SJSU Student William “Billy” Nguyen

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Sept. 19, 2016.

Dear Campus Community,

I am writing with a heavy heart to let you know that second-year kinesiology major William “Billy” Nguyen, a San Jose native, passed away Saturday while hiking in Sequoia National Park with a group of fellow SJSU students and staff members as part of SJSU’s Outdoor Adventures recreation program (read the National Park Service release).

Members of the traveling party were swimming in a lake when Billy reportedly struggled and sank beneath the water’s surface. The group tried unsuccessfully to rescue him. A search and rescue team has recovered his body; the Tulare County Medical Examiner is determining the cause of death.

Along with counseling and other university staff, I was on campus to meet the traveling party when their bus returned Sunday evening. As one would imagine, they have been badly shaken by this tragedy. I assured them that the SJSU community is and will continue to be here for them.

Our students and staff acted with remarkable courage, composure and thoughtfulness. On behalf of the entire university community, I want them to know how proud we are of them.

Billy was an Outdoor Adventures student assistant who completed a training course last year so that he could serve as a student leader this year. He was among five staff members on this trip.

He has been described to me as someone who, while sometimes reserved, loved group activities and wanted to inspire others to join in and be active. His interests included fitness and outdoors activities. He enjoyed working out and getting others to do the same.

Earlier today I spoke personally with Billy’s mother. As your president and as a parent, I am heartbroken for the Nguyen family and for all who knew and loved their son. Please keep Billy, his family and friends in your thoughts and your hearts during this difficult time. Counseling services are available if you need them.

Mary A. Papazian
President

SJSU Names 2016 Outstanding Seniors

Erin Enguero and Anna Santana are the recipients of SJSU’s 2016 Outstanding Graduating Senior Awards  in recognition of their scholarship and contributions to the community. Both will be recognized at Commencement, beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 28 in Spartan Stadium.

Erin Enguero

Erin Enguero

Erin Enguero (photo by Inderpal Kaur)

Since age 11, having a hearing loss has influenced how Enguero identifies herself academically and socially. She has evolved from a self-described “cautious pre-teen to an ambitious young woman striving for excellence” in her educational and community endeavors.

Carrying a 3.796 GPA, she has earned numerous scholarships and has been recognized as a CSU Trustee Award winner, SJSU Salzburg Scholar and 2016 American Kinesiology Association Undergraduate Scholar.

While Enguero’s hearing loss has taught her to adapt using her existing strengths, she says she is proud “not just for overcoming my disability, but for finding the courage to explore my identities as a student, leader and, ultimately, an agent of change.”

Enguero graduates in May with a bachelor’s in kinesiology. In fall 2016, she plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy at California State University, Fresno.

Anna Santana

Anna Santana with civil rights activist Dolores Huerta (photo courtesy of Anna Santana)

Anna Santana with civil rights activist Dolores Huerta (courtesy of Anna Santana)

At age six, Santana transferred schools three times in less than a year in search of a bilingual teacher. This daughter of former farmworkers says this was just part of the struggles that “have shaped my dreams and aspirations.”

Today, Santana advocates for the education of migrant families through the Apoyo Campesino project, which seeks to change a state regulation that forces students to move to a different school after each growing season ends.

In addition, Santana is the founder of the College Awareness Network, which has been integral in bringing students from marginalized schools to university campuses to promote a college-going culture.

A double major in sociology and Spanish, Santana will receive her bachelor’s degree in May. As a McNair Scholar, she maintains a 3.9 GPA and has been accepted to Stanford University for graduate school.

 

Yoshihiro Uchida Hall, Renewed

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

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

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

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

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).

 

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

First and Foremost an Educator

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

Women’s water polo Head Coach Lou Tully, BA ’67, MA ’73 Physical Education, passed away Dec. 17 at the age of 70. He was undergoing treatment for cancer, which he had beaten once before and expected to beat again. Coach Tully was looking forward to his 18th season with San Jose State.

Tributes to his life and legacy are pouring in from across the country,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “My heart goes out to all of his players and colleagues, especially those who were looking forward to his return in a few short weeks.”

Lou Tully was first and foremost an educator. He took deep pride in his degrees and teaching credential from San Jose State, encouraging his players to not only excel in class but to compete at the highest levels in athletics. In 1997, his first year as head coach, he took women’s water polo from a club sport to the top 25 nationally. His teams ranked in the top 10 for 12 years, with the 2001 and 2011 teams finishing fifth nationally.

His players understood that he was teaching them far more than how to win in a sport that he described as a combination of ice hockey, basketball, swimming and soccer. In a 2010 Washington Square alumni magazine feature, then co-captain and two-time All-American Adriana Vogt summarized his legacy by saying “what he teaches us as a coach are lessons I’m probably going to keep for the rest of my life.”

A Vietnam veteran, Lou Tully first came to SJSU in 1962 to play on the men’s water polo team. He began his coaching career in 1966 at Menlo Junior College, where he worked with both the water polo and swimming teams. He went on to coach other community college and high school teams, taking Mount Pleasant High School and Leland High School to league championships.

Coach Tully gave generously of his time and talent well beyond the campuses served. He founded San Jose Splash, a club team for junior women’s water polo players, and officiated at just about every level up to the U.S. Senior Men’s and Women’s National Championships.

Services are pending. He is survived by his wife Susan, daughter Megan, son Ian, daughter-in-law Caroline and grandson Chase.

10 Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Spartan Squad Students

Students earn points and prizes for attending home games. Everyone who registers will be entered into a drawing for an all-expenses paid trip to the Oct. 5 football game in Hawaii. (Christina Olivas Photo)

1. Register for Spartan Squad Student Rewards and win a trip to Hawaii!

2. ESPN will broadcast Friday night’s football game. During breaks in the action, see spots on judo, animation, Spartan Racing and Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol.

3. After receiving the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double-Goal Coaching Award, kinesiology alumna Valerie Garcia Quintero said this:

“At a banquet last week, I was given the opportunity to speak and when I did, I made sure to speak about how wonderful and amazing the faculty and my department was at SJSU and how much I learned from them. I’ve been asked how I know how to coach and I tell them that I have had great coaches to learn from but I was extremely lucky to have had professionals in the field to teach me through my major.”

4. Check out this video showing how donors power all majors, including nursing, business, and urban and regional planning.

5. The SJSU chapter of political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha was named the best in the nation for the 2012-13 academic year.

“My department is very proud of these students for achieving this national recognition for the first time in SJSU’s history,” Professor Ken Peter said. “Sol Jobrack, chapter president, is a full-time student and new father and commutes daily from Stockton on the train, on which he works as a transit officer. Bill McCraw, who is marking his 50th year teaching at SJSU, was one of the founding faculty members of SJSU’s chapter.”

6. Three Silicon Valley Startup Cup finalists are from SJSU. Their ideas? A gamer lounge, laboratory supply service and cranium x-ray shield.

10 Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library presents this six-week series focusing on film history and popular music.

7. Where else can you go to the library to check out the shared history of film and pop music from the blues and Broadway to rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop? Live performances included!

8. George Whaley, professor emeritus of human resource management, has received the 2013 Trailblazer Award from The PhD Project, which helps African American, Native American and Hispanic students earn their PhDs and become business professors.

9. SJSU’s renowned occupational therapy program is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Think of all the people living better lives with help from our graduates.

10. Spartans stay connected online. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

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.

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

SJSU is now on Pinterest, a visual bookmarking website for bringing together online themes. Users collect and combine their own themes by “repining” items onto their boards, creating their own virtual spaces.

This week, SJSU launched its official presence on Pinterest, a visual bookmarking website for bringing together online themes. Users collect and combine their own themes by “repining” items onto their boards, create their own virtual spaces.

We’ve posted 18 boards including Sammy Spartan, Helping and Caring, and Bright Ideas, side by side with our top hits, South Bay Eats and Dorm Décor. So far we have received great responses, not to mention 48 followers. up from 13 followers since our launch Oct. 8.

We carefully crafted pins that we think represent SJSU and Spartan culture. The use of Pinterest allows us to bring awareness to our campus and show off our community.

We are also supporting our fellow SJSU pinners who have joined the Pinterest community, including our friends at the College of Applied Arts and Sciences, Department of Justice Studies, Department of Kinesiology, Don and Sally Lucas Graduate School of Business, SJSU Special Collections and Archives, SJSU Career Center and King Library,

Michael Brito’s MCOM 139 Social Business class is a good way to see how Pinterest can be used as a medium for the classroom.

Stay tuned for opportunities to add your own flavor to SJSU culture with upcoming community boards.

We hope you’ll visit and repin us.

Visit us at pinterest.com/sjsu/.

 

Major Decisions: Sports Management

Alyssa Wong is working toward a master’s degree in sports management through San José State University’s Kinesiology Department. In this feature, Alyssa explains how her original interest in athletic training soon changed after she started to explore the business aspect of sports. Alyssa currently works at the Timpany Center, a non-profit therapeutic facility providing a 92° warm-water pool and 102° spa, operated by SJSU’s department of kinesiology. Find out how a love for sports and business can set the stage for a fulfilling career in athletics.

