Sue Howland Gift Creates Scholarship for Nursing Students

San José, Calif. — San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.9 million gift from the late Sue Howland, ’64 Business Administration. The gift creates the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship for single parents and other eligible undergraduate and graduate students at The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at the College of Health and Human Sciences. Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and required books for students to earn their nursing degrees.

“The Valley Foundation School of Nursing is grateful for the generous gift provided by the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship,” said Colleen O’Leary-Kelley, director of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing and nursing professor. “Our student population is diverse, and many are single parents with significant financial need. Scholarship support is vital for students who strive to improve their family’s future while working full time or part time. Their ability to succeed in a rigorous educational program is greatly enhanced. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the generosity of people like Sue Howland, who enable students to make their dreams become a reality.”

About Sue Howland

Sue Howland smiling in a bright read embroidered top.

Alumna Sue Howland established a planned gift that will create a scholarship for nursing students who are parents. Photo courtesy of Ana Espejo.

Born in Berkeley and raised in San José, Howland enrolled in a number of nursing courses at San José State before ultimately majoring in business. Ever the caretaker, Howland raised her son Scott while working for the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford University and McWhorter’s stationery in Los Gatos. When her grandmother fell ill, she quit her job to become her full-time caregiver, and later did the same for her mother. While she never became a nurse, Howland was a dedicated friend to many, including Ana Espejo, who she met when she hired Espejo’s husband to help with her garden.

“Sue was very compassionate and she had a lot of integrity and kindness,” said Espejo. “We became very close; she was my adopted mom. She was there for me when I was, at one point, a single mother. She treated my son as her grandson. She wanted to give single parents the resources to go to school, which is why she created the scholarship.”

Howland made arrangements in her trust to donate the proceeds from the sale of her house to create an endowed fund at San José State. The fund provides full-tuition scholarships named after Howland and her mother Julia (Judy) Howland to single parents so they may continue their studies while parenting. In her final years, Howland was grateful for the medical care she received as she was being treated for various illnesses and before she succumbed to cancer in 2019. Espejo said that it was this care that reinforced Howland’s desire to support future nurses.

“Throughout all of her surgeries and treatments, she appreciated that the nurses and medical assistants took such good care of her,” said Espejo. “This is part of why she wanted to support the nursing program at San José State, though she had planned her gift years before.”

“Sue Howland understood the challenges of single parenting while attending college and the impact that a scholarship like this could have. Students receiving this scholarship concentrate on their studies, and still spend valuable time with their children,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “We are grateful for her thoughtful planning many years ago to leave a meaningful legacy at San José State.”

“I stand in awe of Sue Howland. It is remarkable that she and her family would share with such generosity their treasures with the College of Health and Human Science’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing,” said Audrey Shillington, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “So many of our students face challenges, working their way through school, often juggling multiple jobs on top of coursework and practicum commitments. Ms. Howland had the insight to recognize that single parents face additional barriers and that they are much more likely to drop out due to all the financial burdens facing them. This gift will change the lives of all the parents who receive it. Beyond this though, the gift will impact the lives of the students’ children. This will lead to intergenerational transformation.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of Planned Giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José 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 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

$3M Anonymous Gift Will Establish Endowments at SJSU

Three students hover over a laptop while studying together.

An anonymous $3 million planned gift will establish three endowments at SJSU. Photo taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic.

San José, Calif. — San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $3 million gift commitment from anonymous donors. The gift will create three $1 million endowments to provide full tuition to eligible students majoring in management information systems (MIS) in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, computer science in the College of Science and computer engineering in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

“We believe strongly in the importance of education. It is important to invest in the future by giving back to the educational institute which we attended and to invest and assist future students,” said the donors, a married couple who graduated from San José State. “We hope our gift will help students achieve their academic goals and so serve as our investment in the future.”

“Recognizing the importance of supporting students in areas of study as wide-ranging as business, science, and engineering is quintessentially San José State,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “The donors, both alumni, demonstrate how our Spartan family champions one another’s disparate dreams and vision for the future. We are incredibly grateful for their generosity.”

“With rising inequality, support for student scholarships has never been more important,” said Sheryl Ehrman, dean of the Davidson College of Engineering. “Our society will greatly benefit from the ideas generated by these computer engineering students supported by these scholarships!”

“This gift will expand access to our high-quality computer science degree program—and the outstanding experiential learning, internship, and career opportunities that come with it—regardless of a student’s ability to pay for their education,” said Michael Kaufman, dean of the College of Science. “This aligns precisely with SJSU’s role as a transformative institution and the College of Science’s mission of creating knowledge and expanding opportunity. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the donors.

“This incredibly generous gift is truly an investment in our MIS students’ future,” said Dan Moshavi, dean of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. “These scholarships will significantly reduce financial pressures and allow students to spend more time focusing on their studies and engaging in co-curricular activities that can advance their careers.”

“This wonderful act of generosity will help provide a high-quality education to a new generation of Spartans,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian. “Investments by donors like these enable us to transform the lives of our students and their families, and for that we are very grateful.”

To learn how you can support the university through a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of planned giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José 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 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU Admitted Spartan Days Go Online Nov. 16 – 20

Sammy

Admitted SJSU students can log online to experience Admitted Spartan Days from November 16 – 20, 2020. Newly-admitted Spartans are invited to participate in virtual Admitted Spartan Days Nov. 16 – 20.

Approximately 1,800 newly-admitted San José State students are invited to participate in online Admitted Spartan Days November 16 – 20 to learn about pursuing an education at SJSU. Students and parents can attend virtual presentations and workshops on Zoom and get the information they need to enroll in the spring 2021 semester. While Admitted Spartan Day has historically been an in-person event on campus, this fall SJSU is hosting all informational events online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the second time that SJSU has had to offer Admitted Spartan Days activities online and the first time offering them in the fall, said Deanna Gonzalez, director of admissions and student outreach. In spring 2020, roughly 25,000 prospective Spartans were invited to participate in Zoom workshops, virtual tours and webinars to orient them to SJSU. By making the resources available online in real time and as recorded videos, Gonzalez said, the university is making it easier for future Spartans to find the information they need to enroll.

Kristell Nunez, ’22 Business Administration, attended the spring 2020 virtual Admitted Spartan Days as a transfer student.

“I can’t express how amazing the College of Business was! They were professional, helpful, and went above and beyond in their panels,” she said. “I was amazed that they did a FAQ Google Spreadsheet with every question answered, even if many were similar. They stayed afterward to help answer more questions which was extremely appreciated. I was very happy with their panels. The panels sealed the deal for me to choose SJSU.”

Nunez is loving her first semester at SJSU. She recommends that new students get involved in clubs.

“I’m involved in the Marketing Association doing consulting for a local company,” she said. “It feels great to apply what you learn in the classroom. I encourage students to step out of your comfort zone and explore; it does wonders.”

This semester’s virtual events will kick off on Monday, November 16, with welcome messages from college deans and videos that introduce students to college life at SJSU. Admitted students can watch content live or view the recorded webinars later at a time that works for their schedule. The week will continue with virtual tours, Zoom workshops and presentations:

Monday, Nov. 16: Academic and Campus Life Kickoff

This includes welcomes from the deans and webinars with colleges. SJSU Vice President for Student Affairs Patrick Day will provide introductory remarks at 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 17: Supporting Spartan Success: Campus Resources

Webinars cover key services including career planning, financial aid and scholarship information, writing center services, winter session information, veteran services, international student services and more.

Wednesday, Nov. 18: Discover Spartan Life

Prospective students can learn about on-campus housing options and hear from New Student and Family Programs, Student Involvement and Associated Students, who will highlight student life activities and leadership opportunities at SJSU. Students can also watch a video guide to Spartan life, living on campus and studying abroad, as well as video tours of campus, the International House, the Hammer Theatre, the Student Union.

