The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor on Law and Hope

“You have to have some idealism to go into lawyering. You have to want to help people,” said Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the crowd gathered in the Student Union Ballroom. During the October 20 event, Sotomayor discussed how her memoir, “My Beloved World,” has given her a platform to talk about her passion—the law—and to share the stories of her life in order to help others, particularly young people. View the video.

In conversation with UC Berkeley Professor of Law Melissa Murray, who teaches constitutional law and clerked for Sotomayor on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, Sotomayor candidly recounted stories of adversity that spurred her on instead of knocking her down. She also admitted that there are “a lot of emotions that come along with being a Supreme Court justice,” and that she often has to pinch herself to make sure it’s all real.

While she now walks the corridors of the White House (and occasionally spends time at the homes of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez), she said that staying connected to her family and bringing them along with her on her professional journey keeps her grounded. Everyone needs help sometimes, Sotomayor explained.

Throughout the event, Sotomayor spoke directly to the students seated in the first several rows in front of her. When asked about balancing family needs with pursuing an education, she explained to one student, who she welcomed on stage to take a photo with her, that getting an education is the best way to support your family in the long term, no matter the immediate needs. Most of you are here [at San Jose State], despite the economy, because you have hope, she said.

“There isn’t a student in this room who should ever give up, “ said Sotomayor. “You got into college. You’re here! If you can defy all odds to get in, you’ve got what it takes to make it.”

400 prieta

Where Were You on Oct. 17, 1989?

Spartan Daily

The Spartan Daily student newspaper front page the day after the Loma Prieta earthquake (photo by Peter Caravalho, ’97 Graphic Design).

Much of San Jose State’s current student body was not born when the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake hit the Bay Area 25 years ago on Oct. 17, 1989.

Yet the fact that San Jose State took the need to prepare for the next big one seriously is clear to anyone on campus today.

“I was serving as SJSU’s associate vice president for administration when the earthquake hit,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi.

Starting the moment the shaking stopped, SJSU has been working with the California State University system to plan, fund and complete numerous projects with the goal of improving campus safety.”

Spartan Daily quake story

This Spartan Daily story, published shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake, made clear the need to seismically retrofit many campus buildings (photo by Peter Caravalho, ’97 Graphic Design).

Three large construction projects underway now began after structural engineers recommended SJSU retrofit 10 buildings to make them safer.

The $55 million seismic retrofit of Yoshihiro Uchida Hall and Spartan Complex spans an entire block from South Fourth Street to El Paseo de Cesar E. Chavez.

In addition, the $90 million seismic retrofit and expansion of the Student Union spans another block from El Paseo de Cesar E. Chavez to the Ninth Street Plaza.

One more project is in the works and six others have been completed as follows:

  • North Parking Garage Seismic Retrofit, 1993
  • South Parking Garage Seismic Retrofit, 1993
  • Tower Hall and Morris Dailey Auditorium, 1996
  • Duncan Hall, 1997
  • Sweeney Hall, 1998
  • Trades Building, 2009
  • North Parking Garage Stair Tower, planned

What should you do if an earthquake hit campus today?

“Although I have been a California resident for most of my life, the power of the 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake was astounding,” said SJSU Chief of Police Pete Decena.

If there is one thing I would like the campus community to remember in the event of a major earthquake, it is to Drop, Cover and Hold On. Then, when the shaking stops, leave if it is safe to do so.”

The University Police Department website offers more information including assistance for the disabled. A refresher course on how to protect yourself during an earthquake is available online.

Innovation Lab Opens

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Plaques and an iPad offer information on the more than 300 patents earned by the late Calvin Seid, ’83 Industrial Design (photo by Michelle Vaquilar, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

While sorting through the belongings of his younger brother, who died suddenly of heart disease, Vincent Seid was stunned to find scores of plaques his brother received for his contributions to more than 300 Apple patents.

Calvin Seid, ’83 Industrial Design, was a member and director of the company’s Industrial Design Group from 1993 until his death in 2007.

“He was very unassuming,” said Vincent, who was 16 years older than Calvin. “He didn’t like to blow his own horn and you didn’t know much about him until you got to know him very well.”

Generations of Industrial Design majors joined members of the faculty, staff and administration at the Calvin Seid Innovation Lab opening reception the evening of Oct. 9.

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Classmates and colleagues remember Seid as a teacher and mentor (photo by Michelle Vaquilar, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

Guests included Vincent and his wife Zenaida, whose gifts to the university provided the initial funding and an endowment for the lab. Also in attendance were many of Calvin’s classmates.

