Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

SJSU admitted over 1,000 transfer applicants for spring 2014. Admissions Communications Counselor Kali Guidry helps collate all those acceptance letters (Enrollment Services image).

1. Alumna Ranae Moneymaker is a stunt double for Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games,” the sequel “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” A nutritional science major from 2005 to 2010, Moneymaker mastered flips, falls and overcoming fear as a member of the San Jose State gymnastics team.

2. San Jose State is congratulating over 1,000 transfer applicants recently admitted for spring 2014. In addition, thousands of students from across the country and around the world are applying now for fall 2014. Our Enrollment Services Facebook page makes it easy to stay on track.

3. SJSU features a top accounting program. The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business ranks seventh among 30 California’s public and private schools in terms of alumni pass rates on the certified public accountant exam. This is according to a Sacramento Business Journal analysis of National Association of State Boards of Accountancy data.

4. ESPN featured Spartan Racing, San Jose State Judo, Animation/Illustration and Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol during the national broadcast of Spartan football’s Sept. 27 game. Check out this behind-the-scenes reel and join us as we look forward to the Homecoming Game Oct. 26.

5. Kirandeep Deol, ’14 biochemistry, was one of 255 students selected from a pool of nearly 4,000 applicants nationwide for the AMGEN Scholars Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has conducted research at MIT and attended a symposium at UCLA to meet other AMGEN scholars and hear from leading biotech scientists.

Student Assistant Amanda Holst contributed to this report.

Yosh Uchida Hall and Spartan Complex Renovation

Yoshihiro Uchida Hall and Spartan Complex

Yosh Uchida Hall and Spartan Complex Renovation

A $52 million bond-financed renovation of Yosh Uchida Hall and Spartan Complex is underway.

For eight decades, Yoshihiro Uchida Hall and Spartan Complex have housed programs that taught generations of students how to stay healthy and help others to do the same. It’s time to return the favor.

A $54.7 million bond-financed renovation of the entire wing will improve and modernize accessibility, electrical, data, heat and cooling systems, and offices and classrooms over a total of 171,000 square feet.

Construction begins this term, and continues through 2015, with the goal of boosting academic quality, enriching the student experience, providing a healthy learning environment and supporting community alliances.

The project is split into two phases, with phase one involving the renovation and seismic upgrade of Yoshihiro Uchida Hall and Annex, and phase two completing the seismic renovation with SPX Central and SPX East.

Plans for YUH include a new home for SJSU’s judo program, which has a long history of spawning Olympians. The Department of Kinesiology will also receive a state-of the-art instructional weight training classroom, exercise physiology research lab, stress management lab and classroom, dedicated athletic training classroom and lab and refurbished instructional gymnasium. The departments of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management, Mexican-American Studies and Athletics will also benefit from the improvements.

For the short term, all this means some shuffling of faculty member offices and classrooms while construction is underway. This includes a handful of SJSU Gymnastics meets that will be held at the Event Center this term.

No student tuition or fees will be spent on this project. Funding is provided through bonds sold by the state of California for capital improvement projects statewide, including those within the California State University system.

Because state funding is available for construction only, SJSU is raising funds for new and upgraded equipment and furnishings as well as on-going program support for the 10,000 students who take classes in these buildings annually.

For more information, please contact Director of Development Lane Jimison at (408) 924-1142.

SJSU in the News: Gymnast Named 2011 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar, Overall Top Female Student-Athlete

Ms. All-Around

Originally published in Diverse Issues in Higher Education May 2, 2011

By Lois Elfman

The once-familiar perfect score of 10 all but disappeared from the gymnastics landscape several years ago, but the academic ideal of 4.0 still exists, and this year’s Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Sports Scholar of the Year, gymnast Shanice Howard of San Jose State University, has come very close to achieving it.

Earlier this year, Howard, 22, was honored at her school’s scholar-athlete breakfast for having the highest GPA of all Spartan student-athletes. The kinesiology major also has been named a President’s Scholar, an honor given to students who earn a  4.0 average over two consecutive semesters. She was an Ashe first-teamer in 2010. Howard’s lone A- in college was due to missing class participation days for a course that fell during a semester when the gymnastics team had several away meets.

