New VP for Research and Innovation to Build on Strong Foundation

Mohamed Abousalem

Mohamed Abousalem

Mohamed Abousalem, SJSU’s new vice president for research and innovation, is in the business of building things.

“I see a lot of potential for SJSU’s research programs, and an opportunity for me personally to build an organization,” he said. “This is what I enjoy doing: building something with purpose in mind, then seeing it through to completion.”

Given the university’s prime location in the heart of Silicon Valley, opportunities abound in regard to research and innovation at SJSU. While Mohamed was pleasantly surprised to learn about the roughly $57 million per year in research revenues enjoyed by the university over the past few years (a significant number, he said, for a CSU campus), he sees potential for even more growth and impact.

“I looked at what SJSU was doing in research and innovation, and I could see some pockets of innovation and a solid research revenue base that collectively has laid a strong foundation,” he said. “The opportunity to build on that and lead the existing program’s transformation and growth is what attracted me to the job.”

With a strong track record in building programs—sometimes from scratch—Abousalem clearly possesses the right credentials for the job.

Emigrating from his native Egypt to Canada to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in geomatics engineering (he had earlier completed his undergraduate studies in civil engineering at Alexandria University), Abousalem headed to Silicon Valley and began his career as a technical product engineer. Soon realizing he had a knack for both people and business management, he landed a position at Magellan, a leading portable GPS navigation consumer electronics company, and simultaneously earned an MBA at Santa Clara University. He remained at Magellan for 10 years, moving up the management ranks and eventually running the company’s engineering operation in the United States, France and Russia.

His “building” career really began to soar when he returned to Canada and, after a three-year stint as vice president of strategy and marketing for a GPS company focused on agricultural applications, accepted an opportunity to build a completely new innovation and entrepreneurship initiative sponsored by the Province of Alberta and the Canadian government.

“I was essentially told, ‘Here’s $40 million to get started. We want economic development and innovation throughout the country. Go make it happen!’” he explained. “So that’s what I did.”

Starting with one employee—himself—and the $40 million in seed funding, he eventually converted the investment into $325 million in economic value and wealth through programmatic support to 200 startup companies and 25 applied research projects. Perhaps even more impressive is the lasting impact, as the organization is still in operation and a staple throughout the Alberta innovation ecosystem.

Abousalem said his background and experience has taught him that research and innovation go hand in hand, with basic research leading to applied programs—innovation—in commercial, environmental or other settings. Successful innovation, he points out, can often translate into entrepreneurship, technology transfer and tangible products and technologies that can benefit larger society.

Just prior to accepting the VPRI position at SJSU, he spent three years at UC-Santa Cruz as its assistant vice chancellor for industry research alliances and technology commercialization. The multi-disciplinary approach he honed there, where the research program supported humanities, social sciences and the arts, as well as the STEM disciplines, is something he sees as an ideal fit in his new role at SJSU.

“I’m looking forward to capitalizing on the university’s research, scholarly and creative activity (RSCA) principles, which I believe are the beauty of San Jose State and a great representation of what is happening on this campus,” he said. While some campuses may miss out on the full breadth of research opportunities available, he said the humanities, arts and social sciences all develop new methods and real-life approaches to problems that are very much a part of the broader research spectrum.

“That collective interest in research here at SJSU and the lack of limitations or boundaries on how we define innovation is another feature of this university I find very appealing,” he said.
Another characteristic of SJSU that made the job opportunity attractive is the focus on student learning and student success.

“Having research as an experiential component to the student learning process is a wonderful thing,” he said. “Research is good in and of itself, of course, especially when it leads to end products and technologies that benefit society. But thinking beyond that, research can be used to expand the intellectual skills of students, how they learn and how they analyze. So we can actually grow their analytical thinking and abilities, and they become stronger members of the future workforce. This, of course, is tied to our mission and, to me, that’s very exciting.”

In terms of specific goals, Abousalem said the research side of his new portfolio will focus on improving efficiencies in order to make the enterprise stronger and more scalable. “If we can bring in $57 million a year in revenues as we’re doing now, what do we need in place in order to bring in $100 million?” he asked rhetorically. He noted that this will entail not merely the hiring of new staff, but also changes in processes, culture and training. Ultimately, he envisions more research grants or “actual work that benefits the corporations and the university.”

On the innovation side of the house, Abousalem sees campus collaborations as a way to bring innovation “to the next level.” He said he’ll be working directly with the provost and with college deans and hopes to “directly connect to the aspirations and abilities of the colleges and their programs so we can provide the best central support for their efforts.”

Some structural adjustments are already in place, such as the transfer of the Office of Research from Academic Affairs into the newly formed Research and Innovation Division, which will also include an Office of Innovation in the near future. Likewise, SJSU’s Research Foundation will report up to Abousalem’s office, and he will serve as president of its board of directors. Finally, he said the College of Graduate Studies will need to be a strong ally, so he and Interim Dean Marc d’Alarcao have been meeting regularly to make sure all their respective programs are well-coordinated and positioned for success.

One broad benefit with all of the changes, he said, is that research and innovation activities will all enjoy a higher level of visibility and representation, which he views as “important if we’re going to take it to the next strategic level.”

In his down time, Abousalem enjoys his morning jogs near his Willow Glen home and watching films and television programs with his wife—whom he met while they were college classmates. His daughter—the one who persuaded him to apply for the VPRI position—manages communications for a nearby charter school system, while his son is an engineer at Northrop Grumman.

“I’m right where I want to be, doing exactly what I should be doing,” he said. “We have a great opportunity at San Jose state to expand the intellectual capabilities of our students while giving them a strong base of research knowledge and experience that will prepare them for the workplace. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

McNair Scholar Angeles De Santos-Quezada Reflects on Educational Journey

Angeles De Santos-Quezada poses for a photo at her graduation from the College of Social Sciences May 24.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada poses for a photo at her graduation from the College of Social Sciences May 24.

By Abby McConnell

To anyone who knows her, it’s no surprise that McNair Scholar Angeles De Santos-Quezada graduated with honors, with a bachelor’s in Political Science and a minor in Applied Research Methods. Politics, advocacy and education have always been at the forefront of her life. She grew up in Encarnacion de Diaz, Jalisco, a small town in Mexico, with a mother who emphasized the importance of intellectual enrichment and a father who practiced law and often discussed the likes of Plato, Socrates and Marx at the dinner table.

This background served her well, especially after De Santos-Quezada moved unexpectedly with her mother and three siblings from Mexico to her grandmother’s home in Concord, California. De Santos-Quezada’s mother is a U.S. citizen who moved to Mexico in her 20s to be with De Santos-Quezada’s father, and later decided to naturalize her children.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada, right, poses with fellow orientation leaders.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada, right, poses with fellow orientation leaders.

Leaving the only home she’d known and transitioning into an American high school as a junior wasn’t easy for De Santos-Quezada, from making new friends to being placed in classes as an “English Language Learner.” Being labeled ELL meant she was placed on the easiest academic track in her new high school, essentially retaking many classes that she had completed with honors at a private Catholic middle school in Mexico. De Santos-Quezada quickly became bored and frustrated, aware that this route wouldn’t get her to college, which had always been her plan.

“I wasn’t sure what to do, but when I told my mom what was happening, she told me I needed to advocate for myself to have my schedule changed. She made it clear that no one else was going to do it for me,” De Santos-Quezada said.

She set up a meeting with her counselor as soon as she could, and was on a college preparatory track shortly thereafter. For De Santos-Quezada, this was not only a lesson in the importance of speaking out and speaking up, but also firsthand experience of the disenfranchisement many non-native speakers feel when they enter the U.S. educational system.

SJSU graduate Angeles De Santos-Quezada plans to attend the University of Texas, Austin in fall to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning.

SJSU graduate Angeles De Santos-Quezada plans to attend the University of Texas, Austin in fall to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning.

“When I was about to graduate high school, one of my teachers told me that I was a ‘normal’ English speaker. I didn’t know I was abnormal! ELL students are often treated as less intelligent simply because English isn’t their first language. Obviously, that is discriminatory and also a false premise. When students are labeled in this way, they are put at a disadvantage and aren’t set up to succeed. I knew then there was something deeply wrong with the system.”

She loved SJSU immediately, in part because the Spanish architecture and diverse community reminded her of home. Freshman year held the allure of living on her own for the first time, but she was also lonely during her first weeks in the dorms. Her resident advisor was a huge source of comfort and guidance for De Santos-Quezada and was instrumental in helping her find her place on campus. The experience inspired her to become an RA, which she has done for the last three years. In that time, she has helped nearly 200 first-year students navigate the transition to college and take advantage of all that SJSU has to offer.

