University Scholars Series Features Wendy Rouse on Origins of Women’s Self-Defense Movement

Wendy Rouse

Wendy Rouse

The University Scholar Series for fall 2019 will continue on Nov. 13 The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229. The series is free and open to the public, with a light lunch provided.

Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement, 1890-1920

Associate Professor of History Wendy Rouse will present her research on the history of women and children in the Progressive Era during the final University Scholar Series talk of the semester. She will be discussing her latest book, Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement, 1890-1920. The book explores the way in which the proliferation of women’s self defense during the Progressive Era helped to debunk patriarchal myths about feminine weakness.

Her research has focused on methods of teaching history as well as women and children in the Progressive era, and she has penned a chapter on film portrayals of women’s suffrage for Hollywood or History? An Inquiry-Based Strategy for Using Film to Teach U.S. History and a journal article on Chinese exclusion and resistance published in Teaching History: A Journal of Methods. She is currently working on a project that examines the lives of queer suffragists in preparation of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 2020.

Rouse has doctorate in American History from University of California, Davis, a master’s in history and archaeology from California State University, Sacramento, as well as a bachelor’s in history from CSU Sacramento.

The series is hosted by Provost Vincent Del Casino, and sponsored by the Academic Affairs Division, the Spartan Bookstore and the University Library.

For Love of a Veteran: Grad Student Erin Cerasaro Inspired by Husband’s Service

Erin Cerasaro, left, works with Professor Elena Klaw on research to support veterans on transitioning to college. She was inspired to pursue a master's by her husband, a former Marine.

Erin Cerasaro, left, works with Professor Elena Klaw on research to support veterans on transitioning to college. She was inspired to pursue a master’s by her husband, a former Marine.

Erin Cerasaro is a graduate student who is part of the Research and Experimental Psychology program in the College of Social Sciences at San Jose State University. When she first moved to the Bay Area and started thinking about completing a graduate degree, she reached out to SJSU Psychology Professor Elena Klaw to volunteer in her research lab.

“I was trying to figure out how to go back to school and I needed another letter,” she said. “I reached out to several professors and Dr. Klaw gave me the opportunity to volunteer in her lab.”

Cerasaro had initially started a graduate program years before in Southern California, but she took a leave of absence. Her husband, a veteran who served as a Marine in Afghanistan, inspired her to again pursue a graduate degree.

“He was medically separated from the Marines because of a back injury,” she said. “A chiropractor saved his life and helped him to be capable of living his life again.”

Her husband decided to pursue a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and they moved from San Diego when he enrolled in a program in Northern California.

“I watched him to go school and saw how he was thriving,” Cerasaro said. “I saw how much it meant to him to help people and it made me want to do that as well.”

The psychology program at SJSU and Klaw’s research lab offered that opportunity. Klaw is the director of the Veterans Embracing Transition (VET) Connect Program, which focuses on developing best practices for serving military veterans in their pursuit of higher education.

“I’ve learned to do qualitative research and it has been inspiring to watch her work,” Cerasaro said of Klaw. “She’s always on the go and it’s amazing to watch her teach a class, run VET Connect, run her lab, and work on Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. It’s helped me see where I want to be when I graduate. I want to go on to get my PhD.”

Cerasaro continues to look to her husband for motivation.

“He has had issues with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and I’ve watched him overcome so many obstacles to get where he is today, to maintain and go beyond what is normal for him,” she said, adding, “Studying for hours, exercising to maintain his back and the things he does to maintain his mental health just truly is an inspiration.”

SJSU Asst. Professor Wins Rona Jaffe Foundation 2019 Writers’ Award

SJSU Assistant Professor Selena Anderson, left, is one of six emerging writers to receive the Rona Jaffe Writer's Award. Photo by Star Black

SJSU Assistant Professor Selena Anderson, left, is one of six emerging writers to receive the Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award.
Photo by Star Black

SJSU Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Selena Anderson said she has always been a reader and a writer by extension.

“I wanted to write, maybe because it involved reading,” she said. “I took a short story class when I was a junior at (University of) Texas under a really amazing professor and then I went to Columbia where I had the most beautiful reading life.”

She said the best lesson she took away with her from her MFA was to read with purpose.

Selena Anderson reads from her recent work at NYU after receiving a 2019 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. Photo by Star Black

Selena Anderson reads from her recent work at NYU after receiving a 2019 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award.
Photo by Star Black

This September, Anderson was among six emerging female authors to be honored by the Rona Jaffe Foundation. The recipients were chosen through a rigorous selection process conducted by a small committee of established writers who serve anonymously. The recipients this year received $40,000 each at a reception Sept. 12 that was followed by a reading on Sept 13 at New York University’s Creative Writing Program Reading Series at the Lillian Vernon Writers House.

“Back in graduate school some of my favorite writers—Rivka Galchen, Rebecca Curtis and Tracy K. Smith—were winners of the Rona Jaffe Award, so it was always on my radar,” she said. “There’s nothing quite like it, and I’m so thrilled to be in the sisterhood.”

Anderson said that when the director of the foundation called to tell her she had been selected as a 2019 recipient, she tried to sound cool but was silently jumping up and down.

“Then mid-call my husband, who always has amazing timing, rolled up on his bike and we silently jumped in a circle,” she said.

Anderson joined SJSU’s faculty in 2017. She is the author of two novels, Quinella and Cenisa, Samira, Monet, and is currently working on a collection of short stories entitled Tenderoni. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Bomb, Callaloo, and Fence, among others.

From her recently finished collection of short stories, “Godmother Tea” appears in Oxford American. The story is about a girl who makes bad decisions and then discovers a godmother who pushes her to reevaluate her life choices. She is also finishing a novel about three best friends who write letters to men in prison.

As a teacher, she encourages her students to ask “the questions they have as writers and let that inquiry direct them as they read.”

“You always aim to meet the work on its own terms—do unto others, as they say—be generous and honest and always come from a place of discovery,” she said. “Remember why you love stories in the first place.”

The Rona Jaffe Foundation press release describes Anderson’s work as pushing “the boundaries of realism and fantasy as she explores and interrogates the ideas of race, identiy, and Black womanhood in the American South.” Anderson has received fellowships from the Kimbilio Center, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Anderson will use her Writer’s Award for childcare over the next year while she finalizes her manuscripts, and begins work on a new project about the Texas-to-Mexico underground railroad.

“It’s an honor to win the RJF award and have the support of those who’ve for 25 years worked tirelessly to help usher some really gorgeous books into the world,” Anderson said. “I know I’ll do them proud.”

