Conference Aims to Attract More Women to Tech Careers

Shellye Archambeau, MetricStream CEO and a keynote speaker, said "I believe that you can do anything you want to do, and that you can be anybody you want to be, as long as you make a pact with yourself.” (David Schmitz photo)

“I believe that you can do anything you want to do, and that you can be anybody you want to be, as long as you make a pact with yourself,” said Shellye Archambeau, MetricStream CEO and a keynote speaker (David Schmitz photo).

By Barry Zepel, Contributing Writer

While women make up a solid majority of this country’s college students, they represent only a small fraction of those training for careers in engineering, technology and the sciences.

The dramatic growth of the Silicon Valley Women in Engineering (WiE) Conference, hosted annually since 2015 by San Jose State University’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, figures to have a robust impact on closing that gap. Educating greater numbers of women for such careers has been the objective of Belle Wei during her three decades at the university, the last two as Guidry Chair for Engineering Education.

“Women account for 58 percent of college graduates, but they make up only 18 percent of engineering and computing graduates,” said Wei, who served 10 years as dean of the college.

Record attendance

She reported a record attendance for the third annual WiE conference held on campus on March 25. The 365 attendees who registered included 178 SJSU students, 56 from other universities, 105 community college students, and 13 recently admitted to SJSU. They came to learn from 84 faculty members as well as presenters and panelists made up of Silicon Valley technology leaders and San Jose State alumni.

The day-long conference featured two major categories, professional development and emerging technologies. Wei said that the latter one was expanded for this year’s symposium.

“We’re in Silicon Valley, where emerging technologies are being developed every day,” she explained.

Conferees chose from eight break-out tracks – Leadership, Communication, Careers, Climate Solutions, Foundational Technologies, Smart Living, Individual and Social Well-Being, and Human/Computer Interactions. Each track offered three related sessions.

The full conference reconvened at lunch and in the early evening for inspirational keynote presentations (David Schmitz photo).

This year’s conference broke attendance records, with 365 student attending to learn from 84 faculty members as well as presenters and panelists made up of Silicon Valley technology leaders and San Jose State alumni (David Schmitz photo).

Keynote speakers

The full conference reconvened at lunch and in the early evening for inspirational keynote presentations by Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream, and Selina Lo, CEO of Ruckus Wireless.

Archambeau, named one of the top 2 “most influential African Americans in technology” in 2013 by Business Insider, spoke of the challenges she faced as a young person preparing to enter the business world.

“I decided early, while I was in high school, that I wanted to run a business,” she said. “But when I looked around, I realized that the odds were not in my favor because I didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me. That didn’t stop me and it shouldn’t stop you. I believe that you can do anything you want to do, and that you can be anybody you want to be, as long as you make a pact with yourself.”

Archambeau, whose Silicon Valley-based software firm helps other companies improve their business performance, emphasized the immensity of future career opportunities in technology.

“Of the top 25 jobs in terms of growth and pay, 10 of them are in technology,” she said. “Technology is in our workplaces, in our homes, in our cars, and it’s on our bodies. It is everywhere. A U.S. Department of Labor study reported that between 2014 and 2024 there will be more than a half-million new jobs in technology and computing. That means opportunity for all of us.”

“Be brutally honest with yourself”

Like Archambeau, Lo talked about her movement up the career ladder, noting that her first job was taking real estate listings from a binder and typing them on to a computer so that her employer’s branch offices could share the information. This was before the arrival of PCs and Macs. The UC Berkeley computer science graduate went on to work for HP and eventually became vice president of marketing for a startup called Centillion.

To prepare the conferees for career advice, Lo shared her “most difficult assignment” for an employer, when a piece for a product arrived too late and the ensuing product was too expensive and not performing properly. She said she had to do “a complete technical and marketing pivot” to save the product, and in doing so, defined a new market for load-balancing switches.

Lo urged students to “be brutally honest with yourself about what is not working. Build great teams, and remember that open, direct communication eliminates most of the politics. And hard work is the foundation for everything.”

SJSU alumna Erica Lockheimer senior director of engineering for LinkedIn, was the first member of her family to earn a college degree (David Schmitz photo).

SJSU alumna Erica Lockheimer senior director of engineering for LinkedIn, was the first member of her family to earn a college degree (David Schmitz photo).

“Pay it forward”

Attendees also learned about opportunities in the tech and engineering fields from San Jose State alumni successful in those industries. Erica Lockheimer, a 2000 SJSU grad, was one of many to speak at one of the four career panels, the topics of which included: Information Technology; Electronics and Biomedical; Semiconductor Equipment and Aerospace; and Building, Infrastructure and the Environment.

Lockheimer, senior director of engineering for LinkedIn, was the first member of her family to earn a college degree. She said she feels a responsibility to “pay it forward” by offering insight and advice to current students checking out the industry.

“I realize the struggles I went through early in college and early in my career,” she said. “I wish I had a version of myself talking to me 17 years ago to help me.”

