Celebrate Diwali in the Break Room

Diwali or Deepavali (deep – lamp, vali – row), the Festival of Lights, is the biggest festival and is celebrated as an official holiday in twelve countries, including India. This year, the five days of Diwali begin October 22 with the main celebration happening on October 24, the day of the new moon. Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

Observed by more than a billion people across multiple faiths, Diwali is celebrated with prayer, feasts, family, fireworks and, for some, a new year. For Hindus, it is associated with the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, after his 14 years of exile and victory over the demon Ravana. On that day, he was welcomed to the kingdom of Ayodhya with rows of Diyas (lamps), lit throughout the kingdom. Thus, there is a tradition of lighting oil lamps that symbolize the victory of good over evil and freedom from spiritual darkness. In Southern India and in South East Asian countries, Deepavali is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Krishna over the evil demon Narakasura. In this tradition, Krishna’s slaying of this demon symbolizes the innate ability in every human to overcome negativity and rise to new possibilities. You can learn more at https://isha.sadhguru.org/ca/en/blog/article/diwali-festival-of-lights.

A central theme of Diwali is family, with the fourth day reserved to celebrate the bond between partners and the fifth day for siblings. It’s a time to wear your best new clothes, gather together with the ones you love to eat good food, light diyas, shoot fireworks, and exchange gifts and well wishes.

There will be a Diwali Celebration hosted by some of your SJSU IT colleagues on Thursday, October 27 in the CC 2nd floor break room from 12:45pm to 2:00pm. There will be Indian sweets and savories to enjoy along with the company of your coworkers. Please note that this is not a SJSU IT-funded event.

It’s our hope that each of you and your families have a bright Diwali.

Shubh Diwali,
The SJSU IT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Norma Brown Ryan Campbell Tino Cruz
Kara Li Bob Lim Matthew Loo
Maggie Panahi Willie Simon

Happy Dussehra

IT Colleagues,

Dussehra, also known as Navaratri, Dasara or Dashain, is a major Hindu festival celebrated every year celebrating the victory of good over evil. This year Navaratri celebration started on September 26 and ends on Wednesday, October 5.

Hindus observe a 10-day ceremony of fasting, rituals and celebrations during the Hindu month of Ashwin and Kartik. People across India throng to see a recital or enactment of the epic “Ramayana” stage plays during Navaratri nights. On the tenth day, also known as Vijayadashami, the festival is concluded by marking the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon ten-headed Ravana. Dussehra also symbolizes the triumph of the warrior Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura.

Many look forward to Dussehra as the end of India’s hot summer and the start of cooler winter months. You can learn more about the festival at https://www.festivalsofindia.in/dussehra.

The SJSU IT DEI Committee would like to wish everyone a Happy Dussehra.

Best Regards,
The SJSU IT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Bob Lim Maggie Panahi Ryan Campbell
Cindy Scher-Hereth Matthew Loo Tino Cruz
Kara Li Norma Brown Willie Simon

Thank You for 2021 – 2022

IT Colleagues,

It was great seeing so many of you last Friday at the IT BBQ. I got a chance to thank some of you for your work last year, but not everyone. So for anybody I missed and for the folks who weren’t there: Thank you for everything you’ve done during these challenging couple of years, adjusting and adapting to hybrid work. SJSU’s smooth transition to a hybrid modality was no lucky accident. It was the result of your hard work.

We’ve all been working in overdrive this past year to support our university and our students through hybrid. At the BBQ, I shared with you that I see us as one big family; many of you have returned the favor and told me that we’re all in this together. And while I can only speak to what we’re doing in SJSU IT, I also want to recognize the contributions of everybody working IT all across our campus. Campus techs, partners, and other IT staff are all part of our university IT family.

I want to share some of the 2021-2022 highlights from around our division, but this is just a small sample of everyone’s work. I know there’s more projects and more folks doing great work that I won’t have the chance to mention in this email.

Customer Service

From April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, Customer Service closed 57,538 tickets with an average satisfaction score of 4.8 out of 5. That marks three straight years of improved satisfaction scores — a remarkable feat given the exponential demands on technology since 2019. That’s on top of their work reducing the backlog from approximately 1,200 to 100. Thank you to everyone on the Service Desk team for your work: Jonathan Dizon, Tue Do, Alfred Eclipse, Ralph Elias, John Hanley, Ashley Irawan, Ethan Kim, Prit Lakhani, Lester Ace Lavaro, Cristian Martinez, Celine Mingfield, Manas Nambiar, Eric Pan, Brinda Pujara, Kaustub Sekhar, Vishwesh Shah, Rushabh Sheta, Aboubacar Traore, Harsh Vaghasiya, Sharon Watkins, and Trevor Wylie.

