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Nursing students take oath at White Coat ceremony

December 16th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

The Valley Foundation School of Nursing hosted a white coat ceremony Dec. 5 at San José State University to commemorate the first semester nursing students’ move from classroom study to a combination of class and clinical instruction.

The event included the students taking an oath to uphold certain standards including the following during their careers as nurses:

  • Consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering primary concerns
  • Act in a compassionate way and trustworthy manner in all aspects of my care
  • Apply knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients
  • Exercise sound professional judgment while abiding by legal and ethical requirements
  • Accept the lifelong obligation to improve professional knowledge and competence
  • Promote, advocate for, and strive to protect the health, safety and rights of the patient.


The Valley Foundation School of Nursing Director Kathy Abriam-Yago, welcomed the students and their families to the event, with College of Applied Sciences and Arts Acting Associate Dean Pamela Richardson also addressing the students.

“Typically we come from the dean’s office to recognize and celebrate students as they graduate, but it is very special to be able to see you here at the beginning, to recognize this transformation you are undergoing into a healthcare professional,” Richardson said, during her comments. “You may not realize it yet, but this transformation is one of the most profound that you will undergo in your life.”

Richardson has a background in Occupational Therapy, a profession that requires clinical practice as well.

“Providing quality healthcare requires a great deal of each of us,” she said. “We often see people when they are at their most vulnerable and afraid. Dealing with trauma, illness, pain or loss on a daily basis requires strength and commitment.”

She also stressed that healthcare providers are part of a team.

“We challenge and support each other as well as our patients and work together to see that our patients receive the best that each of us has to offer,” she said.

Professor Sue Malloy shared the history of the white coat ceremony, which is conducted at universities around the United States for students in health care professions when they move onto the clinical part of their training.

Trudy Johnson, the chief nursing officer at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, one of the clinical sites where SJSU students train, served as the keynote speaker at the event.

As part of the ceremony, the students donned white coats and five nursing professors took turns pinning a pin that read “Humanism Excellence” on the students’ coats. At least 60 students participated in the ceremony.



Recreation program receives extension of accreditation to 2021

December 9th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions approved continuing accreditation of the San José State University’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts Recreation and Recreation Therapy programs in the Department of Health Science and Recreation at its Oct. meeting in Charlotte, NC. The program will be accredited through 2021.

In a letter to President Mohammad Qayoumi and the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, the council approved the following recommendations:

  • San José State University’s commitment to accreditation as evidenced by almost 30 years of continuous accreditation
  • High levels of student satisfaction with experiential educational opportunities in courses
  • Practitioner involvement with students in the community and their contribution to exceptional learning opportunities, networking and employment opportunities.

The department has been requested to send three minor revisions by Feb. 1, 2015.

“The Council is pleased to maintain San José State University – Department of Health Science and Recreation – Recreation Program and Recreation Therapy Program on the list of accredited institutions,” wrote Brenda Beales, the Awards and Accreditation manager, in the letter to the university. “Congratulations!”

Air Force ROTC students recognized for achievements

December 8th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

On Nov. 22, two San José State University Students and Air Force ROTC Cadets were recognized during the Air Force Association (AFA) – Tennessee Ernie Ford Chapter 361’s 34th Annual Awards Banquet. Gavril Torrijos, a Meteorology major received, the AFA Cadet Community Service Award for his numerous hours contributed to various community service activities such as Habitat for Humanity and local area clean-up efforts.  Additionally, Torrijos has a passion for music and teaching. He volunteered his time to prepare high school marching bands for competitions.

Stephen Rose, an Aerospace Engineering major, was awarded the AFA Outstanding Cadet Award. The award is given to the cadet who demonstrates the highest level of maturity, intellect and academic achievement. Rose is an active member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was recognized last semester for his scholastic, community and engineering endeavors by the Society of American Military Engineers.

In addition, on Dec. 4, the Silicon Valley Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Chapter awarded two scholarships to deserving cadets enrolled in the Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) program at San Jose State University.  The scholarships, presented to SJSU students Henry Salazar and Steven Wong, totaled $1,000 for use towards tuition, books or other college expenses.  Bob Moorhead, chapter president, and Bob Landgraf presented the awards during the AFROTC Detachment 045 Fall Dining-Out.  The Fall Dining-Out is the Cadet Wing’s formal event of the school year where more than 175 cadets, friends and family celebrate their achievements of the semester.  The guest speaker, Colonel Matthew Lupone, Commander, Defense Contract Management Agency in Sunnyvale, spoke to the Cadet Wing about leadership characteristics they should possess to be effective on active duty.

