San Jose Mercury News: East San Jose’s Montes de Oca Advocated for Latino Youth, Community

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Feb. 2, 2015.

By Bruce Newman

SAN JOSE — When his son was born 40 years ago, Jose Montes de Oca was running a magazine that covered the Chicano movement at San Jose State University — a movement Montes de Oca had been breathing life into since he arrived on campus.

“There were not that many Chicanos at San Jose State at that time,” recalled Montes de Oca’s longtime friend, Macario Ortiz, “so when you saw a brown face it was a good thing.”

There also weren’t that many single dads in those days, and fewer still who were doggedly attempting to raise a child in a 3-bedroom apartment, where he was living with five college roommates — including Ortiz.

“He was the first single parent that I ever met,” said Ortiz. “Jose was always taking that baby to meetings, going everyplace with his son.”

The six young Latino bachelors who raised Jose Junior called themselves “the Roommates,” and were planning to watch the Super Bowl together Sunday, until word came last week that Montes de Oca had died on Jan. 28, at age 61, from complications of liver cancer. Last June, he revealed his grim diagnosis to a wide network of family and friends on Facebook.

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KTVU: Raider Pays Back San Jose Homeless Shelter That Helped Him as a Child

Posted Jan. 28, 2015 by KTVU.

By Amber Lee

AN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) — Oakland Raider James Jones has won a Super Bowl, but what makes the wide receiver stand out is how he gives back to the San Jose community that once helped him when he and his mother struggled with homelessness.

Since Jones signed with the Raiders last March, he has paid several visits to Family Supportive Housing, a shelter in San Jose that housed him when he was growing up.

Visiting the shelter for families is like coming home for Jones.

“When I was growing up, I was in and out of shelters for 15 years,” explained Jones.

At the shelter, he spoke with a man who recently lost his job and a place to live.

“Been in the same situation. Everything is temporary,” Jones told the homeless father.

Being at a homeless shelter was actually comforting for Jones while growing up, because he says it meant stability for a while.

“There were times where me and my mom slept on a park bench. At times, we were in and out of motels. That was probably the hardest time,” said Jones.

Jones credits determination and hard work first at Gunderson High School and later at San Jose State for helping him succeed.

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The New York Times: Irene Dalis, Opera Singer and Company Founder, Dies at 89

Posted Dec. 18, 2014 by The New York Times.

Irene Dalis, a versatile and fiery mezzo-soprano who starred at the Metropolitan Opera for two decades before building a second career as the director of Opera San José, an innovative company she founded in her California hometown, died on Dec. 14 in nearby Saratoga, Calif. She was 89.

Her daughter, Alida Loinaz, confirmed her death.

Ms. Dalis did not set out to be a singer or an impresario. She studied piano and music education at what was then San Jose State College before earning a master’s degree at Columbia’s Teachers College in Manhattan in the late 1940s. The plan was to go back home and teach.

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San Jose Mercury News: Superstar Mezzo-soprano and Founder of Opera San Jose, Dies at 89

Posted Dec. 15, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Mark Emmons

SAN JOSE — Irene Dalis, the beloved Grande Dame of the South Bay arts scene who reached the lofty heights of international stardom as a mezzo-soprano opera star before returning home to found Opera San Jose, has died. She was 89.

Dalis was a towering figure in the local artistic community and remained the driving force behind Opera San Jose until retiring as director in June after three decades with the organization.

“Irene had many, many wonderful attributes, but her greatest was an undying love of San Jose,” said her close friend Andrew Bales, president of Symphony Silicon Valley. “She had a major international career as a performer, as an amazing diva. And then she came home for what, in her mind, was something that was far more important — creating Opera San Jose. Her passing really is the end of an era and a terrible loss for San Jose.”…

She was born Yvonne Dalis on Oct. 8, 1925, and grew up on Delmas Avenue in downtown San Jose, the last of five children of a Greek hat maker. She rose from humble origins to embark on a long, storied career, performing at the highest levels of world opera, including at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

A prodigious musician — who considered herself more a pianist than a singer — Dalis received her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State College (now San Jose State University), in 1946 and her master’s degree in music education from Columbia University Teachers College. There were honorary doctorates, and before launching her stellar career, Dalis was a Fulbright scholar.

