San Jose State University Celebrates Historic Groundbreaking on Interdisciplinary Science Building

Media contact:

Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University will celebrate the historic groundbreaking for its new Interdisciplinary Science Building on Thursday, April 25, at 10 a.m. on the university’s campus in front of Duncan Hall.

The first new academic building in 30 years, the Interdisciplinary Science Building construction is the first phase of the university’s new Science Park, part of San Jose State’s commitment to dynamic research and innovation environment in the heart of Silicon Valley.

“The breadth of scientific discovery and research that will take place at the ISB and our future Science Park will be astonishing,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian. “It will truly put us on the map, and we will rightly take our place among the most modern and innovative of all science colleges in the Bay Area and, indeed, the country.”

San Jose State’s research endeavors play a critical role in preparing graduate and undergraduate students who work side by side with faculty mentors. With $60 million in annual research expenditures, SJSU is a top-200 school nationally in terms of research spending. The university’s 33,000 students—including approximately 7,600 graduate students —bring an inherent creativity and diversity of thought and experience that can address and solve the most pressing problems facing society today.

“San Jose State has been meeting the needs of our region since our founding 160 years ago,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement. “The vision for the Science Park—and the impact it will have for our students and faculty—is unparalleled in SJSU’s history.”

“Our goal is to make research, teaching and collaboration inseparable,” said Michael Kaufman, College of Science dean. “The Interdisciplinary Science Building will be a huge leap forward in San Jose State’s ability to provide modern research experiences and enhanced faculty mentoring opportunities for our students.”

An artistic rendering shows what the Interdisciplinary Science Building will look like in 2021 when it is completed.

An artistic rendering shows what the Interdisciplinary Science Building will look like in 2021 when it is completed.

The Interdisciplinary Science Building will have eight floors of modern science laboratories and research facilities, as well as collaborative, flexible learning environments. The building will be home to chemistry and biology teaching and research spaces, an interdisciplinary Center for High Performance Computing, data and information science labs, and science administration. Each floor will seamlessly integrate teaching and research. Students who move through these programs will graduate with the theoretical background, hands-on skills and collaboration experience necessary to succeed in industry and advanced studies.  

Following the ceremonial groundbreaking and program, attendees can see the future of SJSU science firsthand at the College of Science 15th Annual College of Science Student Research Day, located nearby in the Duncan Hall breezeway. More than 100 student-faculty teams will present original work in all science disciplines. In addition, SJSU’s Celebration of Research will take place 3 – 6 p.m. April 23 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Complete ISB groundbreaking event information may be found at sjsu.edu/sciencepark.


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

Annual Event Celebrates Faculty and Student Research April 23

Professor Emily Wughalter, Aqdas Lilani, Tiffany Raczynski and Tania Rojas pose for a photo at the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Student Research Fair in 2018. Photo by David Schmitz

Professor Emily Wughalter, right, and recent graduates Aqdas Lilani, Tiffany Raczynski and Tania Rojas pose for a photo at the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Student Research Fair in 2018. Photo by David Schmitz

SJSU’s Annual Celebration of Research on April 23, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom features a full program to celebrate student and faculty research. Students, faculty and staff are invited to watch presentations from 2018-19 Early Career Investigator Award recipients Assistant Professor of meteorology and climate science Minghui Diao and Assistant Professor of Psychology Susan Syncerski. During the event, SJSU Student Research Competition finalists will be recognized. The 12 undergraduate and graduate students will represent SJSU at the CSU Student Research Competition on April 26 and 27 at CSU Fullerton. In addition, 50 Undergraduate-Faculty Research Pairs will share posters of the work they’ve completed in the last year. The event is sponsored by the SJSU Research Foundation, the Office of Research and the Center for Faculty Development.

The Undergraduate-Faculty Research Pairs program offers grants to students who are engaged in research, scholarship or creative activities across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including the students who worked with kinesiology Professor Emily Wughalter on understanding how women athletes portray themselves on social media.

Women in Sports

Wughalter along with doctoral candidate from Oregon State University Jafra Thomas mentored four undergraduate students: Aqdas Lilani, Tiffany Raczynski, Tania Rojas and Bernice Fan. The SJSU students who graduated in spring 2018 reviewed studies from the 1970s that found women athletes to be “apologetic” and studied the way current-day female athletes presented themselves to see if attitudes had shifted.

“It was empowering to meet other women who felt the same way about how women should be allowed to be unapologetic about the sport they participate in,” said Bernice Fan, ’Kinesiology 18. “This experience empowered me to be more convicted in my beliefs and gave me an opportunity to not only learn from the individuals in the project but to learn from a woman in the past (Professor Jan Felshin) who shared the same perspective 45 years ago.”

Lilani, ’18 Kinesiology, minor, Nutrition and Food Science, said her focus on the research project was examining the behavior of a women’s rugby team.

“My favorite experience has been presenting our research because I felt empowered by the women in the room who connected with our research,” she said. “All the minutes our team spent on diving into literature and discussing our reflections came to life in that room.”

Thomas, who met Wughalter at the 2017 National Association of Kinesiology in Higher Education, said working on the student-led project offered insight into the portrayal of women in sports that he had not studied in his own coursework, but that he believed it would be helpful in his future teaching and research.

“I was pleased to work with these students and to introduce them to the design of research,” Wughalter said. “Their work has already been presented at the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Undergraduate Research Fair in October 2018 and then at a Western Society for Physical Education of College Women national conference. I am extremely proud of these students and their work.

Understanding Particles and Electrons

Kris McBrian, who will graduate in May 2019, and Elena Fader, who plans to graduate in May 2020, have been working with physics and astronomy Professor Ehsan Khatami. Fader is studying the properties of electrons moving around in an ionic crystal while McBrian has shown that a specific artificial neural network called a restricted Boltzmann machine can be used to simulate how quantum particles behave on a lattice.

“I’ve learned that being part of research is not only ideal for graduate school and experience, but it gives me an idea of which field I would like to pursue in the future,” Fader said. “Fortunately, the faculty in the physics and astronomy department are always looking for students interested in research.”

The experience has helped Fader move outside of her comfort zone and allowed her to network with a guest professor. McBrian said he was so intrigued with running simulations and machine learning he wanted to continue his work beyond a computational physics course project.

“As frustrating as it was at first, I’ll never forget the day when the simulation finally started agreeing with theory or the humbling experience of presenting this research at a physics conference,” he said.

Safer Li-ion Batteries

Victor Leong Gin He, a materials engineering student who will graduate in spring 2020, has been working with Assistant Professor of chemical and materials engineering Professor Dahyun Oh on creating safe Li-ion batteries in both aqueous and solid states.

“I joined the lab out of a curiosity to learn,” He said. “I wanted an opportunity to gain valuable experiences and a skill set before graduating. I stepped in with no knowledge of batteries and I’ve been growing at a steady pace thanks to the opportunity and guidance given by Dr. Oh.”

He said he is hoping to make a significant contribution to the electrochemical industry in the years to come.

Learning Numbers

Working with Associate Professor of child and adolescent development Emily Slusser, Sandra Arellano, who will graduate in May 2019, studied how children come to understand that number words refer only to discrete numerosity and not continuous spatial extent. They used three fun games to measure 3-5 year old’s understanding of number and counting as well as their executive functioning and control (a measure of general thinking and intelligence.) Results will be shared at an upcoming Western Psychological Association Conference in Pasadena.

Arellano signed on for the project because she wanted to gain research experience to better understand the field. She is now interested in pursuing a PhD in cognitive science.

“I enjoyed observing children’s cognitive abilities during the administered tasks and understanding that the data analysis can be applied to support children’s academics in the long run,” Arellano said.

ISB Groundbreaking

San Jose State University will break ground on its new Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB) on Thursday, April 25, at 10 a.m. on the university’s campus in front of Duncan Hall, with the 15th Annual College of Science Student Research Fair taking place in the Duncan Hall breezeway following the groundbreaking ceremony. The building will expand opportunities for faculty and student research. Complete groundbreaking event information may be found at sjsu.edu/sciencepark.

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Launches Dean’s Fellowship

As part of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Dean's Fellowship, two MBA students are working with city and nonprofit partners this spring.

