Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: CeeJay Fangonilo

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

CeeJay Fangonilo

CeeJay Fangonilo

CeeJay Fangonilo
Major and expected Graduation date:
Business Administration with a concentration in marketing, Fall 2019

Why did you become an orientation leader?
I decided to become an orientation leader here at SJSU ever since I volunteered to be one at my community college. I wanted to inspire students to really grasp their vision and goals of who they envision themselves to be within their first semester or first year at this institution and what goals they want to accomplish by then. I want to help them feel less anxious about their first day of school, I want them to be more prepared, to encourage them to utilize all their resources offered by SJSU, and to not be afraid of failures and challenges that come along the way in their first year of college. Impacting at least one student in any way during my sessions, will be the thing I’ll be most grateful for in my heart.

What is your favorite part of orientation?
My favorite part of orientation is when I’m able to break through to my students and have them open up more and be more comfortable around me because I feel that once I make that connection with them, they ask me more questions about SJSU, campus life, my own college journey, and so much more. In this way, I know that they’re enjoying their first interaction/experience here at SJSU to make their transition to college easier.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
My number one piece of advice I would offer to incoming students is to get involved on campus in any way, shape, or form. It’s important to do more than just go to class, study, do your homework, and go home. You’ll start to really find SJSU to be your home away from home once you get yourself involved on campus because that’s how you get to really connect and network with other students at your institution. When you’re ready and comfortable, get out of your comfort zone, do something new, and discover something new about yourself! Another important advice is to never forget about your mental health! It’s just as important because if you’re not in the right headspace, things can get difficult and if you ever find yourself in a tough situation, we have resources students can take advantage of in the Wellness Center. Don’t ever invalidate your feelings and just know you’re never alone although that might seem hard to remember when you’re caught up in the moment. 

What is your favorite SJSU experience?
My favorite experience at SJSU so far has to be meeting the people I’ve met through the orientation program, through Greek life, and through the clubs I decided to get myself involved in because they really made my time here at SJSU special and worthwhile. SJSU wasn’t my first choice at all but since I decided to get myself involved, I’ve fallen in love with this institution and I don’t regret my choice of coming here. I’ve grown so much in the short time I was here at SJSU and I’m glad that this orientation program played a really big part in that. Without this opportunity to interact with thousands of students who come from different walks of life with such diverse backgrounds for two summers even with my diverse group of teammates I work with and leading the new orientation leaders my second year, I wouldn’t be the person I’ve become without this program. Much love and support to my orientation family! You’ll always have a special place in my heart.

What has been your favorite class?
My favorite class I’ve taken here at SJSU was probably my social media marketing class (a marketing elective) because it really geared my curiosity to really learn about this topic in the business realm and it made me realize that I want to have my future job involved within social media marketing. My professor even went as far as getting our whole class certified with the Hootsuite program that is a very useful tool in marketing and I’m thankful for that because that puts me one up from others when I apply for jobs and it shows how professors like her really care about their students and their future, wanting them to succeed in life.

Other thoughts on SJSU?
I would also like to add that It’s never too late to get involved! As a transfer here at SJSU, I know we feel older and feel a little bit out of place. Just remember that this is your college experience, so don’t let anything or anyone else’s opinion hold you back from going after what you want! You’re only an undergraduate once, so do all you can, but remember to balance it all out.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Jeanne Trang

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Jeanne Trang

Jeanne Trang

Jeanne Trang

Major and expected Graduation date: 

Social Science in Prep for Teaching, Spring 2020

Why did you become an orientation leader?

During my own orientation in Summer 2017, my orientation leader — Natalya B., allowed me to feel at ease and excited for my first year here at SJSU. Which in turn inspired me to apply and become an orientation leader myself. I was a bit nervous in the beginning because I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this role. But knowing how big of an impact I can have on the incoming students motivated me to apply because I wanted to provide that same experience for them!

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part about orientation is the different connections that I have built with my students and the knowledge I now have about my campus because it truly helped me realize the number of amazing resources and support my campus has to offer — which has to lead me to fall in love with this school and program even more! 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Think of yourself as a rubber band. You can only be stretched so far before you snap. So prioritize yourself and your mental health. But also don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something you normally wouldn’t try. Take college as a platform for test trials and errors. Because you for sure would rather live a life filled with “Oh” rather than “What ifs”!

