How will San José State honor the Class of 2021? The university will offer a mix of in-person and online celebratory activities to recognize graduating Spartans.
Degrees will be conferred virtually by SJSU President Mary Papazian and Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr. during a virtual kickoff event at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26. In addition, each college will launch recognition websites to honor graduates by program and major.
Visit the Commencement website to learn more about graduation activities celebrating the Class of 2021 at San José State.
2021 Outstanding Thesis and Senior Winners
Every year, SJSU recognizes undergraduate and graduate students whose academic work shows exceptional promise. Grace Shefcik, ’20 MA Education – Speech Language Pathology, has been named the 2021 Outstanding Thesis winner. Mamta Kanda, ’21 Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Annlyle Diokno, ’21 Sociology and Psychology, have been named Outstanding Graduating Seniors.
Grace Shefcik studied the intersection of voice and gender identity for her graduate thesis “Assessment of Non-binary Individuals’ Self-perception of Voice.” Associate Professor of Communicative Disorders and Sciences Pei-Tzu Tsai described the paper as “transformative in nature, being the first in the professional field to investigate the communication needs of the underserved non-binary population.” Shefcik’s thesis has been published in a major peer-reviewed journal in the voice field and is being translated into Spanish by international researchers.
In addition to their remarkable academic accomplishments, the Outstanding Seniors must also demonstrate leadership in and make substantial contributions to the university community, among other notable qualifications.
Throughout Mamta Kanda’s time at SJSU, she served in multiple leadership roles, including as president of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and vice president of the Tau Beta Pi Honor Engineering Society leadership while maintaining an impressive 3.99 GPA.
Yasser Dessouky, chair of San José State’s Industrial Systems Engineering Department (ISSE), describes Kanda as “one of the top 5 percent of undergraduate students during [his] 25 years teaching.”
Kanda also discovered innovative ways to give back to the greater SJSU community through her internship, volunteering, clubs and other academic activities, which included fundraising for wildfire victims and mentoring high school STEM students.
As president for the Global Student Network at San José State, Annlyle Diokno chaired and spearheaded a number of fundraisers in support of the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate movements. Motivated by a desire to foster a campus community that values intercultural communication, she co-organized the SJSU APIDA Rally in April and founded Tutor for Love, a free virtual English tutoring service that benefits San Francisco’s Filipino Community Center.
Equally or more impressive than these awards themselves, is all three of these students faced adversity posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I commend and congratulate these student scholars for their impressive academic achievements, especially in the midst of such challenging circumstances,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian.