Dean’s Message – Spring 2024

Dean Audrey ShillingtonIn the dynamic realm of health and human sciences, our students are not merely learners; they are catalysts for change, engaging in multifaceted roles of learning, research, advocacy, and clinical practice. Despite encountering formidable challenges along their academic journeys, these resilient individuals exhibit unwavering determination and grit. Whether immersed in groundbreaking research projects, passionately practicing with and advocating for marginalized clients and communities, or diligently honing their clinical skills, our students embody the spirit of perseverance and excellence. Through their tenacity and dedication, they not only navigate through personal struggles but also emerge as empowered graduates poised to be leaders who will make a meaningful impact in their health and human science fields. WE CONNECT PASSION TO PURPOSE.


Audrey Shillington, Dean
College of Health and Human Sciences

SJSU Student OT Association (SOTA) Hosts Various Events on Campus

By Dr. Luis Arabit, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA)

Since the start of the Spring 2024 semester, the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) at San José State University (SJSU) has been buzzing with activity, dedicated to fostering community, peer education, fundraising, and collaboration between students and faculty. Their journey began on February 2, 2024, with a CommunOT Picnic/Field Day. Despite the rain forcing a shift from the SJSU lawn grounds to a classroom, the event was a hit. Both masters and doctoral OT students, along with faculty, participated enthusiastically in OT Olympic-designed games, forging bonds and strengthening teamwork.

The momentum continued with a Kinesiotaping workshop on February 3, led by a passionate Pediatric Occupational Therapist. Masters and doctoral students came together to learn foundational skills, discovering the therapeutic benefits of Kinesiotaping in providing support and reducing pain and swelling.

On February 9, fifteen masters students volunteered at “Night to Shine,” hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation, a prom event benefiting children and young adults with special needs. Accompanying honored guests, they spread joy and assisted with activities throughout the evening.

Then came the highlight of February: the inaugural OT Valentine’s Prom Night on February 16, organized by SOTA’s AOTA representatives. With attendees donning semi-formal attire, the event sold 133 tickets, raising $1,402 for the AOTA student conference fund, AOTPAC, and SOTA general funds. The night was filled with dancing, dinner, and various activities, culminating in the crowning of the Prom King and Queen.

March and April saw more community-building efforts with “Social at Guildhouse” events for first and second-year students. But SOTA didn’t stop there. On March 19-20, they hosted a two-day garage sale, raising funds for the MSOT 2024 graduating class celebration. Donated items flew off the shelves, from clothing to games, all contributing to the cause.

The grand finale came on April 2 with the Spring Apparel Fundraiser, which raised an impressive $2,281 for SJSU OT Clinics and their clients. The funds will go toward purchasing essential items for clients undergoing OT interventions, a testament to SOTA’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

Through their tireless efforts, SOTA demonstrated the power of unity, compassion, and dedication in the pursuit of bettering communities and enriching lives.

Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA)

There are many more educational events that were scheduled in April, and they include a Workshop on Women’s Health, Prenatal and Mental Health and a Workshop on Interviewing, Negotiation, & Mentorship Post graduation. The masters and doctoral OT students have been active and on the move since the start of the semester coordinating numerous departmental and on campus events. They are caring, dynamic, energetic, and tireless OT students. Most of all, they are the future of Occupational Therapy! Thank you SOTA for all you do! The future for Occupational Therapy is bright!

SJSU Kinesiology Students Shine: Research and Prestigious Doctoral Acceptances

By Dr. Michael Dao, Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology

TheDwhanil Shah San José State University Department of Kinesiology (SJSU KIN) had two outstanding graduate students defend their master’s theses this spring semester. Ivanna Anderson-Villella under the supervision of Dr. Cole Armstrong, Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, explored the beliefs, values and norms of Division 1 student-athletes on topics related to environmental sustainability. Her study is one of the first to explore this specific population in relation to environmental sustainability. Utilizing semi-structured interviews, Ivanna found that Division 1 student-athletes are influenced by the university athletic departments agenda on environmental sustainability, but also resist and challenge the departments in order to bring attention to the pressing issue. As a result, the participants recognized their agency in being change agents regarding sports role in environmental sustainability. The second student is Dwhanil Shah under the supervision of Dr. Lamont Williams, Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, explored how the Netflix documentary on Formula 1 racing “Drive to Survive” influenced fandomship among the sport, particularly for those who were not familiar with this global sport. His study emphasized how sports media and entertainment are pivotal in garnering new fans to the sport and how they influenced perceptions of Formula 1. Both of their projects were robust qualitative research studies that incorporated a high-level of attention to research practices.


