New VP for Research and Innovation to Build on Strong Foundation

Mohamed Abousalem

Mohamed Abousalem

Mohamed Abousalem, SJSU’s new vice president for research and innovation, is in the business of building things.

“I see a lot of potential for SJSU’s research programs, and an opportunity for me personally to build an organization,” he said. “This is what I enjoy doing: building something with purpose in mind, then seeing it through to completion.”

Given the university’s prime location in the heart of Silicon Valley, opportunities abound in regards to research and innovation at SJSU. While Mohamed was pleasantly surprised to learn about the roughly $57 million per year in research revenues enjoyed by the university over the past few years (a significant number, he said, for a CSU campus), he sees potential for even more growth and impact.

“I looked at what SJSU was doing in research and innovation, and I could see some pockets of innovation and a solid research revenue base that collectively has laid a strong foundation,” he said. “The opportunity to build on that and lead the existing program’s transformation and growth is what attracted me to the job.”

With a strong track record in building programs—sometimes from scratch—Abousalem clearly possesses the right credentials for the job.

Emigrating to Canada from his native Egypt to pursue master’s and PhD degrees in geomatics engineering (he had earlier completed his undergraduate studies in civil engineering at Alexandria University), Abousalem headed to Silicon Valley and began his career as a technical product engineer. Soon realizing he had a knack for both people and business management, he landed a position at Magellan, a leading portable GPS navigation consumer electronics company, and simultaneously earned an MBA at Santa Clara University. He remained at Magellan for 10 years, moving up the management ranks and eventually running the company’s engineering operation in the United States, France and Russia.

His “building” career really began to soar when he returned to Canada and, after a three-year stint as vice president of strategy and marketing for a GPS company focused on agricultural applications, accepted an opportunity to build a completely new innovation and entrepreneurship initiative sponsored by the Province of Alberta and the Canadian government.

“I was essentially told, ‘Here’s $40 million to get started. We want economic development and innovation throughout the country. Go make it happen!’” he explained. “So that’s what I did.”

Starting with one employee—himself—and the $40 million in seed funding, he eventually converted the investment into $325 million in economic value and wealth through programmatic support to some 200 startup companies and 25 applied research projects. Perhaps even more impressive is the lasting impact, as the organization is still in operation and a staple throughout the Alberta innovation ecosystem.

Abousalem says his background and experience has taught him that research and innovation go hand in hand, with basic research leading to applied programs—innovation—in commercial, environmental, or other settings. Successful innovation, he points out, can often translate into entrepreneurship, technology transfer and tangible products and technologies that can benefit larger society.
Just prior to accepting the VPRI positon at SJSU, he spent three years at UC-Santa Cruz as its assistant vice chancellor for industry research alliances and technology commercialization. The multi-disciplinary approach he honed there, where the research program supported humanities, social sciences and the arts as well as the STEM disciplines, is something he sees as an ideal fit in his new role at SJSU.

“I’m looking forward to capitalizing on the university’s research, scholarly and creative activity (RSCA) principles, which I believe are the beauty of San Jose State and a great representation of what is happening on this campus,” he said. While some campuses may miss out on the full breadth of research opportunities available, he said the humanities, arts and social sciences all develop new methods and real-life approaches to problems that are very much a part of the broader research spectrum.

“That collective interest in research here at SJSU and the lack of limitations or boundaries on how we define innovation is another feature of this university I find very appealing,” he said.
Another characteristic of SJSU that made the job opportunity attractive is the focus on student learning and student success.

“Having research as an experiential component to the student learning process is a wonderful thing,” he said. “Research is good in and of itself, of course, especially when it leads to end products and technologies that benefit society. But thinking beyond that, research can be used to expand the intellectual skills of students, how they learn and how they analyze. So we can actually grow their analytical thinking and abilities, and they become stronger members of the future workforce. This, of course, is tied to our mission, and to me, that’s very exciting.”

In terms of specific goals, Mohamed said the research side of his new portfolio will focus on improving efficiencies in order to make the enterprise stronger and more scalable. “If we can bring in $57 million a year in revenues as we’re doing now, what do we need in place in order to bring in $100 million?” he asked rhetorically. He noted that this will entail not merely the hiring of new staff, but also changes in processes, culture and training. Ultimately, he envisions more research grants, or “actual work that benefits the corporations and the university.”

On the innovation side of the house, Mohamed sees campus collaborations as a way to bring innovation “to the next level.” He says he’ll be working directly with the provost and with college deans and hopes to “directly connect to the aspirations and abilities of the colleges and their programs so we can provide the best central support for their efforts.”
Some structural adjustments are already in place, such as the transfer of the Office of Research from Academic Affairs into the newly formed Research and Innovation Division, which will also include an Office of Innovation in the near future. Likewise, SJSU’s Research Foundation will report up to Abousalem’s office, and he will serve as president of its Board of Directors. Finally, he said the College of Graduate Studies will need to be a strong ally, so he and Interim Dean Marc d’Alarcao have been meeting regularly to make sure all their respective programs are well-coordinated and positioned for success.

One broad benefit with all of the changes, he said, is that research and innovation activities will all enjoy a higher level of visibility and representation, which he views as “important if we’re going to take it to the next strategic level.”

In his down time, Abousalem enjoys his morning jogs near his Willow Glen home and watching films and television programs with his wife – whom he met will they were college classmates. His daughter—the one who persuaded him to apply for the VPRI position—manages communications for a nearby charter school system, while his son is an engineer at Northrop Grumman.

“I’m right where I want to be, doing exactly what I should be doing,” he said. “We have a great opportunity at San Jose state to expand the intellectual capabilities of our students while giving them a strong base of research knowledge and experience that will prepare them for the workplace. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Venus Williams to visit SJSU to Compete in Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

Venus Williams will compete in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic for the 15th year--and the second year at San Jose State--on July 30. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Venus Williams will compete in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic for the 15th year–and the second year at San Jose State–on July 30. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

 

SAN JOSÉ, CA (July 16, 2019) – Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has joined the player field for the 2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 29 – August 4 at San José State University. This will be Williams’ 15th appearance at the event and her second consecutive at San José, having advanced to the quarterfinals last year.

Williams, a two-time singles champion at the event, will be the featured evening session match (Session 4) on Tuesday, July 30 at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, which returns for its second year at San José State University, start as low as $36 and are on sale now at www.MubadalaSVC.com.

“We are very excited to have Venus join our player field,” said Tournament Director Vickie Gunnasson. “She is a tennis icon and tremendous ambassador for the sport. Having her competing at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is truly special and boosts our already great player field.”

A winner of 49 career WTA singles titles, Williams enhances an already star-studded line-up that includes fellow Grand Slam winners Garbiñe Muguruza, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko.

Six of the women in this year’s player field have already won singles titles in 2019. Overall, the list of players have combined to win 115 career WTA singles titles.

Other featured players coming to San José include defending champion Mihaela Buzarnescu, 2018 finalist Maria Sakkari, 17-year-old French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova, World No. 7 and Wimbledon semifinalist Elina Svitolina, World No. 10 Aryna Sabalenka, Chinese No. 1 Qiang Wang, Belgian star Elise Mertens and Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins.

In addition to the impressive list of WTA players set to compete in San José, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic will be hosting four former ATP stars as part of the Invesco Series on Saturday, August 3 following the evening women’s semifinal match.

The Invesco Series is a legends tour event that features three one-set matches consisting of two semifinals and one final. The line-up for the San José event is one of the best of the legends season and includes 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, 10-time ATP tour winner James Blake and 11-time tour singles champion Mark Philippoussis.

Now entering its 49th year, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is a weeklong WTA Premier event bringing the worlds of tennis and technology together in a festival of sports and entertainment. Highlighting the best the region has to offer, the tournament showcases locally sourced cuisine, fine wine and cheese selections, interactive fan exhibitions, premier hospitality options, and of course, incredible tennis action.

Featuring a 28-player singles draw as well as a 16-team doubles draw the tournament boasts $876,183 in prize money and serves as the opening women’s event of the US Open Series.

With several different ticket options available, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic has something for everyone. To purchase tickets go to www.MubadalaSVC.com or call 1-866-982-8497.


ABOUT THE MUBADALA SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC: The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first women’s stop of the US Open Series. Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA Premier event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $876,183.