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Silicon Valley Business Journal: Grad programs Training Tech Leaders

Posted Dec. 9 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

By Jose Fermoso

Due to its presence in Silicon Valley, San Jose State funnels plenty of business and IT students to local companies.

The process is facilitated by the school’s Silicon Valley Center for Business Solutions, which helps “small, medium and large sized companies with their business and technical challenges.” The center serves as a liaison between students and local companies, with faculty members leading the connections.

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The New York Times: E-Sports at College, With Stars and Scholarships

Posted Dec. 8, 2013 by The New York Times.

Loc Tran is a big man on campus at San Jose State University in Northern California.

“A lot of people stop me when I’m walking,” said Mr. Tran, a 19-year-old sophomore, who speaks in quick and confident bursts. “They congratulate me.”

But Mr. Tran is not a star on the football team, or a leader in student government. He is a top player on the school’s competitive video game team, helping San Jose State claw its way to victory in June over California State University, Fullerton, in a tournament watched online by nearly 90,000 people. When the new school year started this fall, classmates’ heads swiveled toward him when professors said his name during roll call.

“I thought that was pretty cool,” Mr. Tran said.

Video game competitions, also known as e-sports, have taken off on campuses across the country, including Harvard and Florida State University. More than 10,000 students now play in the biggest college league, 4,400 more than last year and 4,600 more than the number of men who play on Division I college basketball teams.

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San Jose Mercury News: Cooperative Effort Helps Western Burrowing Owl Population Rebound

Posted Nov. 12, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Alia Wilson

Between the Zanker Materials Recovery and Landfill, the San Jose Water Pollution Control Plant and a business park lies an unsuspecting haven for wildlife.

Some 180 acres of dedicated habitat have been maintained and improved specifically to cater to the western burrowing owl, a California Bird Species of Special Concern.

The open grassland with patches of wildflowers and man-made dirt berms have breathed new life into the previously dwindling owl population.

The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, members of the San Jose State University Environmental Studies Department and San Jose’s Environmental Services staff have worked for two years to protect the owl, and the effort is paying off big time.

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San Jose Mercury News: San Jose State Rededicates Refurbished Athletics Building

Posted Nov. 7, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Sal Pizarro

Even at age 94, legendary San Jose State judo coach Yosh Uchida retains a quiet dignity that demands respect. Uchida was speaking Friday on campus at the rededication of Yosh Uchida Hall, the refurbished athletics building named in his honor, when a stream of skateboarders rolled by the ceremony.

The last two in the line stopped, dismounted their boards and walked quietly by, as though they could feel the eyes of the old judo master on them from behind his oversize sunglasses. No wonder this guy can still prepare college kids to stand on the Olympic stage.

“Uchida Hall is an important part of this university’s legacy,” said SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi. “Coach Uchida’s life embodies what it means to be a Spartan. Today is about much more than the dedication of a building on campus.”

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ABC 7: San Jose State Features Conference on the Grateful Dead

Posted Nov. 5, 2014 by ABC 7.

By Wayne Freedman

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) –Counterculture is going mainstream at San Jose State University this week, as an academic conference on The Grateful Dead is underway. The band actually played its first gig in San Jose and it’s now become a topic of rigorous study.

When you know a subject well enough, you can use it to make a name for yourself. Rock and roll photographer Jay Blakesberg certainly did after years of following The Grateful Dead.

When asked if he ever thought this would turn into a Ph.D.-type of subject, Blakesberg replied, “No. When we were following The Grateful Dead, we were just there to have fun.”

But the Ph.D.’s will be listening on Thursday at San Jose State University where for four days academics from around the world will study papers about this iconic traveling band, its influences, history, music and lyrics.

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KQED: 140 Characters or Less: Aliteracy & Silicon Valley Youth

Posted Nov. 4 by KQED Arts.

By Adrienne Blaine

The popular Internet abbreviation “TLDR” stands for “too long, didn’t read.” As social media springing from Silicon Valley condenses messaging to shorter and shorter character counts, local educators struggle with “aliterate” students. Unlike illiteracy, aliteracy means, “I can read, but I won’t read,” or “I can read, but I don’t care,” according to Dr. Mary Warner, an English professor at San Jose State University who specializes in young adult literature and literacy.