University Scholars Series Features Craig Simpson Talk on Kent State Shootings

Craig Simpson

Craig Simpson

The University Scholar Series for fall 2019 will continue on Oct 9. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229. The series is free and open to the public, with a light lunch provided.

The Kent State Shootings at 50: Rage, Reflection and Remembrance

Director of Special Collections and Archives at SJSU Craig Simpson will present his work on Oct. 9. He is the co-author of Above the Shots: An Oral History of the Kent State Shootings, which was nominated for a National Council on Public History Book Award. Simpson and his co-author examined how the detailed, varied and at-times contradictory accounts challenge and deepen the understanding of the events on May 4, 1970, when four Kent State University students were killed and nine others were wounded by members of the Ohio National Guard.

Simpson will explore how their methodology led to both obstacles and opportunities, resulting in a text departing in some ways from its original conception, yet one that fulfilled their objective to show how “The Long 1960s,” and the conflicts from that era that still rage in our own, can be illuminated at the intersection of individual and collective memory. He will also discuss potential avenues for further research as we near the 50th anniversary of this pivotal event in contemporary American history.

Simpson has a master’s of Library and Information Science from Kent State University and a master’s in history from Marquette University. He is a certified archivist and an oral historian. Before joining SJSU in 2018, he served as a special collections librarian at Kent State University Libraries and led the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project, a digital collection of more than 100 interviews about the events that occurred on May 4, 1970. He has also served as the Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivists at Indiana University.

SJSU’s Minghui Diao Publishes Latest Research on Air Pollution

Two photos compare the way the sky near campus looks on a day with low air pollution vs. a day with high air pollution.

Two photos compare the way the sky near campus looks on a day with low air pollution vs. a day with high air pollution.

SJSU Assistant Professor of Meteorology and Climate Science Minghui Diao’s research focuses on understanding how dirty the air is that we breathe. Her latest research has been published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. In the article Diao, Tracey Holloway and 15 coauthors from 14 universities and federal agencies assess state-of-art estimates for fine particulate matter. Their research is part of an overarching project funded by NASA’s Applied Science Program, and is being conducted by the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST).

The researchers looked at some of the limitations of standard air quality management monitors. Air quality monitors managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have limited coverage on the ground. The closest ground monitor may be a few blocks away, or hundreds of miles away, from the location being measured. For locations with fewer monitors, it is more difficult to assess the impact of air quality on public health.

Among all types of pollutants, fine particulate matter, particularly PM2.5, have the largest impact on human health. PM2.5 describes particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers. They are so small that twenty PM2.5 particles can fit side by side along the diameter of a strand of hair. These tiny particles can cause severe health impacts to human beings when they enter the bloodstream.

A highlight of the article is that it demonstrates how NASA satellite data play an important role for locations that used to be missing air quality information. Advancement in satellite technology helps to “see” air pollution in those locations. The resulting data will contribute to future development of epidemiology studies and air quality management efforts, while raising public awareness of air pollution’s impact on the environment and health.

“This is a new era during which we will get to know what is affecting the air quality in our back yards, with a helpful view from space,” said Diao.

SJSU to Host Revisiting the 1968 Chicano Commencement Symposium Oct. 11

In June 1968, Chicano students staged a walkout from then-San José State College commencement exercises to protest the lack of Chicano student enrollment, faculty members and related programs. The legacy of this activism is still felt today at San Jose State University.

To commemorate the events of 1968, SJSU is hosting a symposium on Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. The event is free, with lunch and refreshments provided. Tickets are available through Eventbrite. A livestream will be available for those unable to attend.

“Less than 1 percent of the San Jose State College graduating class of 1968 were Chicanos. This mirrored the meager presence of Chicanos on campus, despite a county population in excess of 12 percent,” said Armando Valdez, ’67 Sociology “The walkout brought this glaring disparity into sharp relief and spurred more responsive policies and practices. The symposium examines the legacy of Chicano Commencement, the persistence and impact of institutional changes resulting from the walkout, and also identifies current disparities and shortfalls that demand attention.”

Schedule of Event

9 a.m.

Registration and continental breakfast

10 a.m.


10:15 a.m.

Panel 1

“Legacy, Context and Significance of Chicano Commencement: The Big Picture” 


Armando Valdez, PhD

Armando Valdez, ’67 Sociology, earned a PhD at Stanford University. At San José State, he organized Student Initiative, the first Chicano student organization on campus, and subsequently the Mexican American Student Confederation (MASC), which organized the 1968 Chicano Commencement. Valdez published El Plan de Santa Barbara, and played a leadership role in La Causa Educational Center, the Southwest Network, which supported Chicano alternative schools; Bilingual Broadcasting Productions at KBBF, the nation’s first bilingual public radio station; the Stanford Center for Chicano Research; LatinoNet, the nation’s first Internet platform developed by a community of color; and HealthPoint Communications, a health communications research institute to address health inequities.


Al Camarillo, PhD

Al Camarillo is the past president of the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch, and has been a member of Stanford University’s history department since 1975. One of the founding scholars of Mexican American history and Chicano studies, he received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford Humanities Center. The seven-time author’s newest books: The Racial Borderhoods of America: Mexican Americans and the Changing Ethnic/Racial Landscapes of Cities, 1850-2000 (2020, Oxford University Press). He was founding director of CCSRE and the Stanford Center for Chicano Research, and founding executive director of the Inter-University Program in Latino Research.

Juan Gómez-Quiñones, PhD

Juan Gómez-Quiñones is professor of history at UCLA and considered the founder of Chicano history as an academic discipline. He specializes in the fields of political, labor, intellectual and cultural history. Since 1969, Gómez-Quiñones has been active in higher education, culture activities promotion and Chicano studies efforts. He has published more than 30 books or monographs, has served as director of the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA and was a founding co-editor of Aztlan, International Journal of Chicano Studies Research. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, he has served on the California State University and Colleges Board of Trustees, the WASC Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities and as a member of the board of directors of numerous civic organizations.

David Montejano, PhD

David Montejano is a professor in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, he was professor of ethnic studies and history, and chair of the Center for Research on Social Change at the University of California, Berkeley. A native of San Antonio, Texas, he received a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University. Among his publications are two prize-winning historical works, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas,1836-1986, and Quixote’s Soldiers: A Local History of the Chicano Movement,1966-1981, both published by the University of Texas Press.