“Exceptional is a very good word to use in describing Shanice,” says Dr. Shirley Reekie, chairman of SJSU’s kinesiology department. “To do all that she has done and still be totally grounded, always with a smile on her face, is incredible.”

Although collegiate gymnastics has existed for decades, its athletes often labor in relative anonymity compared to U.S., world and Olympic competitors. For Howard, having a team dynamic in what usually is an individual sport has put the perfect finale on a gymnastics career that began at the age of 5 at a gym in Orange County, Calif.

“Collegiate is so much better than club gymnastics for me,” says Howard. “In club, I didn’t like to compete very much because it was entirely focused on me. I didn’t really like being the center of attention. On my team, it’s so nice to have other people that you can depend on. It’s so much more fun to win something you’ve worked for as a group than something you’ve just done yourself.”

At 5-foot-6, Howard is on the tall side for a gymnast, but collegiate gymnastics feature much greater diversity in shapes and sizes than elite gymnastics. It’s also an incredible opportunity for young women of color to earn college athletic scholarships, and Howard has enjoyed serving as a role model for those girls.

“We have a lot of young gymnasts in the area from club gyms and they really look up to us as mentors,” she says. “It’s great to see that there are kids that aspire to be in our position, not just go to the Olympics. College gymnastics is becoming the cool thing to aspire to as a young gymnast.”

Community outreach is huge for Spartans coach Wayne Wright, the only African-American head coach in Division I women’s gymnastics. He says he is often the go-to person for minorities curious about collegiate gymnastics. Student-athletes such as Howard, a team captain, are crucial in spreading awareness.

“She’s been a great leader,” says Wright, adding that Howard is a vocal leader with her teammates and comfortable interacting with people in the community. The team often participates in activities put on by a group called BAWSI (Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative) Girls. They’ve also helped out at local community centers.

“Shanice has been a great person, a great role model for our program,” Wright says. “She’s gone way above and beyond what we needed her to do. She’s very determined. Always, from day one, she knew academics were important.”

Drew Agbay, the team’s academic adviser, refers to Howard as “pure class.” “She’s the epitome of a student-athlete. She’s obviously good out there in the gym. She’s a great student. She gets along with everyone.”

Howard says she’s practiced gymnastics 20 or more hours a week since the age of 8, so she came to college with time management skills. Still, achieving a near-perfect GPA, especially in a demanding major such as kinesiology, has involved careful planning. She describes herself as super-organized and analytical, planning out her study time before every team road trip. Those skills also come into play in keeping the team on track to achieve its goals.

“I will never accept mediocrity from myself,” says Howard. “I always set high expectations. If you put in your best effort, you’re going to get the best results — simple as that.”

Howard will graduate from SJSU in December and is planning to attend graduate school in physical therapy. Her long-term goal is to run her own physical therapy clinic and work with athletes.

“Shanice’s future will hold anything she wants it to hold,” says Wright. “She’s done a great job at fulfilling her dreams — and my dreams too — about having her be the best academically and athletically.”

SJSU in the News: Gymnast’s 9.9 Score Sends Her to Nationals

San Jose State gymnast Katie Valleau on the rise

Originally published in San Jose Mercury News April 13, 2011

By Elliott Almond

San Jose State’s Katie Valleau didn’t take her coach seriously when he set a goal to qualify for the NCAA gymnastics championships this season.

Who could blame her?

Only four Spartans had qualified for the national championships in the 42-year history of the program.

Now, Valleau makes it five after a surprising performance on the floor exercise last week at a regional meet in Corvallis, Ore.

Valleau, 21, is the country’s only single-event qualifier in the floor routine after scoring a season-high 9.9 out of 10 to share the regional title with two Oregon State gymnasts.

The former walk-on from a San Diego YMCA will go against Olympians, budding Olympians and other decorated gymnasts when competing Friday night in the NCAA preliminaries in Cleveland.