When Professor John F. McClusky asked classmates and colleagues to describe Calvin, they settled on the same thought: He was an outstanding teacher and mentor.

Thus, McClusky explained, it is fitting that Seid’s name now graces the lab, equipped with the latest technology including 3-D printers to help faculty members show students how to take a product from start to finish, from design concept to completed prototype.

In between comes lots of problem solving, said Lawrence Lam, ’85 Industrial Design, and it is precisely that practical knowledge, which he described as “working around the environment to get the job done,” that distinguishes SJSU Industrial Design alumni.

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Seid’s patents are for familiar products, from an ear-bud case to chargers (photo by Michelle Vaquilar, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

You can check out the enormous breadth of this Spartan’s contributions to Apple’s design acumen, including the ear bud case, charging devices, the Power Mac and much more, in an exhibit open on the first floor of the Art Building, below the lab itself.

“We are putting on display,” McClusky said, “the story of someone who is really the story of San Jose State.”

dan and jaime

Alumni Association Celebrates Scholarship Recipients

Cuong Truong

Cuong Truong, ’14 Nursing, plans to work toward ensuring all elderly patients receive quality care. She is a recipient of a San Jose Woman’s Club Scholarship (photo by Brandon Chew).

Aspiring professionals preparing to contribute to every part of our community and economy are recipients of 2014-15 SJSU Alumni Association Scholarships.

“These students truly define the Spartan spirit,” said Brian Bates, associate vice president for alumni relations. “They are achievers, innovators, dreamers and leaders in their classrooms, communities and even the world.”

The more than 30 recipients were invited to gather for a reception Sept. 16  in the Student Union ballroom. The group includes a future art professor, nurse and business owner as well as multiple engineers, accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers, social workers and fine artists.

Supporting Inspiring Students

Student recipients apply each spring through the SJSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The specific criteria and amount for each scholarship varies. But the overall objective is the same: to provide alumni with the opportunity to give back by supporting current students.

Onette Morales-Alcazar

Onette Morales-Alcazar, ’13 English, is seeking a teaching credential so she can support students learning English as a second language. Named a Connie L. Lurie College of Education Dean’s Scholar, she received the Pat Porter Memorial Scholarship (photo by Brandon Chew).

An excellent example is Angelina Loyola, ’10 Sociology, ’15 Mexican American Studies. Recipient of a College of  Social Sciences Dean’s Scholarship, she plans to teach at the high school or community college level so that she may empower her students to advance not just themselves but the entire community.

I hold steadfast to the words of the late Maya Angelou, ‘When you get, give. When you learn, teach,’” Loyola said.  “Thank you for acknowledging me as a scholar, and an individual that will take with her into this world the teachings from some of the greatest teachers I’ve encountered.”

Joshua Cruz, ’16 Computer Engineering, has taken advantage of the many leadership opportunities available to students at SJSU. A recipient of a Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering Dean’s Scholarship, he has served as a resident assistant, orientation leader, student instructional assistant and Spartan Marching Band member.

This scholarship…is a true validation that my involvements inside and outside of the classroom have an impact on my campus community,” Cruz said. “I will take the inspiration coming from those who have supported me through this scholarship to reach my scholastic goals.”

Tristan Pulliam

Tristan Pulliam plans to go to medical school. The recipient of a College of Science Dean’s Scholarship, he said, “I hope to one day reciprocate this investment by investing in the lives of future SJSU students” (photo by Brandon Chew).

Daniel Fenstermacher, ’16 Fine Arts, expresses his aspirations and sense of community through photography. The recipient of the Hoover Langdon Scholarship has his own business, currently specializing in aerial photography, including remarkable images of downtown San Jose captured using a drone.

Receiving the Hoover Langdon Scholarship gave me a great feeling of accomplishment and pride as a member of the SJSU community,” Fenstermacher said. “I feel fortunate to be rewarded with this recognition and this scholarship motivates me to keep improving every day both in school and in life.”

The generous support of alumni and friends makes these scholarships possible. Learn more about supporting the Alumni Association scholarship program.

 

Social Work Major Receives Top CSU Honor

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A straight-A student, David Elliott plans to pursue a master’s in social work so that he can work with youths who are involved with social services or the justice system (Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography).

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – In 2007, David Elliott was paroled from Folsom State Prison after a period of incarceration that resulted from a lifelong battle with drug addiction.