Ivanna Anderson-VillellaAn amazing feat is that both Ivanna and Dwhanil were accepted and will be starting their doctoral program at prestigious universities in their fields. Ivanna was accepted to the University of Toronto to pursue a Ph.D. in Kinesiology, while Dwhanil was accepted to Florida State University to pursue a Ph.D. in Sport Management. Ivanna and Dwhanil continue an exceptional tradition of the department of kinesiology graduate students being accepted to top-tier doctoral programs.

When asked about how the department of kinesiology nurtured their academic growth, both students highlighted how faculty members helped them learn about academic research, put their learned skills to practice and the robust curriculum challenged their critical thinking skills. Dwanhil indicated that the sport management faculty in the kinesiology department “put him in a position to continue on his academic research exploration and pursue a Ph.D. in Sport Management after graduation.” As faculty members immersed in ongoing research, Dr. Armstrong and Dr. Williams also created an environment for both students to begin their academic research journey. Ivanna stated “I knew SJSU would help me achieve the educational objectives offered, such as having the capacity to expose myself to the sports industry while using analytical methods in research.” Ivanna and Dwhanil exemplify the caliber of SJSU graduate students and are the future of Kinesiology as a field. The department of kinesiology congratulates them on their successful thesis defenses, graduation, and their future academia journeys at the Florida State University and the University of Toronto.

SJSU OT Professors Receive Coveted AOTA Awards.

By Dr. Luis Arabit, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

The 2024 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) annual conference, held in Orlando, Florida, was not only a gathering of professionals but also a celebration of excellence within the field. Among the distinguished recipients of national awards were Dr. Winifred Schulz-Krohn and Dr. Luis Arabit, whose contributions have significantly impacted the occupational therapy (OT) profession.

Dr. Winifred Schultz-Krohn, Occupational TherapyDr. Schulz-Krohn, Emeritus Faculty in the Department of Occupational Therapy, received dual honors: the AOTA 2024 Distinguished Educator Award and the AOTA 2024 Retired Educators Commendation Award. With over 30 years of experience, Dr. Schulz-Krohn has embodied the essence of a distinguished educator through her servant-leader-educator approach. Her commitment to promoting others is evident in her extensive support for students, launching them into successful careers as occupational therapists. Notably, her pro bono services spanning two decades at a local shelter for unhoused families have provided invaluable research opportunities for students, resulting in numerous presentations at state, national, and international conferences. Additionally, her efforts in securing an endowed scholarship at San José State University underscore her dedication to supporting future OT professionals.

Dr. Luis Arabit, Occupational TherapyDr. Arabit, Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, was the recipient of AOTA 2024 Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Arabit has generously shared his extensive expertise with colleagues, students, and others to move the OT profession forward. He has “made significant contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy” in political and professional advocacy and leadership. He organized events and provided presentations and lectures on the importance of advocacy and legislation impacting occupational therapy. His advocacy and leadership positions include elected and appointed positions at the local, state, and national levels. As OTAC VP, he was instrumental in increasing membership in the Occupational Therapy Association of California and as the American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee (AOTPAC) Region V Director and AOTPAC Ambassadors Co-Chair he has inspired students and practitioners to actively support the profession and advocate for consumer access to care.

The recognition of Dr. Schulz-Krohn and Dr. Arabit at the 2024 AOTA conference serves as a testament to their exemplary dedication and outstanding contributions to the field of occupational therapy. Their unwavering commitment to education, advocacy, and leadership continues to inspire and elevate the profession, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals within the community.

Connecting Across Borders: Japanese Nursing Students visit The Valley Foundation School of Nursing

By Dr. Lisa Rauch, Director, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing

Connecting Across Borders: Japanese Nursing Students visit The Valley Foundation School of Nursing

On March 14th, seven nursing students from Miyazaki Prefectural Nursing University in Japan visited The Valley Foundation School of Nursing on a Study Abroad program. It is a study-abroad program where students earn three units by participating in the program and completing course assignments. This program has been on hold for four years due to the pandemic, and it restarted this year.

The visiting students were invited to attend the Nursing Health Assessment and Skills II course where they participated with SJSU nursing students led by Dr. Renee Bilner Garcia, a lecturer in the School of Nursing, in a hands-on Tracheostomy competency activity. The visiting students explained that they are first- and second-year students, and many have not been in a hospital setting at this point of their education. They were excited to learn that SJSU students get the opportunity to participate in clinical sites in their first semester, and the level of hands-on experience they participate in the first and second year of the nursing program. The visiting students visited all the simulation labs where they saw the advanced innovation of safe nursing practice and were excited to observe the mannequin’s ability to communicate. We were invited to also bring SJSU students back to Japan to visit the affiliated nursing school campus and learn about how the nursing program is different in their country.

Coordinator of the visit: Junko Linafelter
Coordinator of the SJSU study abroad program at Miyazaki Prefectural Nursing University in Japan

Connecting Across Borders: Japanese Nursing Students visit The Valley Foundation School of Nursing