4 students standing before steaming volcano

Counselor Education Students Go Global in Costa Rica

Students with baskets prepare to pick coffee beans

Students learn about coffee production and its relationship to the local, national and global economy at La Bella Tica Coffee Farm in Monteverde, Costa Rica (photo courtesy of Jason Larker).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Nineteen graduate students from the College of Education’s Department of Counselor Education participated in a faculty-led trip to Costa Rica January 3- 20, led by Professor Jason Laker and Assistant Professor Dolores Mena.

“This program prepared counselors to advance social justice principles and become effective at cross-cultural issues,” Laker said.

Students received credit for two counseling classes that focused on service learning and supervised experience. Master’s counseling education student Rebecca Frank appreciated the exposure to a different point of view.

“You can go across the world and there are the same problems,” Frank said. “To be more a competent global citizen, you have to be aware of things that are happening globally.”

According to Mena, students were required to journal before the trip and answer prompting questions when they got back. The students also presented group projects the first week in Costa Rica that “brought together concepts and theories for cultural teaching.”

In addition to applying critical thinking and educational theory,  students experienced first-hand barriers to learning. They rolled up their sleeves to clear trails, prune education gardens, and build safe sidewalks for K-12 school children.

Innovative Thinking

“We learned how to become innovative in maximizing people’s strength in working with clients and embrace new experiences with different lenses,” said student Daisy Villicana.

SJSU students partnered with The University for Peace and the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation on social service projects while in Costa Rica.

In addition to service learning, students experienced Costa Rica’s eco-tourism and triple-bottom line businesses through cultural activities including visits to the Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rican Entomological Supply (a butterfly farm), and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Students also had the opportunity to explore on their own and participate in canopying, water rapelling, ziplining, and horseback riding.

Click here to see photos from their trip.

Business student wearing grey sweater giving speech in front of a mic

Student Raises Funds for “Green” Water Bottle

Business student wearing grey sweater giving speech in front of a mic

Junior business administration major and Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge winner JD Leadam speaks at an Acceleration campaign event (SJSU Alumni Association photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

A business administration major’s award-winning idea for environmentally friendly water bottle is gaining traction.

JD Leadam is moving quickly to capitalize on his first place finish at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge this past December, when he presented his idea for a reusable, biodegradable water bottle made of a renewable resource, industrial hemp. The challenge is an annual Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship event.

“I could still be sitting in the seat of a classroom dreaming up ideas, but because of the competition, it’s all starting to happen like a snowball effect,” he said.

Leadam, who also received the Most Innovative Idea, Best Elevator Pitch, and People’s Choice awards, shared his experiences at an Acceleration leadership committee gathering held at Club Auto Sport in San Jose.

Leadam’s has been pouring energy into his own 30-day crowd sourcing funding campaign, set to expire in just over a week. As of Feb. 10, Leadam has raised nearly $10,000 from 93 backers.

“I’m looking to raise $15,000,” Leadam said. “This is the amount that I calculate will get me through the plastic testing phase and the design and the tooling of the mold itself.”

Leadam credits his advisory board, which includes the president of a consulting firm specializing in injection molding, an investment banker from Morgan Stanley, and Avon U.S. President Brian Connolly.

“Experts in a given field can be a great resource to an entrepreneur or a small business trying to get started without the formal responsibilities of a board of directors of a company,” Connolly said.

Leadam’s updated plans include manufacturing his bottles locally, which Leadam says will keep jobs in the United States and decrease the size of his product’s carbon footprint.

“The greener I can make this product, the better,” he said.

Notable speaking engagements in the works for Leadam include appearances at Humboldt State University and a TEDx conference this April in Denver.

Broderick at Chinese New Years Day parade

Video: Young Alumnus Helps Develop Super Bowl Ad

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

When it comes to finding your dream job, it’s tough to beat Darren Mitchell, ’11 Advertising. He is putting his degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications to work, helping develop a Super Bowl ad for Honda, celebrating the launch of the all-new 2012 CR-V. Honda brings back “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” casting Matthew Broderick as himself, skipping out on a day of work and living it up in his all-new CR-V. While the movie was set in Chicago, the ad features California’s coast. An account manager at Santa Monica-based ad agency RPA, Mitchell describes his job on LinkedIn: “I work on the Honda National Account, on the Digital/Interactive, SUV/Truck, Social Media team. I assist in managing and coordinating all social media efforts from Honda on Facebook and YouTube. I help coordinate minor and major changes to the Honda Automotive website, ensuring content is current and up-to-date. I help produce and present tracking reports for various interactive media’s to the client.” Read more in Adweek.

computer screen showing students working via Skype

Animation/Illustration Collaborates with Texas A&M

computer screen showing students working via Skype

Graduate students at Texas A&M connect with SJSU students with Skype (Alice Carter photo).