“This isn’t supposed to happen,” said Spartans coach Wayne Wright, the man who preached they could reach the championships. “Honestly, it doesn’t happen like this.”

To put it into perspective, Stanford, ranked fourth nationally this season, won’t be represented in Cleveland. The Cardinal’s roster includes a 2008 Australian Olympian, two members from Canada’s national team, a 2004 U.S. Olympic alternate and a Czech senior national team member.

Valleau (pronounced Val-low) realizes how much her performance can help San Jose State, a small-budget program that strives to compete on the national stage.

“As a team we’re really good, and not many people know that,” she said. “We are in the shadows. I hope this gives us respect and gives us a little more leeway in the scoring next year.”

In other words, reputations matter in a subjective sport with judges. Wright has been trying to overcome perceptions during his decade-long tenure at San Jose State. Valleau is his fourth gymnast to advance to the NCAA championships.

Valleau landed at San Jose State after soliciting a handful of California schools with gymnastics programs. Only Wright and a Cal State Fullerton coach replied.

Few showed interest because Valleau didn’t train at an elite club, and didn’t compete in all four disciplines — balance beam, floor exercise, uneven bars and vault. Valleau, whose mother was a professional Hawaiian hula dancer, had gravitated to the sport’s dance-oriented floor routines.

She enrolled at the local Y at age 5 after impressing her parents on monkey bars. Valleau trained only 15 hours a week, allowing her to maintain an active social life.

“We wanted her to live a well-rounded life,” father Peter Valleau said.

Valleau attended the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, studying dance from sixth grade through high school. She attended proms and participated in school activities, an unusual path for most top gymnasts.

The low-intensity gym at the Y, however, didn’t prevent Valleau from excelling under Wright.

She tied for second place on the floor at the Western Athletic Conference championships two weeks ago. Then the coach added a few new wrinkles in her program for the regional meet.

“Wayne said, ‘Put in everything you can; cheese it up,’ ” Valleau recalled.

Valleau’s extra flair impressed the judges. The event winners at each regional advanced in their discipline, if they weren’t part of a qualifying team or one of the all-around (gymnasts who perform the four routines) qualifiers.

Valleau now will try to finish in the top four in floor exercise Friday for a chance to compete Sunday for an NCAA title.

For Wright she’s already a winner.

“If I had to stop doing gymnastics tomorrow, I would go out knowing I’m at the top,” he said.

SJSU in the News: Gymnast's 9.9 Score Sends Her to Nationals

San Jose State gymnast Katie Valleau on the rise

Originally published in San Jose Mercury News April 13, 2011

By Elliott Almond

San Jose State’s Katie Valleau didn’t take her coach seriously when he set a goal to qualify for the NCAA gymnastics championships this season.

Who could blame her?

Only four Spartans had qualified for the national championships in the 42-year history of the program.

Now, Valleau makes it five after a surprising performance on the floor exercise last week at a regional meet in Corvallis, Ore.

Valleau, 21, is the country’s only single-event qualifier in the floor routine after scoring a season-high 9.9 out of 10 to share the regional title with two Oregon State gymnasts.

The former walk-on from a San Diego YMCA will go against Olympians, budding Olympians and other decorated gymnasts when competing Friday night in the NCAA preliminaries in Cleveland.

“This isn’t supposed to happen,” said Spartans coach Wayne Wright, the man who preached they could reach the championships. “Honestly, it doesn’t happen like this.”

To put it into perspective, Stanford, ranked fourth nationally this season, won’t be represented in Cleveland. The Cardinal’s roster includes a 2008 Australian Olympian, two members from Canada’s national team, a 2004 U.S. Olympic alternate and a Czech senior national team member.

Valleau (pronounced Val-low) realizes how much her performance can help San Jose State, a small-budget program that strives to compete on the national stage.

“As a team we’re really good, and not many people know that,” she said. “We are in the shadows. I hope this gives us respect and gives us a little more leeway in the scoring next year.”

In other words, reputations matter in a subjective sport with judges. Wright has been trying to overcome perceptions during his decade-long tenure at San Jose State. Valleau is his fourth gymnast to advance to the NCAA championships.

