SJSU, LinkedIn Launch Mobile App

CSU Chancellor Tim White visits the LinkedIn Photo Studio at SJSU Nov. 4.

CSU Chancellor Tim White visits the LinkedIn Photo Studio at SJSU Nov. 4 (photo by Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications).

SJSU Media Relations contact:
Daniel Newell, 408-924-6028,

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose State University and LinkedIn have formed a unique partnership that aims to assist college students in exploring career interests and career pathways. The SJSU Career Center and LinkedIn have launched a new pilot program, an exciting mobile app that assist students in developing a professional social network that targets potential industries and occupations of interest based on alumni who have graduated from SJSU and are now working in the field.

Pilot of a New Mobile App

Recently, Business Insider announced SJSU as the #1 supplier of talent to Silicon Valley; it’s no surprise that SJSU was selected to be the first university in the nation to pilot this new and engaging mobile app. Through this education-industry partnership, future hopes are that students will engage in their professional development and network early to prepare to enter the workforce. The app tailors its content to each student’s profile, providing a high level of customization in the role, company, content, and alumni recommendations it surfaces.

Closing the Skills-gap

The app highlights top skills that are self-reported by alumni, introducing current students to areas they should look to develop if they choose to enter the same field. Students can reach out to an alumnus to connect for an informational interview or mentoring, providing the next generation workforce with the access necessary to learn from those who came before them. Closing the skills and achievement gaps is a process. From the SJSU LinkedIn pilot program – providing career exploration tools, resources, and access to potential mentors – we believe we are taking an important step in the right direction.

Celebrating a New Partnership

To celebrate its new partnership, on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015, the SJSU Career Center, SJSU Student Alumni Association, and LinkedIn launched a “LinkedIn to Your Career” event that involved a LinkedIn Photo Studio known as the “Headshot Truck,” a cutting-edge mobile head shot photography studio. The celebration also included an evening workshop and mixer. At the event, students were able to create LinkedIn profiles, take head shots for their profile picture, and learn how to maximize their job search through networking.

The event attracted more than 600 students and even caught the attention of Chancellor Tim White, who stopped by to take a head shot for his LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn invited SJSU students to network with LinkedIn employees who graduated from SJSU. Alumni guests represented majors from health science, international business, computer science, graphic design/digital media art, management information systems, accounting, and engineering.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in more than 140 areas of study and 100 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 33,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU to Host African American College Readiness Summit

African American students at commencement

photo by Christina Olivas

The third annual African American College Readiness Summit, sponsored by San Jose State University, the Santa Clara County Office of Education and community organizations, will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at SJSU.

Organizers will provide 500 high school students with the tools, information and contacts they need to pursue higher education. The keynote speaker is teacher, minister and aspiring charter school founder Sean Gardere, ’08 Sociology.

This year’s summit is informed by the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, which encourages all students to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school.

The day will begin with entertainment by the Gunderson High and Independence High step teams, plus Akoma Arts. Speakers include SJSU Vice President for Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock and Associate Vice President for Student Services Romando Nash. Workshops will cover financial aid, fields of study, trade school, community college, and career planning.

For the first time, two sessions will be offered this academic year. Friday’s session will focus on high school students. A second session this spring will bring middle school students to SJSU. Organizers are responding to growing interest in the event and the need to customize offerings for each age group.


Nursing Student Rallies SJSU to Erect Peace Pole

Photo: Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

Photo: Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

Inspired by her belief in world peace, a nursing student rallied the SJSU community to install and unveil its very own Peace Pole.

Navpreet Kaur, ’17 Nursing, delivered the keynote address at the unveiling of SJSU’s newest monument Oct. 12.

A crowd of students, faculty and staff gathered along a busy walkway between Tower Hall and a grove of trees and roses near Clark Hall to hear from her.

“I believe we do have the potential to reach peace. It’s just a very difficult process,” she said.

One message, 12 languages

The Peace Pole is much smaller than SJSU’s Smith/Carlos sculpture and the Cesar E. Chavez monument, but it packs a punch.

“May Peace Prevail on Earth” is inscribed on the pole in the 12 languages most common in Santa Clara County.

