Spring 2021 Global Spartan Scholarship Recipients

In fall 2020, International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) was pleased to launch our inaugural Global Spartan Scholarship, created to recognize and provide financial support to SJSU international students. We received several hundred applications from continuing international students for a very limited number of scholarships. This large number of applicants not only made it difficult for the committee to make their selection, but also demonstrates the need for more financial support for international students. This spring, in addition to the Global Spartan Scholarship for continuing students, we were able to open a separate Global Spartan Scholarship for newly-admitted international students. These applications are currently under review for the 2021-22 academic year, and winners will be announced in the coming weeks.

Today, we would like to recognize our first cohort of scholarship recipients, who were awarded funding toward their spring 2021 tuition and fees. Spring 2021 Global Spartan Scholarship recipients: Congratulations on your achievements, and thank you for your contributions to our Global Spartan, SJSU, and global communities! Continue Reading…

Student Spotlight: Yuyi Huang

Yuyi (Yuki) Huang

  • Major: Management Information System (MIS)
  • Home Town: Wuhan, China

Yuki (as she prefers to go by) is part of our very first Global Leader cohort and has been part of the team since day one! You may have seen her assisting at our ISSS front desk or co-leading our weekly Thursday Tea Time.

Continue Reading…

Alumni Spotlight: Utsav Jain

Utsav Jain, MS Software Engineering, 2019

Utsav Jain was selected to be the student speaker for our inaugural “Celebrate! Honoring International Graduates” event for the class of 2019. He currently works as a Software Engineer in Silicon Valley and remains an active international alumni, who continues to give back to our Global Spartan community.

What are you doing now?

Software Engineer at Corning Inc.

What is your most favorite memory of SJSU?

It is quite hard to pick one memory. Having group project meetings in the student union, playing games and chatting with other international students at the ISSS Coffee Hour. One of the most favorite things I did was the “Practically Speaking” program conducted  by Amy Russo from the Writing Center. 

I will also remember my graduation ceremony quite fondly. Due to current events, it might sound like a brag, but there was certainly something magical about the event.

I would like to mention my favorite professor, Prof. Michael Larkin. The way he conducted his lectures was truly remarkable.  

How has your SJSU experience impacted your life either personally or professionally?

My advanced degree from SJSU enabled me to further my career as a Software Engineer. A major advantage of my program, MS in Software Engineering, is that most of the courses are taught by professionals working in the industry, that too in Silicon Valley.  

Personally, I started a new phase of my life after graduating from SJSU, although I carried a lot of lessons, memories, and friends from my “University times”.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or about being an international student at SJSU?

Firstly, you will get home sick. However, the Bay Area is very diverse. There’s a good chance that you’ll find shops and restaurants catering to your background. Nothing can replace the comfort of your hometown, but going to a place which serves food like home certainly helps.

Secondly, if you plan to stay in the US for long, depending on your nationality, you may need an immigration plan that might be a decade or longer. You would need to be selective with your employers and limited to the kind of jobs you can work.

Lastly, SJSU has so many resources, it’s hard to even know all. I wish I had attended some more random events and participated in some more random activities. For example, the aforementioned “Practically Speaking” program was a totally random thing offered by the writing center. I was a software engineering student, so it didn’t really have a connection with my  field of study. But it turned out to be one of the most fun things I did and improved my overall personality.     

What advice would you give to current international students?

Firstly, always stay on top of your paperwork, especially immigration related. It appears quite intimidating at first, but most of the time, it is pretty straightforward. Also, whenever the U.S. immigration authorities want something from you, it’s best to give them as soon as you can even though they might take an arbitrarily long time to get back to you. 

Secondly, connecting with your peers in class is just as important as making industry connections. It may feel a bit difficult to talk to people of other nationalities in your class, but it can be very rewarding.  

Lastly, change your computer language to default to English (U.S.) :-).

Student Spotlight: Mindy Trieu

Y Mindy Trieu

Major: Masters in Business Administration | Home Town: Vietnam

As a Global Leader and Advisory Board Member in our iSucceed Mentorship Program, Mindy is an active and important contributor to our Global Spartan community.  You may have met her during a Global Leader chat or at one of our ISSS events, and experienced her warm smile and friendly welcome.

What is your dream job?

I’m still exploring my career interest; however, I would love to land a position as a Business Analyst or a Project Manager at a global tech company upon graduation. My MBA cohort has given me incredible advice for my career path, and my professors are also helpful in giving me insights into the current business and job trends.

