SJSU Students Use Bioinformatics to Study How Living Organisms React to Space Travel

International Space Station

SJSU bioinformatics students helped NASA scientists better understand how living organisms react to life on the International Space Station compared to Earth. Image courtesy of NASA.

How does space travel impact the human body? That’s a question scientists are still trying to answer. This summer, they got a little closer to the answer, thanks to some extra help from San José State University students.

A cohort of biology and computer science undergraduate students were the first to participate in San José State’s new bioinformatics internship program with NASA, developed by two SJSU College of Science faculty: Philip Heller, assistant professor of computer science, and Bree Grillo-Hill, assistant professor of biology.

Equipped with knowledge from their SJSU biology and computer science courses — plus training from a bioinformatics bootcamp — six students joined NASA’s GeneLab project. They helped analyze and interpret publicly available data that revealed the RNA of different organisms, including humans, plants, insects and mice, in order to compare how those organisms responded to life on the International Space Station compared to Earth. The internship began in June and ended in August.

“The goal was to gain insights into the biological processes that degrade astronauts’ health in microgravity and other stressful conditions,” explained Heller. “These insights will drive decisions about lowering astronaut health risks, so the implications for science are profound.”

For example, Evelyn Wong, ’21 Biology, analyzed data to help NASA researchers better understand how and if cancer could be a risk following space travel.

“Astronauts are exposed to radiation when traveling to space, which makes them likely candidates for developing cancer later in life,” she explained. “I studied samples that might be able to help identify that possibility for developing cancer in the future.”

Wong said she’s not a natural programmer, so the internship offered her an opportunity to gain new data processing skills while putting her biology knowledge to use. Her hard work paid off: After her internship wrapped up in August, Wong began working as a full-time research associate contracted by Blue Marble Space Institute of Science to work with NASA.

That’s the kind of success Heller was hoping his students would achieve when he developed the internship. Bioinformatics is an increasingly important field, he noted. San José State offers a minor in bioinformatics as well as a master’s degree.

Preserved tissue samples

Publicly available data gathered from preserved tissues such as those seen here, archived at the NASA Ames Research Center, were analyzed and interpreted with the help of SJSU bioinformatics students. Image credit: NASA/Dominic Hart

Grillo-Hill emphasized that the experience can give students an edge in job searches and graduate school applications.

“Many cutting-edge projects in biology research require generating, managing and analyzing large data sets,” she explained. “Our bioinformatics minor teaches students the tools to do this, and internships give them the opportunity to practice these skills on real data sets.”

With NASA’s Artemis program to land humans — the first woman and first person of color, specifically — on the moon in 2024, “the urgency is high” to better understand how humans respond to space travel, Heller emphasized.

He hoped to create a program that would allow both SJSU and NASA to reap the benefits. SJSU could supply a steady stream of talented students interested in bioinformatics, and the next generation of scientists could gain valuable first-hand interdisciplinary experience, he said.

While this isn’t the only opportunity SJSU students have to intern with NASA — the College of Engineering, for example, helps place aerospace engineering students into internships with the agency — it’s the first chance for SJSU students interested in bioinformatics.

To make sure students were ready to hit the ground running, Heller, in collaboration with NASA GeneLab and Universities Space Research Association, kicked off the program with a five-day intensive bootcamp that acquainted students with NASA’s processes and goals and provided a deeper understanding of the field.

Kevin Truong, ’22 Computer Science, found the experience of working in an interdisciplinary environment with NASA scientists eye-opening.

“Working in bioinformatics gave me the opportunity to explore different fields and to learn things I didn’t know — and that I’ll likely never understand. And that’s OK if there is someone else on your team who can explain it. Sometimes, I will be the one to explain things to someone else.

“It’s a fascinating field and can be challenging, but in the end you get to create greater things.”

Heller emphasized that “even if the interns don’t become NASA scientists, they will gain training and experience in techniques that are commonly used in biotech, so we believe their long-term career experiences will be greatly enriched.”

Aeowynn Coakley, ’21 Biology, already feels that her future as a research scientist has been influenced by the experience.

“Whatever I do next, I want to work with an interdisciplinary team. You can go so much further and understand so much more working together that way,” she said.

“Bioinformatics is a really important tool to make meaningful inferences about data being collected,” she continued. “We are in an era of big data, and there’s so much biological information out there and so many scientists working siloed as they delve into this data. Through bioinformatics, we can make really meaningful contributions to the field by introducing an interdisciplinary perspective.”

Learn more about San José State’s MS in Bioinformatics and minor in Bioinformatics.

Braven Releases Annual Impact Report Highlighting SJSU Student Fellows’ Outcomes

Nonprofit Braven is built on the premise that when students who have not had the benefits of affluent circumstances are provided the same level of support and opportunities, they will excel. The proof is in their new 2020–2021 Annual Impact Report — a testament to the power of Braven’s model and what can happen when you give these students the tools they need to maximize their potential.

“The co-development of the UNVS 101 Leadership and Career Accelerator course by business, engineering and science faculty jointly with Braven staff has provided a valuable opportunity for all students at San José State University, both undergraduate and graduate, to build important leadership and career-readiness skills in a structured curriculum, with support from fellow students, faculty and industry coaches,” said Thalia Anagnos, vice provost of undergraduate education at SJSU.

Braven’s program is designed to complement the work of career services by scaffolding for students as they learn and master key leadership, career and life skills in two phases: The first is a semester-long, for-credit Accelerator course — UNVS 101 at SJSU — bolstered by coaches and fueled by the community that arises in the cohorts of student “Fellows.” The second allows Fellows to access a “post-course experience,” including one-on-one mentoring and career-building activities that continue beyond college graduation to help ensure their career success.

“We hear from Fellows time and time again that Braven is a reliable support system and like a family,” said Diana Phuong, executive director for Braven Bay Area. “What’s more, the ongoing support students receive from Braven through graduation helps them navigate the challenges that college students, particularly those who are first-generation, often face, whether through advice about their job search, helping to perfect their portfolio, or other ways.”

Gabriel Miranda, who was a spring 2020 Fellow and now an area manager at Amazon says, “Braven helped me learn what I needed to do to be on my path to a successful career and unlocked so many doors for me. Who would’ve thought a boy raised by two immigrant grandmothers from Korea and Mexico would be able to graduate from college and change the lives of his family.”

The “secret sauce” of Braven’s programming is the involvement of more than 75 employer partners, including Adobe, Linkedin and the NBA Foundation, whose employee volunteers gain as much, or more than, they give while serving as the Leadership Coaches. The experience offers them the opportunity to develop themselves by leading diverse teams and motivating promising young professionals — transferable skills that meet their own professional goals.

Employers benefit by the investment made in their own existing workforce as well as by supporting the Fellows through internships and often post-graduation jobs. Partnership in this case is both a retaining tool and a recruitment pipeline.

Some employer partners have also found deeper impact from their support of Braven, especially through the pandemic. Meg Garlinghouse, ‍head of social impact at Linkedin, said that “in a time of deep uncertainty, partnering with Braven has been a concrete way to be part of the movement for racial and economic justice.”

Since starting out with San José State University as its founding partner in higher education in 2014, Braven has expanded its programming via independent college success organizations. Now through BravenX in Chicago and Braven Online, which is nationwide, students involved with these groups can receive a financial stipend to obtain a similar experience outside of the traditional academic model.

SJSU and Braven Impact Report

Former Fellows Esteban Barrios, ’20 Physics, and Cynthia Fernandez-Rios, ’21 Business, both successfully launched their careers after graduation with the skills and support they gained by taking part in SJSU’s partner-program with nonprofit Braven.

Highlights of the 2021 Impact Report

  • 69% of Braven Fellows who identify as female obtained what Braven refers to as “a quality first economic opportunity”* after college, outpacing 62% of Fellows who identify as male.
  • Female Fellows also outpaced male peers at public four-year universities (56% obtained strong first jobs) and peers nationwide (60%).
  • Across races, Braven Fellows surpassed their counterparts at four-year public universities nationally by 15% or more in obtaining quality economic opportunities.
  • SJSU Braven graduates were 7% more likely to have at least one internship — mostly completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic — during college compared to students at four-year public universities nationally.
  • 87% of Fellows report that they have expanded their networks to include people with diverse careers and career interests after Braven, and 91% credit Braven’s program to helping them develop or strengthen skills necessary to pursue their goals, according to a study from the Search Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • This year, SJSU supported 324 new fellows on their path to economic mobility.

