CASA’s Good News | Fall 2017

CASA Faculty Receive Grants

Associate Professor Diane Guerrazzi, School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC), is the primary investigator for a $250,000 U.S. State Department grant to train journalists in Georgia.  “Our plan is to bring 20 journalists to San Jose State University January 2018,” says Professor Guerrazzi. “We plan on helping Georgian journalists become more independent and entrepreneurial. We’re collaborating with Facebook, Google, NBC Bay Area and the Society of Professional Journalists.”

Others assisting on the grant are Halema Kazem-Stojanovic, Lecturer, Dr. Dennis Wilcox, Professor Emeritus; Dr. Phylis West-Johnson, Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communications; and Howard Combs, Professor Emeritus, former chair of SJSU’s Marketing department.

The School of Information (iSchool) has received a $100,000 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Dr. Sandy Hirsh, Professor and Director School of Information, is listed as the primary investigator, however, Sue Alman, lecturer, had the idea for this grant, wrote this successful grant proposal, and will be taking the lead on this project.

The iSchool will investigate ways that blockchain technology can be used by libraries to partner with other organizations and to support city or community goals. Blockchain technology is a shared digital/electronic ledger featuring a constantly updated list of transactions. It is supported by a peer-to-peer network that may be either public or private. This technology has the potential to help libraries develop a distributed metadata system; facilitate better digital rights management; and create a protocol for supporting community based collections.

The proposed National Forum would bring together 20-30 technical experts in libraries, blockchain technology, and urban planning to discuss ways that blockchain technology can advance library services to support city or community goals. The resulting commentary from a project blog, national forum, conference, and the survey data will be evaluated and included in the project’s final report, which will be available online. The recommendations will serve as a guide for, both large and small, urban and rural libraries to implement blockchain technology or consider other directions.

The iSchool is also a partner university on the WGBH Educational Foundation (WGBH) grant of $229,772. Alyce Scott, lecturer, is representing the iSchool on this project. The WGBH will host a Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship for 10 students enrolled in Library and Information Science (LIS) graduate programs to pursue digital preservation projects at public broadcasting organizations around the country, gaining hands-on experience in audiovisual preservation. WGBH will work with five partner universities: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Missouri, University of Oklahoma, San Jose State University, and Clayton State University.

Each university will be paired with a local public media station to serve as a fellowship host. Fellowship placements will address the need for digitization of at-risk public media materials and increase audiovisual preservation education capacity in LIS graduate programs across the country.

Lecturers Peta Wellstead and Diane K. Kovacs, iSchool, have received a 2017/2018 Quality Assurance Grant from the eCampus Office of Quality Assurance (EOQA).

CASA Faculty Receive Numerous Awards and Recognition

Dr. Steven Lee, Justice Studies Professor, Director of Forensic Science Programs has been appointed to the Organization of Scientific Area Committees Facial Identification subcommittee, and the editorial boards of the Journal of Forensic Research and Analysis and Journal of Forensic Sciences and Digital Investigations. “I am very excited and honored to be working with these experts,” says Dr. Lee.  “Furthermore, the connections provide additional networks of experts that can contribute their expertise to San Jose State University’s Forensic Science program.”

Dr. Zongchao Cathy Li, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications was recently appointed as the Chief Research Editor for Institute for Public Relations’ Behavioral Insights Research Center (BIRC). Institute for Public Relations serves internationally as a hub to connect academic research with the industry. It is a high-impact nonprofit institution focusing on applied research and intelligence that PR professionals can put to immediate use. Click here to learn more about the Institute.

News release from IPR

Dr. Winifred Schultz-Krohn, Chair, Occupational Therapy is the recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year award at the upcoming annual California Foundation for Occupational Therapy (CFOT) Awards Luncheon and Symposium which will be held on Friday, October 20, 2017 at the Occupational Therapy Association of California Conference (OTAC).

