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.


President Obama Honors Professor

President Barack Obama meets with the 2013 winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) in the Oval Office, June 17, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with the 2013 winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in the Oval Office, June 17, 2015. Professor Soto is on the far right (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

Professor of Biological Sciences Julio Soto met President Barack Obama at a White House reception on June 16 recognizing recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

The award honors individuals who have made extraordinary efforts to engage students from communities that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The National Science Foundation organized the event.

Soto served as the principal investigator on two groundbreaking grants at San Jose State. Under HHMI-SCRIBE, Soto and colleagues transformed the core curriculum for biology majors. With NSF-RUMBA, Soto coordinates summer research opportunities for under-represented students.

Together, the programs equip students with the academic and applied opportunities they need to excel in graduate school and beyond, reflecting the department’s emphasis on hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities at the bench and in the field.


White House Honors Professor

“As a member of an under-represented minority group, I am committed to making the unlimited intellectual possibilities of modern biology accessible to all students,”—Professor Julio Soto.

“As a member of an under-represented minority group, I am committed to making the unlimited intellectual possibilities of modern biology accessible to all students.”—Professor Julio Soto (photo by Christina Olivas)

Media contact:
Pat Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – SJSU Professor of Biological Sciences Julio Soto will receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, the White House announced March 27.

The honor, received by just 14 individuals and one organization in the past two years, recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields.

“These educators are helping to cultivate America’s future scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” President Obama said. “They open new worlds to their students, and give them the encouragement they need to learn, discover and innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and our nation’s future, too.”

Principal investigator

Soto served as the principal investigator on two groundbreaking grants at San Jose State. Under HHMI-SCRIBE, Soto and colleagues transformed the core curriculum for biology majors. With NSF-RUMBA, Soto coordinates summer research opportunities for under-represented students.

Among his students inspired in the classroom to take part in the summer research program is Pareet Raju, ’15 Molecular Biology. “Dr. Soto helped me understand the lecture by providing research articles as a reference…Recently I joined his lab, where he has been guiding me through my research project,” she said.

Together, the programs equip students with the academic and applied opportunities they need to excel in graduate school and beyond, reflecting the department’s emphasis on hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities at the bench and in the field.

“As a member of an under-represented minority group, I am committed to making the unlimited intellectual possibilities of modern biology accessible to all students,” Professor Soto said.

Professor and mentor

Soto arrived at SJSU in 1999, with degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey.

“Dr. Soto has a unique and refreshing approach as a lab mentor,” said Nicko Ly, ’15 Molecular Biology, and a RUMBA participant. “Although he has high expectations for his undergraduate lab researchers and challenges his students to be independent thinkers, he genuinely is passionate and determined to have his students pursuing a career in the sciences.”

In addition to being honored in Washington later this year, Soto will receive an award of $10,000 from the National Science Foundation. The mentors and organization announced March 27 represent the winners for 2012 and 2013.

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.

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

egg logger

Gaining a Birds-eye View

Did you know some wild birds turn their eggs 50 to 60 times a day during nesting season? Or in some species, the temperature of an egg inside a nest drops about 2.5 degrees from day to night?

Those are just some of the findings Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Scott Shaffer discovered during recent studies with his new high-tech egg loggers.

“The egg loggers open up a lot of new territory to explore what the birds are doing,” said Professor Shaffer, a wildlife biologist in the College of Science.

Micro-electronic eggs

Associate Professor Scott Shaffer

Associate Professor Scott Shaffer (photo by Muhamed Causevic, ’15 BFA Graphic Design)

The egg loggers look like real eggs, but they’re far from it. The eggs are plastic, and made on a 3-D printer. Inside are micro-electronics similar to those used in smart devices such as tablets and cell phones.

An accelerometer and magnetometer measure motion and angle changes in three dimensions, and a thermistor monitors temperature.

Each sensor takes a reading every second, and gives researchers more definite estimates to calculate three-dimensional movements, and create 3-D animations of movement patterns, something not available until now.

Improving hatching rates

Egg turning is critical for embryonic development in most bird species. The information provided by the egg loggers could help researchers learn how to improve hatching rates of artificially incubated eggs.

In addition, researchers are seeking to better understand how man-made disturbances affect hatching success, and even learn how birds laden with certain contaminates like mercury influence hormone levels.

Shaffer and his team developed advanced egg loggers and placed them in the nests of five different-size bird species in geographic locations ranging from the tropics to Antarctica.

The research was funded in part by the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB).

egg logger

The egg loggers look like real eggs, but they’re far from it (photo by Muhamed Causevic, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

Technology aiding ecology

“From an ecological view, my long-term goal is to investigate whether birds turn their eggs differently based on the number of eggs in a nest, nest type, age and experience of parent birds, or breeding environment,” Professor Shaffer said.

Bio-logging technology has been used since the mid 1960s, but rapid changes in microprocessors have reduced component size and increased the sophistication of senor technology.

“It allows us to study wild animals in ways that weren’t possible 30 or 40 years ago,” Shaffer said.

walnut research

Researchers Crack Away at the Benefits of Walnuts

walnut research

Ahn Pham and John Kim conducted walnut research at SJSU. Today, Pham is working in the biotechnology industry. Kim is in a doctoral program at the University of Southern California (Dillon Adams photo).

