Second Place Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition Winner Gains Industry Support

Onya Baby product strapped onto a mother, holding a baby.

The patent-pending integrated chair harness and support system is what sets Onya Baby apart from the competition (Aleshia Rickard photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

When Aleshia Rickard, second place winner at the 2012 Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition, was asked to partner with her sister-in-law on a baby carrier business three years ago, it was an offer she could not refuse.

“I was able to utilize my background in the sports industry and my contacts to help bring the baby carrier to more of a final, market-ready, sellable product,” said Rickard, ’12 Business Administration with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship.

Onya Baby, which won the $5,000 Larry Boucher Second Prize, makes soft-structured baby carriers designed to help families with young children retain their active, social lifestyles.

According to Rickard, Onya Baby’s patent-pending integrated chair harness and support system is what sets Onya Baby apart from its competition.

“I travel a lot and it’s been really helpful to have family meals together,” said customer Osha Maloney. “I’ve also tried other carriers and the shoulder straps are just not as comfortable.”

The product is gaining momentum in the industry just nine months into launch. Onya Baby has already won two gold awards for new baby gear including a Mom’s Choice Award and a National Parenting Publication Award.

Entering the business plan competition gave Rickard a chance to fine-tune her business plan and take a look at how she’s doing.

“It gave me a lot of confidence that I was doing the proper things at the right time and that I have a good strategy,” Rickard said.

Rickard plans to use the $5,000 prize money toward trade show booths for October’s ABC Kids Expo, the largest industry trade show in the world being held in Louisville, KY.

#SJSU Tweets of the Week, 6/29

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

sidewalk chalk drawing of a bird with a cartoon bubble, "Tweet About Orientation #SJSU"

@chimebreeze took this photo of a chalk drawing on campus. Whether it's orientation or other campus-related topics, you can tweet about San Jose State using the official hashtag #SJSU!

We’ve put together the tweets of the week for Spartans to see the exciting, funny, interesting and spontaneous conversations on Twitter about SJSU. Take a look at what’s happening on campus by exploring the tweets below!

You can follow SJSU on Twitter for more updates at or search for @SJSU.

@fontburger: Week 3 of chalking up campus. Tweet it you tweeters! ‪#sjsu

@OMGitsSarahLew: Is excited for my little sister @jayleww to go to ‪#SJSUFrosh @SJSU‪#SJSU orientation today! Missing my OATies

@crissydv: I love my job. ‪#sjsu ‪#oatlife ‪#SJSUfrosh part 2!

@JorgeR690: ‪#sjsufrosh group 1 session 3!! Wooooohooooo!!

@MissLlamas: At orientation and can’t wait to stay the night in the dorms!! ‪#sjsu

@CryssOhh6: that amazing moment when you get hired on the spot !! ‪#sjsu‪#sjsuFrosh ‪#orentation

@terilyntran: Crystal is the BEST orientation leader & being part of group 14 was so memorable. <3 ‪#SJSUFROSH ‪#GROUP14 ‪#COLLEGE

@EricRudawski: Thanks to Brandon Johnston and all the other OL’s for a good two days. Stoked for the fall! ‪#SJSUfrosh

@CaptainRL: Orientation was probably the best way to start my freshman year at ‪#sjsu I had so much fun and met so many different people. ‪#GoSpartans !

@Flaffypanda: The great school spirit.The great diversity of welcoming people.What an environment.I love it here. ‪#SJSUfrosh‪#SPARTANS

Chatter, Photos and More:
@viverssss: Dad never wanted stickers on the truck till I brought this home.

@QueenofRenas: Today was a good day with the UB family. Our trip to San Jose State was worth the time.

@Silentkillar4: Went to go check out @SJSU yesterday and it was pretty dope! I’m really considering going there now. What a great school.

@sooophieso: I was face to face with this squirrel. ‪#SJSU

@occupymanjose: Chaulk hashtags ‪#sjsufrosh

@clawcasta: Gonna be a Peer Advisor at @SJSU starting this Fall semester. I can’t wait to start working again!

@arntr89: Could really use a back massage… ‪#selfcare. (need to sneak into the health center at SJSU & use their massage chair, hehe)

@prttypinkstacks: I need more ‪#sanjosestateuniversity ‪#SJSU followers !

Spartan Pride:

@jennelias6: Spartan Swimmers At Olympic Trials. Good luck to those competing! ‪#SJSU

@galinaowens4: Spartan Pride…‪#collegestudent ‪#SJSU

@tinasalacup: I love my prof @SJSU for his advices in my job search! ‪#mentor ‪#vacation ‪#career

@Marco_Henry: It was cool running into fellow @sjsu alum @Sam_Canch randomly today in a San Francisco train. Small world, big network.

@lija: Honored! RT @sjsu Yesterday,we had a great time connecting with ‪#SJSU ‪#Spartans in ‪#SF.Thanks {…} @lija & @MavelousSF for your time!

@Cityboii415: #SJSU ‪#Hoody ‪#ChillinLykaVillain ‪#CollegeBoy ‪#Senior‪#PsychologyMajor ‪#JusticeStudieMinor

@SJSpartanSquad: Hey Squad! Help us name the ‪#SJSU Student Section! My vote is “Awesome Sauce.” JK. Don’t vote for that one.

