a reflective journal during their trip with photos and narrative.

The core principles of the program included compassion, curiosity, courage, collaboration, creativity, capacity building and competence, according to McKinnon.

Levine spent part of her summer in Paris, teaching 14 students about the history and diversity of France. During their trip, which provided credit in two GE areas, students learned about various cultures that included different religious backgrounds, occupational backgrounds and other aspects of identity. During the trip students had the opportunity to visit the Chateau de Marseilles, Musee D’Orsay and to take a Thai/French cooking class, among other activities. Levine encouraged students to consider study abroad programs with a blog post ( some of the creative ways her former students raised money for their trips, from making macarons to sending donation request letters to family and friends.

SJSU students enrolled in the faculty-led program "Paris: City of Culture," took a bike tour around Paris.

Linda Levine, center in a blue top, taught “Paris: City of Culture.”

Ballroom Dance Club moves to Event Center

September 24th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

The San José State University Ballroom Dance Club will be meeting in the Event Center Sport Club, on the lower level, due to the renovation of its regular meeting space in Spartan Complex. Faculty Adviser Bethany Shifflett invites students to join the group for great fun. The club has beginner’s lessons each Friday, from 5-5:45 p.m. Upcoming lessons include Salsa on Sept. 26 and Tango on Oct. 3. The full schedule semester can be viewed online at: For questions, contact Bethany Shifflett by email at

Drop in: $5 for 1 lesson or $8 for two lessons per night.
Semester membership: $25 SJSU students; $35 community members.

Community members please read: Community members who are not Semester BDC members will have to pay an additional $5 each night to enter the sport club. The BDC is covering the sport club cost only for individuals who have a semester membership.

Ballroom dance flyer( PDF)

Alumni Assoc. honors CASA students with scholarships

September 22nd, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

The College of Applied Sciences and Arts was well represented Sept. 16 at the San José State University Alumni Association Scholarship Reception. Of the dozens of honorees who were recognized at the event, seven hail from CASA majors.

CASA Associate Dean Greg Payne attended the celebration and had the honor of introducing the two students selected to receive the Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for Applied Sciences and Arts. David Elliott, a

David Elliott received the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Alumni Association Dean's Scholarship for 2014-15.

David Elliott received the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for 2014-15.

Social Work major, said he hopes to continue his studies in the Master of Social Work program, according to a bio provided by the Alumni Association. He has an upcoming internship with Unity Care, a nonprofit focused on youth and family development, to provide services to foster youth with behavioral and emotional problems. In the past, he has gained crisis intervention and facility management experience, including at Foothill College where he supported students working in the Pass the Torch program.

On the Alumni Association website, he said, “It is an honor and a privilege to be selected to receive the Alumni Association Deans’ Scholarship. Maintaining a balance between school, work and family can be challenging. I can be certain now that I will continue my education by working towards a MSW at SJSU. My wife, Theresa, and I have recently been gifted with a beautiful son, and financially we are working very hard to provide for our family. This scholarship has renewed my excitement about working towards an advanced degree. We are grateful and will continue our personal efforts to serve our community.”

Michelle Mussett received the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Alumni Association Dean's Scholarship for 2014-15.

Michelle Mussett received the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for 2014-15.

Michelle Mussett, a graduate student in Social Work, also received the Dean’s Scholarship. She has interned with the Record Clearance Project, a program in the Justice Studies department that helps eligible people clear their criminal records, and she also volunteers at the library advising clients in a free weekly program, according to the Alumni Association website. Prior to enrolling in her master’s program at SJSU, Mussett served in the Peace Corps in Benin, in West Africa, where she developed training materials and education programs to address gender and health issues. She is an intern at the CSU Monterey Bay Campus Health Center.

On the Alumni Association website, she said,  “I’m so excited about receiving the Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship, because it will allow me to concentrate on my passion – my upcoming internship work as a therapist at the California State University, Monterey Bay campus health center. The internship requires a three-day a week commitment, and my full time classes require another two. This scholarship makes it possible for me to pursue my academic and professional goals without having to also take part-time work to cover living expenses. This is crucial at this time in my study, as my final year also includes a year-long thesis project. This scholarship makes it possible for me to put my best work into my final year internship and academics, allowing me to absorb as much as I can from these incredible opportunities.”

Gina Guglielmoni was awarded the Phyllis and Alan Simpkins Leadership Award to pursue a graduate degree in kinesiology so she can start a career helping athletes rehabilitate sports-related injuries with treatments their school or general practitioner do not provide, according to her bio. She volunteered as a trainer’s assistant and manager for the football and softball teams at El Camino High School as well as with groups supporting disabled veterans and at St. Veronica Parish. She noted that she comes from a family of Spartans.

“Being a third generation Spartan means a lot to me and my family as well as receiving the Alan and Phyllis Simpkins Alumni Leadership Award. Six of my family members are alumni of San José State and are part of the large group that makes this scholarship possible. The scholarship will aid in achieving my ultimate dream of obtaining a masters degree in Kinesiology (Athletic Training) and start a career as an Athletic Trainer.”

Three CASA students received the Santa Cruz Area Chapter Scholarships, including Nutritional Science student Anna Sramek, Nursing student Kelly McGuckin and Social work student Nancy Zuniga. Cuong Truong, a nursing major, received the San Jose Woman’s Club Scholarship. For more on these honorees, visit the Alumni Association website at




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