Thursday, Nov. 19: Supporting Spartan Success: Advising at SJSU

Students can learn about advising resources on campus and how college student success centers and the Academic Advising and Retention Services office can assist them throughout their education. Live webinars will cover the Veteran’s Resource Center, the Academic Counseling Center for Excellence in the Social Sciences (ACCESS), the Engineering Student Success Center, the College of Health and Human Sciences Student Success Center, the Accessible Education Center, the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center and the Lucas College of Business for transfer students.

Friday, Nov. 20: Next Steps in the Admissions Process

SJSU admission recruiters will be available to answer questions from incoming freshmen and transfer students about their admission and the intent to enroll process. Additional information can be found at sjsu.edu/admissions or admittedspartan@sjsu.edu.

Bettina Love Lecture on Abolitionist Teaching Draws 800+ Online Participants

Bettina Love poses in front of a mural.

Bettina Love’s lecture attracted 800 participants on Nov. 10.

On Tuesday, November 10, San José State University’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education hosted Bettina Love, associate professor of educational theory and practice at the University of Georgia and one of the founders of the Abolitionist Teaching Network, for an hour-long lecture. The online event included a panel moderated by Saili Kulkarni, assistant professor of special education; psychology and African American Studies Lecturer Leslye Tinson, ’22 EdD; and Jacqueline Lopez Rivas, ’21 Child and Adolescent Development. More than 800 people from around the country registered for the Zoom webinar.

Lurie College Dean Heather Lattimer kicked off the event by explaining how Love’s expertise aligns with the college’s strategic plan, which affirms its commitment to prepare “transformative educators, counselors, therapists, school and community leaders through an emancipatory approach across teaching, scholarship and service.”

Bradley Porfilio, program director of SJSU’s EdD Leadership Program, originally invited Love to speak in spring 2020, but the event was postponed due to shelter in place orders related to COVID-19. On Tuesday night, Porfilio introduced Love as “a transformative scholar on abolitionist teaching and hip hop education and an inspiration to our students, who are committed to creating a society that is free from hate and free from oppression.”

Love is the author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her writing, research, teaching, and activism meet at the intersection of race, education, abolition, and Black joy. She began her talk by reflecting on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on institutional racism and equity gaps in the United States and reinforced the need for abolitionist and anti-racist thought, especially in schools.

“There is a perception that racism only hurts Black, Latinx and indigenous people,” said Love. “What we don’t talk about is what society loses because of racism. Society loses when we don’t teach Black and Brown students to their highest potential. We lose doctors, lawyers, physicians, teachers, everyday people because we do not educate students to their highest potential.”

Love argued that educators need to rethink the ways their curriculum may reinforce racial stereotypes, such as minimizing the Black experience in America to slavery, police brutality or the school-to-prison pipeline. Rather, she encouraged teachers to focus on Black and Brown joy—by depicting the resilience, creativity and ingenuity of people of all races, she said, students can envision themselves succeeding in a variety of ways. She defined the difference between an “ally” and a “co-conspirator” as a reminder to non-Black and non-Brown people to do more than pay lip service to an abolitionist and anti-racist future by taking action to make change. When her talk concluded, she answered questions from the panelists that had been partially sourced from the 800+ registered participants.

“I truly believe that we have to fight racism and injustice, but we also have to believe that Black and Brown children are worthy—full stop,” said Love as the evening was drawing to a close. “Because if you believe that Black and Brown children are worthy, then you won’t fight racism from a deficit mindset. Do you think these people are worthy of their biggest dreams? To fight for them, you must believe that their life has so much value that it makes your life better.”

Daniele LeCesne Joins SJSU as Tower Foundation Chief Operating Officer

Daniele LeCesne

Daniele LeCesne will serve as the COO of the Tower Foundation starting December 7.

For Daniele LeCesne, accepting the job as chief operating officer of San José State University’s Tower Foundation represents a homecoming of sorts. Though LeCesne is originally from southern California, her sister and brother-in-law graduated from SJSU and she has spent decades seeing the campus transform from afar. Now, after dedicating more than 25 years as an accounting and financial officer in various arenas, including 18 years in higher education, LeCesne is excited for the opportunity to oversee Tower Foundation operations beginning December 7.

“I’m all about the mission of higher ed,” said LeCesne from her office at California State University, Fullerton, where for the past three years she has worked dual roles as the executive director of university advancement administration and finance and chief financial officer for the CSF Foundation. “I am a huge proponent of encouraging younger generations to pursue their education, to pursue their dreams. My tagline is ‘engage, encourage, inspire.’ That’s what I try to share with others.”

LeCesne’s expertise includes financial and administrative management, budget management and analysis, human resources and internal controls, as well as nonprofit foundation management. Before joining Cal State Fullerton, LeCesne held positions at the University of California, Riverside, the University of Southern California, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. She also serves on the board of OPARC, an organization that serves adults living with developmental disabilities.

For LeCesne, few things matter more than her relationships, both with her family and at work. Her very first boss in the hotel industry became a lifelong mentor, inspiring her to invest in relationships with her colleagues and pay close attention to the nitty-gritty details involved in financial management.

“I’ll never forget the time he made me find a 72 cents-error on a reconciliation,” she said. “I spent hours poring over documents, and finally he let me go, saying that he was trying to teach me the importance of being detail-oriented and putting in the research. That has stuck with me for over 30 years. Having the best mentor in the world reminds me of how I want to be for others.”

LeCesne looks forward to passing on her knowledge to her team and collaborating with the Tower Foundation Board of Directors to reimagine philanthropy in the years to come.

“Daniele’s deep experience in financial management within the CSU and the hospitality industry uniquely positions her for success as our next COO,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “She brings with her the ability to effectively steward foundation resources while also providing a high level of customer service to our campus colleagues who have gift accounts. We are delighted that she is joining the Spartan family.”

 

Master’s Student Katy Jiang Wins 2020 Deepfake Education Competition

 

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, in partnership with the CITRIS Policy Labs at the University of California, Berkeley, announced that Katy Jiang, ’21 MS Software Engineering, won the 2020 Deepfake Education Competition with her three-minute explanatory video. The competition challenged students of all levels to create engaging video content to educate the public on deepfakes, the use of artificial intelligence to manipulate images and video to influence public opinion.

“Deepfake is a form of artificial intelligence. The word deepfake combines deep learning and fake,” said Jiang. “It can produce a persuasive counterfeit by studying photographs and videos of a target person from multiple angles, and then mimicking its behavior and speech patterns. By making this video, I want to educate people about the technology behind their day-to-day entertainment application and raise people’s awareness that deepfakes can also be used in committing crimes such as frauds and scams.”

A 2019 Pew Research study reported that two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say made-up news and information cause a great deal of confusion. Associate Chair of the Computer Engineering department Magdalini Eirinaki, who is teaching Jiang’s Web and Big Data Mining course this semester, recommended that Jiang submit her video, originally a class assignment, for the Deepfake Education competition.

“Identification and spread of fake news (whether in text or deepfakes) has been on my radar as a very interesting and critical research problem,” said Eirinaki. “This technology can be very easily weaponized and used to enhance the perceived credibility of fake news and disinformation campaigns. This can have even more devastating effects than current fake news, ranging from politics, to the environment (e.g. global warming), to public health (e.g. spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic). It is therefore more critical than ever for the research community to develop more sophisticated techniques to keep up with the deepfake technology to promptly identify and remove/flag them before too much harm is done.”

Jiang’s video explains how deepfakes can be used to impact how people interpret fake news—especially timely during a hotly contested presidential election and a global health pandemic. Using engaging visuals, music and voiceover to describe the dangers that deepfakes pose to democracy, she encourages viewers to assess content carefully before sharing it on their social media platforms. She demonstrates how many free apps are available to superimpose public images with false or misleading suggestions, inserting her own face over that of celebrities and politicians. Her winning submission will be featured on CITRIS media channels and through the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s media channels. The recognition also includes a $2,500 prize.