The classroom support team has been proactively visiting 320+ SJSU IT-supported classrooms to fix problems before they become disruptions. They identified and fixed 186 issues before they became problems for folks in the classroom. Thank you Minh Anh, Darlene Bargas, Phil Braverman, Charmaine Caidoy, Christian Corral, Frank De Fanti, Matthew Dominguez, Bruce Kelbert, Tiana Lam, Rodney Maciel, Cameron Myers, Nicholas Nguyen, Vats Panchal, Nithil Sethupathi, Umesh Singh, Ubaldo Jr. Trujillo, Danny Vo, Maxim Vovenko, Devona Williams, Andy Yeung, and Daniela Zopiyatle.

Likewise, the college support team has been proactively visiting 30+ college conference rooms to identify and fix issues. Thank you to Chris Bradford, Lucas Chung, Bruce Gardner, Theo Kell, April Lee, and Belinda Nguyen.

And I definitely need to thank the Desktop and College Support teams. They work directly with folks across the university to ensure their day-to-day technology needs are met. Thank you to Norma Brown, Jason Ferguson, Patrick Ho, Susan Huang, Kevin Iocca, Paul Leung, Matthew Loo, Richard Luu, and Kirk Nguyen in Desktop Support. Thank you to Bruce Gardner, Chris Bradford, Lucas Chung, Kenny Gong, Theo Kell, Raymond Koc, April Lee, Belinda Nguyen, and Lor Vang in College Support.

Infrastructure & Operations

Our rollout of WiFi 6 outdoors has been huge for activating our outside spaces for instruction and study. The planning and implementation process for this was a lot of work. So I want to make sure to thank Tino Cruz, Sean Davis, Trevor Florez, Steve McAulay, and Mark Tran.

Just this summer, we’ve almost completed a refresh of our core network infrastructure. It’s an update that most of the campus will never notice, but will be a foundational piece of our technology strategy moving forward. Thank you Steve Chang, Tino Cruz, Sean Davis, Trevor Florez, Atul Pala, Marco Rodriguez, Mark Tran, and Tam Vu.

And of course, I want to highlight the work of the 2021 Sparta Award Team winners in retiring servers running Windows 2008. They partnered with many departments and colleges around campus to identify, sunset, or upgrade 132 servers. This was a true team effort with 30 individuals. Thank you for your contribution to our campus: Suzanne Austin, Debashish Basak, Steven Boring, Norma Brown, Steve Chang, Jerry Darrell, Sean Davis, Kelly Deaver, Cuong Doan, Sree Gandikota, Kenny Gong, Natasha Jones, Bruce Kelbert, Paul Leung, Nolan Liu, Anthony Mays, Prasad Meka, An Nguyen, Belinda Nguyen, Kirk Nguyen, Tristan Orlino, Toby Shaw, Danny Ta, Jeffory Toone, Coe Tran, Lor Vang, Rigo Vargas, Tam Vu, Yue Wang, and Sam Zhang.

Enterprise Solutions

As we continue to drive toward a fully-digital campus, SJSU IT partners with departments across the university on process improvement and automation. In 2021-2022, we added 24 new process digitization projects in OnBase alone. Digitization and automation projects last year included:

  • Automating the process of importing hundreds of documents from InterFolio to OnBase and securing those documents to Faculty Personnel Action Files (PAF) for faculty and managers.
  • Automating the Student Name Change, which coordinates name changes across multiple campus units such as the Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid, University Personnel, and Finance.
  • Automating access management of the faculty advisor role for the 470+ chairs, faculty, and staff who transition in and out of the Advisory Role every semester. Marco Scardina won the 2021 Individual Sparta Award for his work collaborating with the digitization team on this project.

These were huge workflows that had process times reduced from weeks to minutes. I want to thank everyone working on process improvements with our campus partners, including Debashish Basak, Ryan Campbell, Cuong Doan, Mona Hall, Prasad Meka, Leon Nguyen, Jocelyn Tom, Lam Vu, Shirley Wang, and Sam Zhang.

The enterprise live chat, chatbot, Marketo integrations, virtual queueing, and virtual event platform solutions implemented in early 2021 continued to grow in 2021-22. As these solutions continue to be adopted by more and more departments, the importance of campus partnership and collaboration can’t be understated. Thank you Sree Gandikota, Joseph Hotchkiss, Natasha Jones, Leon Nguyen, Ravi Pisupati, Brenden Sparks, Jeff Tan, Andy Trembley, and Tristan Orlino for doing a great job working with our campus partners

There’s also been a lot of work done in PeopleSoft and alongside Student Affairs in the Sammy app to make many of our university’s online platforms more mobile-friendly. This is important work, expanding access and meeting our student population where they are. We have a responsibility to do our part in reducing the digital divide for our students and our campus community. I want to thank Harish Chander, Donovan D’Anna, Sree Gandikota, Cole Gunter, Mitesh Kini, Rashmi Kumar, Janice Lew, Noel McCormick, Leon Nguyen, Peter Pham, Marco Scardina, Ivelina Stoyanova, and Andy Trembley.