This was the second year that she spoke at the WiE conference. Lockheimer also participated in a campus career session a month earlier hosted by the SJSU Alumni Association.

“San Jose State is one of those schools that, anytime they ask me, I’m here to volunteer.”

“Your goals and success can be reached”

One of the beneficiaries, SJSU sophomore Desiree Rodriguez, was thrilled with what she learned and who she was able to network with at the conference.

“There’s many takeaways from this conference,” the aerospace engineering major said. “The most valuable are the inspiration that I drew and the added motivation to continue going, regardless of how hard it is. I met people from Lockheed Martin and NASA Ames, to name a few. The professionals who came today let us know it is difficult, and that there are not a lot of women in engineering.

“However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t change that. If you work hard, your goals and success can be reached.”

Honors Convocation Recognizes Top Academic Achievers

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

When Kenney Chiu, ’15 Business Finance, joined 4,127 Dean’s and President’s Scholars as part of the Honors Convocation in the Event Center on April 15, someone special shared a seat with him — his baby boy Abraham Charles.

“I snuck him in to sit on my lap,” Chiu said with a laugh. “All the honorees that sat around me were playing with him and they just loved it, too.”

Chiu joined a record number of 3,714 students honored with recognition for earning a 3.65 or higher GPA in at least two contiguous of the past three semesters at San Jose State.

Although Chiu credited his honor with the exceptional teaching found in his home Lucas College of Business, he stressed the impact that his baby boy has had on his academic accomplishments.

“That’s where my motivation comes from,” Chiu said. “I just want to show my kid that he can be proud of his dad.”

Supporters

Interim President Sue Martin took a moment during the ceremony to praise the “unsung heroes,” including family members, friends and spouses who helped support and guide the student scholars.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

For Emily Vann, ’16 Public Relations, her President’s Scholar recognition was a testament to her mother Olivia and her coaches both on and off the basketball court.

Vann joined a record setting 59 student-athletes recognized for academic excellence, including eight student-athletes who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA for at least two contiguous of the past three semesters.

“You have to kind of go into another gear to kind of get this distinction,” Vann said. “I know firsthand how much it takes and how much time, dedication and effort it takes to go through the everyday process of waking up and having to wear two hats as a student and an athlete.”

Vann, a forward on the SJSU women’s basketball team, said she could not have reached the academic milestone without the support of her mother.

“My mom is a teacher and I just feel really blessed to have had her in my life. She helped me and coached me from the time I was little,” Vann said. “[She’s] always letting me know that my academics come first even though I’m an athlete.”

Provost Andy Feinstein said such support by loved ones and faculty members alike married with personal sacrifice helped usher in the record number of honored scholars this year.

“These students have shown a commitment to their studies, through personal, economic, social and educational circumstances, to be among the top one percent at this university,” Feinstein said.

Sacrifice

Kenneth Peter, 2016 Outstanding Professor, said in his keynote speech that students should be fueled by the various sacrifices they make in their quest for higher education.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

“Your talents are not only exhibited in your academic success, but are profound when viewed in light of the struggles you have overcome,” Peter said. “When many of you are first generation college students, when most of you worked more than half time, when many of you have family obligations, when most of you come from public schools with inadequate resources, you are remarkably talented and you have proven this by being in this room tonight.”

Peter’s assertion rang particularly close to home for Jamil Elbanna, ’16 Mechanical Engineering, who spent most of his academic career working two jobs in addition to his schoolwork.

In order to finance his way through college, Elbanna took a job as a courtesy clerk at Safeway and a security officer at a hospital, all while pursuing a degree.

“It’s definitely not the easiest thing but having passion for my major and what I want to study is important,” Elbanna said. “There were times where it almost felt impossible, but I just keep at it and pushed at it day and night.”

Peter concluded his keynote speech by reminding the student honorees that by receiving recognition for their academic accomplishments, they are also receiving an important responsibility.

“Your talent must not be wasted. Each of you should leave SJSU with the kind of education you will need to fight for greater fairness and equality than this world has yet seen fit to offer,” Peters said. “You have likely experienced some hardships. Let those light the fire within.”

 

College of Engineering Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Roy Kusumoto

Roy Kusumoto, ’66 Mechanical Engineering, will be recognized as a distinguished alumnus. He is founder, former chairman and CEO of Solectron Corporation, once the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services company

Media contact:
Lisa Francesca, Engineering Communications Specialist, 408-924-3801, lisa.francesca@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

To commemorate its achievements throughout the last seven decades, the college will hold a 70th Anniversary Engineering Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 28, at the Fairmont Hotel. The event will celebrate the college’s longstanding industry partnerships with more than 30 Silicon Valley firms such as Applied Materials, Brocade, California Water Service Group, Cisco, IBM, Juniper Networks, Lam Research, Lockheed Martin, Netgear, Santa Clara Valley Water District, San Jose Water Company, and Xilinx, among others.