Kinesiology Major Receives 2012 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement

Kinesiology Major Receives 2012 Hearst Award

Kinesiology Major Receives 2012 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement

Erin Enguero

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, (408) 656-6999

The California State University has selected 23 extraordinary students who overcame profound personal hardships as the 2012 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement recipients. This includes kinesiology major Erin Enguero, who was named the Trustee William Hauck Scholar. She will receive $4,000.

When Enguero was diagnosed with bilateral genetic hearing loss, she learned how to transform her social insecurities into positive energy which led to success in the classroom and involvement in student activities.

In spring 2011, Erin shared her story with the Fremont Unified School Board and was twice awarded the Sertoma Scholarship for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Erin then successfully lobbied for support from the Department of Rehabilitation for the proper assistive hearing device to help her pursue a college education.

As a second-year kinesiology major at SJSU, Erin has been active in the department’s activities and its five campus clubs. She now serves as co-treasurer for the Pre-Physical Therapy Club. Erin has a 4.0 GPA and is currently working at the SJSU Student Health Center as a physical therapy aide to gain valuable insight and experience for graduate school.

Erin looks forward to earning a doctoral degree in physical therapy. She also hopes to write a book about her hearing impaired adventures.

SJSU Memorial Service Honors the Late Phyllis Simpkins

SJSU Memorial Service Honors the Late Phyllis Simpkins

Phyllis Simpkins

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

San Jose State is set to honor the life and extraordinary commitment of Phyllis Simpkins,’46 Home Economics and Marketing, on Friday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. in Morris Dailey Auditorium. A reception will follow in the rose garden and bell plaza area outside Tower Hall. Both events are open to the public.

Mrs. Simpkins, who passed away July 7 at 87, and her late husband Alan Simpkins, ‘48 Physics, were lifelong supporters and donors to SJSU. Among San Jose State’s most generous benefactors, the couple committed nearly $20 million to many athletic and academic programs.

The Simpkins’ led the effort to restore the Spartan Marching Band in 1977 after several years of absence. Last year, Phyllis provided seed money for a campaign to provide the band with new uniforms. On Sept. 8, when SJSU football takes on UC Davis, the band will wear those new uniforms in a half-time show dedicated to the couple. Sewn inside each uniform is a label bearing the name of a donor, including Phyllis and Alan Simpkins.

Among SJSU Most Generous Donors

“The legacy created by Phyllis Simpkins’ leadership and generosity will benefit San Jose State University students for generations to come. Not only did she give generously, she inspired others to support San Jose State,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “It is important that we pay tribute to the many ways in which Phyllis and Alan supported our students and university as a whole.”

Gifts from the Simpkins support the following:

  • Phyllis Forward Simpkins International Center (the SJSU International House)
  • Alan B. Simpkins Intercollegiate Athletics Administration Building
  • Simpkins Stadium Center
  • Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
  • Department of Nutrition and Food Science
  • Department of Kinesiology
  • School of Music and Dance

Giving and Getting Involved

But the Simpkins did much more than give to SJSU; they got involved. The International House was a personal passion for Phyllis who, in addition to being a regular visitor and occasional cook, oversaw its purchase, renovation and upkeep. Phyllis served as president of the SJSU Alumni Association in 1977. She and with her husband were among the founders of the association’s Santa Cruz Chapter.

San Jose State and the California State University have honored Phyllis and Alan Simpkins many times over the years. In 1979, Phyllis Simpkins received the Tower Award, SJSU’s highest honor for philanthropy and service. Phyllis and Alan Simpkins were named CSU Philanthropists of the Year in 1989. Both Phyllis and Alan Simpkins also received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters at the SJSU commencement in 1996.

Parking for the event is available in the South (Seventh Street) Garage, located at South Seventh and East San Salvador streets.

CASA Dean Charles Bullock with Phyllis Simpkins at an International House pancake breakfast.

SJSU Remembers Phyllis Simpkins: “She was There Every Step of the Way”

SJSU Remembers Phyllis Simpkins

Phyllis Simpkins

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

San Jose State University extends its condolences to the family and friends of Phyllis Simpkins,’46 Home Economics and Marketing, who died July 7 at 87. Phyllis and her late husband Alan Simpkins, ‘48 Physics, were lifelong supporters and donors to SJSU. Their son Bob Simpkins and many extended family members are also San Jose State alumni. View a photo gallery of the Simpkins’ through the years.