By Alice Carter, Animation/Illustration Area Coordinator

This fall, the SJSU Animation/Illustration program started an important collaboration with Texas A&M. Lead jointly by SJSU Assistant Professor Raquel Coelho and Texas A&M Associate Professor and Department Head Tim McLaughlin, a team of seven students are working together to create fully rigged 3-D characters. The characters were designed and modeled by SJSU students and are being rigged by a group of graduate students from Texas A&M with input and feedback from the SJSU animators. Classes are taught virtually using Skype, while blogs and Google Docs are used to keep information flowing between all involved. The group makes use of widely available software to connect creative minds with the goal of generating memorable characters for use by animation students at both universities. Professor Coelho notes that this project “is a way to explore a new model of a virtual classroom, which we hope will benefit students across both campuses.”

CSU police badge

UPD Expands Evening Guide Escort Program

CSU police badge

The new SJSU Evening Shuttle will offer campus community members safe transportation to nearby destinations.

Jan. 25, 2012 – San Jose, Calif. – The San Jose State University Police Department has expanded its Evening Guide Escort Program to include an Evening Shuttle that provides service beyond the previous two-block off-campus limit.

The new boundaries for the Evening Guide Escort Program and Evening Shuttle include South 16th Street, Julian Street, First Street, and Interstate 280.

The Evening Guide Escort Program and Evening Shuttle provide a safe means of nighttime travel for campus community members who need to get to their nearby residences, workplaces, classrooms, study areas, cars, or public transportation stations.

The off-campus Evening Shuttle is only available to current SJSU faculty, staff, students with Tower Cards or on-campus employment identification, and it will operate Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., excluding holidays. Traditional on-campus Evening Guide services do not require ID.

The Evening Shuttle is limited to groups of three at a time and one single round-trip per rider/group per night. The Evening Shuttle does not provide transportation to and from alcohol related establishments, such as nightclubs, bars, or taverns, and visibly intoxicated individuals will not be allowed to ride.

Those wishing to receive an Evening Guide escort on or off campus must call the UPD directly at the Evening Guide Hotline at (408) 924-2000, or use a campus blue light phone. The Evening Shuttle will not stop for flag-downs.

Read more on the Evening Guide Escort Program and Evening Shuttle Service.

Cuban flag flying between colonial era buidings, Michael Cheers photo

Wheels Up to Cuba!

The "Wheels Up to Cuba!" group pose for a photo at SJSU before boarding a flight to the Caribbean nation (James Tensuan photo).

The "Wheels Up to Cuba!" group pose for a photo at SJSU before boarding a flight to the Caribbean nation (James Tensuan photo).

By Bob Rucker, Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communications & Broadcast Journalism Coordinator

For twelve days, from January 10th through 22nd, 32 SJSU students, faculty, and media professionals will visit the Caribbean nation on a very special learning experience to discover and study Cuba, its people, their concerns and life experiences in the 21st century. They will also be in Havana for the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Multimedia journalism professionals and media students will lead a cross-disciplinary academic group from SJSU’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts. They plan to work together, share their knowledge, training, and research skills, and creatively produce a special multimedia presentation in April 2012 that will include a website and blog, newspaper and broadcast news feature stories, photo essays, and a magazine detailing their Cuba travel experiences.

The goal is to listen, learn and share as much as they can about Cuba today: its successes and hardships; advances in nursing, healthcare, athletics, news reporting, and other areas; and explore global questions about Cuban society, business, law enforcement, and living conditions.

In recent years the Obama Administration has relaxed American travel restrictions to enable more Cuban educational missions. SJSU Photojournalism Professor and Cuba Trip Coordinator, Dr. Michael Cheers, traveled to Cuba during the summer of 2011, and made arrangements to bring a large group from San Jose State University back to Cuba.

Top Bay Area Latino community reporters are going along as guest professors. Joe Rodriquez from the San Jose Mercury News, and Rigo Chacon, three-time Bay Area Emmy Award winning TV journalist, have volunteered to help guide SJSU students identify stories, and conduct poignant interviews.