Carlos Muñoz, PhD

Carlos Muñoz Jr., the son of working-class refugees of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, became a Chancellor’s Public Scholar, Edward A. Dickson Distinguished Emeritus Professor, professor emeritus of ethnic studies and an affiliated faculty member in the Center for Latin American Studies at UC, Berkeley. The founding chair of California State University, Los Angeles’ Chicano studies department and founding chair of the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies, Muñoz is an expert on ethnic and racial politics, multiculturalism and diversity, immigration, civil and human rights, and affirmative action. An award-winning author, Muñoz co-founded the Institute for Multiracial Justice and Latinos Unidos.

11:30 a.m.



Panel 2 and Lunch

“Impetus of Chicano Commencement 1967-1968: Oral Histories of the Activists”


Rigo Chacon

For 32 years, Rigo Chacon was the South Bay Bureau Chief for KGO T.V., the ABC station in San Francisco. Early in his career, Rigo recognized the importance of an emerging Silicon Valley and made it his mission to establish a bureau in San Jose. When other television stations noticed KGO’s success, more south bay bureaus were established thus making Santa Clara County a major American broadcasting region. Rigo came to San Jose in 1961 as part of a farm working family. At San Jose High School, the future triple Emmy Award winner was junior class and Student Body President before attending San Jose State University where he has served as adjunct professor for future broadcasters. Rigo is the founder of Abrazos and Books, a nonprofit entity that awards scholarships to high school seniors in Santa Clara County. Abrazos and Books also helps children who are victims of natural or man-made catastrophes. Rigo is married and the father of four adult sons, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.


Norma Fierro

Norma Fierro is the child of parents who immigrated to the Santa Clara Valley from Mexico in the 1920s. As a student at San José State, she was vice president of Student Initiative and the Mexican American Student Confederation, later leading a 32-year career as a bilingual educator in K-12 districts with a high population of Chicano students. The coordinator of the Association of Mexican Americans in Alum Rock, she served as the president of the California Association of Bilingual Education’s San José chapter. She dedicated her life’s work to promoting educational equality for English language learners.

Juan C. Garcia, PhD

Juan Castañon García, ’82 MS Clinical Psychology, was a member of San José State’s Student Initiative and the Mexican American Student Confederation. Inspired by his Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) in high school, García was a participant in the 1968 Chicano commencement walkout, and was committed to Bay Area youth activism, recruiting Chicanos to pursue higher education. A licensed marriage and family therapist, he founded Spanish-speaking service provider groups to advocate for mental health access for Latinx communities. A professor emeritus of counseling and rehabilitation at California State University, Fresno, García co-founded the Integral Community Solutions Institute to provide counseling services to San Joaquin Valley’s underserved populations. García is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University.

Malaquias Montoya

UC Davis Professor Emeritus Malaquias Montoya is regarded as one of the founders of the social serigraphy movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-1960s. He has taught at Stanford, UC Berkeley, the California College of the Arts, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas, San Antonio. Montoya’s art depicts the resistance and strength of humanity in the face of injustice, and the necessity to unite behind that struggle. He co-founded Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer, a rural community-based art center. In 2011, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center published Voice for the Voiceless, a monograph about Montoya’s work. Montoya’s artwork will be on display during the Symposium.

Connie Moralez

Connie Moralez was admitted to San José State in fall 1967, one of two students selected by Buchser High School as part of a targeted recruitment of Hispanic students. The daughter of farmworkers with grade school educations, Moralez was the first family member to receive a college education, completing her bachelor’s degree in political science at Arizona State University. Inspired by the Chicano movement, Moralez focused on making a positive difference in the lives of struggling individuals, particularly Hispanics. Her professional career has encompassed community service, work within community-based organizations and educational institutions. Moralez developed and implemented a mentorship program for East Side Youth Center, and supported EOP students at Mission College.

Tony Quintero, JD

Tony Quintero, ’68 Sociology, walked out in protest in the 1968 Chicano Commencement. As a law student at UC Berkeley, he founded El Centro Legal de la Raza and served as president of La Raza National Law Students Association. As CEO of American Regional Malls, LLC, and chairman of Plaza Investments, LLC, Quintero acquired and managed malls, and developed a program that benefited the changing demographics of Latino and African-American communities. He served as director of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, vice chairman of the New America Alliance and co-chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic Leadership Council. His rich and varied career includes acting in three television series, three feature films, and producing six film projects.

1:15 p.m.


1:30 p.m.

Panel 3

“Gains Achieved/Challenges Ahead: Revitalizing the Mission of Chicano Commencement”


Julia Curry, PhD

Julia Curry is associate professor of Chicano and Chicana Studies at San Jose State. Since 2009, she has worked with the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association to provide scholarships for undocumented students. She advocated institutionalizing services, support and resources for immigrant students, leading to the development of SJSU’s UndocuSpartan Resource Center in 2018. Curry serves as faculty advisor to Student Advocates for Higher Education, an undocumented student support group, and the Chicano/a/x Graduate Council. She coordinates with the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies to address legal challenges, such as the Supreme Court Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)/Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) case, and organizes symposia covering policies related to in-state tuition and the California Dream Act.


Elma Arredondo, MA

Elma Arredondo, ’79 Psychology, is an analyst programmer at San José State, where she helped develop a student data warehouse service. Arredondo, who minored in Mexican American studies as a student,­ was trained as a programmer at IBM before becoming an information specialist at SJSU, initially working in the Educational Opportunity Program’s data management, information and technical services. She serves on the executive board of the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association, where she works on the Ernesto Galarza Scholarship committee. An active member of Alum Rock Urban Village Advocates, Arredondo advises the Academics, Leaders, Mentors Aiming for Success (ALMAS) and Chicano Commencement student organizations. Arredondo is involved in her East San Jose community, currently with Alum Rock Urban Village Advocates.

Alfonzo Espinoza, MSW

Alfonzo Castro Espinoza, ’69 Graphic Design, ’73 MSW, was the first Chicano Educational Opportunity Program director appointed by San José State’s President Robert Clark. Espinoza organized EOP to provide services to incoming Chicano students, including tutoring, counseling, financial aid and recruitment. He taught at San José State, UC Santa Cruz and Monterey Peninsula College before becoming a bilingual teacher in the Pajaro Unified School District. Elected president of San José State’s Chicano Student Club, Student Initiative, in 1967, he participated in the first Chicano Commencement in 1968. Espinoza is honored to have served the Chicano community throughout his career in higher education and to have worked with many Chicano students to advocate for social, cultural, political and economic change.