In 2003, while reflecting on their philanthropy, Phyllis Simpkins told Washington Square, the SJSU alumni magazine, “Alan and I received very good educations at San Jose State. I could try to be very philosophical about ‘giving back,’ but it’s not that complicated — we knew there were financial needs on the campus, and we knew we wanted to help.”

Phyllis and Alan Simpkins gave in excess of $10.8 million for the following:

  • Phyllis Forward Simpkins International Center (the SJSU International House)
  • Alan B. Simpkins Intercollegiate Athletics Administration Building
  • Simpkins Stadium Center
  • SJSU Marching Band
  • Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
  • Department of Nutrition and Food Science
  • Department of Kinesiology
  • School of Music and Dance

“Phyllis and Alan Simpkins understood that everyone should receive the very best opportunities San Jose State could provide, whether it was on the playing field, in the classroom or in their interactions with other students from across the country and around the world,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “As recently as this spring, when we joined the Mountain West, Phyllis was a steady presence at many campus events. Her leadership inspired countless others to support SJSU.

“Hundreds, maybe thousands, of students have benefitted from the generosity of Phyllis and Alan Simpkins. Their support of our athletics, band, marine science, nutrition, kinesiology, music and dance, and international programs have touched the lives not only of those who study and work here, but everyone who our alumni have gone on to work with throughout their lives.”

As important as the high-profile gifts were the more modest ones. The Simpkins’ almost single-handedly saved the SJSU Marching Band after its several years of absence in the 1970s. They were among the founders of the SJSU Alumni Association Santa Cruz Chapter. In addition to football and athletics in general, Phyllis and Alan Simpkins generosity extended to the softball, tennis, cross country and water polo teams.

“Phyllis Simpkins clearly saw and understood the value of an NCAA Division I-A intercollegiate athletics program to San Jose State University,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director John Poch. “When the program needed to take the next step, she was there every step of the way with our student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators. Her devotion to the Spartans was unparalleled. Her leadership inspired many to help make San Jose State athletics what it is today — a comprehensive sports program that thrives in competition and in the classroom and gives tomorrow’s leaders a solid foundation for future success.”

San Jose State and the California State University have honored Phyllis and Alan Simpkins many times over the years. In 1979, Phyllis Simpkins received the Tower Award, SJSU’s highest honor for philanthropy and service. Phyllis and Alan Simpkins were named CSU Philanthropists of the Year in 1989. Both Phyllis and Alan Simpkins also received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters at the SJSU commencement in 1996.

Services will be held 2 p.m. July 19 at the Los Altos United Methodist Church, followed immediately by a reception on the church grounds.  The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the SJSU International House or the SJSU Marching Band. Gifts may be made online (http://www.sjsu.edu/giving/) or by sending a check to the SJSU Tower Foundation, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192 -0256.

six students using oars to row a boat

Beginning Rowing: It's All About Teamwork!

six students using oars to row a boat

Students in a beginning rowing class practice at the Los Gatos Rowing Club at the Lexington Reservoir (Brittany Manrubia photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Ever wonder what it’s like to glide the open waters?

Looking to increase strength, to have fun, or just for a change of pace, students are loving SJSU’s new beginning rowing class.

“I enjoy being out on the lake with such beautiful surroundings instead of being in a gym,” says junior kinesiology major Brittany Manrubia.

The idea for the class, now in its second semester, came from Department of Kinesiology Chair and Professor Shirley Reekie.

“Since this is our department’s 150th anniversary year, I did research and came across an attempt to start a rowing club in 1915,” Reekie said. “Starting a class seemed like the right thing.”

According Reekie, a master rower and instructor, the sport incorporates all of the major muscle groups, working the legs, back, and arms.

“There is no other class on campus that works on the physical body,” Reekie said. “It’s truly a whole-body workout.”

On the water, students learn endurance, balance, timing, and the mental and physical aspects becoming a skillful rower. In addition, students learn the value of team work and collaboration.

“I think it is the ultimate team sport because, unlike just about any other team sport, there is no star,” Reekie said. “If you don’t participate and pull your weight, everybody knows about it.”

Interest for the class spawned a rowing club this semester.

“It’s a great place to have fun and learn with others that share the same interests,” says Manrubia, club president. “It’s an opportunity to be competitive and a great way to stay in shape.”