South Bay local businesses and Silicon Valley companies were asked to help sponsor this ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip. The cost per student on this special “Education: Wheels Up to Cuba” project is $3,050. Most students raised the money for their travel among family and community friends, or participated in Journalism School fundraisers last fall.

Students Gain Biotech Insights at Annual Symposium

Students and Faculty Members Present Research, Meet Colleagues at CSU Biotech Symposium

Students Gain Biotech Insights at Annual Symposium

Johann Zaroli and Minh Pham, student researchers in Dr. Miri VanHoven's laboratory, collaborated on research presented at the 24th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium (CSU Public Affairs photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Faculty members and students interested in biotech converged on the Santa Clara Marriott Jan. 5-7 for the 24th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium, presented by the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB).

“Due to the proximity of the meeting, it’s not surprising that SJSU had the largest number of participants among all CSU campuses, about 56 out of 600 attendees,” Associate Professor of Chemistry Daryl Eggers said.

“Another item worth noting is that SJSU has received more research funding from CSUPERB over the past three-year period than any other campus!” Eggers added.

Eight finalists for the Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award were selected from among the 23 CSU campuses, including Johann Zaroli, Biological Sciences ’13. He presented “Understanding the molecular mechanisms that mediate axon outgrowth termination in C. elegans,” which looked at factors that control neuron length, work that could help advance spinal cord repair.

Nine finalists for the Glenn Nagel Undergraduate Student Research Award were selected from among the 23 CSU campuses, including Ngoc-Han Tran, Biological Sciences ’13, who presented “Optimization of hybrid P450 enzymes activity for the light-initiated selective hydroxylation of substrate C-H bond.”

Ngoc standing in front of her poster.

Ngoc-Han Tran, a student researcher in Dr. Cheruzel's laboratory, also presented at CSUPERB (Ishraq Alsadhan photo).

Next year’s conference will feature finalists for a new competition, the Early-Stage Biotechnology Commercialization Challenge, which will help students pickup entrepreneurial skills as they develop a life sciences idea into a commercial product.

The symposium — designed to broaden exposure to cutting-edge biotechnologies, product-focused innovation and the spectrum of career paths available in the life sciences — also offered students and faculty members opportunities to meet colleagues and mentors.

Eggers, the CSUPERB Biofuels Taskforce chair, moderated a panel discussion on “Biodiesel Fuels from Local Agricultural Waste Products” and “Chemical Education and Green Materials.”

Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging Kasuen Mauldin and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Lionel Cheruzel moderated roundtable discussions on work-life balance and “Where Will a Graduate Degree Take Me?”

Eggers, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Miri VanHoven, and Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering Guna Selvaduray lead SJSU’s CSUPERB team.

Photo of Arabic building through etch glass.

SJSU Documentary Receives Top Honors at CreaTiVE Awards

group shot, SJSU students in the foreground, sand dunes behind

Assistant Professor Diane Guerrazzi and seven students on SJSU's first faculty-led trip to a region of the world capturing headlines and captivating Americans (Desert Safari photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

“From the USA to the UAE,” a documentary produced by an SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications professor and seven students, received top honors in the “Educator” category at the CreaTiVE Awards held Jan. 7 at the California Theatre. The SJSU team visited the United Arab Emirates one year ago “keeping our sights set on cultural perception as perpetuated by the media,” Assistant Professor Diane Guerrazzi said. The group toured three emirates, interviewing cultural experts and media expats, as well as students, workers and shopkeepers. While their goal was to collect material capturing cultural differences and laws governing media content, “this is more than a study of media differences; this is an examination of a cultural divide, perceptions and misperceptions,” Guerrazzi said. The CreaTiVE Awards honors community media makers throughout the Bay Area who promote and celebrate individual expression, learning, diversity, arts and civic engagement. View “From the USA to the UAE.” Read the blog.

Justice Studies Professor Explores Pathways Out of Crime

Record Clearance Project Prepares Student for Law School

Javier de la Torre assists a client at the McKinley Neighborhood Center Speed Screening

Javier de la Torre assists a client at the McKinley Neighborhood Center (Justice Studies photo).

By Javier de la Torre

(Editor’s Note: The following story is an except from the winter 2011 issue of “Advance: News from the San Jose State University Record Clearance Project (PDF).” The project engages undergraduates in assisting eligible people to clear their criminal records.)