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60 Minutes: Quarterback Guru Steve Clarkson

Posted Dec. 22, 2013 by 60 Minutes.

The following is a script from “Quarterback Guru” which aired on Dec. 22, 2013. Morley Safer is the correspondent. Jonathan Schienberg, producer.

Quarterbacks: the superheroes of America’s favorite pastime: watching football. Chances are, you were just watching a game, and throughout, your eyes were fixed on the quarterbacks, those cool commanders of the gridiron. You fathers out there might have been dreaming about what might have been, but your sons, even the toddlers, would have been dreaming about future glory.

Tonight, we meet the man who sometimes makes their dreams come true – Steve Clarkson, quarterback guru, the man parents of  8 and 9 year olds turn to — and despite the obvious dangers of the game — spend tens-of-thousands of dollars seeking the magic touch that’s sent more than 25 Clarkson quarterbacks to the NFL. He’s so successful, that college recruiters are offering football scholarships to some of his students, some as young as 13…

Clarkson was one of the nation’s top quarterbacks at San Jose State, but just couldn’t make it to the NFL. So he went into the guru business. And word soon spread about his success, parents across the country sought him out. Among them, Joe Montana, who sent his two sons to the Clarkson camp. That’s some endorsement.

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Silicon Valley Business Journal: Public Use/Civic Project Finalist, SJSU Student Union Expansion

Posted Sept. 26, 2014 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

By Nicole Sheree Saunders, Contributor

When Ernest J. Kump Jr., a local architect known for innovative school planning, designed the student union at San Jose State University in the 1960s, it was considered forward thinking for the time.

Decades later, the 144,000-square-foot structure no longer served the needs of the school or the students, said Nick Seierup, design director for the Los Angeles office of the architectural firm Perkins + Will. “As schools have evolved, the ways in which students interact has also evolved,” Seierup said.

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Today: NFL Player David Quessenberry on His Lymphoma Battle

Posted Aug. 14, 2014 by Today.

By Chris Serico

From his Houston Texans teammates and National Football League opponents to family members and an 8-year-old superfan, David Quessenberry [a San Jose State graduate] has countless allies in his fight against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

At Thursday morning’s practice in Houston, players and coaches sported “Texans for DQ” T-shirts for DQ Strong Day, the team’s tribute to the second-year offensive tackle in support of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

“It’s overwhelming, and it motivates me to fight my fight even harder,” Quessenberry told TODAY.com. “I wake up every day knowing that I have an army behind me.”

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Silicon Valley Business Journal: SJSU Kicks Off $126M Student Housing Project

P0sted July 8, 2014 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

By Nathan Donato-Weinstein

San Jose State University is starting construction on a large student housing project that will add 850 beds to the burgeoning campus’s capacity.

The project is the $126 million Campus Village Phase 2, to be built across from the existing Campus Village Phase 1 complex.

That project, completed in 2005, added 2,279 beds among three mid- and high-rise buildings, the tallest stretching 15 stories. It was called a major step toward turning San Jose State from a commuter school to more of an urban university.

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San Jose Mercury News: Laser Surgery Shows Promise in Halting Seizures in Epilepsy Sufferers

Posted Aug. 20, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Joyce Tsai

PLEASANTON — Justin Wan is not one to radiate unfettered optimism or make bold statements about his future.

More than 10 years of battling epilepsy will do that to a person who never knows when the next seizure will strike. Wan can’t drive, swim alone or live by himself. Crossing streets, taking a bath, riding a bike and new environments in general can pose unforeseen perils and pitfalls.

This time last year, Wan, 20, often couldn’t make it more than week without an epileptic attack and his senses were dulled by heavy doses of anti-seizure medications. But today, the only outward sign that he suffered from debilitating seizures is a small staple scar on the top of his head, hidden by a headful of thick black hair — where surgeons in December inserted a tiny laser that zapped out a lesion in his brain. He hasn’t had a seizure since.

“It was on this side somewhere,” the San Jose State junior said, feeling around with his fingers on his cranium’s right side.

