Going Digital

If anyone’s nimble enough to keep up with all the demands of editing a magazine in the Internet age, it’s Amanda Holst, ’14 Journalism and Nutritional Sciences, especially now that she has served as SHiFT editor.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications produces the student-run periodical to teach all the traditional and emerging aspects of the publishing world.

“While a great story still requires shoe leather reporting, new electronic tools are transforming the way we design, distribute and deliver our magazine,” said Tom Ulrich, a lecturer focusing on magazine journalism.

With just weeks to go during her final semester at SJSU, Holst pulled together the staff for a review of the publication’s print and digital issues. This term, students made full use of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite.

The downtown San Jose-based tech titan even provided several mentors for SHiFT’s Digital Publishing Editor Douglas Rider, who incorporated drag-and-drop and Apple AccelerometerGraph functions into stories to create a digital issue “to sit back in a chair and really read,” he said.

“For example, we have a food photo essay,” Holst said. “When you click on the food item, it takes you to an audio clip of the chef talking about it. You can tilt your mobile device in order to unlock text. A reader scrolls up, down and sideways to view content interactively.

“We have an interactive game where you can put your food items in a grocery bag and it will tell you how much time is needed in order to burn off the calories from those specific food items.”

How hot is this technology? Content magazine, which prides itself in displaying and discovering Silicon Valley’s innovative and creative culture, attended the SHiFT design review.

“For Holst, her tenure as SHiFT editor comes at the end of an undergraduate career chock-full of internships, part-time jobs and freelance work that helped her hone her interests, support herself, and meet degree requirements while gaining a wealth of hands-on learning.

“I’ve always worked on a team but have never led one,” she said. “From this experience, I learned that I have a passion for leadership and a natural ability to empower people.

“I learned that the reward is in the process and not so much about the end result…Every staff member had something different to offer–it was my job to tap into that and bring it to light!”

Up next for this McNair Scholar: graduate school.
“I’m fascinated by the topic of motivation so I’m switching gears and would like to focus my graduate studies on social psychology,” she said. “This class will help me in understanding the elements of community, vital to success in any organization.”

Feeding the Hungry

As the semester ends and the weather cools, students from the Afghan Student Association, the Muslim Student Association, and supporters took to the streets to feed the hungry.

Established this year by President Matt Mohammed, ’16 Civil Engineering, the Afghan Student Association led the distribution of homemade sandwiches, snacks and bottled water to homeless people on the streets surrounding campus following their usual Jummah prayer on Friday, Dec. 5, in Clark Hall.

“As a Muslim, it is our duty to do charity,” said Mohammed, explaining that giving alms, or Zakat, is one of the five pillars of Islam.

“Not everyone here is Muslim,” he continued, gesturing to the group of about 25 students packing food. “Anyone is welcome. This is about just about giving back. It’s cold out and people are hungry.”

Mohammed’s parents emigrated from Afghanistan nearly 40 years ago and he remains closely connected with his cultural heritage.

“It’s hard to help overseas in impoverished Afghanistan,” he says, “but it’s easy to help here in our own community.”

walnut research

Researchers Crack Away at the Benefits of Walnuts

walnut research

Ahn Pham and John Kim conducted walnut research at SJSU. Today, Pham is working in the biotechnology industry. Kim is in a doctoral program at the University of Southern California (Dillon Adams photo).

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

San Jose, CA–Walnuts are part of a Mediterranean diet and have been shown to reduce heart disease and are potentially able to fight cancer. Yet as much as science has revealed about the health benefits of walnuts, which components of walnuts are responsible for these effects has remained a mystery.

Researchers at San Jose State University, in collaboration with scientists at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute, have now identified compounds that show anti-cancer effects in human breast cancer cell models.

The research study, “Cytotoxic Effects of Ellagitannins Isolated from Walnuts in Human Cancer Cells”, was published online in September (Volume 66, Issue 8) in the scientific journal, Cancer and Nutrition.

Student opportunities

A team of undergraduate students at SJSU in the labs of Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Brandon White and Professor of Chemistry Roy Okuda conducted the study characterizing the effects of the compounds on various breast cancer cells. Mary Grace, a senior researcher in Mary Ann Lila’s lab at the Plants for Human Health Institute, provided purified compounds that were used in this study.

“Not only is this research beneficial to human health, it has also given students at SJSU an opportunity to work in the cancer biology field,” Professor White said.

These students received hands on training from Professors White and Okuda as part of their educational experience at SJSU.  Working in the lab has helped these students go on to working in biotech, doctoral programs, and pharmacy school.”

The student researchers were Vy Le, ’14 Biology; Danny Ha, ’14 Biology; Anh Pham, ’12 Biology; Anthony Bortolazzo, ’14 Biology; Zackery Bevens, ’14 Biology; and John Kim, ’12 Chemistry.