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

San Jose, CA–Walnuts are part of a Mediterranean diet and have been shown to reduce heart disease and are potentially able to fight cancer. Yet as much as science has revealed about the health benefits of walnuts, which components of walnuts are responsible for these effects has remained a mystery.

Researchers at San Jose State University, in collaboration with scientists at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute, have now identified compounds that show anti-cancer effects in human breast cancer cell models.

The research study, “Cytotoxic Effects of Ellagitannins Isolated from Walnuts in Human Cancer Cells”, was published online in September (Volume 66, Issue 8) in the scientific journal, Cancer and Nutrition.

Student opportunities

A team of undergraduate students at SJSU in the labs of Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Brandon White and Professor of Chemistry Roy Okuda conducted the study characterizing the effects of the compounds on various breast cancer cells. Mary Grace, a senior researcher in Mary Ann Lila’s lab at the Plants for Human Health Institute, provided purified compounds that were used in this study.

“Not only is this research beneficial to human health, it has also given students at SJSU an opportunity to work in the cancer biology field,” Professor White said.

These students received hands on training from Professors White and Okuda as part of their educational experience at SJSU.  Working in the lab has helped these students go on to working in biotech, doctoral programs, and pharmacy school.”

The student researchers were Vy Le, ’14 Biology; Danny Ha, ’14 Biology; Anh Pham, ’12 Biology; Anthony Bortolazzo, ’14 Biology; Zackery Bevens, ’14 Biology; and John Kim, ’12 Chemistry.

Valuable insight

Walnuts are the second largest nut crop in the United States, which produces over 900 million pounds annually with a production value of more than $1 billion. The U.S is the world’s largest exporter of walnuts. Walnuts are also sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidant compounds associated with heart health.

“Identifying which compounds are active individually or synergistically will provide valuable insight into understanding their mechanisms of action. By gaining a better understanding of the unique properties of walnuts and how they promote human health, researchers may one day be able to target certain ailments by recommending consumption of walnuts,” Professor White said.

The California Walnut Commission provided funding support for this research project.

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.

Kenneth H. Coale

Professor Receives National Honor

Kenneth H. Coale (courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

Kenneth H. Coale (courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Kenneth H. Coale has been Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Media contacts:
Brynn Kaufman, MLML, 831-771-4401
Kenneth Coale, MLML, 831-771-4406
Kat Zambon, AAAS, 202-326-6434

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry Kenneth H. Coale has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for groundbreaking experiments linking iron to plankton growth, marine production and climate change. Coale is among a select number of California State University faculty members to receive this distinction.

“It is truly an honor for our little institution in Moss Landing to be recognized by such a prominent and respected scientific body,” Coale said.

Coale was elected as an AAAS Fellow for studies of trace element biogeochemistry in marine waters and the response of marine phytoplankton to exogenous iron deposition.  He is a marine biogeochemist who studies the cycles of chemicals in the sea and the natural and anthropogenic processes that influence these cycles.

Climate change research

The professor was the chief scientist/principal investigator on all the U.S.-led open ocean iron fertilization experiments in both the equatorial Pacific and Southern Ocean that have advanced the “Iron Hypothesis” of phytoplankton production and climate forcing.

His research interests include trace element, carbon and nutrient cycling in ocean, coastal and freshwater systems; the application of natural and anthropogenic radionuclides in the study of marine rate processes; the biogeochemical cycling of mercury in aquatic and atmospheric systems, and the transport of mercury from the oceans to terrestrial systems via fog.

Coale serves on the California Ocean Protection Council’s Science Advisory Team and is a trustee for the Ocean Science Trust. In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Coale and coworkers identified a neurotoxin produced in iron-fertilized open ocean regions.

“This work definitely reveals a wrinkle in plans to use iron fertilization of the oceans as a way to combat global warming,” Coale said. “It is much easier to break an ecosystem than it is to fix one. In light of these findings, we should redouble our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the primary culprit for ocean ecosystem damage worldwide.”

Advancing science

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 401 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting to be held in February in San Jose.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) are the graduate program and research facilities administered by San Jose State University serving seven California State University (CSU) campuses located in Fresno, Stanislaus, Sacramento, San Francisco, Hayward, San Jose and Monterey Bay.  MLML, the second oldest marine lab in the Monterey Bay region, has grown from its humble beginnings in a converted cannery building in 1966, to an internationally renowned program for excellence in all marine science disciplines.

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.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

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Celebration of Research

RF event

Please join us in congratulating the extraordinary achievements of professors Hamilton and Holian, two outstanding members of the San José State University faculty.

Assistant Professor Scott Hamilton from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, College of Science, and Associate Professor Matthew Holian from the Department of Economics, College of Social Sciences, have been chosen to receive the San José State University Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award for 2014.  Their selection has been made at the recommendation of the Early Career Investigator Subcommittee of the Research Foundation Board of Directors.

Please join us in congratulating the extraordinary achievements of professors Hamilton and Holian, two outstanding members of the San José State University faculty. They will be honored at the SJSU Celebration of Research on Monday, November 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. Both professors will present short talks on their research.

The SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award recognizes tenure-track SJSU faculty who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity as evidenced by their success in securing funds for research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and carrying out other important scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their careers at SJSU. Our two recipients are excellent examples of individuals who have achieved this level of success.