The class is offered to students in any major and during both semesters. The only mandatory requirement is that students know how to swim.

six students using oars to row a boat

Beginning Rowing: It’s All About Teamwork!

six students using oars to row a boat

Students in a beginning rowing class practice at the Los Gatos Rowing Club at the Lexington Reservoir (Brittany Manrubia photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Ever wonder what it’s like to glide the open waters?

Looking to increase strength, to have fun, or just for a change of pace, students are loving SJSU’s new beginning rowing class.

“I enjoy being out on the lake with such beautiful surroundings instead of being in a gym,” says junior kinesiology major Brittany Manrubia.

The idea for the class, now in its second semester, came from Department of Kinesiology Chair and Professor Shirley Reekie.

“Since this is our department’s 150th anniversary year, I did research and came across an attempt to start a rowing club in 1915,” Reekie said. “Starting a class seemed like the right thing.”

According Reekie, a master rower and instructor, the sport incorporates all of the major muscle groups, working the legs, back, and arms.

“There is no other class on campus that works on the physical body,” Reekie said. “It’s truly a whole-body workout.”

On the water, students learn endurance, balance, timing, and the mental and physical aspects becoming a skillful rower. In addition, students learn the value of team work and collaboration.

“I think it is the ultimate team sport because, unlike just about any other team sport, there is no star,” Reekie said. “If you don’t participate and pull your weight, everybody knows about it.”

Interest for the class spawned a rowing club this semester.

“It’s a great place to have fun and learn with others that share the same interests,” says Manrubia, club president. “It’s an opportunity to be competitive and a great way to stay in shape.”

The class is offered to students in any major and during both semesters. The only mandatory requirement is that students know how to swim.

A group of men sit on dark-let stage at San Jose Repertory Theatre for Cinequest's Rough Cut Forum. Photo by Dillon Adams

Cinequest Wraps Up Its 22nd Year

A group of men sit on dark-let stage at San Jose Repertory Theatre for Cinequest's Rough Cut Forum. Photo by Dillon Adams

Panelists discuss Spartan Film Studios’ “Always Learning” as part of Cinequest’s Rough Cut Forum at The Rep. (Dillon Adams image)

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

Cinequest attendees had the opportunity to catch Spartan talent at downtown San Jose’s world-renowned film festival, including the rough cut of Spartan Film Studios’ “Always Learning” at San Jose Repertory Theatre and the shorts “Elder Anderson” and “Bloom” in the student competition at Camera 12.

For “Cheap Fun” director Zack Sutherland, five years of hard work paid off: The historic California Theatre hosted all three screenings of his feature-length comedy about a group of college friends’ escapades during a pivotal night.

“It’s kind of the theater to play your film in at this festival, and I wasn’t expecting it,” said Sutherland, ’10, Radio-Television-Film and Minor in Theater Arts. “While I was thrilled, the enormous, beautiful theater never looked more intimidating with well over 800 seats.”

This theater was also the site of Cinequest’s Opening Night and Closing Night.

“Opening Night especially will stick in my mind because we got to do so many interviews and get so much attention from Cinequest and the press,” Sutherland said. “It was the first time a reporter had ever wanted to talk to me.”

Sutherland plans to create a website for “Cheap Fun,” a Spartan Film Studios production, and is looking for a distributor to release his film to audiences. A potential screening at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont is being planned. The date is to be determined.

Encore Day

Cinequest finished on March 11 with Encore Day, offering extra screenings for films that won festival awards or were audience favorites.

One of the encores was “Worth the Weight,” a romantic comedy produced by Kristina Denton, ’07 Kinesiology. The film focuses on a 413-pound, former college football player named Sam who begins going to gym and develops a relationship with his personal trainer Cassie.

“This honor means the world to me,” Denton said. “To have our film be so well-received and brought back to play again for more to experience — it’s a dream come true. To have worked so hard on something, for so long and have people get that much joy on a simple, superficial level and also on a deeper more emotional level, makes me feel like mission accomplished.”

One of her most memorable moments was the night of the film’s world premiere when she and about 70 cast and crew members, family members and close friends walked to San Jose Repertory Theatre together.

“I’ll never forget rounding the corner of the theater and seeing the line that formed outside before the film started,” Denton said. “It was down the block! I couldn’t believe it!”

Fostering Young Filmmakers

The image of two young, aviator-attired boys gliding on a skateboard adorned Cinequest 22 posters, guides and passes. It was an appropriate illustration for this year’s festival, which shone a special spotlight on youth filmmaking, thanks to initiatives such as Picture the Possibilities and Adobe Youth Voices.

