Best of SJSU mark

Best of SJSU: Most Helpful Resources

Best of SJSU mark

Thanks to all who participated in our Facebook "Best of SJSU" series.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

A few weeks back, we asked SJSU Facebook’s 12,000 fans, “Who or what has been your most helpful resource at SJSU?”

Incentivized by a Spartan Shops resource (Gold Points!), over 75 people responded, including Carlos Fletes, who went with the Latino Business Students Association.

“This organization has definitely made me grow as a person and I thank them everyday for it,” he wrote. “I advise everyone else to join an organization like LBSA.”

David Galán Angüiano also did a great job making the case for another solid resource offered at no cost to all students 24-7.

“Going to SJSU Counseling Services was the BEST decision I have ever made in my LIFE,” he said. “Now, I am motivated, hard working, proud of myself. I am accomplishing so much.”

Go David! Though Fletes and Angüiano won the prizes, it was a tough call. Many campus resources received multiple mentions.

So here’s to the Student Health Center (“the massage chair … is miraculous”), King Library (“I’ve never seen a more helpful staff”), and Resident Assistants (“every time I have a problem or question, he’s there for me”).

Kudos also to the Educational Opportunity Program, Guardian Scholars, Career Center, Freshmen Orientation, Peer Mentors, Student Union, and Associated Students’ Eco Pass Program.

“Jedi Master of the Spartan Daily”

Many faculty and staff members scored a shout out including Mokhtar Zoubeidi in mathematics (“he helped me almost every day in his office), Mack Lundstrom in journalism (“Jedi Master of the Spartan Daily”), and Kathleen Simel in admissions (“great help for graduate students”).

When it comes to one very important off-campus resource, we couldn’t say it better than Noel Garcia Estrella, who zeroed in on “my parents for sure.”

And last, but certainly not least, Miguel Mtz wrote, “SJSU’s students themselves. I know I can ask a classmate or any student anything. Everyone is friendly and True Spartans.”

We agree! Thanks to all who participated!

Join SJSU on Facebook.

Female SJSU student getting ready to defend herself against an attacker in a simulated class scenario

Self Defense Class Empowers Women

Female SJSU student getting ready to defend herself against an attacker in a simulated class scenario

The writer, junior journalism/nutrition major Amanda Holst, prepares to use the tactics she's learned in RAD training against an "attacker" in a simulated abduction scenario (photo by Elena Polanco).

Walking on campus alone at night can be a chilling experience. As a woman taking an evening class, I worried that I would not have a line of defense should I run into trouble returning to my car. The Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class I took over the weekend changed all of that for me. The 12-hour, two-day workshop, offered by the University Police Department since 1998, is a way to mentally and physically prepare women for escape from attempted sexual assaults.

The first day of my class, I walked into the UPD building and was escorted by an officer to the “off-limits” second floor. I walked down a long hallway and into a classroom by the UPD officer locker rooms. The first half of the day was spent learning how to reduce the risk of an attack and how to use my body parts as personal weapons. We broke for an hour lunch and then spent the rest of the day in the Spartan Complex gym learning basic stances and repeated movements including strikes, kicks and blocks. The most empowering event of the day was when I escaped a choke hold from my instructor!

The next day we returned to the mats, this time learning how to defend ourselves if the attack went to the ground. I appreciated the mental preparedness that came along with these exercises. The last part of the day we suited up in padding and experienced real-life simulations of being attacked, using all the techniques we learned in class. Adrenaline rushed as I fought my way to escape each situation.

Although I may never need to use this training, I know that should I be attacked, I will be able to defend myself … and that’s an empowering feeling.

Classes are $5 for female SJSU students, faculty, staff and other community members. The next RAD class is Nov. 12-13. Please keep in mind SJSU community members can request an Evening Guide Escort by calling UPD at (408) 924-2222 or by using a campus bluelight phone.

SJSU’s Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism Management Gearing Up for AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Student Management Team Prepares for 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

By Pat Harris, Media Relations Director
Video by Keith Sanders, Media Production Specialist

The deadline is coming up soon for the 2012 Special Event Management Team, which will provide students the opportunity to gain work experience at one of the world’s top resorts. All students are invited to apply online by Oct. 12, with successful applicants registering for a specific special event management course offered in spring 2012. The Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management partners with Pebble Beach Resorts to assist with the annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament. Students showcase their skills while managing teams in skybox hospitalities, chalet hospitalities, and on-course food or beverage operations. The program has helped many secure employment in related fields, including recent graduate Jason Whitcomb, who began a three-year paid internship with the National Football League this fall.

Black and white photo of Amelia Reid with an airplane.

Alumna’s NASA Internship Leads to New Job and Award

Black and white photo of Amelia Reid with an airplane.

A recent alumna processed the papers of an alumna from long ago, NASA "human computer" and aviation enthusiast Amelia Reid.

Editor’s note: The following first appeared in the School of Library and Information Science Community Profiles blog. For an internship, alumna Ratana Ngaotheppitak processed the papers of the late Amelia Reid, a NASA “human computer” who was also an SJSU mathematics alumna.

Alumna Ratana Ngaotheppitak’s seven-month internship at the NASA Ames Research Center helped her secure a job as a NASA Archivist and earn the 2011 SLIS Jean Wichers Professional Practice Award.