On this momentous occasion, the Davidson College of Engineering will recognize a distinguished member of its alumni: Roy Kusumoto, ’66 Mechanical Engineering, and founder, former chairman and CEO of Solectron Corporation, the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services company. Dr. David Hemker of Lam Research and Dr. Ivo Bolsens of Xilinx will also receive Dean’s Service Awards.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Winncy Du and students (photo by David Schmitz).

Seeking to bring relevant skills into the global marketplace, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Winncy Du works with students (photo by David Schmitz).

Tickets will be available until noon April 27. Interested alumni should contact College of Engineering staff member Lisa Francesca at lisa.francesca@sjsu.edu.

Keynote speaker

Former president, chairman, and CEO of Rockwell International, Don Beall, ’60 Metallurgical Engineering, will be the keynote speaker. Under his leadership, Rockwell became a global leader in aerospace, electronics, and automotive markets.

Beall has served as a director on the boards of Rockwell Collins, Conexant Systems, Mindspeed Technologies, and CT Realty. He is a former director of Jazz Semiconductors, Skyworks Solutions, Proctor and Gamble, Amoco, Rockwell, and Times Mirror. Involved in numerous professional, educational, public service and philanthropic endeavors, he is an overseer of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and has received many honors including the Horatio Alger award. At the event, Beall will receive a 70th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award.

Supplying Silicon Valley

Nearly 70 years ago, Prof. Thomas E. Leonard began providing the leadership and vision to deliver excellence in an aviation education at SJSU.

Professor of Aviation Thomas E. Leonard was one of the college’s early champions (photo courtesy of the College of Engineering).

“I’m both proud and honored to be managing the helm of this prestigious college over some of its greatest historic growth,” said Dean Andrew Hsu. “We have a time-tested reputation of supplying Silicon Valley companies with smart, grounded, hardworking engineers, as well as creative, industry-disruptive entrepreneurs. They are bringing relevant skills into the global marketplace, and learning how to solve planetary problems. Our faculty and I look forward to seeing what our students will accomplish over the next 70 years.”

As the largest contributing school to the engineering workforce of Silicon Valley, the Davidson College of Engineering offers unique programs to prepare career-ready engineering graduates: an industry-enriched learning community, Engineering Programs in Community Service (EPICS), and the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium.

Read the latest edition of the college’s magazine.

About the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering

The Davidson College of Engineering comprises 12 engineering disciplines in addition to General Engineering, more than 7,300 undergraduate and graduate students, and approximately 260 faculty and staff members. It is the largest engineering program in the 23-campus California State University system. 

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

Conference Brings 300 Women Engineers to SJSU

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

When Hanni Ali, ’17 Chemical Engineering, took the Student Union Ballroom stage, she prepared to share an all-too familiar experience with over 300 female engineering students and professionals as part of the second annual Silicon Valley Women in Engineering (WiE) Conference on Saturday, March 12.

“Usually, when people ask me what I’m majoring in, I reply with ‘engineering,’ and they give me a confused look and ask me ‘Why?’” Ali said. “And I reply, ‘Why not?’”

Ali attended the conference last year as a prospective transfer. This year, she was selected to speak at a gala dinner. The event offers the opportunity for professional women engineers to share with students their perspectives on entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership in the predominately male dominated industry.

Photo: David Schmitz

Oracle CEO Safra Catz (Photo: David Schmitz).

Photo: David Schmitz

Associate Dean of Engineering Jinny Rhee (Photo: David Schmitz).

“It is crucial to continue to hold events to encourage and empower future generations of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) women,” Ali said. “This year’s conference is bigger than last year’s, with a lot more professionals donating their time to inspire the next generation of women innovators.”

Speakers included Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Apple Vice President of Wireless Technologies Isabel Mahe, and Facebook Vice President of Product Management for Social Good Naomi Gleit.

Guests attended 25 workshops throughout the day in topics including mentorship strategies, women in STEM leadership, smart cities, renewable energy, water sustainability, 3D printing, robotics, self driving cars, precision medicine and big data.

The conference was supported by a gift from the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Family Foundation. The late Carolyn Guidry, ’79 MS Computer Engineering, worked at Hewlett-Packard and then founded two companies in partnership with her husband. The conference is part of a wider effort to support aspiring women engineers. Applied Materials was a sponsor.

“I was deeply touched by the level of enthusiasm and energy of conference participants,” said Belle Wei, conference chair and Carolyn Guidry Chair in Engineering Education and Innovation Learning. “It is about building a community to inspire the next generation of women engineers to change the world.”

With the help of each speaker and activity, the misconceptions and concerns expressed by many in the beginning of the day were exchanged with supportive, excited chatter come dinnertime.

Apple’s Isabel Mahe silenced the common concern that women can’t be successful engineers and also be strong mothers when she shared her experience getting invited to dinner by Steve Jobs while she was still on maternity leave. After two hours of conversation with Jobs, Mahe accepted the position that she has held for eight years. She is now a mother of four.