Stella M. Flores, EdD

Stella M. Flores is associate dean for faculty development and diversity and

associate professor of higher education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education

and Human Development at New York University. She also serves as director of access

and equity at the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at NYU. Her research examines the effects of state and federal policies on college access and completion outcomes for low-income and underrepresented populations. Flores has published on demographic changes in U.S. and was awarded the 2019 Harvard Graduate School of Education Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education. Recognized as one of the top 200 scholars in Education Week’s RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, her research has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Reynaldo Macias, PhD

Reynaldo F. Macías is a professor of Chicana/o studies, education and socio-linguistics, and an affiliated faculty member with the African American studies and civic engagement departments at UCLA. The founding chair of UCLA’s César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, he served as the assistant director of the National Institute of Education and was appointed to the advisory board for the National Institute for Literacy by President Clinton in 1996, where he served until 2003. The co-founder of Aztlán—International Journal of Chicano Studies Research and the National Association of Chicano Social Science, Macías specializes in the politics of language policy, language demography and educational socio-linguistics, including literacy, and bilingual and multicultural curricular education.

Refugio I. Rochin, PhD

Refugio I. Rochin is UC Davis professor emeritus Chicana and Chicano studies and agricultural economics. He served on UC Santa Cruz’s Graduate Group for Education at UC Davis and lecturer in Latin America and Latino studies. The first permanent director of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University, Rochin was also founding director of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives. A board member of CEMELA and the American Society of Hispanic Economists, he received the inaugural Achievement Award of the American Society of Hispanic Economists in 2008. He is recognized for his path-breaking Latino/a studies scholarship and research on new technology adoption as part of Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug’s “Green Revolution Team.”

2:45 p.m.

Closing and reception


SJSU Hosts Inaugural Parent and Family Weekend Oct. 4-6

SJSU is hosting Parent and Family Weekend Oct. 4-6. Photo by David Schmitz

SJSU is hosting Parent and Family Weekend Oct. 4-6.
Photo by David Schmitz

San Jose State University is hosting its inaugural Parent and Family Weekend Oct. 4-6. Parents and families are invited to show their Spartan Spirit at a football game, attend a mini lecture series, learn how to help their students succeed at SJSU and enjoy plenty of time with their students.

To learn or to register, visit:

Schedule of events

Friday, October 4
5 to 7 p.m.: Show your Spartan pride at the Parent and Family Tailgate on South Campus and participate in the Brew & Vine Tailgate
Includes meal ticket for Smoking Pig BBQ and vegetarian options, SJSU themed tasting cup, tailgating game area, and pre-game Spartan walk with the players
7 p.m.: SJSU Football vs. New Mexico

Saturday, October 5
9 a.m.: Continental Breakfast
10 a.m.: Welcome event with members of the Administration and Parent/Family Member of the Year Award presentation

Be a student for the day
11:15 a.m.: Learn from World Class Faculty – Mini Lecture Series (11:15am)
Noon: Explore Student Success – Frosh/Sophomore and Junior/Senior Workshops
12:30 p.m.: Have lunch at the Student Union and visit the Interactive Student Org Fair on the 7th Street Plaza to learn more about how your student can get involved at SJSU
2:30 p.m.: Go bowling at the Bowling Center in the Student Union (2:30pm) or
Tour the new Student Recreation and Aquatic Center
4-6 p.m.: Enjoy an evening under the stars and attend a reception at the Hammer Theater

Sunday, October 6
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Join us for Brunch downtown at Rookies patio and mingle with fellow SJSU parents, families, students and alumni!

For questions about Parent and Family Weekend, please call 408-924-5972 or email

SJSU IT Offers Tips on How to Be Secure Online

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

San Jose State University’s IT Division is working to raise awareness of how students, faculty and staff can be more secure online during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As part of the Academic Alliance with the Department of Homeland Security, the university will be sharing tips on cybersecurity that encourage internet users to “Stop.Think.Connect.”

On Oct 1 and 2, IT will host a Cybersecurity Awareness booth outside Clark Hall between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Students, faculty and staff are invited to take a phishing quiz and pick up “fun fact” snacks. The emphasis will be on ways to stay secure while adopting the latest security software, web browsers, and operating systems, to spot phishing, safe online browsing and password protection through multi-factor authentication.

The national awareness campaign this year is focused on three steps internet users should take before logging on.


Before you use the internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.


Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety—or your family.


Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.


CommUniverCity SJSU Selected as a 2019 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education

SJSU students and faculty surveyed residents about mobility in the city at Viva CalleSJ.

SJSU students and faculty surveyed residents about mobility in the city at Viva CalleSJ.

CommUniverCity SJSU has been selected by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) to receive the 2019 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education: Community-Based Organization award. The program will be recognized at NSEE’s annual conference Sept. 24th in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

“It’s so gratifying for CommUniverCity SJSU to be recognized at the national level for the rich hands-on learning opportunities we provide more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students every year,” said Katherine Cushing, executive director of CommUniverCity SJSU and professor of Environmental Studies. “Every day, we strive to show our students how they can apply what they are learning in class to ‘move the needle’ on important social issues that matter to our neighbors.”

Cushing traveled to Florida to receive the award at the conference.

The program brings together city representatives, community partners and residents as well as SJSU faculty, students and staff to provide engaging service-learning opportunities for students to connect and contribute to the local community surrounding SJSU. Last year the program oversaw 42 experiential learning projects and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this fall. CommUniverCity SJSU focuses its work in three main areas: Engage, which focuses on improving community health, Learn, which promotes a college-going culture and Build, which enhances neighborhood infrastructure.

One such “learn” project is Engineering in Action, led by Michael Oye, a project supervisor and associate director of CommUniverCity SJSU.

SJSU students work on lesson plans for the Engineering in Action project.

SJSU students work on lesson plans for the Engineering in Action project.

“The Engineering in Action project allows our SJSU students to gain a valuable experiential education opportunity by explaining technical subject matter to non-technical people, a practice that many of our students will have to master in their careers wherever they work,” said Oye, who is also a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. “At the same time, students gain a broader perspective of the engineering profession in society, and children from the community have a chance to interact with role models.”

An example of an ongoing “engage” project is Growing Sustainability, where SJSU students focus on engaging school-aged children with hands-on activities designed to teach the importance of healthy living and environmental stewardship. The program includes garden education during school hours, an after school garden club and gardening workshops.