As part of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Dean’s Fellowship, two MBA students are working with city and nonprofit partners this spring. Photo by David Schmitz

When Madhumitha Sarveswaran was accepted into the MBA program at the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, she was interested in finding ways to promote holistic growth in society. She attended the Economic Summit in 2018 when city officials discussed some of the challenges facing the region. When the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Dean’s Fellowship program was announced this spring in partnership with the City of San Jose Mayor’s Office, she was excited to apply for it as a chance to work on solutions for some of those issues.

During the pilot semester, the Dean’s Fellowship program partnered with San Jose Public Library (SJPL) Works, ICA Fund Good Jobs, a nonprofit that helps develop small businesses, the city’s Office of Economic Development, and the Mayor’s Office. The students are particularly focused on helping small businesses in East San Jose.

“In a classroom, everyone comes up with ideas and wants to test and see if those ideas work,” Sarveswaran said. “When you develop an idea in the classroom you have all the ideal conditions. How do you scale it or how do you find out if it might be impractical?”

For Sarveswaran, who will complete her MBA in May 2019, and Lori Okamoto, who will complete her MBA in August 2019, the fellowship was that opportunity to explore ideas with real-world conditions.

“My favorite part of this internship thus far has been learning about small businesses in San Jose,” Okamoto said. “I am not originally from the Bay Area so most of this information is new to me. I think learning about small business displacement has really helped me broaden my knowledge of this area.”

Sarveswaran said she has appreciated the opportunity to network with professionals from city departments, nonprofits and businesses.

“We attended a BusinessOwnerSpace.com meeting and it was eyeopener that there were 17 other organizations that offer services to help small businesses scale or deal with issues of funding,” she said. “There are so many things out there, but how do we help them bridge the gap?”

Through the fellowship the students have been researching small business community needs through secondary and primary research that includes data review and analysis as well as direct outreach.

“I applied to this fellowship in order to gain more business-related knowledge and then have a chance to apply this in real-world situations,” said Okamoto, who said the program allows her to connect her undergraduate degree in sociology to her MBA work. “In the future, I hope to get into business operations or business data analytics, as both these jobs require understanding and analyzing data.”

As an international student from India, Sarveswaran said she would encourage other international students to apply for the fellowship in the future.

“I never thought this experience would be so big,” she said. “Everything you do is actually impacting somebody and it is something that will stand out for you in your career.”

After completing her MBA this spring, she plans to complete a course on project management and will take a job in that field. The fellowship has offered her plenty of experience in that arena, from time tracking, assigning tasks and managing deliverables, as well as the market research and survey work.

SJSU Community Invited to Spartan Food Pantry Open House

Ben Falter, left, a senior student affairs case manager, helps a student at the Spartan Food Pantry. Photo by Brandon Chew

Ben Falter, left, a senior student affairs case manager, helps a student at the Spartan Food Pantry. Photo by Brandon Chew

The SJSU Cares Program and the SJSU Student Hunger Committee are hosting a Spartan Food Pantry Opening Celebration Thursday, April 18 from 3:15 to 5 p.m. just outside the Spartan Food Pantry (between the Engineering Building and the Diaz Compean Student Union). This is an opportunity to welcome campus and community partners to get a first look inside the pantry. Opening comments and ribbon cutting will take place at 3:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. Non-students attending the opening are encouraged to bring a food or toiletry item for donation.

Spartan Food Pantry opened its doors March 25 at 2 p.m. for the first participants. The new pantry is an expansion of SJSU’s commitment to supporting students who are experiencing food insecurity, and is a partnership between SJSU Cares, Second Harvest of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties (SHFB), and donations.

“SJSU would like to thank Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties for working with us every step of the way as we open the Spartan Food Pantry, which will ensure our students have what they need to prepare nutritious meals while completing their studies,” President Mary A. Papazian said.

Those involved in the pantry are planning an open house for staff and faculty to tour the facility this semester with a date and time still to be determined.

At SJSU’s fall 2018 Inspiration to Innovation Gala, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties was recognized with the Community Partner Award for its support of students through Just In Time mobile food pantries. In 2017, Second Harvest began providing fresh fruit, vegetables and groceries to SJSU students at monthly mobile food pantry events on campus. During the 2017-2018 school year, the Just in Time program served 4,513 students a total of 156,086 pounds of free food, providing groceries for over 500 Spartans at every event—equivalent to $430,000 in groceries.

The new pantry is set up like a grocery store and eligible students will be able to “shop” through six zones including fresh produce, chilled items, dry goods and toiletries, among others. Once students complete the Spartan Food Pantry intake and agreement form, students can stop in once every seven days for groceries.

“The time has come for a permanent food pantry at San Jose State University, and we could not have asked for a better partner than Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties,” Vice President for Student Affairs Patrick Day said. “On behalf of the entire SJSU community, including those who have been working hard for years to address this basic human need, I would like to thank everyone at Second Harvest Food Bank.”

The pantry is located in the Diaz Compean Student Union, with an exterior entrance across from the Engineering Building rotunda.

SJSU Cares

San Jose State is proactively addressing issues of homelessness and food insecurity on campus through a program called SJSU Cares (www.sjsu.edu/sjsucares) that offers individualized support by connecting students experiencing economic crisis, housing or food insecurity to a number of resources.  SJSU is committed to identifying strategic ways to address the challenge of informing our students about all of the resources accessible to them.

SJSU Launches Solo DNP Program This Fall

SJSU is accepting applicants for its solo doctor of nursing practice program to start this fall. Here, 2014 DNP graduate Mercy Egbujor works with patients in the field.

SJSU is accepting applicants for its solo doctor of nursing practice program to start this fall. Here, 2014 DNP graduate Mercy Egbujor works with patients in the field.

San Jose State’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program has evolved into a program offered solely by SJSU, and is now recruiting applicants for fall 2019. The new program will allow a more local, Silicon Valley approach to curriculum and deliverables.

“Now that the program is localized to SJSU, there is greater potential for partnership with the state of the art medical centers and healthcare systems in Silicon Valley to work collaboratively toward promoting a culture of excellence in evidence-based practice and improved healthcare quality and safety for residents of Santa Clara County and Northern California,” said Michelle DeCroux Hampton, RN, PhD, MS and DNP program co-coordinator with Ruth Rosenblum.

Formerly part of the California State University Northern California Consortium of Nursing Practice program offered jointly with CSU Fresno, the inaugural cohort presented their oral defenses in 2014, with a total of five cohorts completing the program to date, with graduates going onto to do influential work across the region and state. Mercy Egjubor, a graduate of the inaugural class, created a backpack medical unit. Many of the graduates have gone on to teach in nursing programs across the state. Sharon Castellanos, another 2014 graduate created a nonprofit to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation in Hispanic neighborhoods. Yet another graduate, Christopher Patty led a medication safety program for the clinics in which he worked.

The SJSU DNP program is a focused program, taking place over five semesters (or 23 months). Almost exclusively proctored online, through the online learning platform Canvas, the course curriculum is designed to mesh with the busy lives of professionally active, working nurses. Once a semester, before formal classes begin, there is an on-campus meeting of all students in the program, encouraging networking and providing vital information for the semester to come. Over the five-semester program, practicum experience will be recorded in order to meet the regulatory requirement of 1,000 post-Baccalaureate clinical hours.

The application deadline for fall 2019 is May 15, and Interested candidates should apply concurrently through www.nursingcas.org and https://www2.calstate.edu/apply in order to be considered.

The Coordinators of the program will be available for questions through a series of Online Info Sessions, held via Zoom Meetings. The current schedule is listed below:

Zoom Information Sessions will be held at the following dates/times:

April 16th, 2019 – 7:00 PM https://sjsu.zoom.us/j/943182617

April 22nd, 2019 – 7:00 PM https://sjsu.zoom.us/j/917638186

April 29th, 2019 – 7:00 PM https://sjsu.zoom.us/j/917638186

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is designed to prepare experts in nursing practice – cultivating advanced practitioners, future educators, clinical leaders, and change agents. This program is in keeping with the practice-focused healthcare education model where advanced practitioners with demonstrated expertise culminate their work into a doctoral-level degree (such as an MD, or Doctor of Medicine). Graduating DNP nurses will be practitioners who, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), will develop “a blend of clinical, organizational, economic, and leadership skills [ ] to be able to critique nursing… and design programs of care delivery that are locally acceptable, economically feasible, and which significantly impact health care outcomes.”