I began working with the Record Clearance Project (RCP) almost a year ago, and through this work have developed a whole new view about law and justice. The RCP and my studies at SJSU have ignited in me the desire to go to law school to become an attorney for at-risk youth.

In 1987 I arrived in San José as a young child, coming with my family from Mexico in search of a better life. Growing up, I never thought about going to law school. In fact, I found it extremely difficult to assimilate during my first years in the US.

However, I graduated from Oak Grove High School here and attended West Valley Community College, receiving an AA degree before starting at SJSU in the fall of 2009.

While I had been thinking of working as a police officer, sheriff or CHP officer, once I came to SJSU, I became more interested in learning about why crimes are committed and how to help the individuals involved. I began to see myself working with people who needed help rather than enforcing the law.

There are no lawyers in my family, and the Record Clearance Project gave me valuable field experience in the law. I really enjoyed working with my ten clients, and have seen firsthand that not only is knowing the law required, but communication and interviewing skills are necessary as well. My goal is to communicate in a professional and gentle way so that each person feels comfortable; being courteous and professional has guided me through many interviews with clients from different backgrounds.

I have enjoyed being able to share this wonderful project with the public by doing presentations and interview sessions in the community. At a Speed Screening at the McKinley Neighborhood Center, my interview partner was unable to attend, so I interviewed clients by myself. The one-on-one consultation made the experience feel as if I was a real lawyer. I was glad to return to the McKinley Center where previously I had done a community presentation, this time to help interested clients individually.

Becoming an attorney is a new path for me. For the last eight years I have worked at a sheet metal company, being promoted from the production floor to supervisor to production control. I paid all my expenses to put myself through college, and have helped my mother with her expenses as well. I have worked full-time, sometimes 50 hours a week.

In Spring 2012 I will graduate from SJSU, the first in my family to graduate from an accredited college. Being in the top 15 percent of my class, I am a member of the campus chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society.

At this point in my career, close to graduation, I understand that choosing to pursue a law degree will take a tremendous amount of work and exceeding dedication. Through the RCP, I’ve met law students, as well as lawyers and judges. If accepted in law school, I believe I can make the right choices needed in my life and do the work required to emerge as a successful law graduate. I look forward to practicing law and continuing to help others.

family of personal electronic devices posing for photo in front of fireplace

Video: Animation/Illustration Club Creates Applied Materials Holiday E-Card

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

When Applied Materials set out to create a holiday e-card featuring products reflecting its core business, the Silicon Valley giant turned to San Jose State’s Animation/Illustration Shrunkenheadman Club.

“A team of young, impressive, and highly creative students … did an outstanding job of creating a family (literally) of semiconductor and LCD enabling products and made them come to life in a fun and whimsical way! Check it out!” Applied Materials wrote in a Facebook post.

“The students worked closely with Applied Materials’ corporate public relations staff from late-October thru the first week of December, doing so under very tight deadlines in addition to the rigorous demands of class assignments and other film projects,” Professor Courtney Granner said.

“Some of the composited frames took approximately 20 minutes to render, and at 59 seconds running time it means the piece contains over 1, 300 frames. The SJSU A/I Program continues to make inroads with film, gaming, and television studios while also working with local hi-tech firms represented around the globe.”

This award-winning program prepares students for intellectually and aesthetically challenging careers in print, feature and television animation, FX animation, layout, and multi-media. Recent grads work at DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Feature Animation and PIXAR. Founded in 1995, the Shrunkenheadman Club was named after a member’s sketch of a man with a comically small head.

“This name proved to be very appropriate in terms of describing the nature of its members. While extremely talented and competitive, the Shrunkenheadmen always remain humble … never displaying big egos, or ‘swelled heads,’” says the club’s website.

Child with a group of other children looks in his hand as others watch.

Video: Writing Center Gives Elementary Students Grammar Tips and a Glimpse of College

By Dillon Adams

The Writing Center at SJSU recently put on an event with Horace Mann Elementary School. The students were able to participate in workshops to learn about writing and grammar techniques. The program was created to give Horace Mann Elementary school students a chance to experience SJSU at a young age, with the hope that they will be more interested in attending college after they graduate from high school.

Best of SJSU mark

Best of SJSU: Best Place to Study on Campus

By: Ryan Whitchurch, Public Affairs Assistant

Photo of the university side entrance of the Martin Luther King Library with students entering and exiting the building.