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience so far at SJSU would be the number of opportunities I have been able to experience. Whether it is getting involved within orientation, Associated Students, or even other clubs and organizations — I strongly feel like it has allowed me to become a better individual as well as a leader and student. 

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class that I have taken so far would be the UNVS 199 course. This class is definitely a highlight for me because it allowed me to self explore my leadership style as well as providing me skills that I can use for other experiences. It is definitely something that is hard to explain and something you need to experience yourself. 

SJSU Braven Program Shows Promising Results

Braven, a career accelerator, launched a pilot program at San Jose State University in 2014 with 17 students. In its 2018-19 Impact Report released on July 23, Braven founder and CEO Aimee Eubanks Davis shared that the program has served 1,600 underrepresented college students to date at three universities. Early data is showing promising outcomes for participants.

“Given our initial promising results, we are projected to grow dramatically to serve 5,000 new Fellows over the next three years at our three current university partners,” wrote Aimee Eubanks Davis, founder and CEO, in an email announcing the release of the report.

Braven Fellows join a cohort of other students who enroll in a one-semester course in which they engage with coaches, followed up with one-on-one mentoring, networking opportunities and career fluency experiences. Through the program, students connect with a leadership coach from a tech firm or business who meets with them in person to discuss career development. SJSU has partnered with coaches from LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and Teach for America, among other employers.

“The most valuable part of the Braven experience is the organized tools that are given to help us succeed with our assignments and apply to the real world,” said Dylan Dutt,’18 Electrical Engineering and a 2016 Braven Fellow.

Dutt is working as a sales engineering for Johnson Controls.

The career accelerator program launched a pilot at San Jose State University in 2014, and expanded to two other universities since then, including National Louis University and Rutgers University-Newark. Of the 300 Braven Fellows who graduated in 2016-2018, 69 percent had landed a strong full-time job or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

This compares to the national average of 54 percent and 46 percent for black and Latinx students from public universities.

Other notable results include:

  • 48% of Bravengraduates are already out-earning their parents’ combined income from when they were growing up;
  • 48% of Bravengraduates have received a promotion since entering the workforce; and
  • 75% report that they are able to put away savings with their current income, which is a significant improvement over the national average: 41% of millennials (age 25-34) report having $0 saved in their savings account.

Braven will follow the career paths of the 370 Braven Fellows who graduated with the class of 2019. The program has plans to expand to serving 5,000 new fellows over the next three years.

“Braven helps you become a better you,” said Antoinette Martin, a 2016 Braven Fellow who plans to complete her bachelor’s in computer engineering in 2020. “In a matter of weeks, I gained the insight of Silicon Valley’s most successful leaders, obtained a solid foundation of my aspirations and made lifelong connections.”

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Miranda Morrison

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Miranda Morrison

Miranda Morrison

Miranda Morison

Major and expected Graduation date: 

International Business, Spring 2021

Why did you become an orientation leader?

Because my Orientation Leader made me fall in love with SJSU and I want to do the same for incoming Spartans!

What is your favorite part of orientation?

I love connecting with my students and staff and making San Jose State and welcoming and exciting as possible. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

To be comfortable with being uncomfortable, to put themselves out there and get involved!

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

Being an Orientation Leader has BY FAR been my favorite experience at SJSU. I’m excited to study abroad in the fall too!

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite classes were Global Sport and Theater Appreciation and my favorite event was Fire on the Fountain. 

Other thoughts on SJSU?

I want new students to believe that this campus belongs to them just as much as it does to everyone else!

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Oners Martinez

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Oners Silva

Oners Silva

Oners Silva Martinez

Major and expected Graduation date: 

Sociology, Spring 2021

Why did you become an orientation leader?

I decided to become an Orientation Leader because I wanted to change lives for the better. I wanted to give students a better Orientation experience than what I went through. Coming in as a new student on campus, I know what it feels like being lost and not having the guidance that is needed to be successful as a student.

