Dr. Lamont Williams launches Siempre Sports Academy for SJSU Students

By: Lamont Williams

Fall 2022 marked the launch of a valuable sport-centric professional development workshop series programmed specifically for SJSU students interested in pursuing a career in the world of sport. Siempre Sports Academy, founded by Dr. Lamont Williams (Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology – Sport Management & Culture), serves as an opportunity for students to engage with various industry professionals from every major sport team in the Bay Area. The workshops are designed to educate students on the skills necessary to compete in the job market, as well as provide a space to network with other underrepresented students and professionals to gain insight on utilizing their ‘diversity’ as an asset. Each workshop features a different contemporary focus, thoughtfully curated to support underserved students and provide an avenue for real-world knowledge acquisition directly from industry professionals who are scouting for the leaders of tomorrow. In a nutshell, Siempre Sports Academy is focused on closing the knowledge gap AND giving SJSU students an edge in the job market, one workshop at a time.

Dr. Williams began developing the Siempre Sports Academy as a part of the Assigned Time for Exceptional Levels of Service to Students Program. The first event, titled, “So, You Want to Work in Sports?” was completed in partnership with the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers in September 2022. The event was hosted at the Black Oak Casino Resort Club in Levi’s Stadium, where students were invited to attend a panel on the various opportunities available for working in the world of sport. The speakers for the first event included Sara Salam (Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging – National Hockey League’s San José Sharks), Austin Moss II (Director of Player Engagement – San Francisco 49ers), and Corry Rush (Vice President of Football Communication – San Francisco 49ers). Dr. Williams moderated the discussion, which featured topical questions for the panelists and a Q&A portion for students to ask the panelists questions of their own. Following the event, students were invited to join the panelists in further discussions related to their particular interests during the post-event mixer!

The Siempre Sports Academy will continue to offer workshops in partnership with major sport teams in the Bay Area to increase employment/internship/volunteering opportunities for students interested in working in the world of sport.

For more information, please visit www.savantlamont.com/ssa and follow Siempre Sports Academy on LinkedIn and Instagram (@siempresports).

Formative Inquiry: Faculty Experiences in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program

By: Andrew Carter

In an increasingly polarizing social, political, and cultural climate—one where debate flashpoints around the validity of evidence, “alternative” facts, and unfounded scientific claims are commonplace—the importance of generating research that is just, empirically-based, and systematic, is more pressing than ever. A key component toward addressing these challenges involves instilling such values in the next generation of researchers. At SJSU, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) seeks to advance these efforts by engaging undergraduate students in an immersive research mentorship experience early on in their career.

Dr. Charles Park (Department of Public Health and Recreation) is part of a dynamic and talented cohort of faculty mentors in the program who are providing tailored research instruction to undergraduates across campus. As a second year UROP faculty mentor, Dr. Park sees his participation in the program as a way to further his passion for working collaboratively with undergraduates who are still developing their research interests and career trajectories. “To be a good researcher, the earlier the student engages and gets to know the research, the better opportunities [they will have]. I love to help students understand everything about the research process, from the literature review, IRB application, to writing a manuscript, to the publication.”

Aligning with Dr. Park’s vision, UROP focuses exclusively on first and second year and transfer students to expose them early to the dynamic SJSU research culture and offer multi-level support via individualized faculty partnerships, peer mentoring, and the participation in a cohort model—where they progress through a shared learning experience and engage in community building and social networking. During his time in the program, Dr. Park has witnessed the value of this model firsthand, and recognizes the unique assets that this student population comes equipped with when it comes to research. “They are really motivated to learn new things. I see the  attitude and  mindset that is open to anything from the undergraduate students. They have really great potential to become great researchers in the future.”

Dr. Park is currently working with two students. One student  is a freshman and a Biology major and the other a junior who just transferred to SJSU and is majoring in Public Health and Recreation.  They are working on a project exploring the differences in perceptions of  mental health among Korean immigrants living in the Bay Area.  We are curious if there is a difference in these mental health perceptions based upon changes in legal status (e.g., student, H1 working visa, permanent working status). Both students, who are from first-generation immigrant families, share a personal interest in the research and are able to draw on their individual experiences as they work collaboratively during the academic year; specific tasks they will undertake include writing a literature review, submitting a human subjects protocol to the Institutional Research Board (IRB), completing  a human subjects research [CITI] training, interviewing participants, transcribing and analyzing data, and preparing an abstract based on the project findings for an academic public health conference.

Overall, Dr. Park sees UROP as a way for SJSU students to get a head start on professional development and gain exposure to the myriad career options available to them. “UROP provides a wonderful opportunity for students to develop their preparation for their future career. For example, help them to write their CV, how to communicate with faculty effectively, and have a good interview. All of these processes are really unique for undergraduate students who are engaging in UROP.”

