SJSU Highlights Its Own Women Leaders in Celebration of Women’s History Month

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting some of San José State’s extraordinary women leaders and alumnae, showcasing the transformative impact women have made upon their lives—and the positive impact women can have as mentors, friends, family and aspirational figures to emerging women leaders.

Featured Leaders

Mary A. Papazian, President, San José State

Jenny Ming, ’77 Applied Sciences & Arts; Board Member, Levi Strauss & Co. 

Sheryl H. Ehrman, Don Beall Dean, Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, San José State

Brandi P. Jones, ’96 Education; Vice Dean and Professor, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California 

Ann Agee, Interim Dean, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, San José State

Lisa Millora, Vice President for Strategy and Chief of Staff, Office of the President, San José State

Colleen Wilcox, Board Member, Tower Foundation Board of Directors

Ruth Huard, Dean, College of Professional and Global Education, San José State

Heather Lattimer, Dean and Professor, Connie L. Lurie College of Education, San José State


President Mary Papazian

Mary A. Papazian

SJSU President

What women in history do you admire? 

Mary Papazian (MP): There are so many women who have made contributions and impact, ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, as well as lesser-known women such as my own mother. Justice Ginsberg was an extraordinary woman who never allowed barriers to get in her way of the professional and societal progress she was determined to make. Her work in women’s rights, in particular, had a profound and lasting impact on our society.

I can actually draw a line from my own mother to RBG! When she was early in her marriage to my father, Mom was about to start a job when she became pregnant with my brother (her first child). That immediately cost her the job, since in those days pregnant women were not allowed in the classroom. This forced my Dad to set aside his educational pursuits and the trajectory of our family, and their careers and educational paths changed.

RBG later helped alter not only that line of thinking, but—just as important—the policies and laws that allowed it to manifest in society. So her perseverance, bravery and progressive thinking led to tangible changes for women everywhere, for generations.

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations?

MP: My mother was probably the first woman who I came to admire deeply. She was an educator herself, having taught high school English and American history for 30 years. She was always proud of me and supportive of my goals and ambitions, and she encouraged me to consider academic and career possibilities that she may not have had given the era in which she lived.

There have been many others along the way, of course. At each stop in my professional and academic career, I benefited from the generosity of a wide range of advisors, mentors and supporters. From my days as a PhD candidate through the growing challenges of university teaching, scholarship and leadership, I experienced the immense value of those professional networks.

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

MP: Having women in positions of leadership is more important than ever. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been enormous for everyone in society, of course, but perhaps these stresses are felt even more acutely by women. Still, women remain greatly underrepresented in the ranks of university administration and leadership across the nation, despite the increasing numbers of women college graduates.

My best advice? We must continue effectively to harness the experience, wisdom and power of women leaders to help find, prepare and move more women into college presidencies and other executive and leadership. I would counsel all women leaders—no matter what positions we hold—to be intentional about serving as door-openers, role models and sounding boards, so women who are seeking advancement are not alone.

By paying it forward for upcoming generations, we can ensure that the leadership in higher education appropriately reflects the diversity of our society, and we can continue to better meet the complex and diverse needs of our students, faculties, communities and employers.

Tim Cook, Malala, and President Papazian

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian meets in late 2019 with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and Apple CEO Tim Cook on the SJSU campus. Papazian moderated a discussion that examined the impact of a partnership between Apple and Yousafzai on expanding access in girls’ education around the world. Photo: Jim Gensheimer.


Jenny Ming, ’77 Applied Sciences & Arts

Board Member, Levi Strauss & Co.

What women in history do you admire?

Jennie Ming (JM): There are so many admirable women in history. If I have to pick one, it would Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG). She was on the federal bench for 25 years and a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Throughout her life, RBG was a leading voice for gender equality, women’s interests, and civil rights and liberties. She did all this while balancing being a wife, mother and grandmother. She taught me to believe in myself, and that I can be anything I want to be.

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations?

JM: There are many women who have supported me throughout my life, starting with my mom and sisters.

I was also fortunate to have incredible mentors and bosses at work. Most notable was my first boss at the Gap: Patti DeRosa. She taught me how to bring my real and best self to work and to be authentic and fair to those that you work with. Patti gave me the confidence that I can do and achieve anything.

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

JM: Find what you are passionate about. Work with people you respect and can learn from. Believe in yourself and do not be afraid to fail. You can be anything you want to be.


Sheryl Ehrman, Dean, College of Engineering

Sheryl H. Ehrman

Don Beall Dean, Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering

What women in history do you admire? 

Sheryl Ehrman (SE): I admire women historians like Margaret Rossiter and non-fiction writers, like Margot Lee Shetterly, who have researched and promoted women’s advances in STEM. When I was growing up, it seemed like the only woman ever mentioned in the history of science was Marie Curie, and there is much more known now about the advances so many women have made.

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations? 

SE: My grandmother Dorothy Tombaugh, who had a MS degree in chemistry and ended her career as a high school science teacher, developing methods to teach chemistry and biology to visually impaired students.