“I have always been passionate about environmental education and outdoor opportunities for underserved populations, but managing the Growing Sustainably program has opened my eyes to the impacts of hands-on experiential education on attitude and behavior change among participants, as well as the importance of place-based education,” said Alexandra Dahl, a graduate student in environmental studies and project coordinator of Growing Sustainability. “SJSU undergraduate student interns teaching the garden and cooking workshops are able to take what they learn in their college courses and apply them in real-world settings.”

One of the key tenets of the CommUniverCity SJSU is that projects are based on community-identified needs in the city. This is especially true for “build” projects. This year, SJSU students in sociology, political science and urban planning administered more than 1,500 mobility surveys to participants at Viva CalleSJ, an open streets event attracting more than 100,000 residents. The students analyzed the data and presented findings to City of San Jose staff members.

NSEE recognized CommUniverCity SJSU for its leadership in implementing education projects designed to meet community needs, engagement with the City of San Jose and local civic organizations to develop economic opportunities in underserved communities, as well as its advocacy for experiential education projects for students from diverse backgrounds.

By the Numbers (2004-2019):

115,556 residents engaged

21,130 SJSU students participated in projects

394,382 volunteer hours

$8.38 million (estimated value to the community)


SJSU’s Simran Bhalla Receives Two CSU Trustees’ Awards

Simran Bhalla is the recipient of two 2019 CSU Trustees' Awards.

Simran Bhalla is the recipient of two 2019 CSU Trustees’ Awards.

Growing up in India, Simran Bhalla dreamed of one day working for NASA and venturing into outer space. She moved to California only three years ago to begin her higher education journey.

“America has given me a lot of opportunities to challenge myself, learn and grow,” she said. “However, I faced a lot of difficulties due to the high living expenses.”

As a student at De Anza College, she relied on a community kitchen for meals. She transferred to San Jose State University last year to pursue a degree in business administration with a concentration in management information systems. This summer she received some news that would help alleviate some of her financial concerns. Bhalla was selected to receive a California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. She received both the Trustee Emerita Claudia H. Hampton Scholar Award and the Trustee Emeritus William Hauck and Padget Kaiser Scholar Award.

Since starting her studies at SJSU, Bhalla began volunteering at Third Street Community Center. The non-profit organization provides educational programs for youth in San Jose. She is also an active member of the Management Information Systems Association on campus and is working alongside her professor to design products to assist students in their career goals.

This year, she is developing applications to improve the health and well-being of those impacted by natural disasters. She herself has a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse that sometimes causes a rapid heartbeat and chest pain.

“All my professors have been very supportive and understanding so that has helped me to manage my studies well,” she said.

Simran plans to earn a PhD and eventually work as a data scientist at NASA to aid and promote scientific research. But she also has other reasons for keeping focused on the future.

Simran Bhalla relaxes outside of the classroom at SJSU.

Simran Bhalla relaxes outside of the classroom at SJSU.

“There are a lot of young children who are not able to fulfill their dreams due to a lack of resources and opportunities,” she said. “I want to help them, which is only possible if I become financially independent.”

She imagines traveling and volunteering some day in different countries around the world, and perhaps returning to India to help an animal shelter where she volunteered in the past.

“The shelter treats sick and injured homeless animals, but it is currently facing financial problems,” she said. “I want to complete my degree and get a good job so that I can also help the animal shelter.”

Innovators Visit SJSU for Fall 2019 Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering will present the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium again this fall with seven speakers visiting San Jose State University. The first event in the series will be Sept. 26, with David Zhou sharing insights on artificial intelligence (AI). Zhou is the head of product for autonomous driving for Baidu, a Chinese multinational company.

Since Fall 2002, the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering has hosted the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium (SVLS). The Symposium hosts industry and technology leaders to talk about business and technology trends. It also features prominent leaders who discuss broader societal and political issues that shape our life and society.

Each talk talks place on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. in Engineering 189.

The fall 2019 lineup includes:

September 26

David Zhou, Head of Product for Autonomous Driving


October 10

Speaker TBD


October 17

Patricia Backer, Professor of Technology

Global Technology Institute Program

October 24

Auston Davis, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer


November 7

Mahesh Kamat, Chief Architect of DPD Appliance Engineer and Senior Distinguished Engineer


November 14

Eric Law, Senior Director of Innovation and Technology

Swinerton Builders

November 21

Sylvia Flores, CEO

Manos Accelerator

December 5

Matthew Trowbridge, Vice President of Marketing


Art Lecturer and Students Explore Sustainable Materials in Costa Rica

SJSU students make lithographs with sustainable materials in Costa Rica.

SJSU students make lithographs with sustainable materials in Costa Rica.

SJSU Lecturer Irene Carvajal teaches printmaking to her students. Lithography is one of the processes she teaches, a medium that has changed very little in the last 300 years.

“For hundreds of years we’ve used the same materials,” Carvajal said. “The joke in the art department is that if Rembrandt were to rise from the dead, everything would shock him except the printmaking department.”

For the last two summers, Carvajal and some of her students traveled to Costa Rica for a summer faculty-led program (FLP) to explore ways to move printmaking into the modern world by moving from petroleum-based, toxic and limited materials, to sustainable materials.

The seed of summer program began several years before when Carvajal visited her home country and visited her alma mater University of Costa Rica. She described the country as having a strong environmental identity and a place where artists and citizens celebrate the natural riches of the country. At the university, she paired up with artists and scientists to explore sustainable materials that might be used in printmaking.

“The only reason we use petroleum is because of its PH and chemical properties,” she said. “But that naturally occurs in fruit and plants, such as lemon juice, pineapple juice and honey. We cook with these things on a daily basis and realized the properties actually match the properties of petroleum. We can etch on stone or metal with these materials.”

Lecturer Irene Carvajal and students visited the rain forest in Costa Rica for inspiration for their art.

Lecturer Irene Carvajal and students visited the rain forest in Costa Rica for inspiration for their art.

Working with the College of Professional and Global Education and with Susie Morris, the director of Study Abroad and Away, Carvajal developed curriculum and an itinerary for a three-week summer program. In 2018, 11 students participated and this summer eight students traveled with her. The SJSU students spent half-days during the week at the University of Costa Rica.

“The world of art is not particularly sustainable most of the time,” said SJSU photography student Nanzi Muro. “At the University of Costa Rica, I learned that it is possible to be a viable artist when creating art. It is a process that takes time and many steps, but it is a matter of wanting to make the change of being a sustainable artist. I have already started the process, and now it is time to continue practicing the steps I learned in my lithography class in Costa Rica.”