Kaur was inspired to pursue the project after taking a semester off from San Jose State, and enrolling in classes at San Jose City College.

She knew nothing about Peace Poles when she stumbled upon one there. The inscription, in so many languages, intrigued her.

So she did what everyone does nowadays to record the moment: She took a photo of the pole, Instagrammed it, and then Googled it.

An international movement

Photo By Leo Reynolds

Peacemarker by Leo Reynolds / Three photos, combined.

She learned that the Peace Pole movement was born in post World War II Japan. Today, there are more than 200,000 poles worldwide.

“I remember just feeling an instant connection, and I thought I wanted to see this on my home campus,” Kaur said.

Back at SJSU, Kaur spent a day contacting everyone she could, from the president on down, until she got a reply.

The response came from Aditya Mairal, ’17 Mechanical Engineering. At the time, he was the Associated Students director of intercultural affairs.

“I gave her that push and told her that ‘yes, you can do this,’” Mairal said to Spartan Daily.

Kaur took that to heart, and her dream came true, with a good dose of mentoring from The Valley Foundation School of Nursing Director Katherine Abriam-Yago.

A faculty mentor

“She was just a constant support system,” Kaur said. “She would tell me, ‘This is your idea and if you’re envisioning it in a certain way, then you need to fight for that vision.’”

Raised in East San Jose’s cultural melting pot, Kaur was particularly concerned about the languages.

“My number one goal was to make sure there was no bias with the language selection,” she said, so she turned to U.S. Census data to keep the peace.

Interestingly, one reason she is drawn to nursing is, in her eyes, it’s also all about mediation.

“A lot of the time, patients don’t express what their true concerns are in fear of being judged by their healthcare professionals,” she said. “As a nurse, I am an advocate for my patient. I’m an advocate for their concerns. Standing up for those who are afraid to raise their voice is a beautiful thing.”


Candlelight Vigil for Ryan Harryman

SJSU Interim President Susan Martin has emailed the following message to the campus community. This event is open to the public.

Dear students, faculty and staff,

I am writing to let you know about plans to honor the life and memory of SJSU student Ryan Harryman, who passed away Saturday night.

A senior anthropology major from Sunnyvale, Ryan collapsed during club water polo practice last Tuesday evening and never regained consciousness.

In close collaboration with his family, we have scheduled a candlelight vigil for this Friday, Oct. 23, beginning at 6 p.m. in front of the Smith/Carlos sculpture near Clark Hall. Students and others are invited to join in this informal celebration, during which participants will have the opportunity to share personal memories of Ryan.

We all stand with Ryan’s parents, siblings, extended family, teammates and friends during this very difficult time.


Susan Martin
Interim President

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

SJSU and Sundt Top Out New Residence Hall

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and construction workers became part of history Oct. 8 by signing the beam that now tops San Jose State’s newest residence hall.


Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Early in the morning, the Sundt construction company crane operator placed a beam on the ground outside the construction site for passers-by to sign.

By the time university and company dignitaries arrived at noon to thank construction workers, hundreds of student signatures covered the beam.

Officials and construction workers added their names, tied on a tree and flag (old traditions), and a GoPro camera (something new to record the moment).

Then the crane operator climbed back into the sky-high cab, swung over the jib, and lifted the beam up, up and away to the project’s highest point.

Plans call for Campus Village 2 to open to residents in fall 2016. The 10-floor, L-shaped building will house 850 students.


Students and Faculty Members Recognized for Environmental Effort

Photo: Courtesy of Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful

Photo: Courtesy of Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful

Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, a community organization that works closely with the SJSU Center for Community Learning and Leadership and CommUniverCity, has received a 2015 Outstanding Environmental Project award from the Friends of the San Francisco Estuary.

“This award demonstrates the value of collaboration, as a community of stewards, to raise awareness, educate, restore and preserve our precious waterways,” said CCLL Director Michael Fallon. “On yet another front, the partnership between SJSU, the city of San Jose, and environmental organizations is benefiting our community.”