@Obey_Marieeee: San Jose State is officially my college (:

‏@ricky1899: AS breached

@LaLuneSucree: @La Lune Sucrée’s Window Painting Contest Winner Chistina Centron time lapse movie, soundtrack by @orangutang ‪#SJSU ‪#SJ

@sjsucareercntr: Our latest blog post: Employer job search tips for students and new grads!

@lawrencefansjsu Thanks to everyone for their well wishes on today’s CoSIDA Hall of Fame ceremonies. It should be quite a day.

@WACSports: Congrats to SJSU’s Lawrence Fan @SJSUAthletics @lawrencefansjsu on his induction into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame ‪#CoSIDA12

@ajuarez_thatSID: A great story fit for a great man. @wilnerhotline on @SJSU ‘s Lawrence Fan as he goes into @CoSIDAnews HOF

@Mark_T_Rivera: Lawrence now explaining to aaaaallll of CoSIDA about “Fan Cake.” They don’t know what they’re missing #cosida12

@timmbr: What can you say about new CoSIDA Lawrence Fan. Amazing influence on so many in our profession. Congrats my friend! #cosida12

@robbsilverstein: @lawrencefansjsu congrats! Pleasure working with you when I was SJSU manager.

@WIUSID: Congrats to WIU alum @lawrencefansjsu receiving the Arch Award and Hall of Fame induction. #cosida12#onceaLeatherneckalwaysaLeatherneck

@SJSUAthletics: @lawrencefansjsu – Through The Eyes Of A Hall Of Famer:

Note: The opinions and views in these posts are those of the independent Twitter users and not of San Jose State University.

Spartans at Work: At Ventana Medical Systems, “We Attack an Important Problem in the World”

Student standing in front of his company sign

Alex Kalogrides, '11 MBA, is an online community manager in in the Digital Pathology and Workflow Unit at Ventana Medical Systems (Christina Olivas photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with the Class of 2011′s Alex Kalogrides.)

It’s only been eight months on the job for Alex Kalogrides, ’11 MBA, but he feels his work adds to the impact his company makes on Silicon Valley and beyond.

“We are a very innovative company; in the business unit where I work in, we develop new imaging and software solutions that are improving cancer diagnostics around the world,” Kalogrides said.

Kalogrides works at Ventana Medical Systems in the Digital Pathology and Workflow Unit, which develops instruments to turn glass pathology slides into digital images, software to manage these images, and algorithms to help analyze the images.

Ventana, a member of the Roche Group, focuses on accelerating the discovery and development of new cancer tests that allow pathologists to analyze patient biopsies at the molecular level to help determine the best course of therapy for each individual patient.

As an online community manager, Kalogrides works on web and mobile development and manages a forum-platform website. Kalogrides says his strategic thinking skills, class diversity and project management training from SJSU’s MBA One Program has prepared him for his job today.

“Being in a culturally diverse class setting was an important experience for me as I regularly collaborate with colleagues around the world in my job,” Kalorides said.

What does Kalogrides love the most about his job?

“The fact that everything is so new and talking to customers about new products,” he said.

He also loves that what he does attacks a real problem in the world.

“We are working toward making more accurate, more rapid diagnoses for cancer patients,” he explained. “That’s something you feel good about each day.”

Two Spartans Receive Emmys

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

At least two graduates of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications received Emmys at the National Academy Television Arts and Sciences 41st Annual Northern California Area Awards June 9. Mike Anderson, Photojournalism ‘10, won in the video essay (one camera only) category. His entry featured people with extraordinary jobs including a Google doodler, a crane operator, and an astronomer. Anderson’s stories air on NBC Bay Area, where he works as a web producer. Broadcast journalism alumnus and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area personality Brodie Brazil won in the on camera talent program host/moderator/reporter category. Also up for an Emmy was Brazil’s short documentary on the Spartans 1941 football team, which was in Honolulu for a game against the University of Hawaii when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

View Anderson’s composite (video examples of his work).

View Brazil’s composite.

View “They Came for Football.”

Spartans@Work: At GM, “I Get to Work with New Tech No One Has Ever Seen”

Randy Floresca, Mechanical Engineering '10, sets up a battery cell in a thermal chamber (Chris Clor photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our series begins with the Class of 2010’s Randy Floresca.)

Ever want to grow up and play with cars for a living? One Mechanical Engineering grad has turned a childhood interest into a reality.

For the last two years, Randy Floresca, Mechanical Engineering ’10, has worked as a technical engineer for GM’s Global Battery Systems Laboratory, in Detroit. The decision to leave California was an easy one.

“I was ready to try something new,” Floresca recalled. “I think it was a great career move, especially since I was graduating.”

Floresca tests and validates the performance of new battery technology for hybrid, plug-in, and electric vehicles.

“In my job I learn about the different battery chemistries and their capabilities,” he said.

Getting the job

For Floresca, participation in Spartan Racing, the SJSU student chapter of SAE International, played a huge role in landing the job at General Motors’ headquarters.

“The year I graduated, our SAE student chapter started formula hybrid car,” Floresca said. “We went to compete in New Hampshire and I gave my resume to GM recruiters at their booth. GM is one of the biggest sponsors for the event.”

What’s Floresca’s favorite part about his job?

“I get to work with new technology that no one knows about or has ever seen.”

GM benefits, too. Floresca says the performance testing he does for General Motors helps the company plan for the future.