“Everything I owned fit into a backpack,” he said.

Now a San Jose State senior majoring in social work, Elliott has received the California State University system’s highest honor for students who overcome incredible odds to attend college.

As the 2014-15 Trustee Emeritus William Hauck Scholar, one of 23 CSU Trustees Awards for Outstanding Achievement, Elliott will fly to the chancellor’s office in Long Beach on Sept. 9 to pick up the award and meet the other recipients.

Extraordinary Commitment

While their commitment, drive and perseverance are extraordinary, these students are like thousands more who look to the CSU each year for high-quality, accessible, affordable educational opportunities.

After leaving Folsom, Elliott became homeless and lived at a shelter in San Jose. Fearing that he would turn to drugs again, he asked his parole officer for help and was placed into a drug treatment program.

Six years later, Elliott is completely clean and sober and works for the program that helped save his life. As a chemical dependency technician, he assists people in some of their darkest times by supervising their medical detox and encouraging them to continue treatment.

He has also served for four years as a volunteer facilitation and facility coordinator of a drug and alcohol support group at a local homeless shelter for people with mental health and substance abuse problems.

A Second Chance

“All of this work is an attempt to repay what has been given to me: a second chance,” he said.

A straight-A student, Elliott plans to pursue a master’s in social work so that he can work with youths who are involved with social services or the justice system.

“I have found a path leading to a career that employs me in useful service to others,” Elliott said.

The late William Hauck, ’63 social studies, served as deputy chief of staff to Governor Pete Wilson and chief of staff to Assembly speakers Bob Morretti and Willie L. Brown, Jr. The Hauck endowment will provide $6,000 to this year’s CSU Trustees Award recipient.

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

 

Yoshihiro Uchida Hall, Renewed

Walking through the newly renovated Yoshihiro Uchida Hall is a study in old meeting new. Much of the year-long construction project includes seismic retrofitting and other refurbishments not visible to the naked eye, yet threaded throughout and around the historic building, modern amenities cannot be missed.

The building’s signature spiraled turrets are still in place, but a new, glass-front main entrance encases the structure on the west side, bringing the old exterior in. What used to be a dilapidated swimming pool now houses an instructional gym. Above it, a world-class dojo lit by original floor-to-ceiling windows finally provides a venue befitting San Jose State’s premiere judo program.

Shared by the kinesiology, athletics, and health science and recreation departments, Uchida Hall houses state-of-the-art academic facilities such as an exercise physiology research lab, a stress management lab and classroom, a sports medicine center and many fully equipped, modern classrooms, as well as beautiful new locker rooms for men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball and gymnastics—all centered around the heart of the building, the retrofitted gymnasium.

To top it off, a second-floor outdoor patio is open to the university community for enjoyment. A grand opening celebration and rededication with attendance from Yoshihiro Uchida and other local dignitaries is tentatively set for early November.

U.S. News Rankings: SJSU Eighth Overall

Students shop for books in the newly renovated Student Union (Stan Olszewski photo).

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, Calif., — The 2015 edition of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings, available now online, shows San Jose State University at eighth overall among the West’s top public universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, keeping SJSU in the region’s top 10.

“San Jose State has firmly established its reputation as a leading institution of higher learning in the West,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “SJSU offers more than 130 degree programs and 400 student organizations, providing a wide range of opportunities including hands-on learning in a global setting provided by our Silicon Valley location.”

San Jose State’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering received top marks, ranking third in the nation among public engineering programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, excluding service academies. In addition, SJSU’s computer engineering program was ranked first in the nation among public engineering programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering has earned its reputation for being among the best in the nation by providing our students with outstanding opportunities for hands-on learning directly addressing 21st century challenges here in Silicon Valley,” Dean Andrew Hsu said.

Read more from U.S. News & World Report.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Silicon Valley Business Journal: SJSU Kicks Off $126M Student Housing Project

P0sted July 8, 2014 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

By Nathan Donato-Weinstein

San Jose State University is starting construction on a large student housing project that will add 850 beds to the burgeoning campus’s capacity.

The project is the $126 million Campus Village Phase 2, to be built across from the existing Campus Village Phase 1 complex.

That project, completed in 2005, added 2,279 beds among three mid- and high-rise buildings, the tallest stretching 15 stories. It was called a major step toward turning San Jose State from a commuter school to more of an urban university.

Read the full story.

Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall Reopens

Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall (Bruce Cramer photo)

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Dwight Bentel Hall will reopen for classes on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Faculty and staff who requested temporary office space elsewhere on campus will return as well.

I am grateful to Facilities Development and Operations staff and the work crews that worked diligently to address this situation, and to the affected faculty, staff and students for their patience,” said Andrew Hale Feinstein, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Repair crews have completed virtually all repairs related to water damage that resulted from a steam valve leak. A few remedial steps remain, but they should not materially affect building occupants.

Independent air quality tests on Wednesday determined that being inside DBH poses “no greater risk of exposure to fungal spores than the general public walking on campus in the outdoor air.”

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

 

SJSU Begins 2014-15 Academic Year

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The east wing of the Student Union is open. On the first floor are eight new eateries and beautiful indoor and outdoor seating areas line the first floor (Stan Olszewski photo).

Blue skies greeted more than 32,000 students and 4,500 faculty and staff members for the start of San Jose State’s 2014-15 academic year.

The crowd included 3,500 first-time freshmen, 3,700 new undergraduate transfers, 2,000 new graduate students and 33 new tenure-track faculty members.

The arrival of so many tenure-track faculty members shows the benefit of a stable budget and signals a strong commitment to long-term planning.

Helping newcomers

In addition, SJSU is extending a special welcome to 80 transfers from National Hispanic University. Orientation events held during the summer should help everyone settle in.

If anyone needs a hand, “Ask Me” volunteers are once again stationed outdoors throughout campus. 

Do we have an app for that? Yes, we do! SJSU Guide is loaded with information including a campus map.

Downloading the guide? You’ll find campus WiFi now covers very close to all six million square feet of classroom and office space.

Perhaps the most visible change for those arriving this week–from the parking garages, Park & Ride Lot or alternative transportation–is the construction.

Facility improvements

Yes! Our 150-year-old campus is receiving a major renovation.

The east wing of the Student Union is open. On the first floor are eight new eateries and beautiful indoor and outdoor seating areas line the first floor.

A gleaming new ballroom large enough for 850 dinner guests is open on the second floor.

In addition, the Spartan Bookstore has moved into temporary digs in the east wing while the rest of the Student Union is completed.

Meanwhile, construction crews are putting finishing touches on Yoshihiro Uchida Hall. The exterior walls are up on the Student Health and Counseling Center.

Also on the way are a new dormitory and new landscaping for the Art Building, Sweeney Hall and El Paseo de Cesar Chavez (check out the beautiful new palm trees!).

Major events

Later this term, the Student Union will host two special guests speakers: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and bestselling novelist Khaled Hosseini.

Tower Lawn remains a gorgeous green, thanks to recycled water that has reduced SJSU’s potable water consumption by 45 percent annually.

So Tower Lawn will be the place to be this term for many gatherings including the Spartan Squad kick-off 6 p.m. Aug. 27 and the Student Organization Fair 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 3.

Both of these events are part of Fall Welcome Days, a series of outstanding opportunities to reach out, meet people and learn something in the process.

Also coming up this week is Spartan Football’s season opener against North Dakota. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Aug. 28. Go early, get a Bill Walsh bobble head, and then stay for the fireworks.

Admission to home football games is free for all students with a Tower ID card. The president has extended a very similar offer to all faculty and staff (check your email!).

Staying safe

Speaking of major events, there is nothing like a 6.0-magnitude trembler the day before classes begin to send the message that safety comes first.

The University Police Department keeps in touch with campus via Alert-SJSU (update your contact information now) and offers an Evening Guide Escort Program and Evening Shuttle.

UPD’s website contains lots of prevention and preparedness information. The Spartans for Safety website also consolidates many services available at SJSU.

 

Santa Cruz Sentinel: San Jose State Researcher’s Never-Seen Sharks Featured on ‘Shark Week’

Posted Aug. 12, 2014 by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

By Kara Guzman

After 60 days on a commercial fishing boat, 1,000 miles from land, San Jose State researcher Paul Clerkin discovered never-before-seen sharks, which will be featured on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” on Tuesday.

Clerkin, 29, first ventured to the southern Indian Ocean with the fishing crew to catalog their shark bycatch in 2012. In two months, he encountered 23 types of sharks, eight of which were new species.

Clerkin, a master’s student researching at Moss Landing Marine Labs, returned to the boat in March, this time with a Discovery Channel film crew for “Alien Sharks.” Clerkin said he’s not allowed to say how many new species he discovered this year, but he’s pleased with the trip’s success.