Advising students about the best ways to maximize their college experience while connecting with like-minded people is one of her favorite aspects of the job, in part because she can relate. When she felt most isolated at SJSU, she realized she needed to seek out clubs and opportunities that reflected her background and interests like she had in high school, so she began attending meetings via the Adelante Latino Task Force that later involved into the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center.

“By becoming a part of the Latinx campus community, I was able to find my place at SJSU and thrive,” she said.

And thrive she has―in the fall, she is headed to the University of Texas, Austin to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning (MEd). In her undergraduate career, De Santos-Quezada has also been named a President’s scholar, has published and presented scholarly research, studied abroad in Slovenia, and become an outspoken advocate of social justice and diversity programs for underrepresented students.

“As a first-generation college student, Angeles exemplifies the transformative power of educational opportunity and is already ‘paying it forward’ to help other students find their own paths to success,” said Dr. Melinda Jackson.

De Santos-Quezada credits much of her success at SJSU to TRIO programs such as Aspire, and of course, the McNair Scholars Program, which is specifically designed to guide underrepresented students in applying to doctoral programs. She also acknowledges her family’s unwavering support along with many mentors and professors, including Dr. Maria Cruz, Dr. Sergio Bejar Lopez, Dr. Vanessa Fernandez, Dr. Lilly Pinedo-Gangai and Dr. Jason Laker, among others, who guided her along the way.

“I am lucky,” De Santos-Quezada said. “I was able to stand up for myself and take advantage of the resources around me and connect with all kinds of mentors and programs. Not all ELL students are able to do that, and so they get lost in our educational system. Part of my goal in getting my PhD is to answer the question: How can we treat our differences with pride instead of seeing them as positive or negative stereotypes? All I know right now is that we have to change the system from the inside out.”

Updated: SJSU Students Take Home Three Awards at CSU Competition

On April 26 and 27, a dozen San Jose State University students competed for top honors at the 33rd Annual California State University Student Research Competition at CSU Fullerton, with SJSU competitors brining home two first place finishes and one second place prize in their categories. In true Spartan spirit, each of the student projects aimed to do some greater good– through improving fuel efficiency of aircrafts; converting greenhouse gases to liquid fuels; and creating chatbot tutors in support of student success.

Sarah Ortega, ’18 Aerospace Engineering, placed first in the category of Engineering and Computer Science, graduate level; Vanshika Gupta, a student in the College of Science placed first in the category of Physical Sciences and Mathematics, undergraduate level; and Sambhav Gupta, a student in the Lucas College of Business placed second in the category of Business, Economics and Public Administration for graduate and undergraduate level.

Ortega presented her research on designing a short to medium range hybrid transport aircraft that would use batteries as part of its fuel source. She worked closely with faculty advisor, Professor and Chair of Aerospace Engineering Nikos Mourtos.

“I knew there were electric aircraft, but current battery capabilities are limited,” she said. “I wanted to design a jet transport aircraft. I also knew I wanted to design something that could be feasible in the next decade or two, so we decided on a hybrid.”

She met regularly with Mourtos and also took an aircraft design class.

Vanshika Gupta, ’20 biochemistry, worked with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Madlyn Radlauer on her project “Investigating Macromolecular Structures for the Transformation of Greenhouse Gases into Liquid Fuels.” She has presented her research at the College of Science Research Day and as part of the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology conference in 2019.

Vanshika said she joined Radlauer’s research team during her first semester at SJSU.

“Dr. Radlauer trained me on the different instruments and polymerization techniques necessary for our projects,” she said. “For the competition in particular, she guided me in my presentation. I performed multiple runs in front of her and she advised me on improvements.”

The biochemistry student said she especially appreciated the opportunity to learn about the research projects that students from other CSU campuses presented.

“Since I started at SJSU in fall 2017, I have had the great pleasure of working with SJSU students in both the classroom and laboratory,” Radlauer said. “My research students are amazing and because each one of them comes to science via their own path, there is a wealth of perspective and experience in the group. I’m so proud to see them succeeding and sharing that success with one another.”

Sambhav Gupta, ’20 Business concentration in corporate accounting and finance, received second place for his project, “Artificially Intelligent (AI) Tutors in the Classroom: A Need Assessment Study of Designing Chatbots to Support Student Success.” Sambhav Gupta worked with Assistant Professor in the School of Information Systems and Technology Yu Chen on his project.

“There are advisors, and then there are mentors,” he said. “Dr. Yu Chen has helped me grow in both my academic career and as a person as well since I started working with her on this project back in October 2018.”

In February, the three CSU competition winners first presented their projects to a panel of judges as part of SJSU’s Student Research Competition. The students were selected along with nine others to represent the university at the systemwide event. At the SJSU Celebration of Research on April 23, the SJSU finalists were recognized in front of a crowd of students, faculty and staff.

Spring Graduate Cassandra Villicana Set for Stanford with NSF Fellowship

Cassandra Villicana, '19 Biomedical Engineering, poses for a photo at a Biomedical Engineering Society of SJSU event.

Cassandra Villicana, ’19 Biomedical Engineering, poses for a photo at a Biomedical Engineering Society of SJSU event.

By Abby McConnell, Office of Research

Cassandra Villicana, ’19 Biomedical Engineering, didn’t speak English before she enrolled in kindergarten in East San Jose, but by the time she started first grade, she was bilingual and doing math at a 4th grade level. Her parents, who emigrated from Mexico, emphasized the value of education to all of their children from a very young age. When Villicana’s brothers were in elementary school, her parents enrolled in an adult school to learn English, and when Villicana was born, they made sure their daughter had a head start when it came to numbers.

Cassandra Villicana has been involved in interdisciplinary research in a biochemistry lab at SJSU as well as other research projects.

Cassandra Villicana has been involved in interdisciplinary research in a biochemistry lab at SJSU as well as other research projects.

“Although my father did not receive any formal education and my mother only attended primary school, they knew core math concepts that they wanted me to understand. I remember sitting at the kitchen table after school and doing my times tables and learning long division with my mom, while my father took out card games and dominoes to help me understand statistics,” she said.

Villicana is one of two SJSU students who has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP). The NSF received more than 12,000 applicants in 2018 and made 2,000 offers nationwide.

The GRFP is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, and recognizes outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. NSF Fellows often become knowledge experts who contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.

From Multiplication to MESA

While Villacana’s early talent for math might have been a sign of her future in STEM, she said she didn’t fall in love with science until she was a freshman at Mt. Pleasant High School in East San Jose. There, she discovered the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA), an organization that fosters early interest in math and science and prepares California middle and high school students to successfully pursue STEM majors in college.

Her first MESA competition introduced her to biomedical engineering and inadvertently, San Jose State. Her team was tasked with building and presenting a prosthetic arm for the National Engineering Competition, and regionals were held on SJSU’s campus. Villicana has been hooked on the possibilities of science and engineering ever since.

“It was the real world application of science and math concepts that I loved, especially the ability to translate that into an actual device that could help people. That transfer of knowledge was incredibly powerful to me,” Villicana said.

Research and Outreach

Cassandra Villicana presented her research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.

Cassandra Villicana presented her research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.

Helping others and transferring knowledge The values of transferring knowledge and helping people speak to the core of who Villicana is, both personally and academically. Through MESA in high school, she mentored younger students in STEM activities, and once at SJSU, through the college-level MESA Engineering Program (MEP) she continued that work. In her undergraduate career she has supported educational outreach to local schools, coordinated corporate sponsors for the Science Extravaganza and judged the MESA Engineering Design Competition. She also managed to earn the title of “Youngest Hired Chemistry Workshop Instructor” by running a support class for fellow undergraduates to help them pass one of the most failed courses on campus.

“As an engineering student, while service and outreach may be on your to-do list, it takes effort and focus to find the time to give back,” said Blanca Sanchez-Cruz, assistant director of Student Support Programs in the College of Engineering. “As Cassandra has moved forward academically and professionally, her priorities have remained linked to the local community. While she has always possessed a clear vision of what she wants to achieve, her priority is building bridges to student whose backgrounds are similar to her own, so they can see a path to college and careers in STEM.”

Villicana has been involved in a range of research activities, from collaborating on a real-time heart rate monitor prototype at Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan through the Global Technology Institute Program at SJSU to laser development at Boston Scientific Corporation, researching ways of destroying kidney stones and prostate scar tissue without invasive surgery. For the past two years, she has conducted research in Dr. Laura Miller Conrad’s biochemistry lab, working to reverse the effectiveness of antibiotic-resistant pathogens from the inside-out, by blocking the pathways that make them immune to some of the world’s most commonly used antibiotics.