Valuable insight

Walnuts are the second largest nut crop in the United States, which produces over 900 million pounds annually with a production value of more than $1 billion. The U.S is the world’s largest exporter of walnuts. Walnuts are also sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidant compounds associated with heart health.

“Identifying which compounds are active individually or synergistically will provide valuable insight into understanding their mechanisms of action. By gaining a better understanding of the unique properties of walnuts and how they promote human health, researchers may one day be able to target certain ailments by recommending consumption of walnuts,” Professor White said.

The California Walnut Commission provided funding support for this research project.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

The New York Times: Irene Dalis, Opera Singer and Company Founder, Dies at 89

Posted Dec. 18, 2014 by The New York Times.

Irene Dalis, a versatile and fiery mezzo-soprano who starred at the Metropolitan Opera for two decades before building a second career as the director of Opera San José, an innovative company she founded in her California hometown, died on Dec. 14 in nearby Saratoga, Calif. She was 89.

Her daughter, Alida Loinaz, confirmed her death.

Ms. Dalis did not set out to be a singer or an impresario. She studied piano and music education at what was then San Jose State College before earning a master’s degree at Columbia’s Teachers College in Manhattan in the late 1940s. The plan was to go back home and teach.

Read the full story.

SJSU Remembers Irene Dalis

Irene Dalis

Irene Dalis

San Jose lost one of its finest teachers Sunday with the death of Irene Dalis, ’46 Music. The acclaimed opera star, former professor, and founder of Opera San Jose was 89.

Irene Dalis poured all of her energy into providing young people with the greatest gift any teacher can give, the gift of opportunity,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said.

Raised on Delmas Avenue on downtown’s edge, Dalis arrived at San Jose State with the intention of studying piano.

An older sister encouraged her to pursue a master’s in music education at Columbia University in New York. While a Fulbright Scholar in Italy, Dalis auditioned as a singer.

Finding her voice

She went on to spend more than two decades as the highest-paid mezzo-soprano with the Metropolitan Opera, sharing the stages with superstars such as Leontyne Price and Placido Domingo.

It’s hard to know when you are young what your real talent is,” Dalis told the Spartan Daily in 2010. “Don’t be surprised to find that you don’t end up doing what you set out to do.”

After retiring in 1976, she came home to San Jose with her husband and daughter. Soon thereafter, SJSU President John H. Bunzel invited Dalis to return to her alma mater as a professor of music.

She didn’t teach voice, sensing her vocal technique was specific to her. Instead, Dalis drew on San Jose State’s homegrown talent to build an opera workshop that developed so many strong singers that she sought an even larger stage for them.

Dalis founded Opera San Jose in 1984, providing her singers with all the support they needed to grow, including two-year residencies and housing.


At the same time, she remained deeply committed to San Jose State, inviting students to audition for Opera San Jose principal and second roles and chorus in addition to providing props and costumes for campus productions.

“The effect she had had on my life was tremendous,” said Chloe Smart, ’14 Vocal Performance. “She was always supportive of me and constantly let me know that she was on my side. As a young singer, I can’t tell you how important those words were to me at that time and even now.”

She also recommended that a mezzo-soprano she hand-picked for Opera San Jose take on the campus position Dalis once held.

She changed my life,” said Layna Chianakas, an Illinois native who made San Jose her home after becoming a resident artist with the company in 1995, and director of the university’s Opera Theatre program in 2007.

The Marriage of Figaro was the program’s first performance under Chianakas in 2012. Dalis attended, although she was still struggling to recover from a debilitating car crash in 2010.

“The curtains were still closed but tears were already streaming down her cheeks,” Chianakas recalled. “She was so happy to see the program thriving.”

San Jose Mercury News: Superstar Mezzo-soprano and Founder of Opera San Jose, Dies at 89

Posted Dec. 15, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Mark Emmons

SAN JOSE — Irene Dalis, the beloved Grande Dame of the South Bay arts scene who reached the lofty heights of international stardom as a mezzo-soprano opera star before returning home to found Opera San Jose, has died. She was 89.

Dalis was a towering figure in the local artistic community and remained the driving force behind Opera San Jose until retiring as director in June after three decades with the organization.

“Irene had many, many wonderful attributes, but her greatest was an undying love of San Jose,” said her close friend Andrew Bales, president of Symphony Silicon Valley. “She had a major international career as a performer, as an amazing diva. And then she came home for what, in her mind, was something that was far more important — creating Opera San Jose. Her passing really is the end of an era and a terrible loss for San Jose.”…

She was born Yvonne Dalis on Oct. 8, 1925, and grew up on Delmas Avenue in downtown San Jose, the last of five children of a Greek hat maker. She rose from humble origins to embark on a long, storied career, performing at the highest levels of world opera, including at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

A prodigious musician — who considered herself more a pianist than a singer — Dalis received her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State College (now San Jose State University), in 1946 and her master’s degree in music education from Columbia University Teachers College. There were honorary doctorates, and before launching her stellar career, Dalis was a Fulbright scholar.