View the full story. 

San Jose Mercury News: San Jose State Students Report Major Discovery in Space

Posted May 25, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Katy Murphy

SAN JOSE — A San Jose State undergrad grieving the loss of his mother shifted his gaze to outer space and made what could prove to be a remarkable discovery: a system of stars so dense, his professor said, astronomy has no word for it.

In only a week 21-year-old Michael Sandoval stumbled upon what he and his professor have named a hypercompact cluster, which they argue is the intensely starry remains of one galaxy that has been consumed by another.

Astrophysics professor Aaron Romanowsky said it’s astounding how quickly his student may have discovered what “some people take years and never find.”

The stellar search was a welcome diversion for Sandoval, whose mother, Holly Houser, died of cancer in October. In the last years of his mom’s life, the physics major lived at home, juggling her care with his education, sometimes rushing her to the emergency room at night and dragging himself to class the next day from Fremont.

Months later, enrolled in his first astrophysics course, he learned classmate Richard Vo had discovered an unusual stellar object — possibly the densest ever found.

His reaction was immediate: “I want to find one too.”

Read the full story. 

San Jose Mercury News: SJSU Graduation Celebrates Grit, Sacrifice

Posted May 24, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Lisa Krieger

Some of the biggest lessons that electrical engineer Donald Flowers II, learned at school happened outside the classroom. Discipline. Time management. Financial budgeting. Focus.

“You cannot give up,” said the 34-year-old Flowers, one of several thousand ebullient San Jose State students celebrating their Saturday graduation in Spartan Stadium’s bright morning sun.

“It takes sacrifice,” he said. “At holidays, I’d be sitting around the table with my whole family, with my laptop open.”

Flowers reflects the kind of success the university has made its mission: offering working students — many of them older or immigrants and transfers from two-year campuses — the intellectual rigor and credentials needed to lift themselves securely into the middle class.

Read the full story. 

 

Admitted Spartan Day

More than 3,500 admitted students and 7,000 family members attended Admitted Spartan Day on April 12. This year’s annual event included a keynote address by SJSU alumnus and Mayor Evan Low of Campbell as well as campus tours, informational workshops and a campus resource fair comprised of 85 departments and student organizations. Over 250 campus community members welcomed our newly admitted class to campus.

Hillary Clinton

An Evening with a Leader

An Evening with a Leader: Hillary Clinton Talks Women's Rights and Personal History

President Qayoumi welcomes Hillary Clinton to the Event Center (Brandon Chew photo).

Women must dare to compete. Hillary Clinton faced thousands of community members and students in the San Jose State Event Center the evening of April 10, challenging women to break down the glass ceilings and messages projecting self-doubt and perfectionism that often stifle them in the workforce.

Haters and lovers

Despite crowds of more than 75 people from the Constitution party chanting “open your eyes, poor guide,” trying to bring awareness about Clinton and the Benghazi “scandal” in 2012, guests said their excitement to see one of their “favorite” politicians couldn’t be suppressed. The audience ranged from people young and old, male and female, families and singles.

In section 2 of the Event Center, where one had a clear side view of Clinton, sat a father and his son. Ian Sills, 13, said he is an aspiring politician, and he’s always admired the issues on which Clinton has worked. Eric, his father, and a Justice Studies lecturer at SJSU, said he too has always been impressed by her political stance and knew this was one event he wanted to make sure he and his son attended.  “I think she’s been through a lot, gone through a lot, but I think she’s got a lot still to do,” Eric Sills said referring to Clinton’s possible run for the presidency in 2016.

An Evening with a Leader: Hillary Clinton Talks Women's Rights and Personal History

As Clinton walked onto the stage, she greeted the standing, cheering crowd (Brandon Chew photo).

Expectancy of Clinton’s candidacy filled the room as one student, Maddy Ferrito, ‘15 European Studies, said  “it’s about time,” that America has such a promising possibility in a woman candidate for president.

Sitting next to Ferrito was Andrew Johnson, ‘14 American Studies, who said he too is a Clinton supporter and though many politicians don’t boast about their knowledge of Washington, he said he admires that Clinton has been part of the politics in Washington for many years yet doesn’t fall into the “disgusting overtone of the capital right now.” So when he heard that Clinton was speaking, he said he “definitely didn’t want to miss this.”