UROP is supported by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and housed in the Lurie College of Education, and directed by faculty in the College of Health and Human Sciences. For faculty and students interested in UROP, open enrollment will begin Spring 2023. If you have any questions about the program or would like additional information, please contact Dr. Andrew Carter at andrew.carter@sjsu.edu.

New Director of Packaging Revamps & Expands Program

By: Jacqueline J. Bergman

Founded in 1981 by Don Betando of the Division of Technology, San Jose State University’s (SJSU) Packaging Program was the first of its kind west of the Mississippi. Flash forward to the present, SJSU is one of eleven distinguished academic institutions in the U.S. offering degrees in Packaging, including a B.S. in Nutritional Science with a Concentration in Packaging and a minor in Packaging. Graduates of the SJSU Packaging program gain employment at many of the world’s premier companies including Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, and Applied Biosystems among many others.

Although the early history of the SJSU Packaging Program was painted with peaks and valleys of successes and challenges, the program has been on a steady upward trajectory for the past 15 years thanks to the collective strokes of progressive leaders such as the late Don Betando, Jorge Marcondes, and Herbert Schueneman. Gifted with the same eye for innovation as his predecessors, new Packaging Program director Edmund Tang has plans to take the program to new heights.

After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Industrial Systems Engineering Department at SJSU, Tang started a position as a Test Engineer in 2005 at WESTPAK, a world recognized test laboratory. After working full time for four years, he began an appointment as Adjunct Professor at SJSU in 2009.  Thirteen years later, Tang got word of the open position of Assistant Professor and Director of Packaging in the The Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging Department at SJSU. Tang jumped at the opportunity to apply his vast experience and passion for teaching, mentorship, and the packaging industry to revamp the same packaging program where he cut his professional teeth.

A major component of Tang’s vision for the future of the Packaging Program is to “welcome industry partners with open arms.” Tang’s plan to expand industry partnerships is well underway as he has already revitalized and established nearly 20 partnerships in a variety of industries in the high tech, medical and pharmaceutical, foods, cosmetics, and testing spaces. Some industry partnerships include Google, Facebook, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, Stryker, Foster Farms, Del Monte Foods, and Benefit Cosmetics. The benefits from these relationships range from guest lectures, field trips, exclusive internship opportunities, and the ability to use a professional lab.

When asked what he enjoys most about the packaging industry, Tang’s answer is simple. The people. “The industry is small… it’s a tight-knit, down-to-earth community where everyone knows everyone.” Tang goes on to share how he’s continually inspired by the humble and generous nature of the packaging community, “everyone is so supportive and eager to give back to the future generation.”

An additional element of Tang’s vision for the Packaging Program is to bring this charitable spirit of community, camaraderie, and respect to the classroom.

Tang’s teaching philosophy fosters a welcoming, student-centered learning environment where students feel heard, valued, and respected. As is the case within the packaging industry, Tang believes there is no room for ego in the classroom. He explains to students, “nothing is wrong with questioning authority if it is done in a respectful manner.” Meaningful peer discussion and connection continues outside the classroom through field trips to Google Headquarters or industry conferences like PACK EXPO. Tang explains, “[field trips] give students the opportunity to break bread with their peers and view them not simply as classmates, but as colleagues and friends that will last a lifetime.”

In addition to creating a culture of respect and camaraderie in the classroom, Tang has expanded the curriculum with two new classes, Hazardous Materials Packaging (PKG 160) and Advanced Laboratory Testing (PKG 168), with plans of creating a third. Additional plans include creating a mentorship program and advisory board to help foster SJSU student-industry connections, and much more. There is no stopping this packaging mastermind!

When summarizing his goals for the program Tang shares, “At the end of the day, I want all students to graduate [from the Packaging Program] with the confidence, competence, and industry connections needed to thrive in the real world”.

Through his boundless vision for innovative industry partnership, commitment to student mentorship and empowerment, and his charitable, down-to-earth approach, Edmund Tang embodies the ideal SJSU faculty archetype. The Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging Department is proud to have Tang on the team as we cheer this inspirational Spartan on from the sidelines!

Learn more about the SJSU’s Packaging Program and potential career paths online.


Dr. Ashwini Wagle
408-924-3100 / Ashwini.Wagle@sjsu.edu

Packaging Program Director and Advisor:
Edmund Tang

Celebrating Accomplishments of the OT Faculty and Students in 2022

By: Luis Arabit

The Occupational Therapy (OT) department has much to rejoice in 2022. At the recently concluded Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) 2022 Conference held in Santa Clara on Oct 27-30, SJSU OT faculty and students bagged honors and awards from the OTAC and the California Foundation for Occupational Therapy (CFOT).