Grumblings of the “glass ceiling” limiting women in the industry were shattered when Catz shared her journey from a stint in the “boys club” investment banking realm to the evolving software industry — all while donning a pair of blue pumps.

“Advice that I learned: if you really want to be successful, you have to change the game entirely,” Catz said. “In my case, I decided ‘I’m going to take a risk with my very fledging career and look at software.’ But you see, it was against crazy odds in those days. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Photo: David Schmitz

IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager Kristina Vasquez, ’02 Computer Engineering (Photo: David Schmitz).

IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager for IBM Kristina Vasquez, ’02 Computer Engineering, hosted an interactive mentorship workshop with nine engineering students to discuss the importance of mentors and how to find them.

“I remember being in their shoes and I remember the people who helped me, and I don’t think I would be here today if it weren’t for them,” Vasquez said. “I have a daughter and these girls are like my daughters. I want the best for them.”

Vasquez, who graduated from San Jose State in 2002, said she saw this conference as an opportunity to not only maintain the sense of community among women engineers at the university, but also teach women that anyone can fill the role of being a mentor.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Solango Altanparev has been accepted as an SJSU civil engineering major (Photo: David Schmitz).

One attendee of the workshop, Solango Altanparev, raised her hand during a discussion portion and admitted her initial interest in attending the conference was beyond merely receiving professional advice.

“I came here to this conference in a way seeking a mentor because I don’t really have any guidance,” Altanparev said.

Altanparev, who has been accepted as an SJSU transfer from Peralta Community College as a civil engineering major this fall, said the conference gave her a sense of hope and preparedness as she continues her academic career.

“I thought it took a lot of bravery and initiative to share her story with us,” Vasquez said. “If we can help someone feel better about their career, feel better about what they’re doing and make a difference — that’s why we’re here.”

Kaitlyn Bell, ’18 Mechanical Engineering, said she struggles to find representation in her department, where just 17 percent of the students are women, but felt warmly welcomed into the broader evolving engineering community.

“When I first saw everyone here, it honestly kind of choked me up,” Bell said. “It’s always nice to meet other female engineers so you can relate with them and know that someone feels the same way you do — together we can all get through it, being a minority in such a male-dominated field.”

The idea of girl power was a common discussion point across several workshops and even in the final keynote speech of the evening, delivered by Leyla Seka, senior vice president and general manager of SalesForce.

“You have to help other women,” Seka said. “This is not an optional situation given where we are as a nation, as a world and as an industry.”

Seka pressured the women in attendance to raise their voices in the professional realm so they may pursue opportunities, demand equal pay compared to male counterparts in the industry, and take risks.

“There are things that are built into society about the way we think about ourselves so it’s important that we as future leaders — you more specifically as future leaders — are the people that can write technology and the next generation of technology,” Seka said. “We will push the world that much further.”

 

 

Students Organize Biomedical Device Conference

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

The San Jose State Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) ushered in its Seventh Annual Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference March 30 with discussion topics ranging from unmet medical device needs in developing countries to nanotechnology and entrepreneurial guidance.

The conference, which has been student-organized by the SJSU BMES since its inception in 2010, was created to give students the opportunity to exchange ideas and network with medical device industry professionals and academics.

“As our biomedical program continues to expand, collaboration with industry partners becomes increasingly important,” said Provost Andy Feinstein. “Today’s conference is one of many ways we can work together in preparing San Jose State students to work in this growing field.”

Hanmin Lee, surgeon-in-chief of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, said the more than 300 students, staff and industry professionals who filled the Student Union Ballroom all share a common interest as part of the biomedical realm — making the world a healthier place.

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Olubunmi Ode (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications).

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Shanelle Swamy, ’18 Biomedical Engineering (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications).

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

“Helping your fellow man is the most important thing we can do and we’re all interconnected,” Lee said. “To be able to help somebody else not only helps them but it helps you. It’s just the biggest privilege that we can all have.”

Olubunmi Ode strives to do just that, by aiding unmet biomedical needs of young children in Nigeria, a country that she says is plagued by power outages and a lack of proper medical devices.

Ode, a pediatric intensivist based in Abuja, Nigeria, has focused her life’s work on taking care of children in intensive care units through Hospitals for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that is mostly volunteer based.

“We do the surgeries and take care of the kids, but also train people on the ground so they know how to do this so we can set up the pipelines,” Ode said. “The kids do well. They survive, they go home and then come back to visit and they’re doing great.”

Shanelle Swamy, ’18 Biomedical Engineering, said she was inspired by Ode’s tales of working in inadequate medical conditions in an effort to improve Nigeria’s high child mortality rate.

“I come form the Fiji Islands and I’ve lost a lot of family members to inadequate medical conditions, hospitals that don’t have devices or just not having enough surgical rooms,” Swamy said. “Hearing about the medical needs in these developing countries is essentially what I want to work on after I graduate to really implement what we have here in the U.S. and bring it to these countries.”