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton has been tremendously productive in his field of study, Ichthyology, and specializes in the ecology of coastal marine fish, their role in nearshore ecosystems, and the response of these ecosystems to environmental change and human impacts. Since joining SJSU in 2011, he has successfully competed for multiple grants, receiving over $165,000 in funding to date. These grants have come from the Regents of the University of California, California Sea Grant, and the Council on Ocean Affairs Science and Technology. He has co-authored two journal articles since arriving at SJSU, bringing his total to 14 publications, including an individual authorship and two conference proceedings. Looking into the life history traits and the reproductive function of the California sheephead, a kelp forest fish, Hamilton is also collaborating on exploring the effects of climate change on the vital kelp forest communities.

Matthew Holian

Matthew Holian

Matthew Holian has demonstrated an outstanding record of research and scholarship, making a name for himself in the field of transportation economics. Since joining SJSU in 2008, he has successfully competed for numerous grants, receiving $350,000 in funding to date. These grants have come from the California Debt and Investment Advisory Committee, the Charles Koch Foundation, along with federal and state sponsored research funding through the Mineta Transportation Institute. Since 2008, he has published nine journal articles, three of which he authored individually; research reports; and a book chapter. Holian’s research studies include Cities, Suburbs, and the Environment in India; Greenhouse Gas Emissions Generated by Urban Transportation and Land Use Patterns; and Integrating Highway and Transit Data into Benefit-Cost Analysis.

The SJSU Research Foundation established two Early Career Investigator Awards in order to encourage participation beyond those colleges where large numbers of faculty have traditionally participated in external funding pursuits. One award goes to a faculty member in the colleges of Science or Engineering and another is made to a faculty member from one of the other colleges. Each awardee will receive a cash award of $1,000 to be used at their discretion.

So Many Roads Poster

Grateful Dead Scholars Gather at SJSU


Media contact: Pat Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – “So Many Roads: The World in the Grateful Dead,” an academic conference showcasing the wide-ranging scholarship devoted to the band and its impact on culture and history, will be held Nov. 5-8 at the San Jose State University Student Union. 

Reduced-fee registration is available through October 6, and a block of hotel rooms has been reserved at the nearby Fairmont San Jose hotel. Sponsors include SJSU in partnership with the Grateful Dead Archive at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Rhino Entertainment, Grateful Dead Productions, and Ice Nine Publishing. San Jose holds a special place in the band’s history.

Garcia and Pigpen played folk clubs in and around the SJSU campus in the early 1960s,” said Michael Parrish, conference co-organizer, music journalist, and dean of SJSU’s College of Science. “The San Jose Acid Test, where the band first performed as the Grateful Dead, took place two blocks away, on the current site of the San Jose City Hall, and the Dead was the first musical act to play in the SJSU Student Union on Halloween night in 1969.”

As the band approaches its 50th anniversary in 2015, the issues and events surrounding the Grateful Dead remain compelling to scholars working in a wide range of disciplines. The SJSU event will build on the success and ripple effects of “Unbroken Chain: The Grateful Dead in Music, Culture, and Memory” held in 2007 at the University of Massachusetts.

The conference title refers to a remarkable discourse and a compelling and growing body of work,” Nicholas Meriwether, Grateful Dead archivist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, explained. “The Grateful Dead were always a uniquely American institution, but the range of its influence and the scope of its achievements are truly international. That’s why the title of the conference is ‘The World in the Grateful Dead’—for they truly did capture the world in their music.”

Over 50 speakers are confirmed. The international roster includes academics, family members and associates of the band, journalists, artists, musicians, and over 15 authors of Dead-related books.  On Friday, a celebration of San Francisco poster art featuring work by Stanley Mouse, David Singer, Dennis Larkins, Gary Houston and Chris Shaw will be held in conjunction with a major exhibit of Grateful Dead art in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. Panels will explore the band’s influence in such diverse areas as politics, business, journalism, religious studies, and even gourmet cooking.

Confirmed participants include Grateful Dead Vault Archivist and Legacy Manager David Lemieux; Rhino Records President Mark Pinkus; acoustician Elizabeth Cohen; technology investor and Moonalice founder Roger McNamee; journalists David Dodd, David Gans, Blair Jackson and Steve Silberman; musicologists Graeme Boone, Shaugn O’Donnell and Brian Felix; historians Michael Kramer and Peter Richardson; photographers Susana Millman, Jay Blakesberg, Ed Perlstein and Bob Minkin; and master chefs Kimball Jones, Kevin Weinberg and Ray Sewell. Family members of the band include Trixie Garcia, Rosie McGee, and Rhoney Stanley.

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.


ninja slide

Green Ninja Receives 2014 STEM Innovator Award

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The Green Ninja takes action with recycled oil (Green Ninja Project image).

Contact: Pat Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, Calif.— San Jose State’s Green Ninja Project is one of four endeavors to receive a 2014 Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Innovation Award from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. The project will be recognized during the foundation’s signature annual event, Pioneers & Purpose, on Oct. 1 at the Fairmont San Jose.

“These organizations represent the best in the country working to provide STEM experiences that strengthen and inspire students to explore their curiosity in STEM fields,” Silicon Valley Education Foundation CEO Muhammed Chaudhry said.

Green Ninja project pupet

“The Green Ninja Show” features animation, live action and puppetry (Green Ninja Project image).

Multidisciplinary Initiative

The national award recognizes pioneering programs that have demonstrated innovative methods in STEM education and includes a cash prize.  The Green Ninja Project uses a collection of humorous films and hands-on learning experiences to help young people develop the inspiration and tools to do something about our changing climate.