“The internship at NASA was the perfect opportunity to gain experience and start working for an agency that will put me on the path to a career in government archives,” said Ngaotheppitak, who graduated from SJSU SLIS in May 2011.

During her Fall 2010 archives internship, Ngaotheppitak worked with a collection documenting one of the “human computers” at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in the 1940s and 1950s. She processed the Amelia Reid Papers from start to finish by completing the accession record, taking an inventory of the materials, performing preservation work, creating a finding aid and a MARC record, and encoding the finding aid for display in the Online Archive of California.

Her professional experience at NASA made Ngaotheppitak a strong candidate for the position of Life Sciences Data Archivist, which she was offered in March 2011. She was subsequently awarded the Jean Wichers Professional Practice Award by SJSU SLIS faculty to recognize her achievements.

As a student, Ngaotheppitak worked hard to develop a professional network and to find learning opportunities. She contacted NASA to arrange a tour of the History Office when she first moved to San Jose, and established a relationship with the History Office Archivist before applying for her internship.

“When you’re a student you have to be really proactive to get the experience that will help you find a job,” explained Ngaotheppitak. “Internships are so valuable, because you really start to network and you have the opportunity to get your foot in the door in a career that you want.”

Ngaotheppitak grew up attending air shows with her father, a mechanical engineer, and has dreamed of working for NASA ever since she decided to become an archivist. One of the reasons she enrolled at SJSU SLIS in Spring 2009 was because of our School’s professional internship opportunities with the NASA Ames Research Center’s History Office and with other institutions.

At SJSU SLIS Ngaotheppitak focused on the Archival Studies Career Pathway and took elective courses in web usability and cataloging, which now support her work in the Life Sciences Data Archive. Ngaotheppitak’s job involves cataloging data from NASA’s space flight experiments, preserving audio and visual materials, and working with the documents collection. She also provides reference services to researchers in the small science library.

“I’m so lucky to be working here, and I’m learning so much,” Ngaotheppitak said.

Read more from the School of Library and Information Science Blog.

Crowds of students and alumni visit employers' booths and tables at a previous job fair in the Event Center. Photo courtesy of Career Center.

Career Center Offers Variety of Resources to Job Seekers

Crowds of students and alumni visit employers' booths and tables at a previous job fair in the Event Center. Photo courtesy of Career Center.

The Career Center will host its Fall Job & Internship Fair at the Event Center on Oct. 4. Photo courtesy of Career Center.

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

No matter what stage Spartans are at in their job search, SJSU’s Career Center has them covered.

“We’re dedicated to trying to help students connect with employers at any level,” said Anita Manuel, career consultant / program manager at the Career Center, “so that includes internships, part-time jobs and then also their first professional career position if they’re going to be graduating and looking for that first job.”

Located up a set of stairs at Administration 154, with a wheelchair accessible entrance at Administration 255, the Career Center offers a variety of job resources and events.

Here just a few of many upcoming events:

  • Fall Job and Internship Fair on Oct. 4, noon-5 p.m., in the Event Center
  • Job Fair Success Workshop on Sept. 28, 2-3:15 p.m, in Mod A
  • Resume Blast Event on Sept. 29, 1-4 p.m., in the Loma Prieta Room of the Student Union
  • Job Search 2.0: Managing Your Online Presence on Sept. 28, 12-1:15 p.m., in Mod A
  • The Career Center offers walk-in appointments on Mondays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-3 p.m.

Job & Internship Fair

It will be a full house at the Fall Job and Internship Fair on Oct. 4, noon-5 p.m., in the Event Center: 132 employers will be represented, which is 69 percent more than last fall’s fair, said Susan Rockwell, the Career Center’s assistant director of employer services.

Manuel said this turnout is great, “especially given the economy, how it’s been a tough job market. But with the fact that we have so many employers that want to come to the job fair means they’re definitely hiring.”

Companies include Applied Materials, Cisco Systems, Kohl’s Department Stores, Lockheed Martin and SanDisk Corporation. The job and internship fair is open to current SJSU students of all majors, as well as SJSU alumni who are registered with the Career Center and have a membership card.

Rockwell said even with an increase in employers at the fair, it’s important for attendees to remember they’re in a competitive job environment and to consider how they present themselves and their skills set.

Manuel agreed, saying, “Some of the most important things for students to remember when it comes to job fairs is the more prepared they are, the more likely they are to get a request for an interview or to meet with that employer for a job.”

To help students prepare, the Career Center offers Job Fair Success Workshops in Mod A, a portable building near Hoover Hall and the Aquatic Center: Sept. 27, 3:30-4:45 p.m., or  Sept. 28, 2-3:15 p.m. An online version of the workshop can be accessed after students create an account with the Career Center.

There’s also a Resume Blast Event on Sept. 29, 1-4 p.m., in the Loma Prieta Room of the Student Union, where students can have a hard copy of their resume reviewed and practice what they’ll say to employers at the fair.


Whether it’s choosing a major or preparing for an interview, the Career Center runs workshops that cover an array of job-related needs. All workshops take place in Mod A.

One workshop that covers a recent trend is Job Search 2.0: Managing Your Online Presence. It’s next offered on Sept. 28, 12-1:15 p.m. Besides going over how to utilize social media for job-seeking purposes, the workshop also warns students about being careful.