The MLK library was voted SJSU's best place to study. (Photo by @may_ville via Twitter)

Looking for a place to study for finals? Last week we asked SJSU’s nearly 13,000 Facebook fans “Where’s the best place to study on campus?” About 35 Spartans posted tips including Kyle Chak, who said his favorite place to go is in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.

“The top most floor of the SJSU King library is my place to study because I want some quiet time in addition to studying on campus,” Chak said.

Many Spartans like the mixture of studying environments the library provides on its different floors. Some said the quieter sixth, seventh, and eighth floors helped them focus; while others preferred the background noise of the lower levels to get their studies done.

“I loved to sit in the Library on 7th floor by the window overlooking 4th street and then going to La Vic to eat Chicken Quesadilla at night,” said alumnus Nikhil Paul.

And while many students will head over to King Library this week, others like Diana Barrientos prefer a different option during finals.

“Most definitely the Computer Services Center inside the Associated Students because everything you need is accessible from here: scanning, printers, computers, desk, HELP & FOOD,” Barrientos said.

The Student Union, Clark Hall, SJSU Newman Center and various classrooms around campus were also included as good options. You can see the full thread with Spartan recommendations on the SJSU Facebook post.

Thanks to all those who participated, and best of luck with finals. Go SJSU!

Join SJSU on Facebook.

A desktop cell phone holder and charging dock lying on a flat surface. The design resembles a robot and is made out of sheet metal.

Design Class Offers Last-Minute Gift Ideas

A desktop cell phone holder and charging dock lying on a flat surface. The design resembles a robot and is made out of sheet metal.

Sophomore industrial design student Frances Cheng created the Desk Minion for "Making It," a new design class that focuses on taking an idea from concept to actual product.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Looking for a last-minute gift idea? We know a few emerging artists who can help!

Students enrolled in the new “Making It” class did more than sketch a product this term. They built and sold some of the most innovative office supplies around.

“Other classes are designing something to improve an existing piece or applying innovation to a product,” instructor Patrick Enright said. “The students in this class learned how to simplify their design in order to manufacture it quickly.”

DSID 133 students had three to four weeks to design and craft their products. They spent the rest of the semester refining retail sales points, and then marketing their creations on Etsy.com.

The Desk Minion

One student “making it” was sophomore industrial design student Frances Cheng.

“I designed a desktop cell phone holder and charging dock,” Cheng said. “My desk is kind of messy so I wanted to make something where I could have a designated place to keep my cell phone.”

She named her product “Desk Minion,” given its ability to hold a variety of items like general electronics, business cards and keys. Also, line up a bunch of her creations, and they look a lot like battle droids.

Cheng designed her template in Adobe Illustrator, and then used a water jet machine at downtown San Jose’s TechShop and the sheet metal brake in the Art Building to cut and bend 50 Desk Minions.

It’s too soon to tell if any of these students has a big hit, yet the potential is there.

“The class just went public two weeks ago,” Enright said. “Some of them have made some sales and they are all getting a lot of site reviews.”

View all of the “Making It” products.

Mentor Felipe Ponce, background, hosts a study session with Mexican-American Studies students outside of Yoshihiro Uchida Hall. Courtesy photo.

Mexican American Studies Mentors Guide Undergraduate Students

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

Mexican-American Studies students gather around mentor Felipe Ponce, foreground, at a study session outside of Yoshihiro Uchida Hall. Courtesy photo.<br>

Mexican-American Studies students gather around mentor Felipe Ponce, foreground, at a midterm study session outside of Uchida Hall (Courtesy Photo).

When he was an undergraduate, Felipe Ponce faced difficulties in school. Now as a graduate student, he uses his personal experiences to help others.

“I try to use my struggle for my reason for being here,” he said.

Here at SJSU, Ponce provides students with something he didn’t have when he was earning his bachelor’s degree: a mentor.

Ponce is one of five Mexican American Studies graduate mentors who work with 330 students at this diverse campus.

SJSU ranked in the top 50 U.S. colleges and universities in 2010 for awarding undergraduate business, education, engineering, and social sciences degrees to Hispanic students , according to the Sept. 15 issue of “Diverse: Issues In Higher Education” magazine.

The university still has room for improvement in increasing retention rates among students of color, and the graduate mentor program tries to address this issue by reaching out to students and creating a support system.

“The typical model of student assistants is to help the professor,” said Marcos Pizarro, chair of the Mexican American Studies department. “We want to make them assistants to students, not assistants to professors.”