“As we are in the pandemic and the election is coming, deepfakes pose a danger to democracy,” said Jiang. “Fake news will influence everything from stock prices to the election. People should be critical about what we see online.”

 

67 New SJSU Faculty Members Hired Since COVID-19 Pandemic Began

As San José State University faces a historic $92 million budget cut, SJSU continues to demonstrate its investment in its educational mission by hiring 65 new faculty members since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Two additional faculty members were recruited during this time period and will be starting in fall 2021. Faculty members span colleges and disciplines, from Justice Studies to Marketing and Business Analytics to members of the newly-formed Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center (WIRC).

The latest faculty cohort reflects San José State’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in more than one way. According to University Personnel, 53 percent of new hires identify as women, 10 percent identify as Latinx, six percent as Black, 25 percent as Asian and 39 percent as white.

Senior Director of Faculty Affairs James Lee provided additional data to demonstrate how the demographics of incoming faculty members have changed since 2015.

*Prior years using PeopleSoft Data. AY 20-21, Interfolio. 2 or more race/ethnicity is not reported.

Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Success and Chicano/a Studies Professor Magdalena Barrera said that new and returning faculty must be cognizant of challenges that students are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our goal is to attract a very diverse pool of faculty applicants—diverse in terms of their training, their areas of expertise, their gender, their ethno-racial identities along multiple axes,” said Barrera. “It’s important that faculty are understanding of issues around diversity and inclusion and are very equity-minded in their approach, using their training and creativity to the best of their abilities to be empathetic towards students. They are helping students get through a very challenging time and it’s important that they keep them motivated to stick with school and make progress toward their degrees.”

Deanna Fassett, assistant vice provost for faculty development at the Center for Faculty Development (CFD) and former chair of SJSU’s Communication Studies department, adapted much of the CFD’s previously face-to-face onboarding activities for remote work. Fassett said the shift to online programming has gone smoothly, with weekly trainings over Zoom ranging from curriculum development for online learning to anti-racist pedagogies. Professional development workshops are recorded and available for members who may not be able to attend in real time.

“This is the most resourced group of [new] faculty” at San José State, Fassett said. “They’re getting the effort and the labor and the drive behind me, eCampus Senior Director Jennifer Redd, our new Equity and Accessibility Educator Valin Jordan and their department chairs. We’re building out guides for how to have more interactive classrooms. There are new Teach Anywhere and Learn Anywhere website resources. Facing new challenges, we leaned in and asked, how can we be better in online mode? The Chancellor’s Office really enabled us to do that.”

“I was really looking forward to getting into the classroom and connecting with students,” said Hillary Hurst, theoretical physicist and newly minted assistant professor of physics and astronomy. She completed some of the activities online while moving from Washington D.C. to California this summer. “I’ve had to rethink some things about how I teach my courses. Jump Start offered an asynchronous onboarding course for faculty members. I started doing sessions before we moved, I continued completing them while we were on our road trip and finished the course in California. I’m looking forward to completing the online teaching certificate this winter. While it’s tough feeling like I’m not quite getting to know the students, I am working on improving my online teaching.”

Fassett also believes that hiring new faculty and updating recruitment and retention practices helps the overall health of the university.

“The better our faculty teach, the more students will come back to us, the better we will retain them, and we will continue to help them advance to their professional goals,” said Fassett. “Our university remains more relevant than ever, and that shows in our enrollments and in the work our faculty do.” ”

Both Fassett and Barrera said that by investing in recruiting, retaining and investing in the continued professional development of faculty, San José State can better address Graduation Initiative 2025, an ambitious system-wide campaign to increase graduation rates while eliminating equity gaps.

“This is a critical moment for us to observe student needs and not lose focus on Graduation Initiative 2025,” said Barrera. “A lot of historically underrepresented students find online learning challenging because they don’t have regular or reliable Internet access. Many of them have taken on more hours at work to provide economically for their loved ones. Incoming faculty members need to be aware of these challenges. How do we turn these into opportunities to really connect with faculty members in terms of their pedagogical styles? We have to think creatively about building community when we can’t physically be together in the classroom or on campus. We want to not just meet those goals; we want to be a leader among the CSU. We have a bigger mission and together we’re working towards it.”

San José State Hosts Multiple Virtual Career Fairs

Screenshot of the SJSU Career Center webinar showing a slide that says We're Hiring! with three cards that say Explore Internship, University Internship, and Full-Time.

SJSU students had the opportunity to meet with employers like Microsoft during special Employer Insight workshops. Microsoft University Recruiter Brian Cuadra provided information on internship and job opportunities.

How can San José State students connect with potential employers during the COVID-19 health pandemic? In an era when students and recruiters can’t meet for an actual handshake, the San José State Career Center has leveraged the new career fair feature in Handshake, SJSU’s student career management platform, to host virtual career fairs.

More than 2,500 SJSU students have participated in six fairs since the fall 2020 semester began, according to Catherine Voss Plaxton, interim associate vice president of student services. The Career Center first offered virtual career fairs in the 2016-2017 school year. Also in that year, the team established career fairs for five, broad career pathways, offering possibilities for every major.

Handshake dashboard that lists career fair events for students to attend.

SJSU students can register for virtual career fairs using SJSU Handshake.

“By using Handshake, we can easily promote fairs to SJSU’s 9,200 local employers and the over 60 percent of undergraduate students who actively use the system,” said Voss Plaxton. “We were the first Bay Area campus to post a virtual career fair schedule and invite employers to recruit this fall.”

Students can access online resources to prepare for the virtual fairs, including job fair success webinars, individual career counseling appointments and access to VMock, an online resume-building tool. The Career Center also has offered four Employer Insights events with top employers to share advice for getting jobs at their companies. More than 175 students participated in a recent session that featured Microsoft representatives. Two additional Insights events are planned for fall 2020.

Shawn Klein, ’21 Human Resources Management, signed up for a one-on-one online meeting with Stacey Caceres, talent acquisition manager for Enterprise Holdings, during the Business, Logistics and Financial Services Virtual Job/Internship Fair on September 29.

“My experience was great,” said Klein, who works as a peer career advisor at SJSU and is looking for a job in HR. “I didn’t have to wait in any lines. I was able to get one-on-one time or a group session with everyone I needed to talk to. In the past, there were some employers I would’ve needed to wait 30 minutes just to speak to. Sometimes I never got the chance. To be able to set when you want to talk to someone and to see their availability helps save so much time. It gives you the ability to get face time with everyone. ”

Virtual fairs can make recruiting more convenient for employers as well. Zuleica Pena, ’15 Business Administration, who works in talent acquisition at the accounting firm PwC, attended a special Meet the Firms virtual event for accounting majors on September 17.

“We had a very positive experience with having Meet the Firms be virtual this semester,” said Pena. “The video platform was great quality and easy to use. The fact that student profiles were easy to access definitely made things run a lot smoother.”

More than 130 employers have participated in SJSU virtual career fairs this fall. According to exit surveys conducted by the SJSU Career Center, 60 percent of student attendees agreed or strongly agreed that the event helped them identify next steps to take in career preparation, while 74 percent recommended the virtual fairs to fellow SJSU students On November 3, Spartans can participate in a Graduate and Professional School Virtual Career Fair, a partnership between the College of Graduate Studies and the Career Center.

Steinbeck Fellow Yalitza Ferreras Earns Rona Jaffe Award

Yalitza Ferreras wearing an orange top and smiling in front of some green hills.

Yalitza Ferreras is the fourth Steinbeck Fellow and seventh Spartan to receive the prestigious Rona Jaffe Award in recognition of her writing. Photo courtesy of Yalitza Ferreras.