Read the full story.

Disney finalists

SJSU Team Named a Finalist in Disney Competition

Disney finalists

Zaid Karajeh, Dondel Briones, Amanda Sharpe and Simone Getty (courtesy of Zaid Karajeh).

Pat Harris, SJSU, 408-924-1748
Frank Reifsnyder, Walt Disney Imagineering, 818-544-2142
Tim Choy, Peter Goldman, Davidson & Choy Publicity, 323-954-7510

San Jose, CA–A San Jose State student team has been named one of six finalists in Walt Disney Imagineering’s 24th Imaginations competition.

From the art to the engineering, it was all amazing work,” said Zaid Karajeh, ’16 Aerospace Engineering.

Contestants were asked to imagine a Disney transportation experience, including station/stops and vehicle designs that reflect the diversity of the city, and are accessible, energy-friendly, and fun.


In the beginning, Karajeh had one teammate: Dondel Briones, ’16 Aerospace Engineering. But they soon realized “we would need someone to bring our concepts to life,” Karajeh said.

Amanda Sharpe, ’15 Animation and Illustration, added an artist’s touch, and brought along Simone Getty, ’16 Mechanical Engineering, who applied her expertise.

The SJSU team proposed Aether, a breathtaking journey lifting passengers above Toronto to transport them to commuter and tourist destinations.

While onboard, guests are entertained by 3-D projected artificial intelligence tour-guides, smart glass projections, interactive seat-backs, and automated photo stops, all of which provide for a unique experience immersed in the imaginative realm known as steampunk.

“The project could not have been possible without those three,” Karajeh said. “Their hard work and dedication is what made Aether standout to Disney.”

Dream internship

Walt Disney Imagineering is the design and development arm of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. With Imaginations, the company seeks out and nurtures the next generation of diverse Imagineers.

The other finalists are from Art Center College of Design, Drexel University, Ringling College of Art + Design, Texas Tech University, and University of Nevada, Reno.

All will receive a five-day, all-expense-paid trip to Glendale, Calif., where they will present their project to Imagineering executives and take part in an awards ceremony on Jan. 31.

The top three teams will be awarded cash prizes, with the first place team receiving $3,000. An additional $1,000 grant will be awarded to the first place team, to be equally divided among its sponsoring universities and/or organizations.

Finalists will also have an opportunity to meet and network with Imagineers, go behind the scenes where Disney magic is created, and interview for paid internships during their visit.

“Regardless of the outcome, I hope my teammates and I get the internships!” Karajeh said.

About San Jose State

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

About Imaginations 

The projects and concepts presented are not necessarily intended to be built by Disney – they are a way for the entrants to demonstrate their skills and creative abilities. In consideration for the opportunities provided by Imagineering, submissions become the sole property of Walt Disney Imagineering and Imagineering retains all rights to use and/or display the submissions and the materials contained in them.

Students Compete in Innovation Challenge

Students present their ideas at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge Showcase Nov. 19 in the Student Union (Robert C. Bain photo).

Students present their ideas at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge Showcase Nov. 19 in the Student Union (Robert C. Bain photo).

Registering for classes at a university as large and complicated as San Jose State can be like solving a complex puzzle.

That’s where the college scheduling application Saryan comes in. What used to take a few hours now takes a few minutes for the app’s 900 unique users.

Created by student entrepreneurs Sargon Jacob, ’15 Business Administration, and Bryan Miller, ’17 Computer Science, the fledgling business won first place in the Best Overall Innovation category of the 2014 Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge.

Organized annually by the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, SVIC promotes creativity and entrepreneurship by generating and showcasing innovative business ideas.

This year, the ideas ranged from the edible (FarmersAreHere tells you where to find farmers’ markets) to the technical (wireless charging for your electric cars).

The Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge is a great event for students from all across the university, plus our international partners, because it gives them the opportunity to develop ‘ideation’ skills in an area of interest,” said Bill Nance, SVIC director and professor of Management Information Systems.

This is exactly how it what happened for Jacob. He came up with the idea for his app based on a personal experience.

“I typically spent, in totality each semester, at least 10 to 14 hours scheduling my classes over a few days,” Jacob said. “I knew this was an issue.”

After conducting research, he learned many other students struggled to find the right classes at the right times. He reached out to Miller for technical assistance, and to his professors for overall support.