Here is an excerpt from the OTAC website:

Winifred Schultz-Krohn, PhD, OTR/L, BCP, SWC, FAOTA, is the recipient of the 2017 CFOT Humanitarian Award. She is honored for her many years of volunteer work with the San Jose Family Shelter which is part of the Family Supportive Housing Organization of San Jose. She received a regional Jefferson Award in 2011 for her volunteer commitment.  Awards are from the Jefferson Awards Foundation whose mission is to empower others to have maximum impact on the things they care about most. It was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard. Schultz-Krohn was the CFOT Honored Lecturer in 2012. She has also previously received the OTAC Award of Excellence and OT Practice Award. She has more than 30 years of experience as an occupational therapy practitioner working with individuals, primarily infants and children, with feeding disorders. Schultz-Krohn is Board Certified in pediatrics by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and has co-edited books and authored well over 20 articles and chapters. She has served in various volunteer roles with both OTAC and AOTA and is the department chair of occupational therapy at San Jose State University.

Look Who is in the News!

Dr. Matt Cabot, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications was interviewed by NBC Bay Area, August 30 about the profound impact that social media and technology played in the call for help and assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Dr. Richard Craig, Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications was live via Skype, June 29, KTVU-TV, discussing President Trump’s recent criticism of the press.

Jess Guy, Lecturer, Justice Studies appeared on KRON-TV, August 14th as a domestic violence spokesperson in regards to the Charlottesville violence.

Professor Fritz Yambrach Receives the 2017 DuPont Diamond Award

Professor Fritz Yambrach, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging, developed the Fritz™ Water Vest that enables people in disaster areas, or areas where water is not easily available, to transport water. The vest allows people to carry up to 20 pounds of water easily and safely.

DuPont announced the 2017 winners of the DuPont International Innovative Package Design Competition, honoring companies that have demonstrated major advancements in packaging technology to address the diverse and particular needs of consumers in markets around the world. The Fritz™ Water Vest received the highest honor, the Diamond Award.

Click here to read DuPont’s official announcement.

Congratulations to Professor Yambrach on receiving this prestigious award!

Spring 2017 Blog Series 10 of 10: Recreation Therapy Students Help Fellow Students in a New “Stress-Less” Biofeedback Lab

Do you have test anxiety? Worry about the outcomes of your current project? What about the stress of figuring out your career pathway? If you are just stressed about the rigors of college life or life in general, you may want to visit the “Stress-Less Tech Lab” at San José State University’s 1st floor of the Wellness Center.

“We are celebrating the first academic year of our Lab where students help students by facilitating biofeedback computer games designed to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety,” says Dr. Susan Ross, Assistant Professor and Director of Recreation Therapy and Complementary and Alternative Health Practices in the Health Science and Recreation Department, San José State University.

Students that work in the Stress-Less Tech Lab are enrolled in the RECL 148 class, Principles of Biofeedback. They attend class twice a week and gain invaluable experience during Lab hours of Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m and Thursdays noon to 4:00 p.m.

Biofeedback is a health-improvement intervention in which patrons learn to control (self-regulate) his or her body’s functions, such as the heart or respiration rate, by seeing signals from his or her body displayed on a computer display. Physical Therapists use biofeedback to help patients regain strength and movement in dysfunctional muscles. Recreation Therapists use it to treat clients with various physical conditions such as pain or migraine headaches or mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

“Biofeedback is a real time activity that measures the body’s stress response,” says Dr. Ross. In the first session students who visit the lab will see how their stressful thoughts immediately affect their biorhythms and how simple breathing techniques will cause improved inner harmony. Ross adds, “Randomized controlled trials have shown college students can decrease anxiety in as few as 5 training sessions.”

When clients enter the Biofeedback Lab they are immediately fitted with an ear piece that calibrates their heart rate. The Stress-Less Tech Lab utilizes HeartMath software that is also used at Stanford, Kaiser, Boeing, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, NASA and more. By measuring heart and pulse rate, the software program is able to determine the stress level of the individual.

“We can look at the data on the computer screen and determine your emotional and physical state by analyzing your heart rate variability.” Poor heart rate variability is a predictor of numerous medical conditions and psychosocial disorders such as depression, panic disorder, fatigue, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, ischemic heart disease, coronary heart disease (predicts sudden cardiac death), congestive heart failure, hypertension, weight gain and alcoholism.