For more information or questions, contact the DNP team via email at doctornursingpractice@sjsu.edu

SJSU OT Students Raise Money and Awareness of Important Role of Research in Their Field

San Jose State Occupational Therapy students and Department Chair Wynn Schultz-Krohn, far right, were honored at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference for raising the most money as part of the St. Catherine Challenge, which benefits professional research in the field.

San Jose State Occupational Therapy students and Department Chair Wynn Schultz-Krohn, far right, were honored at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference for raising the most money as part of the St. Catherine Challenge, which benefits professional research in the field.

Members of San Jose State University’s American Occupational Therapy Foundation Student Honor Society, Phi Theta Epsilon (PTE) and the Student Occupational Therapy Association, outdid themselves this year during an annual fundraising event that supports professional research initiatives. The Spartan students raised more than $9,000, exceeding the efforts of any other PTE chapters in the nation.

“As a public institution, many of our students have significant financial aid needs so the typical top fundraisers are PTE groups from private institutions,” said faculty advisor and chair of Occupational Therapy Wynn Schultz-Krohn. “This is really an example of ‘paying it forward.’”

Chelsea Holsonbake, whose research group is working on a retrospective program evaluation of a multifactorial fall prevention program for older adults, said the students even got some clients involved in the fundraising efforts.

“Some worked on integrating affected limbs while making cotton candy while others worked on community reintegration and social skills while selling cotton candy,” she said.

Clients to the on-campus OT clinic helped with the fundraising efforts through they worked on integrating affected limbs while making cotton candy while others worked on community reintegration and social skills while selling cotton candy.

Clients to the on-campus OT clinic helped with the fundraising efforts through they worked on integrating affected limbs while making cotton candy while others worked on community reintegration and social skills while selling cotton candy.

Research opportunities are key to the graduate student experience in OT, and at SJSU, students engage in three research classes and complete a final research project. During spring break nearly 40 students presented their research projects at the American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, a peer-reviewed professional conference.

“Research is so important in the field of OT because we want to know our interventions are best for our clients, not just from our own observations but also from research and replicable data,” said Millie Book, who anticipates completing her master’s in OT in fall 2019.

Her research on friendships and social participation among young adults with autism will prove useful after graduation when she hopes to work in a rehabilitative or pediatric setting helping individuals with sensory integration techniques.

Monica Ondriezek, who will also graduate in fall 2019, has been conducting a historical narrative analysis of the OT department chairs.

“Although this study is not directly client focused, it seeks to identify core values that continue to influence OT education and the profession as a whole,” she said. “It helps to develop future occupational therapists who are dedicated to their clients.”

Kimiko McNeill, who plans to graduate in fall 2019, is working on the same research team as Ondriezek on the history of the OT program.

“Historical inquiry allows researchers to examine past, current and future trends that impact the profession,” she said. “The results of my research will have an impact on the curriculum and education of OT programs throughout the country and will also highlight the enduring values that persist through time in the OT department at SJSU.”

Department chair Wynn Schultz-Krohn and OT students pose with their first-place award for raising the most money of any other student group in the St. Catherine's Challenge.

Department chair Wynn Schultz-Krohn and OT students pose with their first-place award for raising the most money of any other student group in the St. Catherine’s Challenge.

Katie Poisson, who plans to finish her master’s in fall 2020 said she was initially drawn to SJSU’s program for its location, faculty and the opportunity to study abroad.

“I am really excited that we raised the most money (in the fundraising competition) and spotlighted this incredible institution,” she said. “Research is important because it allows us to expand into more settings where our work could be really valuable.”

Serina Murphy, also an intended fall 2019 graduate, is involved in research aimed at understanding how simulations, in comparison to traditional didactic teaching, effects social problem solving to potentially enhance the occupational therapy curriculum.

“Social problem-solving skills are particularly important to occupational therapy practitioners as it contributes to critical thinking skills necessary to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals and understand the patients’ needs while reducing errors,” she said. “We have been working collaboratively with the SJSU’s  Valley Foundation School of Nursing to use the simulation lab.”

Murphy noted that occupational therapists can work with clients across the lifespan and she is considering the possibility of working in a neonatal intensive care unit.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing all I can to build a strong foundation and become a successful occupational therapist,” she said.

Diverse Issues In Higher Education Honors Two SJSU Scholar-Athletes

Announcement of 2019 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award

Announcement of 2019 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award

Media contacts
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics media relations director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, SJSU media relations specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

San Jose State University seniors Stephanie Relova and Michelle Taikeff were named this year’s Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholars national award winners in the sports of women’s gymnastics and women’s water polo, respectively, in the April 4 edition of Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Relova, from San Ramon Valley High in Danville, Calif., was named the publication’s #1 female gymnast scholar-athlete, a national semifinalist among the 20 female sports categories and the overall national runner-up for the 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr., Sports Scholar female scholar-athlete of color.

She is a three-time All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) award-winning gymnast. The San Jose State University President’s Scholar award winner is a business management major with conference and national academic honors. Her volunteer activities include teaching youngsters how to compete at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation, visiting local elementary schools and participating in campus clothing and food drives.

Taikeff, from Pioneer High in San Jose, Calif., was this year’s women’s water polo national scholar-athlete of color. Like Relova, Taikeff is a team captain, a San Jose State University President’s Scholar and has received conference and national academic honors. This year’s San Jose State University Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) elected secretary is in her second year of service to her fellow student-athletes. In the community, Taikeff served an internship as a legal aid preparing court petitions for low-income citizens to gain access to the legal system.

Named after the late tennis great Arthur Ashe, Jr. (1943-1993), an African-American men’s Wimbledon and U.S. Open tennis champion who devoted much of his adult life to identifying and providing solutions to end discrimination in all facets of life, the awards program now is in its 27th year.

Student-athletes of color possessing a 3.50 cumulative grade-point average, have sophomore standing or higher, are contributing members to their team and are active in community activities are eligible to be nominated.

“We thank Diverse: Issues in Higher Education for honoring our outstanding San Jose State scholar-athletes of color. To be attached to the legacy of Arthur Ashe, Jr., and what he personified is very meaningful,” says Eileen Daley, San Jose State University senior associate athletics director for academics and student support. “We are proud of our student-athletes that earned this award and especially Stephanie and Michelle who were named as the top sports scholars in their sports.”

In the last four years, San Jose State student-athletes of color have received 102 Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar awards from Diverse Issues in High Education and have been named the top scholar-athlete of color in the sports of football (Tim Crawley in 2017), women’s gymnastics and women’s water polo.

Recipients of Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar awards

***Megan Au, Women’s Swimming & Diving – 1st Team, Kinesiology

Kai Bohannon, Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field – 1st Team, Mathematics

****Brenna Bushey, Women’s Swimming & Diving – 2nd Team, Public Relations

**Carmen Contreras, Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field – 2nd Team, Psychology

**Jeff Dukes, Men’s Soccer – 1st Team, Business Administration

**Makayla Englestad, Softball – 3rd Team, Business Administration

**Kate Hanf, Women’s Swimming & Diving – 2nd Team, Psychology

**Gabby Heng, Women’s Swimming & Diving – 1st Team, Anthropology

**Carlie James, Women’s Soccer – 3rd Team, Art/Graphic Design

**Janessa Lozano, Softball – 2nd Team, Justice Studies

***Stephanie Relova, Women’s Gymnastics – top scholar-athlete; national finalist; national runner-up, Business Management

**Michelle Shalit, Women’s Gymnastics, Psychology

**Michelle Taikeff, Women’s Water Polo – top scholar-athlete, Justice Studies

* – number of Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar Awards earned


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.


About San Jose State Athletics

San Jose State sponsors 22 (nine men’s and 13 women’s) NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for approximately 470 student-athletes annually. In football, the Spartans are a member of Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the NCAA’s highest level of competition.

The Spartans’ primary conference affiliation is with the Mountain West. Selected teams belong to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Golden Coast Conference (GCC).

San Jose State has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. Sixty-two (62) Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

Annually, about one-third of the student-athlete population earns either an institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.