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part of orientation is when we meet the students in our small groups. Seeing how students develop from the morning to the end of orientation is always rewarding to see.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

The advice I would give to incoming students is to step out of their comfort zone, be your authentic self and always stay uncomfortable. On the academic side, students should always meet with their academic advisors every semester at least once.

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience at SJSU has been making it onto the Dean’s List for my academic achievements.

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class so far has been Nutrition Science 144 where I learned about our current food system and the barriers that exist for people to get certain foods in the world.

Other thoughts on SJSU?

San Jose State chose you for a reason, so make the best out of this experience. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Tyrah Nicole Hicks

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Tyrah Hicks

Tyrah Hicks

Tyrah Nicole Hicks

Major and expected Graduation date: 

Business Marketing Major, Spring 2021

Why did you become an orientation leader?

I decided to become an orientation leader because I wanted to broaden my horizons at SJSU, and get more involved on campus while being a good resource for all the incoming students I get to meet.

What is your favorite part of orientation? 

My favorite part is seeing the impact I made on the students! Having them ask me questions and feel comfortable. I also like to see myself grow throughout the months as well.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

It is okay to make mistakes. It is a part of growing up. When those mistakes do arise, remember to always rise above them and things will always go on.

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience every year at SJSU is Homecoming Week! Our event Fire on the Fountain is such a cool experience that I love having with my friends. 

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class so far would probably be Intro to Business (BUS 010) because it went over all the different aspects of business and had us go out and do hands on experience with our future jobs!

Other thoughts on SJSU?

SJSU is definitely a force to be reckoned with! I’m glad I chose this college because I could not see myself going anywhere else.

SJSU Global: Spartans Support Refugees in Greece

San Jose State University and I-House alumna Momoko Iwagami works with children at the Happy Caravan school in Thermopylae, where she teaches refugee children.

San Jose State University and I-House alumna Momoko Iwagami works with children at the Happy Caravan school in Thermopylae, Greece, where she teaches refugee children.

San Jose State University is dedicated to providing access to relevant educational programs that allow individuals to gain knowledge and skills that create a solid foundation for them to be engaged and productive members of a global society while also allowing opportunities for faculty to engage in research, scholarship and creative activities with global impacts. In a series called “SJSU Global,” we will be sharing stories of how our students, faculty and staff engage around the world and how people from around the world engage with SJSU.

In 2012, three students met at San Jose State University’s Phyllis Forward Simpkins International House. One was a business major from Japan, one from England studied film, and the other from France graduated with a master’s degree in physics. Little did they know back then, but their paths would converge this summer at schools for refugees in Greece.

Coincidentally 13 current SJSU students were in Greece this summer doing journalism fieldwork on the refugee crisis, as part of a study-abroad program with Professor Diane Guerrazzi.

These Spartans, converged this June in the land of Sparta, near Athens, through the long-distance efforts of Leann Cherkasky Makhini, director of the SJSU International House.

The students visited Happy Caravan, a school in Thermopylae, serving 200 refugee children who arrived from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. The focus is on education, art and creativity, cinema and sports activities. I-House alumna Momoko Iwagami who worked there as a
volunteer will start this fall as executive director of the organization, while I-House alumna Marie Hobdon is in charge of a campus in Malakasa.

“You see a huge shift in the children,” Hobson said. “I’ve been here almost six months…the children are tall and healthy. It’s amazing.”

The visit was one of many stops along the three-week trip in which the SJSU students explored questions of how refugees are impacting the economy in these countries, as well as what migrants face when they arrive.  The students interviewed refugees, local residents, business owners, government officials and aid workers.

Journalism student Cindy Cuellar produced a photo essay, and Gabriel Mungaray created a news video about the school. Mungaray noted that more than a million refugees flooded into Greece in 2015-16, before the Balkan border closed in 2016. Refugees continue to pour into Greece where they are kept in overcrowded camps, awaiting approval of asylum applications.

The school is run by a Dutch nonprofit. Iwagami is considering registering the school as a nonprofit in the United States. She and Hobson are also looking for interns and donors from the United States. The interns would learn about Happy Caravan, and they may help develop a financial model that is more sustainable than single donations.