At SJSU, Cinequest director and co-founder Halfdan Hussey has been working with college students through his RTVF course, The Business of Film.

“The business side of the film arts is rarely taught and it’s critical to making films and reaching audiences,” Hussey said.  “And I like to teach the process of creating any kind of business. I’ve had a unique experience in that I know both the artistic and the business sides to producing and to distribution, festivals and sales.”

Students experienced the behind-the-scenes operations of a film festival through volunteering at Cinequest.

“I got into creating a film festival because of the wonderful treatment I received at festivals as a 23-year-old filmmaker,” Hussey said. “It’s great to understand all sides of the film and creative processes, and volunteerism and internships are great real life experiences, not to mention there’s beauty and power in giving.”

Woman holding potted plant, while standing near window with potted plants in Cinequest animation "Bloom." Courtesy of Emily Johnstone.

Cinequest Film Festival Showcases Spartan Talent

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

SJSU students, alumni and staff are among the filmmakers displaying their “Neverending Passion,” the theme of this year’s Cinequest. Now in its 22nd year, the independent film festival will attract international industry members to San Jose, Feb. 28 to March 11.

Student tickets for regular movie screenings are $5 with a valid student ID, while general admission is $10. Prices vary for special events, and festival passes are also available for purchase.

Barnaby Dallas, director of productions at Spartan Film Studios, will co-moderate “How to Pitch Your Screenplay” as part of a Writers Celebration event.

“It’s just something that hasn’t been done at Cinequest,” said Dallas, regarding the interactive workshop that will give panelists and audience members a chance to practice promoting their work.

Additionally, here are some of the Cinequest films with ties to SJSU:

Two men look to the left in the Cinequest movie "Worth the Weight." Photo courtesy of Cinequest.

“Worth the Weight” (photo courtesy of Cinequest)

“WORTH THE WEIGHT”
As he attempts to lose weight, former football player Sam Roberts strikes a bond with his personal trainer Cassie in this romantic comedy directed by Ryan Sage.

Three Fun Facts About “Worth the Weight”
1.  The mother of producer Kristina Denton, ’07 Kinesiology, encouraged her daughter to supplement her acting pursuit with a “back-up plan.” Denton’s degree and background as a personal trainer came in handy when coaching the lead actress in this film. “After those days on set, I would call my mom and say, ‘See I used my degree!’” Denton said.
2. After graduating from SJSU, Denton moved to Los Angeles to study acting and pursue a career. “When I opened my personal training business as my ‘day job’ in L.A., (Sage) actually became my client while trying to get in shape for his wedding,” she said. “I trained him and his wife for about two years.”
3. “We have never met the writer!” Denton said. “We will be meeting him for the first time at Cinequest the night of the premiere!” Writer Dale Zawada sold the script for $500 on Craigslist.

A young man wearing a hat rests his head on another young man's shoulder, while they sit in a car. Image from Cinequest film “Cheap Fun.” Photo courtesy of Cinequest.

“Cheap Fun” (photo courtesy of Cinequest)

“CHEAP FUN”
College student Ian hosts friends in his garage for nightly drinking and smoking sessions, but he desires something more to life in this comedy.

Three Fun Facts About “Cheap Fun”
1. “Cheap Fun,” from Spartan Film Studios, was the subject of last year’s Rough Cut Forum at Cinequest. Audience members saw an early version and provided constructive feedback. “Most of the suggestions made it in, so the feedback was crucial to finishing this film,” said Director Zack Sutherland, ’10 Radio-Television-Film and minor in Theater Arts.
2. Some of the items at the friends’ hangout spot are actually from Sutherland’s backyard, where he and his friends used to hang out.
3. Sutherland is the radio voice in the beginning of the film. He also played drums on several music tracks and sang on one of them.

Two young boys look off to the right in "Always Learning," the film at Cinequest's Rough Cut Forum. Photo courtesy of Cinequest.

Rough Cut Forum of Spartan Film Studios’ “Always Learning” (photo courtesy of Cinequest)

ROUGH CUT FORUM for Spartan Film Studios’ “Always Learning”
The audience will watch an early version of this film about a homeschooled boy and his overbearing mother before providing feedback for the final edit.

Three Fun Facts About “Always Learning”
1.Director Robert Krakower, ’11 Radio-Television-Film and minor in Psychology, plans to finish editing the film and then submit it to multiple film festivals, including next year’s Cinequest.
2. Krakower and producer Jon Magram were both homeschooled. “Numerous things that happen in the film are from our actual experiences,” Krakower said.
3. “I didn’t let my mom read the script because I knew she’d be too embarrassed by it,” Krakower said. “She’ll be seeing the film for the first time at Cinequest.”