CASA students get in the holiday spirit

December 4th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

Members of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Student Affairs Committee got into the holiday spirit before Thanksgiving when they decorated a tree for Christmas in the Park. The community trees will be on display at downtown San Jose’s Christmas in the Park through Jan. 1.

Members of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts' Student Affairs community decorated a tree for Christmas in the Park.

Members of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ Student Affairs community decorated a tree for Christmas in the Park.

Christie Martinez, the president of the 2014-15 Student Affairs committee, said the group came up with the idea as a way to be social with other departments and within the committee – one representative is assigned to serve each year from each of the 11 departments and schools in CASA.

Some of the volunteers who helped to decorate the tree included: Claudia Gonzalez, of Health Science and Recreation, Martinez, of Justice Studies, Valerie Ruiz, of Kinesiology, Rebecca Robinson, of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing, Becky Ringer, of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging, Sara Wykoff, of Occupational Therapy, OT Professor Gigi Smith, and David Hoffman, of Social Work.

The tree is one of many decorated by community groups for the annual Christmas in the Park event, which is open and free to the public from the end of November through Jan. 1.

“We all decided at our committee meeting that our tree would represent all 11 departments within the college,” Martinez said, via email.

Each committee member was asked to collect or make ornaments that represent the students or staff of the department. Many of the decorations include the name or abbreviation for the department, with some coming up with unique ideas such as a tree skirt made of copies of the Spartan Daily to represent the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

“My favorite part was trying to find ideas to make the ornaments and also asking for my department’s help with ideas,” Martinez said.

Wykoff said her favorite part was seeing how unique each tree looked.

“Ours is so neat because of the variety of programs that it represents,” she said.

Martinez said she was planning to bring her children to see the tree she and other students decorated, which is located in space 449, across from the Fairmont Hotel.

“I want them to know that there is a lot more than just classes and homework at SJSU,” she said.

Wykoff said many of her classmates plan to go every year and even more plan to trek downtown to see the tree this year.

“Sometimes it seems that people are always so busy that the holidays are less of value, but Christmas in the Park is a reminder that there are still people out there that still value the holidays,” Martinez said.

Records Clearance Project continues to change lives

December 3rd, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

Norma Burns recalls in detail the day she had her first appointment with San José State University Justice Studies students from the Records Clearance Project in 2011 for a speed screening.

“I went in there and there was another lady there as well,” Burns said, adding that when the student volunteer walked away to consult an attorney, the young woman started crying. “I went over and I was consoling the woman. She was like, ‘My rap sheet is so long, I’m not going to be able to get my record expunged.’ I told her she had already made the first step because she had come here.”

Since 2008, Record Clearance Project students and volunteers have provided 32,000 hours of service. According to the team’s estimates the market value of RCP services is 10 times the actual cost to run the program.

Heritage Society Luncheon Presentation

In October, Project Director Peggy Stevenson, Lisseth Castillo-Valencia, a project coordinator and Burns presented an update on the project at the SJSU University Advancement’s annual Heritage Society Luncheon at Flames Eatery and Banquet, with donors who have made a planned gift to the university in attendance.

During the presentation, the team informed attendees that one in four adults in California has an arrest or conviction record, which can interfere in their ability to get employment, housing, student loans, public benefits and in other intangible ways such as causing low self-esteem.

The Records Clearance Project coordinators work to inform people that California law allows the court to dismiss, or expunge, many criminal convictions and helps some residents work through the process.

“Speaking from personal experience, I have helped clear the records for six people and I have had sleepless nights,” Castillo-Valencia said, who took the classes as a student. “I have worked 40 to 50 hours a week on putting together the petitions, but it wasn’t hard to dedicate that much time because we know how important this was to my clients that the amount of hours I put in didn’t matter as long as I did the best job to prepare the petitions for court so the judge could see what we have seen in our clients.”

Tina Daniels, the director of Planned Giving for University Advancement, said she received “wonderful, complimentary and positive comments about the Records Clearance Project, as most of those in attendance were unaware of it.”

Last year, students assisted 214 people with writing petitions to have their records cleared of convictions or to have eligible felonies reduced to misdemeanors. The students attended the most recent RCP hearing on Nov. 18, when a judged listened to RCP petitions in a special court session.

Not including the most recent session, judges have heard 699 cases filed on behalf of 226 people since the start of the program, with 99 percent of the convictions expunged and 94 percent of eligible felonies reduced to misdemeanors.

A personal history

In 2011, Burns was one of those people to have her record successfully expunged, when she started working as a volunteer to help others through the process. She was hired in Feb. 2014 to work as a mentor with the clients of the program and she is open about her checkered past.