More than 200 SJSU students and faculty members have been volunteering their time and talent to help clean and care for Coyote Creek, a 64-mile long waterway spanning Henry Coe Park near Gilroy, San Jose, and the San Francisco Bay.

A multidisciplinary approach

Spartan volunteers include faculty members and students from the departments of Environmental Studies and MIS (Management Information Systems), and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Volunteer Mary Yan, ’16 Environmental Studies, appreciates Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful Program Manager Deb Kramer’s passion and attitude “about bringing organizations together to work towards the same goals.”

“All the issues and connections to the creek are very interesting to me,” Yan said. “I am hoping that Coyote Creek becomes a successful restoration story one day without any reason to continue cleaning it up.”

Wildlife, homelessness

Photo: Mary Yan, ’16 Environmental Studies

Coyote Creek is a wildlife habitat and location for an important steelhead trout restoration project. Bike and hiking trails line the banks, which have also become a refuge for the homeless.

Acutely aware of the need to mitigate the environmental impact of homeless camps while caring for those who live there, SJSU advertising and public relations faculty members and students organized Coyote Creek Howl, a one-day summit in April focusing on ecological and human issues.

Communication studies students produced “Journey Through Homelessness: Silicon Valley’s Unsolved Problem,” described as “a thought and emotion provoking performance that immersed the audience into a world ignored by the masses and experienced by the few.”

Work continues

On Oct. 2, SJSU hosted the premiere of “Exodus from the Jungle,” a documentary on the closure of the nation’s largest homeless encampment, which was located within a mile of campus, on the banks of Coyote Creek.

As a new academic year begins, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful continues to connect this generation of Spartans with service-learning opportunities. The goal? Gifting a vibrant watershed, and the knowledge of how to rally community support to protect it, to future generations.



SJSU Leads Silicon Valley Hiring

Photo: Christina Olivas

2013 SJSU career fair (photo by Christina Olivas).

Silicon Valley companies hire more San Jose State University students and alumni than any other college or university in the country, according to a recent analysis.

Jobvite, a recruiting platform, analyzed seven million applications and 40,000 hires to determine the schools that had the most students hired by top companies in and around Silicon Valley,” according to Business Insider.

San Jose State came out on top. More than 75,000 career opportunities including 11,000 internships were offered last year through the SJSU Career Center.

Approximately 4,000 employer representatives attended SJSU career fairs last year. Engineering and business were the top two industries recruiting on campus, followed by the non-profit/government, education and communications sectors.

Spartan Racing driver

Spartan Racing Scores First Place at National Meet

Spartan Racing at Formula SAE Lincoln, Nebraska (courtesy of Spartan Racing).

Spartan Racing at Formula SAE Lincoln, Nebraska (photo by Michael Favuzzi).

San Jose State’s Spartan Racing team took first place overall at the nation’s leading collegiate race car competition, held June 17-20 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

This is the first time in the contest’s 35-year history that a California crew topped the field. Ninety teams attended this year’s meeting.

Spartan Racing develops its cars in a workshop at the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. The group is the student chapter of SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) International.

Spartan Racing

Spartan Racing’s vehicle (photo by Michael Favuzzi).

Formula SAE encourages students to design and build race cars based on regulations and standards like those used by professional teams. The experience is considered excellent job training for work in the automotive industry.

What’s next for Spartan Racing? Europe! The group is making plans to attend the world’s most competitive meets, held in Austria and Germany.




SJSU, A’s, Chevron Share the Science of Sports

Gurdeep Soi, ’15 Electrical Engineering, helps a Richmond Little League baseball player with a hands-on exercise illuminating the science of sports (image courtesy of Chevron).

Gurdeep Soi, ’15 Electrical Engineering, helps a Richmond Little League baseball player with a hands-on exercise illuminating the science of sports (image courtesy of Chevron).

SJSU, the Oakland A’s and Chevron collaborated on a summer clinic June 30 designed to inspire Little League baseball players to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The SJSU students served as volunteer mentors, through the Jay Pinson STEM Education Program. The clinic featured Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, pitching great Vida Blue, and more than 100 Richmond Little League players at the Coliseum.