Taking the Next Step

This research was at the core of Villicana’s proposal for the NSF fellowship, and she also incorporated her interest in microfluidic device design.

After gaining admission to twelve graduate programs, Villicana decided to take her NSF support with her to Stanford in the fall. Choosing Stanford had much to do with the sense of community she experienced during her campus visit, which felt very similar to the one she was a part of at SJSU. She acknowledges it will be challenging to leave behind supportive professors and advisors, including Dr. Karen Singmaster, Susan Arias, MESA Program Director at SJSU, Miller-Conrad and Sanchez-Cruz, not to mention peers and friends from programs like the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and MEP.

“At least at Stanford, I won’t be far,” Villicana said. “For me, it’s a huge bonus that I can stay local. I love the idea of being able to come back to SJSU and support the organizations that helped me, while using my experiences to show underrepresented students what is possible.” 

Science Students Make a MARC

Graduating MARC students (l-r): Nebat Ali, ’19 Microbiology, Mulatwa Haile, ’19 Biological Sciences, Brianna Urbina, ’19 Biological Sciences, and Natanya Villegas, ’19 Microbiology. Photo: Roman Goshev.

Graduating MARC students (l-r): Nebat Ali, ’19 Microbiology, Mulatwa Haile, ’19 Biological Sciences, Brianna Urbina, ’19 Biological Sciences, and Natanya Villegas, ’19 Microbiology. Photo: Roman Goshev.

Between maintaining a strong GPA, studying for entrance exams, developing a strong resume and paying application fees, the path to graduate school can be a steep learning curve. For 30 years, the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U*STAR) program, sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, has provided financial support and mentorship for undergraduates who are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences to do research and prepare them for doctoral training. Directed by Microbiology Professor Cleber Ouverney, the MARC program offers two years of support in the form of educational grants, research and conference opportunities, and workshops designed to prepare students for graduate school. The MARC program works in synergy with other programs on campus such as Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (RISE), also funded by NIGMS and administered by Dr. Karen Singmaster in the Chemistry Department. For instance, a number of students may start their research experience in RISE before they move to MARC.

“The National Institute of Health is trying to diversify the scientists that are making decisions in science,” says Ouverney, a native of Brazil who pursued his graduate education in the U.S. “They are trying to fund students who are not normally seen in the sciences. About 75 to 80 percent of MARC students enter competitive PhD programs.”

One such alumnus is Alejandro Lopez, ’16 Psychology, who worked in Biological Sciences Professor Katherine Wilkinson’s lab before beginning his PhD program in neuroscience at Emory University. He says that his MARC experience prepared him well to apply for graduate school and instilled in him the desire to inspire others to study science.

“I want to make sure I stay involved in any type of program that encourages support for minority or underrepresented students like myself in the future, because I know that I was given so many opportunities being in the MARC program,” says Lopez. “I’ve always been taught to pay it forward. In 10 years I’d like to continue mentoring and teaching students and encouraging them to pursue hopefully a PhD in whatever STEM field they choose.”

Nebat Ali, ’19 Microbiology, Mulatwa Haile, ’19 Biological Sciences, Brianna Urbina, ’19 Biological Sciences, and Natanya Villegas, ’19 Microbiology participated in the MARC program. Ali worked in Biological Sciences Professor Miri VanHoven’s genetics lab before getting accepted into UCSF’s PhD in biomedical sciences program. Haile worked in Biological Sciences Professor Katherine Wilkinson’s neurophysiology lab and will be starting a PhD in neurophysiology at UC Irvine. Urbina worked in Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Rachael French’s genetics lab and will be pursuing a PhD in biochemistry, molecular, cellular and developmental biology at UC Davis. Villegas will be starting a PhD in molecular biology at the University of Oregon after completing her work in Biological Sciences Associate Professor Katherine Wilkinson’s neurophysiology lab.

The Future of Science

This week San Jose State University will celebrate the historic groundbreaking for its new Interdisciplinary Science Building on Thursday, April 25, at 10 a.m. on the university’s campus in front of Duncan Hall.

Following the ceremonial groundbreaking and program, attendees can see the future of SJSU science firsthand at the College of Science 15th Annual College of Science Student Research Day, located nearby in the Duncan Hall breezeway. More than 100 student-faculty teams will present original work in all science disciplines.

Complete ISB groundbreaking event information may be found at sjsu.edu/sciencepark.

San Jose State University Celebrates Historic Groundbreaking on Interdisciplinary Science Building

Media contact:

Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University will celebrate the historic groundbreaking for its new Interdisciplinary Science Building on Thursday, April 25, at 10 a.m. on the university’s campus in front of Duncan Hall.

The first new academic building in 30 years, the Interdisciplinary Science Building construction is the first phase of the university’s new Science Park, part of San Jose State’s commitment to dynamic research and innovation environment in the heart of Silicon Valley.

“The breadth of scientific discovery and research that will take place at the ISB and our future Science Park will be astonishing,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian. “It will truly put us on the map, and we will rightly take our place among the most modern and innovative of all science colleges in the Bay Area and, indeed, the country.”

San Jose State’s research endeavors play a critical role in preparing graduate and undergraduate students who work side by side with faculty mentors. With $60 million in annual research expenditures, SJSU is a top-200 school nationally in terms of research spending. The university’s 33,000 students—including approximately 7,600 graduate students —bring an inherent creativity and diversity of thought and experience that can address and solve the most pressing problems facing society today.

“San Jose State has been meeting the needs of our region since our founding 160 years ago,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement. “The vision for the Science Park—and the impact it will have for our students and faculty—is unparalleled in SJSU’s history.”

“Our goal is to make research, teaching and collaboration inseparable,” said Michael Kaufman, College of Science dean. “The Interdisciplinary Science Building will be a huge leap forward in San Jose State’s ability to provide modern research experiences and enhanced faculty mentoring opportunities for our students.”

An artistic rendering shows what the Interdisciplinary Science Building will look like in 2021 when it is completed.

An artistic rendering shows what the Interdisciplinary Science Building will look like in 2021 when it is completed.

The Interdisciplinary Science Building will have eight floors of modern science laboratories and research facilities, as well as collaborative, flexible learning environments. The building will be home to chemistry and biology teaching and research spaces, an interdisciplinary Center for High Performance Computing, data and information science labs, and science administration. Each floor will seamlessly integrate teaching and research. Students who move through these programs will graduate with the theoretical background, hands-on skills and collaboration experience necessary to succeed in industry and advanced studies.  

Following the ceremonial groundbreaking and program, attendees can see the future of SJSU science firsthand at the College of Science 15th Annual College of Science Student Research Day, located nearby in the Duncan Hall breezeway. More than 100 student-faculty teams will present original work in all science disciplines. In addition, SJSU’s Celebration of Research will take place 3 – 6 p.m. April 23 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Complete ISB groundbreaking event information may be found at sjsu.edu/sciencepark.


About San Jose State University

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 250 areas of study—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

Annual Event Celebrates Faculty and Student Research April 23

Professor Emily Wughalter, Aqdas Lilani, Tiffany Raczynski and Tania Rojas pose for a photo at the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Student Research Fair in 2018. Photo by David Schmitz

Professor Emily Wughalter, right, and recent graduates Aqdas Lilani, Tiffany Raczynski and Tania Rojas pose for a photo at the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Student Research Fair in 2018. Photo by David Schmitz

SJSU’s Annual Celebration of Research on April 23, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom features a full program to celebrate student and faculty research. Students, faculty and staff are invited to watch presentations from 2018-19 Early Career Investigator Award recipients Assistant Professor of meteorology and climate science Minghui Diao and Assistant Professor of Psychology Susan Syncerski. During the event, SJSU Student Research Competition finalists will be recognized. The 12 undergraduate and graduate students will represent SJSU at the CSU Student Research Competition on April 26 and 27 at CSU Fullerton. In addition, 50 Undergraduate-Faculty Research Pairs will share posters of the work they’ve completed in the last year. The event is sponsored by the SJSU Research Foundation, the Office of Research and the Center for Faculty Development.

The Undergraduate-Faculty Research Pairs program offers grants to students who are engaged in research, scholarship or creative activities across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including the students who worked with kinesiology Professor Emily Wughalter on understanding how women athletes portray themselves on social media.

Women in Sports

Wughalter along with doctoral candidate from Oregon State University Jafra Thomas mentored four undergraduate students: Aqdas Lilani, Tiffany Raczynski, Tania Rojas and Bernice Fan. The SJSU students who graduated in spring 2018 reviewed studies from the 1970s that found women athletes to be “apologetic” and studied the way current-day female athletes presented themselves to see if attitudes had shifted.