Sargon Jacob (center) received first  first place in the Best Overall Innovation category of the 2014 Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge (Robert C. Bain photo).

Sargon Jacob (center) with Dean David M. Steele and SVIC Director and Professor Bill Nance (Robert C. Bain photo).

“I have been extremely fortunate to be able to get access to professors in the MIS department,” Jacob said. “Richard Sessions was extremely influential early on. He introduced me to Bill Nance, who has been very supportive.

“Both professors literally opened their doors to me. Without them, Bryan and I would not have pursued this project with such intensity. At our peak, we each dedicated around 60 hours a week — with me, a full-time student, and Bryan, a part-time student with a day job.”

SVIC recruits more than twenty judges to evaluate all the ideas, provide feedback and select finalists as well as winners, many of whom drew their ideas from college life.

From Bike Commuters to Entrepreneurs

Four electrical engineering majors refined their plan to provide blinkers to bicyclists based on their commutes.

“Most of us bike from campus to our apartments after school, so we implemented things that we thought would be crucial for our safety,” said Vignesh Ramachandran, ’14 Electrical Engineering.

And so Night Square was born, with assistance from Professor of Electrical Engineering Ping Hsu.

Ramachandran and teammates Aaron Romero, Pratiek Pathak and Travis Johnson designed the flexible 15-by-15-inch LED display for bicyclists to wear on their backs, making the bikers more visible at night.

A student demonstrates Night Square during the Elevator Pitch Competition (Robert C. Bain photo).

Vignesh Ramachandran presents Night Square during the Elevator Pitch Competition (Robert C. Bain photo).

“Buttons on the bike’s handle bar will allow the Night Square to display right and left turn arrows and brake signals,” Ramachandran said. “Also, there are buzzers that will be placed conveniently near each ear so that the rider will know which turn signal is on, similar to the ticking from car turn signals.”

The Night Square prototype was an eye-catcher at the SVIC Showcase Nov. 19 in the Student Union Ballroom, and it received second place in the Best Overall Innovation category. The team has big dreams for Night Square.

Our plans for the future are to take this as far as possible,” Ramachandran said. “Our goal is to incorporate and sell this product to our target market.”

His thinking reflects the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge’s goals.

“Students learn how to present their ideas to experienced innovators and entrepreneurs, who provides feedback they can use to enhance or extend their initial ideas,” Nance said.

“It’s fascinating to watch the students grow through the event, as they learn to refine their explanations and pitch their projects.”

Silicon Valley Business Journal: Grad programs Training Tech Leaders

Posted Dec. 9 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

By Jose Fermoso

Due to its presence in Silicon Valley, San Jose State funnels plenty of business and IT students to local companies.

The process is facilitated by the school’s Silicon Valley Center for Business Solutions, which helps “small, medium and large sized companies with their business and technical challenges.” The center serves as a liaison between students and local companies, with faculty members leading the connections.

Read the full story.

Update: Police Activity

The University Police Department at San Jose State University has re-opened the Boccardo Business Complex after completing a floor-by-floor search of the building in response to a report of a gunman.

The incident began at approximately 3 p.m. today, when a student entering BBC overheard a conversation between several students leaving BBC.

The students had been discussing the possibility of a gunman in the building. The student who overheard the conversation immediately called UPD.

BBC (a classroom building for students) and the adjoining Business Tower (an office building for business faculty and staff) were evacuated.

UPD conducted a floor-by-floor search of BBC and found no evidence of a gunman, nor any other witnesses who had seen a gunman.

The buildings were re-opened at 4:30 p.m. During the incident, a portion of 10th Street was closed to vehicular traffic. The street has since been re-opened.

SJSU encourages all members of the university community to report safety concerns. Students, faculty and staff can call 9-1-1 or contact UPD directly at 408-924-2222.

The New York Times: E-Sports at College, With Stars and Scholarships

Posted Dec. 8, 2013 by The New York Times.

Loc Tran is a big man on campus at San Jose State University in Northern California.

“A lot of people stop me when I’m walking,” said Mr. Tran, a 19-year-old sophomore, who speaks in quick and confident bursts. “They congratulate me.”

But Mr. Tran is not a star on the football team, or a leader in student government. He is a top player on the school’s competitive video game team, helping San Jose State claw its way to victory in June over California State University, Fullerton, in a tournament watched online by nearly 90,000 people. When the new school year started this fall, classmates’ heads swiveled toward him when professors said his name during roll call.

“I thought that was pretty cool,” Mr. Tran said.

Video game competitions, also known as e-sports, have taken off on campuses across the country, including Harvard and Florida State University. More than 10,000 students now play in the biggest college league, 4,400 more than last year and 4,600 more than the number of men who play on Division I college basketball teams.

Read the full story.