“A lot of students are surprised that employers actually do check or Google them when they’re candidates,” Manuel said, “and if things come up from their Facebook pages, or if they don’t have privacy settings on those pages, photos and all sorts of comments and things that they think might be private are actually very accessible.”

Other newer workshops include Networking 101 and Finding a Job in Today’s Economy. Read the Career Center Program & Event Calendar for a listing of workshops and other events.

Personal Interaction

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that a lot of students think they have to be graduating or in their senior year to actually use our services, but in reality, they can use our services starting in their freshman year,” Manuel said.

After creating an online account with the Career Center, students will have access to the SpartaJobs database. Their online account also allows them to schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor in person. The Career Center offers walk-in appointments on Mondays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-3 p.m.

“I encourage people to come to the Career Center and work on a job search plan tailored to them,” Rockwell said.

You can find out more information about the Career Center at its website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel.

Female SJSU student sitting in the wellness massage chair.

Reduce Stress with Wellness Massage Chair

Female SJSU student sitting in the wellness massage chair.

The writer, junior journalism/nutrition major Amanda Holst, takes a couple of minutes to de-stress in the programmable massage chair located at Wellness and Health Promotion Office in the Health Building.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

As the first major assignments and tests start to roll around, this can be a stressful time of year for everyone on campus, me included! So when I heard the Student Health Center had a massage chair, I just had to try it, and I gotta tell you, it did not disappoint! The massage chair, free for SJSU students, was brought to the Health Center three years ago as a way to alleviate stress for students, and is part of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, according to campus wellness assistant director, Laurie Morgan.

After signing in for my appointment on the second floor, I was escorted to what seemed like an ordinary room. When the door opened, I was taken aback by pure ambiance. The dim lighting and an enchanting serene waterfall poster on the wall set the tranquil mood for the entire room, making the massage chair look all the more welcoming. After a quick two-minute tutorial I sat down ready for my experience. The massage chair was plush all over, and once adjusted, fit me like a glove. I selected a five-minute quick session, which offered a little bit of everything: Shiatsu, deep, Swedish and stretch massages. At first, the rollers hurt because my muscles were so tight, but after I got used to them and allowed myself to relax, I let the chair work its magic. The techniques ranged from gentle, circular squeezing to rapid taps and alternating movements on my neck, shoulders, and back. After using the chair for only five minutes, I can definitely say that it exceeded all of my expectations. I left feeling relaxed and far less stressed than I was when I arrived. I can’t wait to go back!

Group shot of several hundred EOP students on Tower Lawn.

Educational Opportunity Program Moves to the Heart of Campus

Students, a professor and the provost cut the ribbon on new offices.

Professor Maria Alaniz, Associate Vice President for Student Academic Success Services Maureen Scharberg, students Ashlee Jemmott and Michelle Elliott, and Provost Gerry Selter cut the ribbon on new offices for EOP and Guardian Scholars.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

More than 2,700 students now have a campus home away from home thanks to a five-year campaign to restore SJSU’s Educational Opportunity Program.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said EOP Director Debra Griffith at the grand opening of the program’s new offices. “Thank you for always believing and wanting this to happen, for being so patient until SJSU got this right.”

Students, faculty, staff and administrators gathered Sept. 20 to cut the ribbon on the suite within the Academic Success Center on the ground floor of Clark Hall. The move created an inviting space for the program in the heart of campus, quite far from the Student Services Center in the North Garage.

Showing the University Cares

“The new offices provide more resources and are much more accessible,” student Ashlee Jemmott told the crowd. “This also shows that the university cares a lot about these two programs.”

The suite houses the EOP and Guardian Scholars programs. EOP serves first-generation, low-income, historically disadvantaged students, while Guardian Scholars supports foster youth. Both offer comprehensive educational services including academic advisement, personal and career counseling, and tutorial services.

The programs now share a front desk and sitting area providing EOP and Guardian Scholars a place to catch their breath, socialize and study. The space also includes offices for a new partnership between EOP and the Department of Counselor Education.

“We hired five master’s students, who are each assigned to an EOP adviser,” Griffith said. “Advisers receive supervision experience and assistance. Interns learn the ins and outs of advising and gain professional experience by managing small projects and a small advising case load of their own.”

Passion and Commitment

At the grand opening, Professor of Social Science and SJSU alumna Maria Luisa Alaniz recalled how SJSU’s EOP was among the best in the state in the 1970s, then declined until 2007, when 200 people and 25 organizations signed a petition urging administrators to restore services.

“We were passionate, committed, and would not take no for an answer,” Alaniz said.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Gerry Selter thanked former presidents Don W. Kassing and Jon Whitmore for supporting the effort, which dovetailed well with CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed’s Graduation and Retention Initiative.

“Our goal was to given EOP a home that was central and visible, and here it is,” Selter said.

Marco Henry sitting with group in China having dinner.

San José State Student Bloggers Share World Travels

By Ryan Whitchurch, Public Affairs Assistant

Marco Henry sitting with group in China having dinner.

Marco Henry Negrete and fellow Spartan Ivan Ng sit together in China for a meal with Ivan's local family.

Ever wonder what it would be like to be thrown into an entirely new environment with minimal support to help grasp your surroundings? These San Jose State students decided to find out and are blogging about their experiences as they adapt to a new lifestyle while getting acclimated to their surroundings.