*Either enrollment in a graduate program or a full-time “strong first job” that requires a college degree and offers a competitive salary, benefits, professional development and pathways to advancement.

See how Braven is helping SJSU students grow their social capital.

Two Must-See Speaker Series at SJSU This Fall

San José State University is offering a number of opportunities to hear from faculty experts and prominent public figures this semester through two unique speaker series: the Spartan Speaker Series and University Scholar Series.

The Spartan Speaker Series, organized by the Division of Student Affairs, will host five free online events covering topics important to and requested by San José State students, according to Sonja Daniels, associate vice president of campus life.

“The Spartan Speaker Series covers a range of topics or theme areas that we feel are critical to the lives of our students,” she said. “We choose a wide array of speakers from politics to the arts, writers, activists, as well as disability, LGBTQ+, gender and sexual assault advocates.”

Daniels indicated that many speakers are also selected to complement activities related to cultural heritage months, such as Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), Native American Heritage Month (November), Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May), and Pride/LGBTQ+ Heritage Month (June).

The University Scholar Series, hosted by the Office of the Provost, in partnership with the SJSU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, showcases faculty research and scholarly pursuits.

“The University Scholars Series provides a space for the campus community to engage with faculty whose research, scholarly, and creative activity is insightful, engaging and forward-thinking,” said Provost Vincent Del Casino, Jr. “We get to see the breadth of topics, challenges and issues that faculty consider. It is an amazing opportunity not just to hear each other speak but to also create an intellectual community.”


Spartan Speaker Series Event Schedule

Attendees should register in advance to receive the Zoom link required to attend.

Reframing American History with Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1 p.m., Zoom

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones will discuss The New York Times’s 1619 Project, an ongoing initiative that aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of our national narrative.

Register for Nikole Hannah-Jones

Exploring Creativity with Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera.

Gabby Rivera. Photo by Julieta Salgado.

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m., Zoom

​​Gabby Rivera, the first Latina to write for Marvel Comics, penned the solo series “America” about America Chavez, a portal-punching queer Latina powerhouse, as well as the critically acclaimed novel, “Juliet Takes a Breath.” Rivera will speak about the importance of prioritizing joy in queer and transgender people of color (QTPOC) communities.

Register for Gabby Rivera

Simu Liu’s Reflections on Family, Career and Persistence

Simu Liu.

Simu Liu.

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m., Zoom

Join Canadian actor, writer and stuntman Simu Liu for “Journey to Success: Reflections on Family, Career and Persistence.”

Liu is known for his performances as Jung Kim in the award-winning CBC Television sitcom “Kim’s Convenience” and Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings,” released in early September.

Register for Simu Liu

Green Girl Leah Thomas on Intersectional Environmentalism

Leah Thomas.

Leah Thomas.

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m., Zoom

Join Leah Thomas, founder of eco-lifestyle blog Green Girl Leah and The Intersectional Environmentalist Platform, a resource and media hub that advocates for inclusivity within environmental education, to learn how to dismantle systems of oppression while protecting the planet. This is Associated Students’ Cesar Chavez Community Action Center Legacy Week speaker.

Register for Leah Thomas

Seeking Voice, Purpose and Place with Janet Mock

Janet Mock.

Janet Mock.

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 6 p.m., Zoom

As the first transgender person to sign a production pact with a major studio, Janet Mock is no stranger to breaking barriers. The Emmy-nominated writer, director and executive producer of the FX drama series “Pose” and the Netflix limited series “Hollywood” and “Monster,” Mock is also a New York Times-bestselling author of two memoirs, “Redefining Realness” and “Surpassing Certainty.”

Register for Janet Mock

 

 


University Scholar Series Events Schedule

All events will be offered in a hybrid (“live” in-person and virtual) format. Please register online to get the most up-to-date event information.

Fascism Versus Fact with Professor Ryan Skinnell

Wednesday, Sept. 22, noon, Zoom and MLK 225

Fascists don’t just come to power — they use rhetoric. One key to understanding fascist rhetoric is to understand fascists’ relationship to truth.

Join Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Ryan Skinnell as he distinguishes between two kinds of truth: factual and fascist. An expert in political rhetoric and public discourse, Skinnell has written, edited or co-edited six books, including “Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Donald J. Trump and Rhetoric and Guns” (forthcoming).

Register for “Two Truths and a Big Lie: The ‘Honest’ Mendacity of Fascist Rhetoric.”

Disorder to Diversity with Professor Pei-Tzu Tsai

Wednesday, Oct. 20, noon, Zoom and MLK 225

One out of 100 people experience stuttering, a speech disorder that is genetic-neurological in nature. Associate Professor of Communicative Disorders and Sciences Pei-Tzu Tsai will explore the underlying factors of stuttering and stuttering therapy to develop culturally and linguistically responsive services for individuals who stutter.

Recipient of the 2020 SJSU distinguished faculty mentor award, Tsai has worked at a summer camp for kids who stutter and at a gender-affirming voice and communication clinic at the Kay Armstead Center for Communicative Disorders. She has also established a fluency specialty clinic.

Register for “Learning from Stuttering: A Path from Disorder to Diversity.”

Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion with Susanna Khavul

Wednesday, Dec. 1, noon, Zoom and MLK 225

In the United States, 50 million adults and their 15 million children have no access to formal financial services. Mobile money has made low-cost transfers, payments and financial services available to more people.

Join Susanna Khavul, professor in the School of Management for the Lucas College of Graduate School and Business, executive director of the Global Leadership Advancement Center and visiting professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, as she shares how innovative high technology firms compete in a global economy — and how mobile finance could be part of the solution.

Register for “Is Mobile Money a Digital Gateway to Financial Inclusion?”

Learn more about the fall 2021 Spartan Speaker Series and the University Scholar Series.

 

Fall Welcome From President Mary Papazian

President Mary Papazian

Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to the SJSU campus community on Thursday, August 19.

Dear campus community,

I am delighted to welcome SJSU’s students, faculty and staff to the fall semester and the 2021-2022 academic year. And, after operating in a mostly virtual environment for nearly a year-and-a-half, I am especially pleased to welcome many of you back to campus.

I know the City of San José and our downtown community echo those sentiments and also look forward to the vibrancy and energy that our campus community brings to the city.

While many of us share in the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the return to campus, I know there remains anxiety for others, particularly with the emergence of the Delta variant. We are still in the midst of a public health crisis, so as we do repopulate our campus, I want to assure everyone that we will continue to remain vigilant and flexible with our policy guidance, with the health and safety of our campus community remaining our highest priority. Continue to wear a mask, get vaccinated before the September 30 deadline, and visit the Health Advisories website for the latest COVID-19 information and FAQs.

I very much appreciate how nimble our campus community has been throughout this period, and I am confident that we will continue to navigate the changing environment with kindness, understanding, and a caring attitude that focuses on the health and safety of all members of our community. We truly are in this together.


In lieu of a traditional, in-person Fall Welcome address this semester, I instead invite you to view a series of short video messages I have prepared, each of which touches on various aspects of the upcoming academic year. You can also read the complete Fall Welcome address on my blog site.

I would also encourage you to watch the brief video messages provided by our Academic Senate Chair, Alison McKee, and our Associated Students President, Anoop Kaur. I appreciate that they took the time to record their own special message for our campus community, and I know they will each bring value this year in their respective roles.

Our SJSU Together campaign features an astounding variety of “welcome back” activities for our campus community this fall, so I hope you will take advantage of some of the many opportunities to reconnect with your peers, colleagues and classmates.

As we begin the Fall 2021 semester and new academic year, let us all be reminded that there is a reason—many of them, in fact—why San José State University was ranked by Money magazine last year as the #1 Most Transformative University in the nation.

As I note in my full Fall Welcome, rankings are wonderful, and it is always nice to be recognized.

But we know who we are. We are Spartans, and we transform lives. It really is that simple.

Welcome back to campus, everyone. I hope you have a rewarding semester!

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary A. Papazian
President

SJSU Welcomes Spartan Community Back With SJSU Together Campaign


After nearly 17 months of remote learning and telecommuting during the COVID-19 pandemic, San José State University is preparing for the return of students, faculty and staff to the campus this month.