The students spent the rest of the day with curators, gallerists, visiting museums as well as government agencies, and nonprofits focused on the environment. Weekends included hikes through national parks or organic farms.

“We traveled to top of the rainforest and swam in hot springs, but we were always looking for some inspiration to take back to class,” said another student, Rene Campos. “Whether it was leaf patterns or volcanic rocks we were always trying to find something from our new surroundings to adapt to our lithographs. “

Students captured views of tropical rain forests in Costa Rica.

Students captured views of tropical rain forests in Costa Rica.

For part of the visit, the students traveled to a remote rain forest region to experience an innovative rural tourism experiment. Three decades ago, 25 families submitted claims to the Costa Rican government for farmland.

“When they arrived, they realized that it was beautiful,” she said. “There was a waterfall and a river, and all sorts of animals and plants. They decided to farm a small portion and keep the rest as a tropical rain forest.”

The Costa Rican group applied for a grant to get money to build eight small, minimal houses on the property. The houses are rented out to scientists, environmentalists or others who want to study the region or learn about the culture in the rural area.

“We were the first group of artists to visit,” Carvajal said. “They taught us about plants, animals and their way of life. We ate from what grew around us, we became part of their family, we taught them how to screen print and make ink out of the native plants.”

Upon returning to SJSU, the students put together an exhibition of the work they created while in Costa Rica. She describes art as the record of what is going on that can be a record of what is going on in the world when it is created.

“As a multicultural person who has lived back and forth in multiple countries, one thing I have thought is that in developed nations we tend to fix problems with money,” she said. “In countries such as Costa Rica there is no money so people have to be creative to come up with solutions to fix their problems. I teach my students the creative process is not just artistic – it is an everyday activity that has to do with looking at life and how to make it better.”

SJSU’s Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies to Recognize Mumford & Sons Sept. 18

Mumford & Sons

SJSU’s Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies will present Mumford & Sons with the Steinbeck Award Sept. 18.

San Jose State University’s Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies will present the 2019 John Steinbeck Award to musical band Mumford & Sons Sept. 18, as part of the Stanford Live Program. The sold-out event will feature a conversation and acoustic performance by the band.

SJSU’s Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies presents the John Steinbeck Award annually, celebrating writers, thinkers, artists, and activists who embody the empathetic spirit and values of John Steinbeck. Mumford & Sons demonstrates this commitment to social engagement through Gentlemen of the Roadthe fund they founded in 2006 that supports global and local charities fighting for social justice.

“Mumford & Sons can also be linked to John Steinbeck through their music, especially songs such as ‘Timshel,’ ‘Dust Bowl Dance,’ and ‘Rose of Sharon,’ and through their advocacy of Steinbeck’s writings,” said Ted Cady, chair of the Steinbeck Award committee.

In 2012, the band performed in the heart of Steinbeck Country at “Mumford & Sons in Monterey: A Salute to John Steinbeck.” Now, the band will again honor Steinbeck in a performance that marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

Past awardees include notable musicians Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, and Joan Baez.

Proceeds from the event will benefit The Steinbeck Service Fellowship created by SJSU Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of the Marth Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies Nick Taylor and Stanford English professor Gavin Jones. The fellowship will allow students to participate in service projects across the region that embody Steinbeck’s work and continue his legacy for compassionate community engagement.

For more information about the John Steinbeck Award and the award ceremony at Bing Concert Hall, visit and

About SJSU’s Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies 

In operation since 1973, the Cox Center promotes Steinbeck’s goals of empathy and mutual understanding through public programming, free curriculum for teachers, and fellowships for emerging writers.

School of Information Researchers Recognized By Emerald Publishing

Emerald Publishing, a firm that has a portfolio of 300 journals, 2,500+ book titles and more than 1,500 case studies on the impact of research, recognized articles authored by two SJSU professors and one alumna.

Their annual Literati Awards recognizes articles in four categories: Highly Commended Paper, Outstanding Paper, Outstanding Reviewer and Outstanding Author Contribution.

College of Professional and Global Education School of Information Associate Professor Hsuanwei “Michelle” Chen and Professor Patricia Franks received an award for Highly Commended Paper for “Voices in the Cloud: Social Media and Trust in Canadian and U.S. Local Governments” in Records Management Journal. Their study examined two questions: Can local government use social media to increase citizen trust and if local government can use social media, what can be learned about the administration of social media that results in an incrase in citizen trust of government. The pair examined 20 local governments in Canada and the USA.

Emily Coyne, ’16 MLIS, received an award for Outstanding Paper for “Big data information governance by accountants” in International Journal of Accounting and Information Management. Her work with colleagues from the University of Memphis, Tennessee, aims to address a lack of understanding about Big Data in the accounting field. The researchers look at ways to address how accountants can turn Big Data into useful information as well as how they can assist with information governance.

SJSU Ranks #6 Among West’s Top Public Universities and #5 Overall for the Region in Social Mobility in U.S. News and World Report College Lists

Graduates of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering celebrate at Spring 2019 commencement. SJSU ranked among the top public engineering programs on U.S. News and World Report's 2020 college rankings. Photo by Josie Lepe

Graduates of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering celebrate at Spring 2019 commencement. SJSU ranked among the top public engineering programs on U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 college rankings. ( Photo: Josie Lepe, ’03 BFA Photography )

U.S. News and World Report released its 2020 college rankings today, with San Jose State University ranked #6 among the West’s top public universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. New this year, the publication added a ranking for social mobility that compares how well universities and colleges do in graduating Pell grant-eligible students. SJSU ranked #3 among public universities in the West, and #5 overall for the region.

SJSU also performed well in a category called “Most Innovative Schools,” ranking #5 among public universities in the West. This ranking is based on nominations by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans of 15 colleges or universities within their Carnegie Classification that they believe are making the “most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”

SJSU Ranked among the most diverse public universities in the West. Here students from the College of Humanities and the Arts celebrate Spring 2019 Commencements at the Event Center in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. ( Photo: Josie Lepe, '03 BFA Photography )

SJSU Ranked among the most diverse public universities in the West. Here students from the College of Humanities and the Arts celebrate Spring 2019 Commencements at the Event Center in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. ( Photo: Josie Lepe, ’03 BFA Photography )

“San Jose State’s high rankings in such a wide variety of categories reflect our diverse and welcoming nature, and our appeal to students from all walks of life,” said Mary A. Papazian, president of San Jose State. “People are learning what we have known all along. San Jose State offers a superb educational experience, talented staff and faculty, and unmatched opportunities that we are in a unique position to provide as Silicon Valley’s only public university.”