Public relations major Marco Negrete, Jr. is expanding his horizons and taking on the challenge to study abroad one semester in Hong Kong. “My time at SJSU allowed me to become a more cultured person through living and interacting in such a diverse community,” Negrete wrote in his blog. “I was able to turn that new and unfamiliar place into my second home. Although, this is a bit more extreme than going from one part of the state to another, I’m confident that I’ll be fine.”

Aspiring entertainment journalist Keith Bryant is following his dreams and taking a bite out of the Big Apple as an intern for MTV’s True Life. “The theme of the MTV intern program is called ‘Powered By You,’” Bryant said in one recent post. “I truly believe this statement because you make what your internship is. I plan on coming to work with a positive attitude and eagerness to learn. I am absolutely going to take advantage of this opportunity and improve myself for the better.”

You can follow along with Spartans as they blog about their adventures and develop into young professionals that will undoubtedly make their mark on the world.

Here I am-Hong Kong By Marco Henry Negrete, Jr.
Here I am, 7 thousand miles away from home in Hong Kong. Even though I’ve planned this trip for 2 years, I start to question if I’m really prepared. Is planning the same thing as preparing? Has it hit me yet? How do you know when it “hits you?”  Read more from Marco in his blog.

Keith in the Big Apple By Keith Bryant
I am here in New York living out one my dreams this fall semester. I am interning at MTV in their News and Docs department. More specifically, I am working on the show True Life, doing  tasks similar to an entry-level production assistant. Read more from Keith in his blog.

Note: The opinions and and views in these posts are those of the independent student bloggers and not of San Jose State University.

SJSU alumnus Jason Whitcomb at Labeau Field

Kinesiology Alumnus Drafted for NFL Internship

Jason Whitcomb standing on Lambeau Field, Greenbay Wisconsin

Jason Whitcomb at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Planning an NFL kick-off event is just one of several assignments for Whitcomb with the Junior Rotational Program.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Alumnus Jason Whitcomb may have just graduated, but he is already off to a great start with a career in sports management.

After enduring a three-month interview process and going up against 2,500 applicants, Whitcomb was one of just six individuals selected in 2011 for the NFL’s Junior Rotational Program, a two-year paid internship in New York.

Sports Management Program Director Sonja Lilienthal says the most important thing for her students to do is gain experience in the field and volunteer as much as possible.

“Jason was a kid who took all the opportunities that I brought to class and followed up on them,” Lilienthal said.

Whitcomb played football, basketball and volleyball in high school. Then he played one year of football at Foothill College.

Now residing in Manhattan’s East Village, he is adapting to New York culture and working 9 to 5. He talked to SJSU Today about getting the job and what he does during his free time. The following was edited for length and clarity.

SJSU TODAY: Can you tell us about the interview process?

Jason Whitcomb: I took every round of interviews as an opportunity to prepare for the next stage. I used the SJSU Career Center’s online interview practice to help me prepare for my interview and met with a counselor to work on my resume. I tried to become more comfortable with my interview by practicing in my room at night.

SJSU: How important is it to have work experience in addition to your academic record on your resume?

Whitcomb: There is no way I would have gotten the job without my work experience. Professor Lilienthal recommended the Special Event Management Team with the Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management. The biggest highlight of my resume was living in Pebble Beach for a month, where I worked with upper-level executives to gain office experience while assisting with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

SJSU: What types of things do you do with the Junior Rotational Program?

Whitcomb: I touch bases with different people in different departments. I’ve also worked with youth clinics, on an internal newsletter, and helped to plan the NFL Experience, a series of events that lead up to the Super Bowl.

SJSU: Were you a high school athletes?

Whitcomb: I played football, basketball and volleyball in high school. Then he played one year of football at Foothill College.

SJSU: What do you do during your free time?

Whitcomb: I like to put on a pair of sneakers and walk around the city. There are so many cool things to see, just walking down the street. There are a lot of cool parks and the East Village is such a fun area.

Jennifer Elias

Inspirational Student Receives Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award

Jennifer Elias

Jennifer Elias

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

San Jose State’s Jennifer Elias is one of 23 students who will receive a 2011-2012 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. The trustees will honor the scholars on Sept. 20 at the CSU Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach, California. Elias will receive a total of $4,000, including $1,000 from a scholarship fund endowed by CSU trustee and SJSU alumnus William Hauck.

Elias is a standout member of SJSU’s student newspaper, the Spartan Daily. She decided to use that platform during her junior year to share with others her story of sexual assault and violence, and to provide resources to others who may be afraid to speak out about their own experiences.

Elias and her family have struggled financially, and this year has been extremely difficult with multiple family medical issues. This award will keep her on the path of success and help her attain her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.

The Hearst/CSU Trustees’ award is among the highest forms of recognition for student achievement in the CSU. The students receiving the awards have all demonstrated inspirational resolve along the path to college success.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation originally established the endowed scholarship fund in 1984. In 1999, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees and private donors.

Read more on the Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award.

Young man and woman carrying a sign and collection box.

Student Groups Seek to Collect $911 for 9/11 Victims

Young man and woman carrying a sign and collection box.

Two student groups are seeking to raise $911 for 9/11 victims.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Not only will they always remember where they were on September 11, 2001, but they will also recall what they did ten years later to help those affected by the attacks. Last week, social fraternity Delta Sigma Phi joined with service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega to collect $911 during tabling events near the Event Center. The two groups plan to send all donations to the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund. Earlier this year, Delta Sigma Phi collected $840 for the Japan earthquake and tsumani relief effort. “We want to reach out and help those affected, and help people reflect,” President Peter Do said. For more information, please email Peter Do.