Spartans helped youngsters with hands-on activities and instruction in the Chevron STEM ZONE. The project is part of Chevron’s commitment to equipping youth with the critical skills they will need to succeed in jobs of the future.

SJSU with Tony La Russa 530

SJSU student volunteers, from left to right: Puyun Yen, ’17 Mechanical Engineering; Kennis Ko, ’16 Chemical Engineering; Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa; Alex Zavala, ’17 Computer Engineering; AmeriCorps volunteer Philip Ye; and Gurdeep Soi, ’15 Electrical Engineering. Photo courtesy of the Jay Pinson STEM Education Program.


SJSU Celebrates Honors Convocation

By Melissa Anderson, Executive Communications Specialist

Photo: David Schmitz

Family, friends, faculty and staff packed the San Jose State University Event Center April 24 to recognize the academic achievements of 3,977 undergraduate students at the 53rd Annual Honors Convocation.

The event started promptly at 6 p.m., with the faculty processional into the Event Center to the sound of a brass ensemble conducted by Associate Professor Kathryn Adduci. The ensemble accompanied Associate Professor Layna Chianakas, a mezzo-soprano, who performed the National Anthem.

The atmosphere was jovial as the students all competed to cheer the loudest when each college dean stood up at the podium to read out the names of their departments or degrees. Each dean asked all the Dean’s Scholars present to stand to be recognized while saying a few words about their programs. This year, 3,557 students earned the distinction of being a Dean’s Scholar by maintaining a 3.65 GPA in two contiguous semesters of the last three semesters.

4.0 GPAs

The group of President’s Scholars who maintained a 4.0 GPA in two contiguous semesters of the last three were invited to come up on stage to state their name and major. President Mohammad Qayoumi and Provost Andy Feinstein shook hands with each student to offer a personal congratulation. This year, 420 students earned the distinction of being a President’s Scholar.

The two speakers for the evening included Robert Foster, ’69 Public Administration, who received an honorary doctorate of Humane Studies, and Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Communication Studies Anne Marie Todd, who received the 2014-15 Outstanding Professor Award. Each of them discussed the importance of connections.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Foster, who is former mayor of Long Beach, a former president of Southern California Edison, and a former CSU trustee, said his mother was in the audience.

“She can finally tell her friends her son is a doctor,” he joked, after President Qayoumi and Provost Feinstein conferred his honorary degree.

Foster told students to remember those who set the stage for their success.

Staying Connected

“Remember the sacrifices of your family, spouses and friends,” he said. “Never forget you stand in the place of so many who came before you. Stay connected and engaged – and supportive to this university.”

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Todd spoke about the way in which students can connect to the world and each other.

“Your SJSU network will be invaluable to you,” Todd told students, noting the ease of staying connected via social media and online resources.

But she noted the amount of screen time may be to the detriment of connecting in more personal ways to others and to the environment.

“The natural world around us is undergoing drastic, catastrophic change,” she said.

She encouraged students to think of ways to work together to implement positive changes, with a suggestion for one easy way to start.

“Rethink screen time,” she said. “Spend an hour a week where you live. Just take a walk and see what it means to be connected.”


Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Spartan Superway May be the Ride of the Future

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Inside an old, plain building in downtown San Jose, dozens of students are busy working on a futuristic transportation system.

“We are inventing, developing, and demonstrating a new paradigm in urban transportation, sustainable urban transportation since our system is going to be 100 percent solar powered and grid tied,” said Burford “Buff” Furman, a mechanical engineering professor in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, and head of the Sustainable Mobility System for Silicon Valley project. The goal is to design a personal rapid transit system using renewable energy. Students call it Spartan Superway.

Four teams of students are designing and building a full-scale working model, a large tabletop model, and a mock-up of the interior cabin of one of the vehicles that will travel on the system. They’ll be displayed May 16-17 at the Maker Faire in San Mateo. The full-scale model includes a gondola-type pod that moves under the bottom of a 33-foot- long steel track suspended ten feet in the air. The pod rolls into a life-size transit station. Solar panels on top power the system, and excess energy is fed back to the electric grid.


Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Burford “Buff” Furman, mechanical engineering professor, and former engineering professor and team sponsor Ron Swenson with the 2014-2015 Spartan Superway team. (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications)

The student team

There are mechanical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, industrial design and business students working on the Spartan Superway. Most are seniors. Natalie Granados, ’15 Mechanical Engineering, is on the propulsion team.  She’s interested in the transportation field so she decided to join the project. “I’ve learned how to design a propulsion system,” Granados said.  “I feel like that’s pretty valuable.”

Jack Irwin, ’15 Mechanical Engineering, lead on the full-scale team, has gained valuable skills too. “It’s given me a lot of project management experience, and learning what it takes to get a project done of this scale,” Irwin said.  “It’s a pretty big project that we’re trying to accomplish. We have deadlines and timeframes, funding, and we have to make sure we have money and a budget. It’s similar to working in a startup company.”

The project is made possible in part by SJSU former engineering professor Ron Swenson.  He mentors the students, and supports the project through his 501(c)(3) non-profit organization: the International Institute of Sustainable Transportation. His brother, local builder Barry Swenson, donated use of the 9,000-square-foot building for three years, and  friend Francis DeWinter provided most of the tools and a substantial part of the materials.


Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Jack Irwin, ’15 Mechanical Engineering, and Danny Ornellas, ’15 Mechanical Engineering, stretch a recently welded piece of metal to bring it up to specification. (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications)

Building support

“The goal is to get vehicles separated from people.  To give the streets back to the people,” Ron Swenson said. “It’s amazing to see the work the students are able to accomplish.”

The project started three years ago, but doesn’t yet have all the funding necessary to take it to the next level of development. “Getting funding is difficult because agencies are interested in funding paper studies instead of steel and concrete, which demonstrates concepts,” Professor Furman said.

Jordan Carter, ’15 Mechanical Engineering, and lead of the cabin team, thinks the project is a great way to end her senior year. “This is something bigger, something ongoing, that’s not going to be done at the end of the year when I graduate, and I think it’s been really rewarding just to contribute,” Carter said.

Spartan Superway may one day have an impact on transportation systems of the future.  For now, its giving students skills that will put them in the driver’s seat as they begin their careers.

Spartan Fund

SJSU Students Rock the Financial World

Spartan Fund

The Spartan Gold Team (courtesy of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business).

Facing tough competition, a four-student team from SJSU walked away with a first-place trophy at the CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge for the Northern California region.

They were up against teams from the Stanford MBA program, the Wharton executive MBA program, Santa Clara University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco.

The win was a major accomplishment,” said Stoyu Ivanov, associate professor of accounting and finance, Nancie Fimbel Investment Fellow, and assistant director of the Center for Banking and Financial Services.

The teams

Two teams from SJSU took part in the competition March 5 in San Francisco’s financial district. Earning the top spot at the competition was the Spartan Gold Team made up of Joel Gonzales, ’15 Finance; Shayan Khales, ’15 Accounting; Valeriya Razdyakonova, ’18 Corporate Accounting and Finance; and Nirav Shah, ’15 MBA.

A second SJSU team, the Spartan Blue Team, consisted of Aaron Foster, Tarriq Hansrajh, Michael Farrell and Mark Smith, all finance majors.

The teams were required to research and analyze Gilead Sciences, a Bay Area biotech company. As part of their pitch, they wrote a paper, gave a presentation, and participated in a question-and-answer session.

We applied a lot from what we learned in the Spartan Fund and our finance classes,” Gonzales said.

Spartan Fund

The Financial Navigator Student Managed Investment Fund, also known as the Spartan Fund, was established with a $100,000 donation from Nancie Fimbel, and her husband C. Edward Van Deman, CEO of Financial Navigator.

Fimbel, who capped a 28-year career at SJSU by serving as acting MBA director and senior director of development for the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, wanted to give back to the university.

I’m very proud of having started this,” Fimbel said. “I had dreamed of this, and it’s really a kick to see the students pitch to each other.”

Students manage the $50,000 Spartan fund using 12 Bloomberg terminals in their classroom. They’ve raised the fund to $52,000 in just six months.