“By blending science, engineering and the arts, the Green Ninja Project aims to become a nationally recognized icon for education and action on climate change,” said Professor of Meteorology and Climate Science Eugene Cordero.

Million YouTube Views

The project is a multi-platform climate science education initiative that is driven by a strong collaboration between faculty members and students across various departments including Meteorology and Climate Science; Geology; Computer Science; Science Education; Primary Education; Television, Radio, Film and Theatre; and Animation and Illustration.

To date, the project has worked with more than 100 teachers and reached more than 2,000 students. Episodes of “The Green Ninja Show” have had more than a million views on YouTube and TeacherTube. The $5,000 prize will support students working on the show’s second season.

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.

Cyber Camp 2014

The 2014 U.S. Cyber Challenge Western Regional Cyber Camp took place Aug. 11-15 at San Jose State. The camp included a cybersecurity roundtable discussion featuring national experts from technology, government and academia and a virtual “Capture the Flag” competition and awards ceremony. In addition, the week-long camp program offered in-depth workshops on a range of topics such as reverse engineering malware, writing exploits, tactical attacks and penetration testing, all taught by academics, SANS Institute senior instructors and other cybersecurity experts. More than 70 camp participants attended the invitation-only camp, based in part on their scores from Cyber Quests, an online competition offered through the USCC in April that drew more than 1,600 participants from almost 700 schools nationwide.

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. 

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SJSU Hosts Cyber Camp

cybersecurity camp

More than 70 camp participants will attend the Western Regional camp and the executive roundtable (Robert Bain photo).

Media Contact: Rudy Pamintuan, USCC media relations, 312-961-4710

U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) and San Jose State University (SJSU) will host a cybersecurity roundtable discussion featuring national experts from technology, government and academia beginning at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at San Jose State University in the New Student Union Ballroom. The event will be held in conjunction with the 2014 U.S. Cyber Challenge Western Regional Cyber Camp, taking place Aug. 11-15 at SJSU.

The 2014 Western Regional Cyber Security Executive Roundtable Discussion will allow camp participants to hear firsthand from employers, including Silicon Valley companies, about how to prepare for a career in this critical field, as well as what specific roles these organizations hope to fill in their workforce.

“We look forward to the dialogue between industry experts and the elite talent at our cyber camp,” said SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi. “This is a unique opportunity for camp participants to not only learn hands-on in the classroom, but also interact with executives in the industry and understand the workforce needs of this exponentially expanding sector.”

Hands-on experience

Executive participants include Dr. Ernest McDuffie, lead for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE); Darren Ash, Deputy Executive Director for Corporate Management and Chief Information Officer, Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Stuart Solomon, Vice President, Technical Services and Client Operations, iSight Partners; and Chris Bjornson, Chief Information Officer, Accenture Federal Services. Other participants will also include representatives from Facebook and (ISC)2. The roundtable will be moderated by Karen S. Evans, National Director of U.S. Cyber Challenge.

Throughout the week-long camp program, curriculum includes in-depth workshops on a range of topics such as reverse engineering malware, writing exploits, tactical attacks and penetration testing, all taught by academics, SANS Institute senior instructors and other cybersecurity experts.

The week will finish with a virtual “Capture the Flag” competition and awards ceremony Friday, Aug. 15, inside the New Student Union Ballroom. The ceremony will include remarks by President Qayoumi; Admiral Patrick Walsh, US Navy (Ret.), Senior VP, iSight Partners; and Karen S. Evans, National Director of U.S. Cyber Challenge.

Industry connections

The camp is supported in part through sponsorships by (ISC)2 Foundation, SE Solutions, iSight Partners, Threat Space, NIC, CyberAces, the Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM), Avue Technologies, SANS Institute, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Department of Homeland Security, the Federal CIO Council, Cyber Ninjas, Kearney & Company, Deep Water Point, The Coleman Group, VMD, Valente & Associations, AMBIT, REI Systems, VISA and Accenture. Local sponsors for the western regional camp include Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, PG&E and the STC-TRUST.

More than 70 camp participants are attending the Western Regional camp and the executive roundtable. Attendees to the invitation-only camps were selected based in part on their scores from Cyber Quests, an online competition offered through the USCC in April that drew more than 1,600 participants from almost 700 schools nationwide.

The 2014 Cyber Summer Camp Series features two national weeklong camps and two statewide camps. The camps are part of several initiatives underway through USCC, a national campaign focused on identifying and developing cybersecurity talent to meet the country’s critical cybersecurity workforce needs.

For more information about the Cyber Camp program and each of the specific camps, visit USCC online at

About U.S. Cyber Challenge

U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) is a program of the Council on CyberSecurity, a 501(c)3 organization, and has the mission to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. USCC’s goal is to find 10,000 of America’s best and brightest to fill the ranks of cybersecurity professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation.

About San Jose State University

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.

galaxy 400

Distant “Hungry Twin” Shows How Galaxies Grow


The Umbrella Galaxy takes its name from a mysterious feature seen on the left here, that is now found to be debris from a tiny galaxy, only a 50th its size, shredded apart by gravity. The image is a combination of data from the 0.5-meter BlackBird Remote Observatory Telescope and Suprime-Cam on the 8-meter Subaru Telescope. The inset shows a small cluster of stars embedded in the stream, which marks the center of the disrupted galaxy (image by R. Jay Gabany).