Relationships of Trust

The mentors each attend a specific section of Mexican Americans and the Development of U.S. History and Government, a two-part course that fulfills multiple lower-division general education requirements. Many of the students in these Mexican American Studies classes are freshmen, and some are first-generation college students.

“The program provided me with a mentor who was welcoming and didn’t mind taking time out of his busy schedule to help me,” said Carmelita Ramirez, a junior sociology major and Mexican American Studies minor.

During her sophomore year, Ramirez brought in her written assignments for her mentor Ponce to look over and provide feedback.

Mentors work with students in a variety of ways, including guest lecturing in class and organizing workshops. They also provide their own office hours in Uchida Hall, where students can have a place to study and look for one-on-one support, whether it is for this or other classes.

“What I try to reiterate to students is we’re here not just to help you guys pass this one class,” Ponce said.  “We try a holistic approach. If you have a question, ask me.”

Jennie Luna, a Mexican American Studies lecturer, said the graduate mentors teach the undergraduate students survival skills for the rest of their college life.

“They have established wonderful relationships with students,” Luna said of the mentors. “They establish relationships of trust.”

A Growing Program

Since 2009, the graduate mentor program has evolved with support from the College of Social Sciences.

“We’re constantly fine-tuning and seeing what we can do better,” Pizarro said.

The department has reached out to the Educational Opportunity Program about supporting some Mexican American Studies students. The Asian American Studies program, which has a similar two-part general education course, has expressed interest in replicating the mentor program.

Pizarro said the graduate mentor program provides “a great contribution to the university’s mission of fully engaging all of its students.”

Access Magazine Takes Readers Behind the Scenes at Ballet San Jose's "The Nutcracker"

Access Magazine Takes Readers Behind the Scenes at Ballet San Jose’s “The Nutcracker”

Access Magazine Takes Readers Behind the Scenes at Ballet San Jose's "The Nutcracker"

The infamous hats of the Nutcracker and King Mouse from Ballet San Jose (Jesse Jones photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

“The Nutcracker” has captivated audiences for generations with characters drawn from a child’s imagination. Who could forget the fearsome Mouse King or the delicate Sugar Plum Fairy?

In the November 2011 issue of Access Magazine, two journalism students takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ballet San Jose costume shop.

Thanks to a partnership with digital publishing platform Issuu, you can read the story, view photos, and flip through the entire issue online.

In “With Every Stitch,” writer Amanda Holst and photographer Jesse Jones reveal how the costumes are designed, altered, laundered and stored with great attention to the smallest of details so that each piece dazzles audiences for decades.

Access Magazine, also distributed in print as a Spartan Daily insert, is an arts and entertainment publication created by students of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Keep up with Access on Facebook.

"Hemp Plastic Water Bottles" Steals the Show at Innovation Challenge

“Hemp Plastic Water Bottles” Steals the Show at Innovation Challenge

Junior JD Leadam stands to the left of his project poster board for Hemp Plastic Water Bottles presented his idea to a passerby. Poster board includes a picture of the design and an explanation of his project

Junior business major J.D. Leadam won first place in several categories at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge for his entry, Hemp Plastic Water Bottles (Dillon Adams photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Nearly 200 Spartans competed Dec. 1 in the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge, including junior business major J.D. Leadam, who took first place in several categories, winning $2,000.

“I learned that if I truly believe in an idea, then I can sell anyone on it,” Leadam said.

Leadam won Most Innovative Idea, Best Elevator Pitch, and People’s Choice awards for his entry, “Hemp Plastic Water Bottles,” an idea that replaces single-use water bottles with biodegradable plastic water bottles made from industrial hemp.

“Regular water bottles will release toxins over time and when they are buried in our landfills, they last for all eternity,” Leadam said. “We want to replace them with bottles made out of hemp, which are 100 percent safe and biodegradable.”

Leadam plans on entering the Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition this spring, using the money that he won from the challenge to make a prototype and contact manufacturers in China.

“I am really looking to make this happen,” he said.

Teaching Innovation

Other projects included ePrepared, an online community providing counseling sources for high school and college students; Applications Complete, an innovative way to track everyday receipts; and Spherical Drive System, a new concept for a motorcycle designed to balance like a Segway.

This was the first time The Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship, within the College of Business, extended its signature fall event to all majors.

Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as  alumni from all seven colleges participated. President Mohammad Qayoumi and College of Business Dean David Steele presented the winning awards.