Burns’ first experience at SJSU was as a homeless teenager, when she would sleep in booths at the Student Union that were available for reservation by students.

“They used to have a radio station there and there was a deejay at the time who would let me know which booths were available and I used to go there to sleep,” she said.

Burns, now 55, said she was a functioning crack addict for years who managed to stay employed. She and her 10-year-old daughter would stay in her car or sometimes in the attic of someone they knew. Her son had chosen to live with his father rather than with her.

“I was just bouncing from place to place and didn’t have a sense of direction,” she said.

She was arrested three times on different charges, including fraud and assault. She was court ordered to undergo an anger management program. When she did not complete it, she was arrested on a bench warrant.

She was sentenced to a year in jail and completed eight months of her sentence. When she got out in 2004, she said she was prepared to change her life.

“I just fell on my knees and prayed to God to make me a better person,” she said. “I can’t do this anymore.”

Since then, Burns said she has stayed off drugs and out of trouble with the law. She was able to get a job and a place to live. When she heard about the Records Clearance Project, she decided to try to get her record expunged.

“So many doors have opened for me,” she said, since clearing her record. “It’s like I have a better job and a better place to live. My confidence is like out of this atmosphere. I believe so much in others and believe in change.”

Burns said the cost alone would have kept her from completing the expungement process on her own, as the average is $1,000 for filing paperwork with an attorney’s assistance.

“My metaphor for Peggy is like when you throw a pebble in water and it makes rings that get bigger and bigger,” Burns said. “She’s like a rolling stone rolling down a hill of snow that gathers more momentum. It is such a learning experience and teaches so much.”

Student impact

Yevgeniy Mayba, currently a master’s student in Justice Studies, initially signed up for the two-course Records Clearance Project, JS 140 and JS 141 as an undergraduate because “it appeared to be an easy way to obtain credits for two classes while also getting the internship requirement out of the way,” he said via email.

“During the first two meetings of the JS 140 class, however, I came to see that this would be more than just a couple of classes,” he said. “Peggy repeatedly stressed the commitment that would be required to participate in the project and the seriousness of dealing with people’s lives and hopes.”

Mayba said the hardest part of the class was working with a partner.

“As we all have different writing styles and opinions on what is important and should be included in the petition, writing petitions as a team was challenged,” he said. “We had to adapt to one another and learn to compromise, as well as to not be afraid to criticize each other and to be able to receive constructive criticism with grace.”

Mayba said he wants to pursue a career with prisoner reentry or inner city youth in the future.

“The most rewarding part of working with the Records Clearance Project was the realization that I was making a difference in people’s lives,” Mayba said. “Being able to help people get a fresh start in their lives and seeing tears of joy in their eyes was the greatest reward anyone could ask for.”

Another student, Rochelle Rotea, created a Facebook page to help promote the work of the RCP and has also created a crowd-funding campaign through Crowdrise. Visit the facebook page at: Visit the Crowdrise campaign page at:

Donors, partners keep project going

Since its inception in 2008, the Records Clearance Project has been supported by community partnerships, support from the County of Santa Clara and donations of money or in-kind support from foundations, individual donors and law firms.

Some of the contributors include:

The County of Santa Clara

The Castellano Family Foundation
Google Donations for Doers (for volunteer hours of Shaun Warren)

Jewish Community Federation

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation
The Skoll Fund
The Health Trust

Law Firms
Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian Foundation
Kazan, McClain, Satterly & Greenwood Foundation
Morrison & Foerster Foundation
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
Rossi, Hamerslough, Reischl & Chuck
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation

Yvette Boddie

Yvonne and Alvin Gimbal
Amanda Hawes
Christopher Ho

Cheri Houle
David and Bette Loomis
Brian James
Jocelyn Larkin
Yulanda Lincoln
Maria Marroquin
William McAlister
Faye McNair-Knox
Paul McNamara
Lorrence and Beverly Otter
Kate Pohl
Anna Ranieri
Irene Resler
Jorge and Rochelle Rotea
Doris Rose Inda
David and Muriel Rosenthal
Susan Rothschild
Alice Smith
Richard Thesing
Martha and Jerry Uelmen

John Wagers

Judith William

Stewart Wobber

Janet and Mark Zimmerman


Community Partners
Ascent Employment Program Inc.
Bay Area Maranatha Christian Center
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Family and Children Services


Salvation Army
South Hills Community Church


SJSU Partners
Andy Trembley, David Kessler, and the SJSU Tech Team
The SJSU School of Social Work and Prof. Gil Villagran

Tony Korshund, Michelle Randle, and all of the CASA Success Center Staff




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