ABOUT MUBADALA: Mubadala Investment Company actively manages a worldwide portfolio supporting the vision of a globally integrated and diversified economy, through sustainable returns to its shareholder, the Government of Abu Dhabi. In March 2018, Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) joined the Group. Mubadala’s US $225 billion portfolio spans five continents with interests in aerospace, ICT, semiconductors, metals and mining, renewable energy, oil and gas, petrochemicals, utilities, healthcare, real estate, defense services, pharmaceuticals and medical technology, agribusiness and a global portfolio of financial holdings. Mubadala is a trusted partner, an engaged shareholder and a responsible global company that is committed to ethics and world-class standards.  For more information about Mubadala, please visit: www.mubadala.com.

ABOUT THE US OPEN SERIES: Now in its 16th season, the world’s best players on the WTA and ATP Tour are coming together for the US Open Series. Linking seven summer WTA and ATP Tour tournaments to the US Open, the US Open Series serves as a true “regular season” of hard court tennis. Featuring a cohesive schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today’s top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow’s emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grass-roots youth tennis clinics and activities.

ABOUT IMG: IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network.

ABOUT SAN JOSÉ STATE UNIVERSITY: The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.  With more than 33,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.  The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU Alumna Featured in Made in the CSU 2019 Campaign

Erika Lockheimer, '00 computer engineering, speaks during the Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference. Photo by David Schmitz

Erika Lockheimer, ’00 computer engineering, speaks during the Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference. Photo by David Schmitz

Erica Lockheimer, ’00 Computer Engineering, vice president of Engineering for LinkedIn Learning was featured recently as part of the California State University system’s Made in the CSU 2019 campaign. The CSU campaign highlights alumni who are leading the way in every industry, from agriculture and engineering to hospitality and entertainment.

Lockheimer gave the Charles W. Davidson’s College of Engineering Commencement speech in spring 2018, in which she encouraged new alumni to “pay it forward” and described helping others as a morale obligation.

“We are counting on you to build the best products, the best teams to build the best world,” she said during the speech.

Lockheimer credits her parents with teaching her about grit and hard work – both were raised by single mothers. Her father began working at a meat company at age 16 and took over the business by age 20. Lockheimer’s father spend his free time on math and electronics and dreamed of being an engineer, but instead chose to focus on making ends meet for his family.

After a few years in community college, Lockheimer enrolled at SJSU. She said her dad was so proud, he would visit campus to pay her enrollment fees in person. But she soon found herself struggling in classes.

“A classmate asked if I needed help,” she said. “That was the beginning of many long nights until 1 in the morning in study rooms. To this day, I still have very close relationships that have lasted me two decades.”

She recalls in her speech that she was one of the few women in her classes and she has devoted both her professional and personal time to increasing diversity in technology. Lockheimer serves on the advisory board for the Silicon Valley Women in Engineering conference, where she has also been a speaker who encourages female engineering students to aim high. She is responsible for LinkedIn’s Women in Teach (WIT) initiative that is focused on empowering women in technical roles within the company.

Lockheimer has worked for LinkedIn for more than eight years. Before moving into her current role, she was senior director of engineering in charge of the Growth Engineering team, where she focused on increasing growth in new members and deepening engagement with members across LinkedIn’s products. She started the Growth Team from the ground up and built it into a high-performing 120-person team. Prior to joining LinkedIn, she worked for a company called Good Technology for more than nine years.

New Provost Arrives at SJSU July 15

Vincent Del Casino, Jr.

Vincent Del Casino, new provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, joins San Jose State University July 15.

Vincent Del Casino, who was named the university’s next provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs in January following a comprehensive national search, will arrive at San Jose State University July 15 ready to prepare for the fall 2019 semester.

“I have great confidence that he will bring a strong foundation to this key leadership position while fostering collaboration across colleges and departments. Vincent is a visionary who will chart a course for our Academic Affairs division into the future,” President Mary A. Papazian said, following his appointment in January. “He is an exemplary fit to lead our continuing efforts to support students and faculty, build community partnerships, and expand innovative teaching and learning at our university.”

Del Casino joins SJSU from the University of Arizona, where he has most recently served as the interim senior vice provost and vice president for Academic Initiatives and Student Success, but he started his academic leadership career in the California State University system in 2007 as chair of the Department of Geography at CSU Long Beach.

“Having worked in the Cal State system previously, I have always been energized by the fact that this system serves a very diverse group of first-generation learners,” he said. “San Jose State University is no exception. What makes this campus unique, however, is that it is located in the heart of one of the most robust economies in the world.”

He sees the university’s greatest potential in its ability to drive regional, national and global conversations about the value of higher education.

“SJSU can be a hub for applied and basic research that plugs into the networks of creativity that surround the campus and its global position,” he said. “There are also many new ‘solutions’ being presented to address the world’s educational attainment gaps at the undergraduate and graduate levels, some of which are driven by the tech industry that surrounds the campus. As public educators we have to provide leadership in those conversations, otherwise we will end up with market-driven solutions that don’t necessarily meet the needs of our diverse learners.”

Del Casino envisions SJSU as a leader in taking up the question of what the future of higher education should be as well as a model for the value of public education that continues to demonstrate that ‘technological innovation’ must also be met with strategies that recognize the complex and diverse experiences of students.

At the University of Arizona, Del Casino provided leadership and administrative oversight as the campus redeveloped central spaces for student support activities; re-organized its central administrative areas; and enhanced student success and retention. During his tenure, the university greatly increased its online undergraduate enrollment and program offerings. He was also integral in implementing the University of Arizona’s 100% Engagement Initiative that allows students to participate in “extra-classroom” activities through credit-bearing and non-credit engaged learning experiences.

He said he is especially excited by the opportunities—such as finding ways to leverage the location of SJSU to support all members of the campus community—and the challenges—such as recognizing the real socioeconomic and political strains that come with the Silicon Valley economy.

“I think the faculty, staff and students are already driving this conversation and I look forward to supporting those efforts,” he said.

Del Casino’s own academic background lends itself to considering the social implications of geography. He is a prolific writer and researcher who has authored the book Social Geography: A Critical Introduction and co-edited with CSU, Long Beach faculty member, Dr. Mary Caputi, Derrida and the Future of the Liberal ArtsHe has also edited and co-authored multiple other books and published dozens of articles and book chapters on topics ranging from health, robots and robotic technologies, cartographic theory, and tourism, in the context of geography. Del Casino has a bachelor’s in international relations and East Asian studies from Bucknell University, in Pennsylvania, a master’s in geography from the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate in geography from the University of Kentucky.

“I am looking forward to deepening my understanding of the rich historical geography of SJSU and the Silicon Valley region, and to partnering with community organizations, the city of San Jose as well as for-profit companies and nonprofits that want to work with SJSU to create a more inclusive environment for the ideas that we are generating and the students we are educating,” he said.

Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Players Announced

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic takes place at the new tennis courts at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

San Jose State University will host the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic for the second year. Tickets are on sale for the tournament that will run July 29-August 4. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

SAN JOSÉ, CA (June 19, 2019) – The official WTA acceptance list for the 2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic has been announced, and with three Grand Slam champions, two former World No. 1s, and 15 WTA title holders in the player field this year’s event will once again bring the best women’s players in the world to the Bay Area.

Of the 20 players on the acceptance list, 15 have won at least one career WTA singles title including Grand Slam winners Garbiñe Muguruza, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko. Six of the women in this year’s player field have already won singles titles in 2019. Overall, the list of players has combined to win 66 career WTA singles titles.

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic will be hosted at SJSU’s South Campus tennis courts July 29-August 4. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

The event returns for its second year at San José State University and will take place July 29-August 4, 2019. Tickets start as low as $36 and are on-sale now at www.MubadalaSVC.com.

Two notable titlists in 2019 are 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova and 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic finalist Maria Sakkari.

Anisimova won her first career title in Bogotá earlier this year before her meteoric rise during her semifinal run at Roland Garros, which included a win over defending French Open champion Simona Halep. Sakkari used her finals appearance at the 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic as a stepping stone up the rankings. This year the Greek star won her first career title at Rabat and reached a career-high ranking of 29 in May.

Other featured players coming to San José include defending champion Mihaela Buzarnescu, World No. 7 Elina Svitolina, World No. 10 Aryna Sabalenka, Chinese No. 1 Qiang Wang, Belgian star Elise Mertens and Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins.