As part of the SJSU Together campaign, a wide variety of activities and events are planned to celebrate the community and invoke a sense of pride. Spartans can also expect to see a host of new and upgraded facilities and resources on campus that took place over the last year and a half.

Here are a few of the ways San José State is gearing up for the start of the new academic year.

Celebrating Faculty and Staff

Aug. 9 through Aug. 25

San José State’s faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the campus kept moving forward during this unprecedented year. Now, some will be returning after more than a year away, while others will be setting foot at 1 Washington Square for the first time.

That’s why SJSU has organized activities to honor its employees, including outdoor yoga, group walks around campus, social gatherings outside with new and familiar colleagues and much more.

Events to note:
Aug. 11, 3:45 – 5 p.m. New Employee Social, Bell/Rose Garden
Faculty and staff who joined SJSU since Mar. 17, 2020, can meet colleagues in person and connect.

Aug. 25, 3 – 4 p.m. | Faculty and Staff Social, Bell/Rose Garden


Weeks of Welcome (WOW)

Aug. 16 – Sept. 22, times and activities vary

At the start of each academic year, SJSU organizes campus-wide programming spanning the first five to six weeks of instruction. The goal is to welcome returning students and greet and support new students in their transition to the Spartan community.

Students have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of events and activities in areas including academics, wellness, social justice*, career, Spartan spirit, social/community building and campus resources. Programming this year will be a mix of hybrid, fully online and in person.

*Social justice activities refer to those that promote students’ development or self advocacy and voice and engage in topics around social justice and community transformation.

Events to note:
Aug. 16, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. | New Student Convocation, virtual
SJSU’s formal welcome of our new Spartans and their parents, family members and/or supporters.

Aug. 19, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Weeks of Welcome Kick-Off, 7th St. Plaza
Pick up your schedule for all Weeks of Welcome events and enjoy snacks, music and SJSU giveaways.

Aug. 23, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Weeks of Welcome Kick-Off, Tower Lawn

Aug. 24, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Weeks of Welcome Kick-Off, Housing Quad


SJSU Loves SJ

ongoing

The SJSU Loves SJ initiative is a partnership between San José State and Visit San Jose, the Downtown Association, Japantown Business Association, and San José City Hall to help increase students’ connection with and appreciation of the culture of San Jose’s vibrant surrounding community. The university plays an important role in the economic vitality of downtown San Jose, and there are many local venues and landmarks students, faculty and staff can explore just steps from campus.

Events to note:
Aug. 19, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Student welcome event, Swenson Gate on 4th Street and the Paseo de San Antonio
Student social event on the first day of classes, includes snacks and giveaways from local businesses.

Aug. 19 – 20, dusk – 10 p.m. | Lighting of City Hall Tower and Rotunda, 200 E. Santa Clara St.
San Jose’s City Hall plaza will be lit up with SJSU’s blue and gold colors at dusk.

Aug. 23, 9 a.m. | SJSU flag raising at City Hall
Marks the return of the SJSU community to downtown and celebrates our partnership with the city.


(Re)Discover SJSU

ongoing

Now in its second year, (Re)Discover SJSU is a digital campaign that invites the San José State community to utilize their informational website and social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) to learn about and share campus programs, services and events.
The dashboard updates regularly throughout the academic year with new opportunities to explore and engage with the campus community.


New Campus Facilities and Services

In addition to welcome festivities, here are a few of the new things to expect on campus this year.

Landscape

Behind the scenes, university personnel have been planning ahead to ensure Spartans, many of whom have yet to set foot on campus, feel properly welcomed to SJSU. This includes banners decorated with colorful art and the SJSU logo — some featuring the word “welcome” stated in multiple languages — hanging along the pedestrian paseos spanning the length of campus.

Health and Well-being

YOU@SJSU is a wellness learning and resource tool that provides students with tips and tools for everything from mental and physical health to friendships and finding balance. Students can also set personalized goals and track their progress in achieving them with interactive support included in the app.

SJSUCares will open a new space (anticipated in fall) in Clark Hall. Students can receive the confidential support to address basic needs through individual meetings with case managers, on-site connections to partner agencies that support self-sufficiency, and workshops.

The Office of Sustainability and SJSU Cares also partnered to establish the Clothes Closet, a new resource for SJSU students providing a steady source of gently worn clothing and new essential items such as underwear and socks. It is tentatively scheduled to also open in fall.

Technology and Cybersecurity

Outdoor WiFi will blanket almost all of the SJSU campus in WiFi 6, the latest standard for stable, reliable wireless broadband connectivity that can host far more devices than previous standards. This will activate more spaces around campus for learning and studying, as well enabling a future strategy for an IoT-based Smart Campus.

A new SJSU Events Calendar is mobile friendly, more visible and plugged into social media, allowing events to be searchable via hashtags and listings to be populated directly into Google Calendar and Outlook. The “I’m interested” feature provides logged-in users with recommendations for upcoming events based on ones they’ve already attended.

Duo Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is now live for all SJSU accounts. MFA significantly reduces the potential impact from ransomware and phishing attacks.

SJSU partnered with industry-leading software security companies to give our campus population free access to security software for their home devices.

Athletics

SJSU welcomes the new South Campus Multilevel Parking Structure and Sports Field Facility, including a 2-acre recreation field and art honoring the “Speed City” athletes and their famed track and field coach Bill Winter. The four-level, 1,500 stall parking structure overlooks the new field. The field itself is a state-of-the-art synthetic playing surface and features a dedicated public walkway encircling its perimeter.

Fans planning to cheer on the 2020 Mountain West champion Spartan football team will notice a new state-of-the-art scoreboard at CEFCU Stadium. The first home game is Saturday, Aug. 28, against Southern Utah.

Facilities

There are now solar panels and 50 EV charging stations at the South Campus Park & Ride; 25 of them have dual charging capability. There are currently eight to 10 charging stations on main campus that were installed this summer with four hour maximum use.

Solar panels were added to provide electrical power to the CEFCU Stadium area, lightening our carbon footprint while providing some shade as well.

Panda Express in the Student Union has an upgraded wok station to speed up orders. In addition, you can now place your order and schedule pickup times through the Boost app to save time.

San José State is introducing Burger 408, its first “ghost kitchen,” featuring delicious burgers, fries and sides, sauces, fried chicken sandwiches and tenders. All orders are made through the Boost app and picked up at the window at the Student Union.

In spring of 2022, Halal Shack will replace Steak and Shake and will offer authentic and delicious Halal food for the entire community.

SJSU Recognizes Outstanding Spartans at 10th Annual Student Leadership Gala

10th Annual Student Leadership Gala.

San José State is home to over 350 student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, academic and honorary societies, cultural and religious groups, special interest organizations and club sports. On Tuesday, May 4, outstanding student organizations and individual leaders were recognized in the 10th Annual Student Leadership Gala.

The yearly event is a collaboration between SJSU’s Campus Life departments, including Associated Students, Student Involvement and the Solidarity Network, which is composed of the César E. Chávez Community Action Center, the Black Leadership and Opportunity Center (The BLOC, formerly the African American/Black Student Success Center), El Centro (formerly the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center), the Gender Equity Center, the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center, the PRIDE Center, the UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center, and Wellness and Health Promotion.

“The Student Leadership Gala is a great way to bring together the greater campus community because there’s so much to do here at SJSU, and it’s great to hear the stories of students who are doing amazing work,” said Student Engagement Coordinator for Recognized Student Organizations Jordan Webb.

The virtual event recognized 112 individuals or organizations in several categories such as organization awards, operation awards, program awards and individual awards. Fraternity and Sorority Life honored four exemplary Greek life groups as well.

Each year, Associated Students also honors unsung heroes who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the university and have given back to the campus or local communities with the AS 55 leadership award. This year, A.S. awarded 11 students the AS 55 award and recognized 13 additional individuals in other categories as well.

“Educating our students on their civic responsibility, developing their leadership skills, and helping to equip them to be engaged in their communities are vitally important aspects of our public mission at San José State,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian at the May 4 gala.

“We know that our student leaders can become transformative agents for positive change in their communities, and that is why I am so proud of organizations like Associated Students, Student Involvement, the Solidarity Network and many others here on campus that are working so hard on this aspect of the higher education experience.”

Patrick Day, vice president of student affairs, also recognizes students with exceptional promise with a special VPSA award.

