Multiple Prestigious Awards Highlight Stellar Work by Department of Occupational Therapy’s Faculty at SJSU

The College of Health and Human Sciences’ Department of Occupational Therapy stepped up to the challenge despite COVID-19 and achieved distinguished awards from Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) and California Foundation for Occupational Therapy (CFOT).

Assistant Professor, Dr. Luis Arabit was awarded the 2020 Honored Lecturer for the California Foundation for Occupational Therapy (CFOT). The CFOT Honored Lecturer Award recognizes California occupational therapy practitioners who have demonstrated leadership and promoted ideas and visions in occupational therapy for the profession, and a presentation gives them an opportunity to share their insights and knowledge with the occupational therapy community at the CFOT Awards Luncheon and Symposium. According to Dr. Winifred Schultz-Krohn, “Dr. Luis Arabit is well recognized within the profession of occupational therapy as an advocate and leader.” His commitment to the profession can be noted by his many leadership positions; Dr. Arabit served as the American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee (AOTPAC) Region V Chair since 2018 and as Chair of the OTAC Government Affairs Committee for over 10 years.

OT Department Chair, Dr. Gigi Smith received the Outstanding Service Award from the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC). This award recognizes practitioners who have sustained service in elected or appointed positional locally, statewide and nationally and have participated in special projects/tasks locally and statewide or nationally. With over 20 years of leadership experience in elected positions, Dr. Smith was recently elected as Vice President of OTAC. Dr. Schultz-Krohn commended Dr. Smith’s contributions as a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association Commission on Practice. Her expertise was instrumental in the documents discussing the role of occupational therapy practitioners with persons who experience feeding and eating disorders. With her dedication to advance the profession of occupational therapy, Dr. Smith was also awarded the prestigious Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (FAOTA) in 2017 for her “Excellence in Practice, Exemplary Service, and Mentoring.”

Former OT Department Chair, Dr. Winifred Schultz-Krohn received the OTAC Lifetime Achievement Award, a very prestigious award from the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC). This award recognizes an OTAC member who has made significant contributions to the field of occupational therapy in California and advancement in education. OTAC distinguishes Dr. Schultz-Krohn as a role model and inspirational example to the community. Dr. Schultz-Krohn has worked tirelessly at the local, state and national level in a multitude of ways to support and promote the profession, including active involvement in the areas of advocacy, policy, practice and service. According to Dr. Smith, Dr. Schultz-Krohn has mentored hundreds of students to not only engage in research, but to also present their findings at state and national conferences. She continued to commend Dr. Schultz-Krohn for her many academic and professional contributions throughout her 30+ year career in occupational therapy.

Congratulations to the amazing faculty and to the Department of Occupational Therapy!

Second Successful Youth Sports Summer Camp

The Department of Kinesiology offered its second Spartan Youth Summer Camp for Sports and Exercise this past summer for children ages 7-12 years.

“The camp is a sports and exercise camp,” says Dr. Areum Jensen, Director of Spartan Youth Summer Camp. “We break the camp up into three components, the first being discipline where we teach youth Brazilian Jiujitsu, then fun, where we play physical games such as dodge ball and basketball and then we have a meditation component where we teach the youth yoga and stretching exercises. There is also plenty of time for swimming and learning water polo.”

The camp occupancy rate is 48 to 50 campers per week. Dr. Jensen hires many kinesiology students to work with the campers. She even hires student athletes from SJSU’s division I water polo team to teach campers water polo.

“We have many parents who need their children to stay until 5 p.m. ” says Dr. Jensen. “This year we have collaborated with the School of Journalism and Mass Communications to teach the students to write news stories and to film them in the JMC television studio.” There is an additional fee of $100 for campers who need to stay after 3:00 p.m.

Here is what some of the parents had to say about the Spartan Youth Summer Camp: “The SJSU youth sports camp was a hidden gem! The value of the camp was outstanding. The program director and teachers provided high quality instructions and training to the children. The instructors were professional and experienced, particularly for the Jiu- jitsu and swimming lessons. Many techniques were introduced and practiced. While the teachers taught high level of technical details, they were able to explain in a way that the campers could understand. The level of instructions was superior to typical classes in the field. In addition, all the staff were caring and genuinely interested in working with children. Dr. Jensen was able to foster a disciplined environment and coach for proper behaviors. I highly recommend the camp. Dr. Jensen’s passion and effort really made this a wonderful program. My kid had a lot of fun, learned quite a bit, and got a LOT of exercise!”