Dreaming of a Greener Silicon Valley

“Most living Christmas tree programs just offer potted trees that eventually die in pots or in backyards where they shouldn’t have been planted,” says Tree Care Manager Kevin Lee, ’11 BS, ’16 MS Environmental Studies. (Christina Olivas photo)

Many South Bay lots boast Christmas conifers this time of year, but the trees at one sprawling lot stand apart. At the Our City Forest nonprofit nursery on Spring Street, you’ll find Spartans engaged in a novel effort to make a greener, merrier Silicon Valley through a new Holiday Rent-A-Tree program.

Come January, the majority of the 30 million trees that are cut and sold every year in the United States get tossed out with the trash. Bringing a living tree into your home allows you to enjoy the look and smell of a real tree with less waste, clean-up and fire hazard—and without the carbon footprint of artificial trees, 80 percent of which are imported from China.

“Most living Christmas tree programs just offer potted trees that eventually die in pots or in backyards where they shouldn’t have been planted,” says Tree Care Manager Kevin Lee, ’11 BS, ’16 MS Environmental Studies. “What makes our program different is that we offer specific trees that do well in San Jose; after the holidays, we’ll take them back and plant them in community parks and at schools where they will thrive.”


After the holidays, the Rent-A-Tree program will plant the evergreens at parks and schools. (Christina Olivas photo)

While you won’t find a Noble Fir at the Our City Forest nursery, the organization does offer 10 different Christmas tree species, such as the Deodar Cedar. Like the two mature Deodar Cedars towering some 80 feet over Tower Lawn, the potted Deodars have fine, blue-green needles. About hip high, they will run you $25 (tax deductible) for the holiday season. A long-term goal of the program is to let renters know where their Christmas trees are planted so they can visit them and watch them grow.

Lee is one of four SJSU grads working for the nonprofit—which has planted about 60,000 trees in the area since its 1994 inception—and his love for trees goes far beyond the holidays.

“Trees are my passion,” says Lee. Originally a bio major, Lee switched to environmental science and “everything fell into place.” Strolling among the 200 Christmas trees available for holiday rental with canine nursery mascots Bodie and Poppy following at his heels, Lee says, “I’m in a master’s program now for additional learning opportunities, but this is my dream job.”

Visit Our City Forest for more information or to reserve your tree.

Cyber Camp

Cybersecurity Program Earns National Recognition

Cyber camp

SJSU collaborates with academic, industry and government organizations such as the U.S. Cyber Challenge (Robert C. Bain photo).

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

San Jose, CA – San Jose State University, home to the Silicon Valley Big Data and Cybersecurity Center, has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity Education for the academic years 2014 to 2019.  SJSU is the first Bay Area institution to receive this designation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency’s U.S. Cyber Command.

This designation reflects the important role San Jose State University plays in increasing the number of professionals in Silicon Valley with information assurance and cybersecurity expertise, ultimately contributing to the protection of the national information infrastructure,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said.

The designation builds on more than a decade of research and education at SJSU in information assurance and related fields. SJSU also has a history of collaborating with academic, industry and government organizations such as the NSF-funded National Science and Technology Center TRUST, the Symposium on Curriculum Development in Security and Information Assurance, and the U.S. Cyber Challenge.

Interdisciplinary investment

Several units on campus have participated in the development of curriculum components and specializations in areas related to information assurance. SJSU recently made a major interdisciplinary investment in cybersecurity and related areas, hiring a cohort of nine faculty members across five colleges, forming the core of the SJSU Silicon Valley Big Data and Cybersecurity Center.

“Our aim is to address the critical shortages of information security professionals by creating career pathways into this field for students with a variety of backgrounds,” said Michael Parrish, dean of the College of Science and executive lead of this interdisciplinary endeavor.

President Qayoumi spearheaded the establishment of a big data and cybersecurity initiative at SJSU in 2011. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrew Hale Feinstein recently approved the elevation of the initiative into an Organizational Research and Teaching Unit given the need to integrate and coordinate the work of the recent cluster hires.

Competitive advantage

“The federal recognition of San Jose State University and its Silicon Valley Big Data and Cybersecurity Center makes the university more competitive when seeking funding supporting cybersecurity education and workforce development,” said Sigurd Meldal, the center’s director. “In addition, the recognition affirms SJSU’s reputation in the area of cybersecurity, attracting faculty candidates and students.”

Four faculty members played key roles in the application to earn the federal designation: Department of Computer Engineering Chair Xiao Su; Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Leslie Albert; Professor of Computer Science Melody Moh; and Department of Computer Engineering Associate Professor Magdalini Eirinaki.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Kenneth H. Coale

Professor Receives National Honor

Kenneth H. Coale (courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

Kenneth H. Coale (courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Kenneth H. Coale has been Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Media contacts:
Brynn Kaufman, MLML, 831-771-4401
Kenneth Coale, MLML, 831-771-4406
Kat Zambon, AAAS, 202-326-6434

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry Kenneth H. Coale has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for groundbreaking experiments linking iron to plankton growth, marine production and climate change. Coale is among a select number of California State University faculty members to receive this distinction.