On September 17, six woman writers were recognized with 2020 Rona Jaffe Awards by the New York-based Rona Jaffe Foundation. Among this year’s recipients is Yalitza Ferreras, a Dominican American fiction writer and recipient of the 2014-2015 Steinbeck Fellowship. Ferreras is the fourth Steinbeck Fellow and seventh Spartan to receive this award, joining Vanessa Hua, Gabriela Garcia and Dominica Phetteplace. Three other SJSU-affiliated writers have also received this recognition: Assistant Professor of English Selena Anderson, English Lecturer Aamina Ahmad, and former Lurie Visiting Writer ZZ Packer.

The prestigious honor awards $30,000 to emerging woman writers of exceptional promise and includes a reading at New York University. This year’s event was hosted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ferreras read an excerpt of her novel-in-progress, The Four Roses, which follows Altagracia, a Dominican artist who immigrates to Spain in the 1990s to create art while struggling to survive.

“The characters I’m writing about are usually poor people, often people of color and very often women,” said Ferreras, whose work has been published in Kenyon Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Southern Review, Aster(ix) Journal, and The Colorado Review. Her story “The Letician Age” was included in the 2016 Best American Short Stories, edited by Junot Diaz. “I like to explore everyday, quotidian situations—people trying to work and survive. There’s so much conflict in people’s lives as they go about their days and feed their families. I want readers to truly see my characters, to insert them into the stories that everyone is reading. That is very worthwhile to me.”

Born in New York and raised in both New York and the Dominican Republic, Ferreras identifies with the immigrant experience and sees fiction as an opportunity to “bear witness” to the daily triumphs and challenges of negotiating new places. The first in her family to attend college, Ferreras intended to pursue a career in law before discovering a fiction workshop as an undergraduate at Mills College. At the urging of her professor and 2010 MacArthur Genius Fellow Yiyun Li, Ferreras went on to earn an MFA in creative writing at the University of Michigan, where she worked on a short story collection and began writing her novel. She has since received fellowships from Djerassi Resident Artist program, Yaddo, Voices of Our Nations and the Tin House Writing Workshop. She describes San José State’s Steinbeck Fellowship as a turning point in her writing career, which was interrupted in 2011 when she suffered a brain injury in a car accident. The fellowship allowed her to visit Spain and the Dominican Republic, research trips for her novel. It also introduced her to a network of writers, fellows and alumni.

“The Steinbeck Fellowship was really timely for me; it allowed me to really begin working on the project in earnest,” said Ferreras, who has often supported herself as a graphic designer. “I’ve finished a draft of the manuscript and the support from the Rona Jaffe Foundation is going to allow me to finish the novel. I’m really grateful to both organizations for their support because they’re helping me make this happen. It feels really amazing to be a part of these two communities.”

“When a former Steinbeck Fellow wins a major award, or finds a large audience for a new book, I am thrilled for them first of all, but I also feel validated,” said Nick Taylor, professor of English and comparative literature and director of the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies. “It demonstrates that our program is good at finding and supporting talent. And these successes aren’t rare anymore. At this point we’ve had 64 Steinbeck Fellows who have received something like $750,000 in support from the program. They’ve gone on to publish 40 books—a number that increases every year without fail. Not every former fellow publishes a book every year, but every year some do, and each of those publications gives us an opportunity to call attention to what we’re doing here at SJSU.”

Current Steinbeck Fellows are Rita Chang-Epigg, Tammy Delatorre, Brice Particelli, Daniel Pearce, Kate Osana Simonian and Anthony Veasna So. Applications open January 2 for the 2021-2022 fellowship.


Watch Ferreras’ Sept. 17 Rona Jaffe reading.

SJSU Legacy of Poetry Day 2020: Staying Home—The Way to San Jose

Media Contacts:
Alan Soldofsky, alan.soldofsky@sjsu.edu
Gaia Collar-Schilling, gaia.collar-schilling@sjsu.edu

San Jose State’s Poets and Writers Coalition will host the annual Legacy of Poetry Day Reading and Celebration in honor of National Poetry Month as an online event this year, which will premiere on YouTube April 23. This year’s event will focus on the theme “Staying Home: The Way to San Jose.” The theme is designed to include poems inspired by the poets’ personal and family stories of how they settled in and made their home in San Jose and Silicon Valley, or how they’re coping with sheltering in place in San Jose or nearby Silicon Valley communities. Interested community members can participate via Zoom starting at 4 p.m. on April 23.

This year’s keynote poet is Ellen Bass, poet, educator, bestselling nonfiction author and winner of the Lambda Literary Award. Bass is a former Santa Cruz poet laureate and is SJSU’s 2021 Connie and Robert Lurie Distinguished Author-in-Residence. Her newest collection of poems, Indigo, was published in April 2020 by Copper Canyon Press. Her poems frequently appear in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The New York Times Magazine and other publications. She is also a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Joining her as featured readers are Janice Logo Sapigao, newly appointed Santa Clara County poet laureate; Mighty Mike McGee, former Santa Clara County poet laureate; Arlene Biala, ’90 Psychology, former Santa Clara County poet laureate; Sally Ashton, ’01 English, former Santa Clara County poet laureate; Gary Singh, ’94 BA, ’98 MA, Music, poet and Metro columnist; and Tskaka Campbell, award-winning poet and spoken word artist.

Alan Soldofsky

Alan Soldofsky, director of SJSU’s Creative Writing program, at the 2015 Legacy of Poetry event. He is organizing virtual events for National Poetry Month this year. Photo by Christina Olivas.

These featured poets will be followed by SJSU faculty poets, including Alan Soldofsky, director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing, Michael Tod Edgerton and Joseph Navarro, as well as Darrell Dela Cruz, ’07 English, ’11 MFA Creative Writing, Linda Lappin, ’97 English, ’07 MFA Creative Writing and Mark Heinlein, ’09 MFA Creative Writing. They will be followed by San Jose community poets and award-winning undergraduate and graduate student poets.

Poetry Contest: #Best20secondPoemsSJSU

As part of this festival, SJSU students and members of the SJSU community are invited to submit a 20-second poem for a special contest—the amount of time the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends we spend washing our hands. Poems can be submitted on social media using the hashtag #Best20secondPoemsSJSU. If chosen, poets will be asked to send an audio or video file to be posted on the Legacy of Poetry website. Submissions are open until May 1.

The Legacy of Poetry Reading and Celebration is made possible by the following SJSU campus sponsors in conjunction with the SJSU Poets and Writers Coalition: the Department of English and Comparative Literature; the College of Humanities and Arts; the Center for Literary Arts and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Community co-sponsors include Poetry Center San Jose and Copper Canyon Press.

SJSU Admitted Spartan Day Goes Online, April 18 – 24

Admitted Spartan Day

Admitted SJSU students can log online to experience Admitted Spartan Day from April 18 – 24, 2020.

Every spring, after San Jose State has notified admitted students of their acceptance for the following year, the university hosts a special event, Admitted Spartan Day, to welcome potential Spartans to campus. While the preference is always to show incoming freshmen and transfer students the SJSU campus in person, the Coronavirus health pandemic prevents the university from hosting students and their families on campus at this time. Instead, SJSU has expanded this year’s Admitted Spartan Day to a weeklong virtual event to ensure that prospective students have all the information they need to choose San Jose State.

“This is a first for us to offer this campus-wide event online. We usually host more than 10,000 people for Admitted Spartan Day,” said SJSU Senior Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management Sharon Willey. “Each day will feature live webinars and video content so students and family members can choose which sessions are of interest to them. We are working diligently to personalize our SJSU Virtual Open House for each admitted undergraduate student with a variety of opportunities to interact with current students, faculty and staff. We hope to ensure that students see the many benefits of attending SJSU. The top three reasons admitted students choose SJSU is the quality of academic programs, cost and location.”

This year’s virtual event will kick off on Saturday, April 18, with welcome messages from college deans and videos that introduce students to college life at SJSU. Admitted students can watch content live or view the recorded webinars later at a time that works for their schedule. The week will continue with virtual tours, Zoom workshops and presentations:

Saturday, April 18: Academic and Campus Life Kickoff

This includes welcomes from the deans, webinars with colleges and/or departments, as well as webinars on campus life, orientation and student involvement.

