Kevin Jordan and colleagues in flight simulator

SJSU Receives $73.3 Million Award to Participate in NASA Research

Kevin Jordan and colleagues in flight simulator

Kevin Jordan (front) with Tom Prevot (back left) and Vern Battiste (SJSU Research Foundation photo).

Cooperative Agreement Seeks to Enhance Safety and Efficiency of Air and Space Travel

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

SAN JOSE, Calif., — The NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., has selected San Jose State University Research Foundation for a five-year, $73.3 million cooperative agreement to participate in the development of systems for improving the safety and efficiency of air and space travel. NASA scientists, along with SJSU faculty members and graduate students, will collaborate on this effort, funded by the largest federal award in SJSU history. The principal investigator will be Professor of Psychology and of Human Factors and Ergonomics, Kevin Jordan.

“San Jose State University is both proud and grateful to be selected to partner in Human System Integration Research at NASA Ames,” Jordan said.  “We are proud of the many accomplishments during our 26-year collaboration.  We are grateful for the opportunity to build on that collaboration to meet the design challenges of initiatives such as the Next Generation Air Transportation System and the Space Launch System. We are well positioned to face those challenges and we are committed to partnering with Human Systems Integration researchers in advancing NASA missions.”

This cooperative agreement will build upon Jordan’s 26-year association working with NASA to conduct research focusing on human factors in aeronautics and space exploration. A human factor is a physical or cognitive property that is specific to humans and influences functioning of technological systems.  Human Systems Integration Research studies how relationships between humans and machines can be optimized.

Under this cooperative agreement, San Jose State students and employees will work side-by-side with NASA scientists on a range of projects.  Examples include the Next Generation Air Transportation System, which seeks to modernize the nation’s air traffic system by increasing the capacity and safety of U.S. airspace and the Space Launch System, an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle designed to take a crew vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and beyond.

The proposed projects will investigate the integration of unique human capabilities with future flight-deck (cockpit), air-traffic control, and mission planning and scheduling technologies. An important aspect of this award is that it will further SJSU and NASA’s efforts to provide graduate students with academic and professional training.

Dr. Kevin Jordan

In the past year, Jordan has overseen three cooperative agreements with NASA representing more than $10 million in funding and employing 75 researchers, including graduate students working toward degrees in psychology and human factors in ergonomics. Jordan has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in visual perception at San Jose State since 1984. During his career, Jordan has authored proposals resulting in over $125 million in funding to support collaborative research in aerospace human systems integration.

The San Jose State University Research Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation established to enable and promote externally-funded programs that further SJSU’s comprehensive educational mission, impact, and public benefit. Each year hundreds of local, state, and federal agencies, businesses, and other organizations partner with the research foundation to engage SJSU faculty and other university specialists to perform basic and applied research, public service and community projects, consulting, and other specialized educational activities impacting the region, the nation and the world.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 28,000 students and 3,190 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

SJSU in the News: $2 Million Federal Grant to Sharpen Student Writing

SJSU gets federal grant to improve writing

Originally published by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal Oct. 17, 2011.

by David Goll, Reporter

A $2 million grant has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to the San Jose State University Research Foundation to improve the writing skills of students.

The grant was awarded to the university because it is designated as serving Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander students, but the programs it funds will be open to students of all backgrounds.

The grant will be used for several different programs. The first will be a one-credit writing workshop open to 50 remedial English students that could begin in the spring. Similar programs will be offered through the College of Social Sciences and College of Applied Sciences during the fall 2012 semester. Also funded by the grant will be writing workshops for faculty members led by Linda Mitchell, professor of English, and efforts by Kathleen Roe, professor of health science, in improving writing assignments in lower-division General Education courses.

“This grant is a tremendous ‘win-win’ for both SJSU students and faculty,” Maureen Scharberg, SJSU associate vice president for student academic success, said in a statement. “It will allow us to improve our students’ writing skills as well as provide additional writing workshops and writing support services.”

The move to improve students’ writing skills is expected to boost retention and graduation rates.

One year ago, university officials said a study showed nearly half of all freshman at San Jose State were not proficient in English. About 70 percent of black students, 60 percent of Hispanic students, 50 percent of Asian-American students and 30 percent of white students in the class of 2014 needed to take remedial English courses. It has been shown that students who need to take remedial English can take up to two years longer to earn a degree.

This fall, San Jose State has an enrollment of 28,000 students.

David Goll covers commercial real estate, retail, economic development and transportation at the Business Journal. His phone number is 408.299.1853.