“It is truly an honor for our little institution in Moss Landing to be recognized by such a prominent and respected scientific body,” Coale said.

Coale was elected as an AAAS Fellow for studies of trace element biogeochemistry in marine waters and the response of marine phytoplankton to exogenous iron deposition.  He is a marine biogeochemist who studies the cycles of chemicals in the sea and the natural and anthropogenic processes that influence these cycles.

Climate change research

The professor was the chief scientist/principal investigator on all the U.S.-led open ocean iron fertilization experiments in both the equatorial Pacific and Southern Ocean that have advanced the “Iron Hypothesis” of phytoplankton production and climate forcing.

His research interests include trace element, carbon and nutrient cycling in ocean, coastal and freshwater systems; the application of natural and anthropogenic radionuclides in the study of marine rate processes; the biogeochemical cycling of mercury in aquatic and atmospheric systems, and the transport of mercury from the oceans to terrestrial systems via fog.

Coale serves on the California Ocean Protection Council’s Science Advisory Team and is a trustee for the Ocean Science Trust. In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Coale and coworkers identified a neurotoxin produced in iron-fertilized open ocean regions.

“This work definitely reveals a wrinkle in plans to use iron fertilization of the oceans as a way to combat global warming,” Coale said. “It is much easier to break an ecosystem than it is to fix one. In light of these findings, we should redouble our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the primary culprit for ocean ecosystem damage worldwide.”

Advancing science

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 401 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting to be held in February in San Jose.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) are the graduate program and research facilities administered by San Jose State University serving seven California State University (CSU) campuses located in Fresno, Stanislaus, Sacramento, San Francisco, Hayward, San Jose and Monterey Bay.  MLML, the second oldest marine lab in the Monterey Bay region, has grown from its humble beginnings in a converted cannery building in 1966, to an internationally renowned program for excellence in all marine science disciplines.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

47th Annual Spartan Service Celebration

Linda Garcia-Young

Linda Garcia-Young (photo by Robert C. Bain)

Much changed in the 45 years that Linda Garcia-Young has worked at San Jose State, but one thing remained the same: The value she places in listening to and helping everyone she meets as an administrative analyst in the College of Social Sciences.

Garcia-Young received a standing ovation as the San Jose State staff member with the longest tenure of the 98 individuals honored at the 2014 Spartan Service Celebration held Oct. 30 in the Student Union ballroom. Review a list of all honorees.

“Linda is an impeccable professional, but even more important than that, she’s a great human being,” said retired Dean Sheila Bienenfeld. “She is the person who troubled faculty go to talk to when they’ve got problems, troubled staff, students, anybody that comes to her with any kind of problem finds a warm, caring and generous soul to listen to them and to do her best to help.”

She knows everyone on campus. She knows who to call and she does it. She shows up every day when times are rough and when times are good. I am very honored to call her my friend.”

The celebration included a video during which individual honorees shared favorite memories. Although the questions prompting these memories varied, one theme emerged: SJSU is a place where staff members make lifelong friends while working together for students.

Helping Students, Shaping Lives

Honorees included Spartan Dining Systems Manager Brian Mitchler, ’87 Nutrition, who recently completed 25 years of service. When asked, in the video, to name his favorite spot on campus, he replied with a very sweet story about his days as a student living in Moulder Hall, which has since been replaced by Campus Village.

Brian Mitchler

Brian Mitchler (photo by Robert C. Bain)

“The reason is that’s where I met my future wife,” Mitchler said. “I remember the day she moved into [her residence] hall. I had already been there for a year so I was kind of established as a hall veteran and I remember meeting her little three-year-old brother at the time, and her step-mother, and helping move things into her dorm.”

“I remember also the first time she came and asked me for help with an English paper, which just so happened to be about her favorite wedding spots…it was at that point that I got an inkling that we might actually have a developing relationship.

I remember the first couple of times we took a walk across campus. We found reasons to walk together and I especially remember the first time we got to hold hands walking across campus, how special that was.”

Vice President for Administration and Finance Shawn Bibb, Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Renee Barnett Terry, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein took turns reading the names of all honorees.

“Staff members play an essential role in our community, providing the infrastructure our students need to learn and pursue knowledge,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “I look forward to this event each year, as it is an opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our staff.”


The Arts Really Teach!

Marion Cilker Conference for the Arts in Education

A participant at last year’s Marion Cilker Conference for the Arts in Education (photo by Mary Cheung).