In addition to the awards recognized by Campus Life, 63 students who completed the Career Center’s Leadership and Career Certificate Program received their certificates of completion. The program offers students opportunities to enhance and develop their existing leadership and career skills in an online format.

“I love taking the time each year to intentionally honor and recognize student leadership,” said Dylan Mazelis, leadership development coordinator and co-chair of the program. “Over the past 10 years, the gala has become more intentionally collaborative, recognizing the intersectionality of our students and the all-encompassing leadership that they exhibit.

“It’s not just about recognizing specific titles or roles but rather recognizing all of the work that these students are doing every day in their many different spaces and communities — as well as the impact they have on San José and Silicon Valley.”

Visit the Student Involvement website to learn more about the 2021 awardees.

Virtual Admitted Spartan Days Provide an In-Depth Preview of the SJSU Experience

Admitted Spartan Days

Admitted Spartan Days launches online on April 10.

While the pandemic has shifted much of the college search for prospective students online, San José State University has excelled at creating virtual experiences to showcase all that SJSU has to offer. Starting April 10, newly admitted students can choose from more than 100 virtual presentations and workshops to get the information they need to enroll in fall 2021. 

By making resources available online in both real time and pre-recorded videos, future Spartans can navigate the offerings at their own pace and determine if SJSU is the best fit for them. Cathy Hernandez, ’24 Software Engineering, attended the virtual Admitted Spartan Days in spring 2020—and the experience sealed the deal for the Los Angeles native.

“Everywhere else I applied, I had seen or visited in person,” said Hernandez. “But I realized that SJSU was a really solid option for me after I followed SJSU social media and attended the online Admitted Spartan activities. It was really nice attending all the online events with my parents in our living room.”

Hernandez signed up for virtual campus tours, Q&As with her college and department, and a few other informational sessions. An aspiring software engineer, Hernandez was impressed with the Charles Davidson College of Engineering’s offerings, as well as the benefit of the university’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley. 

She searched for fellow Spartans using the hashtag #SJSU on Instagram to find other engineering majors and ask student ambassadors questions about life on and off campus. By late spring, she was convinced that San José State was a good fit, even though her start at SJSU would be atypical due to the pandemic.

“I know this isn’t the college experience I had been anticipating, but I still feel like I am getting a good education, one where I enjoy learning,” said Hernandez.

This year’s Admitted Spartan Days virtual events will kick off with welcome sessions  from college deans and videos that introduce students to life at SJSU. The two-week event will continue with virtual tours, Zoom workshops and presentations. Additional webinars will highlight student success centers, athletics, university housing, financial aid and scholarships, career planning, student advising and more. 

To access the full list of virtual Admitted Spartan Days events, visit sjsu.edu/admittedspartandays. 

Annual SJSU Conference to Encourage Women to ‘Reimagine the Future’ of Engineering

Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference 2021

Diana Knobler, ‘22 Biomedical Engineering, grew up in a predominantly Hispanic Los Angeles neighborhood, where it was rare for high school students to attend four-year universities. After arriving at San José State, Knobler was surprised to discover she was even more of an exception to the rule than she thought.

“My introductory engineering course had three times as many male students as it did female students, and even fewer Latinx students,” Knobler explained.

That’s a big reason why she decided to attend this year’s Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference, which will be held virtually on Saturday, March 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The conference, in its seventh year, is hosted by the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San José State.

The conference’s theme is “Reimagine the Future,” and the event is open to students at SJSU and other higher ed institutions who want to learn about current trends and innovations in the field.

Keynote speakers include Renée DiResta, technical research manager for Stanford Internet Observatory; Ann Lee-Karlon, senior vice president of Genentech; and Jessica J. Marquez, human-systems engineer for NASA Ames Research Center. They will speak on how to detect misinformation on social media, new advances in biotechnology and future trends in space technology.

Attendees can choose from 12 technical talks about emerging technologies and six professional development sessions. They can also mingle with representatives from more than 50 Silicon Valley companies—including sponsors Google, IBM, Netgear, Lam Research and several others—during the conference’s Innovation Showcase.

The overall mission is to educate students, provide them with potential mentors and role models, and to create a community for women engineers in the Silicon Valley, according to Belle Wei, the Carolyn Guidry Chair of Engineering Education and Innovative Learning.

“Women are a minority in engineering classrooms—less than 20 percent of students in an engineering classroom are women,” said Wei, who serves on the conference committee.

“All of these speakers are highly accomplished women professionals,” she continued. “We want them to see that these women have worked hard, had a strategy, persevered and have been successful.”

Many of the students who attend the conference are in a position similar to Knobler’s. Jinny Rhee, conference chair and associate dean of undergraduate programs and student success for the College of Engineering, said attendees often come from underrepresented groups or are first-generation college students.

“So they might not have some of the support structures and infrastructure that other engineering students may take for granted,” Rhee added. “We want to allow them to reimagine the role engineering can take in a developed society. Engineering is there to make the world a better place, and we don’t want anyone to lose sight of that.”

Knobler does want to make the world a better place: She plans to one day introduce life-changing medical devices into the health-care field. After her first semester at SJSU, Knobler joined an engineering and technical sciences sorority, The Beta Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon, and she said having a female support system has made all the difference.

“Being connected to so many amazing women through this conference feels like the first step to building an industry-level support system,” Knobler explained. “I hope to use the knowledge I gain from these women to become successful in the industry myself and one day return to do the same for [the next generation of] young female engineers.”

Laura Guio, ‘86 Marketing, is doing just that. When she entered the engineering industry more than 30 years ago, there were not many women to whom she could look for inspiration and guidance.

“Fast forward to today, and there are more women tech leaders, but not as many as I would have expected by this point in time,” said Guio, who now serves as general manager and executive for IBM. “As a woman technology leader and an SJSU graduate, I feel it is my responsibility and privilege to talk about my experience and encourage others while sharing my journey.”

Guio will talk about her experiences during a panel discussion on developing career strategies. Rhee and Wei want to see female students persist in their engineering careers long after graduation, but that doesn’t always happen.

“We know a lot of women leave technology fields soon after they graduate for various reasons, and that’s a shame,” Rhee noted. “The research says that the stronger your engineering identity, the more likely you are to get your degree and persist in the field after you graduate.”

They will ask attendees to complete pre- and post-event surveys to better understand how the conference can play a role in fostering that strong identity.

Guio said she wants attendees of the conference to know there are plenty of opportunities for success and many ways to pursue them.

“Everyone’s journey is their own, and you have to know yourself, your skills and what drives and motivates you to begin to understand the path you want to take,” Guio said.

“Technology needs diversity in representation, which brings diversity in thought. Studies show if you have a diverse mix of talent, this will improve performance and success. Most of all, I want to encourage these students to push forward, dream big, but take it one step at a time.”

To learn more about the conference, visit 2021.siliconvalleywie.org.

Spartan Speaker Series to Focus on Racism, Mental Health, Gender and More, Kicks Off Feb. 10

This semester, the San José State community can take a deep dive into topics such as racism, activism, mental health, gender and identity. The Spring 2021 Spartan Speaker Series at SJSU kicks off virtually on Wednesday, Feb. 10, with comedian, host and producer Baratunde Thurston. The entire series is free and open to the public.

Baratunde Thurston
Deconstructing Racism with Baratunde Thurston

Thurston will give his talk, “How to Deconstruct Racism and Laugh at the Same Time,” at 7 p.m. via Zoom. An Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show and even advised the Obama White House, Thurston is the author of the New York Times bestseller “How to Be Black.” He’s also the executive producer and host of “We’re Having a Moment”—a podcast examining the intersection of the global pandemic, the fight for racial justice and the spotlight on policing in the U.S—as well as “How to Citizen with Baratunde,” which offers different perspectives on how to improve society collectively.

Student Affairs, who produces the series in collaboration with the César E. Chávez Community Action Center (CCCAC), received requests for speakers focusing on racial justice, journalism and the media. “Baratunde Thurston is a wonderful choice to represent these topics,” says Adrienne Jensen-Doray, assistant director of Student Involvement. “He addresses the social and political landscape in the U.S., as well as trauma and healing. He also provides perspectives on life as an entrepreneur and a podcaster—two topics of interest to many of our students.”