School of Information Leads Research on Blockchain use in Higher Ed and Libraries

Dr. Sandy Hirsh, left, and Dr. Sue Alman, presented their research at the National Blockchain Forum in August 2018.

Dr. Sandy Hirsh, left, and Dr. Sue Alman, presented their research at the National Blockchain Forum in August 2018.

For the past 18 months, Dr. Sandra Hirsh, director and professor in the School of Information, and Dr. Sue Alman, a lecturer in the School of Information, have been investigating how a revolutionary new technology could be used in libraries and universities. Their work was recently featured as a cover story in American Libraries, in an article entitled “Blockchain Reaction: How library professionals are approaching blockchain technology and its potential impact.”

Starting in 2017, Hirsh and Alman recognized an expanding literature about how blockchain technology was on the brink of revolutionizing the public and private sectors, including mentions of the emerging tool at conferences, in books, white papers, and more.

“Librarians had not been evidenced in these mainstream discussions,” Hirsh and Alman said. “However, the use of blockchain technology in libraries was on the radar of many information professionals.”

SJSU researchers Dr. Sandy Hirsh, second from the left, and Dr. Sue Alman, far right, served on a panel with colleagues Eric Meyer, of the University of Texas at Austin, and Vicki Lemieux, University of British Columbia, at the Association for Information Science and Technology Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

SJSU researchers Dr. Sandy Hirsh, second from the left, and Dr. Sue Alman, far right, served on a panel with colleagues Eric Meyer, of the University of Texas at Austin, and Vicki Lemieux, University of British Columbia, at the Association for Information Science and Technology Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the pair a $100,000 grant to investigate applications of blockchain technology in libraries. As part of the project, they created a dedicated website and blog; organized a virtual conference as part of the Library 2.0 Conference series; hosted a Blockchain National Forum; sponsored a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled “Blockchain & Decentralization for the Information Industries”; presented findings at numerous national and international professional conferences and webinars; and plan to publish a book this spring.

“While there are many individuals within the information professions who do have a technical understanding of blockchain, we quickly found that information professionals in general do not have a clear understanding about what blockchain is and what the possibilities are and they need training to help build that knowledge base,” the pair said.

They also discovered a wide range of ideas about possible applications of the technology in libraries, and realized it would be helpful to provide concrete examples of applications and opportunity to pilot some applications in a sandbox environment in order to understand what the next steps should be.

As they wrap up the grant with IMLS, Hirsh and Alman hope to pursue funding to continue with pilot blockchain projects for libraries. One idea they have discussed is developing an international interlibrary loan pilot for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institution’s voucher system.

“IFLA provides re-usable vouchers to help libraries easily pay for international interlibrary loan requests,” they said. “Each voucher represents a standard payment for one transaction. Blockchain would lend itself well because of the foreign currency transactions that happen and due to the transactional nature of interlibrary loans.”

Other ideas include creating a universal library card in public libraries as some library systems require a mailing address or limit access to a hometown or local library system; issuing credentials to library users who achieve certain skills; and determining the accuracy and consistency of archival records.

“We are currently working to develop one of more of these ideas into more robust proposals and to seek funding to build them out so that our field can have a good test case for blockchain technology,” they said.

Participants at the National Blockchain Forum in August 2018.

Participants at the National Blockchain Forum in August 2018.

The researchers continue to share their findings throughout this spring, including at a University Scholar Series talk by Hirsh on May 8 at noon in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229.

“The initiatives of the iSchool faculty are trend-setting in multiple areas, and our international reputation for educational and research excellence is widening,” they said.

Hirsh and Alman have attended or will attend more than 14 conferences or presentations by this summer including:

  • Blockchain: Transforming the Technological Future. (2019, June). Panel to be presented at the 2019 American Library Association Conference. Washington, DC.
  • Blockchain: The New Technology and Its Application for Libraries. (2019, June). Invited speaker at the 2019 Special Libraries Association Conference, Cleveland, OH.
  • Blockchain Technology in Education. (2019, June). Panel to be presented at the SIAA Ed Tech Industry Conference & CODiE Awards. San Francisco, CA.
  • Blockchain: Transformative Applications for Libraries and Education. (2019, May). Keynote to be presented at the San Jose State University’s 2019 University Scholar Series, San Jose, CA.
  • Blockchain & Opportunities for Libraries. (2019, March). Panel to be presented at the 2019 Computers in Libraries conference. Washington, DC.
  • Blockchain Possibilities: Investigation Findings. (2019, March). Paper presented at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Trending Technology Webinar, Online Presentation.
  • Blockchain: An Investigation of Possible Library Applications. (2019, February). Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Changing Landscape of Science & Technology Libraries (CLSTL 2019), Gandhinagar, India, Online Presentation.
  • Blockchain: One Emerging Technology—So Many Applications. (2018, November). Refereed panel presented at the 81st Association for Information Science & Technology Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Trendsetting at the SJSU iSchool : Blockchain and Information Services. (2018, November). Paper presented at the 2018 California Library Association conference, Santa Clara, CA.
  • Pros and Cons of Blockchain. (2018, October). Paper presented on a panel at Blockchain in Education West conference, Sunnyvale, CA.
  • Blockchain: Recommendations for the Information Professions. (2018, September). Paper presented as a free ALA Webinar, Online.
  • Blockchain – is it worth the fuss? – Flash Session.  (2018, August). Paper presented on a panel at the 2018 IFLA conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Blockchain Technology. (2018, March). Paper presented on a panel at a webinar for the SLA Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Chapters, Online.  
  • Blockchain, Open Civic Data, and TV WhiteSpace – Three New Projects. (2018, February). Paper presented at an invited panel at the 2018 American Library Association Midwinter Conference, Denver, CO.

 

 

New Diversity Trainer/Educator Joins SJSU

By David Goll

Craig Alimo

Craig Alimo

Dr. Craig John Alimo joined the San Jose State University Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) in February to fill a new position as a diversity trainer/educator. He will oversee curriculum and professional development, and conduct outreach efforts for a student population of more than 33,000. He joins SJSU’s Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau), Deputy Diversity Officer Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas, and other staff members in the office who are engaged at a university with a storied and long history of student civil rights activism and service to a diverse student population.

Dr. Kathleen Wong(Lau), SJSU’s Chief Diversity Officer since 2016, said Alimo’s lengthy and extensive experience in educational diversity and familiarity with academia is a strong advantage.

“He knows from a hands-on perspective what it takes to do the work and the forethought it requires,” Wong(Lau) said. “Universities are complicated places and sometimes, you push on one part, and something else emerges. He has a very thoughtful approach based on his experience.”

Wong(Lau) said Alimo will be taking over many of the tasks she’s been handling since arriving at SJSU, freeing her to oversee additional comprehensive campus-wide diversity projects. Logging 23 years of work in social justice and diversity education, Alimo most recently worked as director for equity and inclusivity for the Napa Valley Community College District. He also previously worked at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Maryland, among other educational institutions.

“I’m totally tickled, excited and humbled to be working with Kathy,” Alimo said. He and Wong(Lau) worked cooperatively on a nationwide research project examining the educational benefits of Intergroup Dialogue programs, a small-group, face-to-face discussion format that encourages participants of two or more different social identity groups to reach new levels of understanding, relationships and action through talk with an extensive list of reading assignments.

“I’ve known her for many years,” he said. “She has done amazing things here and elsewhere. This job is more aligned with my scholarship and skill set, so I’m so happy to be here.”

Among other duties, Alimo will oversee the university’s intergroup dialogue initiative, started a year ago. The groups of 12 to 15 people each meet weekly over an eight-week period. ODEI initiated the program, helping train faculty, staff and students from across campus who volunteered for training to become group facilitators. This spring, 170 SJSU students, faculty and staff volunteered to participate in these discussions, far outpacing the initial capacity.

Diversity “touches all aspects of a university,” Alimo said. Campuses can be places where students from often-segregated communities or circumstances first meet substantial numbers of people from different racial, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds as well as sexual orientation and gender identities, he said.

“Campuses are like social science laboratories. Everything out in society is here, too, and affects us,” he said. “What we know from research is that people with exposure to diverse environments often have amazing educational outcomes, can think with more complexity, do better on grad-school exams, and have a tendency to volunteer and vote more often [amongst other outcomes].”