Sunday, April 19: Virtual Tours

This includes virtual campus tours (general, Student Union, Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, South Campus and the Hammer Theatre) as well as a student panel live webinar and parent panel.

Monday, April 20: All About Finances

Video content will include webinars by the Bursar’s Office, Financial Aid and the Career Center, including information on how to get a job on campus.

Tuesday, April 21: University Housing

The International House and on-campus residence halls will be featured, including tours and live webinars.

Wednesday, April 22: Campus Resources

Virtual content includes videos on the Latinx/Chicanx Student Success Center, the African-American/Black Student Success Center, the Asian Pacific Islander Desi (South Asian) American (APIDA) task force, the Veterans Resource Center, the UndocuSpartan Resource Center, the Career Center and many more campus resources.

Thursday, April 23: Supporting Spartan Success: Advising at SJSU

College student success centers and Academic Advising and Retention Services will host presentations and webinars to share how advising works and respond to admitted student inquiries online.

Friday, April 24: Next Steps in the Admissions Process

SJSU admission recruiters will be available to answer questions from students about their admission and the intent to enroll process.

SJSU Vice President for Student Affairs, Patrick Day, provides further details:

 
Admitted students are encouraged to fill out an interest form to inform SJSU which topics they would like to learn more about during the week of online activities. Additional information can be found at sjsu.edu/admissions or admittedspartan@sjsu.edu.

Deadline for Student Crisis Support Fund Extended Through April 30

 

Updated April 28. 2020

In March 2020, San Jose State’s Annual Giving partnered with SJSU Cares to launch a crowdfunding campaign to support the university’s Student Crisis Support Fund in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic. The Student Crisis Support Fund, administered by SJSU staff as part of the SJSU Cares initiative, provides immediate assistance to SJSU students who are facing unforeseen economic crises. This fund is entirely supported by charitable donations and helps meet students’ time-sensitive needs. Requests are increasing dramatically due to the ramifications of COVID-19.

Since the crowdfunding campaign’s launch on March 25, more than 550 donors have helped SJSU surpass its initial $50,000 goal. As of 48 hours before the April 30 campaign deadline, SJSU announced that corporate partner, Cisco Systems, agreed to match all donations in the final week up to a total of $10,000. This, combined with a $10,000 donation from Joan and Don Beall, San Jose State alumni, has brought SJSU close to reaching the goal of $125,000. Funds will address ongoing, anticipated and unforeseen economic needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has already disrupted the lives of life of SJSU students significantly, creating unexpected housing and food expenses, restricting travel and potentially stranding them away from home, limiting their income from hourly jobs, work-study positions, or internships or jobs that have been cancelled or put on hold, and creating other unforeseen challenges such as medical costs and technology resources they need to attend online classes. Some federal emergency funds exist to help students who are Pell- and FAFSA-eligible, but the funds won’t be available to help many other students, including international and undocumented and Dreamer students.

“By helping meet their immediate needs, the Student Crisis Support Fund can give SJSU students the ability to overcome the immediate difficult setbacks the pandemic poses,” said Ben Falter, SJSU behavioral intervention chair and senior student affairs case manager, who also responds to students requesting assistance from SJSU Cares. “However, recovery from the pandemic may take years, so the need will continue.”

“It’s encouraging to have so many in our Spartan community, especially San Jose State alumni and faculty and staff members, willing to support our students even as they too cope with the pandemic,” said Nancy Stewart, senior director of annual giving.

Spartan Judo Legend Turns 100

On April 1, 1920, a pioneering judoka, coach, educator and leader was born to Japanese immigrants who worked in California’s Imperial Valley. Yoshihiro Uchida, ’47 Biological Sciences, ’04 Honorary Doctorate, started competing in the sport as a 10-year-old in Garden Grove, Calif., and years later brought judo to San Jose State as an engineering student, where he coached police students on the martial art. His education was interrupted by the U.S. Executive Order 90266, which forced thousands of Japanese Americans to live in internment and incarceration camps around the nation.

The former men’s gymnasium in the then-Spartan Complex West building was used as a registration center for Santa Clara County Japanese Americans before they were sent to internment camps during World War II. Uchida served in World War II while his family was interned in Poston and Tule Lake and returned to San Jose State in 1946 to complete his studies and resume coaching. He persuaded the Amateur Athletic Union to sanction judo in 1953, and San Jose State went on to win 51 out of 56 national championships under his leadership.

Uchida is credited with establishing a judo weight system to keep the sport safe and fair. He helped establish the Palo Alto and San Jose Buddhist Judo clubs. In 1997, the Spartan Complex West building was renamed Yoshihiro Uchida Hall in his honor and rededicated in 2014 following a renovation. A plaque was placed outside the gymnasium to denote its historic significance. In 2018, he was recognized for 70 years of service at San Jose State. Uchida has been awarded SJSU’s Tower Award and was inducted into the SJSU Legacy Hall of Fame and the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the emperor of Japan.

Due in part to his advocacy, judo was introduced at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, where Uchida coached the first U.S. Olympic team. His proteges have gone on to claim world titles and Olympic medals. There have been 20 Olympians and four Olympic medals: 1984 silver medalist Bobby Berland, ’84 Marketing; 1988 silver medalist Kevin Asano, ’89 Accounting; 1988 bronze medalist Mike Swain, ’85 Marketing, and 2012 bronze medalist Marti Malloy, ’10 BS, ’15 MS, Mass Communications.

“Yosh Uchida is a legendary figure and an inspiration in so many ways,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian. “His commitment to excellence over the years is matched only by the commitment he has demonstrated to generations of students. He brought San Jose State to prominence when he brought judo to the Olympics in 1964, and he continues to this day to bring honor to our university.”

This April 1, San Jose State wishes a very happy centennial to Uchida, who is still coaching and educating into his second century. While in-person birthday festivities were originally planned in spring 2020, unfortunately they have been postponed due to COVID-19 health concerns. San Jose State encourages alumni, friends and fans of Uchida to share their favorite stories, anecdotes and memories of Uchida using the hashtag #SJSUYosh100.


 

Instructions to download:

For Windows:

  1. Click the image thumbnail and the picture will open in a new window.
  2. Right-click the picture.
  3. Click “Save Picture As.”
  4. In the “Save Picture” dialog box, select the folder where you want to save the file and then click “Save.”

Learn more on how to save a picture from a web page for Windows.

For Mac OS:

  1. Click the image thumbnail and the picture will open in a new window.
  2. Do one of the following:
    1. Right-click the picture. Click “Save Image As.” In the “Save Image” dialog box, select the folder where you want to save the file and then click “Save.”
    2. Drag the image to your desktop or control-click the image and choose “Save Image to Downloads” or “Save Image As.”

 

#SJSUCounts: The 2020 Census Guide

Starting this spring, the U.S. Census Bureau is collecting data on the number of people living in households across the country. San Jose State encourages all SJSU students to participate in the census for a variety of reasons. Please see below for frequently asked questions about the Census.

Fill out your 2020 Census

#SJSUCounts Complete the California 2020 census today!

SJSU students who complete the 2020 U.S. Census and complete an SJSU form are entered into a prize drawing.

Download #SJSUCounts: Representation, Rewards, and a Drawing [pdf]

Download #SJSUCounts: The 2020 Census Guide FAQ [pdf]

2020 Census Guide FAQ

What is the 2020 Census?

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau counts every person living in the U.S. as mandated in the Constitution. The count begins in mid-March and lasts through the summer.

Why does the 2020 Census matter?

For every person left uncounted, California could lose up to $1,000 per person each year for the next ten years. Completing your Census form helps ensure California receives funding for healthcare services, parks and roads that support your local community.

What questions are on the 2020 Census?

The Census is a simple and confidential 9-question survey that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Questions include your name, address, gender, race, and age. The 2020 Census does not ask about your citizenship status or for your social security number, bank details, payment, or a donation.

How should I complete the questions on residence?

In general, count yourself at the U.S. residence where you live and sleep most of the time.

Tips on the Residence Question for Students

  • Students who usually live in University Housing. Count yourself at SJSU, even if you are temporarily living elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • International and undocumented students. Count yourself at the U.S. residence where you live and sleep most of the time.
  • Students enrolled in study-abroad programs. If you are living outside the U.S. on Census Day, April 1, 2020, do not count yourself in the stateside census. If you are back in the U.S., count yourself at the U.S. residence where you live and sleep most of the time.
  • Students who are homeless or housing insecure. If you do not have a usual residence, count yourself where you are at the time of taking the census.
  • More information available in the SJSU Counts Overview Slides.

Spartan Food Pantry Celebrates One Year of Service at SJSU

Food Pantry employees in blue aprons.

Alexandra Gerrick, CAPS counselor and chair of the Student Hunger Committee, Cat Fillmore, CAPS Clinical Case Manager, Tania Moran Hernandez, Marjourie Quintanilla, Aseem Chhabra, Marko Mohlenhoff, Student Affairs Case Manager and Ben Falter, Sr. Student Affairs Case Manager at the Spartan Food Pantry. Photo: David Schmitz.

On March 25, the Spartan Food Pantry recognized its first full year of service at San Jose State. The pantry was established as an expansion of SJSU’s commitment to supporting students who are experiencing food insecurity, and is a partnership between SJSU Cares, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley (SHSV) and individual donations. According to monthly data collected on the SJSU Cares website, there have been more than 18,880 SJSU student visits between March 2019 and January 2020 and approximately 24,000 visits since the pantry opened its doors. The pantry has served 4,900 unique visitors, 48 percent of whom visit it weekly.

The pantry, located in the Diaz Compean Student Union with an exterior entrance across from the Engineering Building rotunda, is set up like a grocery store. Eligible students can “shop” through six zones including fresh produce, chilled items, dry goods and toiletries. Once students complete the Spartan Food Pantry intake and agreement form, eligible students can stop in once every calendar week for groceries.

Though the Spartan Food Pantry is a valuable resource year-round, it provides an especially critical service during the COVID-19 health pandemic. Even with in-person classes suspended, all SJSU Cares, case management, and Spartan Food Pantry operations are still available. As of March 2020, the pantry has had to move from a “shopping” model to a “distribution” model where students can receive pre-packaged items while maintaining updated protocol regarding social distance when picking up food. Since Santa Clara County issued its “shelter-in-place” mandate on March 17, there have been approximately 900 visits to the pantry.

“Every day, and especially during times like this, it’s so fortunate to be in a job where the work I do lets me connects students with resources, in some cases almost immediately, and the pantry is the clearest example of that,” said Marko Mohlenhoff, student affairs case manager of SJSU Cares. “The pantry is the most accessible resource to the greatest number of students. The COVID-19 crisis is affecting many people’s employment and directly increasing the level of need with many students. How fortunate that we can offer this pantry to our students.”

Over the past year, Second Harvest has donated nearly a quarter million pounds of food to the Spartan Food Pantry, according to Ben Falter, SJSU behavioral intervention chair and senior student affairs case manager. Of that, the pantry received more than 70,500 pounds of fresh produce—resources that are often hard to find in community and college food banks. These numbers do not include donations of food, toiletries and hygiene items from SJSU’s Community Garden, as well as SJSU staff, faculty, students and the San Jose community at large, including churches and mosques.

“The first anniversary of the Spartan Food Pantry represents a key milestone in SJSU’s efforts to ensure every student has the resources and support they need to succeed,” said Interim Associate Vice President for Student Services Catherine Voss Plaxton. “Now a recognized fixture on campus, the Pantry offers not only nutritious food to resolve a student’s immediate need for food assistance, but also an entry point to comprehensive services to resolve ongoing basic needs concerns. I am so proud of the work of the SJSU Cares staff and the Economic Crisis Response Team, whose motivation to care for students led us to realize this anniversary.”

“Like many people, I see the offering of food as a symbol of care. Every time I’m at the pantry, I see a line of students getting connected to food—a basic need—and know that we are supporting them getting to graduation,” said Falter. “I’m very proud of the way our team has engaged students to increase the use of fresh produce which is vital to good nutrition when you are experiencing food insecurity ”

Updates are posted regularly on social media at @SJSUFoodPantry on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Occupational Therapy Professors Earn National Recognition

Two San Jose State Occupational Therapy professors have received national recognition from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Assistant Professor Luis de Leon Arabit and Associate Professor Megan C. Chang have been named AOTA fellows, an honor that recognizes occupational therapists who have made significant contributions to the profession with a measured impact on the consumers of occupational therapy services and/or members of the Association. Arabit is recognized as an “occupational therapy expert clinician, leader and advocate,” while Chang is being honored for “supporting the profession through evidence-based research.”

Occupational Therapy Association Fellow, Luis de Leon Arabit.

SJSU Occupational Therapy faculty member Luis de Leon Arabit has been named an American Occupational Therapy Association Fellow. Photo courtesy of Luis Arabit.

Arabit says that occupational therapists are health professionals and experts who help improve and support people across the lifespan in their everyday activities or “occupations,” which includes self-care, work, leisure, play, physical activity, sleep and much more.

“When you participate in meaningful activities that occupy your time and your life, it stimulates and promotes your own physical and mental health,” says Arabit, who specializes in neurorehabilitation and physical rehabilitation. He holds numerous certifications in practice, including board certification in physical rehabilitation and neurorehabilitation as well as neuro-developmental treatment techniques.

Growing up in the Philippines, he was first introduced to the field after his grandfather suffered a stroke and was treated by an occupational therapist. A practitioner and clinician for many years, Arabit transitioned into academia because he has a passion for teaching and loves working with students who share his goal of helping clients live their healthiest lives. He is an advocate and leader of the occupational therapy profession, serving in volunteer leadership positions as a former vice president and chair of the Advocacy and Government Affairs Committee of the Occupational Therapy Association of California. He serves on the American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee, where he is director of the western region states.

“If there is a piece of legislation that affects our practice or affects the way we deliver care for our clients, or if we are prevented or limited from providing certain treatments, then our clients suffer,” Arabit says. “That’s the reason I became an advocate for clients, as well as for the occupational therapy profession.”

Chang says that occupational therapists help people increase their quality of life by overcoming barriers that might impede daily activities. She worked in a hospital daycare in Taiwan where she collaborated with a psychiatrist and a music therapist to create a music therapy group for young adults living with intellectual disabilities, including those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. Chang observed that many of the young adults exhibited sensory processing issues and wondered how occupational therapists could best support clients by assessing their senses. While pursuing her PhD at USC, she worked in the department of Public Health, where she developed research skills in biostatistics that later translated into her own academic pursuits. Her work revolves around “the three Ss: sleep, sensory processing and stress.”

Occupational Therapy Association Fellow, Megan Chang

Megan Chang is one of two SJSU faculty members to receive an AOTA fellowship. Photo courtesy of Megan Chang.

“Occupational therapists also help disease prevention,” says Chang. “We focus on mind and body interactions and adopt a holistic approach.”

Chang has collaborated with SJSU Lecturer Rochelle McLoughlin, ’00 MS Occupational Therapy, on the Mindfulness-Based Healthcare and Human Services (MBHH) Advanced Certificate Program, which is designed to help healthcare providers integrate mindfulness skills into their personal and professional lives. Chang has also recruited students to help her research how to assess sensory processing disorders in adults—a gap in OT research that she believes needs to be addressed. She wants to cultivate a love for research in her students, both for their growth and for the benefit of their future clients.