To register visit or email

Success Stories!

From left to right: Debbie Faires, Soma Sen, Laurie Drabble, Edward Cohen

Four CHHS faculty were honored at the annual SJSU author awards on November 1 for their book, International Development of Social Work Education: The Vietnam Experience, which describes their four-year USAID-funded project in Vietnam working with local universities to develop their new social work departments’ faculty, administration and curriculum.

We have a ninja in our midst! We already know that College Resource Coordinator, Sabrina Porter-Parees is a ninja on the job, and she recently received one of three scholarships awarded nationally to attend the 2020 OfficeNinjas Conference. Being a ninja is a family affair, as Sabrina, her husband, Josh, and daughters Ariella and Isabel demonstrate!

CHHS to Host Three Doctoral Programs

Three new and developing clinical doctoral programs have become part of the College of Health and Human Sciences this fall. A clinical doctorate differs from other types of doctoral programs in that the emphasis is on clinical training rather than research. Doctoral programs in the Valley Foundation School of Nursing, the Department of Occupational Therapy, and the new Department of Audiology will comprise three of the four doctoral programs offered at San Jose State University.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Admits Its First Cohort!
The Valley Foundation School of Nursing’s inaugural Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) cohort presented their oral defenses in 2014. A total of five cohorts completed the program as part of the California State University Northern California Consortium of Nursing Practice program offered jointly with CSU Fresno. This Fall, the Valley Foundation School of Nursing launched its very own DNP program.

“Now that the program is localized to SJSU, there is greater potential for partnership with the state-of-the-art medical centers and healthcare systems in Silicon Valley to work collaboratively toward promoting a culture of excellence in evidence-based practice,” said Michelle DeCoux Hampton, program co-coordinator.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree prepares experts in nursing practice–cultivating advanced practitioners, future educators, clinical leaders, and change agents. DNP graduates from the Northern California Consortium program are engaged in influential work across the region and state. For example, Mercy Egjubor (‘14), created a backpack medical unit to take out in the field working with the homeless population. Sharon Castellanos (‘14), created a nonprofit to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation in Hispanic neighborhoods, and Christopher Patty (‘15), led a medication safety program for the clinics in which he worked.

The SJSU DNP program is a focused, five-semester program. As an almost exclusively online program, the curriculum is designed to mesh with the busy lives of professionally active, working nurses. Each semester there is an on-campus meeting of all program students to encourage networking and provide vital program information. Students also complete 1,000 clinical hours. More information about the program and the application process can be found at

Doctor of Audiology (AuD) to begin Fall 2020
Audiologists are allied healthcare professionals who identify, diagnose, treat, and prevent hearing and balance disorders. Approximately 16 years ago, the profession of audiology moved from a master’s degree to a clinical doctoral degree as the entry for clinical practice. As a consequence of this decision, all of the state’s master’s programs in audiology that were housed in the California State University system-which constituted a majority of California’s programs-had to close since the CSU was not authorized to offer the doctoral degree at that time. These closures resulted in a critical shortage of audiologists in the state.

Almost three years ago, California Governor Jerry Brown recognized the impact of the shortage of audiologists on the hearing health of our state residents, and signed a bill to allow the CSU system to offer the AuD. “We are fortunate that SJSU’s President Mary Papazian had the vision to allow the program to move forward in developing a high-quality AuD program here at SJSU,” says Audiology faculty member June McCullough.

Doctoral students take a mixture of academic courses and clinical rotations. The courses include topics such as anatomy and physiology of the hearing and balance mechanisms, techniques for diagnosing hearing and balance disorders in children and adults, hearing aids and cochlear implants, prevention of hearing loss, testing and treating individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds, and many others. Clinical rotations take place on campus as well as at hospitals and clinics in the community. The four-year program includes a research project that allows students to gain valuable experience in using evidence based practices.