When planning the series as a whole, Jensen-Doray says themes such as “racial justice and mental health and wellness were critical, given the needs and interest of our students and current events. We also considered heritage months, such as Black History Month, Women Herstory Month and Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month.”

Thurston will conclude his presentation with a Q&A.

Alok Menon

Exploring Gender and Identity with ALOK

Later in the month, Alok Vaid-Menon (ALOK) will serve as the keynote speaker for the 15th anniversary of the CCCAC. In “Beyond the Binary,” on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m., ALOK, a gender non-conforming writer, performance artist and mixed-media artist, will explore themes of gender, race, trauma and belonging. They are the author of “Femme in Public” and “Beyond the Gender Binary.” In 2019, they were honored as one of NBC’s Pride 50 and Out Magazine’s OUT 100.

Since its inception in 2006, the CCCAC has sought to connect SJSU students with civic engagement opportunities that deepen educational experience while promoting a lifelong commitment to activism and social justice, which are at the heart of the legacy of César Chávez.

“As we move into thinking about the next 15 years for the CCCAC and the world, it’s important we bring a keynote speaker that represents a community not often given the platform to influence the next generation of social justice leaders,” explains Diana Victa, department manager of the CCCAC. “ALOK is the best fit because of their leadership in spreading awareness of gender identities, specifically gender non-conforming folx.”

Thea Monyee

Bridging Mental Health and Activism with Thea Monyee

The CCCAC will also present the “A Conversation with Thea Monyee: Sustaining Joy in the Midst of Social Change: Bridging Mental Health and Activism,” on Tuesday, March 2, at 3 p.m. Monyee, a poet and marriage and family therapist, self identifies as a “Black Woman Creative.” She has appeared on HBO, BET, Spectrum, OWN, Fox Soul and TV One, and her work stems from her commitment to healing, which she believes can only occur in a liberated and non-oppressive society.

“It was very important to us to address mental health this semester,” says Jensen-Doray. “Monyee does this through an activist lens, which we hope will resonate with students.”

Simon Tam

Making Trouble with Simon Tam

Finally, the series will conclude on Wednesday, April 14, at 7 p.m. with a talk by Simon Tam. In “Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court,” Tam will share how he helped expand civil liberties for minorities through the unanimous victory of the U.S. Supreme Court case, Matal v. Tam, in 2017. “He offers a unique perspective on identity and justice, as well as the intersection of arts and activism,” says Jensen-Doray.

Tam is the founder and bassist of The Slants, an all-Asian American dance rock band. He also leads the nonprofit The Slants Foundation, which supports arts and activism projects for underrepresented communities. Tam’s talk will include a musical performance, and he will take questions from participants after his talk.


Attendees of any of the talks should register ahead of time in order to receive a Zoom link.

“I hope those who attend multiple events in this series notice the commonalities and prevalence of specific advice—whether it is about forging your own path, building resilience or mentorship and the role mentors have played in our speakers’ lives,” says Jensen-Doray.

She also adds that Student Involvement seeks input from SJSU students, faculty and staff to identify pertinent themes and speakers-of-interest for the 2021-2022 series. Those interested can provide feedback here.

San José State Celebrates Black History Month

Every year, San José State honors Black History Month by offering events, speaker series, workshops and lectures that recognize Black and African-American heritage, cultures and contributions to society. This year’s events will take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are hosted by a number of different departments across campus. While these events are held in February, the university remains committed to fostering a culture of anti-racism and addressing systemic racism on and off campus throughout the year. Events this spring include, but are not limited to:


Black History Month Open Mic

Thursday, February 4, 6 p.m.

Join The Black Leadership Opportunity Centre, Student Union, Inc. and Mosaic for the February Open Mic night in honor of Black History Month. For more information, check out Mosaic’s YouTube video stream or contact the center at mosaic@sjsu.edu.


Center for Literary Arts Presents: Kiese Laymon

CLA

The Center for Literary Arts presents Kiese Laymon in conversation with Keenan Norris.

Thursday, February 4, 7 p.m.

The Center for Literary Arts is pleased to present Kiese Laymon, the best-selling author of Heavy: An American Memoir, in a reading and conversation with San José State Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature Keenan Norris.


SCARRED JUSTICE: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968

Poster of the three protestors who were killed.

Monday, February 8, noon

Fifty-three years ago, on the campus of South Carolina State University, the South Carolina Highway Patrol opened fire on a group of civil rights protestors, killing three and wounding 28. Join the Department of African American Studies and the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American Studies Center of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library for a special film screening of Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968 with discussion to follow.


SJSU Reads: Confession of Copeland Cane with Keenan Norris

SJSU Reads.

Tuesday, February 9, noon

San José State Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature Keenan Norris will read an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, The Confession of Copeland Cane. Set in East Oakland, California, The Confession of Copeland Cane introduces us to a prescient and startlingly contemporary voice, one that exposes the true dangers of coming of age in America: miseducation, over-medication, radiation and incarceration.

Norris’ 2013 novel, Brother and the Dancer, won the James D. Houston Award. He has also published the chapbook By the Lemon Tree and served as editor for the critical volume Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. The Confession of Copeland Cane will be published in June 2021.


Teach-In Panel Discussion: Dr. Angela Davis and the Indispensability of Black Feminism and Socialism in 2021

Barbara Ransby, Neferti X.M Tadiar and Bettina Aptheker.

Tuesday, February 9, 3 – 5 p.m.

This second event of the Human Rights Institute Lecture Series will feature a virtual teach-in panel discussion of Black feminism and socialism by internationally-known scholars Barbara Ransby; Neferti X.M. Tadiar; and Bettina Aptheker, ’76 MA Mass Communications. Each guest will present a brief but provocative talk before engaging directly with questions from the viewing audience.


All-African People’s Revolution Party Film and Dialogue Series

All-African People's Revolution Party.

Tuesdays, February 9, 16, 23, and March 3

Co-sponsored by the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American (AAACNA) Studies Center, celebrate Black History Month by joining the All-African People’s Revolution Party Film and Dialogue Series, featuring short films, speeches, guest presenters, and more covering a variety of contemporary issues with discussion to follow.

  • Feb. 9: Africom and Militarism
  • Feb. 16: #ENDSARS and Police Violence in Africa
  • Feb. 23: Power of Words
  • Mar. 2: Cuba and Sanctions

Spartan Speaker Series: Baratunde Thurston on How to Deconstruct Racism and Laugh at the Same Time

Wednesday, February 10, 7 p.m.

Baratunde Thurston is an Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Obama White House, and cleaned bathrooms to pay for his Harvard education. He’s the executive producer and host of We’re Having A Moment, a limited-run podcast series that captures this defining moment of pandemic, policing, and race in the U.S. He’s also the creator and host of Live On Lockdown, has hosted the iHeartMedia podcast Spit, wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black, and serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library.


Shaun Leonardo: ConSortiUm

Thursday, February 11, 5:30 p.m.

Shaun Leonardo’s multidisciplinary work negotiates societal expectations of manhood, namely definitions surrounding black and brown masculinities, along with its notions of achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure. His performance practice, anchored by his work in Assembly—a diversion program for court-involved youth at the Brooklyn-based, nonprofit Recess—is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment.

ConSortiUm is a ground-breaking collaborative group that generates opportunities to include artists, curators, students, faculty, staff, and other allies from across the CSU campuses in visual arts-based dialogue. The CSU system represents the largest public four-year college system in the country, with more than 480,000 students enrolled at 23 campuses. Formed in Spring 2020 in response to the distance learning implemented by the CSU during the Covid-19 pandemic, ConSortiUm members are dedicated to responding to current societal issues and the pressing demand for an end to systemic and overt racism in California and beyond.


ISSSSC Sport Conversations for Change presents: We are Family – Sport, Politics, Culture and the Black Family

Thursday, February 11, noon

Over the past year, race, racism, and anti-Black racism has been at the forefront of national and international conversations and centered Black people and DEI initiatives in the management and operations of businesses and organizations. This event, hosted by the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change, will examine these issues and the experiences of Black athletes, coaches, sport professionals and their families. ISSSSC will celebrate Black History Month 2021 with scholars and leaders to discuss the significance of Black people in sporting spaces, examine the role Black athletes and coaches have played in political conversations, identify the influence and commodification of Black sport figures in cultural spaces, and explain how these experiences are affecting the representation, identity and diversity of the Black family.