“My students are scholar-practitioners, which means they not only collaborate on research projects, but they can be research producers,” she says. “They can contribute to the field with clinical expertise. Students are our future and I am glad that that I get a chance to be a small part of their learning process and OT journey. I have learned a lot, not only from my mentors and colleagues, but also my students. They enrich my occupational experience and nourish my research soul.”

Arabit and Chang join Assistant Professor Deborah Bolding, Professor Heidi Pendleton, Associate Professor Gigi Smith and Department Chair Winifred Schultz-Krohn, current OT faculty who have also been honored with this prestigious award.

CommUniverCity Receives 2020 SPUR Impact Award

CommUniverCity Executive Director Katherine Cushing (center, holding plaque) stands with members of the CommUniverCity team.

CommUniverCity Executive Director Katherine Cushing (center, holding plaque) stands with members of the CommUniverCity team at their 15th anniversary reception, Celebrating Partnerships: A Quinceañera on November 13, 2019. Photo: Brandon Chew, ’18 Photojournalism.

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association will honor CommUniverCity, a three-sector partnership with San Jose State, the City of San Jose and the community, at the 2020 SPUR Impact Awards, a free online event that will start at 11:30 a.m.

Graphic of illustrations that says SPUR impact awards.

The SPUR Impact Awards will take place online on Friday, March 20.

A civic planning organization with offices in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, SPUR is known for its independent and holistic approach to urban issues. The SPUR Impact Awards acknowledge outstanding impact by public sector employees in city and county government in Santa Clara County who are making a difference in government and the community at large in the areas of housing, transportation, placemaking and urban design, and sustainability and resilience.

Four members of CommUniverCity’s Community Planning Team will be recognized with a 2020 Impact Award: SJSU Urban and Regional Planning lecturers Richard Kos and Jason Su, ’13 MUP, Community Director Imelda Rodriguez and Project Coordinator Ralph Robinson, ’21 MUP. The Community Planning team organizes and implements a year-long engagement project with underserved neighborhoods in San Jose. Using community planning principles, the team works with local residents, key stakeholder groups and other partners to identify neighborhood assets, challenges and opportunities. This information leads to creation of a professional quality planning report at the end of every academic year that the community can use to advocate for its top priorities.

“Receiving this honor demonstrates CommUniverCity’s and SJSU’s value as advocates for amplifying the voice of underserved communities,” says CommUniverCity Executive Director Katherine Cushing, who is also an environmental studies professor and director of SJSU’s Global Studies program. “Too often urban planning processes involving public input can be pro forma. They are seen as a required part of procedural compliance for moving a development project forward. CommUniverCity’s community assessment processes are the antithesis of that. Using the power of SJSU faculty and students, who work in partnership with neighborhood leaders, businesses, and other partner organizations, we focus on listening to residents and communicating their priorities to relevant city departments in San Jose. Through collaboration, we are able to capture resident perceptions of opportunities and obstacles for their neighborhoods and translate them into actionable items that city departments can work on.”

“This award recognizes our long-standing collaboration with the community in developing urban village plans that reflect the community’s vision, our commitment to work along with neighbors to revitalize our neighborhoods, and the value of the work our faculty and students perform to capture the community’s vision,” says Rodriguez, who has worked with CommUniverCity since 2009.

“We strengthen San Jose communities by linking them with San Jose State faculty and students, and with City of San Jose staff and elected officials,” says Kos. “It’s a powerful model of collaboration and coalition-building focused on three things: community health, education and neighborhood revitalization. But do you know where the real power lies, in my experience? The students of San Jose State University. You’d be amazed at how warmly they are welcomed by underserved communities in central San Jose. They give community residents a voice in advocating for their own interests.”

Since 2004, CommUniverCity’s Community Planning projects have worked with 15 neighborhoods on important urban planning issues to help community members understand smart growth principles. Reports have resulted in direct infrastructure improvements such as Safe Routes to School projects for two area schools, which included the installation of flashing beacons and median islands. Other infrastructure improvements included the design and construction of an outdoor living room and mural in Northside Neighborhood supported by a $45,000 grant from Knight Foundation. CommUniverCity attends neighborhood association meetings and maintains a running Community Wish List used to recruit SJSU faculty members to participate in community-identified neighborhood improvement projects.

“The award honors what CommUniverCity has always believed in—that the community are experts in guiding the future prosperity of their neighborhood, that robust engagement starts from a place of trust, and that our voices are stronger when together,” says Su, who also serves as the executive director of the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy. “I’m honored to be part of a long-standing tradition of learning from the community and leveraging the energy and expertise of San Jose State students to further their goals.”

SPUR is arranging to share physical awards with recipients at a later date.

2020 Faculty Award Winners

San Jose State has recognized four distinguished faculty members for noteworthy achievement in teaching, scholarship and service. Read more about each recipient:

President’s Scholar: Lawrence Quill, Department of Political Science

Outstanding Professor: Charlotte Sunseri, Department of Anthropology

Outstanding Lecturer: Sharmin Khan, Department of Linguistics

Distinguished Service: Karen Singmaster, Department of Chemistry

Spartan Service Celebration Honors Staff and Introduces Three New Awards

The 53rd annual Spartan Service Celebration honored staff milestone years of service and awarded three exemplary Spartans new annual awards—Distinguished Service, Spartan Spirit and Staff of the Year—on Thursday, March 5 at the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Dora Ozawa and President Papazian

Dora Ozawa accepts the Staff of the Year Award from SJSU President Mary Papazian. Photo: Robert Bain.

Staff of the Year: Dora Ozawa

Dora Ozawa, systems coordinator for Registrar’s Office, received the Staff of the Year award in recognition of her commitment to the campus, her extensive knowledge of registration policies, procedures and her 43 years of service to San Jose State. Originally hired as a student employee, Ozawa describes SJSU as her “second home,” a community of friends, students and colleagues who have encouraged her to grow in her various roles. She said that seeing the campus evolve over the last four decades has taught her so much about streamlining processes, supporting students and brainstorming ways to improve registration systems. Ozawa has been a critical force in transitioning the university to the PeopleSoft database for record-keeping.

“When I first heard that I’d been nominated for this award, I was pretty overwhelmed emotionally,” said Ozawa, who is used to working behind the scenes. “It’s been amazing to see how much we accomplished with so little technology back in the day and how far we’ve come. I like knowing that the work I do helps students make it to their goal of graduating.”

Vuong Vu and Joanne Wright

Joanne Wright presents Vuong Vu with the inaugural Spartan Spirit Award. Photo: Robert Bain.

Spartan Spirit Award: Vuong Vu

The Spartan Spirit Award, which is intended to highlight someone who is “spirited, passionate and proud to work at SJSU,” while embodying campus values of social justice, diversity and innovation, was awarded to Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) Evaluator Vuong Vu, ’01 Psychology.

“I enjoy knowing that my work makes a difference,” said Vu. “I know that education, especially graduate education, changes lives, not only for students, but for their families and communities. Every application that I review, I do so with attention and care because I know that once you are a graduate student at SJSU, your life will change forever—for the better. I love my team and look forward to coming into work every morning. GAPE Director Tricia Ryan encourages and fosters independence and creativity. This allows me to enjoy my work and find it meaningful.”

Nancy Day and Ravisha Mathur

Nancy Day accepts the 2019-2020 Distinguished Service award from Ravisha Mathur. Photo: Robert Bain.

Distinguished Service Award: Nancy Day

Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Thalia Anagnos describes the inaugural Distinguished Service recipient Nancy Day as an “invaluable resource.” Day, who works in undergraduate e-advising, is adept at navigating PeopleSoft and quick to field questions from students, staff and faculty across campus.

“There are a lot of students that need help and assistance getting through college,” said Day. “Working in Undergraduate Education on the degree audit project, we are really able to help students. We want to see people graduate and the tools that I work on really help facilitate that.”