Swamy, who was also a conference volunteer from SJSU BMES, said listening to the successes and difficulties of Ode and other industry professionals helped her narrow her goals as an emerging biomedical engineer.

In addition to the talk sessions, 28 student groups presented various research projects to industry professionals on posters during the networking reception portion of the conference.

Jung Han Kim, ’16 MS Biomedical Engineering, presented his research on using nanoparticles to deliver drugs that can precondition the heart to future heart attacks.

The drug delivers “small heart attacks” so that “when the real heart attack occurs, the heart is preconditioned so it can withstand the longer heart attacks,” Han Kim said.

Han Kim’s research was born from his advisor Folarin Erogbogbo, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, who is an expert in nanotechnology. Erogbogbo presented his student-collaborated findings as part of his afternoon session titled, “Nanotechnology for Biomedical Theranostics.”

“I’m part of [Erogbogbo’s] group and there are many students that are working under his advisory, so it was good for me to see where my project actually plays a role in that research.” Han Kim said. “I know that my research can also help play a big role, maybe in some ways that I don’t even know right now, in nanotechnology development.”

Erogbogbo said conferences like these are important for students to not only showcase their research, but to also engage with professionals.

“[Han Kim’s] been an excellent student, learned to solve problems and worked on a whole variety of nanoparticle synthesis techniques so it’s always great working with students like that,” Erogbogbo said. “It’s extremely important to engage in this kind of communal activity and the impression that a lot of people leave with is, ‘wow the SJSU students are really organized and impressive,’ so it’s also building our reputation here.”

Student Uses Wearable Tech to Track Stress

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Exactly how much stress do you feel on the job?

Kelli Sum, ’16 Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Assistant Professor Dan Nathan-Roberts are tackling this question as part of their work in the SJSU Undergraduate Research Grants Program.

The program, which gives student-faculty teams the opportunity to collaborate, provided the pair a $1,000 grant toward their project regarding quantifying workload with wearable technology.

“I was always interested in fitness trackers and how it let me understand how much I moved that day,” Sum said. “I brought up that idea to Dr. Nathan-Roberts and was talking about my research interests and we were able to find a way to use this human factors application as research.”

Sum’s initial idea was founded on how fitness trackers can be used as motivation to improve a person’s health, but she realized upon consulting her professor how the same technology could lend itself to tracking and managing the workload of nurses, athletes and even soldiers.

“My goal is to hopefully solidify that foundation and use these [trackers] for many different people to quantify how hard they’re working,” Sum said.

Sum is conducting preliminary research with the help of her colleagues in the USERlab (User Systems Engineering Research Laboratory), a group of undergraduate and graduate students collaborating on research projects under the guidance of Professor Nathan-Roberts.

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Armed with Basis Peak fitness trackers for a week at a time, Sum’s colleagues have tracked their heart rate, skin temperature, Galvanic skin response (the skin’s electric activity), number of calories burned and number of steps taken.

After a week of tracking, Sum downloads the device’s collected data, drops it into an Excel worksheet and analyzes the information.

“What it will have is minute-by-minute reporting,” Sum said. “I basically have a line graph looking at the heart rate and other factors over time and we try putting all this information into a graph so we can understand the trends.”

The peaks in the graph indicate when a person is working hardest, and perhaps experiencing the most stress. That knowledge may one day help nurses, soldiers and others moderate their activities so they are more effective over the long run.

For now, Sum is testing the concept on fellow students.

Michael Cataldo, ’17 Industrial and Systems Engineering, said his one-week pilot with the tracker was telling of the technology’s benefits.

“I’m getting more and more into fitness, so it can tell me if I need to push myself further or ‘hey your heart beat is too high, you need to slow down,’” Cataldo said.

Cataldo said his involvement in Sum’s research and collaboration with Professor Nathan-Roberts has cultivated a culture of sharing ideas.

“I think that I’m lucky to get to work with a number of students that have a lot of passion in the same area that I do, which is improving health and health care,” Nathan-Roberts said. “It’s aligning our research interests together and finding places where my expertise could help identify what is missing in the research or if there are opportunities for us to further study.”

As Sum nears the end of the preliminary data collection period, she hopes to collaborate with the SJSU Valley Foundation School of Nursing to pair nursing students with trackers in an attempt to understand how the body works in various environments.

 

SJSU Students to Receive Full-Tuition Scholarships funded by $1 Million Samsung Gift

Photo: Orbie Pullen

Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon, SJSU President Susan Martin and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (photo: Orbie Pullen).

Samsung presented San Jose State University Interim President Susan Martin and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo with a $50,000 gift on Sept. 24, making SJSU the first recipient of $1 million in scholarships to be awarded to California’s public universities.

“San Jose State wishes to thank Samsung for supporting our efforts to prepare students for careers in the tech industry,” Interim President Susan Martin said. “SJSU sends more graduates to work in Silicon Valley companies than any other university, and this gift is an excellent example of SJSU’s collaboration with area employers.”

