SJSU Ranked 2nd Among Best Packaging Programs

Great news for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts as the Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging (NUFS) ranked 2nd in the top 20 best value packaging programs of 2017 in the United States, according to Value Colleges.

Ashwini Wagle, Department Chair of NUFS, was excited to hear the news and is eager to become the best packaging program in the country. “We will strive for the number one spot,” said Wagle.

Value Colleges offers researched, straightforward, and practical answers about value and affordability for college bound students making college decisions. The website features articles about college costs and benefits, as well as numerical rankings of institutions and degree programs.

Click here to read Value Colleges’ article on the top 20 best value packaging programs of 2017.

Professor Fritz Yambrach Receives the 2017 DuPont Diamond Award

Professor Fritz Yambrach, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging, developed the Fritz™ Water Vest that enables people in disaster areas, or areas where water is not easily available, to transport water. The vest allows people to carry up to 20 pounds of water easily and safely.

DuPont announced the 2017 winners of the DuPont International Innovative Package Design Competition, honoring companies that have demonstrated major advancements in packaging technology to address the diverse and particular needs of consumers in markets around the world. The Fritz™ Water Vest received the highest honor, the Diamond Award.

Click here to read DuPont’s official announcement.

Congratulations to Professor Yambrach on receiving this prestigious award!

Spring 2017 Blog Series 10 of 10: Recreation Therapy Students Help Fellow Students in a New “Stress-Less” Biofeedback Lab

Do you have test anxiety? Worry about the outcomes of your current project? What about the stress of figuring out your career pathway? If you are just stressed about the rigors of college life or life in general, you may want to visit the “Stress-Less Tech Lab” at San José State University’s 1st floor of the Wellness Center.

“We are celebrating the first academic year of our Lab where students help students by facilitating biofeedback computer games designed to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety,” says Dr. Susan Ross, Assistant Professor and Director of Recreation Therapy and Complementary and Alternative Health Practices in the Health Science and Recreation Department, San José State University.

Students that work in the Stress-Less Tech Lab are enrolled in the RECL 148 class, Principles of Biofeedback. They attend class twice a week and gain invaluable experience during Lab hours of Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m and Thursdays noon to 4:00 p.m.

Biofeedback is a health-improvement intervention in which patrons learn to control (self-regulate) his or her body’s functions, such as the heart or respiration rate, by seeing signals from his or her body displayed on a computer display. Physical Therapists use biofeedback to help patients regain strength and movement in dysfunctional muscles. Recreation Therapists use it to treat clients with various physical conditions such as pain or migraine headaches or mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

“Biofeedback is a real time activity that measures the body’s stress response,” says Dr. Ross. In the first session students who visit the lab will see how their stressful thoughts immediately affect their biorhythms and how simple breathing techniques will cause improved inner harmony. Ross adds, “Randomized controlled trials have shown college students can decrease anxiety in as few as 5 training sessions.”

When clients enter the Biofeedback Lab they are immediately fitted with an ear piece that calibrates their heart rate. The Stress-Less Tech Lab utilizes HeartMath software that is also used at Stanford, Kaiser, Boeing, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, NASA and more. By measuring heart and pulse rate, the software program is able to determine the stress level of the individual.

“We can look at the data on the computer screen and determine your emotional and physical state by analyzing your heart rate variability.” Poor heart rate variability is a predictor of numerous medical conditions and psychosocial disorders such as depression, panic disorder, fatigue, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, ischemic heart disease, coronary heart disease (predicts sudden cardiac death), congestive heart failure, hypertension, weight gain and alcoholism.

Sessions generally take about 30 minutes. Student workers first obtain a baseline of two minutes of normal breathing.  Then a client’s stress response is recorded to gauge the clients’ psychophysiological response to stressors. Student workers teach peer clients a 6-Breaths breathing technique that involves slow and deep breathing, six in one minute, to induce an initial physiologically coherent state. Then student workers assess, debrief, and educate. Depending on the need of the student patron, the worker may lead the client through other basic breathing techniques such as a ball moving in a smooth sine wave. Other clients might play a computer game designed to change physiology and emotions from stress to peacefulness. Student experiences are debriefed and then there is closure.