“It was empowering to meet other women who felt the same way about how women should be allowed to be unapologetic about the sport they participate in,” said Bernice Fan, ’Kinesiology 18. “This experience empowered me to be more convicted in my beliefs and gave me an opportunity to not only learn from the individuals in the project but to learn from a woman in the past (Professor Jan Felshin) who shared the same perspective 45 years ago.”

Lilani, ’18 Kinesiology, minor, Nutrition and Food Science, said her focus on the research project was examining the behavior of a women’s rugby team.

“My favorite experience has been presenting our research because I felt empowered by the women in the room who connected with our research,” she said. “All the minutes our team spent on diving into literature and discussing our reflections came to life in that room.”

Thomas, who met Wughalter at the 2017 National Association of Kinesiology in Higher Education, said working on the student-led project offered insight into the portrayal of women in sports that he had not studied in his own coursework, but that he believed it would be helpful in his future teaching and research.

“I was pleased to work with these students and to introduce them to the design of research,” Wughalter said. “Their work has already been presented at the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Undergraduate Research Fair in October 2018 and then at a Western Society for Physical Education of College Women national conference. I am extremely proud of these students and their work.

Understanding Particles and Electrons

Kris McBrian, who will graduate in May 2019, and Elena Fader, who plans to graduate in May 2020, have been working with physics and astronomy Professor Ehsan Khatami. Fader is studying the properties of electrons moving around in an ionic crystal while McBrian has shown that a specific artificial neural network called a restricted Boltzmann machine can be used to simulate how quantum particles behave on a lattice.

“I’ve learned that being part of research is not only ideal for graduate school and experience, but it gives me an idea of which field I would like to pursue in the future,” Fader said. “Fortunately, the faculty in the physics and astronomy department are always looking for students interested in research.”

The experience has helped Fader move outside of her comfort zone and allowed her to network with a guest professor. McBrian said he was so intrigued with running simulations and machine learning he wanted to continue his work beyond a computational physics course project.

“As frustrating as it was at first, I’ll never forget the day when the simulation finally started agreeing with theory or the humbling experience of presenting this research at a physics conference,” he said.

Safer Li-ion Batteries

Victor Leong Gin He, a materials engineering student who will graduate in spring 2020, has been working with Assistant Professor of chemical and materials engineering Professor Dahyun Oh on creating safe Li-ion batteries in both aqueous and solid states.

“I joined the lab out of a curiosity to learn,” He said. “I wanted an opportunity to gain valuable experiences and a skill set before graduating. I stepped in with no knowledge of batteries and I’ve been growing at a steady pace thanks to the opportunity and guidance given by Dr. Oh.”

He said he is hoping to make a significant contribution to the electrochemical industry in the years to come.

Learning Numbers

Working with Associate Professor of child and adolescent development Emily Slusser, Sandra Arellano, who will graduate in May 2019, studied how children come to understand that number words refer only to discrete numerosity and not continuous spatial extent. They used three fun games to measure 3-5 year old’s understanding of number and counting as well as their executive functioning and control (a measure of general thinking and intelligence.) Results will be shared at an upcoming Western Psychological Association Conference in Pasadena.

Arellano signed on for the project because she wanted to gain research experience to better understand the field. She is now interested in pursuing a PhD in cognitive science.

“I enjoyed observing children’s cognitive abilities during the administered tasks and understanding that the data analysis can be applied to support children’s academics in the long run,” Arellano said.

ISB Groundbreaking

San Jose State University will break ground on its new Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB) on Thursday, April 25, at 10 a.m. on the university’s campus in front of Duncan Hall, with the 15th Annual College of Science Student Research Fair taking place in the Duncan Hall breezeway following the groundbreaking ceremony. The building will expand opportunities for faculty and student research. Complete groundbreaking event information may be found at sjsu.edu/sciencepark.

SJSU OT Students Raise Money and Awareness of Important Role of Research in Their Field

San Jose State Occupational Therapy students and Department Chair Wynn Schultz-Krohn, far right, were honored at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference for raising the most money as part of the St. Catherine Challenge, which benefits professional research in the field.

San Jose State Occupational Therapy students and Department Chair Wynn Schultz-Krohn, far right, were honored at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference for raising the most money as part of the St. Catherine Challenge, which benefits professional research in the field.

Members of San Jose State University’s American Occupational Therapy Foundation Student Honor Society, Phi Theta Epsilon (PTE) and the Student Occupational Therapy Association, outdid themselves this year during an annual fundraising event that supports professional research initiatives. The Spartan students raised more than $9,000, exceeding the efforts of any other PTE chapters in the nation.

“As a public institution, many of our students have significant financial aid needs so the typical top fundraisers are PTE groups from private institutions,” said faculty advisor and chair of Occupational Therapy Wynn Schultz-Krohn. “This is really an example of ‘paying it forward.’”

Chelsea Holsonbake, whose research group is working on a retrospective program evaluation of a multifactorial fall prevention program for older adults, said the students even got some clients involved in the fundraising efforts.

“Some worked on integrating affected limbs while making cotton candy while others worked on community reintegration and social skills while selling cotton candy,” she said.

Clients to the on-campus OT clinic helped with the fundraising efforts through they worked on integrating affected limbs while making cotton candy while others worked on community reintegration and social skills while selling cotton candy.

Clients to the on-campus OT clinic helped with the fundraising efforts through they worked on integrating affected limbs while making cotton candy while others worked on community reintegration and social skills while selling cotton candy.

Research opportunities are key to the graduate student experience in OT, and at SJSU, students engage in three research classes and complete a final research project. During spring break nearly 40 students presented their research projects at the American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, a peer-reviewed professional conference.

“Research is so important in the field of OT because we want to know our interventions are best for our clients, not just from our own observations but also from research and replicable data,” said Millie Book, who anticipates completing her master’s in OT in fall 2019.

Her research on friendships and social participation among young adults with autism will prove useful after graduation when she hopes to work in a rehabilitative or pediatric setting helping individuals with sensory integration techniques.

Monica Ondriezek, who will also graduate in fall 2019, has been conducting a historical narrative analysis of the OT department chairs.

“Although this study is not directly client focused, it seeks to identify core values that continue to influence OT education and the profession as a whole,” she said. “It helps to develop future occupational therapists who are dedicated to their clients.”

Kimiko McNeill, who plans to graduate in fall 2019, is working on the same research team as Ondriezek on the history of the OT program.

“Historical inquiry allows researchers to examine past, current and future trends that impact the profession,” she said. “The results of my research will have an impact on the curriculum and education of OT programs throughout the country and will also highlight the enduring values that persist through time in the OT department at SJSU.”

Department chair Wynn Schultz-Krohn and OT students pose with their first-place award for raising the most money of any other student group in the St. Catherine's Challenge.

Department chair Wynn Schultz-Krohn and OT students pose with their first-place award for raising the most money of any other student group in the St. Catherine’s Challenge.

Katie Poisson, who plans to finish her master’s in fall 2020 said she was initially drawn to SJSU’s program for its location, faculty and the opportunity to study abroad.

“I am really excited that we raised the most money (in the fundraising competition) and spotlighted this incredible institution,” she said. “Research is important because it allows us to expand into more settings where our work could be really valuable.”

Serina Murphy, also an intended fall 2019 graduate, is involved in research aimed at understanding how simulations, in comparison to traditional didactic teaching, effects social problem solving to potentially enhance the occupational therapy curriculum.

“Social problem-solving skills are particularly important to occupational therapy practitioners as it contributes to critical thinking skills necessary to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals and understand the patients’ needs while reducing errors,” she said. “We have been working collaboratively with the SJSU’s  Valley Foundation School of Nursing to use the simulation lab.”

Murphy noted that occupational therapists can work with clients across the lifespan and she is considering the possibility of working in a neonatal intensive care unit.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing all I can to build a strong foundation and become a successful occupational therapist,” she said.

School of Information Leads Research on Blockchain use in Higher Ed and Libraries

Dr. Sandy Hirsh, left, and Dr. Sue Alman, presented their research at the National Blockchain Forum in August 2018.

Dr. Sandy Hirsh, left, and Dr. Sue Alman, presented their research at the National Blockchain Forum in August 2018.

For the past 18 months, Dr. Sandra Hirsh, director and professor in the School of Information, and Dr. Sue Alman, a lecturer in the School of Information, have been investigating how a revolutionary new technology could be used in libraries and universities. Their work was recently featured as a cover story in American Libraries, in an article entitled “Blockchain Reaction: How library professionals are approaching blockchain technology and its potential impact.”