The company made the gift to the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, with the intention of covering tuition and living expenses for two students this year. Details on the selection process are in the works.

The announcement came as Samsung celebrated the grand-opening of its 1.1-million-square foot headquarters in North San Jose for its U.S. semiconductor operations.

Read the Samsung news release.

Top Technologists Speak at SJSU

Michael Schroepfer (photo courtesy of Facebook)

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Michael Schroepfer will visit campus for the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium (courtesy of Facebook).

SJSU Media Relations contacts:
Pat Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

Ten of the world’s leading tech experts are coming to San Jose State this fall for the 13th annual Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium, beginning Sept. 10.

Google Director of Research Peter Norvig

Google Director of Research Peter Norvig

The speakers include Facebook Chief Technology Officer Michael Schroepfer and Google Director of Research Peter Norvig, who are “exploring completely new things that will change the way we live,” according to The New York Times.

Schroepfer is connected to many Facebook innovations including, most recently, solar powered drones beaming Internet access. Norvig literally wrote the book on artificial intelligence.

The Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium takes place every Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. in ENG 189. Also on the agenda are executives from LinkedIn, Intel, Qool Therapeutics, Splunk, NetApp, Greentech, and Twitter.

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering has been hosting the series since 2002. The symposium brings industry and government leaders to campus to discuss business, technology, the competitive global economy and hiring trends.

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Ahmed Hambaba conceived the series and has been its champion since its inception.

“It’s more than just a lecture series—it’s a networking and relationship-building partnership with organizations that will hopefully hire our graduates down the road,” he said.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

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

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

Inspiring Student Receives Top CSU Honor

Photo courtesy of CSU Chancellor's Office

Photo courtesy of CSU Chancellor’s Office

SJSU Media Relations contacts:
Pat Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1789, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – Melissa Ortiz, ’17 Computer Engineering, has faced more adversity in her young life than most people do in a lifetime. After her father died, she became homeless, lived in extreme poverty, and dealt with physical and mental abuse.

Overcoming Odds

But Ortiz managed to overcome those obstacles. She started her own company and secured an internship at Intel to support herself so she could go to college. She is the first in her family to do so.

That’s why Ortiz has been named a recipient of the 2015 CSU Trustees’ Awards for Outstanding Achievement. The awards are given to 23 students who overcome adversity and demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. She will fly to the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach on Sept. 8 to pick up her award.

Love of Engineering

Ortiz is majoring in computer engineering with an emphasis on embedded systems. She maintains a 3.3 GPA. She’s also a member of several campus organizations, but it’s computer engineering that intrigues her the most.

 “Engineering brings out the kid in me, I feel like a kid in a candy store every time I work on a project,” Ortiz says.

 

Photo courtesy of CSU Chancellor's Office

Photo courtesy of CSU Chancellor’s Office

After completing her undergraduate degree, Ortiz plans to earn a master’s degree in computer science and business administration, with the hopes of one day, running her own engineering firm. She also wants to inspire young women to be independent and take an interest in STEM fields.

Ortiz was named the William Hauck scholar. The Hauck endowment will provide $6,000 to this year’s CSU Trustee Award recipient. 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.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

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

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

 

Spartans at Work: NASA Ames

Where will an SJSU degree take you? We hit the road to find out, visiting summer interns and recent grads on the job in the Bay Area and beyond. Our video series continues with Ali Guarneros Luna, ’10 ’12 Aerospace Engineering. She is a systems engineer at NASA Ames Research Center. Read more about her experience! http://bit.ly/sjsu-aluna-post

Cube Satellite Launches to International Space Station

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

TechEdSat, a NASA-sponsored cube satellite that SJSU aerospace engineering students have worked on, launched from Japan to the International Space Station.

NASA TV began its live-stream coverage on Friday, July 20, 6:15 p.m. PDT. Then 7:06 p.m. was the official launch of the Japanese transfer vehicle, which contains TechEdSat and four other cube satellites from international universities and organizations.

“Cubesats have been around, but this is the first ever deployed from the space station, thus it has to meet all the ISS requirements,” said Professor Periklis Papadopoulos, who also works at NASA Ames Research Center and served as a technical advisor on the project. “This has not been done before. Some of those requirements we had to help them define since there was no precedence.”

Normally, projects that are sent to the International Space Station take four and a half years to complete, said graduate student and system engineer Ali Guarneros Luna, but TechEdSat was completed in about nine months. The student team was responsible for designing and integrating the cube satellite’s system, as well as performing various tests and making sure it passed the standards of both the International Space Station and NASA.

In a NASA news release, Andres Martinez, program manager for Small Spacecraft Payloads and Technologies at Ames, said TechEdSat “will allow a group of very talented aerospace engineering students from San Jose State University to experience a spaceflight project from formulation through decommission of a small spacecraft.”

If this mission is successful, then it may lead to future cube satellites with a similar communication system.

