At the CASA Spring Welcome Assembly on January 22, 2018, the 2017-18 CASA Committee to Enhance Equity and Diversity (CEED) Awards were announced. The mission of the CEED Awards is “to enhance the mission of CASA by promoting a deeper understanding of equity and diversity by recognizing and being responsive to issues on age, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.”
To qualify for these awards, the nominees must satisfy one or more of the following criteria:
- Outstanding service to equity and diversity enhancement on the San José State University campus
- Outstanding service to equity and diversity enhancement in the community
- Outstanding activities and projects that contribute to a better understanding of equity and diversity issues
The CEED Awards were coordinated by the CEED committee which included Ed Cohen, CEED Chair, School of Social Work; Suzy Ross, Health Science & Recreation; Faranak Memarzadeh, Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management; Phylis West-Johnson, School of Journalism & Mass Communications; Shawna Bolton, Justice Studies; Seung Ho Chang, Kinesiology; Virginia Tucker, School of Information; Ruth Rosenblum, Valley Foundation School of Nursing; Kate Liu, Nutrition, Food Science & Packaging; Deb Bolding, Occupational Therapy and Pam Richardson, CASA College representative.
Christopher Rosalejos, student, Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management, received the Undergraduate Student Service Award. As with many of CASA’s students, Christopher is more than an outstanding student. Besides being employed at a Silicon Valley semiconductor company and raising a seven-year old daughter, Christopher has found time to pursue his passions. As a Filipino, Christopher decided to artistically collaborate with the Akbayan Pilipino-American Organization at SJSU. He directed a fusion dance of modern choreography with traditional folk dances from the Philippines. Christopher feels that promoting his Filipino culture to today’s modern dance community is very important. He has composed folk dances: Tinikling and Pandanggo Sa Ilaw with Hip-Hop styles for presentation at the 2018 Filipino Cultural Night at the Golden State Warriors Halftime Show. Christopher is the Vice President of Professional Activities for the F.I.N.E.S.S.E. Class, Delta Sigma Pi, a co-ed professional fraternity.
Giovanni Sumulong, student, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging also received the Undergraduate Student Award. Giovanni participates and helps with marketing and recruiting efforts for Faculty Led Programs in the College of International and Extended Studies. He is a Health Ambassador to the Santa Clara County Food Bank and has led fundraising efforts for the Chicano Commencement and fundraising efforts for Sigma Alpha Zeta to raise awareness of domestic violence issues. Giovanni is an active volunteer within the Nutrition and Food Science Club for convocation activities. He is also a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force which paved the way for him to attend SJSU.
Layling Chang, student, School of Social Work received the Graduate Student Award. Layling is the Outreach Chair Member of the Social Work Graduate Student Association. Layling is passionate about the work she does with our community to have healthier families. She has connected with organizations to improve the level of education of marginalized communities by obtaining laptops for their children. She volunteers her time to give back to the community by gathering, organizing, and delivering meals, hygiene products and blankets to the homeless population around the Bay Area. She has demonstrated leadership qualities and dedication to the mission of social work.
The CEED Student Organization Award was presented to the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA). SOTA has a rich history of planning and participating in community service and volunteer opportunities within the local community. The students are dedicated to reaching under-served and at-risk populations within our community. During the AARP and AOTA sponsored CarFit event for older adults, SOTA members volunteer as technicians to offer older drivers adjustments to seats, pedals and mirrors to ensure a proper and safe fit. At the annual San José Walk to End Alzheimer’s event, SOTA volunteers assisted with event setup on campus and cheered on participants as they approach the finish line. At the Spring Special Olympics, SOTA volunteers assisted event staff and chaperoned, supported, and provided encouragement for disabled adult athletes. SOTA has consistently participated in these events each year for the past several years. Additionally, this year during the Thanksgiving break, SOTA volunteers assisted Sacred Heart Community Service with their Thanksgiving food distribution event for homeless families in Santa Clara County. This is an annual community event that SOTA plans to participate in each year. These are just a few examples of events SOTA has partnered with organizations in our community to promote equity and diversity. Kaylene DeBord, Lisa Benjamin and Erin Lubniewski represented SOTA at the CASA Spring Welcome Assembly.
The CEED Faculty Award was presented to Deepa Singamsetti, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging. Deepa has successfully promoted and fostered a deeper understanding of equity and diversity as it relates to ethnicity, nationality and cultural food practices in SJSU students. Over the past 10 years, Deepa has educated approximately 1,500 students on cultural food practices through NUFS 144 and issues related to hunger and environmental nutrition through NUFS 139. Course work includes students interviewing other students on their cultural food practices and developing a presentation. In addition, students engage in community service related to poverty and hunger in the San José Area. Students’ evaluations illustrate Deepa’s approachability, guidance and mentorship strengths.
Above and beyond her job requirements, Deepa has wholeheartedly embraced SJSU Faculty-Led Programs (FLP). Although she does not describe herself as a ‘traveled person,’ she has stepped out of her comfort zone to offer students an opportunity to be global citizens. Ashwini Wagle, Chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging, accepted the award on behalf of Deepa.
Congratulations to all the CEED awardees!