Alimo expressed excitement about how intergroup dialogue can foster greater understanding and better relations between and within various groups on campus. The pedagogical approach that  Intergroup Dialogue uses to creating an anti-bias, anti-racist, multicultural and social justice educational system has its roots to the 1940s and ‘50s. Its more recent incarnation on university campuses was initially created during the 1980s when the University of Michigan created its Program on Intergroup Relations. Wong(Lau) said SJSU’s program is based on that model.

University-based diversity programs can have ripple effects on the rest of society, Alimo noted. He recently attended a presentation by a collection of local high-tech companies addressing the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace and corporate world. Silicon Valley companies on how they can capitalize on the presence of diversity in the workforce up to the executive level.

Wong(Lau) expressed excitement that adding Alimo to her team will greatly enhance the work of her office, which she described as having “a good reputation for delivering good work.” Another program of which she’s proud is an eight-week session for white faculty members to recognize how their comparatively privileged status and still-majority position at SJSU can be used to foster greater awareness and understanding for their colleagues and students of color.

Other goals await.

“One of our biggest challenges is remaining nimble yet helping campus leaders focus on long-term goals of building organizational capacity for diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Wong(Lau) said. “It is a community of 40,000 people and we want to support everyone’s success, engagement, and growth.

 

Research Foundation Fuels Faculty and Student Discoveries

Whether one is a seasoned researcher or someone just launching a scholarly agenda, San José State University’s Research Foundation has long offered administrative support to faculty members and students as they pursue intellectual exploration.

“The Research Foundation is the bridge between us researchers and our sponsors,” said David Schuster, an associate professor of psychology, who has a grant through the National Science Foundation. “With my current work, I sleep well knowing that I can turn to the foundation to help me navigate new situations that come up in my funded research, especially ones they may have seen many times already.”

He added that early in his career, he appreciated resources to help with grant proposals.

“At times, the hardest part is keeping up to date with the current regulations and grant formatting requirements, and the foundation has a lot of expertise in this area,” he said. “Last, but not least, my post-award manager, Luann Chu, helps me to manage my research budget.”

Rajnesh Prasad, executive director of the Research Foundation

Rajnesh Prasad, executive director of the Research Foundation

SJSU’s Research Foundation is one of the oldest nonprofit corporations associated with the California State University system, founded in 1932 and known initially as the San José State College Corporation.

“As the campus organization that supports the SJSU research community, we continue to be inspired by the talent and passion evidenced by faculty, staff, and student endeavors,” said Rajnesh Prasad, executive director of the foundation and senior director of Sponsored Programs.

Key services include:

  • Actively seeking out funding opportunities for faculty research.
  • Partnering with investigators in all aspects of proposal development and submission.
  • Supporting investigators with the management of the administrative and financial details of their projects after they have been awarded a grant.

Like Schuster, Meteorology and Climate Science Professor Eugene Cordero is working on a project funded by the National Science Foundation and works closely with a Research Foundation analyst to manage his grant, noting that he “can’t imagine this grant going so well without post-award manager Diem Trang Vo — she’s amazing.”

“The Research Foundation plays a key role in helping support my scholarly research,” he said. “And because Meteorology and Climate Science is one of the most research-active departments on campus, I also appreciate the advice and support that the Research Foundation provides to me and my department colleagues. We all realize it’s really a team effort to bring cutting-edge research to our university and students.”

Laurie Drabble, a professor in the School of Social Work, connected with the Research Foundation early on in her career at SJSU through workshops and training sessions. More recently she receives support as a principal investigator on two grants, one with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and one with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (both in collaboration with the Public Health Institute).

“One of the things I’ve found most useful is getting assistance with budget spreadsheets early on,” she said, of the pre-award phase. “It allows me to work out the grant concept in parallel with mapping out the budget and aligning resources.”

In some cases, Research Foundation services enable faculty to move the products of their work from the laboratory, classroom, and field into local, national, and international businesses and communities. This often results in initiatives that create strategically productive partnerships with Silicon Valley and its culture of creativity, diversity, and technology.

By the numbers for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018:

  • #2 out of 23 CSU campuses in terms of extramurally funded sponsored grants and contracts (San Diego State is first)
  • $1.1 million in indirect revenue and strategic investment into the campus community
  • 290 proposals valued at more than $94 million submitted
  • 244 awards valued at more than $54 million received
  • 300 grants and contracts under management annually
  • 433 students employed as research project employees or Central Office Staff
  • 176 faculty members engaged in sponsored grants or research projects managed by the Research Foundation

The Research Foundation will be hosting the Annual SJSU Celebration of Research on April 23, from 3 to 6 p.m., in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. Faculty and student researchers will be honored at the event and the 2019 Research Foundation Annual Report will be released there. For more information on services, resources, and to view previous annual reports, visit the Research Foundation website.

University Scholar Series Presents ‘Math Circles’

Professor Tatiana Shubin, center, works with students.

Professor Tatiana Shubin, center, works with students.

The next talk in the University Scholar Series is scheduled for March 27, at noon, when award-winning Professor Tatiana Shubin will give a talk on “Moving in Circles: the Beauty and Joy of Mathematics for Everyone.” In 2017, she received the Mary P. Dolciani Award, which recognizes a pure or applied mathematician for making distinguished contributions to the math education of students in the United States or Canada. She is credited with creating the San José Math Circle as a weekly space for middle and high school students to gather to engage in problem-solving work.

She is also a co-founder of the first Math Teachers’ Circle Network in the U.S., as a professional community of K-12 mathematics teachers and mathematicians. Groups meet regularly to work on rich mathematics problems, allowing teachers to enrich their knowledge and experience of math while building meaningful partnerships with other teachers and mathematicians.

In 2012, she launched the Navajo Nation Math Circles project and became co-founder/co-director of the Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles.  She aims to spread the culture of problem-solving and the joy of mathematics to Native American students and teachers.

Upcoming University Scholar Series events
Tatiana Shubin, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, on “Moving in Circles: the Beauty and Joy of Mathematics for Everyone”
March 27, noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229

Ellen Middaugh, Department of Child and Adolescent Development, on “Coming of Age in the Era of Outrage: Digital Media and Youth Civic Development”
April 24, noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229

Sandra Hirsh, School of Information, on “Blockchain: Transformative Applications for Libraries and Education”
May 8, noon to 1 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229

All events are free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.

The University Scholars Series was expanded this spring to include four talks by faculty members who are engaged in world-class research, scholarship or creative activities that connect to San Joes Staté University to hot topic global issues, such as social justice, civic engagement, emerging technology and STEM education.

Fulbright Scholar Helps Indian Universities Rethink Engineering Education

Professor Claire Komives stands in front of a welcome banner at a university in India. She will again travel to the country as a Fulbright Scholar in fall 2019, when she will visit as many as 75 colleges and universities in hopes of enhancing engineering education.

Professor Claire Komives stands in front of a welcome banner at a university in India. She will again travel to the country as a Fulbright Scholar in fall 2019, when she will visit as many as 75 colleges and universities in hopes of enhancing engineering education.

While San Jose State was recently named as a Fulbright top-producing institution for the number of scholars who visit from other universities, SJSU faculty are regularly award Fulbright grants or awards to visit other countries and universities to conduct research and teach. In 2018, Associate Professor of English Cathleen Miller served as the Distinguished Chair of the Humanities at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom while also studying the phenomenon of women’s migration throughout the world. Humanities Lecturer Victoria Rue visited Dar al-Kalima University in the West Bank to teach and conduct scholarly work.

In fall 2019, chemical engineering Professor Claire Komives will travel to India on her second Fulbright Scholar Grant. In 2104-15, she traveled to the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, where she conducted research on creating a low-cost antivenom solution for developing nations. Now she plans to return with a new focus.

“I have proposed to go to India and work with faculty and administrators of engineering colleges to try to improve the quality of teaching,” Komives said, noting that many institutions in India use traditional teaching methods such as lectures and often use outdated curriculum.

She will be bringing a model of education that has proven successful at San Jose State – active, project-based learning.

“I want to try to help them learn about new methods of teaching such as inquiry-based learning,” she said.