“Due to the work done by Nancy and her team, the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business has been able to replace paper major forms with MyProgress,” wrote Anagnos in a 2019 “Stepping Beyond” blog post. “This helps our evaluators complete graduation checkout much more quickly and gets diplomas to our students just days after the semester is over. Every day of the year, Nancy steps beyond.”

Each of the award recipients received $1,000, sponsored by the Office of the President. Two honorable mentions in each category were awarded $250. Ana Navarette Avina of the UndocuSpartan Resource Center and Robert Davis of the Veteran’s Resource Center received Spartan Spirit honorable mentions. Virtual Servers and Networking Analyst Altaful Khan of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Information Technology Services and Ramon Perez, ’01 Biological Sciences, ’04 MA Economics, of the College of Health and Human Sciences received honorable mentions in the Distinguished Service category. Staff of the Year honorable mentions went to Kim Le of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing and Tom Reisz of Academic Preparation programs.

In addition to these inaugural awards, more than 100 Spartan staff members were recognized for their years of service, ranging from 15 years to more than 40. See the full list of honorees here.

Women’s History Month at SJSU

Womxn's Herstory Calendar 2020

Women’s History Calendar at SJSU 2020.

This March, San Jose State is recognizing Women’s History Month with a series of lectures and activities in collaboration with SJSU’s Gender Equity Center, the PRIDE Center, the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center, the Division of Student Affairs, the Cesar Chavez Community Action Center, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the African-American/Black Student Success Center, and Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.

Upcoming Events

100 Years of Women's Suffrage

“100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in the South Bay,” an exhibit in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library’s Special Collections, is on display through December 2020.

100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in the South Bay

Available through December 15
SJSU Special Collections and Archives

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, fifth floor

This exhibit showcases archival materials related to the local origins of women’s suffrage and traces these roots through to the present day. It features materials from former mayors Janet Gray Hayes and Dianne McKenna, ’77 MA Urban and Regional Planning, former council member Blanca Alvarado, Kate Kennedy, a member of the first graduating class of the Normal School who became known for her campaigning for equal pay for women and organizations such as the National Women’s Political Caucus, the National Organization for Women and the League of Women Voters.

Open Mic: Trans Visibility

Thursday, March 5
Diaz Compean Student Union Starbucks Lounge, 6–8 p.m.

Hosted in collaboration with SJSU’s MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center, this open mic will highlight transgender womxn.

Keynote and Booksigning: Sonya Renee Taylor

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Sonya Renee Taylor is an artist, activist, founder and radical executive officer of The Body is Not an Apology, a digital media and education company with content reaching half a million people worldwide each month. Named one of 99 Dream Keepers and a 2015 Outstanding Partner Award by Planned Parenthood, Taylor was one of 12 “women who paved the way for body positivity” by Bustle magazine in 2015 and honored as one of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ 100 artists. In addition to offering poetry and performance workshops, she has spoken on body empowerment, radical self-love as a transformative action and intersectional social justice.

Bettina Apethker: Celebrating Woman Suffrage (1920 – 2020) and the Ongoing Campaign for Voting Rights

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library 225

Bettina Apethker, ’76 MA Mass Communications, is a distinguished professor emerita of feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz and holder of the Peggy and Jack Baskin UC Presidential Chair for Feminist Studies. A political activist since the 1960s, Apethker is the author of several books, including Woman’s Legacy: Essays on Race, Sex and Class in American History (1982), The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (1976; 1999) and Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech and Became a Feminist Rebel (2006). She is currently working on a book, Queering the History of the Communist Left in the United States. Apethker was a women’s studies and African American studies lecturer at SJSU before entering the history of consciousness program at UCSC, where she received her doctorate.

Spartan Speaker Series: Ibtihaj Muhammad

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Wednesday, March 11
Student Union Ballroom, 7 p.m.

Join the Spartan Speaker Series to hear Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first female Muslim-American athlete to medal at the Olympics. A 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, 5-time Senior World medalist and World Champion, Muhammad is the first American woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab and a sports ambassador with the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sport Initiative.

Mujer Divina: Divine Feminine

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Thursday, March 12
Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center, 5–7 p.m.

The Cesar Chavez Community Action Center, in collaboration with The Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center, presents: a dialogue-based workshop about womxn empowerment and how to combat stereotypes within the Latinx community. This workshop is based on the themes of womxn issues within the Latinx community, but ALL are welcome no matter how you identify. To attend, fill out the Mujer Divina (The Divine Feminine) RSVP form.

Art Exhibition: Gender Through Cultural Storytelling

CANCELED BUT IN THE PROCESS OF MOVING ONLINE
Monday, March 16

Diaz Compean Student Union Meeting Room 4, 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m.

The Gender Equity Center and MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center will host an art exhibition on the intersection of gender and culture, providing an opportunity for people to share their narratives of gender through cultural storytelling during an open mic from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Latinas and Libros Book Club

CANCELED 

Tuesday, March 17
Student Union, Room 3

Modern Latina presents Latinas and Libros, an evening to celebrate contributions of Latinas in literature in collaboration with SJSU’s Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center. The free event will feature Latina authors sharing their stories and signing books while guests enjoy Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce. To attend, fill out the Latinas & Libros RSVP form.

Reproductive Justice and Sexual Rights: Tanya Bakhru

OFFERED ONLINE THROUGH ZOOM  sjsu.zoom.us/j/207076300 |
Wednesday, March 18

Hugh Gillis Hall 229, 4:30–6 p.m.

SJSU Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Tanya Bakhru will speak about her book, Reproductive Justice and Sexual Rights. The book takes an intersectional, interdisciplinary and transnational approach, presenting work that provides a nuanced and in-depth understanding of the role of globalization in the sexual and reproductive lives of gendered bodies in the 21st century.

Transgender Day of Visibility

Monday, March 23
7th St. Plaza, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Carol Mukhopadhyay Lecture Series

Carol Mukhopadhyay Lecture Series presents Larissa M. Mercado-Lopez: Shaping Feminist Futures Through Children’s Literature: Notes on Feminist Writing and Editorial Practices

Monday, March 23
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library 225, 1:30–2:40 p.m.

Larissa M. Mercado-Lopez is an associate professor of Women’s Studies at California State University, Fresno, where she teaches courses on women of color feminisms and Latina health. Additionally, she is senior advisor for the Public Scholar Institute through the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. Mercado-Lopez will discuss her work as a children’s book writer and sensitivity reader for children’s literature. Drawing from Black and Chicana feminist thought on the power of children’s books, she will situate her work within the larger context of women of color feminism and Latinx children’s literary writing. Mercado-Lopez will issue a call to Women’s Studies students and scholars to consider their potential to transform their social world through work in the children’s book writing and publishing industries.

SJSU Professor Emerita of Anthropology Carol Mukhopadhyay sponsors this annual lecture series.

Zines for Queens

CANCELED 

Tuesday, March 24
Student Union Room 4B, 1–2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 25
MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center, 3–5 p.m.

Celebrate women’s history month by learning the importance of writing our own history and contribute to a collective zine based on poetry by women of color. To attend, fill out the Zines for Queens RSVP form.

Film Screening: RBG

CANCELED BUT FILM IS AVAILABLE ON HULU

Wednesday, March 25
Student Wellness Center 122, 1:30–2:45 p.m.

RBG is an intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how early legal battles changed the world for women in the U.S.

Nuestra JENTE: Postcolonial Sexualities

Wednesday, March 25
SJSU PRIDE Center, 1–2:30 p.m.

Join us for a discussion on postcolonial gender variance and how it challenged sexuality.

Black Women’s Collective Meeting

CANCELED 

Tuesday, March 25, Whine Down

The Black Women’s Collective is an organization whose purpose is to support Black women at San Jose State in social, academic and political spaces. For more information, visit Black Women’s Collective’s Instagram.


All events are wheelchair accessible. For accommodations, please call the Gender Equity Center at (408) 924-6500 or email sjsugenec@gmail.com.

For more information on these events, please visit The Gender Equity Center’s 2020 Event Schedule.