The Marion Cilker Conference for the Arts in Education will pair teachers with artists at campus and downtown San Jose art venues on Nov. 21-22.

Media contact: Robin Love, 408-924-4698, robin.love@sjsu.edu

It’s not every day that throngs of school teachers convene in downtown San Jose to launch sticky Gummi Bears through the sky in handmade parachutes.

But that’s one of the professional development activities included in this year’s Marion Cilker Conference for the Arts in Education to be held Nov. 21-22 at SJSU and other downtown arts venues.

A joint venture of SJSU and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the event has paired education students and Bay Area teachers with music, dance, theater and visual artists each November for the past five years.

This year, the conference is changing it up and bringing teachers to downtown San Jose arts venues for hands-on lessons in how to bring the arts into school classrooms.

Inspiring teachers

With tight budgets and more classroom time being devoted to core academics, conference organizers say it is more important than ever to show teachers how art can be used to teach traditional academic subjects.

Arts is the first thing that’s cut from schools because of lack of time and limited funding,” said Robin Love, an associate professor at the Lurie College of Education’s Department of Child and Adolescent Development.

“Through music, through theater, through dance, through visual arts, you can teach other subjects. There’s evidence that would support that the arts are good for you cognitively, but also it can just be motivating for students.”

Love says introducing teachers to a host of different museums also offers them wonderful resources to spice up their lessons and can help arts education thrive.

“Thrill-Seeking Gummi Bears”

The conference will bring artists, musicians and actors to SJSU’s campus on Nov. 21 to put on workshops for 250 students in the Lurie College of Education. On Nov. 22, 125 teachers will convene at the San Jose Museum of Art for “Thrill-Seeking Gummi Bears.”

For this design challenge, teachers will be tasked with making parachutes and baskets for Gummi Bear candies and be judged on how long their sticky bears can stay aloft.

They will move on to workshops at the Children’s Discovery Museum, the Tech Museum of Innovation, the Museum of Quilts and Textiles and the California Theatre, where the Silicon Valley Symphony will present.

Workshops include how to teach math skills through quilting and music, how to use color, texture and sculpture to explore geography, how dance can help teach mapping and how origami can be used to teach visual thinking.

Cultural connections

Esther Tokihiro, visual and performing arts coordinator of the Santa Clara Office of Education, says the goal in moving the conference out into museums was to help foster relationships between classroom teachers and museum and theater arts educators.

Susan Verducci, associate professor in the Department of Humanities at SJSU and one of the conference organizers, says arts help connect students to other cultures and allows them to understand the world better, but that not all teachers or education students have exposure to the arts.

What we hope to do with the conference,” she said, “is to tantalize them and show the power the arts can have in teaching various concepts.”

The festival is supported by a generous gift from the late Marion Cilker, a graduate of San Jose State with a degree in art and education. Cilker also endowed two full-tuition scholarships for teacher education students who show a commitment to infusing their teaching with the arts.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Mike Ergo, by Johann Wolf

Alumnus Co-Creates Virtual Exhibit

A librarian, military veterans and their tattoos — three things you don’t associate very often.

But for one SJSU graduate, there is a very clear connection and sense of mission related to the way he has brought together his professional background, the veterans’ need to reconnect to their communities, and the art form of his generation.

Chris Brown, ’10 Library and Information Science, created “War Ink” with U.S. Army veteran Jason Dietch and a professional film crew to expand on Contra Costa County Library’s efforts to help veterans.

Meaningful moments

Chris Brown

Chris Brown

“We realized we were addressing veteran information needs but they have social needs as much as anyone else,” Brown said. “When veterans come home, their community does not know about their achievements and lessons learned, and that their service was one of the most meaningful moments in their lives.

“We noticed that a lot of the veterans had tattoos,” he continued, “so we thought, ‘that’s our medium for telling that story in a very authentic way.’ The veterans are already telling the story on their skins. We’re just putting a frame around it.”

To build this extraordinary virtual exhibit, Brown drew from a career’s-worth of contacts in the library, museum, and media worlds. But there was also a very personal connection. He is the son of a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer.

Respect and compassion

“In ‘War Ink,’ we’ve brought together a diverse group to address the lack of public cohesion experienced by veterans. In an ideal world, we would all recognize each other as rich and complex people, each deserving of respect and compassion,” Brown said.

The project was made possible through a number of grants and in-kind donations from Cal Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Pacific Library Partnership and StoryCorps.  To learn more, we interviewed Brown.


Q. How did this project begin?

A. I served as project director and grant writer, while Jason served as veteran consultant. We developed and curated the site together, and jointly conducted an exhaustive statewide search for veterans interested in participating in the project.