Claire Komives, in the center by the screen, offers training on using active learning techniques at the end of her last Fulbright Scholar year in 2014-15.

Claire Komives, in the center by the screen, offers training on using active learning techniques at the end of her last Fulbright Scholar year in 2014-15.

Near the end of her first Fulbright experience, she went to an Indo Universal Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE) conference, where she arrived was invited to give one workshop on active learning and she ended up giving eight workshops in different cities all over the country.“I met so many faculty who really want to learn to be better teachers,” she said.

From there, she developed an Effective Teaching workshop that became part of a certificate program for faculty. For this next phase of the project, Komives will be based in Mumbai, but will travel to as many as 75 universities and colleges so she can give workshops, engage in peer review of teaching through class visitations and generally sharing how to make class more interactive and effective.

“There is so much poverty in India,” Komives said. “Right now only five percent of students graduating from the more than 3,000 private engineering colleges are employable…If they can be employable they can actually contribute in the Indian economic system and help to raise their families up.”

Another benefit of her work on enhancing engineering education in India?

“Some of our students are coming from these types of universities,” she said. “So working with the faculty will help the professors there educate students more effectively who may then be coming to graduate programs here.”

Fulbright Scholars Enhance Teaching While Engaging in Research

Ling Yu (Melody) Wen is visiting San Jose State as a Fulbright Scholar as she conducts in-depth interviews with CEOs and top managers in the high-tech industry to explore what skill sets they believe are the most important in creating an innovative atmosphere and corporates’ human capital management.

Fulbright Scholars Enhance Teaching While Engaging in Research

In 2018-19, San Jose State University has been host to three Fulbright Scholars from other countries who are adding to their research portfolio while also teaching courses to Spartan students. The scholars include Ling Yu (Melody) Wen, whose area of expertise is human resources management and corporate training; Lela Mirtshkulava, who is engaged in computer engineering and computer science; and Monika Petraite, who worked on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial strategies.Fulbright Logo

Their presence has landed SJSU on the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s list of top producers of Fulbright Scholars, master’s institutions. The list is compiled each year with information from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which runs the nation’s flagship international educational exchange program.

Education and Silicon Valley

Wen specifically selected SJSU for its location in Silicon Valley, its history as the oldest public university on the West Coast and its ranking as the number one provider of employees to high-tech firms in Silicon Valley.

Since arriving on campus in September 2018 with a Senior Fulbright Scholar Grant, she has conducted in-depth interviews with CEOs and top managers in the high-tech industry to explore what skill sets they believe are the most important in creating an innovative atmosphere and corporates’ human capital management. Wen also interviewed students, professors and career center staff at SJSU for their input.

“The research provides a successful model of establishing a link from school to workplace—San Jose State University and the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley as an example,” she said. “The future perceptions of differential talents and the needs of human capital in the high-tech industry would be beneficial for educational policies and strategies of talent development mechanisms in both Taiwan and America.”

During the Fulbright year, Wen was invited by the Namibia University of Science and Technology and University of Missouri-Columbia as a visiting professor to share the results of the Fulbright research.

Wen is a senior professor in the Department of Finance at the National Changhua University of Education in Taiwan and has also served in as a department chair, college dean, dean of International Affairs, and in a variety of administrative roles. She earned her PhD in business education from the University of Missouri, with a focus on human resource management. She has been honored with Teaching Excellence and Service Excellence awards four times during her 24-year tenure in Taiwan, and has been a visiting professor in Germany, Mainland China, Malaysia and Namibia. She was appointed as a distinguished professor at Beijing Forestry University, China since 2015. She also has more than 20-year experiences as a consultant and corporate trainer, as well as the coordinator of National Curriculum and chief judge of National Talent Competitions for High School Students, Ministry of Education, Taiwan.

“Without SJSU and the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business providing the opportunity, I couldn’t complete my Fulbright study,” she said. “I would like to extend my appreciation to Dean Dan Moshavi and Associate Dean Meghna Virick of the Lucas College and Graduate School, and Camille Johnson, interim director of the School of Management, as well as all of the faculty, professors and students of SJSU and CEOs of high-tech industry in Silicon Valley who devoted their time and effort to my Fulbright research. Words are not enough to express my gratitude.”

Lela Mirtskhulava was a featured speaker at DataAI National Summit (DANS), Silicon Valley organized by American Association of Precision Medicine and presented the results of the project she has been working since arriving at San Jose State as a Fulbright Scholar.

Lela Mirtskhulava was a featured speaker at DataAI National Summit (DANS), Silicon Valley organized by American Association of Precision Medicine and presented the results of the project she has been working since arriving at San Jose State as a Fulbright Scholar.

Balancing Teaching and Research

Lela Mirtskhulava experience in the realm of artificial intelligence is unique. She was the first to develop an artificial intelligence capable of diagnosing stroke patients: her prototype artificial intelligence distinguishes between stroke patients and normal subjects with > 99 percent accuracy. She has been honored with the Best Paper Award in 2013 at the University of Cambridge, UK. She was invited as a featured speaker at the AIMed 2017 and AIMed 2018 conferences in Los Angeles.

“I have been working for more than eight months as a Fulbright Research scholar at San Jose State University with most amazing faculty and staff,” she said. “I enjoyed auditing the classes besides my research project thanks to Dr. Xiao Su giving me this opportunity. For academics, both the teaching and research are so attractive and interconnected things. To promote the teaching processes as well as to advance our field requires much time devoted to research, publication and presentation. On the other hand, teaching is one of our primary obligations as a scholar. Only putting them both together makes possible to reach the right balance in our academic life.”

She said at SJSU she has been able to prolong her research and teaching, while her daughter completes a full academic year at a local middle school. Her daughter has been inspired by her teachers while Mirtskhulava is inspiring her own set of students in the two courses she is teaching to postgraduate students; one on deep learning and one on system software.

“This gives me an excellent opportunity to teach the students and promote them to work on their research projects as it is required within these courses,” she said. “I’ve learned about SJSU’s teaching methodology by attending the classes as well my experience of teaching at San Diego State University where I hold an associate professor position.”

Prototyping Artificial Intelligence

Mirtskhulava was a featured speaker at DataAI National Summit (DANS), Silicon Valley organized by American Association of Precision Medicine and presented the results of the project she is currently working on. The main idea of the project is brainwave monitoring that focuses on neurological monitoring which incorporates the monitoring of brainwaves electroencephalography (EEG). Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of disruption of cerebral blood flow which results in neuronal cell death. Brainwave monitoring over EEG has been a commonly used method in neurological monitoring to diagnose and monitor various neurological diseases such as ischemic stroke. In the given project, Android Neural Network (ANN) is designed and a direct neural interface (DNI) is implemented using NeuroSky’s EEG biosensor for brainwaves recognition. A mobile EEG monitor is connected to a patient’s smartphone over Bluetooth that can transmit real-time brainwave data.

Mirtskhulava is an associate professor of computer science at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in the country of Georgia as well as San Diego State University Georgia (a collaborative progam between SDSU and Georgian partner universities that offers select STEM degrees). As a Fulbright Research Scholar, she is teaching part-time in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering this year. Mirtskhulava received her PhD in computer science. She has served in various capacities at several Georgian universities and has 15 years of industry work experience as an ICT senior engineer at Ericsson Ltd and Geocell LLC, Georgia. She Mirtskhulava was invited to the University of Cambridge in England to conduct the scientific workshops in 2013. She was the recipient of DAAD Scholarship Certificate in scope of Academic staff exchange program, at Westsaxson University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, Germany in 2016. She has also developed new curriculum in computer engineering and technologies at International Black Sea University, Georgia where she served as program coordinator of bachelor programs in Informatics and as a quality assurance manager at the same university. She participated in new program development in computer science for ABET at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. She is supervising master students and PhD students in Georgia.

College of Ed Professors Received Teacher Residency Grant

In light of that, Lurie College of Education faculty David Whitenack and Lisa Simpson recently applied for and were awarded a Teacher Residency Grant through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to create opportunities for Lurie College students to complete special education, STEM, and/or bilingual education residency programs.

Read more on the Connie L. Lurie College of Education blog.