“I hope that coming to Happy Caravan will do many things, but first I hope it is a catalyst for people to leave with their eyes less clouded,” Hobson said. “That they see something they haven’t seen before.”

The third alumni connection includes “Magic Tony,” from France, who completed a master’s in physics while living in SJSU’s I-House. Tony, who asked not to use his last name, has been traveling the world performing for underprivileged children with a company called Magic Brothers World. He thrilled the refugee children with his act at the Malakasa location while Professor Guerrazzi was visiting, proving once again that Spartan spirit knows no boundaries.

Read more stories produced by SJSU Journalism and Mass Communications on their SJSU Italy & Greece WordPress Blog.

Did you travel on a faculty-led program this summer or are you an international student arriving at #SJSU this fall? Share your #SJSUGlobal experience! Email your stories and photos to: communiations@sjsu.edu.

Message Regarding Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting

Editor’s Note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff July 29, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.

Dear campus community,

The San Jose State community and I once again are filled with heartache and mourning as we share in the pain, sadness and outrage of another horrific tragedy that has hit so close to home for many of us. Yesterday’s senseless mass shooting at the beloved annual garlic festival in Gilroy shattered a family community cornerstone tradition that has been celebrated for over 41 years.

I know the entire SJSU community shares my grief and sorrow since many of our own faculty, staff, students and alumni are personally connected in one way or another to our neighboring community of Gilroy — less than 35 miles from campus. We pause to reflect and mourn with family members and friends of those who were lost and injured.

Some of our students, faculty and staff members may experience a variety of difficult emotions, including grief, fear, anxiety and even depression. Some members also may experience a heightened awareness about safety. Please remember that SJSU offers a wide range of services to students and employees who need support, including counseling and psychological services. Support is also available to SJSU staff and employees through our Employee Assistance Program.

The well-being and safety of all of our students, faculty, and staff members are important priorities. Although we have no indication of any threats, as a reminder, if you witness or receive threats to safety, please contact University Police at 408-924-2222 or dial 911.

As we pause and process the unavoidable questions of why and how this tragedy took place, I ask that you join me in coming together to console our families and friends of Gilroy. We stand with them to condemn this random act of hatred and violence and offer them our support in whatever way we can.

Sincerely,
Dr. Mary A. Papazian
President

SJ Earthquakes Award Scholarship to Mt. Pleasant Grad

Azusena Reyes shows her excitement after receiving the San Jose Earthquakes East Side Promise Scholarship during freshman orientation at San Jose State University on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Azusena Reyes shows her excitement after receiving the San Jose Earthquakes East Side Promise Scholarship during freshman orientation at San Jose State University on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

At San Jose State University’s frosh orientation on July 16, Azusena Reyes said her heart started beating faster when the words San Jose Earthquakes Spartan East Side Promise Scholarship flashed across the screen during the welcome session.

“When I heard my name called, I was so shocked,” said the Mt. Pleasant High School graduate who will be attending SJSU in the fall. “The first thing I wanted to do was tell my mom and dad I won. It is more for them –to tell them I made it and that my accomplishments are because of my parents.”

Azusena Reyes, photographed with her parents (on the right), is presented the East Side Promise Scholarship by San Jose Earthquakes representatives during freshman orientation at San Jose State University on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Azusena Reyes, photographed with her parents (on the right), is presented the East Side Promise Scholarship by San Jose Earthquakes representatives during freshman orientation at San Jose State University on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Her parents were in on the surprise and had been notified a couple of weeks before by SJSU’s Financial Aid Office. They kept quiet, and Reyes experienced excitement and lots of emotions when her name was called.

“Having the opportunity to attend SJSU on a full scholarship for the first year is an amazing gift, to say the least,” she said. “I promise to use this opportunity in a profound way and pay tribute to those involved with the scholarship by committing myself to maintaining a high GPA while making a difference within the SJSU community.”