Spartans at Work: At NASA Ames, "I'm Pursuing My Childhood Dream"

Spartans at Work: At NASA Ames, “I’m Pursuing My Childhood Dream”

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with aerospace engineering graduate Ali Guarneros Luna.)

Where will an SJSU degree take you? How about beyond the Earth’s atmosphere? While Ali Guarneros Luna, ’10, ’12 Aerospace Engineering, has her feet on the ground as a systems engineer for NASA Ames Research Center, she has been involved in projects that have made it to outer space.

Guarneros Luna lead an SJSU student team that worked on the cube satellite, TechEdSat, one of five cube satellites, or cubesats, being transported to the International Space Station. A transfer vehicle containing the cubesats, additional experiments and supplies launched from Japan at 7:06 p.m. PDT July 20. TechEdSat is the first NASA cube satellite that will orbit the earth after being launched from the International Space Station.

Becoming an aerospace engineer was a childhood dream for Guarneros Luna, who grew up in Mexico.

“I read something, I saw something on TV when I was probably five or seven years old, and it just impacted me,” she said.

She earned her current job after interning at NASA Ames during her last year of undergraduate studies, where she made connections with SJSU faculty members who also worked at that research center.

“I was just lucky enough that … San Jose State University gave me the opportunity to pursue the dream that I had when I was growing up,” she said.

The image contains scenes of China at night with the words, "Global Technology Initiative Goes to China 2011." Image courtesy of SJSU's Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

Global Technology Initiative Takes Students and Faculty to China and Taiwan

The image contains scenes of China at night with the words, "Global Technology Initiative Goes to China 2011." Image courtesy of SJSU's Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

This summer, 23 students and 3 faculty members will travel to China and Taiwan as part of the Global Technology Initiative. Image courtesy of SJSU's Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

A group of 23 students and three faculty members depart for China and Taiwan this week, as part of the College of Engineering’s Global Technology Initiative.

The group will first travel to the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou May 26 to June 9, and then they will visit the Taiwanese cities of Taipei, Keelung, Hsinchu and Taoyuan June 7 to 9. Students and faculty will visit American and local companies, universities and landmarks. You can follow along during their journey at their blog.

“This trip will provide SJSU students first-hand experience with globalization and prepare them to be the leaders tomorrow,” said Richard Chung, professor of chemical and materials engineering.

Of the students attending, 17 are from the College of Engineering and the remaining six each represent a different college within SJSU. Chung, College of Engineering Dean Belle Wei and Professor Andrew Wood of the Communications Studies Department will travel with the students.

Established in 2004 with a $1 million endowment, the Global Technology Initiative is a study-tour of global technology and business companies. Previous destinations include India, China and Taiwan.

For more information about the Global Technology Initiative, visit www.engr.sjsu.edu/gti.

Professor and five students inside ZEM House.

Multidisciplinary Team Builds Zero Emissions House

Professor and five students inside ZEM House.

Professor Jinny Rhee with students inside their ZEM house (Rhee, Michael Signorelli, Kendrick Lau, Eden Specht and daughter, Michael Murray and Jesus Contreras). Photo by Elena Polanco.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

What’s the best thing about SJSU’s very first ZEM (that’s zero-emissions) house?

We built it,” said mechanical engineering major Eden Specht.

“We” means 25 students from five departments, making this one of San Jose State’s most ambitious interdisciplinary senior projects ever.

Specht placed the emphasis on the “we” because students built the whole thing from the ground up: drawing up plans, picking out materials, and hammering the whole thing together.

You can check out their pride and joy — and perhaps learn something new about sustainability — at the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering Open House 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 16. Featuring department presentations, lab demonstrations and the like, the engineering event is timed to coincide with Admitted Spartan Day.

Bright Blue Walls

“This far exceeds anything I’ve ever supervised before,” said Jinny Rhee, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The house is definitely a site to behold, its bright blue angled walls rising from the engineering courtyard (which, by the way, is chock full of all sorts of inventions). With just one room, the house was built more for learning than living, though all the techniques are very much applicable to real homes.

For instance, that power blue material peeking out from unfinished interior? That’s insulation made from recycled denim jeans. And the angled, south-facing front wall? That’s a passive solar element that keeps the house cool during the summer and warm during the winter given seasonal changes in the sun’s path.

The house is also equipped with a heat pump, solar panels and LED lighting with motion detectors, though there’s not much need for daytime lighting. Sunlight fills the interior without heating it up thanks to a bank of small, north-facing windows along the peak of the A-frame roof.

The project is being funded by a $150,000 National Science Foundation grant. Other sponsors include Westinghouse Solar, Sun Xtender, Heartwood Communities, Schneider Electric, and Prestige Glass and Storefront Company. Rhee is the principal investigator. Co-principal investigators are David Parent (electrical engineering), Anuradha Basu (business), Leslie Speer (industrial design), and Larry Gerston (political science).

Working together, students from all these departments drafted plans, built a model, sought support from corporations and foundations, and then began construction March 1. Even a couple civil engineering students pitched in, adding trusses to ensure the 100-square-foot structure is earthquake-safe.