Physics Professor Garcia works with animation students.

Physics Professor Helps Animators Create “Believable Yet Wacky Worlds of Their Own”

Physics Professor Garcia works with animation students.

Physics Professor Garcia works with animation students. Click on the image to view the video.

How do they make it look so real? When it comes to ensuring creatures like Toothless in “How to Train Your Dragon” are true to life, animators turn to experts, including SJSU physics Professor Alejandro Garcia. The National Science Foundation’s “Science Nation” online magazine recently created a fantastic video covering Garcia’s work with professional animators at DreamWorks and aspiring animators at SJSU. A course the professor developed with support from the NSF is invaluable for students. “I learned about the physics of jumps,”  Carlos Nunez said. “I learned about light and how light is affected by the world around us and how sound is affected.” View the video.

Dr. Ivano Aiello leads a class through Pinnacles National Monument.

Ivano Aiello, Marjorie Freedman Receive SJSU Research Foundation’s 2011 Early Career Investigator Awards

Dr. Ivano Aiello leads a class through Pinnacles National Monument.

Dr. Ivano Aiello leads a class through Pinnacles National Monument, where they learn how plate tectonics has moved well above sea level what was once under the ocean.

By Gerry Selter, Provost, and Jerri Carmo, Deputy COO, SJSU Research Foundation

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Ivano Aiello from the College of Science, and Dr. Marjorie Freedman from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts have both been chosen to receive the San José State University Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award for 2011.  Their selection is made at the recommendation of the Early Career Investigator Subcommittee of the Research Foundation Board of Directors.

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

Dr. Ivano Aiello is in his 5th year at SJSU’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), and has been tremendously productive in his field of geological oceanography.  Since joining the SJSU faculty, he has successfully competed for multiple grant awards totaling $750,000.  In addition to an impressive record of grantsmanship, Dr. Aiello has transformed and energized the Geological Oceanography program at MLML, attracting new and talented students and engaging other faculty in multidisciplinary studies.  He has developed several new courses from Paleoceanography to Field Mapping using computer controlled Lidar technology, and has been key to helping develop grants for the acquisition of equipment that will support the research needs of many at MLML.  Dr. Aiello regularly receives the highest rankings from students in his courses with his engaging and energetic style of teaching.  His capabilities have been recognized by program managers at Ocean Leadership who awarded him special funding to deliver talks about the US Deep Sea Drilling Program at universities across the country, thus becoming the program’s national spokesman.  He is an internationally recognized expert in geological oceanography, in the sub-discipline of paleoceanography and the deep biosphere.  This last year, Dr. Aiello assumed a leadership role on the US/International Deep Sea Drilling Program’s cruise to the Bering Sea, where the first and deepest cores of this area were recovered.  These cores will be used to reconstruct the history of productivity, past climate and the connectivity of the Pacific and Atlantic through the Arctic Ocean over time. In addition to all of this, Dr. Aiello conducts informal classes in Italian language and cuisine, which are attended by staff and students alike.  Dr. Aiello’s achievements are truly exceptional for a faculty member in his 5th year at SJSU.

Dr. Marjorie Freedman joined the Department of Nutrition, Food Science & Packaging six years ago, where her research has focused on examining the environmental correlates of food choices, obesity, nutrition labeling, portion sizes, community nutrition, and nutrition education.  Dr. Freedman’s dedicated scholarship has resulted in $225,000 in external grants, which helped create and expand the “Healthy San Jose State” initiative, including the Spartan Smart Cart.  Dr. Freedman regularly engages her students and those from other departments (including Business, Environmental Studies, and Art) in her research, and since coming to SJSU she has authored seventeen publications in peer-reviewed journals, and regularly presents papers and posters at national conferences. Dr. Freedman works actively in the public policy arena; she successfully advocated along with former councilmember Ken Yeager to effect 100% healthy vending machine policies in the City of San Jose libraries and 50 percent healthy vending policies in the City of San Jose.  She has also testified in favor of the ordinance banning on toys with unhealthy meals in Santa Clara County.  With obesity being the most significant public health issue of our time. Dr. Freedman’s research provides critical data to inform public policy development at the local and national level.  Dr. Freedman’s work significantly contributes to the research effort, impact and reputation of SJSU.

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

Please join us in congratulating the extraordinary achievements of Dr. Ivano Aiello and Dr. Marjorie Freedman, two outstanding members of the San José State University faculty.