Five actresses singing on stage together

Students Star in San Jose Rep’s “Daring Fusion of Morality, Sexuality and Rock & Roll”

Five actresses singing on stage together

SJSU theater students Kristen Majetich (on her knees, far left) and Ernestine Balisi (far right) appear with Broadway professionals in the San Jose Rep's "Spring Awakening."

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Walk by the San Jose Repertory Theater (the bright blue building between campus and light rail) and you might see the names of SJSU theater students flash across the marquee.

That’s because amateur actors Ernestine Balisi, Kristen Majetich, and Manuel Rodriguez-Ruiz are starring in the Rep’s “Spring Awakening.”

“It’s been remarkable sharing my passion with the staff and artists at SJ Rep. Because of this collaboration, not only are there acting opportunities, but also other internships which gives every person an opportunity to create amazing theatre,” Majetich said.

The students are appearing on stage with professionals thanks to new, professionally sanctioned internship program.

“Our students are doing a terrific job and no one can tell them from the Broadway cast members,” said theater Professor Ethel Walker.

Set in 19th century Germany, “Spring Awakening” is “a powerful celebration of youth and rebellion in a daring fusion of morality, sexuality and rock & roll,” according to the Rep.

The internship program may do more than open doors for theater students. It is also an invitation to all Spartan to see the show.

“Hundreds of students stroll past the Rep every day and we are always looking for new ways to get them to step inside,” Artistic Director Rick Lombardo told the San Jose Mercury News.

“Both the SJSU theatre program and San Jose Rep are thrilled by the results of this partnership and its many benefits for our students and our organizations,” said theater Professor David Kahn.

“We believe our professional/academic linkage will lead to even more benefits down the road as we build on the success of the student internships with further collaborative enterprises and the development of external funding sources.”

“Spring Awakening” continues through September 25. Read a review. Purchase tickets.

Students, Faculty, Staff Test Educational Applications of iPad

Student leans ipad on her desk to demonstrate how easy it is to use.

Senior communications student and King Library employee Diana Teddington demonstrates how quick, clear and user-friendly the iPads are at the library (photo by Amanda Holst).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Apple’s iPad is popping up all over campus, providing students, faculty and staff with the opportunity to explore the potential educational benefits of mobile technology. King Library is the latest place to give it a try.

“Right now we are experimenting and figuring out how often students are using them and in what ways,” said John Wenzler, associate dean for digital futures, technical services and information technology.

Students, faculty and staff can borrow any of the available 26 iPads at Student Computing Services for a four-hour block of time for use in the library.

A Quick Start Guide shows those who checkout iPads how to easily connect to the library’s wireless network, locate multiple apps, and access and use the library catalog.

Recipients cannot owe more than $10 in library fines and must be able to take full responsibility if the iPad is stolen or damaged.

CASA iPads

Two iPads are available for CASA students at the CASA Student Success Center. The long-term plan is to find ways to use such tech tools to enhance retention rates, according to CASA Student Success Center Director Kathryn Sucher.

This term, the iPads will be used in workshops to help students with notetaking.

“You can sync your notes to your computer and use the material in a variety of different places, creating presentations or portfolios,” said Dane Riley, an Apple higher education system engineer.

For now, CASA peer mentor and senior kinesiology major Michelle Pascua is using the iPad to go online.

“The benefit of having it at the success center is that if you need to do a quick search, it’s literally at your fingertips,” she said.

Lurie College iPad Initiative

The Connie L. Lurie College of Education may be the only place on campus where instructors can check out enough iPads for an entire class. This program, funded in part by an iPad mini-grant last spring, is designed to explore whether the iPad is a good tool for teaching in a K-12 setting, according to Interim Associate Dean Mary McVey. This semester, three classes will participate in the pilot program.

“The iPads have the potential to help instructors create K-12 classrooms that are flexible and individually-orientated,” McVey said. “If it is a good tool for that setting, then we need to have our students trained and ready to use them.”

An aviation student in the flight simulator.

SJSU Remembers 9/11

By Sarah Kyo and Pat Lopes Harris, Public Affairs

As America mourns the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, SJSU’s campus community reflects upon its own connections to the historical event.

The pilot of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 was a SJSU graduate, and his name lives on in a scholarship for aviation students. A former U.S. Army Ranger in Afghanistan becomes a University Police Department officer. And a free memorial concert and vigil this Sunday will use music to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.

An SJSU Alum’s Legacy Lives On

Tommy Ondrasek stands next to a plaque for Captain Jason Dahl, pilot of United Airlines Flight 93. Photo By Elena Polanco

Tommy Ondrasek stands next to a plaque for Captain Jason Dahl, pilot of United Airlines Flight 93. Photo by Elena Polanco.

Ever since he was a young boy, growing up near a major Houston airport, Tommy Ondrasek wanted to be an airline pilot.

Ondrasek graduated from high school in 2001, the year that 9/11 occurred. Instead of giving up on aviation, he became more passionate and desired even more to become a pilot. The 9/11 attacks also influenced his decision to defend his country.

“I knew that I wanted to join the military prior to September 11th, but those events solidified my drive to do so,” he said.