MAUNA KEA, HAWAII – Scientists studying a ‘twin’ of the Milky Way have used the W. M. Keck Observatory and Subaru Observatory to accurately model how it is swallowing another, smaller galaxy, according to newly published research co-authored by San Jose State University assistant professor of physics and astronomy Aaron Romanowsky.

This is important because our whole concept about what galaxies are and how they grow has not been fully verified,” Romanowsky said. “We think they are constantly swallowing up smaller galaxies as part of a cosmic food chain, all pulled together by a mysterious form of invisible dark matter. We sometimes get a glimpse of the hidden vista being lit up when a galaxy is torn apart. That’s what occurred here.”

The work, led by Caroline Foster of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, has used the Umbrella (NGC 4651) galaxy to reveal insights in galactic behavior.

An Umbrella Galaxy

The Umbrella lies 62 million light-years away, in the northern constellation of Coma Berenices. Its faint parasol is composed of a stellar stream, thought to be the remnants of a smaller galaxy being pulled apart by the large galaxy’s intense gravitational field. The Umbrella will eventually absorb this small galaxy completely.

The merging of small galaxies into larger ones is common throughout the universe, but because the shredded galaxies are so faint it has been hard to extract details in three-dimensions about how such mergers proceed. Using the most powerful optical facilities in the world, the twin, 10-meter Keck Observatory and the 8-meter Subaru Telescope, near the summit of Mauna Kea, Foster and her collaborators have determined enough about the character of the merger to provide a detailed model of how and when it occurred.

“Through new techniques we have been able to measure the movements of the stars in the very distant, very faint, stellar stream in the Umbrella,” Foster said. “This allows us, for the first time, to reconstruct the history of the system.”

Being able to study streams this far away means that we can reconstruct the assembly histories of many more galaxies,” Romanowsky said. “In turn that means we can get a handle on how often these ‘minor mergers’ — thought to be an important way that galaxies grow — actually occur. We can also map out the orbits of the stellar streams to test the pull of gravity for exotic effects, much like the Moon going around the Earth but without having to wait 300 million years for the orbit to complete.”

The present work is a follow-up to a 2010 study, led by Dr. David Martínez-Delgado (University of Heidelberg), which used small robotic telescopes to image eight isolated spiral galaxies, and found the signs of mergers — shells, clouds and arcs of tidal debris — in six of them.

The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectroscopy and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

Speedy Tracers

DEIMOS (the DEep Imaging and Multi-Object Spectrograph) boasts the largest field of view (16.7 arcmin by 5 arcmin) of any of the Keck instruments, and the largest number of pixels (64 Mpix). It is used primarily in its multi-object mode, obtaining simultaneous spectra of up to 130 galaxies or stars. Astronomers study fields of distant galaxies with DEIMOS, efficiently probing the most distant corners of the universe with high sensitivity.

Keck Observatory is a private 501(c)3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

After taking panoramic images of the Umbrella with Suprime-Cam on Subaru, the scientists used the DEIMOS instrument, installed on the Keck II telescope, to map out the motions of the stream and hence determine how the galaxy is being shredded.

The stars in the stream are incredibly faint, so it was necessary to use a proxy technique to measure the speeds of brighter tracer objects moving along with the stream stars. These bright tracers include globular star clusters, planetary nebulae (dying stars that glow like neon lights), and patches of glowing hydrogen gas.

Richard Vo, ’14 Physics

Finding His Future in the Stars

Richard Vo,’14 Physics

Richard Vo, ’14 Physics, inside the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The observatory houses the world’s largest optical and infrared telescopes, which collect data Richard uses for his research (photo courtesy of Richard Vo).

Richard Vo’s Astronomical Discovery is Rooted in Family’s Support

As the youngest of 10 in a low-income family, this San Jose native found his future in the stars, though life hasn’t always seemed as brilliant as the galaxies he’s admired.

Surviving anywhere

Richard Vo, ’14 Physics, was born and raised in South San Jose in a working-class family. “It’s kind of weird just growing up in a big family, in one house.  It felt like a giant sleepover every day.”

Richard said his parents, now both of retirement age, have always worked and to this day his mother continues to cater, serving others to help provide for the family.  “My mom has been working at home since as long as I can remember,” he said. “She caters food (and) delivers food. She’s been doing that for a long time, ever since I was born, and she’s still doing that today.”

As a result of their parents reverence for hard work, Richard’s oldest brother Trung Vo said all of his siblings are self motivated. If ever they desired to participate in an extracurricular activity, they had to provide the funds. “Now we appreciate what we work hard for… We all can survive anywhere,” he said. “It doesn’t matter the conditions, we’ll adapt, and that’s the good thing about (growing up with little resources). When you’re a kid, you look at others like ‘Oh man, how come they have everything I don’t have’ but now that I am grown, I’m glad we went through that because now I understand we can live (through anything).” Richard Vo has had many different jobs since he was 16, from bowling alleys and retail to tutoring, to get what he wanted. Tutoring has been especially rewarding.

When I help somebody out and they do well, it puts a smile on my face,” he said.

Lyly Mai, an Administration of Justice major at West Valley College, met Vo three years ago and works with him at Learning Star Tutoring Center. In that time, she has observed Richard’s easy-going and approachable personality reach his students. She said Richard works with youths in the eighth grade and older and is able to break down walls with them in a way the other teachers can’t. “He really doesn’t make the kids feel uncomfortable,” she said. “When we see new kids, they feel really shy and don’t want to interact with anyone but with him, he tries to open up, so they will open up and ask questions.”