New College, New Dean: Graduate Studies and Marc d’Alarcao

Marc d'Alarcao

Marc d’Alarcao

As a professor of chemistry with 30 years of experience in higher education split between San José State University and Tufts University, Marc d’Alarcao said his favorite part of teaching is when he sees students begin to understand how new knowledge is created.

“Knowledge is always continuing to grow,” he said.

Now d’Alarcao will be essential in creating a new college at SJSU as the interim dean of the College of Graduate Studies, designed to support graduate students in a variety of ways, including in advancing their fields through their research, scholarship and creative activities.

“We have a very large graduate student population of about 8,000,” he said. “They deserve to have an advocate who is solely focused on their needs.”

Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs announced the creation of a new College of Graduate Studies in fall 2018.

“The creation of a College of Graduate Studies has been front and center inAcademic Affairs for well over a year and a half,” Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Joan Ficke wrote in a January announcement about d’Alarcao’s appointment. “It dovetails with increasing commitments to our faculty administering graduate programs, and to our substantial graduate students’ population. It also signifies our re-visioning what SJSU contributes to Silicon Valley and to the world beyond.”

At Tufts, d’Alarcao mentored graduate students, including both master’s and PhD candidates, and regularly involved students at all levels in his research. His work at both universities has focused on biological and medicinal chemistry including the design and synthesis of potential antitumor agents, and a study of insulin action by synthesis of molecules related to insulin signal transduction with potential utility as treatments for type II diabetes mellitus.

“The thing that attracted me to SJSU was the outstanding faculty and students,” he said.

He has been working to expand research, scholarship and creative activities since his arrival at SJSU–as a faculty member, as a member of the AcademicSenate, and most recently, as the associate dean of research for the College of Science.

“Marc is an excellent choice to lead the College of Graduate Studies,” said Michael Kaufman, dean of the College of Science. “He has deep knowledge of the university and great skill in leading transformation both within and beyond college boundaries. His thoughtful approaches to challenges and opportunities make him the ideal person to enhance and expand SJSU’s graduate educational endeavors.”

Aside from advocating for graduate students, d’Alarcao articulated a few other reasons the new college is essential to the university’s priorities. First, he said it will continue to enhance research, scholarship, and creative activity, especially engaging graduate students. Second, it will position SJSU to expand its doctoral offerings — the university currently offers a doctorate in education and a doctor of nursing practice. Lastly, it will serve as a platform to better highlight the extraordinary work of our talented graduate students, both for internal and external audiences.

“For graduate students, success often means excellence in research or creative activity,” he said, adding that many of SJSU’s graduate programs require the generation of new knowledge or other creative products as a central component of the students’ experience.

d’Alarcao received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bridgewater State College, in Massachusetts, during which he worked as a research assistant in microbiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. He completed his PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, followed by postdoctoral studies at Harvard University under the mentorship of E. J. Corey, who would later become a Nobel laureate.

Ruth Huard to Be Honored at YWCA Tribute to Women Awards

Ruth Huard

Ruth Huard

Dean of the College of Professional and Global Education (CPGE) Ruth Huard is among the outstanding leaders who will be honored by YWCA Silicon Valley at its annual Tribute to Women Awards on April 25. The organization released the list of 2019 honorees at its March 13 meeting. In its 35th year, the awards are an effort to encourage women’s leadership and promote equal advancement opportunities for women of diverse backgrounds.

“I am thrilled that our dean of the College of Professional and Global Education Ruth Huard will be recognized at this year’s YWCA Silicon Valley’s Tribute to Women Awards for her dedicated leadership and her commitment to transforming students into global citizens,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian, who nominated Huard for the honor. “Ruth is certainly an innovative thinker and role model for women everywhere.”

Huard, who oversees a team of 85 staff members that provide a wide range of services to more than 11,000 students, has been integral in raising San Jose State University’s reputation as an educational destination for scholars from around the world. SJSU serves one of the largest populations of international students among master’s granting institutions in the United States, is recognized as Fulbright top-producing institution, and offers more than 60 destinations for local students to engage in a study abroad opportunity.

In addition to support for global education and initiatives, Huard has reinvigorated SJSU’s professional education offerings through degree programs in emerging technologies such as data analytics, certificate programs and professional development programs.

Dean Ruth Huard, right, poses for a photo with Dr. Mototaka Senda during a trip to San Jose's sister city Okayama in Japan.

Dean Ruth Huard, right, poses for a photo with Dr. Mototaka Senda during a trip to San Jose’s sister city Okayama in Japan.

Working with the leadership team in her college as well as collaborating with colleagues across the university, Huard is focused on ensuring that the College of Professional and Global Education serves as nexus for globalizing the campus, particularly in developing students as global citizens and ensuring international student success; evolving the college into the leading provider of educational programs that meet the workforce demands of the region and the world; and maintaining a financially and operationally sound organization that contributes to the university’s top initiatives and priorities.

Huard has served as dean of the college for four and a half years, and has worked in higher education for 15 years. She has a PhD from Stanford University in the area of Human-Computer Interaction and Intelligent Systems. As a faculty member at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, she taught courses on emerging technologies, research methods and applied organizational communication and leadership. She started her career in leadership positions in Silicon Valley technology startups in product research and artificial intelligence.

She was the principal investigator on a State Department-sponsored project, Pakistan Distance Education Enhancement Program. The project built distance education capacity to deliver foundational courses in computer science and teacher education to remote students, particularly women, in the outlying areas of Pakistan where education is rarely available. In 2013, Huard was selected as an SJSU Salzburg Fellow and participated in the Global Citizenship Alliance in Austria.

President Papazian’s nomination was accompanied by a recommendation from Interim Provost Joan Ficke. Through its Tribute to Women Awards, YWCA Silicon Valley’s goal is to cultivate a Silicon Valley where women are not only welcomed in leadership positions and STEM fields, but respected as well. The nonprofit provides pathways to well-paying, growth careers through youth engagement in STEM and removing barriers for families in accessing quality early learning and school-age opportunities.

Faculty Award Winners Will Be Recognized March 21

San Jose State University will host the 20th Annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon Thursday, March 21, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. Ticket sales will end on Tuesday, March 12. Please visit the event website to purchase tickets.

During the celebratory event, four exemplary educators will be recognized with the 2018-2019 Faculty Awards along with more than 115 faculty who have reached milestones of service for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years.

The four distinguished faculty members are selected for noteworthy achievement in teaching, scholarship and service. Read more about each recipient:

President’s Scholar: Jan English-Lueck, Department of Anthropology

Outstanding Professor: Susan Verducci, Department of Humanities

Outstanding Lecturer: Melody Esfandiari, Department of Chemistry

Distinguished Service: Jonathan Roth, Department of History

SJSU Artist Adds Color to Pediatric Clinic and Promotes Learning

Renae McCollum, a master’s student in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in art and education, spent a week volunteering with a brush in hand at Valley Health Center Bascom, a primary care clinic of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center: Hospitals and Clinics. She collaborated with Chair of Pediatrics, Christina Sheridan, and Ren Bruguera, a research assistant with Stanford’s Pediatric Advocacy Program, to create a mural that promotes literacy at the health clinic that serves many low-income families in San Jose.

“Children of lower income families face disadvantages in access to education even before entering kindergarten,” said Bruguera. “While many can’t attend preschool, most regularly attend their pediatric clinic. Through this mural project, we hope to turn the Bascom Clinic into a School Readiness Friendly Clinic to provide opportunities for families to engage in their children’s learning as early as possible – from the moment they step foot in the clinic.”

Renae McCollum started with a sketch for her mural project at Valley Health Center Bascom, a primary care clinic of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center: Hospitals and Clinics.

Renae McCollum started with a sketch for her mural project at Valley Health Center Bascom, a primary care clinic of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center: Hospitals and Clinics.

The under-the-sea theme promotes school readiness through numbers, words in Spanish and English and a call to "dive into a book."

The under-the-sea theme promotes school readiness through numbers, words in Spanish and English and a call to “dive into a book.”

McCollum learned about the project from a professor who shared the call for a muralist to work with the clinic. After conversations with Bruguera about the general vision for the mural to be interactive and educational, she submitted a preliminary sketch to the clinic.  Dr. Sheridan, meanwhile, was already making strides to brighten up the walls with paint and an under-the-sea theme for the medical clinic. McCollum began designing an underwater scene in late December and early January that included bright colors, sea creatures, numbers and a shout out to “Dive into a Book!”