Starting in 2017, Hirsh and Alman recognized an expanding literature about how blockchain technology was on the brink of revolutionizing the public and private sectors, including mentions of the emerging tool at conferences, in books, white papers, and more.

“Librarians had not been evidenced in these mainstream discussions,” Hirsh and Alman said. “However, the use of blockchain technology in libraries was on the radar of many information professionals.”

SJSU researchers Dr. Sandy Hirsh, second from the left, and Dr. Sue Alman, far right, served on a panel with colleagues Eric Meyer, of the University of Texas at Austin, and Vicki Lemieux, University of British Columbia, at the Association for Information Science and Technology Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

SJSU researchers Dr. Sandy Hirsh, second from the left, and Dr. Sue Alman, far right, served on a panel with colleagues Eric Meyer, of the University of Texas at Austin, and Vicki Lemieux, University of British Columbia, at the Association for Information Science and Technology Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the pair a $100,000 grant to investigate applications of blockchain technology in libraries. As part of the project, they created a dedicated website and blog; organized a virtual conference as part of the Library 2.0 Conference series; hosted a Blockchain National Forum; sponsored a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled “Blockchain & Decentralization for the Information Industries”; presented findings at numerous national and international professional conferences and webinars; and plan to publish a book this spring.

“While there are many individuals within the information professions who do have a technical understanding of blockchain, we quickly found that information professionals in general do not have a clear understanding about what blockchain is and what the possibilities are and they need training to help build that knowledge base,” the pair said.

They also discovered a wide range of ideas about possible applications of the technology in libraries, and realized it would be helpful to provide concrete examples of applications and opportunity to pilot some applications in a sandbox environment in order to understand what the next steps should be.

As they wrap up the grant with IMLS, Hirsh and Alman hope to pursue funding to continue with pilot blockchain projects for libraries. One idea they have discussed is developing an international interlibrary loan pilot for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institution’s voucher system.

“IFLA provides re-usable vouchers to help libraries easily pay for international interlibrary loan requests,” they said. “Each voucher represents a standard payment for one transaction. Blockchain would lend itself well because of the foreign currency transactions that happen and due to the transactional nature of interlibrary loans.”

Other ideas include creating a universal library card in public libraries as some library systems require a mailing address or limit access to a hometown or local library system; issuing credentials to library users who achieve certain skills; and determining the accuracy and consistency of archival records.

“We are currently working to develop one of more of these ideas into more robust proposals and to seek funding to build them out so that our field can have a good test case for blockchain technology,” they said.

Participants at the National Blockchain Forum in August 2018.

Participants at the National Blockchain Forum in August 2018.

The researchers continue to share their findings throughout this spring, including at a University Scholar Series talk by Hirsh on May 8 at noon in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229.

“The initiatives of the iSchool faculty are trend-setting in multiple areas, and our international reputation for educational and research excellence is widening,” they said.

Hirsh and Alman have attended or will attend more than 14 conferences or presentations by this summer including:

  • Blockchain: Transforming the Technological Future. (2019, June). Panel to be presented at the 2019 American Library Association Conference. Washington, DC.
  • Blockchain: The New Technology and Its Application for Libraries. (2019, June). Invited speaker at the 2019 Special Libraries Association Conference, Cleveland, OH.
  • Blockchain Technology in Education. (2019, June). Panel to be presented at the SIAA Ed Tech Industry Conference & CODiE Awards. San Francisco, CA.
  • Blockchain: Transformative Applications for Libraries and Education. (2019, May). Keynote to be presented at the San Jose State University’s 2019 University Scholar Series, San Jose, CA.
  • Blockchain & Opportunities for Libraries. (2019, March). Panel to be presented at the 2019 Computers in Libraries conference. Washington, DC.
  • Blockchain Possibilities: Investigation Findings. (2019, March). Paper presented at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Trending Technology Webinar, Online Presentation.
  • Blockchain: An Investigation of Possible Library Applications. (2019, February). Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Changing Landscape of Science & Technology Libraries (CLSTL 2019), Gandhinagar, India, Online Presentation.
  • Blockchain: One Emerging Technology—So Many Applications. (2018, November). Refereed panel presented at the 81st Association for Information Science & Technology Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Trendsetting at the SJSU iSchool : Blockchain and Information Services. (2018, November). Paper presented at the 2018 California Library Association conference, Santa Clara, CA.
  • Pros and Cons of Blockchain. (2018, October). Paper presented on a panel at Blockchain in Education West conference, Sunnyvale, CA.
  • Blockchain: Recommendations for the Information Professions. (2018, September). Paper presented as a free ALA Webinar, Online.
  • Blockchain – is it worth the fuss? – Flash Session.  (2018, August). Paper presented on a panel at the 2018 IFLA conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Blockchain Technology. (2018, March). Paper presented on a panel at a webinar for the SLA Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Chapters, Online.  
  • Blockchain, Open Civic Data, and TV WhiteSpace – Three New Projects. (2018, February). Paper presented at an invited panel at the 2018 American Library Association Midwinter Conference, Denver, CO.

 

 

University Scholar Series Presents ‘Math Circles’

Professor Tatiana Shubin, center, works with students.

Professor Tatiana Shubin, center, works with students.

The next talk in the University Scholar Series is scheduled for March 27, at noon, when award-winning Professor Tatiana Shubin will give a talk on “Moving in Circles: the Beauty and Joy of Mathematics for Everyone.” In 2017, she received the Mary P. Dolciani Award, which recognizes a pure or applied mathematician for making distinguished contributions to the math education of students in the United States or Canada. She is credited with creating the San José Math Circle as a weekly space for middle and high school students to gather to engage in problem-solving work.

She is also a co-founder of the first Math Teachers’ Circle Network in the U.S., as a professional community of K-12 mathematics teachers and mathematicians. Groups meet regularly to work on rich mathematics problems, allowing teachers to enrich their knowledge and experience of math while building meaningful partnerships with other teachers and mathematicians.

In 2012, she launched the Navajo Nation Math Circles project and became co-founder/co-director of the Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles.  She aims to spread the culture of problem-solving and the joy of mathematics to Native American students and teachers.

Upcoming University Scholar Series events
Tatiana Shubin, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, on “Moving in Circles: the Beauty and Joy of Mathematics for Everyone”
March 27, noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229

Ellen Middaugh, Department of Child and Adolescent Development, on “Coming of Age in the Era of Outrage: Digital Media and Youth Civic Development”
April 24, noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229

Sandra Hirsh, School of Information, on “Blockchain: Transformative Applications for Libraries and Education”
May 8, noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229

All events are free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.

The University Scholars Series was expanded this spring to include four talks by faculty members who are engaged in world-class research, scholarship or creative activities that connect to San Joes Staté University to hot topic global issues, such as social justice, civic engagement, emerging technology and STEM education.

Fulbright Scholars Enhance Teaching While Engaging in Research

Ling Yu (Melody) Wen is visiting San Jose State as a Fulbright Scholar as she conducts in-depth interviews with CEOs and top managers in the high-tech industry to explore what skill sets they believe are the most important in creating an innovative atmosphere and corporates’ human capital management.

Fulbright Scholars Enhance Teaching While Engaging in Research

In 2018-19, San Jose State University has been host to three Fulbright Scholars from other countries who are adding to their research portfolio while also teaching courses to Spartan students. The scholars include Ling Yu (Melody) Wen, whose area of expertise is human resources management and corporate training; Lela Mirtshkulava, who is engaged in computer engineering and computer science; and Monika Petraite, who worked on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial strategies.Fulbright Logo

Their presence has landed SJSU on the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s list of top producers of Fulbright Scholars, master’s institutions. The list is compiled each year with information from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which runs the nation’s flagship international educational exchange program.

Education and Silicon Valley

Wen specifically selected SJSU for its location in Silicon Valley, its history as the oldest public university on the West Coast and its ranking as the number one provider of employees to high-tech firms in Silicon Valley.

Since arriving on campus in September 2018 with a Senior Fulbright Scholar Grant, she has conducted in-depth interviews with CEOs and top managers in the high-tech industry to explore what skill sets they believe are the most important in creating an innovative atmosphere and corporates’ human capital management. Wen also interviewed students, professors and career center staff at SJSU for their input.

“The research provides a successful model of establishing a link from school to workplace—San Jose State University and the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley as an example,” she said. “The future perceptions of differential talents and the needs of human capital in the high-tech industry would be beneficial for educational policies and strategies of talent development mechanisms in both Taiwan and America.”