The tournament will announce four additional wildcard players in the next few weeks as the 28-player singles draw rounds out with four tournament qualifiers. The qualifying tournament will take place July 27-28. Qualifying is open to the public.

In addition to the impressive list of WTA players set to compete in San José, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic will be hosting four former ATP stars as part of the Invesco Series on Saturday, August 3 following the evening women’s semifinal match.

The Invesco Series is a legends tour event that features three one-set matches consisting of two semifinals and one final. The line-up for the San José event is one of the best of the legend’s season and includes 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, 10-time ATP tour winner James Blake and 11-time tour singles champion Mark Philippoussis.

Now entering its 49th year, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is a weeklong WTA Premier event bringing the worlds of tennis and technology together in a festival of sports and entertainment. Highlighting the best the region has to offer, the tournament showcases locally sourced cuisine, fine wine and cheese selections, interactive fan exhibitions, premier hospitality options, and of course, incredible tennis action.

Featuring a 28-player singles draw as well as a 16-team doubles draw the tournament boasts $876,183 in prize money and serves as the opening women’s event of the US Open Series.

With several different ticket options available, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic has something for everyone. To purchase tickets go to www.MubadalaSVC.com or call 1-866-982-8497.

2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Player Field
Name Country Ranking
Elina Svitolina Ukraine 7
Aryna Sabalenka Belarus 10
Qiang Wang China 15
Elise Mertens Belgium 21
Donna Vekic Croatia 22
Petra Martic Croatia 25
Garbiñe Muguruza Spain 26
Amanda Anisimova USA 27
Carla Suárez Navarro Spain 31
Maria Sakkari Greece 33
Danielle Collins USA 34
Jelena Ostapenko Latvia 37
Victoria Azarenka Belarus 41
Mihaela Buzarnescu Roumania 42
Saisai Zheng China 44
Ajla Tomljanovic Australia 47
Ekaterina Alexandrova Russia 50
Shuai Zhang China 52
Andrea Petkovic Germany 71
Magda Linette Poland 75

ABOUT THE MUBADALA SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC: The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first women’s stop of the US Open Series. Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA Premier event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $876,183.

ABOUT MUBADALA: Mubadala Investment Company actively manages a worldwide portfolio supporting the vision of a globally integrated and diversified economy, through sustainable returns to its shareholder, the Government of Abu Dhabi. In March 2018, Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) joined the Group. Mubadala’s US $225 billion portfolio spans five continents with interests in aerospace, ICT, semiconductors, metals and mining, renewable energy, oil and gas, petrochemicals, utilities, healthcare, real estate, defense services, pharmaceuticals and medical technology, agribusiness and a global portfolio of financial holdings. Mubadala is a trusted partner, an engaged shareholder and a responsible global company that is committed to ethics and world-class standards.  For more information about Mubadala, please visit: www.mubadala.com.

ABOUT THE US OPEN SERIES: Now in its 16th season, the world’s best players on the WTA and ATP Tour are coming together for the US Open Series. Linking seven summer WTA and ATP Tour tournaments to the US Open, the US Open Series serves as a true “regular season” of hard court tennis. Featuring a cohesive schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today’s top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow’s emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grass-roots youth tennis clinics and activities.

ABOUT IMG: IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network.

ABOUT SAN JOSÉ STATE UNIVERSITY: The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.  With more than 33,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.  The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

From Grenada to Yale, SJSU Grad Stephanie Dizon Focuses on Healthcare

Stephanie Dizon

Stephanie Dizon

By Abby McConnell

For as long as she can remember, San Jose State University McNair Scholar Stephanie Dizon had always dreamed of becoming a nurse. Even when she didn’t get into the nursing program at SJSU the first time around, she wasn’t dissuaded. Instead of viewing it as a setback, she saw it as an opportunity to explore classes outside her major. While she waited to reapply, she took classes in justice studies and human rights, and got involved in research activities on campus. She was accepted to the program the following year, but these explorations opened up her perception of what pursuing her passion about healthcare could look like, particularly in terms of social justice. As a result, she graduated with a BS in Nursing, with minors in Human Rights and Justice Studies from SJSU.

“In healthcare, the diagnosis is always the focus,” Dizon said. “But what about the socio-economic factors that determine what patient care will look like? Do they have easy access to their doctors, a good diet or family support? All of these things play a key role in both treatment and recovery, and I am fascinated by the way they influence patient care.”

Dizon worked several jobs while at SJSU, but it was her time as a patient coordinator in a radiology clinic that shifted her academic trajectory. There, she was exposed to the world of oncology and palliative care, a field she decided to pursue. Currently, she is a palliative care case manager, who visits patients in their homes or assisted living facilities, working in tandem with doctors, social workers, chaplains and family members as a liaison to get patients the help they need.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to serve patients who might feel isolated or confused about treatment or who don’t have a lot of contact with people other than their spouse or immediate family. I am grateful to be the person that they can turn to and talk through their illnesses and options,” she said.

While Dizon, who graduated this spring, eventually plans to pursue a PhD in nursing, she is headed to Yale Divinity School in the fall to study theology and earn a Master in Divinity degree. This may appear a departure from her focus on healthcare to some, but for Dizon, it makes perfect sense. After all, Yale is home to the first hospice program in the United States.

“Personally, I want to pursue theology more deeply, and professionally, I want to understand more about the intersection of palliative care and spirituality. If we could integrate more spiritual practices into palliative care plans, I believe patients would benefit tremendously,” she said.

Dizon came to the US from the Philippines with her parents when she was 9, to be closer to extended family. Both her parents have BAs, so earning her undergraduate degree was never in doubt. However, graduate school wasn’t as much on her radar until she got involved with the McNair Scholars Program and its director, Dr. Maria Cruz.

“Dr. Cruz was the first person to tell me that I could do it, that I could go to a school like Yale. It had never occurred to me before to even apply to such a prestigious place,” she said.

She credits the McNair program for not only guiding her through the graduate school application project, but connecting her with nursing mentors and research opportunities. These include her own research project that investigated how stigma affects those living with HIV. Her senior capstone project that took her to Grenada, where she collected data for the Grenada Ministry of Health as part of the Health Partnerships in Action faculty-led program run through the Valley Foundation School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences.

These connections and opportunities, along with professors and mentors such as Dr. William Armaline, Dr. Constance Hill, Deborah Nelson, MSN and Katherine Kinner, MSN, FNP, allowed her to integrate her passions across multiple disciplines in research and scholarship. As an aspiring nurse scholar, she hopes to continue this trajectory in her academic and professional career, by advocating for justice and equality in healthcare and committing her clinical and scholarly work to develop access, quality and delivery of healthcare to all people.

McNair Scholar Angeles De Santos-Quezada Reflects on Educational Journey

Angeles De Santos-Quezada poses for a photo at her graduation from the College of Social Sciences May 24.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada poses for a photo at her graduation from the College of Social Sciences May 24.

By Abby McConnell

To anyone who knows her, it’s no surprise that McNair Scholar Angeles De Santos-Quezada graduated with honors, with a bachelor’s in Political Science and a minor in Applied Research Methods. Politics, advocacy and education have always been at the forefront of her life. She grew up in Encarnacion de Diaz, Jalisco, a small town in Mexico, with a mother who emphasized the importance of intellectual enrichment and a father who practiced law and often discussed the likes of Plato, Socrates and Marx at the dinner table.

This background served her well, especially after De Santos-Quezada moved unexpectedly with her mother and three siblings from Mexico to her grandmother’s home in Concord, California. De Santos-Quezada’s mother is a U.S. citizen who moved to Mexico in her 20s to be with De Santos-Quezada’s father, and later decided to naturalize her children.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada, right, poses with fellow orientation leaders.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada, right, poses with fellow orientation leaders.

Leaving the only home she’d known and transitioning into an American high school as a junior wasn’t easy for De Santos-Quezada, from making new friends to being placed in classes as an “English Language Learner.” Being labeled ELL meant she was placed on the easiest academic track in her new high school, essentially retaking many classes that she had completed with honors at a private Catholic middle school in Mexico. De Santos-Quezada quickly became bored and frustrated, aware that this route wouldn’t get her to college, which had always been her plan.

“I wasn’t sure what to do, but when I told my mom what was happening, she told me I needed to advocate for myself to have my schedule changed. She made it clear that no one else was going to do it for me,” De Santos-Quezada said.

