2016-17 Committee to Enhance Equity and Diversity Awards

The College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ Committee to Enhance Equity and Diversity (CEED) reception was held on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 honoring six recipients whose combined effort and activities have made an important contribution to enhance equity and diversity at San José State University (SJSU) and/or in the community. CEED Award categories consist of an Undergraduate Student Award, Graduate Student Award, Student Organization Award, Faculty Award, and Staff Award.

The purpose of the CEED Awards is to recognize those individuals and groups that have demonstrated excellence in promoting and fostering a deeper understanding of equity and diversity as they relate to issues of age, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and/or sexual orientation.

The recipients for the CEED Distinguished Service Award are:

Undergraduate Student Award – Francisco (Frankie) Garcia, Department of Kinesiology

Frankie could not wait to celebrate his 21st birthday and it wasn’t for the typical 21 year old reasons. At 21, Frankie was legally able to petition for U.S. citizenship for his parents. The oldest of four children, Frankie grew up in Highland Park, Los Angeles, a neighborhood known for gang violence and low socioeconomic status.  Frankie is a Kinesiology major and Mexican American studies minor. He attended Dr. Kasuen Mauldin’s faculty led program to Hong Kong where he learned about Chinese/Cantonese culture. Frankie currently serves as an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) mentor to freshmen and transfer students. In this role, Frankie guides new students through online advising, facilities, key campus contacts, etc. and ensures they have a successful first semester at SJSU. He has also coordinated panels and presentations through EOP to help motivate and inspire high school students to pursue higher education.

Congratulations Frankie Garcia!

Undergraduate Student Award – Joseph (Joey) Montoya, School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Joey has been very active in Native American issues and spreading awareness among a number of channels both on and off campus. He set up Urban Native Era during his first year of college, Fall 2012. Urban Native Era spreads awareness of indigenous issues throughout the world. As well as educating people through different mediums and forms such as social media, artwork, and apparel to let people know that Native and Indigenous people are still here and strong.

Through Urban Native Era, Joey became involved with standing rock after traveling to the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Joey had heard about youth runners running from Standing Rock to D.C. to deliver a 150,000 signature petition to the White House and President Obama to reject and stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. After the DNC, Joey met up with runners in Ohio and brought them food, snacks, clothes, and other essentials they needed for the rest of the trip. He then met with the runners in D.C. to protest at the Army Corps of Engineers Building and in front of the White House and later to New York City. Soon after, Joey organized through Urban Native Era and UpToUs to help the tribe and people at Standing Rock.

Today, students across campus recognize his stickers and images that bring awareness of Indigenous peoples issues.

Congratulations Joey Montoya!

Graduate Student Award – Natsuko Tsuji, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging

Natsuko’s activities included conducting a research project examining if participation in multicultural cooking classes had an impact on cultural competence of SJSU students. Natsuko designed, planned and taught five multicultural cooking classes to expose students to different cultures. The cooking classes were Japanese, Thai, Caribbean, Indian, and French.

Natsuko worked with Cassie Barmore, SJSU campus dietician and Dr Kasuen Mauldin, Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging Assistant Professor. They wanted to know if participating in a fun social ethnic cooking class was one way a person could increase his/her cultural competence. Natsuko administered a cultural competence survey before the class and one month after the class.  She found that even limited exposure to only one or two multicultural cooking classes improved cultural competency, particularly in the area of helping students become more aware and accepting of similarities and differences of people from different cultures. Her work has created opportunities to present at conferences and expos and she has published a summary of her work in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Natsuko’s research findings have the potential to inspire other universities to invest in similar multicultural activities and impact the cultural competence of students world-wide.

Congratulations Natsuko!

Student Organization Award – Social Work Graduate Student Association (SWGSA), School of Social Work

Two years ago, students expressed concern about the expression of unfavorable racial comments in the classroom and requested several faculty and student initiatives to engage the school community in a dialogue. Alisia Murphy, Master of Social Work (MSW) alumni founded the  “Authentic Conversations” that was developed as open and explorative discussions about race, power, and all forms of oppression spoken from our lived experiences. Today, the SWGSA has shown leadership in keeping the momentum going. Because of their initiative, all social work classes now include a shared agreement for maintaining a safe learning environment and openness of communication.

Congratulations SWGSA!

Faculty Award – Dr. Edith Kinney, Department of Justice Studies

Dr. Kinney has worked on numerous initiatives related to social justice, equity and diversity on our campus. She developed a partnership with the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center. The MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center promotes diversity, awareness, social change, and cultural empowerment.

Dr. Kinney continues to play a key role in the planning and implementation of the annual Human Rights Lecture Series. In Spring 2015, Dr. Kinney assisted in a very successful and widely recognized event to date, where many founding members of the Black Lives Matter movement and a keynote lecture by Angela Davis presented to a standing room only crowd.

Dr. Kinney is almost constantly involved in human rights related programming on campus, including her upcoming event in partnership with the Campus Reads and Records Clearance Programs – a panel discussion on prisoner re-entry.

Congratulations to Dr. Edith Kinney!