Almost a decade later, Ondrasek, a SJSU aviation operations student, became the recipient of the 2010 Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship. He used the $5,000 award toward flight training.

Dahl, a 1980 SJSU alumnus, was the captain of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Passengers and crew members prevented the terrorists from completing their mission. The Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund, a non-profit corporation founded by Dahl’s widow, Sandy, awards aviation college students with these scholarships.

After enlisting with the Navy, Ondrasek was shipped out to boot camp on March 12, 2002. He served as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“For my job, it was maintaining anything and everything electrical on an aircraft,” he said.

After being honorably discharged in 2006, Ondrasek headed to California with his wife, who started graduate school at UC Berkeley. Meanwhile, he attended Diablo Valley College, where his career counselor introduced him to SJSU’s aviation program.

“I love it,” Ondrasek said. “SJSU is the only public institution that offers a bachelor’s degree in aviation.”

After graduating, Ondrasek hopes to start off as a flight instructor and look for flight-related jobs. He wants to work his way up to become a pilot for a major airline, just like Dahl.

While Ondrasek has earned other scholarships in the past, the Dahl Scholarship means the most to him.

“I feel more of a need to push myself to achieve great things because of it,” Ondrasek said.

UPD Officer Has Army Roots

Jason Celano in the back of a Toyota Tacoma. He bought the same make and model for his trip across country when he returned to the states after serving six months in the Middle East.

Justin Celano in the back of a Toyota Tacoma in Afghanistan. He bought the same make and model for his trip across country when he returned to the states after serving six months in the Middle East. Photo courtesy of Justin Celano.

Now a University Police Department corporal, then a U.S. Army Ranger, Justin Celano was one of almost 2,000 soldiers deployed in early 2002 for what became known as Operation Anaconda.

He seemed well prepared, having trained for a few years, since enlisting straight out of Santa Teresa High School, Class of 1999.

But there were many lessons to be learned in Anaconda, including one directly affecting Celano, a sniper.

“As a sniper team, you’re most effective in the woods so we were still training in thickly wooded areas,” he recalled. “Then you find yourself in a place with no woods and no place to hide. These days, everyone’s training for the desert.”

Celano wound up earning a place in history after sharing his experiences with embedded Army Times reporter Sean Naylor, who penned “Not a Good Day to Die.” The New York Times bestseller is a detailed account of the operation told through the eyes of soldiers like Celano.

When Celano returned to the United States, one of the first things he did was buy what he knew was one of the most reliable cars on the road, a Toyota Tacoma.

“That’s what we were using over there, and they seemed to run forever with bullet holes in them,” he said.

Celano and a cousin drove the truck across the country and back to San Jose, where a family friend told him UPD was hiring. Within a few months, he was on the job. He had just turned 22, making him younger than most SJSU students.

“I looked at myself at 21, having been in the military, as years older than someone who was 21 and hadn’t been in the military,” he said.

Now 30, Celano sold the truck a few years back. Married and expecting his first child in November, he is steadily climbing the ranks at UPD.

“Corporal Celano possesses a level of maturity, knowledge and experience that makes him an attractive candidate for any number of law enforcement agencies,” SJSU Chief of Police Peter Decena said. “Yet he remains very loyal to UPD and the campus community.”

Celano also remains modest and reserved. He doesn’t talk much about his military experience.

“It’s not because it’s hard to talk about but maybe it was the way I was raised,” he said. “I’m proud of what I did but I don’t feel the need to let the world know. I know and that’s good enough for me.”

Into Light: A 9/11 Memorial Concert

A flyer with a U.S. flag, candles, and music notes for Into Light: A 9/11 Memorial Concert on Sunday, September 11, at 8 p.m. in the Music Concert Hall Building.

Into Light: A 9/11 Memorial Concert. Graphic by Ali Hanshaw.

In remembrance of September 11, the School of Music and Dance is hosting a memorial concert that is free and open to the public. “Into Light: A 9/11 Memorial Concert” will take place on September 11 at 8 p.m. in the Music Building Concert Hall.

Dr. William Meredith from the Beethoven Center approached professors Joseph Frank and Layna Chianakas about organizing the event, and they were happy to do it. They will also be performing.

For the event, Frank, a tenor, chose to sing “America My Wondrous Land,” an award-winning song that recognizes the American spirit.

“A perfect piece to honor the memory of our fallen citizens on 9/11,” Frank said.

Frank had lived in New York for many years and performed at the Metropolitan Opera. He remembers the stress of trying to contact his friends there after the attacks on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

“I heard numerous personal stories from my friends who experienced the horror of that day — walking through clouds of debris and hearing sirens and having no communications with the outside world,” Frank said. “It was an infamous day for America, and one we should never forget.”

At the concert, Chianakas, a mezzo-soprano, will perform “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” an African-American spiritual.

“This piece is very close to my heart because my mother died one week before 9/11, and I know many other people lost their mothers on the day of the attack,” she said. “It just seemed the right piece to sing on our concert.”

Many SJSU students were only children when the attacks happened, and Chianakas hopes that the event will allow them to experience the impact it had on the country.

“We are also showing our students a part of history,” she said. “I believe what happened made us all far more aware of how small we actually are in this world, but also how when called upon, we as Americans can support each other, grieve together and eventually triumph over tragedy.”

SJSU’s new President Mohammad Qayoumi will also provide opening remarks before the concert.