She set up a meeting with her counselor as soon as she could, and was on a college preparatory track shortly thereafter. For De Santos-Quezada, this was not only a lesson in the importance of speaking out and speaking up, but also firsthand experience of the disenfranchisement many non-native speakers feel when they enter the U.S. educational system.

SJSU graduate Angeles De Santos-Quezada plans to attend the University of Texas, Austin in fall to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning.

SJSU graduate Angeles De Santos-Quezada plans to attend the University of Texas, Austin in fall to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning.

“When I was about to graduate high school, one of my teachers told me that I was a ‘normal’ English speaker. I didn’t know I was abnormal! ELL students are often treated as less intelligent simply because English isn’t their first language. Obviously, that is discriminatory and also a false premise. When students are labeled in this way, they are put at a disadvantage and aren’t set up to succeed. I knew then there was something deeply wrong with the system.”

She loved SJSU immediately, in part because the Spanish architecture and diverse community reminded her of home. Freshman year held the allure of living on her own for the first time, but she was also lonely during her first weeks in the dorms. Her resident advisor was a huge source of comfort and guidance for De Santos-Quezada and was instrumental in helping her find her place on campus. The experience inspired her to become an RA, which she has done for the last three years. In that time, she has helped nearly 200 first-year students navigate the transition to college and take advantage of all that SJSU has to offer.

Advising students about the best ways to maximize their college experience while connecting with like-minded people is one of her favorite aspects of the job, in part because she can relate. When she felt most isolated at SJSU, she realized she needed to seek out clubs and opportunities that reflected her background and interests like she had in high school, so she began attending meetings via the Adelante Latino Task Force that later involved into the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center.

“By becoming a part of the Latinx campus community, I was able to find my place at SJSU and thrive,” she said.

And thrive she has―in the fall, she is headed to the University of Texas, Austin to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning (MEd). In her undergraduate career, De Santos-Quezada has also been named a President’s scholar, has published and presented scholarly research, studied abroad in Slovenia, and become an outspoken advocate of social justice and diversity programs for underrepresented students.

“As a first-generation college student, Angeles exemplifies the transformative power of educational opportunity and is already ‘paying it forward’ to help other students find their own paths to success,” said Dr. Melinda Jackson.

De Santos-Quezada credits much of her success at SJSU to TRIO programs such as Aspire, and of course, the McNair Scholars Program, which is specifically designed to guide underrepresented students in applying to doctoral programs. She also acknowledges her family’s unwavering support along with many mentors and professors, including Dr. Maria Cruz, Dr. Sergio Bejar Lopez, Dr. Vanessa Fernandez, Dr. Lilly Pinedo-Gangai and Dr. Jason Laker, among others, who guided her along the way.

“I am lucky,” De Santos-Quezada said. “I was able to stand up for myself and take advantage of the resources around me and connect with all kinds of mentors and programs. Not all ELL students are able to do that, and so they get lost in our educational system. Part of my goal in getting my PhD is to answer the question: How can we treat our differences with pride instead of seeing them as positive or negative stereotypes? All I know right now is that we have to change the system from the inside out.”

SJSU Assistant Professor Named SVCreates 2019 Backstage Laureate

2019 Backstage Laureate: Andrea Bechert from SVCREATES on Vimeo.

Andrea Bechert, an assistant professor and designer in SJSU’s Department of Film and Theatre program, has been named SVCreates 2019 Backstage Laureate for her exemplary scene and set designs for more than 350 productions, including world premieres across the country and many Silicon Valley shows. Bechert will be honored along with seven other artists, musicians and authors at the 2019 SVArts Awards June 27 and her profile will be featured in July/August issue of Content Magazine.

“I received a call in March telling me I was receiving the award,” she said. “I was quite floored. This is an incredible honor. There are so many talented and wonderful people I work with, and incredible artists who have received this award before me.”

She describes her work as a scenic designer as a unique and magical task.

Assistant Professor Andrea Bechert poses with set models. SVCreates named her 2019 Backstage Laureate. Photo Courtesy of SVCreates.

Assistant Professor Andrea Bechert poses with set models. SVCreates named her 2019 Backstage Laureate. Photo Courtesy of SVCreates.

“I create a new world for each production of a play, unique to the particular characters, their struggles and stories,” she said. “When I do my job well, the audience connects with these visuals, becoming engrossed in the experience of the play, and are transported momentarily into the world of the characters.”

She uses the arrangement and composition of visual elements to inspire mental and emotional connections in the audience members’ minds.

While classes are out, Bechert remains busy working on a few projects, including a production of The Language Archives for Tony Award-winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s 50th season; a production of The Cottage produced by Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, and In the Heights produced by the Center Repertory Theatre. This fall, she will work on SJSU production of a new work created and directed by Kathleen Normington, an SJSU lecturer, called (dreamer) Project – an UndocuPlay. The play is based on stories of SJSU students.

“Live theater is such a magical experience,” Bechert said. “We gather together as a group to witness a live event that moves us to laughter and tears, sharing in the experience of the characters before us, considering the elements of our shared humanity.”

As a scenic designer with hundreds of productions on her resume, Bechert finds it hard to select a favorite. But she names a few through the years that are especially dear to her heart. Peter Pan, Macbeth and A Midsummer Nights Dream top the list, and her recent work on Fun Home last fall.

“This new musical, adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir of the same name, is the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist,” she said. “The story is touching and important, the music is beautiful, and the team I worked with at TheatreWorks are some of the most talented and wonderful people on this planet. How could that combination be anything other than fantastic?”

The show received a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for design and the overall production. Bechert has especially enjoyed working with TheatreWorks, where she has designed 35 productions through the years. Founder and Artistic Director Robert Kelley will lead his final season with the theatre this year.

“I am the ‘bookends’ of the season,” she noted. “I will be designing the first show of the season, The Language Archive, and the final show, which will be Robert Kelley’s final show, The Book of Will.”

“When you collaborate with the same people on stories that touch your soul time and time again, they become like family,” she said. “I am so happy that TheatreWorks received the Tony Award this year for their exceptional achievements.”

In addition to TheatreWorks, Bechert has designed for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The Cleveland Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Musical Theatre of San Jose, Opera San Jose, Center Repertory Theatre, the Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Peninsula Youth Theatre, San Jose Children’s Musical Theatre Company, the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas, and many others. She has received more than 20 regional design awards.

View examples of her scenic design online.

A New SJSU.edu Coming July 2019

A new, improved and more accessible San Jose State website will launch July 1. A partnership between University Advancement and Information Technology, the new website helps Spartans efficiently find what they need and enhances the technical functionality of a vital communication tool.

Informed by Transformation 2030, the new content and site architecture showcases the excellent work happening on campus, and connects who San Jose State is as a university to where it is headed. The new website also features a mobile-friendly, responsive design and improved navigation, along with a new set of templates and customizable components designed for adoption by departments throughout campus.

Based on research and feedback from university users, the new design addresses substantial technical challenges and will allow users to more easily navigate the university website.

Preparing to Launch

The new templates have been created in OmniUpdates OU Campus to enhance the experience of both web editors and visitors. SJSU first piloted this new design with the IT website, the university homepage and other pages maintained by Strategic Communications and Marketing in spring 2019. The new templates were then tested on several initial pilot sites to allow the project team to address technical issues and to develop a migration guide with best practices.

Following the pilot phase, departments will be responsible for reviewing their websites. IT and University Advancement will support the migration by sharing best practices, training videos and in-person workshops.

Building the SJSU Brand

The new website content and design aligns with SJSU’s identity. In 2014, SJSU launched its “power” brand that includes storytelling and an integrated visual identity. SJSU’s storytelling focuses on presenting how Spartans use what inspires them to make the world a better place. With the launch of Transformation 2030, SJSU will build on the foundation of the “power” brand and communicate a future-forward vision that places the university and its impact both locally and globally. 

The SJSU story has been expressed in physical spaces such as the Diaz Compean Student Union, at strategic events and throughout the region. SJSU’s recent efforts to build a strong connection to and presence in Silicon Valley include updated street banners and shuttle buses, signage in Avaya and Levi’s stadiums, and a seating area with a 70-foot mural and digital ads at the San Jose International Airport.

Digital communication is vital to strengthening SJSU’s connections with the campus community, locally and around the globe. The website relaunch is an opportunity to better serve the members of the SJSU community. Students, faculty and staff members, and external stakeholders are increasingly using mobile devices and platforms to access SJSU’s website. As Silicon Valley’s public university, SJSU must modernize its web presence to meet the needs of the community—and create more effective digital communications that can be accessed from any device.