“I think that we were successful in creating a cross-disciplinary collaboration for our first year,” SVCE Director Anuradha Basu said.

Industry Professionals

Over 25 community members helped with judging the exhibits and the elevator pitch contest. They included 11 CEOs/founders, two attorneys, two angel investors, two venture capitalists, a banker, and four managers from Cisco and Intel. Around 10 judges were SJSU alumni.

Included on the panel of judges were Arlo Inc. Co-founder Dave Hadden and Tower Foundation of SJSU Board Member Wanda Ginner, who headed her own independent CPA firm for several decades.

“I noticed that the personal appearance and presentations of the students were better than last year, and the elevator pitches were significantly better,” Ginner said. “I just had the feeling that the students were really invested.”

Hadden felt his experience was his biggest contribution.

“Without being critical, we can point out things to help students,” he said. “You could tell having a real world experience was meaningful to them.”

Grad student working in the lab, with view of wavy line on her monitor.

Center for Analog and Mixed Signal Opens at the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering

Grad student working in the lab, with view of wavy line on her monitor.

Electrical engineering graduate student Shweta Panwalkar studies in the new lab (Charlotte Lawson photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering cut the ribbon Nov. 30 on its Center for Analog and Mixed Signal, and not a moment too soon.

“There have been few better times for students to go into analog,” Dean Belle Wei recently told San Jose Mercury News business columnist Mike Cassidy.

“Analog chips, or chips combining analog and digital design, are needed to capture images and sound and translate them into digital information for transmission or storage, for instance. Without analog there would be no digital revolution,” Cassidy wrote.

The center’s research projects seek solutions to the some of the most challenging issues faced by semiconductor industry today through developing new circuits and architectures, said its director, Assistant Professor of Engineering Shahab Ardalan.

The lab contains design and test equipment for analog and mixed signal integrated circuits. Six designs stations are equipped with state-of-the-art computer-aided design tools and field-programmable gate array platforms along with 10 mixed signal test stations.

The center is “the result of five years of hard work and fruitful conversation,” Wei told the crowd at the ribbon cutting. “I really applaud our donors for their support and generosity.”

Texas Instruments, Maxim Integrated Products, and Dr. Gust Perlegos contributed to the project, where grad students were already hard at work that afternoon.

“These are the students we’ll be looking for in the future,” Maxim’s Kristoff Richter said. “They’ll be spending a lot of time in this lab.

Mix of students and professional crew shooting film.

Critics Applaud Professor’s Indie Film

Amy Glazer

Amy Glazer (Arc Entertainment photo)

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

“Seducing Charlie Barker” by SJSU Professor of Theater and Film Amy Glazer opened to high acclaim at theaters on both coasts in December.

“It’s a sad, hilarious, witty and right-on rendering of a talented but unemployed New York actor who, as his own worst enemy, makes all the wrong decisions,” Doris Toumarkine wrote in Film Journal International. “Casting throughout is pitch-perfect, as is the writing, direction and storytelling.”

Glazer is a recent convert to film. For many years, she “focused on directing plays — mostly new ones — at prominent Bay Area theaters and teaching theater and film,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle’s Chad Jones. “As a film teacher, though, she was feeling somewhat inauthentic. ‘How can I teach it if I’m not doing it myself?’”

So she put her students to work, and in the process taught herself how to teach them more effectively. How many Spartans pitched in?

“Many!” she said. “It was part of our curriculum so students in my advanced projects class worked on the pre-production play-to-film part, then production, and then six months of editing and post-production over a three-year period. Most of them have just graduated. Many students from the film class are in the background, including former students who play Daphne’s assistants and Clea’s friend at the beginning and end of the film.

“And the final shot, when they call ‘cut,’ there are several of my film directing students playing filmmakers. It always makes me smile. I even have a cut of two of my TA’s in the same shot at the party. Then behind the scenes, much of my crew was made up of students and former students who got internship credits for their efforts along with film credits. Several students working professionally in Los Angeles came back to help me out as well.

“The first day of shooting, when I realized I was surrounded by so many of my students and former students, was filled with so much joy and satisfaction — both as an artist and a professor.”

Read a San Francisco Chronicle review.

Read a San Jose Mercury News review.

View the official movie website.

Assemblymember Jim Beall with bike recipients.

Guardian Scholars Receive Priority Registration, Free Bikes

Assemblymember Jim Beall with bike recipients.