An intimate chat

The stage was set up in such a way as to resemble an afternoon tea with two chairs and a small table. Larry Stone, Santa Clara County assessor and good friend to the Clinton family, was the Q&A moderator. Though he joked about Clinton making the presidential announcement the audience had been waiting for, he wanted the evening to be one in which the audience would gain more than politics.  “She’s vilified a lot,” Stone said. “I wanted the audience to know Hillary like I know her. She’s a warm, interesting, nice individual.”

The evening began with university President Mohammad Qayoumi introducing Clinton. “So tonight, Madam Secretary, you are an honorary Spartan,” he said. As Clinton walked onto the stage, she greeted the standing, cheering crowd with a smile, waving her hands and saying “thank you” as the audience responded with I love yous.

Competing for your dreams

As the audience gazed at Clinton, she urged the audience to take a look at women’s rights in America and the world. She hit on an issue close to home at SJSU. Though the university has a thriving engineering program and other science and math programs, the percentage of women in those career paths is modest. “Women account for just 11 percent of directors on technology boards. That’s a problem right here in this region,” Clinton said.  As a woman in a male dominated field, she said she’s always had to compete.

An Evening with a Leader: Hillary Clinton Talks Women's Rights and Personal History

“All most women need is a fighting chance to prove themselves,” Clinton said. (Brandon Chew photo)

Recalling her own story, Clinton said “starting from the time when I was a little girl, I always was told by my parents that I had the same opportunities as my brothers. I had a responsibility to make the most of myself and that I would, if I did work hard, be able to do those things in life that were of interest to me.”

She said though women have abilities to succeed in male dominated careers, “All most women need is a fighting chance to prove themselves.”

Great women inspire great women

Stone wanted to emphasize Clinton’s inspirations to be the woman she is today. With two women in mind, Clinton shared how her mother Dorothy Rodham and Eleanor Roosevelt were her instrumental inspirations.

Clinton’s mother was orphaned as a young girl, lived a very poor life but desired to go to high school. She said her mother worked as a young girl taking care of a neighborhood woman’s children. During that time, Rodman’s neighbor told her that if she continued to watch the children, she could go to school. “Her story is not my story but it influenced who I became and it really gave me an appreciation for how important it is that we take care of each other.” Though Rodham was abandoned by her parents and grandparents, Clinton said those who stepped in to care for her mother made all the difference.

The event was no more than an hour and a half, yet audience member Erin Roby said she could’ve listened to Clinton longer and she was “more than impressed by what she said.”

Kelly Patterson, a senior at Palo Alto High School, said she received tickets as a birthday present and Clinton’s speech was “really motivating because she’s such a good role model. I’ve heard her speak before, but in person, it’s so different. It gives you chills.”

Honoring 45 Years of Teaching, Counseling and Fighting

Photo: J.P. Tran, '14 Graphic Design

Photo: J.P. Tran, ’14 Graphic Design

“After 45 years, Mohammad will go to the mountain.”

With that, President Qayoumi strode off the stage and through the crowd to hand deliver a very special honor at the 15th Annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon on March 11 at the Student Union’s Barrett Ballroom.

Seated near the front of the room, surrounded by friends and colleagues, was Wiggsy Sivertsen. Her official record includes stints as a counselor and faculty member.

But just as important has been her unofficial role as the heart and soul of San Jose State for more than four decades.

As the sun sets on my career, I can truly say that this has been the ride of my life,” Sivertsen said. “So many students have taught me and touched my life. My colleagues have enriched me.”

Student centered

Also recognized at this annual event were more than 120 faculty members with 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service, as well as the recipients of the university’s top annual awards for faculty members.

The luncheon is always filled with faculty and staff members and administrators. But this year, sitting quietly in chairs off to the side of the room were a half-dozen students.

Carrying flowers for their professor, they talked their way in to see Distinguished Service Award Recipient Julia Curry Rodriguez.

And it was there on the floor, while the proceedings continued on stage, that teacher and students quietly celebrated the connection at the core of the luncheon.

Fighting for rights

Similarly, Sivertsen dedicated her entire career to service in the classroom and beyond, focusing on educating the public about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and fighting for the rights of all.

Soon after arriving at SJSU in 1968, she established the first gay student organization. She went on to co-found the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee, a four-county LGBT political action group.

In the 1980s, she taught in the sociology department and later spent 11 years as director of counseling services.

Sivertsen has received numerous honors, including the American Civil Liberties Union “Don Edwards Defender of Constitutional Liberty Award.”