Staff Award – Cassie Barmore, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging

Cassie Barmore has successfully promoted and fostered a deeper understanding of equity and diversity as it relates to socio-economic status and cultural food practice among SJSU students, faculty, and administrators. Cassie identified that food scarcity due to a lack of money was a major barrier to student success. She took it upon herself, outside of her job duties, to collaborate on projects to feed low socio-economic status students and teach students how to cook the food they receive. Cassie believes that all students, regardless of income status should have access to three, healthy and well balanced meals per day.

Congratulations Cassie!

LGBT Community: Past, Present, and Future Movements and Milestones

By:  Brian Grossman and Frank Strona, for the Health Science Faculty

For the last 14 years, the Department of Health Science has reaffirmed its commitment to the core values of diversity and inclusion by hosting an annual Sexual Diversity Event.   Our 2012 event, held in the SJSU Barrett Ballroom on March 12 and attended by over 300 people, was entitled, “LGBT Community: Past, Present, and Future Movements and Milestones”. The evening showcased the significance of the passage of California’s Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act. As a result of this legislation, “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” have been added to existing Education Code as a group whose contributions to California and U.S. history have previously been undervalued and need to be included in relevant history and social science lessons.


Our annual event was initiated as part of broader department response to student feedback in the late 1990s that lesbian and gay students felt neither represented nor safe in a program (and a campus) that prided itself on inclusion. Then MPH Program Director, Dr. Kathleen Roe, worked with the students to imagine and then implement a critical and participatory examination of our curriculum, communication, assumptions, and true commitments to diversity.  The annual Sexual Diversity Event is a cornerstone of the strategy that emerged from that critical review.

Bonnie Sugiyama and Cathy Bussalacci


The Sexual Diversity Event is planned and implemented by a committee of MPH students and supported by Health Science faculty.  This year’s committee was co-chaired by Erica Eilenberg and Norine Doherty, and included Claudia Mendivil, Primavera Richeson, and Kitty Ha.  The committee introduced a new element to the event this year, a toolkit that was designed and developed in collaboration with Bonnie Sugiyama, Assistant Director of the SJSU LGBT Resource Center and Women’s Resource Center. The toolkit was provided to over 40 Health Science faculty members to encourage them to integrate the lessons of the Sexual Diversity Event into their classes. We hope this is the start of a new tradition!


Dr. Steven Tierney, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Chair of the Community Mental Health program at the  California Institute of Integral Studies, delivered the keynote address.  Tierney began by recounting his own experience of being a gay youth, offering the audience an invitation to the challenges faced by LGBT youth.  He also provided an important reframing of the correlation between LGBT youth and suicide, explaining that the risk factors for suicide are not LGB or T identities but rather isolation and alienation. Speaking to an audience of nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Tierney highlighted the contributions that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities to the development and implementation of models of social organizing for health and justice.  He concluded by calling on all in attendance to work for inclusion and to combat intolerance and to look beyond what we “can do” but also what we “must do” in addition to what we “can do”. He appealed to everyone on the room from academics to students, from friends, allies, parents, partners, loved ones and others to stop intolerance of diversity.

Whitney Smith, Steven Tierney, Cecilia Chung, Paul Boneberg,and Hillary Chung


The second part of the evening’s program was a panel discussion facilitated by MPH student Liz Gregor.  Panelists included LGBT leaders including Whitney Smith, CEO and Founder, Girls for a Change; Paul Boneberg, Executive Director,  GLBT Historical Society; Hillary Burdge, Research Project Manager, Gay Straight Alliance Network; and Cecilia Chung, SF Human Rights Commission. Using the FAIR Education Act as a starting point, each panelist discussed the power of inclusion and representation.  Smith described how many of the middle school girls she works with choose projects that promote inclusion and combat homphobia in schools.  Boneberg addressed the significance of the GLBT History Museum as the first and only of its kind in the U.S. and the ways in which the “starry night sky” of GBLT history and activism offers multiple points of entry for education.  Chung provided context and explained the long roots of activism and legislative advocacy that preceded the passage of the FAIR Education Act.  Lastly, Burdge referenced research that shows the multiple positive outcomes experienced by *all* students in schools with LGBT curriculum. Given the recent efforts by some to repeal the FAIR Education Act via referendum, the panelists urged the audience to monitor this situation closely, get involved, and affirm inclusion.

THE COMMITMENT: Health Science reaffirms our commitment to diversity and inclusion

It was fitting that the evening ended as it all began, with closing remarks from Department Chair, Dr. Kathleen Roe, who called on us to “make the choices that matter” because there is enough space for everyone, enough time to pay attention, and enough courage in our world to co-create environments of love, support, and possibilities for all.

This annual event was made possible under the stewardship of  the Department of Health Science, The MPH – Student Association and with the generous support of Cathy Bussalacci from Student Union Inc. We are also grateful to the four groups that participated as exhibitors for our program, offering education, information, and potential internship placements to our students: Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Girls for a Change, SJSU LGBT Resource Center, and Mosaic Cross Cultural Center.