Next up for the Spartan Gold Team is the national competition on April 15 in Atlanta. A win there will send them to the Global Final, where they’ll face teams from the Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

SJSU Cheer

Spartan Cheerleaders are National Champions—Again!

SJSU Cheer

The SJSU cheerleading team wins the national pennant (photo courtesy of Kelvin Lam).

For the second year in a row, the SJSU cheerleading team walked away with first place at the United Spirit Association Collegiate Championships.  They competed against 10 other four-year schools March 22 and 23 in Anaheim.

Head Coach Kelvin Lam says the team prepares physically and mentally all year long for this one competition.

If you compare it to football, you only have one chance to run a play to make a touchdown.  There are no second chances, so everything has to be perfect. That tells you the amount of pressure the cheerleaders face,” Lam said.


The 22 women and two men team performed a two-and-a-half-minute routine choreographed to customized music and sound effects. Lam says their acrobatics, tumbling and stunts were nearly perfect on the first day, but less so on the second day.

Because of that, many team members were nervous going into the awards ceremony, uncertain of the outcome. But the Spartan cheerleaders were judged best overall in the two-day competition.

Lam says when they heard they won first place, “everyone was just ecstatic, jumping everywhere, just so full of excitement.”

Sweet victory

Cheerleader Paige Collins, ’15 Child and Adolescent Development, is one of seven seniors who will leave SJSU with a national win in hand.

The team this year was absolutely amazing, and it feels amazing to share a title with people who worked so hard and deserved it,” Collins said.

The win was even sweeter given the team had faced some adversity throughout the year, including a weight room injury just two weeks before the Anaheim competition, forcing major changes in the routine.

“It always feels good to win and it always feels great to get pats on the back from other people, but the most satisfying thing for me is to see how the team handled itself before, during and after the event,” Lam says. “I couldn’t have picked a better group of people to represent SJSU.”

Cheer Team Defends National Title

The SJSU Cheerleading team will defend its national title at the United Spirit Association Collegiate Championships on March 22 and 23 in the Anaheim Convention Center.

They’ll compete against a dozen schools from across the country in a category for four-year colleges with co-ed teams including no more than four men.

Now more than ever, cheerleading routines require a great deal of strength and agility. The 22 women and two men bring to SJSU’s squad a wide range of experiences, from soccer to marching band.

What do they have in common? A strong desire to compete and win, said Coach Kelvin Lam, now in his fourth year with the Spartans. Of course it’s about much more than a trophy.

“In the bigger picture, it’s about self discovery, including learning your weaknesses and strengths,” Lam said. “This is another opportunity to help our students grow.”

Follow the team’s progress on Facebook.

Climate Ride team

Green Ninja Team Joins Climate Ride

Climate Ride

Climate Ride team members before training in Woodside. Left to right, they are Ramya Shenoy, Huong Cheng, Kelly Chang, Eugene Cordero and Clare Cordero (photo by Steve Branz).

A team of Spartans will pedal hundreds of miles along the California coast this spring to raise awareness about climate change, and support SJSU’s environmental outreach program, The Green Ninja Project.

Before joining the team, the last time Ramya Shenoy, ’15 Computer Science, rode a bicycle was 11 years ago to pick up groceries for her parents in India. She recently rode 47 miles, and is determined to complete The Climate Ride, which runs May 17-21.

“I’m putting all my willpower into training for this. I think anything is possible, if you really put your heart into it,” Shenoy said.

The Team

The Green Ninja Team, a diverse group of SJSU students, alumni, and faculty and staff members, is participating in the California Climate Ride. They’ll be biking 320 miles in five days from Eureka to San Francisco to raise awareness about climate change and support environmental non-profit organizations like the Green Ninja project.

Shenoy and several other team members work for the Green Ninja Project, a non-profit environmental outreach program designed to educate middle school kids about climate change and inspire them to take action.

The Green Ninja Project is the brainchild of Professor Eugene Cordero, a climate scientist in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.  Convincing Professor Cordero to participate in the Climate Ride wasn’t too difficult.