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering held fast at #3 among best public engineering program for university’s offering master’s and bachelor’s. The college ranked #17 in the nation among all private, public and service academies offering master’s and bachelor’s.

“We are honored by this recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of the top engineering programs in the country,” said Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering Dean Sheryl Ehrman, upon learning of the rankings. “Our engineering students and faculty come from different backgrounds, life experiences and often non-traditional paths. Their exchange of ideas and perspectives, coupled with our location in the heart of Silicon Valley, makes this a very special place to study and launch their careers.”

Other notable rankings

  • #3 among universities in the public universities in the West for ethnic diversity up from #5 in the 2019 rankings (#11 nationwide)
  • #4 among the West’s top public universities for best value up from #7 last year
  • #13 best university or college in the nation for veterans, up from #18 last year

2019 Campus Reading Program Kicks Off in September

Spare Parts Book Cover

Spare Parts Book Cover

San Jose State University’s Campus Reading Program for 2019 will kick off on September 11, with movie screenings, discussions and guest speaker events planned through the middle of November.

The book selection this year, Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot and the Battle for the American Dream, by Joshua Davis, is an underdog story about four Mexican American Teenagers from Phoenix who form a robotics team with the encouragement of their high school teachers. The teens go on to challenge reigning champions from MIT at a national robotics competition. The book, a gift from President Mary Papazian, was given to all incoming first-time frosh as well as all new tenure-track faculty.

The campus reading program committee selected Spare Parts because it reflects SJSU’s commitment to inclusion, diversity and understanding across differences.

“We are pleased that the book documents how teachers can make a significant difference in the lives of students, particularly students from underrepresented backgrounds,” said Kathleen McSharry, a professor of English who coordinates the Campus Reading Program. “Our diverse array of programming is designed to stimulate discussion about critical issues surrounding immigration and undocumented families, access to educational opportunities, and STEM education.”

Oscar Vazquez, a student featured in Spare Parts, will speak on campus and sign books on Monday, September 16, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Hammer Theatre.  Julio Navarette, an SJSU alumnus who was undocumented while in college, will share his journey on Tuesday, October 8, at 7 p.m. in Student Union 1A. He now teaches at American High School in Fremont and was voted Teacher of the Year by his students.

In conjunction with Campus Life’s Spartan Speakers Series, Orange is the New Black actress and activist Diane Guerrero will speak on campus, Monday, September 30, at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

The Center for Community Learning and Leadership will host three “craftivism” sessions in which participants will discuss the book while creating community art.

See the full list of events and activities:

The diversity of Campus Reading Program events is matched by the wide array of campus units sponsoring the events, including the College of Education, the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, the College of Humanities and the Arts, the School of Journalism, the University Library, the UndocuSpartan Resource Center, the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center, Campus Life and the Center for Community Learning and Leadership.

University Scholars Series Starts Sept. 11

Saili Kulkarni

Saili Kulkarni

The University Scholar Series starts on Sept. 11, with a talk by Saili Kulkarni, an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229. The series is free and open to the public, with a light lunch provided.

Understanding Intersections of Disability and Race: PK-12 Education, Justice Studies and Higher Education

Kulkarni will be presenting her research on “Understanding Intersections of Disability and Race: PK-12 Education, Justice Studies and Higher Education.” Kulkarni draws from the experiences of teachers and school professionals who support restorative practices for young children to create more inclusive, safe school environments for all learners. These practices help educators and professionals become proactive in their approaches to discipline rather than reactive. Kulkarni applies Disability Studies and Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) within teacher education to develop resistance-oriented teachers of color who will disrupt inequities for children of color with disabilities.

Kulkarni has a doctorate and master’s in special education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s in psychology from Boston University. She earned a teaching credential from San Francisco State University.

“Like many of my students at SJSU, I earned my credential while working as an intern teacher, so I truly understand first-hand what it’s like,” she said. “Ultimately, the support of the professors in my credential program propelled me to ask more questions and pursue a PhD in special education.

Kulkarni previously worked as an inclusive educator in the Oakland Unified School District where she supported K-5 students with dis/abilities in general education classrooms.  Her work on special education teachers of color was selected for the 2018 Curriculum Inquiry Writing Fellowship through the University of Toronto Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Save-the-date for upcoming events

The Kent State Shootings at 50: Rage, Reflection and Remembrance
Craig Simpson, Director of Special Collections and Archives
Wednesday, Oct. 9, noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229

Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement, 1890-1920
Wendy Rouse, Associate Professor of History
Wednesday, Nov. 13, noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229

The series is hosted by Provost Vincent Del Casino, and sponsored by the Academic Affairs Division, the Spartan Bookstore and the University Library.

Governor Signs Bill Allowing CSUs to Offer Doctor of OT Degree

An Occupational Therapy master's student works with clients during an on-campus clinic to help them improve dexterity. A new bill has cleared the path for SJSU and other CSUs to develop doctoral programs in OT.

An Occupational Therapy master’s student works with clients during an on-campus clinic to help them improve dexterity by using a cotton candy machine. A new bill has cleared the path for SJSU and other CSUs to develop doctoral programs in OT.

Governor Gavin Newsom approved Assembly Bill 829 Aug. 30, clearing the way for San Jose State University to offer a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. The next step will be for the Chancellor’s Office to approve an executive order that will set the scope and guidelines for the new degree

In anticipation of the approval of this bill and pending approval by the Chancellor’s Office, faculty in the College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) Department of Occupational Therapy have already begun work on developing curriculum for a doctoral degree.

“They started about a year ago in anticipation of this going through,” said HHS Interim Dean Pamela Richardson. “We are looking at what the balance will be between the master’s and doctoral programs.”

The college anticipates admitting the first cohort in 2022-23.

“The OTD gives graduates additional training in research and evidence, more coursework in program evaluation and program development, and will have a capstone project and experience,” Richardson said. “They will have more potential for leadership opportunities.”

A doctoral program also will build a pipeline for future educators.

“Most academic programs hire OTDs as faculty so it creates opportunities for teaching as well,” Richardson said.

The College of Health and Human Sciences already offers one doctoral program with another in development. This year marks the first year SJSU is offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice on its own following six years of offering a joint program with Fresno State University. The College is also working on the final stages of a  doctoral degree in its newly created Department of Audiology. Faculty are in the final stages of developing the curriculum, gaining conditional accreditation and recruiting audiology students for the first cohort to begin in fall 2020.