STUDENT SHORT FILM COMPETITION
SJSU has two entries in this contest: “Elder Anderson,” a comedy about Mormon missionaries in Las Vegas, and “Bloom,” an animation about a lonely, depressed woman who receives a gift.

 

Two young men in white collar shirts, ties and black slacks and shoes are at The Strip in Las Vegas, as part of Cinequest short film "Elder Anderson." Photo courtesy of Marty Fishman.

Three Fun Facts about “Elder Anderson”
1. None of the cast or crew members are Mormons. For research, Director Daniel Maggio met with a few missionaries in San Jose to ask about their faith, the Book of Mormon and their lives as missionaries.
2. Many of the scenes are shot on location in Las Vegas, while some were shot in San Jose. “The film we made last year that played at Cinequest, ‘JIMBO,’ was being honored by the Broadcast Education Network in Las Vegas, so we wanted to make a trip out of it and film a short while we were there,” Maggio said.
3. Maggio and his crew did not receive permission to film at any Las Vegas locations, except for a bar. Instead, he said, “Every shot was creatively acquired.”

image from "Bloom"

“Bloom” (courtesy of Emily Johnstone)

Three Fun Facts about “Bloom”
1. The film won first place student short film at the CreaTV Awards and second place animation at the CSU Media Film Festival. “Nobody makes a film to win awards, and the business of awards ceremonies can be strange,” said Co-director Brian Kistler. “But it’s always nice that people respond to what you made and seem to like it.”
2. For the film, Kistler and Co-director Emily Johnstone bought amaryllis plants to study and draw from, which Johnstone later kept. “They’re just now about to bloom a year later,” she said.
3. Kistler and Johnstone paid their student crew with pizza and gummy bears. “We’re all students, just doing it for the love of creating something together,” Johnstone said. “We don’t get to collaborate on a lot of things, and it’s great to be able to make a finished product at the end.”

2011 Aerobicthon

2011 Aerobicthon

2011 Aerobicthon

This fundraiser offers hi/lo aerobics, cardio hip hop, kickboxing, Zumba, and Bollywood aerobics.

Date: December 2, 2011

Time: 4-6 p.m.

Location: SPX-C 44 (gym)

Summary: The Department of Kinesiology aerobics section will host Aerobicthon 2011 for all members of the university community.

Instructors will offer hi/lo aerobics, cardio hip hop, kickboxing, Zumba, and Bollywood aerobics.

Admission is $5 per person, and will be used to purchase aerobics equipment.

— Submitted by Carol E. Sullivan, kinesiology instructor, (408) 924-3022.

Shirley Reekie practicing at the Los Gatos Rowing Club, located at the Lexington Reservoir.

Take a Class with Master Rower Shirley Reekie

Shirley Reekie practicing at the Los Gatos Rowing Club, located at the Lexington Reservoir.

Shirley Reekie practicing at the Los Gatos Rowing Club, located at the Lexington Reservoir.

San Jose State’s Kinesiology Department offers courses that get students moving, like sailing, kayaking, Pilates and more. Starting this fall, students will be able to learn to row from pro Shirley Reekie, a competitive masters rower who has won gold medals at the World Rowing Masters regattas in Belgium and Montreal. Reekie is also department chair and professor of kinesiology.

Need another reason to take the class? How about how Reekie feels about SJSU?

“I came to San Jose State for ‘one year’ 28 years ago. I have no family within thousands of miles — except my SJSU family. I’ve stayed because my colleagues and our students make coming to work always surprising and challenging, but ultimately rewarding. Underneath San Jose State’s unimposing exterior lies a heart that is honest, gritty and never pretentious. Long live SJSU!”

Read more stories in the Fall 2011 issue of the SJSU Washington Square.

SJSU in the News: Is Wii Good For You? An SJSU Grad Student Investigates

San Jose State kinesiology student looks into benefits of Nintendo’s Wii Fit

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News Sept. 29, 2011

By Matt Wilson

A San Jose State graduate student is inviting older residents with free time and an appetite for exercise to come over and play some video games. Kinesiology student Ramonda Collins is asking people ages 60 to 80 to participate in a study to see if playing the Nintendo video game Wii Fit will improve their balance.

Collins chose this research as part of her culminating master’s thesis project. A high score in a video games, however, is not what Collins is after. Measurements for balance improvement is not taken from the game, but from the Berg Balance Scale, an industry standard balance measuring device.