Information Security

Globally, cybercrime has seen a dramatic 600% global rise since 2019 and our SJSU Information Security team has been working hard to keep our university safe. This is an area where we’ve put in a lot of effort and some of the other CSUs are looking at what we’ve implemented. We worked with Sophos on Managed Threat Response (MTR) to provide 24/7 threat hunting, detection, and response capabilities delivered by an expert team as a fully-managed service. We added functionality to Okta with Okta ThreatInsight, helping protect SJSU from large-scale identity attacks, especially attacks that target passwords. SJSU IT uses ThreatInsight to block malicious login attempts from known actors, which provides additional security and reduced user lockouts. A big thank you to Cole Gunter, Janice Lew, Noel McCormick, and Marco Scardina.

Strategic Planning and Portfolio Management

I also want to call out the Project Management Office team. They contributed to numerous critical, time-sensitive projects and helped our campus change modalities from fully remote to hybrid successfully. The PMO team collaborates with almost every other department in SJSU IT and many other departments across campus as well. Some of the projects managed by members of the PMO team this year include: virtual event platform, enterprise chat, Duo MFA, Education Technology Solution Optimization, Campus Data Warehouse, Hybrid classroom/conference rooms, and many more. Thank you Farrah Foroushani, Leon Nguyen, Maggie Panahi, Ravi Pisupati, Sharon Qi, and Andrew Weiglein.

And of course, thank you, Joseph Chou, Shawn Lahr, Vicky Van Leer, Jewel Rodeo, and Willie Simon, who keep the division’s day-to-day operations moving forwards, from IT procurement and recruitment to student hiring and event planning.

Thank You!

Once again, thank you to everyone I didn’t get a chance to highlight. There are so many of you who put in the work every day to keep things going – like Cindy Scher-Hereth, who provides so much support for the day-to-day of my office. Thank you. Each and every one of you have done great work over the past year, and I wish there was the time and space to shout out all of your achievements. As always, I’m available during my open office hours on Thursdays from 2 pm to 4 pm if you want to stop by for a chat.



Juneteenth in San Jose


We want to wish all of you a happy Juneteenth. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of Black Americans on June 19th, when freedom was proclaimed for the remaining enslaved people of Texas, the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery. 

The National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) has an excellent article about the 150+ year history of Juneteenth, complete with a suggested reading list and resources for discussing the history and importance of Juneteenth with young people. In 2021, Juneteenth was finally consecrated as a federal holiday

Various Juneteenth events are happening right here in our local downtown community this weekend. The African American Community Service Agency’s Juneteenth in the Streets culminates with a festival on South First Street. The Children’s Discovery Museum is hosting a celebration and film festival. If you have time, it’s an excellent opportunity to attend an event with your family and friends. The San Jose Public Library exhibit “Black Spartans,” represents ongoing research from right here on campus about the Black experience throughout SJSU history. Select portraits are on display at local branches, but you can explore the full exhibit online right now. 

While our country still has much to address and progress is slow, Juneteenth is a celebration of how far we’ve come and the impact we can have when we are united. As the NMAAHC article puts it, “The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times.” 

Best Regards,

The SJSU IT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Bob Lim Maggie Panahi Ryan Campbell
Cindy Scher-Hereth Matthew Loo Tino Cruz
Kara Li Norma Brown Willie Simon

Our Pride


Pride Month is held in June in the United States to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York fought back against police harassment. For us, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the nuanced diversity of our community, especially here in the Bay Area where we have a rich history of LGBTQIA+ civil rights activism.

We are constantly making conscious efforts to keep SJSU IT an inclusive, welcoming place for everyone to work. During Pride Month, there is a wealth of community resources in our local area. Silicon Valley Pride (@svpride) holds numerous events throughout the month, many just a few blocks off-campus. We also encourage you to look into organizations that support LGBTQIA+ equality efforts in the technology industry. Here’s a Pride.com article highlighting tech-leaning groups like Out in Tech and Lesbians Who Tech.

And of course, our SJSU Pride Center does excellent work throughout the academic year giving our students a safe space, activism opportunities, and hosting events. If you haven’t been there, we encourage you to stop in and say hello. They’re always happy to share information and let you know what you can do to be active or be an ally at our university.


Best Regards,

The SJSU IT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Bob Lim

Maggie Panahi

Ryan Campbell

Cindy Scher-Hereth

Matthew Loo

Tino Cruz

Kara Li

Norma Brown

Willie Simon