She learned about the Earthquakes scholarship, from Amanda Aldama, SJSU admissions counselor/recruiter-Spartan East Side Promise (SESP) coordinator. Through a variety of interactive workshops, events, and programming, SESP provides a pathway to admission at SJSU, and strives to prepare students and their families for the college academic expectations, by connecting students to campus resources prior to the start of their freshman year. The SESP also offers guaranteed admission to eligible students who graduate from a high school in the district. Through this partnership, the San Jose Earthquakes Spartan East Side Promise Scholarship provides one student admitted through the SESP special admissions program with funding for their first year of tuition and on-campus housing.

Reyes said her parents both immigrated to the San Jose area from Oaxaca, Mexico. She was born in east San Jose and watched her parents work hard to provide new opportunities for her and her brother. Her mother didn’t speak English but learned so she could get a job as a paraeducator and become a U.S. citizen. Her father worked two jobs as a landscaper.

“They came from one of the poorest states in Mexico and established a home and careers,” Reyes said. “I saw the endurance it took them. They inspired me to develop leadership and learn from their hardships.”

Reyes, who is an avid San Jose Earthquake fan, said she had visited the SJSU campus since she entered high school on field trips with her Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) club.

“The campus feels like a community and there is a lot of diversity,” she said. “There are so many students from different walks of life.”

She noted the sculptures and murals on campus that celebrate human rights activists, such as Cesar Chavez.

Reyes plans to be a software engineering major and first got interested in the field when she attended a Girls Who Code program her junior year. She spent six weeks at Facebook headquarters learning about computer science.

“I am interested in helping to close the gender gap in technology,” she said.”

This summer, she is getting a head start on her studies as part of Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) program at San Jose State University. The students selected for the three-week challenge are part of SJSU’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program.

“I’m learning a lot of material, including python and java,” she said. “For the last week we will visit Google to help us with our final project. This program teaches and improves our coding skills as well as networking.”

SJSU and Education Design Labs Expand Digital Skills Badge Program

Don Fraser, Jr., left, Education Designer, Director of Micro-Credentialing, of Education Design Lab,  gave a presentation to SJSU faculty, and members of Cisco Systems and Enterprise Holdings on the campus of San Jose State University on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. San Jose State University in partnership with Education Design Labs, Cisco and Enterprise Holdings during a focus group in fall 2018. ( Josie Lepe/San Jose State University )

Don Fraser, Jr., left, Education Designer, Director of Micro-Credentialing, of Education Design Lab, gave a presentation to SJSU faculty, and members of Cisco Systems and Enterprise Holdings on the campus of San Jose State University on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. San Jose State University in partnership with Education Design Labs, Cisco and Enterprise Holdings during a focus group in fall 2018. ( Josie Lepe/San Jose State University )

San Jose State University will continue its 21st Century Skills Badge pilot program this fall in partnership with Education Design Labs. Education Design Labs is a nonprofit focused on designing, implementing and scaling new learning models for higher education and the future of work. The nonprofit received a grant from Lumina Foundation to expand its micro-credential program in three U.S regions through partnerships with universities and employers.

The Education Design Lab first connected with SJSU’s Career Center leaders and educators in fall 2018. Through focus groups with faculty, students and employers, they begin designing a digital skills badge program that would benefit students and potential employers. The pilot program launched in spring 2019, with two partner employers who offered to virtually review resumes of potential candidates, Cisco Systems and Enterprise Holdings.

“New, AI-driven recruiting methods enable employers to assess fit for roles based on disaggregated bundles of skills rather than college majors alone,” said Catherine Voss Plaxton, SJSU Career Center director, in advance of the pilot roll-out. “In other words, the sociology student may be a perfect fit for a user-experience position if they can provide evidence they have right mix of skills.  The process of earning a 21st Century Skills Badge can be a strong way to shift student understanding of those skills from the abstract to the specific behaviors valued in workplaces.”

Meg Virick, interim associate dean of Undergraduate Programs in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, attended a focus group last fall with other colleagues to provide input into designing the pilot.

“Preparing students for the workforce has always been a high priority for us, and the focus group held Dec. 10 exemplified that effort – bringing together representatives from industry, academia and the non-profit world around the table,” she said.