Thank you for your visionary leadership and dedication to San Jose State University,” said the commendation hand-delivered by the president.

“Your exemplary career of counseling and your tireless service and advocacy to the cause of civil rights attest to your lifetime spirited fight for equality.”

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton to Speak at SJSU

Hillary Rodham Clinton to Speak at SJSU

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Media Contact: Gloria Robertson, SJSU Event Center, 408-924-6353

Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and former U.S. senator from New York, will be at the SJSU Event Center 8 p.m. April 10. For more information, call 408-924-6333 or visit the event website. Clinton served as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service.

Mapbox image of footprints mapped from each major satellite provider.

Applying What She’s Learning to the Hunt for MH 370

 Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER (9M-MRO) taking off at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport (LFPG) in France.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER (9M-MRO) taking off at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport (LFPG) in France (Wikipedia/Laurent ERRERA from L’Union, France photo).

From home, a Spartan is helping search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet.

Joyce Monsees, ’14 Library and Information Science, is one of thousands of volunteers scanning satellite imagery for MH 370.

Joyce Monsees

Joyce Monsees

The work continues even as the Australian Air Force flies to possible wreckage spotted overnight.

Every time we go through another mile, I think at least we’ve narrowed it down, at least we know where it is not,” she said.

What sets Monsees apart from the general public is her experience, goals and academic training.

Since 2012, Monsees has been a member of The Standby Task Force, which organizes digital volunteers into a network poised to deploy in emergencies.  

“In the past, people had to travel to the disaster, and if they couldn’t, all they could do was send money,” she said. The Internet is “making people aware that they can help if they are willing to give their time.”

Analyzing Online Data

The task force analyzes online information, from social media to official records, to create graphics that help relief organizations respond to humanitarian crises, especially natural disasters.

Increasingly and unfortunately, there are more and more disasters that are occurring because of global warming,” said Assistant Professor Christine Hagar. Given “the business that we are in with information science, we can be key players in gathering and disseminating information to various stakeholders.”

Christine Hagar

Assistant Professor Christine Hagar

Hagar’s courses include “Crisis/Disaster Health Informatics,” which Monsees completed. And she’s putting to work what she learned.

“Relief agencies need really good research skills in order to find credible information during a disaster and I’ve got skills,” she says.  After the crisis, “we need to catalog all of this data in a digital library.”

“During the quiet times, we get prepared for the next one by creating emergency operations center pages with databases, medical information and the best news sources for vulnerable areas.”

Crisis Informatics

Although this isn’t an official deployment, Monsees is clarifying the MH 370 search process for everyday people who ask the task force for help.

Like Monsees’ volunteer work, her degree program is exclusively online. Monsees lives in Southern California and Hagar in Great Britain.

Hagar coined the term “crisis informatics” following her study of the information needs of farmers during the U.K. foot-and-mouth outbreak back in 2001.

Monsees hopes her volunteer work will help her land a full time job in informatics, a field she first learned about as a School of Library and Information Science student.

In the first semester is when I discovered all this and that’s when I tailored my degree to head into that direction,” she said. “I realized the skills I’m going to get out of this degree are going to take me where ever I want to go.”

San Jose Mercury News: Walt Disney Museum Exhibit Focuses on Bold Colorful World of Mary Blair

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News March 11, 2014.

By Robert Taylor

You may not know the name of artist Mary Blair, but you know her work: the design elements of “Cinderella” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan,” which brought Disney animation into the modern era. She was also behind the vigor of Disney’s World War II-era “Saludos Amigos,” “The Three Caballeros” and the charming illustrations for Golden Books, treasured by adults and children alike.

And as a culmination of her travels, her zest for life, her innovative, international style, there’s the musical journey that Walt Disney himself recruited her to design. Perhaps you’ve heard the theme song: “It’s A Small World.”

“She was very proud of it — thrilled, because it would make so many children happy,” recalls Blair’s niece, Jeanne Chamberlain who, with her sister Maggie Richardson, is carrying on Blair’s legacy. Richardson notes that, though the song by the Sherman brothers “can make people crazy,” the project was always a part of Blair’s life.

And there’s so much more, from California landscapes that tell dramatic stories in watercolor to tropical-looking Maxwell House coffee ads to window designs for Bonwit Teller in New York. Blair was even the “color designer” for the eye-popping musical film “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

It’s all ready to be discovered — much of it for the first time by the public — in “Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair” at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco’s Presidio. (Beware, your GPS device may take you to Montgomery Street in the financial district, instead.) The exhibit, opening today and running through Sept. 7, includes more than 200 drawings, paintings, designs and photographs.

