Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five engineering students experienced 15 minutes of zero gravity flight in Houston this summer. The SJSU team’s research proposal, selected by NASA from more than 60 proposals, gave the students the opportunity to design, build, fly and test their experiments aboard an aircraft dubbed the “Weightless Wonder.” And the experience? “Phenomenal, exhilarating, amazing!” students report.

Paul Clerkin

Willing to travel thousands of miles out to sea, graduate student Paul Clerkin discovered eight shark species (Save Our Seas Foundation image).

Featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”: a new species of shark and the Moss Landing Marine Labs master’s degree candidate Paul Clerkin who discovered the animal during a research trip to the Indian Ocean. Included in the program are glimpses of the as-yet-named shark, the size of a watermelon with purple fins and a “venomous, barbed spine.”

How many inspire a Hollywood film? Bob Ladouceur, ’77 Criminal Justice, former head football coach at De La Salle High School, has spent the last several months walking red carpets, being interviewed by “Entertainment Tonight” and attending premieres of When the Game Stands Tall, a film about Coach Ladouceur and De La Salle’s historic 151-game winning streak. Actor Jim Caviezel portrays Ladouceur in the film. 

To become a performer, the late comic genius Robin Williams had to overcome a crippling case of shyness. First step: joining his high school drama club. For his 1997 film Flubber, Williams came to San Jose. Sharp-eyed Spartans will recognize several city and campus locations that made the film’s final cut.

Spartan football alums David Quessenberry (Houston Texans), ’12 History, and James Jones (Oakland Raiders) aren’t acquainted with the word “quit.” Jones, a sociology major who recently returned to the San Jose homeless shelter where he and his mother lived for several months, shared the story of his own escape from poverty with residents. “You’re here, but this isn’t the end,” he assured them. Battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the 6-foot-five, 307-pound Quessenberry is inspired by the support of teammates and fans. “I wake up every day knowing that I have an army behind me,” he said. “It motivates me to fight even harder.”