Real World Experience

Though the house is considered coursework, it’s clear that for students like Specht, it’s about far more than getting a good grade. A new father who comes to campus carrying his baby girl, he pours time into the effort, motivated by the opportunity to do hands-on work on a well funded endeavor supported by many faculty members.

“This is my favorite part of being an engineering student,” he said.

For mechanical engineering major Kendrick Lau, working with students with all kinds of expertise, from finance to fire safety, is invaluable.

“We get to see what it’s like in the real world before we hit the real world,” he said.

To Professor Rhee, the house sends a very clear message about the contributions technology can make to sustainability.

“I plan on researching green buildings for years to come,” she said.#

photo of donor Don Beall

Beall Family Accelerates $4 Million Gift Commitment to SJSU

photo of donor Don Beall

Don Beall

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

SAN JOSE, CA –
Distinguished alumnus Don Beall and his wife Joan Beall have completed a $4 million gift commitment to the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San Jose State University. This lead gift in SJSU’s comprehensive fundraising campaign created the university’s first endowed deanship, the Don Beall Dean of Engineering.

“We are ever so grateful to Don and Joan Beall for their generosity and foresight,” said SJSU President Don W. Kassing. “With his support, San Jose State will continue offering our students leading edge engineering and science programs that are crucial to the innovation and entrepreneurial process in Silicon Valley and beyond.”

Engineering Dean Belle Wei is using the gift to materialize high-impact strategic initiatives and programs in the areas of student and faculty development, leading-edge engineering, innovation and globalization. Don Beall earned a B.S. in metallurgical engineering in 1960 from SJSU. He retired from Rockwell in 1998 after a 30-year career, during which he served ten as president, and the final ten as chairman and CEO.

Download Don Beall’s photo.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 29,000 students and 3,190 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Palo Alto’s Gunn Robotics Team, seen here in red costumes at the 2008-09 Silicon Valley Regionals, has competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition since 1996. Photo courtesy Gunn Robotics.

Robotics Competition Brings the Bay’s Future Engineers to SJSU

Palo Alto’s Gunn Robotics Team, seen here in red costumes at the 2008-09 Silicon Valley Regionals, has competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition since 1996. Photo courtesy Gunn Robotics.

Palo Alto’s Gunn Robotics Team, seen here in red costumes at the 2008-09 Silicon Valley Regionals, has competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition since 1996. Photo courtesy Gunn Robotics.

By Teresa Ruiz, Web Communications Specialist

More than 50 teams of high school students, their mentors, supporters and volunteers from all over the Bay Area will fill the SJSU Event Center to take part in the For Inspiration and Recognition of and Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition March 31-April 2. The event, which will also draw a handful of teams from other parts of the state, is open to the public and free of charge.

Dubbed by its creators as the “the varsity sport for the mind,” the FIRST Robotics Competition fuses the excitement of a sporting event with science and technology. It gives students the chance to compete against peers internationally while gaining real-world engineering experience. The Event Center will host the Silicon Valley regional competition, where teams from San Jose and surrounding communities such as Palo Alto, Cupertino, Mountain View and Saratoga will represent the South Bay. The competition will give the budding engineers a small taste of college life when they visit the SJSU campus.The best will move on to the state level, then compete for their shot to take center stage at the international championships in April.

“It’s not just about robots,” said FIRST founder Dean Kamen, the entrepreneur known for inventing the Segway scooter. “It’s about building self confidence, respect and important relationships with people who invent new technologies to make a better future.”

Students are challenged to form teams of 15 to 25 peers, think up a theme and work for six weeks to build and program robots that will perform competitive tasks. Students are rewarded points for teamwork, professionalism and the ability to overcome challenges, but the goals of building lasting partnerships and industry connections are emphasized over high scores.

“It’s like life. You never have enough information. You never have enough time. There are always competing things and you must have a strategy. We’ve created a microcosm of the real engineering experience,” said FIRST National Advisor Woodie Flowers.

Now in its 20th year, the FIRST Robotics Competition involves nearly 52,000 students from nine countries including the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel and Germany. Sponsors include Boeing, NASA, JC Penny, General Motors and Rockwell Automation. More than $14 million in scholarships from about 140 sponsors will be offered as part of the event.

Learn more about FIRST, the regional competition or follow all the action leading up to the championships in the FRC blog.

MESA students at MESA 2010 Day.

MESA Day 2011 Brings 700 Middle and High School Students to SJSU for Day of Math, Science and Fun

Students watch as judges test a bridge at MESA Day 2010.

MESA Day 2010

By Christina Ramos and Pat Lopes Harris, Director of Media Relations

The San Jose State University Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Schools Program will host its annual MESA Day Preliminary Competitions from from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 5 at SJSU.  Students from nearby school districts will participate in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions designed to help them apply their academic skills to hands-on and real world experiences.

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