“The main goal is to see if they can improve their balance while on the Berg,” Collins says.

Some studies have already been done using the game, but the sample sizes were not large enough to be of conclusive interest, Collins says.

“The goal for my study is [to] use a larger sample size and see if the Wii Fit does help improve balance over a two-month period,” she says.

Wii Fit is a video game developed by Nintendo in 2009. The game’s hook is that it emphasizes actual exercise activities using a balance board that interacts with the game in real time. More than 20 million copies have been sold to date.

The Nintendo Wii system differs from previous generations of video game systems in that it is able to link players’ body movements with games. For many of Collins’ participants, this is their first experience with a video game that’s more advanced than one using a single-button joystick. Collins has also heard a lot of her participants mention how this is their first experience with a video game outside of watching their own children or grandchildren play.Collins has up to four Wii systems operating at once, so multiple participants can play in groups or individually. She recommends that prospective participants join the research with a friend or spouse. The games lend themselves to direct competition.

“It’s a really good time, and some of the balance games spark competition,” she says. “They seem to be having a great time while they are playing, and they are enjoying themselves. The feedback I got has been positive, and there has been a lot of laughing and fun while they’re competing.”

Collins evaluates potential participants to make sure they’re in good enough shape. Certain medications and recent major surgeries or hip replacements could quickly disqualify a candidate.

Studies are conducted Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7 a.m. to noon or Wednesday and Friday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. The participant chooses the days and times that they are available. On average, a session is about 40 to 45 minutes long.

Research will continue into the fall and participants must sign on for eight weeks total in order for the research to be of use. Collins’ goal is to have at least 40 participants by the end of October.

As an extra incentive to participate, Collins is raffling one Wii system and a 22-inch television to one of her participants at the conclusion of the study. The system includes a Wii console, remotes and games.

Originally from Fairfield, Collins studied health sciences at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She has been studying kinesiology and motor development at San Jose State for the past four years. She currently works and does her Wii Fit research at B.E.S.T. Physical Therapy on S. De Anza Boulevard in Cupertino.

Anyone interested in being a participant in the Wii Fit study can email Ramonda Collins at WiiFitBalanceStudy@gmail.com or call 408.257.2225 for more information.

SJSU alumnus Jason Whitcomb at Labeau Field

Kinesiology Alumnus Drafted for NFL Internship

Jason Whitcomb standing on Lambeau Field, Greenbay Wisconsin

Jason Whitcomb at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Planning an NFL kick-off event is just one of several assignments for Whitcomb with the Junior Rotational Program.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Alumnus Jason Whitcomb may have just graduated, but he is already off to a great start with a career in sports management.

After enduring a three-month interview process and going up against 2,500 applicants, Whitcomb was one of just six individuals selected in 2011 for the NFL’s Junior Rotational Program, a two-year paid internship in New York.

Sports Management Program Director Sonja Lilienthal says the most important thing for her students to do is gain experience in the field and volunteer as much as possible.

“Jason was a kid who took all the opportunities that I brought to class and followed up on them,” Lilienthal said.

Whitcomb played football, basketball and volleyball in high school. Then he played one year of football at Foothill College.

Now residing in Manhattan’s East Village, he is adapting to New York culture and working 9 to 5. He talked to SJSU Today about getting the job and what he does during his free time. The following was edited for length and clarity.

SJSU TODAY: Can you tell us about the interview process?

Jason Whitcomb: I took every round of interviews as an opportunity to prepare for the next stage. I used the SJSU Career Center’s online interview practice to help me prepare for my interview and met with a counselor to work on my resume. I tried to become more comfortable with my interview by practicing in my room at night.

SJSU: How important is it to have work experience in addition to your academic record on your resume?

Whitcomb: There is no way I would have gotten the job without my work experience. Professor Lilienthal recommended the Special Event Management Team with the Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management. The biggest highlight of my resume was living in Pebble Beach for a month, where I worked with upper-level executives to gain office experience while assisting with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

SJSU: What types of things do you do with the Junior Rotational Program?

Whitcomb: I touch bases with different people in different departments. I’ve also worked with youth clinics, on an internal newsletter, and helped to plan the NFL Experience, a series of events that lead up to the Super Bowl.

SJSU: Were you a high school athletes?

Whitcomb: I played football, basketball and volleyball in high school. Then he played one year of football at Foothill College.

SJSU: What do you do during your free time?

Whitcomb: I like to put on a pair of sneakers and walk around the city. There are so many cool things to see, just walking down the street. There are a lot of cool parks and the East Village is such a fun area.