Panelists:

  • Travis Boyce, chair and associate professor of African American Studies, SJSU
  • Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, assistant professor of sociology, Virginia Tech
  • Billy Hawkins, interim department chair and professor of health and human performance, University of Houston

Human Rights Institute Lecture Series: Keynote with Dr. Angela Davis

Dr. Angela Davis.

Thursday, February 11, 5 p.m.

The culminating event for the SJSU HRI Human Rights Lecture Series, featuring the 2021 keynote human rights lecture from UC Santa Cruz Distinguished Professor Emerita Angela Davis. Following the lecture, join for a discussion of how these ideas are shaping political struggles in our region and across the country.


Sneaker History IS Black History

Sean Williams showcasing his sneakers on a stand.

Monday, February 15, noon

Sean Williams, a sneaker expert and consultant, will deliver a talk on the history of sneakers and its importance to Black history, with a Q&A session to follow. This event is hosted by the Department of African American Studies.


Department of Economics Provocative Lecture Series: “Why the Study of Economics Neglects Race, and What Can be Done About It?”

Wednesday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Gary Hoover, economics professor and the executive director of the Murphy Institute at Tulane University, will speak about strategies for bringing race into the teaching and study of economics. Hoover received his PhD in economics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1998 and is the co-chair of the American Economic Association Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession. He has also served as the vice president of the Southern Economic Association. He is the founding and current editor of the Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy. He has been a visiting scholar at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

Hoover is also available on Friday, February 27 to meet with students and faculty members in small groups. Email SJSU Economics Professor Matthew Holian to book a time.


Frederick Douglass: Living History Presentation

Thursday, February 25, 11 a.m.

The San José State History Department is hosting a Chautauqua-style Living History performance, featuring James H. Armstead, Jr. as the iconic abolitionist Frederick Douglass. This event is free and open to the public. The departments of African American Studies, Communication Studies, the Black Leadership and Opportunity Center, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the College of Social Sciences are co-sponsoring this event.

______________________________________________________________________________

Beyond Words: Doing Justice – An Interview with Judge Thelton Henderson

Thursday, February 25, 7 p.m.

The Department of African American Studies co-sponsors an interview with Judge Thelton Henderson, who served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Throughout his career, he has made transformational decisions on affirmative action, environmental protection and police and prison reform. In 1997, he ruled that Proposition 209, California’s anti-affirmative action initiative, was unconstitutional. This event is hosted by the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).


Professional Development Workshop for Writers of Color, featuring Lynette Wanzer

Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.

Join the Diasporic Peoples Writing Collective for a two-day online professional development workshop for writers of color with writer Lynette Wanzer.

The interactive workshop covers finding free and low-cost professional tools that can strengthen your submissions, contest entries, grants and MFA applications, as well as creating a literary submissions calendar, drafting effective personal statements and a literary C.V., identifying trusted submission sites, grants, fellowships and residencies in markets that welcome writers of color.


Super Sunday

President Mary Papazian will provide a Zoom presentation at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Sunday, February 28, as part of California State University’s annual Super Sunday event, an effort to engage and serve underrepresented students. Vice President of Student Affairs Patrick Day will visit the Maranatha Christian Center, masked and socially distant, on the same day.


For more information about SJSU’s Black History Month events, please contact the Mosaic Cross Cultural Center at mosaic@sjsu.edu or The BLOC at africanamericanblackssc@sjsu.edu.

 

 

San José State Offers Four Virtual Weeks of Welcome From January 25 – February 26

Students pointing to the SJSU sign on a building while wearing masks.

Photo: Jim Gensheimer / San José State University

Every semester, San José State University hosts Weeks of Welcome programs and events to welcome new and returning students to campus, and provide support for new students as they transition into San José State. This spring, 91 Weeks of Welcome events, hosted by 43 offices and departments, will take place online from January 25 to February 26 to accommodate shelter in place restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs are divided into seven categories: academic, campus community, campus resources, career, social justice, Spartan spirit and wellness. Students can log on via the Weeks of Welcome homepage or through the Sammy application.

There are three main pillars behind the Weeks of Welcome (WOW) that align with event categories.

“We want students to connect with the university and their peers to create that sense of belonging, which will hopefully contribute positively to their success and to retention as well,” said Adrienne Jensen-Doray, assistant director of Student Involvement at San José State. “We also want students to be exposed to campus resources; by highlighting those resources and services during Weeks of Welcome, we can provide a foundation for incoming frosh and transfer students who may not know where to look. Finally, we want to focus on student learning, so whether that results in an academic or social justice-themed event, we hope students can engage intellectually, inside and outside of the classroom.”

Following the fall 2020 WOW virtual events, the Weeks of Welcome Working Group disseminated a survey assessment to participating students. Of those surveyed, 83 percent reported that they felt more connected to SJSU, 88 percent learned more about campus resources and 71 percent said that the events encouraged them to stay enrolled. Whether they were engaging in academic panels, career resource workshops or social events, survey data showed that students were hungry for opportunities to interact with their peers, faculty, staff and the greater campus community.

“It’s been really exciting to see the enthusiasm that faculty and staff have when offering these programs, being innovative and creative while figuring out how to shift what they’re doing into the virtual space,” said Jensen-Doray. “We hope that Weeks of Welcome helps students connect with the university and their peers and generates excitement about what it means to be a Spartan.”

“The goal of Weeks of Welcome is always about welcoming our new and returning students to each semester,” said Sonja Daniels, associate vice president of Campus Life. “This fall we were able to launch virtually a very successful program to engage our students and help build that sense of community with others. So whether a social or cultural event, the ability to get academic and resource information or events that support Spartan Pride, we have many events for students to attend virtually. WOW further has become a campus tradition and we are excited for the events we will present this spring!”

The Weeks of Welcome kick off on Monday, January 25, with multiple online events each week through the end of February. While most events are best attended live, some may be available as recordings after they conclude. To register for events and learn more, please visit the Weeks of Welcome website.

SJSU Admitted Spartan Days Go Online Nov. 16 – 20

Sammy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, Nov. 16: Academic and Campus Life Kickoff

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

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

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

Wednesday, Nov. 18: Discover Spartan Life

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

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

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

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

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

SJSU Admitted Spartan Day Goes Online, April 18 – 24

Admitted Spartan Day

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 18: Academic and Campus Life Kickoff

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

Sunday, April 19: Virtual Tours

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

Monday, April 20: All About Finances

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

Tuesday, April 21: University Housing

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

Wednesday, April 22: Campus Resources

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

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

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

Friday, April 24: Next Steps in the Admissions Process

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

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

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

#SJSUCounts: The 2020 Census Guide

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

Fill out your 2020 Census

#SJSUCounts Complete the California 2020 census today!

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

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

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

2020 Census Guide FAQ

What is the 2020 Census?

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

Why does the 2020 Census matter?

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

What questions are on the 2020 Census?

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

How should I complete the questions on residence?

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

Tips on the Residence Question for Students

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

Women’s History Month at SJSU

Womxn's Herstory Calendar 2020

Women’s History Calendar at SJSU 2020.

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

Upcoming Events

100 Years of Women's Suffrage

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

100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in the South Bay

Available through December 15
SJSU Special Collections and Archives

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

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

Open Mic: Trans Visibility

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

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

Keynote and Booksigning: Sonya Renee Taylor

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

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

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

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library 225

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

Spartan Speaker Series: Ibtihaj Muhammad

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

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

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

Mujer Divina: Divine Feminine

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

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

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

Art Exhibition: Gender Through Cultural Storytelling

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

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

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

Latinas and Libros Book Club

CANCELED 

Tuesday, March 17
Student Union, Room 3

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

Reproductive Justice and Sexual Rights: Tanya Bakhru

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

Hugh Gillis Hall 229, 4:30–6 p.m.

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

Transgender Day of Visibility

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

Carol Mukhopadhyay Lecture Series

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

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

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

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

Zines for Queens

CANCELED 

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

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

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

Film Screening: RBG

CANCELED BUT FILM IS AVAILABLE ON HULU

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

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

Nuestra JENTE: Postcolonial Sexualities

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

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

Black Women’s Collective Meeting

CANCELED 

Tuesday, March 25, Whine Down

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


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

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

SJSU Gauging Campus Climate Temperature Through Anonymous Survey

 

In an effort to understand the concerns of students, faculty and staff at San Jose State University, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion appointed a Campus Climate and Belonging Committee (CCBC) to help develop the SJSU Campus Climate and Diversity Survey.