The Giving to SJSU and All In: The Campaign for Spartan Football are two examples of the work University Advancement has done to build a more modern online presence. These projects helped SJSU prepare for a university-wide web modernization, as well as drive support for SJSU’s strategic priorities.

For questions or feedback on the website modernization project, please contact website-feedback-group@sjsu.edu.

 

SJSU to Zero: Combating HIV Stigma

SJSU to Zero is the first campaign to promote HIV prevention and combat stigmatization.

By SJSU Research Foundation

SJSU to Zero is the university’s first formal campaign to focus on both HIV prevention and HIV stigma reduction. Its message promotes the availability of screening for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections at the Student Health Center and at off-campus locations throughout Santa Clara County.

Peer health educators promoted SJSU to Zero during the College of Health and Human Sciences Health and Wellness Week in 2018. ( Josie Lepe/San Jose State University )

Peer health educators promoted SJSU to Zero during the College of Health and Human Sciences Health and Wellness Week in 2018. ( Josie Lepe/San Jose State University )

Led by Matthew Capriotti and Director of SJSU’s PRIDE Center and Gender Equity Center Bonnie Sugiyama, the campaign also seeks to create an environment where students feel at ease communicating about their sexual health.

“If our students are comfortable with hearing about and talking about HIV, it destigmatizes the disease and they are more likely to seek out testing and treatment,” explains Sugiyama.

SJSU to Zero student health educators spearhead the project. They table on 7th Street Paseo to educate students one-on-one, collaborate with other campuses to conduct joint events, and partner with SJSU instructors to create innovative assignments that infuse HIV education into course curricula.

Capriotti’s research focuses on the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as on the delivery of evidence-based treatments for Tourette Syndrome and other tic disorders. Yet it is seeing his students become excited about this field of study that is the most rewarding part of his work.

“Our students genuinely care about this project. They enthusiastically engage in the day-to-day work of getting out there on campus and have turned our campaign from an idea to a reality.”

The SJSU to Zero project is sponsored by The Health Trust.

Immigrant Heritage Month: Uyen Bui

Uyen Bui is an incoming transfer student.

Uyen Bui is an incoming transfer student.

During Immigrant Heritage Month, San Jose State University will be telling stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who have unique and inspiring immigrant narratives to share. In addition, we will be highlighting our research, scholarship and creative activities that enhance our understanding of immigration and the contributions of immigrant populations to the fabric of SJSU’s campus community and society at large.

Uyen Bui is an incoming social work student who is transferring to SJSU from DeAnza College in the fall. She wrote to us to share her immigrant story:

I am an immigrant living in the United States for five years. In this foreign land, without parents, I have had to take steps to start a new life by myself. I have learned and experienced many valuable lessons. I was never discouraged, but feel worth myself for every bad and good things I got in life. After being broken, I became stronger, overcame my fears and achieved what I used to think was impossible.

I am proud to be an American soldier. I remember that day at basic training when I tripped and fell four times on the ruck march. I felt super hurt and exhausted under the heavy gear. I was left behind the whole company in the darkness of night, but still kept moving on with a thought in mind to “never give up.” I was not alone on that hard way. Walking with me, my drill sergeant said that I would make it happen. All memories and experiences of the Army and American life are worthwhile to me. I have continued to take new challenges and strived to be my best. I love all of my friends and my family giving me care and motivations.

I love the new country giving me opportunities to grow up and improve myself a lot. Human abilities are unlimited; therefore, never doubt your instinct. What other people can do you also can do. Take pride in your scars!

Spartans, reach out to us at communications@sjsu.edu if you would like to share your immigrant heritage stories.

CSU Chancellor Statement on Parking Program and Outside Accounts Audit Report

California State University (CSU) issued a statement from Chancellor Timothy P. White on the Parking Program and Outside Accounts Audit Report. The California State Auditor conducted an audit of the CSU’s accounts held outside the state treasury, including designated reserve funds and its parking programs. The audit covers a period of 10 years from fiscal years 2008-09 through 2017-18.

The audit report focuses on how CSU reports its fund balances and its policy for maintaining economic reserves. It mischaracterizes CSU Reserve Policy as “discretionary surplus,” which misrepresents the role reserve funds play. According to CSU, reserve funds are “monies associated with campus operations that are held by the campus for specific, designated purposes” used to pay for one-time expenses or to protect against economic uncertainties, not ongoing expenses.

The audit report fails to make clear that CSU’s fund management process aligns with standard industry practice. CSU’s reserves as it stands today would support operations for only two-and-a-half (2.5) months.

CSU has a long-standing commitment to transparency and accountability in its financial operations. In keeping with this commitment, CSU’s financial transparency portal provides the public with the opportunity to view five years of actual revenues and expensesby year, campus and fund.

 

 

Physics Professor’s Latest Findings on AI in Quantum Physics Published in Nature

Fully-connected artificial neural networks are used to analyze ripple in electronic density in experimental images. Image courtesy of Cornell University.

Fully-connected artificial neural networks are used to analyze ripple in electronic density in experimental images. Image courtesy of Cornell University.

Ehsan Khatami, a professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Science, has his latest research published in the journal Nature today in an article entitled “Machine Learning in Electronic-Quantum-Matter Imaging Experiments.” The article shares research that is a collaboration between Khatami and colleagues at Cornell University as well as other institutions on AI-assisted discovery in images of an electronic order in a superconducting material.

A former student of Khatami’s, Kelvin Chng, is cited as an author on the paper and is now working for an AI company in the Bay Area.

“When I first heard about preliminary applications of machine learning methods in condensed matter physics at a conference in spring of 2016, I did not know anything about them,” he said. “I came back from the conference with some ideas on how to use them for quantum problems and quickly found out that Kelvin, who was working on a different project at the time, already knew a lot about artificial intelligence and their applications in industry.”

The pair began working and by the end of the summer had completed a paper that was published a year later in Physical Review X and highlighted in the American Physical Society News. They began collaborating with the Cornell group on designing and testing machine learning algorithms to categorize quantum electronic images of superconducting materials called cuprates.

The images were taken at Cornell using a method called scanning tunnelling microscopy, which maps out real-space patterns of electrons that have self organized into complex quantum states. The images are so noisy and naturally chaotic that conventional methods, like the Fourier analysis, have not been able to decisively pinpoint the type of electronic order found in samples that are close to becoming superconductors in a state dubbed by some physicists the ‘dark matter’ of cuprates.

The team used machine learning for the first time to make sense of data in this mysterious region. They trained a group of artificial neural networks using images that were generated via computer models based on a set of hypotheses, and found that the networks consistently discover the predominant features of a specific ordering pattern whose description dates back to the 1990s.

“It took a long time, many trials, and months of hard work for the collaboration at the beginning to carve out the best strategy to approach and solve the problem, but it all paid off over two years later.”

Immigrant Heritage Month: Serena Alexander

During Immigrant Heritage Month, San Jose State University will be telling stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who have unique and inspiring immigrant narratives to share. In addition, we will be highlighting our research, scholarship and creative activities that enhance our understanding of immigration and the contributions of immigrant populations to the fabric of SJSU’s campus community and society at large.

Serena Alexander, assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning, is of Armenian descent and grew up in Iran.

Serena Alexander, assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning, is of Armenian descent and grew up in Iran.

Serena Alexander is an assistant professor with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. She is of Armenian descent, but was born and raised in Iran.

“I immigrated to the U.S. in January 2009 with my family and resided in Los Angeles. I later moved to Ohio so that I could complete my doctoral studies,” she said. “I became a U.S. citizen in 2014. Coming back to California and starting an academic position was a dream come true. Aside from the fabulous weather, California’s diversity was a major draw for me.”

Alexander joined SJSU in August 2016 and her research focuses on strategies that communities can employ to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to adverse impacts of climate change. She is working with 23 cities in California to examine ways to reduce transportation emissions and build more resilient communities. She is also involved in analyzing the potential impacts of autonomous vehicles and shared mobility on transportation emissions, among other projects.

She said her immigration experience taught her she is stronger than she thought she was, especially when pushing herself outside her comfort zones; it taught her patience in pursuing goals; and to keep trying to achieve her dreams even when facing obstacles.

“I refuse to accept that my goals might be virtually impossible to reach, I convince myself that I have to work harder or be more creative,” she said.