“I love cycling, I’m passionate about promoting solutions to climate change and our SJSU team is so inspiring,” Cordero said.


Each team member must fundraise $2,800 to ride, but they hope to raise $5,000 a piece.  Kelly Chang, ’13 Biological Sciences, the team captain, loves getting active outside and hopes to inspire others to get outdoors through the Climate Ride. She’s actively promoting the ride, and trying to get more riders and sponsors to sign up.

We’re always looking for new riders, and we welcome all levels of bike riders,” Chang said.

Chang has been contacting local businesses to partner with and support the team. So far, Good Karma Bikes has graciously donated a bike, which will be raffled off in an upcoming silent auction.


The Green Ninja team has organized training rides every other Sunday and they recently completed their longest ride of 47 miles. Huong Cheng, ’15 Animation/Illustration, learned to ride a bike just one month ago.

“I want this to inspire my friends and family to take on challenges in life with a can-do attitude. I know once I finish this ride, I will not be afraid of any obstacle I come across,” Cheng said.

Learn more about SJSU’s Green Ninja Team and support their fundraising goals. Want to join the team?  Contact

400 asd

SJSU Admits Incoming Spartans

admissions envelope

Congratulations to all our newly admitted Spartans! (image by Rachel Poage, ’14 Graphic Design).

Over the past few weeks, more than 25,000 high school and community college students across the country are ripping open envelopes arriving in the mail to find inside a “Certificate of Admission.”

It’s that time of year again, when San Jose State says yes to its incoming class of freshmen and transfers.

Excited admits

Follow the Enrollment Services’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts as these newly admitted students post pictures of themselves with their certificates to win the “Spartan Swag Photo Contest.”

student with admissions certificate

Congratulations, @jennwells_! (Courtesy of Jennifer Wells via Twitter)

Many excited admits have already taken to Twitter, tagging their posts with #SJSUSaidYes.

The new admits hail from all over California plus 37 more states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The largest number of admitted out-of-state students are from Washington, Hawaii and Texas.

Upcoming events

SJSU will continue to accept international applications through April 1. Admitted Spartan Day—one more chance to visit before the big decision—will be April 11.

The deadline to say yes to SJSU is May 1. Keep in mind these are provisional admissions. All candidates are subject to verification of California State University eligibility via final transcripts.

Everyone attends transfer orientation beginning in April or freshmen orientation beginning in June. Expect approximately 3,000 first-time freshmen and 3,500 undergraduate transfers on the first day of classes Aug. 20.

Admitted Spartan Day 2015

Admitted Spartan Day 2015 (image by Brandon Chew, ’14 Photojournalism)

lunar new year

Spartans Celebrate the Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

An estimated 100,000 people in San Jose mark the holiday, including roughly 10,000 San Jose State students.

Red envelopes filled with cash, fire crackers and dancing lions are all part of the Lunar New Year – the most celebrated holiday of the year in the Asian culture. An estimated 100,000 people in San Jose mark the holiday, including roughly 10,000 San Jose State students.


Hien Duc Do

It’s the biggest day of celebration for a lot of Asian cultures. It’s like combining New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas all together,” said Hien Duc Do, director of the College of Social Sciences Student Success Center and professor of sociology and interdisciplinary social sciences.

Although the Lunar New Year is celebrated by millions of people worldwide, there is some disagreement this year over which animal symbolizes the 2015 New Year. Some people believe it’s the sheep, while others say it’s the ram or goat.

It all began as a way for farmers to celebrate their rice harvest, reflect on the past year, and think about goals for the coming year. According to Professor Do, the holiday has significant meaning this year to the Vietnamese community because of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon this spring.

Every year, people continue the tradition by remembering ancestors, wishing family and friends prosperity and good health in the coming year.

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SJSU Director of Development Alan Wong and family (courtesy of Alan Wong)

Traditionally, everything is about good wishes, clearing out the past and preparing for a new start; a new year. We visit relatives and use the opportunity to show appreciation to family and friends,” said Alan Wong, director of development at the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

“We also celebrate with lots of food, big dinners, red round boxes of candies to great guests. You’ll see people wearing red clothes to symbolize new energy,” Wong said.