The 20-minute survey launches Tuesday, February 25 and runs through May 8. The campus climate and diversity survey is confidential and provides an opportunity to describe personal experiences and observations, while also offering suggestions for change to help enhance the campus climate at SJSU.

The survey, conducted by Rankin & Associates Consulting, must be completed without exiting the webpage and does not ask for name, Tower ID or any other identifying information. In order for the results of the survey to provide an accurate representation of the campus climate at SJSU, the goal is for at least 30% of the campus population to participate.

“Most campuses rollout climate surveys every three to five years,” said Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau). “This is not a kumbaya survey. We really want people to be honest, so in order for people to feel like they belong, we need to be able to understand what is causing problems for them or why they are having negative experiences. We can’t address concerns strategically if we don’t know what is going on.”

Wong(Lau) and the CCBC made up of students, faculty and staff spent months working with Rankin & Associates Consulting on the questions and answer options to ensure inclusivity for everyone on campus. Focus groups featuring a diverse group of students, faculty and staff provided feedback on areas of concern that the survey should address. The survey covers a variety of topics, including transportation, interpersonal interactions on campus, online classes, and assessment of resources.

“We’ve been working on this since last summer to make sure it is inclusive to everybody,” said Melissa Marston, a sociology graduate student and member of the CCBC. “The questions needed to represent everyone in the community. It’s for everybody and is questioned in a way where anyone can answer and share, and it’s confidential.”

Wong(Lau) said it was imperative for a third-party organization, like Rankin & Associates Consulting, to conduct the survey to ensure confidentiality for the survey. Everyone on campus, including the administration, will learn of the results of the study at the same time at a public event during the fall 2020 semester.

Rankin & Associates Consulting has conducted more than 200 similar studies at other institutions across the nation.

“We want people to feel comfortable, we don’t want people to feel like someone is tracking them,” said Wong(Lau). It’s on an independent website, you aren’t sharing any of your information—no ID numbers, no names. We want people to have confidence in the outcomes of the survey.”

A survey kickoff will be held on Tuesday at noon in the Diaz Compean Student Union Theater. Food will be provided and free SJSU swag will be given to those who complete the survey during the kickoff. Members of the CCBC will be in attendance to share information on the survey process and answer questions.

SJSU’s last campus climate survey was in 2015. Among the action items created from the results of the survey was the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

 

SJSU Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Center for Community Learning and Leadership

It takes a community to build a service-learning legacy: Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Thalia Anagnos, CCLL Director Elena Klaw, CCLL Founding Director Debra David and former CCLL Director Michael Fallon. Photo: Robert Bain.

SJSU’s Bowling Center.

Attendees of the celebration bowled together at SJSU’s Diaz Compean Student Union Bowling Center, illustrating how CCLL ensures students and community members do not “bowl alone,” in the words of Robert Putnam. Photo: Robert Bain.

San Jose State University’s Center for Community Learning and Leadership (CCLL) commemorated 20 years of curriculum-based service-learning at an event on February 6 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Bowling Center. Over the past 20 years, 80,000 SJSU students have contributed 1.4 million hours of service to the community as part of their coursework.

Having the event at SJSU’s Bowling Center was a nod to Robert D. Putnam’s Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, a book that served as a catalyst for service-learning infrastructure on university campuses, explained CCLL Director Elena Klaw. In the book, Putnam described the precipitous decline of all the forms of in-person social relationships that once formed the basis of Americans’ lives and provided opportunities for enrichment and education.

“Instead of joining leagues in activities like bowling, we bowl alone, missing civic discussions that might occur in a club or a local association. Putnam suggested that service-learning programs are a primary solution to the problems of bowling alone,” said Klaw. “The antidote to apathy, isolation and disregard is education and civic involvement.”

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian shared highlights from the center’s programming, including the AmeriCorps Bridging Borders Program, which brought $3 million in federal funding to the campus over a span of nine years; the Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (SHINE) program; the Veterans Embracing Transition (VET) project; and the SJSU Chapter of Students Demand Action (SDA), developed to provide students the opportunity to support the mission of Everytown USA in advocating for common sense laws that promote gun safety and reduce violence.

President Mary A. Papazian and Elena Klaw.

President Mary A. Papazian and CCLL Director Elena Klaw celebrated 20 years of SJSU service-learning. Photo: Robert Bain.

“In many ways, CCLL is the embodiment of everything we hope to achieve with our students at San Jose State” said Papazain. “Educating students about how they can most effectively influence change on issues that matter to them is what our Center for Community Learning and Leadership is all about.”

In addition to San Jose State Academic Senate Chair Ravisha Mathur, who presented a Sense of the Senate, entitled “Celebrating 20 Years of Service-Learning at San Jose State University,” the center welcomed CCLL Founding Director Debra David, former CCLL staff members, and community partners, without whom many programs would not be possible. A representative of the city of San Jose presented a commendation on behalf of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilmember Raul Peralez (District 3) and other members of the City Council.

To the crowd gathered in SJSU’s Bowling Center, President Papazian revealed that SJSU would announce receipt of $566,288 in grant funding for a one-year pilot California Volunteers AmeriCorps Service Fellowship program at a Feb. 10 press conference in the California state capitol. For the pilot year of the AmeriCorps Service Fellowship, San Jose State’s Civic Engagement Fellows will build on CCLL’s current Cyber Spartans program, addressing educational equity needs within the city of San Jose. Since launching in 2018, 26 Cyber Spartans have mentored 75 underserved youths, teaching them cyber skills. In turn, they use what they learn to create engaging computer programs. With the new grant funding, these numbers are expected to increase substantially.

“CCLL’s own program of research shows that community initiatives boost civic participation, academic engagement and career readiness for students,” said SJSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, representing SJSU at the press conference in Sacramento. “San Jose State is always looking for ways to expand or create initiatives that develop our students as leaders in the diverse sectors of Silicon Valley.

At the anniversary celebration, CCLL named SJSU kinesiology major Erika Lisina the Service-Learning and Community Engagement Student of the Year. Described as a “devoted resource for students,” Lisina volunteers at SJSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library as a homework coach.

“Students are the reason we’re here,” said Klaw. “CCLL’s service-learning does not add to education. We are the education.”

Coffee, Pizza With the President Offer Members of the Campus Community Opportunities for Discussion, Conversation

President Papazian talks with staff members at a "Coffee with the President" event.

SJSU president Mary Papazian participates in a coffee with staff on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

A spate of new initiatives launched by President Mary A. Papazian recently are designed to give members of the campus community more frequent opportunities to engage with the Office of the President in an informal, personal atmosphere that allows for open conversation and a free flow of ideas and concerns.

“Coffee with the President” was conceived as a way for SJSU staff and faculty members to visit with President Papazian over a cup of java. Administration and Finance, IT, and University Personnel were the first units to join the president, and other groups will soon see invitations of their own in their inboxes.

“Most of the SJSU staff doesn’t get a chance to meet and talk with the president in a small, intimate setting like this,” said Harish Chandler, senior programmer and analyst in the Information Technology division who attended the first “Coffee with the President” event. “It provided an opportunity for staff members to do exactly that.”

Chandler said he was able to talk one-on-one with Papazian near the end of the event, so he discussed with her issues such as phone and laptop charging stations for students, the university’s green initiative and possible changes to campus dining and food options.

Tony Cefalu, who works in the University Police parking services group, was equally enthusiastic.

“I had a great time,” he said. “It was wonderful to mingle, socialize, chat, laugh with others and meet the president. I loved it.”

The president herself said the venue offered a different environment than many of the administrative meetings she attends.

“I think I probably get more out of this than the staff members,” said Papazian. “Meeting with university staff members in a relaxed, social setting gives me a welcomed chance to listen directly without any managerial or supervisory filters that staff members might sometimes encounter.”

Another recent outreach event—this one involving pizza, a staple among college students—was similar in nature. “Pizza with the President” gave students an opportunity to talk with their university president about issues important to them. Indeed, issues such as parking and student housing were discussed, while the venue also offered Papazian a chance herself to point out to students some of the positive developments taking place around campus such as the new Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, the Spartan Food Pantry and recent successes with SJSU’s football team and other athletics programs. Initiated by previous Associated Students President Ariadna Manzo, the event provided such an important opportunity for the president to hear directly from students that at the start of this academic year she looked for an opportunity to host the event again.