During the Fulbright year, Wen was invited by the Namibia University of Science and Technology and University of Missouri-Columbia as a visiting professor to share the results of the Fulbright research.

Wen is a senior professor in the Department of Finance at the National Changhua University of Education in Taiwan and has also served in as a department chair, college dean, dean of International Affairs, and in a variety of administrative roles. She earned her PhD in business education from the University of Missouri, with a focus on human resource management. She has been honored with Teaching Excellence and Service Excellence awards four times during her 24-year tenure in Taiwan, and has been a visiting professor in Germany, Mainland China, Malaysia and Namibia. She was appointed as a distinguished professor at Beijing Forestry University, China since 2015. She also has more than 20-year experiences as a consultant and corporate trainer, as well as the coordinator of National Curriculum and chief judge of National Talent Competitions for High School Students, Ministry of Education, Taiwan.

“Without SJSU and the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business providing the opportunity, I couldn’t complete my Fulbright study,” she said. “I would like to extend my appreciation to Dean Dan Moshavi and Associate Dean Meghna Virick of the Lucas College and Graduate School, and Camille Johnson, interim director of the School of Management, as well as all of the faculty, professors and students of SJSU and CEOs of high-tech industry in Silicon Valley who devoted their time and effort to my Fulbright research. Words are not enough to express my gratitude.”

Lela Mirtskhulava was a featured speaker at DataAI National Summit (DANS), Silicon Valley organized by American Association of Precision Medicine and presented the results of the project she has been working since arriving at San Jose State as a Fulbright Scholar.

Lela Mirtskhulava was a featured speaker at DataAI National Summit (DANS), Silicon Valley organized by American Association of Precision Medicine and presented the results of the project she has been working since arriving at San Jose State as a Fulbright Scholar.

Balancing Teaching and Research

Lela Mirtskhulava experience in the realm of artificial intelligence is unique. She was the first to develop an artificial intelligence capable of diagnosing stroke patients: her prototype artificial intelligence distinguishes between stroke patients and normal subjects with > 99 percent accuracy. She has been honored with the Best Paper Award in 2013 at the University of Cambridge, UK. She was invited as a featured speaker at the AIMed 2017 and AIMed 2018 conferences in Los Angeles.

“I have been working for more than eight months as a Fulbright Research scholar at San Jose State University with most amazing faculty and staff,” she said. “I enjoyed auditing the classes besides my research project thanks to Dr. Xiao Su giving me this opportunity. For academics, both the teaching and research are so attractive and interconnected things. To promote the teaching processes as well as to advance our field requires much time devoted to research, publication and presentation. On the other hand, teaching is one of our primary obligations as a scholar. Only putting them both together makes possible to reach the right balance in our academic life.”

She said at SJSU she has been able to prolong her research and teaching, while her daughter completes a full academic year at a local middle school. Her daughter has been inspired by her teachers while Mirtskhulava is inspiring her own set of students in the two courses she is teaching to postgraduate students; one on deep learning and one on system software.

“This gives me an excellent opportunity to teach the students and promote them to work on their research projects as it is required within these courses,” she said. “I’ve learned about SJSU’s teaching methodology by attending the classes as well my experience of teaching at San Diego State University where I hold an associate professor position.”

Prototyping Artificial Intelligence

Mirtskhulava was a featured speaker at DataAI National Summit (DANS), Silicon Valley organized by American Association of Precision Medicine and presented the results of the project she is currently working on. The main idea of the project is brainwave monitoring that focuses on neurological monitoring which incorporates the monitoring of brainwaves electroencephalography (EEG). Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of disruption of cerebral blood flow which results in neuronal cell death. Brainwave monitoring over EEG has been a commonly used method in neurological monitoring to diagnose and monitor various neurological diseases such as ischemic stroke. In the given project, Android Neural Network (ANN) is designed and a direct neural interface (DNI) is implemented using NeuroSky’s EEG biosensor for brainwaves recognition. A mobile EEG monitor is connected to a patient’s smartphone over Bluetooth that can transmit real-time brainwave data.

Mirtskhulava is an associate professor of computer science at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in the country of Georgia as well as San Diego State University Georgia (a collaborative progam between SDSU and Georgian partner universities that offers select STEM degrees). As a Fulbright Research Scholar, she is teaching part-time in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering this year. Mirtskhulava received her PhD in computer science. She has served in various capacities at several Georgian universities and has 15 years of industry work experience as an ICT senior engineer at Ericsson Ltd and Geocell LLC, Georgia. She Mirtskhulava was invited to the University of Cambridge in England to conduct the scientific workshops in 2013. She was the recipient of DAAD Scholarship Certificate in scope of Academic staff exchange program, at Westsaxson University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, Germany in 2016. She has also developed new curriculum in computer engineering and technologies at International Black Sea University, Georgia where she served as program coordinator of bachelor programs in Informatics and as a quality assurance manager at the same university. She participated in new program development in computer science for ABET at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. She is supervising master students and PhD students in Georgia.

New College, New Dean: Graduate Studies and Marc d’Alarcao

Marc d'Alarcao

Marc d’Alarcao

As a professor of chemistry with 30 years of experience in higher education split between San José State University and Tufts University, Marc d’Alarcao said his favorite part of teaching is when he sees students begin to understand how new knowledge is created.

“Knowledge is always continuing to grow,” he said.

Now d’Alarcao will be essential in creating a new college at SJSU as the interim dean of the College of Graduate Studies, designed to support graduate students in a variety of ways, including in advancing their fields through their research, scholarship and creative activities.

“We have a very large graduate student population of about 8,000,” he said. “They deserve to have an advocate who is solely focused on their needs.”

Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs announced the creation of a new College of Graduate Studies in fall 2018.

“The creation of a College of Graduate Studies has been front and center inAcademic Affairs for well over a year and a half,” Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Joan Ficke wrote in a January announcement about d’Alarcao’s appointment. “It dovetails with increasing commitments to our faculty administering graduate programs, and to our substantial graduate students’ population. It also signifies our re-visioning what SJSU contributes to Silicon Valley and to the world beyond.”

At Tufts, d’Alarcao mentored graduate students, including both master’s and PhD candidates, and regularly involved students at all levels in his research. His work at both universities has focused on biological and medicinal chemistry including the design and synthesis of potential antitumor agents, and a study of insulin action by synthesis of molecules related to insulin signal transduction with potential utility as treatments for type II diabetes mellitus.

“The thing that attracted me to SJSU was the outstanding faculty and students,” he said.

He has been working to expand research, scholarship and creative activities since his arrival at SJSU–as a faculty member, as a member of the AcademicSenate, and most recently, as the associate dean of research for the College of Science.

“Marc is an excellent choice to lead the College of Graduate Studies,” said Michael Kaufman, dean of the College of Science. “He has deep knowledge of the university and great skill in leading transformation both within and beyond college boundaries. His thoughtful approaches to challenges and opportunities make him the ideal person to enhance and expand SJSU’s graduate educational endeavors.”

Aside from advocating for graduate students, d’Alarcao articulated a few other reasons the new college is essential to the university’s priorities. First, he said it will continue to enhance research, scholarship, and creative activity, especially engaging graduate students. Second, it will position SJSU to expand its doctoral offerings — the university currently offers a doctorate in education and a doctor of nursing practice. Lastly, it will serve as a platform to better highlight the extraordinary work of our talented graduate students, both for internal and external audiences.

“For graduate students, success often means excellence in research or creative activity,” he said, adding that many of SJSU’s graduate programs require the generation of new knowledge or other creative products as a central component of the students’ experience.

d’Alarcao received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bridgewater State College, in Massachusetts, during which he worked as a research assistant in microbiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. He completed his PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, followed by postdoctoral studies at Harvard University under the mentorship of E. J. Corey, who would later become a Nobel laureate.

Selection for RSCA Assigned Time Cycle 2 Starts

As San José State University continues its commitment to expanding its research, scholarship and creative activities enterprise, eligible faculty are invited to apply for the next cycle of the Faculty Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities (RSCA) Assigned Time Program. Applications for the second cycle are due to respective dean’s offices in each college on March 28, 2019, and should include a cover sheet, curriculum vitae, scholarly agendas for the next five years and RSCA metric data.

The first cycle provided awards to 141 individuals, including 49 tenured faculty members and 92 probationary faculty members, who now have university support to balance their teaching and scholarly pursuits. As the university moves forward with phase-in, increasing numbers of faculty members will receive awards until all RSCA productive faculty are teaching not more than 18 weighted teaching units per year.

Each college has created field-appropriate metrics that are used to select participants in the program and to evaluate their progress on their RSCA agenda. Each award is for a period of five years, with a formal review after year three and RSCA metric data submitted annually.