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Santa Cruz Sentinel: San Jose State Researcher’s Never-Seen Sharks Featured on ‘Shark Week’

Posted Aug. 12, 2014 by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

By Kara Guzman

After 60 days on a commercial fishing boat, 1,000 miles from land, San Jose State researcher Paul Clerkin discovered never-before-seen sharks, which will be featured on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” on Tuesday.

Clerkin, 29, first ventured to the southern Indian Ocean with the fishing crew to catalog their shark bycatch in 2012. In two months, he encountered 23 types of sharks, eight of which were new species.

Clerkin, a master’s student researching at Moss Landing Marine Labs, returned to the boat in March, this time with a Discovery Channel film crew for “Alien Sharks.” Clerkin said he’s not allowed to say how many new species he discovered this year, but he’s pleased with the trip’s success.

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San Jose Mercury News: SJSU Program Gives Reformed Criminals a Second Chance

Posted May 22, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Mark Gomez

SAN JOSE — Armando Aguilar was tired of living in the shadow of his rap sheet.

Six years removed from his last conviction — for second-degree commercial burglary, under influence of meth and possession of a stolen check — and after he cleaned up his life, Aguilar graduated from San Jose City College in 2009 with a state certification to work as an alcohol and drug counselor. He soon found a job working with adults.

But when he applied for a job counseling youth, his criminal history killed his chances.

Soon after that, Aguilar heard about a free program at San Jose State that helps people who have turned their lives around remove certain misdemeanor and felony convictions from the public record. With the help of SJSU justice studies students, Aguilar’s criminal history was wiped clean by a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge.

“The fact I got everything expunged was a relief for me,” said Aguilar, 38, who was hired in October to work with at-risk youth in the East Bay and has informed his employer about his past. “I was able to close a chapter on that part of my life.”

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San Jose Mercury News: San Jose State Students Report Major Discovery in Space

Posted May 25, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Katy Murphy

SAN JOSE — A San Jose State undergrad grieving the loss of his mother shifted his gaze to outer space and made what could prove to be a remarkable discovery: a system of stars so dense, his professor said, astronomy has no word for it.

In only a week 21-year-old Michael Sandoval stumbled upon what he and his professor have named a hypercompact cluster, which they argue is the intensely starry remains of one galaxy that has been consumed by another.

Astrophysics professor Aaron Romanowsky said it’s astounding how quickly his student may have discovered what “some people take years and never find.”

The stellar search was a welcome diversion for Sandoval, whose mother, Holly Houser, died of cancer in October. In the last years of his mom’s life, the physics major lived at home, juggling her care with his education, sometimes rushing her to the emergency room at night and dragging himself to class the next day from Fremont.

Months later, enrolled in his first astrophysics course, he learned classmate Richard Vo had discovered an unusual stellar object — possibly the densest ever found.

His reaction was immediate: “I want to find one too.”

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San Jose Mercury News: SJSU Graduation Celebrates Grit, Sacrifice

Posted May 24, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Lisa Krieger

Some of the biggest lessons that electrical engineer Donald Flowers II, learned at school happened outside the classroom. Discipline. Time management. Financial budgeting. Focus.

“You cannot give up,” said the 34-year-old Flowers, one of several thousand ebullient San Jose State students celebrating their Saturday graduation in Spartan Stadium’s bright morning sun.

“It takes sacrifice,” he said. “At holidays, I’d be sitting around the table with my whole family, with my laptop open.”

Flowers reflects the kind of success the university has made its mission: offering working students — many of them older or immigrants and transfers from two-year campuses — the intellectual rigor and credentials needed to lift themselves securely into the middle class.

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Silicon Valley Business Journal: SJSU’s Answer to Gender Disparity

Posted by the Silicon Valley Business Journal April 8, 2014.

By Jon Xavier

The solution to the tech industry’s gender problem must start with schools. After all, it’s hard to hire more women for tech jobs if there aren’t enough female applicants entering the job market. But faculty and administrators are fighting a hard battle. They have to smash stereotypes that prevent women from applying to science and engineering schools to begin with.

Melanie McNeil is a chemical engineering professor at San Jose State University and the head of the College of Engineering’s Women in Engineering program, which seeks to provide mentorship, outreach and events to bring more women into engineering majors and increase their leadership opportunities.

In this interview, McNeil outlines what schools are doing to close the gender gap.

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