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

I’m an Advisory Board Member and a Global Leader at the International Student & Scholar Services. I’m also an Instructional Student Assistant at the Jack Holland Student Success Center.

During my time here, I’ve had a chance to help several graduate students with their research and thesis simply by participating in surveys and interviews they conducted. I’m happy that this year I could join so many SJSU virtual events and get benefits from them while cooking, driving and cleaning.

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

Some fun facts about Vietnam that you may not know:

  • Vietnam is the second-largest coffee-producing nation, and we drink coffee from a phin filter (Google “coffee phin” and it will pop up.)
  • Home of Hang Son Doong Cave, the world’s largest natural cave.
  • According to ancient folklore, Vietnamese people are descendants of dragons and fairy.
  • You get to bargain for a better price for most products.
  • Vietnamese cuisine is considered amongst the healthiest in the world.
  • Up to 16% of the world’s species can be found here.
  • Lunar New Year is the most important event of the year.
  • Binh Chau Hot Natural Springs get so hot that you can boil eggs there.

Come visit Vietnam, and I’ll bring you to eat not only “pho” but also “hu tieu, banh canh, mi Quang, bun rieu” and all other yummy dishes!

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

The fact that Starbucks remains open when everything else closed on the nights we have our MBA classes. Saved us many stressful nights T.T

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library! On weeks my classmates and I have important group projects and presentations, we would book rooms in the library for hours to study. I like the quiet floor where I can put on my headphone and be in my own space (even take a 15-mins nap!) A super effective place to get my works done.

What do you wish you had known sooner about life in the U.S. or being a student at SJSU?

If I could go back in time, I would get involved in student organizations and SJSU departments in my very first semester. I’ve met great friends, mentors, and cohorts thanks to socializing in those organizations, which I wish I would have realized earlier.

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

In this particularly challenging time, please keep in mind that there is a big community of international students at SJSU and in the U.S. who are in the same boat as you. When in fear, think or do something that yields positive impacts for yourself and others. Maybe eat some fruits, or maybe call your grandmother. Strive, regardless of circumstances.

Scholar Spotlight: Cassie Hilditch

Cassie Hilditch is a Visiting Scholar from Australia in the Department of Psychology at SJSU. Read on to learn more about Cassie!

What is your role here at SJSU? What do you hope to accomplish during your time here?

I am a Senior Research Associate in the Fatigue Countermeasures Laboratory based at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. My research aims are to improve the sleep, alertness, and performance of aviators and astronauts. My goals are to meaningfully contribute to the research missions of my lab and to learn as much as possible from the amazing and diverse scientists at NASA. (And to go to the moon… one day!)

What do you enjoy most about SJSU or your time here in the U.S.?

I love living in the Bay Area and having access to so many awesome outdoor spaces to hike and camp. The only thing keeping me sane during this pandemic are long hikes along the coast, through redwoods, and up mountains – getting as far away from people as possible. 

Before the pandemic I loved having access to all the concerts from bands that rarely tour in Australia. 

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

I’m from Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. Despite having a population of over 1 million people, Adelaide is known as the “big country town” and gets overshadowed by its big brother, Melbourne. But I love the big country town vibe – it means you can always bump into friends at the pub, events are never sold out, you can go swimming at the beach or hiking in the hills within a 15-min drive from the city, and you can get a meal from any cuisine in the whole world thanks to our diverse migrant population.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

I’d been a tourist in the US for several years before moving here, and I’ve lived here for 5 years, so I can’t really remember what it was like to be naive to American culture. That said, I still constantly find out about words or phrases that don’t translate from Australian to American that I’ve been using the whole time (e.g., “I don’t mind”). I’ve known my husband, an American, for 4 years and even today he only understands about one-third of what I say. 

Oh and taxes. I wish I had known a *competent* accountant sooner.

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

I hope that everyone is keeping safe and healthy during the pandemic! With everything shut down since March 2020 I’ve had a lot more free time and decided to volunteer at a local wildlife rescue center. What started as 2 hours per week cleaning poop out of cages has become my whole life – raising orphaned squirrels, releasing rehabilitated opossums,  becoming a team coordinator, and -yes- still cleaning poop out of cages. Point being: look into volunteering in your community, it can be a super rewarding experience and it supports the community that is supporting you!