Oscar Award Winning Actress Rita Moreno to Speak at SJSU EOP Gala

Rita Moreno 2015 Austin Hargrave Photographer

Rita Moreno (photo by Austin Hargrave)

Media Contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – Rita Moreno, the Puerto Rico native who defied ethnic stereotypes while earning all of America’s highest awards for entertainers, will be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at San Jose State University’s first-ever Educational Opportunity Program Gala.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Student Union Ballroom. Tickets start at $125 and are available now for purchase. Proceeds will support EOP students in many ways, including emergency food and housing, as well as study abroad experiences.

“Rita Moreno is an excellent student of life,” said Debra Griffith, SJSU Associate Vice President for Transition and Retention Services. “Ms. Moreno worked hard to achieve her dreams. She continues to grow and lead the way. We’re thrilled she accepted our offer to speak at the EOP Gala, and believe her life story will inspire the entire San Jose State University community.”

Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Emmy Recipient

Raised in New York and residing in Berkeley, Calif., Moreno has maintained a leading presence on American stage and screen since securing her first role as a dancer at the age of 11 in the early 1940s. She went on to excel as an actress, singer and dancer, turning in performances that riveted the nation.

Known today among younger Latino performers as “La Pionera,” she starred in two Academy Award winning films, “The King and I” and “West Side Story.” She received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the second film, which explores the rivalry between two street gangs. Yet she refused to succumb to stereotypes.

“The movie studios saw Moreno as only a Latina and pigeonholed her as an ‘ethnic,’” The Washington Post said. “At every stage, she has required fortitude, a fierce desire to create opportunities for herself and a willingness to take on just about anything.”

When a revolution in children’s programming produced “The Electric Company,” she joined the cast partly because she thought being on a show conveying a love of reading would help her daughter do the same. Viewers may recall her screaming the show’s opening line, “Hey you guys!”

Moreno received a Grammy for “The Electric Company Album,” a Tony for her performance in the groundbreaking Broadway musical “The Ritz,” and two Emmys for a guest appearance on “The Muppet Show” and the following year for a dramatic turn on “The Rockford Files.”

As cable emerged as a dramatic production powerhouse, Moreno accepted a role playing Sister Pete on the HBO prison series “Oz.” At the top of her industry through seven decades of change, Moreno has received our nation’s highest accolades: the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

EOP: Providing Opportunity

Founded in 1969, the Educational Opportunity Program at SJSU serves more than 2,000 students who are first in their families to attend college, including many from low-income and underserved communities. Recent initiatives include a five-week Summer Bridge program, which has helped push retention rates from the freshman to sophomore year, a critical predictor for college success, to over 95 percent.


About San Jose State University

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

With more than 31,200 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

 

President Papazian Delivers First Formal Speech to SJSU Community

Media Contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – President Mary Papazian introduced herself to the SJSU community, reflected on the university’s legacy, and shared her optimism about its future at the Fall Welcome Address, held noon Aug. 25 in the Student Union Ballroom.

This was President Papazian’s first formal speech to the campus community since taking office July 1. Academic Senate Chair Michael Kimbarow opened the event and welcome attendees. The speech is an annual tradition marking the start of the academic year.

All students, faculty, staff, community members and the news media were invited to attend. The event was streamed live.

Read the president’s prepared remarks.


About San Jose State University

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

With more than 31,200 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

 

Students Organize Biomedical Device Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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