Sessions generally take about 30 minutes. Student workers first obtain a baseline of two minutes of normal breathing.  Then a client’s stress response is recorded to gauge the clients’ psychophysiological response to stressors. Student workers teach peer clients a 6-Breaths breathing technique that involves slow and deep breathing, six in one minute, to induce an initial physiologically coherent state. Then student workers assess, debrief, and educate. Depending on the need of the student patron, the worker may lead the client through other basic breathing techniques such as a ball moving in a smooth sine wave. Other clients might play a computer game designed to change physiology and emotions from stress to peacefulness. Student experiences are debriefed and then there is closure.

“Other randomized controlled studies have shown that biofeedback can help students improve in their ability to pay attention, which means a great deal if they want to read textbooks, write papers, or listen to important lectures” says Dr. Ross. “Most of us carry some level of anxiety due to the many demands of daily life. In fact, the Stress-Less Tech Lab is open to not only students but faculty and staff as well.”

SJSU’s Stress-Less Tech Lab is the third lab of this type in the country. The other two can be found in the Recreation Therapy Department at East Carolina University and at University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill Recreation Therapy Department. “We are so fortunate to have participation from nursing, kinesiology, psychology and nutrition classes yet we are still SJSU’s best kept secret.”

Spring 2017 Blog Series 9 of 10: Nutrition Students Are a Step Ahead in Dietary Employment

If you visit a health care facility, school district, or food bank there is a good chance that an SJSU Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging student is completing an internship. That’s because Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging students are required to obtain an internship working in their field.

When students enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science program, they can specialize in two concentrations which includes a concentration in dietetics or packaging. They can also specialize in environmental food and health, food management, nutrition education, nutrition science and sports nutrition.

“The Dietetics students who go on to become Registered Dietitians have to complete 1,200 hours of accredited competency-based dietetic internship program as well as pass the national Registered Dietitian Examination,” says Dr. Lucy McProud, Chair, Department of Nutrition Food Science and Packaging. “In addition, after completing a dietetic internship, students must take a national exam to become a registered dietitian.” SJSU’s program boasts a 90 percent passing rate on the exam and according to Dr. McProud “all get employed.”

The Nutrition and Food Science program teaches students about nutrition aspects that includes food borne illnesses, diet and disease and community nutrition. If students want to major in the sports field, they learn which foods can help an athlete’s best performance.

Professor Karen Harvey, lecturer, teaches four classes in the program and is also a consultant dietician. She is especially fond of teaching Nutrition 139 Hunger and the Environment. “This class is a current events class where we discuss poverty in our community. Unfortunately, this topic has become more and more relevant,” says Professor Harvey. “Right now there is such a need and so many students are hungry that we have five food banks on campus.”

Professor Harvey has a master’s degree in nutrition specializing in dietetics and also works for Nutrition Therapy Essentials. “Our interns are all over the place,” says Professor Harvey. “By requiring an internship, students can transition to see what the job is all about and if they really want to go in this direction.”

Many universities do not require an internship in a nutritional program. “If students are enrolled in a program that requires them to have an internship, they have a much greater chance of getting an internship,” says Professor Harvey. “And they also have a greater chance of passing the registered dietitian exam.”

Spring 2017 Blog Series 8 of 10: School of Journalism and Mass Communications – Advertising Students Win a Plethora of ADDY Awards

On Thursday, February 23, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications Advertising program was very proud. That’s because the advertising students received Best of Show, one Gold, five Silver and six Bronze awards at the annual Silicon Valley American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) ADDY Awards.

“Rewarding the best creative work of the previous year, the ADDY’s are judged by industry professionals who consider student and industry entries on an equal footing. receiving a Bronze, Silver or Gold is only topped by the coveted ADDY or Best of Show,” says Professor John Delacruz, Advertising.

February 23, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; 2017 AAF-Silicon Valley Addy Awards held at Hapas Brewing Company in San Jose, CA. Mandatory Credit: Oliver Tapia – Milagro Marketing | Left to right: John Delacruz, Leah Viele-Verner, Sarah Weinman, Tim Hendrick

The event was held at Hapa’s Brewing in San Jose and was introduced by members of the AAF Board. SJSU professors Tim Hendrick, John Delacruz and lecturer David Ocampo, president, AAF as well as principal at Milagro Marketing introduced the show and presented awards to the winners. Creative direction for the event came from Professor Delacruz and was executed by students Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri who worked from the theme of “Making your Mama Proud” across print, video, social media and event presentation.

Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri won the only Gold award for an integrated campaign for Ventana Surfboards. “Ventana is a Santa Cruz based board manufacturer who designs, builds and sells surfboards crafted from up cycled wood,” says Professor Delacruz. “The wood typically comes from waste produced by other manufacturers in the area, Santa Cruz guitars for instance, or historic buildings under demolition.” Students Espinoza and Nakhjiri’s campaign was a new range of custom boards built with wood from the Western Flyer, John Steinbeck’s boat that was featured in his book, Log from the Sea of Cortez. “We are very proud of these students. This campaign was exquisitely art directed and crafted, won the JMC Blue Cow Award and awarded Best of Show!”

In addition, a number of non-profit campaigns received five Silver awards. Rebecca Ahrens and Eddie Toro received a Silver award for the Save Our Shores campaign. Natasha Mislang and Jackie Powers received one for a social media campaign for I Go Topless, a one-woman non-profit aiming to bring about cultural change around single use plastics, targeting plastic coffee cup lids specifically.

Culture was at the heart of Agency 66’s Royal Opera House Take-Over campaign. Silver awards were won by Agency 66, a student agency in the capstone Campaigns class consisting of Sean Taylor, Veronica Sandoval, Genna Carr, Rafael Cardenas and Derek Nelson. A team from the Dwight, Bentel and Hall student advertising and public relations agency led by Rebecca Ahrens and Josh Soyombo won a Silver award for an on-campus campaign positioning Acura in a new market space. Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri’s campaign for Amnesty International, Feel My Injustice also was presented with a Silver award.

February 23, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; 2017 AAF-Silicon Valley Addy Awards held at Hapas Brewing Company in San Jose, CA. Mandatory Credit: Oliver Tapia – Milagro Marketing | Kuntal Choudhary

The student teams also received six Bronze awards who responded to briefs as varied as Kuntal Choudhary and Amanda Tiet’s direction and advertising work for Gap Denim. Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri received theirs for a non-profit initiative for Save Our Shores. This was the Dump the Bag campaign that was instrumental in California voter’s decision to retain the statewide plastic bag ban. These campaigns were integrated with an emphasis on social media. Other Bronze awards explored new approaches to media like Natasha Mislang’s series of six-second bumper ads for IKEA and Christine Huynh and Erika Nielsen’s mobile and radio campaign for Election – a non-partisan organization educating millennials on their voting choices. Kuntal Choudhary and Amanda Tiet won another Bronze for a rebranding and packaging solution for Barnum’s Crackers while Leah Viele-Verner received her Bronze award for “All the Right Moves” a campaign designed for a local realtor.

February 23, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; 2017 AAF-Silicon Valley Addy Awards held at Hapas Brewing Company in San Jose, CA. Mandatory Credit: Oliver Tapia – Milagro Marketing | Left to right: John Delacruz, Tim Hendrick, David Ocampo

“We are pleased that SJSU’s advertising students are receiving recognition of their creative endeavors,” says Professor Delacruz. Last year there were also a record -breaking number of awards received, five Bronze, one Silver and one Gold. In 2013, there was one Bronze, one Silver award and in 2014, only one Silver award was given. “This year was a monumental year for our advertising students and we are very proud of their success.”

Addy Awards at a Glance:

Best of Show:

Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri


Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri


Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri

Natasha Mislang and Jackie Powers

Rebecca Ahrens and Josh Soyombo

Rebecca Ahrens and Eddie Toro

Sean Taylor, Genna Carr, Veronica Sandoval, Derek Carr, Rafael Cardenas


Natasha Mislang

Leah Viele-Verner

Arabela Espinoza and Talia Nakhjiri

Kuntal Choudhary and Amanda Tiet

Kuntal Choudhary and Amanda Tiet

Christine Huynh and Erika Nielsen