Her heritage allows her to understand the importance of openness to racial, cultural and value diversity, and the role that building strong and connected communities can play in creating an inclusive environment. She ensures her classroom is an inclusive environment and her students are trained to lead strong and diverse communities effectively.

“Most immigrants want to fully integrate into their new society as quickly as possible, but they may not realize that their unique experiences can help them better solve the problems their families or communities encounter in the new context,” she said. “Maybe we can all encourage them to see a greater value in cultural differences and unique experiences.”

And, of course, she also has her favorite Armenian and Persian foods.

“I will never get tired of sweet but not overwhelming Armenian traditional pastries such as gata,” she said. “Persian food is particularly creative and very balanced but takes a long time to prepare. My favorite is fesenjan, a chicken stew with walnut and pomegranate sauce served over basmati rice.”

Spartans, reach out to us at communications@sjsu.edu if you would like to share your immigrant heritage stories.

Immigrant Heritage Month: Erika Onyeise

Erika Onyeise will graduate in December with a degree in psychology and minor in public health. She is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants.

Erika Onyeise will graduate in December with a degree in psychology and minor in public health. She is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants.

During Immigrant Heritage Month, San Jose State University will be telling stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who have unique and inspiring immigrant narratives to share. In addition, we will be highlighting our research, scholarship and creative activities that enhance our understanding of immigration and the contributions of immigrant populations to the fabric of SJSU’s campus community and society at large.

Erika Onyeise was born in 1997, the year after her mother moved to American from Nigeria. Her father first arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s, following a sister to Chicago. He attended college and completed a degree in finance with a minor in business. Around 1995-96, he returned to Nigeria, married Onyeise’s mother and they returned together to the United States. During her childhood in San Diego, her parents worked hard to maintain a connection to their culture in Africa, through get togethers hosted by Nigerian community groups and clubs.

“Growing up, I met a lot of other people and kids who are now like my cousins,” said Onyeise, who is the incoming president of the Nigerian Student Association this fall. “I’ve noticed since my freshman year, there seems to be a bigger population of Black students and Nigerian students. I hope to encourage more people to come and learn more about Nigerian heritage.”

A psychology major who is minoring in public health, Onyeise will be completing her degrees in December. She was first drawn to psychology after taking an advanced placement class in high school at that time in 2015 with several gun violence incidents prominently featured in the news she also wanted to better understand people’s behavior and actions.

“One of my favorite parts of begin an SJSU student is meeting new people from different backgrounds,” she said. “I’m not from the Bay Area and I grew up around a lot of diversity in terms of race, but here there is more diversity, such as sexual orientation and religion.”

She said it is interesting as well to hear the different experiences of African American students, those whose families more recently moved to the U.S. and those from other places such as the Caribbean. One easier identifier is the types of food each group enjoys.

Onyeise has her own favorite foods her mother made while she was growing up, and though she has attempted to make some of the, she said they never quite come out the same as her mother.

“I love eating jollof rice,” she said, of a traditional rice that is turned orange by the tomato paste used to cook it. “It’s served with chicken or meat or fish.”

Another favorite is fried plantains, though Onyeise said the fruit has to be just right – not too soft or too hard – for her liking. When she visited over winter break, her mother showed her how to make a favorite stew dish called egusi. Soups are often accompanied by fufu, a dough-like food traditionally made from cassava flour that Onyeise’s mother has adapted to use Quaker oats.

Being the daughter of immigrants has taught her to persevere, said Onyeise. Her mother taught her to never say she can’t do something.

“‘You don’t say can’t.’ It’s something I will use on my kids someday,” she said. “It helped me. Things happen, but you can always overcome that.”

Spartans, reach out to us at communications@sjsu.edu if you would like to share your immigrant heritage stories.

 

SJSU Media Relations Submits List of 22 Corrections to Spartan Daily’s May 15, 2019 Published Stories

Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to the Spartan Daily on June 13.

Spartan Daily published a series of stories in its May 15, 2019 special edition that contained 22 inaccuracies ranging from allegations of mishandled Spartan Foundation funds and endowments to mismanagement of donor money. On June 13, SJSU Media Relations formally submitted a list of inaccuracies to Spartan Daily with a request to provide readers an accurate account of information by making corrections on its online and print editions. This page provides a full summary of the list submitted to the student newspaper with the inaccuracies highlighted in blue for each statement.

Spartan Daily “Millions Misused” article (05/15/19, print publication, page one)

Statement

Less than 5% of Spartan Foundation money intended for athletic scholarships was distributed to San Jose State athletes from 2013-2016 according to sources and confirmed by document reviewed by the Spartan Daily

Correction

Every donation designated by the donor for athletics scholarships was used for that purpose.


Statement

The Spartan Foundation was marketed to donors on SJSU athletics’ website as a fund that provides athletic scholarships, and was managed as part of the Tower Foundation since 2014.

Correction

Spartan Foundation (SF) is a separate 501(c)3. SF is not managed by Tower Foundation. It deposited its donations into accounts at the Tower Foundation.


Statement

The Spartan Foundation was marketed to donors on SJSU athletics’ website as a fund that provides athletic scholarships, and was managed as part of the Tower Foundation since 2014.

Correction

Bylaws of Spartan Foundation, Inc. (revised, June 20, 2012) articulate the primary purpose of the Spartan Foundation as described below. Fundraising for scholarships was not the only or sole purpose.

BYLAWS OF SPARTAN FOUNDATION, INC. (source document)

ARTICLE II FOUNDATION PURPOSE

Section 1. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE. The primary purpose of the Spartan Foundation is to raise funds to support nearly 450 student-athletes annually for the following;
A. Scholarships for all varsity sports.
B. Assist with the operating budgets and Sports Improvement Funds (coaches’ salaries, travel, equipment, recruiting) for the varsity teams.
C. Building, renovating and maintaining facilities for these teams.
D. Student-Athletes Academic Center and provide support to our academic staff.


Statement

“The Spartan Foundation is the fundraising arm of the San Jose State University Athletics Department,” the website previously stated. “As its primary objective, the Spartan Foundation provides scholarship support for all of San Jose State’s NCAA Division I athletic teams.”

Correction

Primary objective does not equal sole objective.

Bylaws of Spartan Foundation, Inc. (revised, June 20, 2012) articulate the primary purpose of the Spartan Foundation as described below. Fundraising for scholarships was not the only or sole purpose.

BYLAWS OF SPARTAN FOUNDATION, INC. (source document)

ARTICLE II FOUNDATION PURPOSE

Section 1. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE. The primary purpose of the Spartan Foundation is to raise funds to support nearly 450 student-athletes annually for the following;
A. Scholarships for all varsity sports.
B. Assist with the operating budgets and Sports Improvement Funds (coaches’ salaries, travel, equipment, recruiting) for the varsity teams.
C. Building, renovating and maintaining facilities for these teams.
D. Student-Athletes Academic Center and provide support to our academic staff.


Statement

$4.5 million was not distributed per year for athletic scholarships through the foundation fund, according to Spartan Foundation account details.

Correction

As Spartan Foundation fundraising was inadequate to fund all scholarships, SJSU Athletics used other sources of revenue, beyond Spartan Foundation donations, to fully fund all scholarships. Most importantly, all student-athletes who were selected to receive scholarships received them.

Specifically, from 2013 – 2016, SJSU Athletics provided over $25M in student-athlete scholarship aid through multiple revenue sources such as but not limited to sponsorship agreements, television contracts, game guarantees, and ticket sales.

The following data of athletically-related student aid is sourced from EADA (Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act) as SJSU Athletics submits required information to the Department of Education and reported to the NCAA.

Source: EADA (Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act)

Department of Education site:
Survey Year | Athletically-Related Student Aid
2013 | $5,167,667
2014 | $5,733,710
2015 | $6,813,951
2016 | $7,604,545
Total | $25,319,873


Spartan Daily “Demystiying endowments and donations to Tower Foundation” article (05/15/19, print publication, page two)

Statement

Endowment #5. After three years of accruing interest, the revenue from the principal investment is sent from the Tower Foundation to the intended area of use.

Correction

A distribution from the endowment is made every spring based on the trailing three-year average market value of the fund. Distributions from scholarship endowments are directed to the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office; distributions from other endowments are retained in separate accounts at the Tower Foundation. Distributions are not sent to any department other than Financial Aid.