President Papazian and AS President Branden Parent talk to students at a "Pizza with the President" event.

Mary Papazian, San José State University president, takes questions from students at a pizza with the president event at Village 2 Nov. 13, 2019. (Photo: Jim Gensheimer)

Lisa Millora, the president’s chief of staff, said other plans have moved forward to host office hours during which members of the campus community can sign up for individual meetings with the president. There may even be an opportunity next year to participate in a reading group with the president and other members of the community.

When she arrived last January, Millora explained, some members of the campus community wanted opportunities to meet and chat with the president in a more informal setting.

“The president and I talked about what we could do to create such opportunities and the result was this new set of initiatives,” said Millora.

“The coffees and office hours are intended to provide all members of the community the chance to talk with the president about things that are important to them,” Millora said. “The president cares deeply about members of the campus community, so we will continue to explore different ways to ensure that they feel the president is fully and consistently engaged with them.”

 

Student Affairs Faculty Fellows Support the Diverse Spartan Community

Faculty Fellow Julia Curry Rodríguez, associate professor of Mexican American Studies, speaking with a student at the Chicanx/Latinx Spring Welcome. Photo by David Schmitz.

A partnership between SJSU Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, San Jose State University’s Student Affairs Faculty Fellows program is designed to support students’ academic success and connections with faculty members outside of the classroom. Faculty members are embedded as fellows across the university’s student success centers during the academic year.

“This is the fourth year of the program. Faculty fellows work eight hours a week in the centers or on programs supporting students. The projects help them connect, mentor and support students from varied disciplines and cultural backgrounds,” said Sonja Daniels, associate vice president for campus life.

The goal of the program is to create an inclusive community through shared experiences. The program works toward meeting well-defined learning outcomes by organizing events that foster skills such as critical thinking, effective communication and leadership, while also addressing issues of diversity, social justice and healthy living.

Professor and Chair of Chicano and Chicana Studies Magdalena Barrera is one of the faculty members working with the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center. A lot of the programming in the center is based on existing research on the strengths and challenges of historically underserved students.

“We directly help SJSU meet its goals of working on historically underrepresented students’ retention and graduation rates,” said Barrera. “Students find themselves empowered by engaging in the work at the center.”

She facilitates Centro’s Academic Resilience Series, which focuses on different aspects of student success, particularly geared toward Chicanx/Latinx students and first-generation student populations.

Along with Associate Professor and Faculty Fellow Rebeca Burciaga and CAPS counselor Celinda Miranda, Barrera co-facilitates a support group for students called CASA (Colectivo de Apoyo, Sabiduría y Acción, translated as Collective of Support, Knowledge and Action), an open forum for students to share personal challenges and also take part in structured conversations around issues they encounter daily.

Faculty fellows also engage in annual leadership retreats. Recently, Barrera was part of a team of staff and faculty members who took students to a retreat center in Santa Cruz, where students learned about being active members of the community.

“Everything we do in the center is founded on a model called community cultural wealth, where students don’t need to think of their ethnic identities as separate from their academic student identity,” said Barrera.

MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center is another vibrant space for the thriving Spartan community. This fall, the center held talks on multi-ethnic identity, including hosting events for Native American History month, a Fast Fashion Awareness art show and a variety of open mic activities. Since MOSAIC structures most of its cultural programming on ethnic events, the center is a space to support Spartan talent and local performers.

The programs offered by MOSAIC focus on social justice issues so students can learn about the rich cultural and social heritages of historically underrepresented groups, while celebrating differences.

Associate Professor of Justice Studies Edith Kinney is in her second year as a faculty fellow with MOSAIC. She feels that the center is a great space on campus for students of diverse backgrounds and interests to come together. “As a white faculty member, I think it’s really important to engage our students of color and to work actively against racism,” Kinney said.

“The faculty fellows program is a critical way to connect the expertise, scholarship and passion of the faculty with the interests and needs of our students,” added Kinney.

Student Affairs Faculty Fellows for the current academic year include:

MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center

Edith Kinney
Lance M. Fung
Jonathan Fung

Student Conduct and Ethical Development

Sarika Pruthi

Pride Center

Lark Buckingham

Gender Equity Center

Nico Peck

Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center

Magdalena Barrera
Rebeca Burciaga

Military and Veteran Student Resource Center

Leonard Lira

UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center

Julia Curry

African-American/Black Student Success Center

Nikki Yeboah

SJSU Cares Housing and Homeless Resources Explained

Photo: Brandon Chew, ’18 Photojournalism/ San Jose State University

Media Contacts:
Christine Hutchins, 408-924-1141, 650-644-9329, christine.hutchins@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, 408-799-3373, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SJSU Cares Housing and Homeless Resources Explained

100 Percent of SJSU Students Who Requested Housing and Homeless Resources and Remained Engaged with SJSU Cares Received Assistance

SAN JOSE, CA–Housing insecurity is a nationwide crisis affecting too many college students. A complex issue that is often interconnected with other concerns, including economic hardship, it can range from short-term to ongoing need.

To add to this complex issue, “housing insecurity” can be described as a spectrum. Housing insecurity could mean a student sleeps on her friend’s couch before the semester starts, a family that has been displaced by a landlord selling its property, or a person with longer-term needs related to job loss, divorce or separation, illness, addiction or mental health issues.

At San Jose State University, SJSU Cares was established as a resource and service to assist students who are confronted with situations and issues outside of the classroom that may negatively impact their academic success. Some of those services include housing/homeless resources, food insecurity, mentoring, counseling, health and wellness, and public safety assistance. There is a range of housing/homeless resources, including temporary emergency housing, financial assistance for housing, assistance with landlord issues and help to search for an apartment.

Not every student who is in need of temporary emergency housing wants or seeks on-campus living assistance. Temporary emergency housing assistance is not approached as a “one size fits all” service model. Every student matters and each student has unique housing needs. SJSU Cares begins services by assessing each student’s unique needs to understand the best approach toward sustainable housing and a comprehensive solution—rather than providing just “a bed.” It’s important to note that not all students facing housing insecurity utilize SJSU Cares. Many seek other resources outside of the university.

During the 2018-19 academic year, SJSU Cares received requests for various types of assistance from 189 students. Forty-four percent of the 189 SJSU Cares requests were for housing/homeless resources.

In each of these cases, SJSU Cares responses were aligned with the unique needs of students, as there is no single, uniform response to housing assistance needs. In cases when a student has revealed historical and ongoing financial hardships that affect their housing needs, SJSU Cares has provided solutions that involve more comprehensive interventions. The goal is to ensure students gain the necessary skills and resources to develop financial self-sufficiency and resilience.

By the Numbers

Among the actual services provided to the 189 students who contacted SJSU Cares during the 2018-19 academic year:

  • 53 students were granted additional financial aid grants through SJSU Cares with an average award amount of $1,107.
  • 21 students were awarded financial aid loans through SJSU Cares and 12 students accepted an average loan amount of $3,329.
  • 18 students were granted emergency assistance funds with an average award amount of $789.
  • 6 students received temporary emergency housing on campus with an average stay of 17.8 days.

In spring 2019, President Papazian stated that any student who is in need of temporary housing will not be turned away.

However, not every student who contacted SJSU Cares accepted services or resources. SJSU Cares strives for housing stability based on each student’s unique needs and their personal decision to utilize the services or resources offered. While SJSU Cares delivered temporary housing to some students based on immediate, short-term needs, they worked with other students to arrange loans or grants in an effort to facilitate long-term financial and housing stability.

Going Forward

As SJSU comes to understand the emergent challenges of student housing insecurity, the university is continually scaling its services and housing resources and is working to deliver those services as quickly as possible. The university also is expanding promotion of SJSU Cares so students are aware of it.

Anyone affiliated with SJSU who recognizes that a student is experiencing housing insecurity or other forms of economic crisis is encouraged to contact SJSU Cares directly by email at economiccrisis@sjsu.edu or by filling out the Request for Assistance online form. The SJSU Cares team is committed to taking a comprehensive approach to resolving students’ economic crises while building their financial efficacy and resilience.


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations — offered through its eight colleges.

With approximately 36,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.