“Other randomized controlled studies have shown that biofeedback can help students improve in their ability to pay attention, which means a great deal if they want to read textbooks, write papers, or listen to important lectures” says Dr. Ross. “Most of us carry some level of anxiety due to the many demands of daily life. In fact, the Stress-Less Tech Lab is open to not only students but faculty and staff as well.”

SJSU’s Stress-Less Tech Lab is the third lab of this type in the country. The other two can be found in the Recreation Therapy Department at East Carolina University and at University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill Recreation Therapy Department. “We are so fortunate to have participation from nursing, kinesiology, psychology and nutrition classes yet we are still SJSU’s best kept secret.”

Spring 2017 Blog Series 9 of 10: Nutrition Students Are a Step Ahead in Dietary Employment

If you visit a health care facility, school district, or food bank there is a good chance that an SJSU Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging student is completing an internship. That’s because Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging students are required to obtain an internship working in their field.

When students enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science program, they can specialize in two concentrations which includes a concentration in dietetics or packaging. They can also specialize in environmental food and health, food management, nutrition education, nutrition science and sports nutrition.

“The Dietetics students who go on to become Registered Dietitians have to complete 1,200 hours of accredited competency-based dietetic internship program as well as pass the national Registered Dietitian Examination,” says Dr. Lucy McProud, Chair, Department of Nutrition Food Science and Packaging. “In addition, after completing a dietetic internship, students must take a national exam to become a registered dietitian.” SJSU’s program boasts a 90 percent passing rate on the exam and according to Dr. McProud “all get employed.”

The Nutrition and Food Science program teaches students about nutrition aspects that includes food borne illnesses, diet and disease and community nutrition. If students want to major in the sports field, they learn which foods can help an athlete’s best performance.

Professor Karen Harvey, lecturer, teaches four classes in the program and is also a consultant dietician. She is especially fond of teaching Nutrition 139 Hunger and the Environment. “This class is a current events class where we discuss poverty in our community. Unfortunately, this topic has become more and more relevant,” says Professor Harvey. “Right now there is such a need and so many students are hungry that we have five food banks on campus.”

Professor Harvey has a master’s degree in nutrition specializing in dietetics and also works for Nutrition Therapy Essentials. “Our interns are all over the place,” says Professor Harvey. “By requiring an internship, students can transition to see what the job is all about and if they really want to go in this direction.”

Many universities do not require an internship in a nutritional program. “If students are enrolled in a program that requires them to have an internship, they have a much greater chance of getting an internship,” says Professor Harvey. “And they also have a greater chance of passing the registered dietitian exam.”

Spring 2017 Blog Series 8 of 10: School of Journalism and Mass Communications – Advertising Students Win a Plethora of ADDY Awards

On Thursday, February 23, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications Advertising program was very proud. That’s because the advertising students received Best of Show, one Gold, five Silver and six Bronze awards at the annual Silicon Valley American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) ADDY Awards.

“Rewarding the best creative work of the previous year, the ADDY’s are judged by industry professionals who consider student and industry entries on an equal footing. receiving a Bronze, Silver or Gold is only topped by the coveted ADDY or Best of Show,” says Professor John Delacruz, Advertising.

February 23, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; 2017 AAF-Silicon Valley Addy Awards held at Hapas Brewing Company in San Jose, CA. Mandatory Credit: Oliver Tapia – Milagro Marketing | Left to right: John Delacruz, Leah Viele-Verner, Sarah Weinman, Tim Hendrick

The event was held at Hapa’s Brewing in San Jose and was introduced by members of the AAF Board. SJSU professors Tim Hendrick, John Delacruz and lecturer David Ocampo, president, AAF as well as principal at Milagro Marketing introduced the show and presented awards to the winners. Creative direction for the event came from Professor Delacruz and was executed by students Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri who worked from the theme of “Making your Mama Proud” across print, video, social media and event presentation.

Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri won the only Gold award for an integrated campaign for Ventana Surfboards. “Ventana is a Santa Cruz based board manufacturer who designs, builds and sells surfboards crafted from up cycled wood,” says Professor Delacruz. “The wood typically comes from waste produced by other manufacturers in the area, Santa Cruz guitars for instance, or historic buildings under demolition.” Students Espinoza and Nakhjiri’s campaign was a new range of custom boards built with wood from the Western Flyer, John Steinbeck’s boat that was featured in his book, Log from the Sea of Cortez. “We are very proud of these students. This campaign was exquisitely art directed and crafted, won the JMC Blue Cow Award and awarded Best of Show!”

In addition, a number of non-profit campaigns received five Silver awards. Rebecca Ahrens and Eddie Toro received a Silver award for the Save Our Shores campaign. Natasha Mislang and Jackie Powers received one for a social media campaign for I Go Topless, a one-woman non-profit aiming to bring about cultural change around single use plastics, targeting plastic coffee cup lids specifically.

Culture was at the heart of Agency 66’s Royal Opera House Take-Over campaign. Silver awards were won by Agency 66, a student agency in the capstone Campaigns class consisting of Sean Taylor, Veronica Sandoval, Genna Carr, Rafael Cardenas and Derek Nelson. A team from the Dwight, Bentel and Hall student advertising and public relations agency led by Rebecca Ahrens and Josh Soyombo won a Silver award for an on-campus campaign positioning Acura in a new market space. Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri’s campaign for Amnesty International, Feel My Injustice also was presented with a Silver award.

February 23, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; 2017 AAF-Silicon Valley Addy Awards held at Hapas Brewing Company in San Jose, CA. Mandatory Credit: Oliver Tapia – Milagro Marketing | Kuntal Choudhary

The student teams also received six Bronze awards who responded to briefs as varied as Kuntal Choudhary and Amanda Tiet’s direction and advertising work for Gap Denim. Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri received theirs for a non-profit initiative for Save Our Shores. This was the Dump the Bag campaign that was instrumental in California voter’s decision to retain the statewide plastic bag ban. These campaigns were integrated with an emphasis on social media. Other Bronze awards explored new approaches to media like Natasha Mislang’s series of six-second bumper ads for IKEA and Christine Huynh and Erika Nielsen’s mobile and radio campaign for Election – a non-partisan organization educating millennials on their voting choices. Kuntal Choudhary and Amanda Tiet won another Bronze for a rebranding and packaging solution for Barnum’s Crackers while Leah Viele-Verner received her Bronze award for “All the Right Moves” a campaign designed for a local realtor.

February 23, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; 2017 AAF-Silicon Valley Addy Awards held at Hapas Brewing Company in San Jose, CA. Mandatory Credit: Oliver Tapia – Milagro Marketing | Left to right: John Delacruz, Tim Hendrick, David Ocampo

“We are pleased that SJSU’s advertising students are receiving recognition of their creative endeavors,” says Professor Delacruz. Last year there were also a record -breaking number of awards received, five Bronze, one Silver and one Gold. In 2013, there was one Bronze, one Silver award and in 2014, only one Silver award was given. “This year was a monumental year for our advertising students and we are very proud of their success.”

Addy Awards at a Glance:

Best of Show:

Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri


Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri


Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri

Natasha Mislang and Jackie Powers

Rebecca Ahrens and Josh Soyombo

Rebecca Ahrens and Eddie Toro

Sean Taylor, Genna Carr, Veronica Sandoval, Derek Carr, Rafael Cardenas


Natasha Mislang

Leah Viele-Verner

Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri

Kuntal Choudhary and Amanda Tiet

Kuntal Choudhary and Amanda Tiet

Christine Huynh and Erika Nielsen