Statement

Donation #2. A donor contract is signed, including the agreed upon amount and where the money will be going. There is no minimum for single-time or recurring donations given.

Correction

Donation #2. Donor contracts are not required for non-endowed donations unless the purpose of the gift is complicated or involves naming a facility or program.


Spartan Daily “What actually happened” (5/15/19, printed version, page three)

Statement

#2. Donors sign a contract, including the agreed upon amount and where the money will be going. There is no minimum amount for single-time or recurring donations.

Correction

#2. Donor contracts are not required for non-endowed donations unless the purpose of the gift is complex or involves naming a facility or program.


Statement

#3. The money should be processed through the Tower Foundation, and then distributed to the area of use based on the donors’ original intent. Donations are given out the same year as donated unless specified in the donor contract.

Correction

#3. The money should be processed through the Tower Foundation, where it is available for the purpose specified for the donor. Donations are not given out in the same year as they are on deposit in a Tower account for the area (college/division/department/program) designated by the donor to utilize for the intended purpose depending when the funds are needed. It could be next month or even the following year – as it depends upon variables such as donation amount, timing of the gift, and other funds available for the area’s needs.


Spartan Daily “San Jose State’s commitment. Donor Bill of Rights” (5/15/19, printed version, page three)

Statement

The Donor Bill of Rights is an agreed upon list of rights and regulations for donors and San Jose State respectively.

Correction

The Donor Bill of Rights is an agreed upon list of donor rights considered best practices for charitable organizations. San Jose State and the Tower Foundation subscribe to the Donor Bill of Rights.


Spartan Daily “Timeline” (printed version, page four and five)

Statement

According to Spartan Foundation documents reviewed by the Spartan Daily, the foundation had more than $4.5 million in total revenue that year and $0 was transferred to athletic scholarships..

Correction

Of the $4.5 million of revenue, almost $3.3 million was a transfer of Spartan Foundation balances from SJSU to the Tower Foundation.


Statement

The Tower Foundation sets up a separate branch strictly for athletic donations, hiring Josh Thiel to be the university’s first-ever deputy athletics director for advancement.

Correction

University Advancement sets up a separate branch strictly for athletic donations, hiring Josh Thiel to be the university’s first-ever deputy athletics director for advancement. However, prior to the establishment of Athletics Advancement, different individuals in Athletics were involved with fundraising.


Spartan Daily “Address confusion leads to incorrect deposits of donor money” (05/15/19, printed version, page eight)

Statement

The university then announced in 2014 that the Spartan Foundation account was moved out of athletics and into the Tower Foundation, according to the Spartan Athletics website.

Correction

In 2013, Athletics opened accounts for the Spartan Foundation with the Tower Foundation, which it subsequently used for depositing donations.


Statement

In 2016, four individuals received more than $150,000 in compensation from the Tower Foundation and “related organizations,” including Faas, Bleymaier, Andy Feinstein, the provost and vice president of academic affairs, and Coleetta McElroy, the president of the SJSU Alumni Association

Correction

As an authorized auxiliary of SJSU, Tower and SJSU are related entities. The IRS requires disclosure of board directors’ compensation from related entities. In 2016, the Tower Foundation’s 990 listed 26 individuals who were affiliated with Tower Foundation. Eight individuals, not four as listed in the article, were from related entities. Other than Bleymaier, none of the eight individuals were paid by the Tower Foundation.


Spartan Daily “Endowments mishandled” (05/15/19, printed version, page eight)

Statement

“Endowments held by each school are not even all distributed,” one source said.

Correction

Endowment distributions are made annually unless the donor requests distributions only be made after a certain date.


Statement

“There are cases where endowments have not been spent with donor intent.”

Correction

In the rare instances that endowment spending isn’t aligned with the donor’s intention for the funds, department personnel are advised what permitted uses are.


Statement

The sources said they saw Tower Foundation money distributed to individual colleges, but the deans spent the money against donors’ intent. When the donors came back to ask where the money went, the Tower Foundation realized the mistakes made by individual colleges.

Correction

This broad statement falsely implies all distributions were mishandled by the colleges. In the rare instances that spending is outside the donor’s intent, Tower Foundation requests the expenditure be paid from another account. At times, Tower has sought donor permission for exceptions.


Statement

Student scholarships sit in the Tower Foundation because sometimes the deans have a hard time reading the Tower Foundation quarterly report or the deans didn’t know the scholarship money existed, sources said.

Correction

Within 90 days of a new dean or vice president starting, Tower Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer meets with each of them and reviews every single endowment and current use account in their college, answering questions and providing copies of source documents they need. Donations for student scholarships were transferred to the Financial Aid and Scholarship office two years ago after a Chancellor’s Office audit recommended that scholarships be held in a single location.


Statement

The sources also said that when development officers in charge of donor accounts leave their job, their endowment accounts were forgotten about.

Correction

Endowment account holders (whether they be the dean, department chair or program director) receive monthly reports showing endowment distribution balances and spending. The focus of development officers is on cultivating major gifts rather than accounting for funds in their colleges. Tower Foundation has a senior accountant whose focus is the endowment; this individual not only answers questions, but also alerts the dean or department when an endowment isn’t being used.


Statement

Kuehn was hired in December of 2016, and since then, Tower Foundation employees said an accounting system in the Tower Foundation has been instituted to ensure donor money is properly logged and going exactly where it is intended.

Correction

The endowment system referred to as an accounting system was brought online in 2015 by Kuehn’s predecessor. The endowment system streamlined many processes, but prior to it there were internal controls which were designed to ensure donor funds were appropriately used. Tower Foundation has an annual financial audit by an accounting firm approved by the campus and the Chancellor’s Office. There have been no findings nor deficiencies identified by the auditors. The Tower Foundation also has a rigorous triennial Chancellor’s Office audit. There have been no endowment findings or deficiencies identified by the Chancellor’s Office auditors.


Spartan Daily “Tower reforms and resignation” (05/15/19, printed version, page eight)

Statement

In 2018, the Tower Foundation set up a separate branch strictly for athletic donations, hiring Josh Thiel to be the university’s first-ever deputy athletics director for athletics advanement.

Correction

University Advancement sets up a separate branch strictly for athletic donations, hiring Josh Thiel to be the university’s first-ever deputy athletics director for advancement. However, prior to the establishment of Athletics Advancement, different individuals in Athletics were involved with fundraising.


Statement

Then, after being called the Spartan Foundation since 1958, the Spartan Foundation was renamed the Spartan Athletics Fund in August of 2018.

Correction

The Spartan Foundation wasn’t renamed. The annual fundraising Spartan Foundation used to do was taken over by Athletics Advancement. The annual fund was named Spartan Athletics Fund.


Statement

President Papazian announced the resignation of Paul Lanning, who was the CEO of the Tower Foundation

Correction

Paul Lanning was VP for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation


Spartan Daily “Budget reports disguise fund” (05/15/19, print publication, page eight)

Statement

The Spartan Foundation reported in its 2014 990 EZ tax filings that it had received $0 in gifts, grants, contributions and membership fees. However, according to the documents reviewed by the Spartan Daily, almost $1.5 million was collected that year.

Correction

Spartan Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, utilized its accounts at the Tower Foundation for depositing funds raised starting in 2013. As a result, the Spartan Foundation was no longer the legal recipient and therefore its 990 EZ tax form stated $0 received in gifts, grants, contributions and membership fees.


 

Read past related media statements and university communications regarding the Spartan Foundation.

 

Immigrant Heritage Month: Maliha Williamson

During Immigrant Heritage Month, San Jose State University will be telling stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who have unique and inspiring immigrant narratives to share. In addition, we will be highlighting our research, scholarship and creative activities that enhance our understanding of immigration and the contributions of immigrant populations to the fabric of SJSU’s campus community and society at large.

Maliha Williamson,' 04 BS, '11 MS Chemical Engineering, moved from Pakistan to Oakland with her family in 1991.

Maliha Williamson,’ 04 BS, ’11 MS Chemical Engineering, moved from Pakistan to Oakland with her family in 1991.

Maliha Williamson, ’04 BS, ’11 MS, Chemical Engineering moved to Oakland from Pakistan in 1991.

“My parents decided to move for a better opportunity for their children and we made full use of that,” she said.