Dr. Melisa Kaye was chosen to be the recipient of the CFOT Research Grant in the amount of $7,000. Her research is on examining the factors contributing to resilience and coping in local families with young children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Kaye is very grateful to the CFOT for this generous grant. She stated “it will provide support to our diverse, low-income and disproportionately impacted local families and children” while addressing the occupational and social injustices stemming from the pandemic.

Dr. Hiral Katri was awarded the Susan J. Harris Entrepreneur Award from the OTAC. The award recognizes an OTAC member who through outstanding professional entrepreneurship has contributed to the occupational therapy profession in California. Dr. Katri mentioned that she feels humbled, honored, inspired, and accomplished to have received the award stating “This award is a great responsibility to give back to the community.”

Professor Alison George was awarded the Janice Matsusuyu Outstanding Service Award from OTAC. The award recognizes an OTAC member who has made significant contributions which impact the association and its objectives. Dr. Deborah Bolding received the Award of Excellence from the OTAC. The award recognizes an OTAC member who has made significant contributions to advancement of OT in areas of therapeutic practice, research, education, administration, organizational and community service.

Congratulations also goes to our SJSU OT students who were recipients of the 2022 CFOT Scholarships: Thao Pham, Nicole Orr, Michael Benson, Lauren Worley and Sienna Kuykendall.

Congratulations to all the students and faculty for being awarded seed money from the CFOT. Kudos to all SJSU OT students and their research advisors, Dr. Megan Chang, Dr. Chiao-Ju Fang and Dr. Katrina Long who presented OTAC poster sessions. Sincerest gratitude to all the SJSU Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) group of students who volunteered their time and energy to make the 2022 OTAC conference a success.

In addition, Kudos are also to the SJSU OT faculty who presented podium sessions at the 2022 OTAC conference: Dr. Winifred Schultz-Krohn, Dr. Courtney Boitano, Michelle Tipton-Burton, Dr. Gigi Smith, Rochelle McLaughlin, Dr. Melissa Kaye, Christine Haworth, Dr. Kathryn Wise, Dr. Deborah Bolding, Dr. Hiral Katri, and Dr. Luis Arabit. Furthermore, Professor Cesar Arada, SJSU OT Academic Fieldwork Coordinator has been appointed as the California Ambassador for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

We close the year 2022 celebrating the great accomplishments by the SJSU OT faculty and students. Congratulations to all!

Our Social Work Recent Grads Continuing Their Journeys

By: Destiny Santana and Peter Allen Lee

The School of Social Work had about 250 bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates in Spring 2022, and they are already on their way impacting our communities to advance the well-being of others.  Where are they and what are they doing?  Here are a few examples of their journeys.

Imani Savage received her A.A. in Administrative Justice at Sierra College and a B.S. in Criminology at Fresno State University, and recently received her Master’s of Social Work (MSW) at San José State University. Imani, a Title IV-E training and stipend program student (program students receive financial support in return for a two-year commitment to work in a public California child welfare agency) will be working as a Child Welfare Social Worker for Contra Costa County.   One of her goals is to start the clinical licensing process as soon as possible. Imani is one of several MSW Program graduates who had previously been a Title IV-E trainee who now works at a CA county public child welfare agency.

Emmanuel (Manny) Pimentel is a USAF veteran and First Generation graduate.  He and his cohort made history by being the first group to graduate from the new SJSU School of Social Work Advanced Standing Program.  Advanced Standing provides exceptional Bachelor of Social Work graduates the opportunity to complete a social work master’s degree through an accelerated program in one year. Manny is excited to work as a Child Welfare and Attendance Specialist with Salinas Union High School District in Salinas, CA. He will be completing his Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) soon and plans to specialize in providing social work in educational settings.

April 10, 2022 San Jose CA, USA; Mia graduation photos at San Jose State University. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-Estrada Photos

Mia Jaurigue is one of our BASW graduates and a recipient of the Mental Health Training Scholarship sponsored by the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services. Mia celebrated this huge accomplishment with all of her family and friends who have encouraged and lifted her up! She started the MSW Advanced Standing program as part of the second cohort of our accelerated program.

Jennifer Tai is an MSW graduate and completed her PPSC.  She is continuing her educational and professional preparation in a Post-MSW program at UC Berkeley pursuing her clinical license and getting experience in the Social Services and Counseling and Psychological Services departments within UC Berkeley University Health Services. After licensure, Jennifer wants to support and give back to foster youth and youth with mental health challenges. As a former foster youth with no biological family support, the community support she receives from friends, peers, professors, field instructors, and mentors has been of tremendous help. The MSW program meant a lot to her, as it allows her to receive the education and experiences to give back to others.

We are so appreciative and excited for our alums, graduates, and students as they make a difference in our world.  SJSU Social Work: Stand Up! Stand Proud! Stand Together!