Getting involved 

SJSU was not Richard’s first choice and he was frustrated that he had to go to a university in a place all too familiar.  “I have a huge family and everyone moved out, so someone had to stay at home with my mom and dad. Since I’m the youngest, I kind of had no choice,” he said. “I wanted to explore, be a college student, basically just live a whole new life and go somewhere to a city I’d never been before because everything in San Jose just felt so ordinary for me. Growing up here, nothing’s changed. I wanted change.”

Richard Vo,’14 Physics

Richard’s co-curricular and extracurricular activities have helped him build confidence (Christiana Cobb photo).

He found the change he was longing for first in his fraternity. During his sophomore year, Richard contemplated transferring to the University of Southern California but at the same time, he joined Alpha Omega Tao and became more involved at SJSU.

That was all the change I needed,” Richard said. “I realized you don’t have to go far to find change, you’ve just got to find change wherever you are.”

Skyler Rohrbaugh, ’16 Business Marketing, is one of Richard’s fraternity brothers and in the time they have known each other, Rohrbaugh has seen Richard as a big part of the fraternity. “His big-and- little family line [his fraternity big brothers and little brothers] is one of the tighter ones in our house,” he said. “They all really like each other and have a genuine family/friend bond.”

Part of Richard’s initial dissatisfaction with SJSU came with his disconnection with his electrical engineering major, which he entered after much influence from his brother Trung. Trung, a mechanical engineer, advised Richard to be an engineer because of Richard’s skill in math and science. Trung knew that being an engineer is a good way to make a living quickly after college. Richard said that engineering was something his brother “knew” Richard would be good at, but Richard was not convinced, so he switched.

Changing majors

Richard siblings are not very supportive of his career path because they don’t quite understand what he is studying or what he will do with his degree. As the youngest, Richard said he feels the pressure to succeed and be the “the biggest shining star in the family.” However, Trung said that he truly wants Richard to be happy and have the best life he can.  Trung said he advised Richard that in his pursuit of physics and higher education, he should work to financially support his endeavors.

Richard Vo,’14 Physics

From the Keck Observatory telescope room, Richard video chats with Assistant Professor Aaron Romanowsky in San Jose (photo courtesy of Romanowsky).

Richard began to truly understand what he wanted to do after his first physics class. “When I took my first physics class, that’s when I got the idea of majoring in physics,” he said. He said changing majors is one of the greater decisions of his life.

It’s always really good to figure out what you want to do and what you have a passion for,” Richard said.

As Richard became more invested in physics, he began working on a breath-taking discovery that could potentially define his future. In fall 2012, Richard took a computational methods course with Assistant Professor Aaron Romanowsky and later emailed him with interest in researching objects in the sky. “I wanted a better knowledge of what I wanted to study,” he said. “You don’t want to pursue a career on something if you don’t know what it’s about.”

As a newer professor, Romanowsky said this was the first time a student approached him about doing any independent study research.

“It’s been really good too, to see how he’s stuck with it,” Romanowsky said. “It takes a long time to get anywhere, and you have to really have patience and be able to deal with frustration. A lot of people will start a research project and kind of give up after a while because it’s taken so long or they get stuck.”

Following his passion

In January 2013, Richard began his research. Though he had been intrigued with astronomy and the stars, he didn’t quite understand what today’s astronomers do. Romanowsky introduced him to using software to find different astronomical objects, which upon further inspection may turn out to be stars, supernovas, galaxies, asteroids – any number of things twinkling in the night sky. “You know looking though telescopes doesn’t really happen these days, it’s basically like giant digital cameras,” Romanowsky said.

Richard Vo,’14 Physics

Richard conducted research this term at the Keck Observatory while preparing to publish details of his major discovery (photo courtesy of Richard Vo).

In fact, the first time Richard looked into a telescope was last summer when he had the opportunity to look into his nephew’s.

I spent three months trying to figure out the programs,” Richard said. “I saw a whole different side of the computer world.”

Once he nailed down the computer skills, Richard stumbled upon his own discovery, which will soon be described in detail in an academic journal. For now, all Richard can share is his discovery is linked to a paper Romanowsky released in September about the sighting of an ultra-compact galaxy, the densest of its kind up to that point. Richard’s discovery is a record breaker and younger than other like objects. As of a result of his finding, Richard had the opportunity to do further research this term at the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii.

Richard worked tirelessly with people all over the world and was in awe of the technology used to observe at his object. He said he hopes this is not the end of his education, as he prepares to write his journal article and look deeper into his object.

Planning for the future

Despite his success as a student, Richard expressed concerns for what happens after he receives his bachelor’s degree, though he does desire to go to graduate school and continue researching.

Richard’s supporters don’t see any reason for him to worry. “He’s nervous but, to be honest, when I look at him, I know he’s good with his future,” said Mai, Richard’s co-worker. “I see a lot of people our age who don’t know where they’re going or what they want. With him, he knows exactly what he wants. He’s goal-oriented and he’s going for his goal.”


Faculty Notes: Research, Recognition and Applied Learning

Ryan Carrington

Lecturer Ryan Carrington, Department of Art and Art History, holds an MFA in spatial art from SJSU and teaches sculpture, foundry work and mold making.