Assemblymember Jim Beall, an SJSU alumnus, introduced legislation that is providing Guardian Scholars with priority registration (Peter Caravalho photo).

Rodney Foo, Jim Beall’s office, (408) 282-8920
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, (408) 924-1748

SAN JOSE — More than 25 foster youths attending San Jose State University gathered on campus Nov. 30 to receive and celebrate a wellspring of community support aimed at making a difference in their lives  — free bikes and a new state law that grants them priority registration for classes.

Attending the celebration ceremony were San Jose State President Mohammad H. Qayoumi; Assemblymember Jim Beall, who introduced the law, AB 194; Connie Hernández-Robbins, assistant director of San Jose State’s Guardian Scholars Program, which provides support services for foster youth students; Synergy Corporate Housing founding partners Jack Jensky and Henry Luebbert; and Colin Gray, president-elect of the Housing Industry Foundation, which donated and directed the bikes to the students.

“That so many people from the private and public sectors united to help foster youth is symbolic of what our society can achieve,” Qayoumi said.

“Always, but perhaps especially in this tough economy, partnerships of elected officials, corporations, foundations and nonprofits are an excellent means to provide our young people with the academic, professional and support services they need not just to graduate, but also to make meaningful and lasting contributions to our community and our workforce,” Qayoumi said.

The genesis for AB 194 came directly from foster youth students at San Jose State, said Assemblymember Beall, who chairs the Assembly Select Committee on Foster Care.

“They emphasized how difficult it was to get the classes they needed,’’ Beall said. “They have to graduate on time because many of them only qualify for four years of financial assistance and that’s it. I truly believe this new law will improve their college retention and graduate rates. It’s a known fact that when foster youth get the support they need, their chances of success improve dramatically.’’

This month, foster youth at San Jose State were allowed to sign up early for next semester’s classes as a result of AB 194, which was signed into law by the Governor in October.

Jazmin Perez, a former  foster youth and freshman majoring in Liberal Studies, said being assured of getting the classes she requires is all the inspiration she needs to get her diploma.

“Having priority registration makes me motivated,’’ Perez said. “Knowing that I can pick my classes and get the classes I need to continue onto my college career makes me that much more excited about college.’’

Statistics show the hurdles to a college diploma are high. While 70 percent of former foster youth indicate a desire to go to college only 20 percent do enroll. Only three percent will graduate.

The vast majority of these students, who were originally placed in foster care because of parental abuse or neglect, have no one to rely on other than themselves once they leave foster care at age 18. For many, transportation can be a problem – a problem that can be partially solved by the acquisition of a bike.

The bikes were donated by Synergy Corporate Housing and directed to the SJSU students through a partnership of the Housing Industry Foundation, Cort Furniture, and Outreach, the nonprofit paratransit agency that serves people with disabilities in Santa Clara County. Each student also received a helmet and lock.

“Although our primary focus is housing, we are always happy to connect our supporters who have items to donate to worthy recipients in the community,’’ said Colin Gray, of the Housing Industry Foundation.

“We appreciate Assemblymember Jim Beall’s efforts to assist foster youth who are pursuing a college education and we are thrilled that we were able to help Synergy Corporate Housing make these bicycles through available through Outreach.’’

Spartans Swimmers Rank Among Nation's Best

Swim Team Nationally Ranked

Spartans Swimmers Rank Among Nation's Best

The Spartans own 14 national top-50 times, including seven in the top-10, across 10 different individual and relay events (photo by SJSU Athletics).

A number of San Jose State swimmers find themselves among the nation’s best this week after an outstanding performance at the prestigious Arena Invitational in Long Beach. In addition, SJSU was recently ranked the number two Mid-Major Division I swim team in the nation by CollegeSwimming.com. The Spartans own 14 national top-50 times, including seven in the top-10, across 10 different individual and relay events. Seven different athletes represent San Jose State among the nation’s elite in individual events, while two more join forces with them to form some of the fastest relay teams in the country. “We’re very pleased with our early-season progress,” said Head Coach Sage Hopkins. “I think it’s a great indication of the progress the team has been making and the sacrifices they have made.” The group is led by the 200 freestyle relay team of Meghan McCurley, Marisa DeWames, Kiley Foster and Erika Harvey, which holds the fourth-best time in the country at 1 minute, 31.15 seconds. The team set a new school record and earned an NCAA “B” standard with the performance at last week’s Arena Invitational on Nov. 17.

Read more from SJSU Athletics.