“The past 10 years has been the time period for us to reflect and see what we have learned and how we can use this experience in a way that will strengthen us as a nation,” Qayoumi said.

Other participants include the faculty of the School of Music and Dance; Nils Petersen, Santa Clara County’s first poet laureate and a SJSU professor emeritus; and SJSU’s Air Force ROTC Color Guard. The event will conclude with a candlelit vigil.

Four young men in business attire.

Software Engineering Major’s Creativity Reflected in Winning Photo Contest Entry

Four young men in business attire.

Mathews (far right) with colleagues (left to right) Michael Economy, William Cline and Brian Percival.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Software engineering major Greg Mathews, a junior from Folsom, has been named one of five finalists in InternMatch‘s nationwide Ultimate Internship Photo Contest. Mathews interned at, a San Francisco-based company running the world’s largest social network for readers. “I made a feature for Goodreads where you are able to cast friends in a book,” Mathews said. “I also helped to fix various bugs throughout the website and uplift the spirit of the office!” One way he did this was with “Big Wednesdays,” the subject of the photo he submitted to the InternMatch contest. The photo shows he and three co-workers dressed to the nines, and included a caption that is, in part, a haiku. “Wednesdays are bland/How can I spice up this day?/Make Big Wednesday!” he wrote. “Every Wednesday I would dress up in my finest of garb. This day eventually came to be known as Big Wednesday! Many big plans were made on Big Wednesday and the trend started to catch on! On the Biggest Wednesday (my last Wednesday) lots of people dressed up in their finest attire!” The winner will be named later this week after a vote by the entire team at InternMatch, also based in San Francisco. View Mathews’ entry.

Students are sitting comfortably in neon red swivel chairs looking forward at teacher

New Chairs Support Diverse Learning and Teaching Styles

Five red chairs arranged in a circle with bucket seats, arm rests that reach all the way across each seat, and a platform under neath for books and bags.

These "node chairs" are what’s new in classroom furniture. Their swivel seats, adjustable work surfaces and rolling bases adapt to match the lesson of the day, and highlight mobility and flexibility (photos by Robert Bain).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Wasabi, picasso and chili pepper red are some of the neon chair colors brightening general classrooms in Sweeney and Clark halls this fall.

These “node chairs” are what’s new in classroom furniture. Their swivel seats, adjustable work surfaces and rolling bases adapt to match the lesson of the day,  and highlight mobility and flexibility.

“The manufacturer did exhaustive research on trends in the workplace, in schools and universities, and designed products that help users deal with their issues and to meet those needs,” said One Workplace Learning Environment Specialist Trevor Croghan.

One Workplace and SJSU worked together to develop a classroom that meets the needs of 21st century students and teachers, focusing on the ability to deliver and receive content in several different ways.

Node chairs allow users to easily reconfigure the classroom, from lecture-style, to small or large-group settings, to conference-style. Roomy storage space at the base of each chair, and arms designed to hold purses and backpacks, free the aisles of clutter. The chairs are able to accommodate right and light-handed students, and are comfortable for people of all sizes.

“With the traditional desks, many classmates refuse to crane their necks to look at the person speaking, making the class environment less than welcoming,” said nutrition major Miranda Westfall.

Mary McVey, interim associate dean in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, an educational psychologist, sees other benefits.

“If students are sitting in a dynamic and engaged environment, they feel much better about coming back to class and are more likely to seek out information and learn outside the classroom,” McVey said.

The original idea to purchase the node chairs came in fall 2009, when the College of Education was working on creating the Leola Lyth Forward “Smart” Technology Classroom. A grant helped equip the smart classroom, including futuristic seating now in classrooms across campus.

SJSU Welcomes 28,000 Students to 2011-2012 Academic Year

Young man and lady holding ice cream cones (photos by Elena Polanco).

Fall term began with a Student Success Fair, featuring a free "meet and eat" ice cream social sponsored by the SJSU Alumni Association (photos by Elena Polanco).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Fall term began Aug. 24 with approximately 28,000 students arriving on campus for the first day of classes and for Fall Welcome events, including a Student Success Fair featuring a free “meet and eat” ice cream social sponsored by the SJSU Alumni Association.

Students crowded the San Carlos plaza for the fair, moved from its usual spot along El Paseo de Cesar E. Chavez to make way for construction crews, who spent the summer operating a towering pile driver building a foundation for the new Student Union. Students also packed the Spartan Bookstore, offering new products and services under Barnes & Noble management.

The campus crowd included 4,000 freshmen, SJSU’s largest first-year class in ten years, the result of more applicants meeting admissions standards, coupled with a greater percentage of those admitted completing the intent to enroll process, including orientation and registration.

The bumper crop of freshmen resulted in a campus housing shortage. Beginning Aug. 20, roughly 90 returning students who had planned to live in the dorms were assigned to the Clarion Hotel, where at least one resident found “the amenities outweigh any inconvenience.” Meanwhile, over 3,600 students settled into Campus Village, Joe West Hall and The Bricks.

Dr. Mohammad Qayoumi began the week by delivering his first Fall Welcome Address as SJSU president, announcing that his office would hold 40 town hall meetings during September so that the campus community can begin sketching out a new strategic plan for the university.

The president also highlighted good news on academic performance. “Our last two graduating classes, for both first-time frosh and transfers, have shown marked improvement of about five percent increases in six-year graduation rates,” he told the 800 or so students, faculty and staff who filled Morris Dailey Auditorium.