Sovannida Nau, ’16 Biomedical Engineering, has been celebrating the Chinese New Year since she was a baby.  She’s always received a “lucky” red envelope filled with cash, including this year.  She said she enjoys the special food and large family gatherings the most.

“I’ve grown up with this tradition and I really enjoy it.  When I have my own kids, it will be something I do as well.”

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Sovannida Nau, ’16 Biomedical Engineering (photo by Robin McElhatton)

There are several Lunar New Year events in the Bay Area this year. The largest ones are the Vietnamese Tet Festival at History Park San Jose on Feb. 28 and the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco on March 7.

The Lunar New Year runs from Feb. 18-24.


PGA Pro Pops the Question


Mark Hubbard proposes to his girlfriend Meghan McCurley on the 18th green during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR).

Love is in the air for two Spartans at the 2015 Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

PGA pro Mark Hubbard, ’11 Business Management, surprised former swim team standout Meghan McCurley, ’12 Kinesiology, with a marriage proposal on the 18th green Feb. 12.

“I felt like I had to do something different than just take her out to dinner or something,” Hubbard told the San Jose Mercury News.

For McCurley, the first sign came when she was alerted to the video board, which was flashing, “Meghan, Will You Marry Me?” Then Hubbard went down on one knee, and she said yes!

The couple has yet to set a date and venue. A return to Pebble Beach might be worth considering. They’ll find many fellow Spartans working there.

The SJSU/Pebble Beach Special Event Management Team is managing the concessions, chalets and skyboxes at this week’s tournament. And that experience often translates into full-time jobs at Pebble Beach Resorts for SJSU alumni.

Covered.CA registration session

Coffee or Health Care?

With the deadline quickly approaching to sign up for health care through Covered California, there’s a big push on campus to educate students, their families and part-time SJSU employees about the program, and help them sign up. An estimated six percent of the SJSU student population or 1,800 students are uninsured.

“One thing we learned from a survey last year is that students aren’t coming from the perspective that they feel invincible, or aren’t interested in health insurance. They just assumed they couldn’t afford it,” said Professor Anji Buckner, SJSU health science lecturer and faculty lead on the CSU Health Insurance Education Project (HIEP).

As Low As $1 Monthly

Professor Buckner says students are surprised to find out that health coverage through Covered California can cost as little as a dollar a month. She says, in general, SJSU students are paying anywhere from $1 to $100 month, depending on the type of plan they choose, and the subsidies they qualify for.

Students who earn less than $16,000 a year, and who are not dependents, are eligible for free health insurance through Medi -Cal. Professor Buckner asks students, “How many cups of coffee do you buy a week, because you may be able to buy health insurance for about the same price.”

$325 Fine

The CSU Health Insurance Education Project has emphasized the tax penalty more this year because the fine for not having health insurance in 2015 has tripled to $325, or two percent of annual income, whichever is greater. The deadline to apply for Covered California is Feb. 15.

“I think it’s important for students to understand what their rights and responsibilities are in order to make informed decisions and realize the consequences,” said Professor Buckner.

Students can learn more about different health care plans and costs by attending an enrollment support event 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Clark Hall Fishbowl rooms.

Students Invite Obama to SJSU

With an ingenious video, a student group has formally invited the First Lady to a campus event.

“The White House has communicated that they are reviewing our event and the First Lady’s schedule,” said Amanda Aldama, First-Generation College Student Programs coordinator.

“In an effort to get their attention, we have followed the model of several other campuses who were successful in securing her attendance by making an invitation video. It is our hope that, if this video gets trending, as it did for other campuses, then she may say yes.”

The video connects Michelle Obama’s college experience to that of many San Jose State students who are first in their families to seek universities degrees.

GENERATE: The First-Generation College Student Program will host its inaugural First-Generation Scholarship Luncheon noon Feb. 25 in the Student Union. The first lady would serve as the keynote speaker.

The Obama video is part of GENERATE’s “I Relate!” campaign, designed to inform prospective and current Spartans about first-generation college student achievements at SJSU.