November newsletter: Scholarship assists staff in reaching educational goals

Sami Monsur worked full time in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education while she was completing a degree in Spanish at San Jose State. She said Dean Elaine Chin offers $500 in professional development to each staff member every year.

“I was going for my bachelor’s and it really made a big difference with books,” Monsur said.

After she graduated with her degree in Spanish in 2011, she decided to donate $500 to create a scholarship for other staff members who are working toward their degree. She worked with University Advancement and Financial Aid to create the “Support Our Staff” scholarship, with the inaugural award given out in 2013.

This year, the scholarship fund received enough donations to give five $500 scholarships to San Jose State staff members who are completing a degree at SJSU.

Diana Fitts works as an assistant residential life coordinator while she is completing her master’s in occupational therapy. Fitts said she was inspired to pursue occupational therapy after spending time in El Salvador and the Philippines.

“People were in need of assistance, but they didn’t have resources,” she said. “I like figuring out what someone’s needs are and how to meet those needs.”

Fitts, who is scheduled to graduate in spring 2016, said the “Support Our Staff” scholarship allowed her to purchase books that will help her prepare for licensing exams and board certification.

Sarah Arreola, a specialist in teacher contracts and education projects in the College of Education, also received a scholarship this year. Arreola is working on a master’s in public administration.

“Getting a master’s has always been in the back of my head,” Arreola said. “I had strong family support and Sami (Monsur) encouraged me.”

Arreola, who uses the staff fee waiver program, said the scholarship has helped with books and other school supplies. She said her twin sons look up to her, and that she and her husband talk about college often with the boys.

The other 2015-16 recipients include: Amy D’Anna, a marketing coordinator in CIES who is pursuing a bachelor’s in public relations; Shawna Terry, a gift analyst in University Advancement, who is pursuing a bachelor’s in social science; and Nicole Arata, a barista with Spartan Shops, who is pursuing a bachelor’s in economics.

Learn more about the Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign.

Applications for 2016-17 will be available in early summer.

November newsletter: Spartan Climate Ride supports Green Ninja (video)

A team of Spartans pedaled hundreds of miles along the California coast this spring to raise awareness about climate change and to support SJSU’s environmental outreach program, The Green Ninja Project. The team included two professors, one alumna, one staff member and three students. Some are avid cyclists, while others were beginning bicyclists when they started training for the 320-mile ride.

The team members included Clare and Eugene Cordero, Paul Schmitt, Kelly Chang, Huong Cheng, Ramya Shenoy, Leah Tremblay and Gaby De La Cruz Tello. They raised $25,000 for the Green Ninja Project. The project is an interdisciplinary effort to teach middle school students about environmental issues and sustainability.

CSU honors San Jose LSAMP students

The California State University Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program Recognizing Outstanding Undergraduate Distinction (PROUD) honored two San Jose State students and two alumni in its most recent edition. The publication summarizes the work of the LSAMP program statewide to support underrepresented minorities in pursuing degrees in STEM while also acknowledging outstanding scholars at each CSU campus.

Roberto Tovar, '15 Chemistry, is one of four SJSU alumni or students recognized in the October edition of the LSAMP program.

Roberto Tovar, ’15 Chemistry, is one of four SJSU alumni or students recognized in the October edition of the LSAMP program.

Canaan Muluneuh, a chemistry student in his second year at SJSU, was selected for the Outstanding Academic award for SJSU. He has maintained a GPA of 3.83 and facilitated a summer workshop for general chemistry. He is interested in pursuing a doctorate or a medical degree. He is currently involved in research on mosquitoes to minimize populations of the insect to prevent viral transmission.

Christian Espinoza, ’09 Materials Engineering, was selected for the Outstanding Alumnus award for SJSU. He received a Ph.D in materials science and engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014. He has participated with Engineers without Borders, where he worked to improve water quality in rural villages in Guatemala. He is currently employed as an advanced engineer/scientist at Owens Corning, in Ohio, and serves as a mentor for students as a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Scientists (SHPE.)

Angel Gonzalez, a third-year mechanical engineering student, was selected for the Outstanding Academic and Service Leadership award for SJSU. He is involved in the Society of Latino Scientists and Engineers and serves as co-vice president. He has been actively engaged with the Science Extravaganza, a one-day event that aims to generate interest in STEM fields for younger students.

Roberto Tovar, ’15 Chemistry, was selected for the Outstanding Research award at SJSU. Tovar started as an economics major before he took a general chemistry class and discovered he excelled in the field. He was involved with research with Dr. Gilles Muller. His research findings support two poster presentations and a publication in the journal of Tetrahedron Letters. He spent a semester in Germany and since graduation has traveled to France to work at a laboratory in Toulouse, France.

View the full CSU LSAMP Proud publication: PROUD_2015(Final_Oct20)_small

Hispanic Heritage Month: Folklorico group promotes college

San Jose State students visit local schools to share their heritage through folklorico dance. Watch a video about the founding of the cultural dance troupe at San Jose State in 2004 and learn more about how the students create a college-going culture in the community.