The benefits of the RSCA Assigned Time program extend beyond faculty. The program expands opportunities for students to engage with dedicated mentors while developing critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills that are key for the workforce. In addition, the outcomes of RSCA at San José State have local and global impacts on innovation and entrepreneurship.

For more information, visit the Office of Research online or faculty can contact their dean’s office for more information.

SJSU’s Julia Curry Rodriguez Named Wang Family Excellence Award Recipient

Dr. Julia E. Curry Rodriguez has received the 2019 Wang Family Excellence Award for Outstanding Faculty Service.

Dr. Julia E. Curry Rodriguez has received the 2019 Wang Family Excellence Award for Outstanding Faculty Service.

Media contacts:

Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif.—The California State University Chancellor’s Office announced today that San Jose State University’s Julia E. Curry Rodríguez, an associate professor of Mexican American Studies, is the recipient of the 2019 Wang Family Excellence Award for Outstanding Faculty Service.

Curry was selected for the prestigious award for her unwavering support of students, specifically immigrant and undocumented students in her two decades of service to SJSU. Since 2009, she has worked with the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association to provide scholarships for undocumented students, including the establishment of full-semester scholarships. She advocated institutionalizing services, support and resources for immigrant students, leading to the development of SJSU’s UndocuSpartan Resource Center in 2018.

“I have worked with thousands of students—many of whom are first-generation, immigrants or of immigrant origin,” says Curry. “Their tenacity, perseverance, humility, dignity and grace inspire me daily. Their example of lived commitment and struggle guide how I live out my profession.”

Curry has mentored five doctoral students through the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP), two of whom are now CSU faculty. She also serves as the faculty advisor to Student Advocates for Higher Education, an undocumented student support group founded in 2003, and the Chicano/a/x Graduate Council.

Julia Curry Rodriguez received SJSU's Distinguished Service Award in 2014.

Julia Curry Rodriguez received SJSU’s Distinguished Service Award in 2014.

She was instrumental in developing a new bachelor’s degree in Mexican American Studies, coordinates with the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies to address legal challenges, such as the Supreme Court Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)/Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) case, and organizes symposia covering policies related to in-state tuition and the California Dream Act.

Curry has also maintained an active research, scholarship and creative activities agenda. In 2003, she received a grant from the Ford Foundation to document services for binational students who immigrate to the U.S., then migrate back to their home regions in Mexico. Other recent research includes an article on “Decolonial Food for Thought: Mexican-Origin Food, Foodways, and Social Movements” in the Journal of Equity and Excellence in Education and a reader entitled Mothers, Mothering and Motherhood Across Cultural Differences.

The SJSU 2014 Distinguished Service Award recipient, Curry has been featured in SJSU’s My Story is Here campaign and in Washington Square magazine.

The Wang Family Excellence Award recognizes four outstanding faculty members and one outstanding staff member who, through extraordinary commitment and dedication, have distinguished themselves by exemplary contributions and achievements. Learn more about the CSU 2019 Wang Excellence Award recipients online.


About San Jose State University

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 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

CSU Shares Profile of SJSU’s Fritz Yambrach, Professor and Inventor

San Jose State University’s Professor Fritz Yambrach brings the same innovative and practical approach to his work, whether rebuilding the packaging program in the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Department of Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging, creating internships for students with industry partners or developing a new way for people to carry water in developing countries.

When he was hired in 2006, the packaging program had five students enrolled and four courses. He has since developed 10 courses that include packaging for medical devices, pharmaceuticals and food processing, and built the program to an enrollment of 70 students.

Fritz Yambrach, a professor in Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging helped to develop a way to package water to transport to disaster areas or areas where water is not readily available. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Fritz Yambrach, a professor in Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging helped to develop a way to package water to transport to disaster areas or areas where water is not readily available. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

“I created course content I believed was useful to a working professional in the field,” Yambrach says. “Packaging is simply problem solving. I’ll give [students] relationships between items and then see how they put it together and make creative extensions.”

Yambrach is the latest San Jose State University faculty member to be featured in the CSU Spotlight with a new profile and video about his teaching philosophy and his research. He is the inventor of a water vest that is being tested in Haiti, Burundi and Ethiopia as an ergonomic, hygienic alternative to carrying water in buckets over long distances.

Fritz, who received the 2017 DuPont Diamond Packaging Innovation Award, said those who have tested the vest since 2006 found an unexpected benefit: “Young girls in Ethiopia were typically tasked with collecting water and it often meant they couldn’t go to school,” he explained. “The vest is allowing more girls to attend school since it makes transporting water much easier.”

Read more about Yambrach’s teaching and research in the CSU Profile, an SJSU Academic Spotlight story and an SJSU Washington Square profile.

SJSU Physics Professor’s Groundbreaking Research Featured in ‘Science’

Ehsan Khatami is one of two San Jose State University faculty members selected as an Early Career Investigator Award winners in 2017-18. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Ehsan Khatami is one of two San Jose State University faculty members selected as Early Career Investigator Award winners in 2017-18. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

San Jose State University Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Ehsan Khatami in collaboration with a group of professors from MIT and the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms published today in the journal Science their latest experimental discovery about conduction in a tiny system of atoms in a vacuum.

Khatami, who was granted early tenure and promotion to associate professor this year, received a funding from the National Science Foundation with colleague Sen Chiao, of the Meteorology Department to build the first high-performance computing cluster on campus. The equipment has proven essential to his research as well as the work of students and faculty in other disciplines that require big data analysis.

In his most recent article, Khatami and his colleagues discuss an experiment that is impossible to perform using real materials. They were able to focus on the movement of atoms’ intrinsic magnetic field, or “spin,” across a few microns without disturbing their charge arrangement (charge is another intrinsic property of atoms) as the first of its kind with a quantum system. The results shed light on the mostly unexplored spin transport property of models condensed matter scientists use to describe the unusual behavior of solids at very low temperatures.

Atoms are like small magnets, so applying a magnetic force pushes them around, here to the left (top left). Since these atoms repel each other, they cannot move if there are no empty sites (top middle). But the atomic “magnetic needles” are still free to move, with stronger magnets (red) diffusing to the left in the image, and weaker magnets (blue) having to make room and move to the right (bottom row). This so-called spin transport is resolved atom by atom in the cold atom quantum emulator.

Atoms are like small magnets, so applying a magnetic force pushes them around, here to the left (top left). Since these atoms repel each other, they cannot move if there are no empty sites (top middle). But the atomic “magnetic needles” are still free to move, with stronger magnets (red) diffusing to the left in the image, and weaker magnets (blue) having to make room and move to the right (bottom row). This so-called spin transport is resolved atom by atom in the cold atom quantum emulator.

Khatami’s research aims to help scientists understand how superconductivity works—a finding that could potentially pave the way for a room-temperature superconductor, which would improve transportation and data storage and make homes more energy efficient by creating materials that allow better use of electricity. That is, as electricity goes through a device such as a phone or laptop, none of the electronic components would heat up. Superconductivity is the property of zero electrical resistance in some substances at very low temperatures (<-135 degrees Celsius).

The experiment was carried out using 400 atoms cooled down to just a hair above absolute zero temperature (<-273 degrees Celsius). The atoms were manipulated to be two different types and to act as if they were electrons in a solid with two species of spin. The atoms were then trapped in a square box to see how they would respond when magnetic fields keeping one species on the left side and one species on the right side of the box were turned off. Scientists watched the process by using an electron gas microscope to measure the speed at which mixing takes place and deduce the “spin” current.

Khatami compares the box of atoms to a shallow pool of water – if there was a divider in the middle with clear water on one side and water dyed black on the other side when the divider is suddenly removed the water would mix together and turn gray. The two shades of water would be similar to the two spin species in the quantum experiment, with the behavior of the atoms governed by quantum mechanics.

To support the experiment, Khatami used more than 300,000 CPU hours on SJSU’s Spartan High-Performance Computer to solve the underlying theoretical model that was emulated in the experiment to support experimental observations.

“As exciting as these findings have been, there are still so many unanswered questions we can explore using similar setups,” he said. “For example, the dependence of spin transport on the temperature or the concentration of atoms in the box can be studied.”

Khatami received the SJSU 2017-18 Early Career Investigator Award and has offered insights into his research on the web series Physics Girl. He was featured in the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of Washington Square alumni magazine.

Allied Telesis Pledges $500K Endowment Gift to SJSU’s MTI

Takayoshi Oshima, chairman and CEO of Allied Telesis, signed a gift agreement for $500,000 to the Mineta Transportation Institute in October.