My mom Sandie Ehrman, who loved building things but wasn’t allowed to take shop class as a girl in school. She learned how to work with her hands from my grandfather Roy Tombaugh, and she majored in home economics/textiles and design in college. My daughter loved being able to draw a dress design (at age 4) and having my mom create a pattern and make it for her.

My high school calculus teacher Mrs. Mitchell, who was so enthusiastic and confident about math, and so good at making math fun (donuts on the day we learned about toroidal shapes, for example).

Because of my grandmother

and Mrs. Mitchell, there was never a question in my mind that women could [or could not] have careers in STEM, and my mom’s design/construct skills made her a great role model.

In my career, Dr. Sandra Greer, formerly the provost at Mills College, and before that a faculty member in chemistry and chemical engineering at the University of Maryland College Park, was a great mentor, as I started my career as a professor.

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

SE: Your perspective and your voice are important. Women tend to be overcautious rather than overconfident. If you’re afraid to step up and try something new because you aren’t sure you are fully prepared, consider stepping up anyways and be ready to keep learning and growing.


Brandi Jones, SJSU Alumna

Brandi P. Jones, ’96 Education

Vice Dean and Professor, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California

What women in history do you admire?

Brandi Jones (BJ): Fannie Lou Hamer, Mary McLeod Bethune, Shirley Chisholm, Harriet Tubman

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations?

BJ: My mother Aretha M. Jones and my junior high school principal Dr. Linda Caillet.

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

BJ: In the words of Shirley Chisholm, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”


Ann Agee

Interim Dean, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

What women in history do you admire? 

Ann Agee (AA): The many women throughout history who have worked in and advocated for libraries.

The mission of libraries is to provide free and open access to information, and this access changes lives. For centuries, women in libraries have battled for books and resources, so their libraries could provide their patrons with the tools for lifelong learning.

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations?

AA: Too many to count! Throughout my life, my mother has supported me in every way. Experienced librarians have served as mentors and given guidance that has helped me attain my professional goals. Women friends have provided emotional support and lots of opportunities to laugh.

Never underestimate the power of perspective!

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

AA: Persevere. In academia especially, persistence is needed to achieve important goals. If you have an objective, it might be the work of years to reach it and pushing through obstacles—maybe more than once—to successfully realize your goal. By persevering, you can learn from your mistakes, then just keep going.


Lisa Millora, SJSU chief of staff

Lisa Millora

Vice President for Strategy and Chief of Staff, Office of the President

What women in history do you admire? 

Lisa Millora (LM): I believe there is so much value in every woman’s lived experience. That said, I especially admire the women who have broken barriers for other women and transformed lives through their courageous actions.

Those who come to mind immediately are Corazon Aquino, Dolores Huerta, Malala Yousafzai, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey, each of whom overcame numerous obstacles—personally and publicly—to stand up for the most marginalized among us. All heroes have friends, co-organizers and partners who walk alongside them in creating change.

I also admire groups like the all-women’s mountaineering team that climbed Annapurna as part of the American Women’s Himalayan Expedition in 1978. This team demonstrated what a dedicated group of women can achieve—and challenge the limitations imposed upon us of what we can do.

In doing so, this team changed the narrative about a woman’s place in the world.

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations?

LM: First and foremost, my mother, Anita Santiago Lansang-Millora. She was raised in the Philippines by her single mother, a widow as a result of World War II’s Bataan Death March. Seeing how her educated mother was able to support her and her brother as a teacher, my mother instilled in my sisters and me a belief in the power of education.

She encouraged us to pursue college degrees, telling us that they would allow us to be independent, and they would be assets that no one could ever take away from us.

This belief, combined with her strong ethic of care and sense of social justice, drove her to pursue an MD which she used to serve one of the poorest communities in my hometown for her entire professional career.

Uncommonly kind, my mother also showed me that women could be both kind and strong, hold others accountable while being respectful, and work full time while being fully present to my sisters and me.

Amazing women—my three sisters, Jenni, Laura, Ngoc, Jeanne, Kimmie, Monica—and countless others—have helped me achieve my dreams.

Collectively, they have taught me how to love and respect myself, picked me up and dusted me off, challenged me, kept me honest, cheered me across both metaphorical and literal finish lines, and supported me through every chapter, every joy and every sorrow of my life.

Lisa Millora and daughter reading together

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

LM: Don’t let any single moment—good or bad—define you. That means not resting on your laurels just as much as it means not letting failure keep you from creating the life you desire. If I’ve learned anything on my journey, it’s that the way we respond to failure is far more important than the mistakes we make.


Colleen Wilcox

Board Member, Tower Foundation Board of Directors

What women in history do you admire? 

Colleen Wilcox (CW): Certainly Eleanor Roosevelt, whose famous quote “You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” has encouraged me down many challenging paths that I probably would never have pursued without that encouragement.

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations?

CW: My older cousin Carolyn showed me a professional trajectory that I hadn’t witnessed from my immediate family or friends and gave me the encouragement to believe it was as simple as putting one step in front of the other toward my goals.

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

CW: Take advantage of every opportunity afforded you and reach for those that haven’t crossed your path—and kindness always matters.