Starting on February 9, she spent about 43 hours total in one week transforming a bare white wall of one of the waiting rooms into a vivid 10’ x 22’ mural. The underwater scene includes groups of sea creatures to promote counting, both in Spanish and English, and a cave where a young boy in snorkeling gear sits reading next to a treasure chest of books.  While patients wait for appointments, children and parents will be able to engage with the numbers and words on the mural that promote school readiness.

For McCollum, the artwork is also about school readiness—preparing for possible future classes she might teach.

“I am using this project to fuel independent research and create curriculum to teach muralism and public art,” she said.

Her own background in art includes taking classes, painting and drawing on her own, and an internship at a nonprofit that advocated for murals.

“I learned a lot of best practices from them,” she said about community-based art organization SPARC, who coincidently was behind the Cesar Chavez arch on San Jose State’s campus.

McCollum, initially enrolled at SJSU for a teaching credential and decided to pursue a master’s in art education. When she realized that particular degree did not exist, she worked with faculty to develop her own curriculum for a master’s in interdisciplinary studies that combined both areas of interest. Upon graduating this spring, she hopes to land a job that allows her to teach art in a California public school.

The mural project is the latest in a series of similar projects that were completed working with other artists at the Fair Oaks Clinic in Redwood City and the Mayview Community Health Center in Palo Alto, which were recently highlighted in an article in the American Journal of Public Health.

“We hope our collaboration between SJSU, Stanford, and Valley Medical Center will address disparities in access to early education faced by families in the South Bay,” Bruguera said. “We also hope to inspire similar collaborations in the future to support families throughout other parts of the Bay Area.”

For more photos and information about McCollum’s mural process, visit her blog.

Research Foundation Names 2018 Early Career Investigator Award Recipients

The Research Foundation announced the 2018 Early Career Investigator Award recipients March 8. Assistant Professor Minghui Diao, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, College of Science, left, and Assistant Professor Susan Snycerski, from the Department of Psychology, College of Social Sciences, will receive their awards on April 23 at the SJSU Celebration of Research.

The Research Foundation announced the 2018 Early Career Investigator Award recipients March 8. Assistant Professor Minghui Diao, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, College of Science, left, and Assistant Professor Susan Snycerski, from the Department of Psychology, College of Social Sciences, will receive their awards on April 23 at the SJSU Celebration of Research.

Assistant Professor Minghui Diao, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, College of Science, and Assistant Professor Susan Snycerski, from the Department of Psychology, College of Social Sciences, have been chosen to receive the Early Career Investigator Award for 2018. The pair will be honored at the annual SJSU Celebration of Research on April 23, 2019, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Diaz Compean Student Union ballroom. The event is open to the entire SJSU campus community.

 

Research with a global impact

Diao’s research focuses on the impact of clouds and aerosols on global climate change and regional air quality. Her work includes aircraft-based field campaigns to study regions as remote as Antarctica and the Southern Ocean; high precision laser instrument development; and computational global model simulations for comparisons with aircraft-based measurements and satellite remote sensing data. Since arriving at SJSU in 2015, she has secured a substantial amount of extramural sponsored funding for her research, primarily from the National Science Foundation and NASA.

She has published peer-reviewed articles in top tier journals, including Science, Nature Geoscience, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmosphere, Bulletin of American Meteorology, and Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry.

In addition to these activities, Diao has been a science team member for eight major NSF flight campaigns. She has taken part in field campaigns to Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, New Zealand, the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and other parts of the United States.

Diao is active in her field on a national level, having chaired numerous sessions at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) annual meetings in 2016, 2017 and 2018. She served as a NASA panel reviewer in 2017, and has been a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Cloud Physics Committee since 2016, which is in charge of updating the Glossary of Meteorology.

Also of significance is Diao’s engagement of students in her research. One graduate student was the lead author on a published paper, and is now pursuing his PhD in the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. She brought graduate and undergraduate students with her to the National Center for Atmospheric Research to do summer research with aircraft instruments and global climate model simulations in 2016 and 2018. Since 2016, her students have given five oral presentations at AMS and AGU annual meetings.

A behavioral theory and motivation expert

Snycerski’s interdisciplinary research combines concepts and topics from the fields of behavior analysis, consumer behavior, and psychopharmacology. Her recent studies, conducted in collaboration with current and former SJSU graduate students, have investigated sports fans’ perceptions of cannabis use by professional athletes, alcohol use and aggression in sports fans, and educational attainment and employment status of Bay Area medical cannabis patients.

Snycerski is considered a subject matter expert on the behavioral theory and study of motivation, having co-developed The Motivating Operations Concept (MOC), a leading theory in behavior analysis that is included in undergraduate and graduate textbooks and training materials worldwide. The MOC is also used in the examination to earn a Board Certified Behavior Analyst license, which is the only professional credential in her field.

Since 2017, she has served as the principal investigator of a previously awarded cooperative agreement that funds advanced rotorcraft research in collaboration with scientists from the U.S. Army Aviation Development Directorate. In the last year, she has significantly increased extramural sponsored funding for SJSU’s human factors and aerospace engineering research at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field. This research has resulted in technological advances in the areas of adaptive autonomy, future lift systems, and human-centered display design.

In 2018, Snycerski was awarded a new cooperative agreement at NASA Ames. This three-year agreement funds research conducted entirely by students working at NASA’s Arc Jet Complex at Moffett Field, where materials that can withstand the heat environments to which spacecraft will be exposed are extensively tested. Such tests are imperative for NASA’s Journey to Mars mission, as well as other space travel missions. Both undergraduate and graduate students will apply the science of macroergonomics (a subdiscipline of human factors/ergonomics) to the complex research processes and tasks conducted at this facility.

Snycerski is an active scholar with more than 1,000 citations to her work (Google Scholar). She has published in the primary journals in her field, including Journal of Organizational Behavior ManagementJournal of Applied Behavior AnalysisJournal of the Experimental Analysis of BehaviorThe Analysis of Verbal Behavior, and Perspectives on Behavior Science. She has actively included SJSU students in her research, resulting in several conference presentations with SJSU students as co-authors.

About the award

The SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Awards recognize tenure-track SJSU faculty who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship, and creative activity. Consideration is given to both 1) externally funded contract and grant activity, and demonstration of ways in which such awards contribute to the improvement of the infrastructure, research capability, and recognition of San José State University; and 2) publications in top-ranked peer-reviewed journals, authorship of respected scholarly books, exhibits in renowned galleries, or other artistic endeavors.

Two award categories have been created to ensure the broadest participation possible from all academic units: Category 1 awards a faculty member in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering or in the College of Science, and Category 2 awards a faculty member in all other colleges and the SJSU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

SJSU Celebrates Staff for Milestones of Service

San Jose State University recognized 133 employees at the Spartan Service Celebration March 7 for reaching milestones of service to the university. Spartans gathered in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom to celebrate their friends, colleagues and for some, their spouses who they met during long careers at San Jose State.

President Mary A. Papazian started the program off with a welcome and expression of gratitude for the hard work and dedication of university staff members.

“Staff members are the driving force behind the university, connected in some way, shape, or form to all that we do,” she said.

For each milestone of service – 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40, members of the president’s cabinet shared their own thanks for the staff members who work within their divisions and collaborations across campus. See the full list of honorees who reached their milestones by Dec. 31, 2018. For each year celebrated, a video highlighting the year – with top movies, music and news events –played before videos of some of the Spartan staff members reminiscing about their time at SJSU.

Ester Burton, an administrative support coordinator with the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering Student Success Center, who was honored for 20 years of service shared how she met her husband at SJSU. Coleetta McElroy, president of the SJSU Alumni Association and director of the SJSU Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, who has accumulated 30 years of service said she most values the connections she’s made with students. Alan Leventhal, an information technology consultant in anthropology with 40 years of service said much of his career at SJSU has been devoted to studying the Ohlone tribe.

Following the videos, the names of each honoree were read aloud, some to shouts, hoots, and whistles from colleagues. Some even waved SJSU banners, pompoms or wooden sticks with paper cutouts of the honorees’ faces.