Takayoshi Oshima, chairman and CEO of Allied Telesis, signed a gift agreement for $500,000 with the Mineta Transportation Institute in October. Photo: Nanzi Muro

Media Contact:
Robin McElhatton, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu, 408-924-1749

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University (SJSU) is pleased to announce a $500,000 gift commitment from Allied Telesis, Inc. to the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) Strategic Initiatives Fund. The generous gift will establish a permanent endowment to provide long-term sustaining support to MTI’s cybersecurity program. Subject to approval by the Campus Naming Committee and the Academic Senate, the new program will be known as the Allied Telesis National Transportation Security Center.

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Dean Dan Moshavi, center, signs a gift agreement with Allied Telesis.

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Dean Dan Moshavi, center, signs a gift agreement with Allied Telesis. Photo: Nanzi Muro

The gift was formally announced Oct. 9 at a reception celebrating the opening of the Mineta Archives in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library at San Jose State University. Takayoshi Oshima, chairman and CEO of Allied Telesis, a long-time friend of MTI founder and former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, has served on the Board of the Mineta Transportation Institute since August 2018. He was recently elected advisor emeritus to the US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR.)

Oshima founded Allied Telesis more than 30 years ago. Allied Telesis has headquarters in Silicon Valley and Japan. The company provides hardware and software products that allow customers to build secure, feature-rich and scalable data exchange solutions. Allied Telesis works with many of the same agencies as MTI in the public transit sector, including the Valley Transportation Authority.

“We started talking about synergy in how we could work together to improve cybersecurity in transportation on a national level,” said Karen Philbrick, executive director of MTI. “Thanks to Allied Telesis’s commitment to a permanent endowment, we can expand our work in this critical area.”

Paul Lanning, vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation, congratulated Philbrick and her team on cultivating a strong partnership with Oshima and Allied Telesis.

“Allied Telesis has provided a tremendous gift that will add value for years to come in the transit sector,” Lanning said. “We hope to continue to build on the success of the Mineta Transportation Institute with this and future industry partnerships.”


About the Mineta Transportation Institute

At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nation’s’ transportation system through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer. We help create a connected world. MTI was founded in 1991 and is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

About San Jose State University

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 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area. 

Cal-Bridge Grant Readies SJSU Undergrads to Apply for PhDs in Physics and Astronomy

Students, faculty and administrators for the Cal-Bridge North program pose for a photo. Cal-Bridge scholars prepare to apply for PhD programs in physics and astronomy.

Students, faculty and administrators for the Cal-Bridge North program pose for a photo. Cal-Bridge scholars prepare to apply for PhD programs in physics and astronomy.

Media Contact:
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA– San Jose State University joins a consortium of 15 California State University (CSU) and nine University of California (UC) campuses collectively awarded a five-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to dramatically increase diversity within the fields of physics and astronomy through the Cal-Bridge program.

The Cal-Bridge program launched four years ago. It creates a pathway for underrepresented minority students from multiple CSU campuses to gain the experience needed to apply for doctoral programs in physics and astronomy at UC campuses across California. Currently, students from underrepresented minority groups represent 30 percent of the U.S. population, but represent less than 4 percent of physics and astronomy PhDs recipients nationwide. The national average of underrepresented minorities, or URM students, earning a PhD in these fields is about 80 per year.

“Cal-Bridge has already shown spectacular results in its first phase in Southern California, with a 95 percent admission rate for CSU undergraduates into doctoral programs,” said Aaron Romanowsky, an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at SJSU and co-director of the Cal-Bridge North Leadership Council. “Now with the expansion of the program into Northern California, and into physics as well as astronomy, we are excited to begin seeing even more access enabled for CSU students going into advanced STEM education and careers.”

Expanding into Northern California

The recent grant allows Cal-Bridge to expand from about a dozen scholars per year to as many as 50 statewide, with the addition of students from SJSU, San Francisco State, CSU East Bay and CSU Sacramento. SJSU is serving as a lead institution for Cal-Bridge North, with the support of Romanowsky and College of Science Dean Michael Kaufman, former chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. SJSU students Jean Donet and Javier Bustamante joined the first cohort of Cal-Bridge North. Participating Cal-Bridge Scholars receive a full scholarship for the final two years of their undergraduate degree, based on demonstrated need; a year of scholarship funding to cover the first year of graduate school at a participating UC campus; mentoring from faculty members at both CSU and UC campuses; professional development opportunities and research opportunities.

Cal-Bridge is led by Principal Investigator and Director Alexander Rudolph, a Cal Poly Pomona professor of physics and astronomy. Cal-Bridge Scholars are recruited from the 15 CSU campuses and more than 30 community colleges in the Cal-Bridge network, with the help of local faculty and staff liaisons at each campus.

Success for Early Cohorts

The program has been highly successful in its first five years in developing a pipeline of highly diverse, qualified scholars, many of whom have already successfully matriculated to a PhD program in physics or astronomy. The program just selected its fifth cohort of 27 scholars from 10 different CSU campuses across the state, bringing the total number of scholars to 61 in five cohorts, including 35 Latinos, seven African-Americans and 27 women (16 of the 27 women are from underrepresented minority groups).

In the last three years, 19 of 21 Cal-Bridge Scholars who have earned their bachelor’s degree in physics have begun or will attend PhD programs in physics or astronomy at top programs nationally, including UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Harvard University, Northwestern University, the University of Maryland, Michigan State University and Penn State University.

Learn more about Cal-Bridge and watch a video about the program online.

CAL-BRIDGE CONTACT

Alexander Rudolph

Director, Cal-Bridge

Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Cal Poly Pomona

Email: alrudolph@cpp.edu

Cell Phone: 909-717-1851

LOCAL CONTACT

Aaron Romanowsky

Co-Director, Cal-Bridge North Leadership Council

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy

San Jose State University

Email: aaron.romanowsky@sjsu.edu

About San Jose State University

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 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area. 

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

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

By Kara Guzman

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

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

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

View the full story. 

Student Research Competition

35th Annual Student Research Competition

Student Research Competition

William Slocumb, ’14 Materials Engineering, collaborated with Andrea Kramer, an orthotic resident at Hanger Clinic, on research they presented at a recent conference (photo courtesy of William Slocumb).

Seven Spartans will advance to the 28th Annual California State University Student Research Competition May 2 and 3 at California State University, East Bay.

All seven students and their faculty mentors will be honored at the 35th Annual SJSU Student Research Forum beginning at noon April 10 in Engineering 285/287.

Student constructs prosthetic using tools.

Slocumb sections down materials for testing (photo courtesy of William Slocumb).

The Graduate Studies and Research Committee selects San Jose State’s finalists from a pool of nominees sent forward by SJSU’s seven colleges.

It’s important to note the competition is open to all students, including those majoring in the creative arts and design fields.

Each college has its own robust reviewing committee, so we ultimately see the best of the best,” said Cheryl Cowan, Graduate Studies and Research Administrative Support Coordinator.

Among this year’s winners are William Slocumb, ’14 Materials Engineering. His research, “Design of Bamboo Fiber Reinforced Composites for Use in Orthotics and Prosthetics,” focuses on making cost-effective prosthetics from sustainable materials.

Bamboo Prosthetics

Being selected to represent SJSU “is validating to me is [because this] shows that people are responding to what I’m doing and that this technology is doable, relevant and helpful,” he said.

Slocumb was inspired by a Chinese man who spent eight years building his own bionic hands after a fishing accident.

For people in developing countries, this research not only impacts their ability to thrive but also their survival and well being,” Slocumb said.

Pinto self portrait

A self portrait by Mark Pinto, ’14 MFA Photography.

Mentor and Professor Guna Selvaduray encouraged Slocumb to enter the competition because of his student’s “passion, productivity and capability to take complete ownership of the project.”

“Very few people are able to see the benefits of doing research that combines different traditional fields, and how the results can be used productively in a particular application,” Selvaduray said.

Connecting With Veterans

Mark Pinto ’14 MFA Photography, is one of two art students advancing to the systemwide research competition.

Representing “San Jose State and [showing] key people how great the art and graduate departments are–that is exciting to me,” he said.

Pinto’s entry, a collection of photography entitled “The War Veteran’s Voice,” provides insight into the extended costs of war.  A Marine veteran, Pinto learned a lot about himself while creating his entry.

It’s very personal, and each time I do it, I realize how connected I am to the veteran community, the suffering of the survivors, and those who did not make it as well,” he said.

Soldiers, represented by action figures, mourn the loss of a comrade, with gravestones in the background.

“Suicide Joe” by Mark Pinto.