Ruth Huard, Dean, College of Professional and Global Education

Ruth Huard

Dean, College of Professional and Global Education

What women in history do you admire?

Ruth Huard (RH): I respect and admire those who have both honed their minds and opened their hearts to act and positively change the lives of others, their community, their country or humankind— women like Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu, code breaker Elizebeth Friedman, [American nurse] “Angel of the Battlefield” Clara Barton, suffragist Susan B. Anthony, mountaineer and teacher Junko Tabei, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations?

RH: I am fortunate to have been surrounded, supported and mentored by strong, smart women who selflessly do and act—my grandmothers who advocated for quality education in impoverished communities; my undergraduate advisor, Mary Gauvain, who challenged me and my peers to make opportunities rather than wait for them to be offered; my mom, who showed me the significant impact of opening our home to strangers; and Barbara Hayes-Roth, my boss as I entered the startup world, one of the few female CEOs in Silicon Valley and an early innovator and leader in applied AI [artificial intelligence].

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

RH: Develop a bias for action, have the courage “to do” and keep moving forward—and be fully present, engaged and intentional with what you are doing and those you are doing it with.


Heather Lattimer, Dean and Professor, College of Education

Heather Lattimer

Dean and Professor, Connie L. Lurie College of Education

What women in history do you admire?

Heather Lattimer (HL): I so appreciate women who broke rules and pushed boundaries.  A few in particular: Lilian Ngoyi, Madeleine Albright, Nana Nama’u, Ida B. Wells, and Isabelle Allende.

What women in your life supported you on your journey to achieving your goals and aspirations?

HL: My mom always encouraged and supported me. I’m an only child and only grandchild, a reality that can carry a lot of expectations. But I never felt pressured to be or become something to please others. I was allowed and encouraged to explore possibilities and dream big.

What is your advice for emerging women leaders at SJSU and across the country?

HL: Don’t be afraid to be ambitious in your aspirations and advocate for yourself. For my generation, the message (explicit or implicit) was often that women shouldn’t be openly ambitious, that we should work hard and wait to be noticed. But that’s not the way the world works. Speak up, share your goals, advocate for your future. Doing so will strengthen our whole community.

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 Celebrates Womxn’s Herstory Month

Calendar of Events

San Jose State University’s Gender Equity Center, in collaboration with campus departments and organizations, will be presenting a variety of talks and activities in celebration of Womxn’s Herstory Month. See the list below for upcoming events.

2019 Event Schedule  

 
image.png

Menstrual Week!!

Lunch and Learn: Medicalization of Womxn’s Bodies

Tuesday, March 12 | Student Union Rm 3B | 12:00-1:00 pm

Gender Equity Center & Professor Bakhru

Dr. Bakhru will discuss the ways in which women’s bodies have been constructed as the “wrong” body and how women’s embodied experiences and conditions become defined as medical problems and require medical intervention and discipline.  Lunch provided, all are welcome!

Podcast: Culture and Menstruation

Wednesday, March 13 | MOSAIC Station | sjsu.edu/mosaic/podcast/

Gender Equity Center & MOSAIC

Can’t make our programs but would like to listen to it on your own time? Download our podcast on Culture and Menstruation!

Reusable Menstrual Products

Thursday, March 14 | Student Union Rm 3A | 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Gender Equity Center

This is an interactive discussion about menstruation, stigma, & reusable menstrual products! All genders welcome! Free food provided!

image.png
Movie Screening: Hidden Figures

Wednesday, March 13  | Student Union Theater | 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Gender Equity Center & MOSAIC & Student Union

Join us for a film screening of Hidden Figures, a moving reminder of the achievements women have made in STEM. Snack provided!

image.png

New Womxn, New Vision

Thursday, March 14 | African American/Black Student Success Center | 4 – 7 pm

African American/Black Student Success Center  

A vision board activity for Black womxn to engage in community and crafts. We are officially in 2019 and need to take control of our time and goals for the year and beyond. RSVP: bit.ly/aabssc-womxn

image.png

Si Se Puede! Latinas in Leadership

Monday, March 18 | Student Union Room 1B | 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Student Involvement & Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center

Latinas in Leadership panel features SJSU alumnas and Latinas from various industries as part of Womxn’s Herstory Month. Open to students, community members, and SJSU alumni.

image.png
Workshop on Hair: Culture and Identity

Monday, March 25 | Student Union Rm 2B | 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Gender Equity Center

We will be hosting a discussion about how hair connects to our culture and identity. All are welcome!

image.png

Lunch and Learn: Womxn Who Lead

Tuesday, March 26 | Student Wellness Center 122A/B | 1:30 – 3:00 pm

Student Involvement & Gender Equity Center

The ‘Womxn Who Lead’ Panel seeks to give students the opportunity to engage in conversation about leadership equity. Free food provided, all are welcome!

image.png

Paint Night: Don’t Brush it Off

Wednesday, March 27 | Student Union Rm 4A | 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Caesar Chavez Community Action Center

Celebrating Womxn’s Herstory Month. Enjoy art, dialogue, and snacks! RSVP: tinyurl.com/paint-sjsu