Professor Ted Butryn and Associate Professor Matthew Masucci, Department of Kinesiology, spoke on February 26 at the King Library as part of the University Scholar Series on the topic of female triathletes’ awareness of doping and the anti-doping movement. Their research was funded by a two-year grant from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Lecturer Ryan Carrington, Department of Art and Art History, received an Emerging Artist/Artist Laureate Award from Silicon Valley Creates. His art explores the theme of labor through gallery installations, performances and site-specific work. He holds an MFA in spatial art from SJSU and currently teaches sculpture, foundry work and mold making.

Professor Emeritus Betty Chu, Department of Economics, was profiled last month in TheHuffington Post for her success in breeding Angora rabbits. One of the oldest kinds of domestic rabbit, the Angora rabbit, along with the Angora cat and the Angora goat, originated in Turkey. Chu holds the distinction of breeding the only Angora that has ever won the Open Best in Show award at the American Rabbit Breeder Association National Convention.

faculty notes

Asst. Prof. Kasuen Mauldin

Assistant Professor G. Craig Hobbs, Department of Art and Art History, and director of Learning and Games Consortium, organized and served as faculty advisor of Global Game Jam, held January 24-26 on campus. A competitive “hackathon” focused on game development, it was an event open to students from all majors and focused on collaboratively creating games under tight deadlines using computers, software and brainwave sensor technologies.

Assistant Professor Kasuen Mauldin, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging, received the 2014 California Dietetics Association Excellence in Research Award. Her research focuses on human metabolism and, more specifically, lipoprotein homeostasis. She will also chair the 2014 Center for Healthy Aging in a Multicultural Population (CHAMP) conference.

faculty notes

Asso. Prof. Cathleen Miller’s book

Creative writing Associate Professor Cathleen Miller and Professor Alan Soldofsky read and signed their most recent books at Barnes and Noble in San Jose on February 12. Miller’s Champion of Choice (University of Nebraska Press) is a biography of Dr. Nafis Sadik, the first female director of a United Nations agency and a renowned advocate for women’s health and reproductive rights. Soldofsky’s poetry collection, In the Buddha Factory (Truman State University Press), takes Silicon Valley as its backdrop.

Professor David Parent, Department of Electrical Engineering, has been working with Silicon Valley employers Atmel, Texas Instruments and Linear Tech to secure internships and acquire donations of equipment for the department, including boards and chips. Atmel recently recognized SJSU as one of the top universities from which to acquire talented electrical engineering graduates.

Director of Film and Television Production Babak Sarrafan won the Broadcast Education Association’s Educational/Instructional Video Award of Excellence in the faculty video category. His “Green Ninja Episode 4: Styrofoam Man” is the latest in an ongoing series featuring an environmental ninja. “My aim is to make environmental responsibility entertaining,” he said. SJSU students also took home top prizes, including Best in Show for Always Learning, a feature-length film by Robert Krakower. The BEA is the largest association of Radio-TV-Film programs in the United States with 260 member institutions.

Assistant Professor Katie Wilkinson, Department of Biological Sciences, oversaw student teams competing in the American Physiological Society’s Phantasic Physiology Voyage: “Function Follows Form” video contest. To be considered, videos had to explore, for a general public audience, a specific physiological function in five minutes or less (including credits). Students Peter Luu, Lubayna Elahi, Laura Philbin and David Tatarakis received the Judge’s Award, which carries a prize of $750, for “Avian Surgery.”

faculty notes

Prof. Emily Wughalter

Professor Emily Wughalter, Department of Kinesiology, will receive the Luther Halsey Gulick Medal from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance at the AAHPERD national conference in April. The highest award bestowed by the organization, it recognizes Wughalter’s 33 years of distinguished service to her profession. A strong advocate for girls and women in sport, she previously received the Honor Award from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) and served as president of the Western Society for Physical Education of College Women. In January 2014, she received a distinguished service award from the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education (NAKHE).



Outstanding Lecturer Award: Olenka Hubickyj

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

The Outstanding Lecturer Award recognizes a lecturer for excellence in teaching effectiveness and service to the San Jose State campus community. This year’s winner comes from the College of Science.

She will be honored at the 15th Annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon on March 11, 2014. Tickets are available for purchase.

In 2008, Olenka Hubickyj had been a researcher at NASA for 25 years, studying the formation of giant planets, when she got wind that San Jose State was looking for a science professor. She had never taught before, but “the idea kept haunting me,” says Hubickyj. “So I said, ‘why not?’”

Now a lecturer in physics and astronomy, Hubickyj is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Lecturer Award. She continues her research and serves as director of Systems Teaching Institute at NASA Ames’ University Affiliated Research Center, where she helps place students into internship research positions.

Hubickyj, who wanted to be an astronomer at age nine, knows that her zeal for science is powerful. “My kids tell me to tone down the geek,” she says, laughing. “But when I tell my students something and see their eyes … I just love it. I always tell them I want to change the course name to ‘All Things Fantastic.’”

“Dr. Hubickyj’s enthusiasm is truly contagious,” writes one of her students. “I believe that had I taken her course as an incoming freshman I would have been inspired to pursue astronomy as my major.”

Department Chair Michael Kaufman echoes this sentiment in Hubickyj’s nomination: “What is immediately evident when one walks by one of Olenka’s classrooms is the energy flowing from it.”