We contacted nearly every veteran center in California, including centers at every California State University and the University of California campus. We also called hundreds of tattoo shops. Over 30 California library systems partnered in this effort, promoting the project locally.

To document the veterans’ stories, to bring the exhibit to life, and to make it accessible to the general public, we built a coalition of diverse partners including the veterans, tattoo parlors, museums, and the entertainment, art and tech communities.

In late July 2014, the Contra Costa County Library brought together 24 veterans from over 15 counties at the Concord Vet Center. Over four days, producers from the StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative recorded the veterans’ stories, while renowned photographer Johann Wolf documented the veterans and their tattoos.

The filmmaker was Rebecca Murga, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran. Favorite Medium designed and developed the online exhibit.

Q. What’s your background?

Before studying for my master’s in library and information science, I was a literature major at UC Santa Cruz.  That background really taught me that stories are incredibly important in terms of reflecting national identity.

Stories touch on issues and concerns that say a lot about who were as a country. So I am definitely story-centric. My library school degree taught me about how to collect stories that people turn to make sense of their world.

With “War Ink,” we have a population of veterans who are trying to make sense of their return home and we have our civilian community trying to make sense of how to support veterans who have an experience we don’t know about.

Q. The format seems unique. How do you describe it?

“War Ink” is a virtual exhibit that combines original video, photography and audio interviews to present the stories of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in their own words. The entry point to these stories is “war ink,” tattoos that express the impact of combat experiences in a culture that typically shuns open discussion of emotion.

The featured veterans (24 at launch, with more projected over time) are men and women from each branch of the military, and all now reside in California.

Q. What surprised you the most about this project?

The veterans themselves. We thought this would be a dynamic way to tell their stories. We thought it would be meaningful for communities who was welcoming home veterans. We thought it would be artistic.

But I don’t think we knew how much it would mean to the veterans to have their communities say, “We are interested in your story, to understand what it is like to go to war, how that changes you, and what it’s like to come home.”

The response we got, that’s what floored me the most. We’ve had infantry men say, “I’m so excited about this project. This experience has re-awoken my inspiration.”

To see someone who is a former infantrymen in the military say that blows my mind because that community is not a community that is openly expressive about their emotions.

A lot of them talk about how they had to put that side of themselves on lock down, and numb themselves to their emotions. Seeing these men and women have that profound moment when they see themselves as valued — that’s powerful.

Theresa Mendoza

Interim University Advancement VP Appointed

Theresa Mendoza

Theresa Mendoza

Contact: Pat Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Theresa (Tere) Mendoza has been appointed interim vice president of University Advancement. The interim appointment will ensure a stable leadership transition while San Jose State commences a national search to fill this position on a permanent basis.

“Theresa Mendoza has extensive experience and expertise in all aspects of institutional advancement, foundation leadership, and campaign management,” said SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi. “I am grateful for her availability and willingness to serve SJSU during this transition.”

Mendoza has led advancement organizations at San Diego State and California State University, Fullerton – like SJSU, among the CSU’s largest campuses – and continues to serve the Chancellor’s Office as a strategic adviser while managing three statewide advisory councils.

The Office of the President will concurrently work with Academic Senate leadership on forming a search committee for the vice president of University Advancement position. With the fall term nearing its conclusion, this committee likely will begin its work in earnest in January, with plans to announce a permanent appointment this spring.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.



Update: Presidential Message on University Advancement

President Mohammad Qayoumi emailed the following message on the Division of University Advancement to all faculty, staff and students.

Dear Campus Community,

Vice President for University Advancement Rebecca Dukes earlier today announced her resignation to the advancement division staff. Today is her final day on campus, and we wish her well.

While at San Jose State, her achievements included completing SJSU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign and beginning planning for the next campaign; launching an integrated university brand platform; and initiating programs to deepen a culture of philanthropy on campus.

I hope to soon provide an update on plans for interim division leadership.

Mo Qayoumi

Update: Presidential Message on the Tower Foundation

President Mohammad Qayoumi emailed the following message on the Tower Foundation to all faculty, staff and students.

Dear Campus Community,

As I shared in Monday’s campus update, we recently received and have been reviewing the results of an external investigation into remarks made by a Tower Foundation board member during a February meeting on campus with several university employees including a member of my cabinet.

There are two additional developments:

  • Official notice of the outcome of the external investigation has been sent to the board member and complainant. Per CSU and SJSU protocol and in an effort to preserve the privacy rights of the parties, the university is limiting distribution of this information to these individuals.
  • Wanda Ginner, an alumna of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business and Tower Board member since 2007, has resigned from the board.

Although many efforts are already underway, a great deal of work lies ahead as we seek to be the welcoming, inclusive community all Spartans aspire to. I will share some additional thoughts very soon.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these challenging and important issues.

Mo Qayoumi