The SJSU alumna prides herself on being the first woman engineer in her family and notes that her older sister is a dermatologist with her own practice in Avon, Conn. and her brother Mohsin Waqar, ’06 Mechanical Engineering, is also a Spartan. After completing his degree at SJSU went on to pursue his masters in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Robotics at Georgia Tech University, and  is now a Servo Control Manager in Advanced Mechatronics Group at Applied Materials and

Maliha Williamson and her brtoher Mosin Waqar both graduated from SJSU.

Maliha Williamson and her brtoher Mosin Waqar both graduated from SJSU.

When the family first arrived, Williamson said they were not without their struggles. Her father opened a video store, and although business was good, he had to work 12-hour shifts. She and her mom would help after school in the shop, to relieve him for an hour or two.

“I would take my textbooks along and still remember spreading them out on the main checkout counter,” she said. “The customers would appreciate a little 11-year-old girl making the best of her time.”

She said she learned about running a business and customer relations. When she was admitted to SJSU and decided to major in chemical engineering, she stepped away from the family business to focus on her studies. She counts her college years as some of the best in her life.

“I even came back and got my master’s at SJSU because I loved it that much,” she said.

Still, one of her greatest challenges came in 2003, when Williamson’s mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. She was faced with the decision of continuing her education or being there for her mom.  She considered her mom her greatest strength, and even wrote an essay on her in her freshman year at SJSU titled “An Angel By My Side.”

“I almost decided to take some time off, not knowing how much time I had with my mom,” she said. “But my advisor and mentor Dr. Melanie McNeil was really there for me and made me think about dropping out. I decided to stick it through and am thankful to her to this day.”

Williamson’s mom also wanted her to complete her education and didn’t want her illness get in the way of her daughter’s dreams. Her mom went through seven chemotherapy treatments over the next four years and eventually lost her battle to ovarian cancer on December 13, 2007.

Williamson went on to complete her master’s at SJSU and has had a successful career. Today Williamson is working as a technical sales engineer at Heatcraft Refrigeration, one of the largest manufacturer of Commercial Refrigeration in the U.S and was the best salesperson for the Southwest region Sales Team in 2018.

Spartans, reach out to us at communications@sjsu.edu if you would like to share your immigrant heritage stories.

Immigrant Heritage Month: Norma Acosta

During Immigrant Heritage Month, San Jose State University will be telling stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who have unique and inspiring immigrant narratives to share. In addition, we will be highlighting our research, scholarship and creative activities that enhance our understanding of immigration and the contributions of immigrant populations to the fabric of SJSU’s campus community and society at large.

Norma Acosta, '93 Criminal Justice Administration, is a deputy city attorney for the city of San Jose.

Norma Acosta, ’93 Criminal Justice Administration, is a senior deputy city attorney for the city of San Jose.

Norma Acosta, ’93 Criminal Justice Administration (now Justice Studies), is senior deputy city attorney for the City of San Jose. She wrote to us to share her immigrant story:

I am an immigrant. I am here because my parents wanted a better life for their children. I was 5 years old when we arrived to the U.S. from Mexico, and 6 when we were all deported. We returned and eventually became permanent residents, but my parents never fully recovered from the setback of being deported. With an unstable home to live in, I struggled through high schools and spent several years in community college. My transfer to SJSU was my turning point. SJSU believed in me and gave me a sense of accomplishment and the courage and preparation to succeed in law school. Now a lawyer for over 20 years, I still look back at my time at SJSU and am grateful and honored to be a SJSU alumni.

Spartans, reach out to us at communications@sjsu.edu if you would like to share your immigrant heritage stories.

Immigrant Heritage Month: Karl Cheng

During Immigrant Heritage Month, San Jose State University will be telling stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who have unique and inspiring immigrant narratives to share. In addition, we will be highlighting our research, scholarship and creative activities that enhance our understanding of immigration and the contributions of immigrant populations to the fabric of SJSU’s campus community and society at large.

Karl Cheng, '19 Business with a concentration in corporate accounting and finance, immigrated from the Philippines to California with his family.

Karl Cheng, ’19 Business with a concentration in corporate accounting and finance, immigrated from the Philippines to California with his family.

Karl Cheng, ’19 Business with a concentration in corporate accounting and finance wrote to us to share the following story:

I am an immigrant from the Philippines. I arrived here when I was 13 to Los Angeles and I have lived half my life in this country. With my immigrant story, I have found strength within myself and appreciation of my fellow immigrants who have moved to the States for greener pastures. I am armored with a sense of adventure and growth. I am living in Orlando, Florida to start a college program in Walt Disney World and I am hoping for success in this place. I went to San Jose State from Los Angeles with the same push for adventure and I can proudly say that I have achieved what I hoped for in the Bay Area, to finish my degree in two years. Thanks to San Jose for teaching me to find strength and value in diversity. I will always apply what I learned beyond the College of Business towards my professional journey and personal growth.

Spartans, reach out to us at communications@sjsu.edu if you would like to share your immigrant heritage stories.

Armenian Delegation Visits with SJSU and Tech Leaders

Mary Papazian, San JoseŽ State University President, greets Hakob Arshakyan, Armenia minister of high-technological industries, as she meets with local and Armenian tech leaders on campus May 29, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Mary Papazian, San Jose State University President, greets Hakob Arshakyan, Armenia minister of high-technological industries, as she meets with local and Armenian tech leaders on campus May 29, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

San Jose State University leaders hosted officials from Armenia May 29 in efforts to further explore potential opportunities for partnerships in a place that was named by The Economist in December 2018 as its “country of the year.” The designation celebrates the country that has made the most progress in the past 12 months, and this year Armenia was recognized falling a peaceful revolution last spring that led to new leadership that is committed to “democracy and renewal.”

“It was great hosting a delegation from Armenia today,” said President Mary Papazian, who is herself the daughter of Armenian immigrants. “Their keen interest in entrepreneurship and industry intersects with SJSU’s strengths so we are actively seeking joint opportunities.”

College of Professional and Global Education Ruth Huard said the delegation comprised university educators, members of the Armenian ministry and leaders from private companies in high tech.

“At our university, we realize that in order to develop and grow—if SJSU wants to have a significant footprint in innovation and technology, we need all those three distinct groups to work together,” she said. “Armenia is poised and in an advantageous position where those three sectors – government, educational institutions, and private companies – are aligning.”

SJSU administrators and Silicon Valley technology leaders met with a delegation from Armenia that included government and university officials, and Armenian tech leaders on campus May 29, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

SJSU administrators and Silicon Valley technology leaders met with a delegation from Armenia that included government and university officials, and Armenian tech leaders on campus May 29, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Following a revolution last year that ousted a long-time president from power, the new leadership in Armenia is looking for ways to move the economy forward, to develop their talent and allow the country to flourish. The visit on May 29 brought members of the new government including Hakob Arshakyan, minister of high-technological industries; Armen Baibourtian, consul general of Armenia in Los Angeles; Artur Grigoryan, assistant to the minister; Varazdat Pahlavuni, counselor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who all expressed support for working with SJSU and Silicon Valley entities.

SJSU officials visited Armenia in spring 2018 for initial talks about potential partnership opportunities and Huard said some progress has already been made. Since then, university leaders from Armenia have visited SJSU to learn more about the STEM curriculum offered to students here.

“We had a cohort from one of their data sciences graduate programs visit our program and attend a couple classes,” Huard said. “They realized that we have relationships with industry partners who come and engage with our students and pose real-word problems to them. They are working on revising their curriculum to match ours.”

While Armenian universities have a strong background in teaching STEM fields and an intellectual capacity, they are hoping to learn from SJSU and Silicon Valley how to teach innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Our applied and experiential learning approach is what makes us the workforce engine for Silicon Valley,” Huard said. “These partnerships are mutually beneficial.”

SJSU administrators met with a delegation from Armenia that included government and university officials, and Armenian tech leaders on campus May 29, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

SJSU administrators met with a delegation from Armenia that included government and university officials, and Armenian tech leaders on campus May 29, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

During a working lunch, the government officials and CEOs from Armenia met with local technology leaders, SJSU deans, SJSU’s Vice President for Information Technology/Chief Information Officer Bob Lim and incoming Vice President for Research and Innovation Mohamed Abousalem.

“Having lunch with Minister Arshakyan was an incredible opportunity,” Lim said. “Technology industry executives from IBM, Logitech, and Plug and Play and more came to campus to meet with Armenia’s dignitaries and CEOs to build international connections. These kinds of partnerships create a new ecosystem for SJSU, investors, and technology industries in support of our students.”