SJSU started the pilot with three badge options–oral communication, collaboration and creative problem solving. During the pilot semester, 54 students registered and participated in the program. The grant will allow SJSU to expand the pilot program over the next two years with a goal of expanding participation to 1,000 students with five to seven employer partners.

Senior students participate in the digital badges workshop on the campus of San Jose State University on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. San Jose State University in partnership with Education Design Labs, Cisco and Enterprise Holdings. Program testing how digital skills badges in combination with an excellent academic experience can help graduates become more employable.( Josie Lepe/San Jose State University )

Senior students participate in the digital badges workshop on the campus of San Jose State University on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. San Jose State University in partnership with Education Design Labs, Cisco and Enterprise Holdings. Program testing how digital skills badges in combination with an excellent academic experience can help graduates become more employable.( Josie Lepe/San Jose State University )

“Today’s employers are desperate for applicants with the right combination of technical and mobility skills. In most cases, it’s not that employers don’t have enough applicants. More often, they lack a clear signal of hard-to-measure skills that lead to long-term employee retention and success,” said Kathleen deLaski, founder and president of the Lab. “This work is about creating a two-way dialogue that empowers students to display these hard-earned skills in a format that’s easily recognizable to employers.”

Holly Zanville, strategy director for the future of learning & work at Lumina Foundation sees the promise of this approach: “By working with employers and institutions together, we’re gaining valuable new insights into how micro-credentials can boost the hiring prospects of underserved learners.”

The new initiative, called BadgedToHire, builds on the Lab’s pioneering Tee Up the Skills campaign, which pairs employers with colleges and universities to design micro-credentials that assess and validate 21st century skills aligned with local hiring demand. Over the next two years, the Lab will work with three institutions and their employer partners to study the awareness and acceptance of digital credentials as a signal for 21st century skills and improve hiring outcomes among historically underrepresented learners who receive the badges.

“The crucial skills that matter in the long run for our employees — resilience, critical-thinking, problem-solving — are ironically the most difficult for us to detect because they never show up in a resume or a transcript,” said Casey Porter, Talent Acquisition Manager for Enterprise Holdings, which participated in the first phase of Tee Up the Skills as one of San Jose State University’s employer partners. “Using badging and credentialing to certify these critical skills immediately communicates to hiring managers when an applicant has gone above and beyond to build skills we need and value.”

GCAA National Academic Honor For Spartans

The Golf Coaches Association of America honored SJSU's Mens Golf team for its academic achievements in 2018-19.

The Golf Coaches Association of America honored SJSU’s Mens Golf team for its academic achievements in 2018-19.

The San Jose State University men’s golf team was one of 120 NCAA Division I programs honored for team academic performance for the 2018-19 academic year by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

To qualify for a GCAA team academic award, the student-athletes on the team’s official roster must have a team grade-point average of 3.00 or higher.

“I’m very proud of my men. I’ve been very proud of them all year. They’ve worked hard and realized the value of being the best at everything. This was a big step for several of them to see the connection of being good at everything compared to being good in what you want,” said San Jose State University men’s golf coach John Kennaday.

“Congratulations to our men’s golf team for earning this national academic honor from the Golf Coaches Association of America. The 2018-19 academic year was a wonderful year for San Jose State men’s golf. We had our Western Intercollegiate tournament nationally-televised by Golf Channel and our team qualified for NCAA Regional Championship play.  We capped off our year with this team academic achievement and I want to thank Coach Kennaday for an outstanding year,” said Marie Tuite, the Spartans director of athletics.

San Jose State was the only California State University (CSU) system Division I program and one of six Mountain West schools named as a 2018-19 GCAA Outstanding Team Academic Award winner.

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 regard 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 from his native Egypt to Canada to pursue master’s and doctoral 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 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 said 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 position 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, Abousalem 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, Abousalem sees campus collaborations as a way to bring innovation “to the next level.” He said 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 while 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

SAN JOSE, CA – AUGUST 03: Venus Williams of the United States returns a shot to Maria Sakkari of Greece during Day 5 of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at Spartan Tennis Complex on August 3, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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.