The exhibit was originally proposed by the late Diane Disney Miller, Walt Disney’s daughter, and represents something of a homecoming for Blair’s artwork. Born in McAlester, Okla., in 1911, Blair moved with her family in the early 1920s to Morgan Hill, south of San Jose. She studied art at San Jose State College from 1929 to 1931, then won a scholarship to the prestigious Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.

Read the full story. 

“Are We Post-Racial, or is Racism Still a Problem?”

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Michael Eric Dyson, acclaimed author, professor, political analyst and holder of a doctorate in religion, delivered a provocative lecture in response to alleged hate crimes at San Jose State (Christina Olivas photo).

Race: a topic some may dare not to whisper, Michael Eric Dyson boldly addressed with the dynamic, poetic cadence of a reverend and a rapper as he spit the lyrics of Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls to tackle the question, “Are we post-racial, or is racism still a problem?”

Dyson, acclaimed author, professor, political analyst and holder of a doctorate in religion, delivered a provocative lecture in response to alleged hate crimes at San Jose State. More than 500 people of different ethnicities, genders and ages flooded Morris Daily Auditorium, sitting and standing for the lecture Monday evening.

Is racism an issue in 2014?

Before the lecture, Adam Ahmed, ’17 Microbiology, and a member of the lecture’s planning team, said he was curious about Dyson’s take on race as he found it shocking that in 2014 racism is still a problem, especially at SJSU. However, other attendees anticipated Dyson’s lecture would shed light on a dark reality in America.

I think it’s interesting how people of color seem to be the only ones who think that racism still exists and that it’s still a prevalent issue,” said Najma Sadiq, a DeAnza College student.

“I hope Mr. Dyson definitely breaks all the stereotypes and lets people know that it’s real, it exists and what happened [at SJSU] is a clear-cut definition that it does still exist in 2014.”

Dyson did address the current and past existence of racism as he said even in “hot beds of liberalism,” cases such as the alleged hate crimes at SJSU are very real. Dyson compared racial issues to a boil that one must sometimes “slice open and let the puss spill out.”

Dispelling the makeup of a racist

During the lecture, Dyson walked the audience through the history of race in America. He emphasized the vast importance of understanding America’s racialized history before we can move forward.

The very people who acknowledge the racial chasm are themselves said to be the reason for the racial chasm because they keep talking about the racial chasm.”

Dyson expressed how this concept is almost as absurd as blaming a diseased person for the creation of their disease. His voice boomed in the auditorium as he went on to make three points relating to how people can respect race and differences.

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Dyson in front of the iconic Smith/Carlos sculpture at SJSU (Christina Olivas photo).

Hierarchy and specificity, not exclusivity

“We’re obsessed with hierarchy,” he said, making his first point that society must learn to nurture the differences in people without ranking them. “In other words, you ain’t got to be what the mainstream says you ought to be in order to be acknowledged as something worthy to exist.”

Next, he encouraged the audience to develop an appreciation for racial specificity without being racially exclusive, which means one must realize that race is an essential part of individuals’ stories in the United States.

Lastly, he said diversity must be for the sake of a just goal. For example, if people of diverse ethnic backgrounds ostracize someone based on sexual orientation, an injustice is being perpetuated amidst superficial diversity.

You have to hold on to the courageous assertion of your identity,” he said. “The reason you come [to SJSU] is to make a contribution and to challenge the norm.”

During the question and answer period, Rigo Garcia, ’15 Mexican American Studies, shared his observation that although the university touts diversity, ethnic studies departments don’t have the perceived support that one may expect.

This was promoting diversity for an unjust goal, Garcia said, before asking how he can be part of those who instead seek diversity for justice within the ethnic studies programs.

Myth of a post-racial society

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Students crowd Dyson for handshakes and pictures (Christina Olivas photo).

After the questions subsided, audience members rushed and crowded Dyson for handshakes and pictures. Ahmed said he was struck by the professor’s point that we are not in a post-racial society even though the country has its first black president.

“People believe with [President Barak Obama’s] election that we are done with race, ‘been there done black,’” Dyson stated, followed by laughs from the audience as he explained much remains undone.

Ahmed said Obama’s success may have contributed to his previous thoughts, adding that he now wanted to ask Dyson,

What happens next? This is not the first talk like this [about race relations]. Will we ever see true unity in this country?”