“These are certainly elevated health degrees and there will be lots of opportunity for interprofessional education,” Richardson said. “It will increase the visibility of our College as producing healthcare leaders across a variety of disciplines.”

She noted that accrediting boards in most healthcare disciplines require programs to provide interprofessional education so that graduates are prepared to work effectively on healthcare teams.

“This gives us an opportunity to build robust doctoral programs and ramp up the amount of collaborative research opportunities for faculty and students,” she said. “It takes research active faculty to appropriately train and mentor doctoral students.”

New Executive Director Joins Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change

Akilah Carter-Francique, the new executive director of the Institute for the Study of Sport Society and Social Change, poses for a photo during SJSU's Words to Action Town Hall at Levi Stadium. (Photo by David Schmitz)

Akilah Carter-Francique, the new executive director of the Institute for the Study of Sport Society and Social Change, poses for a photo during SJSU’s Words to Action Town Hall at Levi Stadium. (Photo by David Schmitz)

Akilah Carter-Francique said she never pictured moving to Silicon Valley as a step in her career trajectory, but when she saw the job posting for the executive director of the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at San Jose State University she had to apply. She first connected with SJSU when she was invited to be a faculty affiliate with the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC). She visited the campus for the first time in October 2018 for the Words to Action: Landmarks and Legacy of Athlete Activism Town Hall.

“It was great to have an opportunity to see the programming with Dr. Harry Edwards, Tommie Smith and John Carlos,” she said. “And especially to hear Wyomia Tyus—to sit in the audience and listen to one of my ‘sheroes’ talk about her experiences at the ’68 Games and learn about the challenges she faced and how she overcame them was a treasured experience.”

In July, Carter-Francique began her tenure as executive director of ISSSSC and will guide the Institute in honoring the university’s history of social justice while also looking toward the future. She aims to move the Institute into a position to not only host important discussions about issues of race, gender equity, and activism but to be able to educate through workshops and provide thought and research that will influence practice and inform policy creation.

Her personal and professional experience made her an ideal choice for the position. She grew up in Topeka, Kansas as the daughter of two K-12 educators. She herself was a student-athlete in track and field in college. She completed a doctorate at the University of Georgia and has experience working in in higher education as a professor and administrator in campus recreation. She also worked a short period of time in K-12 education stimulating her passion for young people and student engagement.

Her scholarly endeavors and field of focus encompasses the intersection of sport, society and social justice that is inclusive of issues of diversity, social movements, and the dynamics of social change and development. She will also serve as an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies, in addition to her work with the Institute. She is the co-editor of Athletic Experience at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Past Present, and Persistence and Critical Race Theory: Black Athletic Experience in the United States.

Carter-Francique is using her first semester to get to know institutional entities and people on and off campus to find ways to connect on programming and research opportunities. For example, on-campus she is meeting with representatives from the African American Black Student Success Center, the PRIDE Center, the Gender Equity Center and Counseling and Psychological Services, among others.

“I have a student-first mentality, so I want to understand the student groups, who they serve, and how they can be involved,” she said. “I am excited to be here and excited for the opportunity to work with others here.”

While she continues to get to know stakeholders, both on and off campus, Carter-Francique said ISSSSC will focus on a theme of public health and wellness this year, looking at both physical and mental health issues that intersect with sport at all levels.

She noted that her own experience as a student-athlete as well as her husband’s experience as a student-athlete and professional athlete in his native country of Grenada, and who now coaches Grenada’s track and field team, allows her to understand the importance of helping athletes see that they are multidimensional individuals.

“Who do you want to be to make an impact?” she said. “How can you influence and inspire people? You as an individual have value—you can be more than an athlete. You are many things. Maybe you are a sister, a mother, a mentor.”

Carter-Francique is the 2018-19 President of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), where she has worked to enhance student involvement in conferences with student poster presentation sessions that support the established “take a student to lunch” program.

“There are a number of undergraduate and master’s students who want to go to graduate school,” she said. “Having the opportunity to present research on a national and international level are very important educational opportunities because they are future scholars and leaders.”

Carter-Francique’s discussions of social and global issues extend to her home, where her children’s rooms are decorated with maps. When she or her husband travel to other countries, they discuss with their children the languages that are spoken, the foods that are eaten, sports that are played and other age-appropriate social issues.

“In my daughter’s last school she was learning Mandarin, so when my husband was traveling to China, she taught him how to say hello. She was thrilled that she could share that knowledge with him,” she said. “We are helping our children, and others we interact with, understand sport and its global, diverse communities.”

Department of African American Studies Lecture Series

Carter-Francique will be giving a talk on Thursday, September 12, 2019 in the Martin Luther King Library Room 225 6 to 8 p.m. as a part of the Department of African American Studies Lecture Series.

Cheruzel Receives 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

Professor Lionel Cheruzel, front left, has received the 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award for his research with undergraduate students. Here he poses with colleagues involved in a freshmen research initiative. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Professor Lionel Cheruzel, front left, has received the 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award for his research with undergraduate students. Here he poses with colleagues involved in a freshmen research initiative. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation has awarded SJSU Professor of Chemistry Lionel Cheruzel with a 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award for his commitment to research and teaching with undergraduates.

Nominated by his department chair Prof. Karen Singmaster, Cheruzel is one of eight faculty members nationwide to receive the prestigious award. The honor recognizes the accomplishments of faculty in scholarly research with undergraduates.

Since joining SJSU in 2009, Cheruzel has engaged more than 160 undergraduates in cutting-edge research in light-driven biocatalysis to achieve chemical transformations otherwise challenging to obtain using traditional methods. His scholarly activities have resulted in the publication of 18 manuscripts with more than 35 undergraduate students as coauthors and invitations to more than 50 seminars worldwide. He has also secured 16 internal grants and nine federal grants totaling close to $2 million dollars to support his research endeavors at SJSU.

Last year, he secured a $325,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to launch a new Freshman Initiative: Research to Engage Students (F.I.R.E.S) program. Through the grant, he and three faculty members encourage freshman students from the Departments of Chemistry and Biology to develop their research interests and integrate research laboratories early in their academic careers.

According to the nomination, Dr. Cheruzel has always shared “a deep enthusiasm for chemistry and discovery with budding scientists.”

As part of the award, Cheruzel will receive an unrestricted research grant of $75,000.