The child of Ukrainian immigrants who had come to New York City via a refugee camp in post-war Germany, Hubickyj can relate to many SJSU students in a way that transcends science. “I spoke a different language at home and had to straddle two cultures. I understand what it’s like for these kids who have family, cultural and academic obligations,” she says. Though accepted into a prestigious private school, she attended the City College of New York for financial reasons. “I came from a school like SJSU. If it hadn’t been for CCNY, I wouldn’t be here. Going there did not mean I was less intelligent than students at elite schools. Now it’s my turn to reinforce that message here.”

One of Hubickyj’s approaches is to allow students to express their understanding of astronomy on their own terms. A requirement of her Descriptive Astronomy course is a semester-long research project where students can present their research through any medium: she has received a symphonic poem about a mission to Mars written and performed by a music composition major, a full press packet about the Big Bang from a hospitality student, and more space art than she can fit in her office.

“To help students find their power you must respect them,” says Hubickyj. “You must give second chances and make it safe to learn.”

i2p slide

From Undergrads to Business Leaders

SJSU's I2P team members in a group photo.

SJSU’s I2P team included Jared Oliva, Tu Nguyen, Maleeha Naqvi, Kyle Tang and their adviser, Professor Guna Selvaduray (CSU Public Affairs photo).

Hurt your elbow? Can’t lift your backpack?

SJSU students have created a forearm support device perfect for this situation and they are well on their way toward realizing their dream of transforming their idea into a business opportunity.

This month, they were finalists in the CSUPERB-I2P® Early-Stage Biotechnology Commercialization Challenge, part of the 21st Annual CSU Biotechnology Forum right here in Silicon Valley.

SJSU student shows visitor a poster for his project.

Duc Pham, ’15 Biochemistry, presents his poster to San Francisco State Professor George Gassner (Daryl Eggers photo).

The forum is a networking and professional development opportunity for students, faculty members and industry professionals. Everyone gathers for workshops, meetings, award presentations and poster sessions.

For example, Professor of Chemistry Daryl Eggers moderated a bioengineering reception to bring more engineers to the forum, which is quite interdisciplinary, including fields like kinesiology and physics.

The Exo-Arm

This includes SJSU’s I2P (Idea to Product) team. Three members are biomedical engineering majors, a fourth is studying business administration and a fifth is majoring in history.

Together, they presented the “Exo-Arm,” a simple, light but effective device designed to help people with limited mobility at the elbow carry objects weighing up to 30 pounds.

This product addresses the gap in the market between robotic exoskeletons and traditional slings,” said Jared Oliva, ’14 History.


An exoskeleton is an external skeleton that supports and protects an animal, like this spider. The Exo-Arm would also strengthen the human arm.

The engineering students built the prototype, while the business and history majors developed the branding and business plan. Their adviser was Professor of Material and Chemical Engineering Guna Selvaduray. Tech Futures Group also provided guidance.

Entrepreneurship Education

The main goal of the I2P competition was entrepreneurship education, which means helping students learn what is needed to transform a life sciences idea into a commercial product.

“Out of the 20 teams in the preliminaries, San Jose State made it to the final round. Juggling final exams, part-time jobs and, for one team member, a newborn baby, we worked hard on our final presentation in front of the I2P judges,” Oliva said.

Although we ultimately did not win, the I2P Competition proved to be an invaluable experience for everyone.”

So valuable that the team is keeping design details under wraps.

“We are working on getting everything set,” Oliva said, “so that we can start putting it out there again.”

weather slide

Our Crazy Winter Weather

Our Crazy Winter Weather

Spartans have had few opportunities to break out their umbrellas this year, unlike back in 2009, when storms pelted campus (Stefan Armijo photo).

Still nearly no rain in San Jose! Meanwhile, storms have socked the rest of the country. What gives?

Our Crazy Winter Weather

A weather map showing wind patterns worldwide, with the North Pole in the center. Note the ridge parked off the West Coast, resulting in just four inches of rain this year (SJSU Department of Meteorology and Climate Science).

The Polar Vortex hovering over the Midwest and East Coast is linked to a stubborn ridge parked off the West Coast, yielding mostly sunny skies here and record lows elsewhere, says Professor Alison Bridger, chair of the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.

Why is this happening? Could it be global warming? Graduate students and faculty members here are studying  underlying factors.

This is an excellent example of applied weather research which would have direct applications to we citizens in that it would explain and demystify extreme weather phenomena,” Bridger writes.

Learn more from the California State University system’s only meteorology department.


Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000

Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000 to Support Youth STEM Network


Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000

SJSU students collaborate with lead instructors to teach rigorous content modules in after school programs (CommUniverCity San Jose photo).

Motorola Solutions Foundation joins Intel as a lead sponsor of the Youth STEM Network (YSN) program. YSN is a partnership that is substantially increasing opportunities for San Jose’s youth to engage in activities related to disciplines of local significance and projected growth: solar energy and cybersecurity.

The Jay Pinson STEM Education Program is collaborating with the CORAL after school program of the Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, CommUniverCity San Jose, the Department of Communication Studies and the Scientists for Tomorrow and CyberWatch programs to implement the exciting initiative.

Students in the Communication Studies 157 course collaborate with lead instructors to teach rigorous content modules in these critical STEM areas. Program instructors recently participated in a CyberSTEM Program professional development session instructed by the director and senior researcher at CyberWatch.

Starting in early October 2013, 100 youth in CORAL afterschool programs will participate in 25 hours of YSN programming aimed at increasing their content and procedural knowledge and understanding of career opportunities in solar energy and cybersecurity.