The final year is a full-time externship where students are placed in a variety of clinical settings to become fully independent practitioners. Applications for the inaugural 2020 cohort will be accepted through January 2020. The AuD program is seeking students who have a background in communication disorders, health sciences, psychology, or other undergraduate degrees (there is no “prerequisite” undergraduate degree). More information on the program and the application process can be found at

Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) in Development
For over 75 years, the Department of Occupational Therapy has been educating aspiring occupational therapists. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, “occupational therapy maximizes health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities through effective solutions that facilitate participation in everyday living.”

In 2007 the profession transitioned from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree as the entry level degree for professional practice. The profession has continued to advance with a greater focus on research and evidence-based practice. The clinical doctorate in occupational therapy, or OTD, was developed to prepare occupational therapists with the clinical, leadership, and research skills needed to support the development of the profession and provide leadership in healthcare and human services. In September 2019, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 829, which authorizes the California State University to offer the OTD. With the strong support of President Mary Papazian, SJSU occupational therapy faculty members helped to shepherd the bill through the legislative process.

“The Occupational Therapy faculty are very excited about the opportunity to offer an OTD degree,” says Winifred Schultz-Krohn, Chair, Occupational Therapy. Development of the OTD curriculum is underway, and the department looks forward to admitting their first cohort of doctoral students in 2023. For more information on the occupational therapy program go to

New CSI Lab for Forensic Science

This fall, the Justice Studies Forensic Science Program obtained two new facilities that will greatly expand research and teaching opportunities for students and faculty. The first facility is a crime scene investigation (CSI) house, a modular building located near Humboldt and Tenth Streets, next to the SJSU track. Additionally there are two burial spaces, one located adjacent to the CSI house and another situated behind the art and music buildings on the main campus.

Burial spaces are used to study decomposition in outdoor settings. “The burial space is much needed in order to continue our research of investigating cartilage as a potential tool in crime investigations,” said Dr. Shawna Bolton, Assistant Professor, Forensic Science. “Cartilage has potential to be used for time-since-death determinations beyond the current 48-100-hour limitations. It may also be used for DNA identification purposes. Each of these uses is cutting edge experimental research.” Forensic science students have enthusiastically enrolled in the Justice Studies internship program to take part in this research, hoping to gain field and laboratory experiences. Just imagine how excited students are to study decomposition of remains (currently pig) in an authentic outdoor setting.

In spite of the growing interest in this research area, it has been difficult to secure grounds for a burial space. The ability to study processes of decomposition in a natural environment provides a means for improving the understanding of how various environmental factors impact the rate of decomposition, and how bodies themselves inversely modify the surrounding environment. Such information is crucial for conducting successful criminal investigations. This opportunity to conduct fieldwork on campus grounds opens many wonderful opportunities, not only for the Department of Justice Studies and its students, but the university and public at large.

The CSI house will also have a major impact on the learning environment for students in Forensic Science and those intending careers in law enforcement and investigations. Crime scene staging is a necessary tool for teaching criminalistics and crime scene investigation techniques, but there was no space on the SJSU campus dedicated to staging crime scenes. The situation is similar to having a Chemistry Department with no chemistry labs. “When SJSU was being courted for a new $100,000 scholarship endowment from the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation the site visitor told me directly that a “crime scene house” was needed at SJSU and was a glaring gap in the SJSU facilities,” says Dr. Bolton.

SJSU is the only university in the State of California that offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Forensic Chemistry and Forensic Biology. As a result, it is fitting that this university continue to make its mark as a trend setter here in Silicon Valley and California. Criminal Justice and Forensic Science programs tout these facilities as a tremendous enhancement of students’ educations. Now SJSU has both of these for their programs.

“We are pleased to have the inclusion of a burial plot and a crime scene house,” says Dr. Bolton. “Our students will now be able to partake in real-life forensic science and criminal justice applications, thereby allowing them to engage actively addressing research gaps in the discipline. The ability to conduct research on a burial site or a real house situated close to campus will make learning accessible and time-efficient for all students—removing barriers to student engagement.”

These new facilities will also strengthen existing ties and create new relationships with foreign universities that are seeking partnerships for forensic and criminal justice research. More information about the forensic science program and other programs in the Department of Justice Studies can be found at