Valleau landed at San Jose State after soliciting a handful of California schools with gymnastics programs. Only Wright and a Cal State Fullerton coach replied.

Few showed interest because Valleau didn’t train at an elite club, and didn’t compete in all four disciplines — balance beam, floor exercise, uneven bars and vault. Valleau, whose mother was a professional Hawaiian hula dancer, had gravitated to the sport’s dance-oriented floor routines.

She enrolled at the local Y at age 5 after impressing her parents on monkey bars. Valleau trained only 15 hours a week, allowing her to maintain an active social life.

“We wanted her to live a well-rounded life,” father Peter Valleau said.

Valleau attended the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, studying dance from sixth grade through high school. She attended proms and participated in school activities, an unusual path for most top gymnasts.

The low-intensity gym at the Y, however, didn’t prevent Valleau from excelling under Wright.

She tied for second place on the floor at the Western Athletic Conference championships two weeks ago. Then the coach added a few new wrinkles in her program for the regional meet.

“Wayne said, ‘Put in everything you can; cheese it up,’ ” Valleau recalled.

Valleau’s extra flair impressed the judges. The event winners at each regional advanced in their discipline, if they weren’t part of a qualifying team or one of the all-around (gymnasts who perform the four routines) qualifiers.

Valleau now will try to finish in the top four in floor exercise Friday for a chance to compete Sunday for an NCAA title.

For Wright she’s already a winner.

“If I had to stop doing gymnastics tomorrow, I would go out knowing I’m at the top,” he said.

Katie Valleau, female gymnist, on the floor mats during routine. Finishes off routine with hands in the air.

Valleau To Compete On Floor At National Championships

Katie Valleau, female gymnist, on the floor mats during routine. Finishes off routine with hands in the air.

Katie Valleau is the first Spartan to win a regional floor title in school history. Courtesy: San Jose State Athletics

After tying for first on the floor Saturday night, San Jose State women’s gymnast Katie Valleau secured herself a spot at the 2011 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships, April 15-17, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Valleau saved her best performance of the year for the NCAA Corvallis Regional this past Saturday night where she scored a career-best 9.900 to tie three other gymnasts for first place.  With her win, she advanced to the championships to represent not only the Covallis region, San Jose State and San Diego, her hometown.  Of the approximately 196 student-athletes who will be participating at the championships, Valleau is the only athlete from the San Diego area to compete.

Read full story on www.sjsuspartans.com.

Gymnastics team poses in uniform holding their awards with their coach. (black background.)

Gymnastics Advances To NCAA Regional At Oregon State

Gymnastics team poses in uniform holding their awards with their coach. (black background.)

Courtesy: San Jose State Athletics

For the fifth time in school history, the San Jose State women’s gymnastics team will compete at an NCAA Regional, this year at Oregon State. The meet will take place on Saturday, April 2, at Gill Coliseum at 4 p.m.

San Jose State is one of 36 teams competing at six regionals that night. The top-18 teams were seeded on a national basis, based on Regional Qualifying Scores. Teams 19-36 were assigned to a regional site based on geographic proximity. All-around competitors and event specialists were assigned within their respective regions. Read full story on www.sjsuspartans.com.

Thomasina Wallace

Wallace Named WAC Gymnast Of The Week

Thomasina Wallace

Thomasina Wallace, WAC Gymnast of the Week

San Jose State’s Thomasina Wallace has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Gymnast of the Week for the week of Feb. 7-13.

Wallace, a junior from Pomona, Calif. (Charter Oak Gliders) won the all-around title in a quad meet against Boise State, UC Davis and Seattle Pacific with a 39.325 last Friday night. The score is the fourth-best mark in SJSU history. Wallace tied for individual titles on bars (9.900) and beam (9.900). She also added a 9.825 on vault and a 9.700 on floor, helping the Spartans to the second-highest team score (195.550) in school history.

San Jose State competes at Southern Utah this Friday night beginning at 7 p.m. MST. Story on www.sjsuspartans.com.