Factors that could be contributing to higher grad rates include intense academic advising, featuring online resources and a focus on seniors with 120 or more credits. Other factors might include the CSU’s Early Assessment Program and SJSU’s MUSE program, and economic conditions like tuition increases and a competitive job market.

A marked improvement in the academic performance of our football team means the Spartans will begin the 2011 season against Stanford Sept. 3 with a full complement of 85 scholarship players. The good news came as the athletics department completed a year-long self study, culminating in its third NCAA certification.

A picture of a red bike share bicycle taken in China during a Global Technology Initiative trip. Bikes include a modular shape and contains a basket for carrying items.

Bike Share Program on the Horizon for SJSU

A picture of a red bike share bicycle taken in China during a Global Technology Initiative trip. Bikes include a modular shape and contains a basket for carrying items.

Hangzhou, China, is often credited with hosting one of the world's largest bike share fleets. Soon, SJSU will join a similar effort funded by a Bay Area regional grant. The Bay Area program is expected to be in operation by the end of next summer (photo by Karin McKie).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Bike sharing, a popular trend in Europe, will soon be making a paceline to SJSU. Associated Students’ President Tomasz Kolodziejak said the program, expected to be completed in September 2012, will add a sense of community to the city and campus.

“It will give students the freedom to explore the city if they don’t own a bicycle, if they don’t have enough room to store one, or don’t want to go through the trouble of maintaining one,” Kolodzejak said.

Eyedin Zonobi, manager of the A.S. Transportation Solutions office, said a bike share program would play well with the estimated 1,000 bicycles on campus per day each semester.

“Although we have six cages to accommodate parking for bikes, plus open racks in front of every building, parking for bikes is reaching its limits,” Zonobi said. “This program would alleviate some of the impact.”

Bike Share Grant

The project is being funded by a $4.29 million Metropolitan Transportation Commission grant to provide bicycles and kiosk stations to the cities of San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Jose. In addition, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties will contribute matching funds, making this a $7 million project.

San Jose is expected to receive 150 bikes, placed in up to a dozen automated pods around the downtown area, linking the San Jose Diridon Transit Center to other high-activity locations, according to Bike and Pedestrian Program Director John Brazil.

Transportation Solutions is joining efforts with Parking Services and Facilities Development and Operations on campus to work with the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. An SJSU planning committee will find three or four locations on the campus perimeter for bike share hubs. VTA is in the process of issuing a request for proposals for vendors.

Features, depending on the vendor, may include modular bike stands, metal baskets, solar or electric locking and tracking technology, and GPS capabilities. Bikes will be inexpensive to rent and there will be different payment and membership options to chose from.

Students prepare for kayak trip.

Fall Welcome Days Aug. 21-Sept. 17 Help Students Make Campus Connections

Students prepare for kayak trip.

Among the many events planned for Fall Welcome Days is a kayak trip.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Fall Welcome Days, held this year from August 21 through September 17, is a series of exciting social and academic programs designed to provide all incoming students with opportunities to make connections with fellow students, staff, faculty, and the surrounding community, as well as to become more familiar with campus resources and opportunities. The Fall Welcome Convocation will begin at 4 p.m. Aug 23 at the Event Center. An On-Campus Job Fair, Student Success Fair, Community Connections Fair, and Fall Student Organization Fair will be held on the San Carlos Plaza. The fall 2011 Campus Reading Program selection, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, will be discussed, and students, faculty and staff will have several opportunities to view Lacks’ cancerous cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, then sold many times over for research while her family struggled to afford health insurance. Students will also have the opportunity to explore international programs, audition for SJSU choirs, hear about “All You Ever Wanted To Know About College, But Were Afraid To Ask,” and join hiking and kayaking trips off campus. View a detailed events schedule.

Aerial view of construction at the west side of the Student Union, including a tall pile driver and a big hole in the ground. Photo courtesy of

Developments Continue at Student Union Construction Site

Aerial view of construction at the west side of the Student Union, including a tall pile driver and a big hole in the ground. Photo courtesy of

A camera provides an aerial view of the west side of the Student Union construction and renovation site. Photo courtesy of

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

Over the summer, there has been “a lot of coordination between the new and old systems” at the Student Union construction site, said Gloria Robertson, information / marketing manager of the Student Union.

Construction workers upgraded utilities, including plumbing. This resulted in the temporary closure of a pathway between the north side of the Student Union and Engineering Building during the summer. Robertson said the Student Union will provide updates if there are additional pathway closures during the fall semester.

Workers have also started preparing for the renovated building’s new foundation. There are towering pieces of construction equipment at the site called pile drivers, which drives piles into the ground for foundation support. Foundation excavation will begin shortly, Robertson said.

“We’re gonna be one building, but there will be an east side and a larger portion is on the west side,” Robertson said.

The east side, a former outdoor amphitheater across from the Art Building, will become an indoor theater and lecture hall that can seat about 300 people. Many current student services, such as Associated Students government, Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center and the Print Shop will move to the Student Union after the renovation. New features include a convenience store and a 24-hour coffee house. The Student Union’s projected completion date is 2013.

“We’re very excited about it,” Robertson said. “We’re working hard to keep things going.”

You can follow along with the progress of the Student Union expansion and renovation by visiting and its Facebook page.