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  •  Dean Tahmassebi Inspires Faculty and Staff during her First College Convocation

    Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Debbie Tahmassebi welcomed faculty and staff during the College Convocation on Tuesday, September 15.  In her new role as dean, she thanked former dean Atom Yee “for his tremendous leadership and dedication” to the College, and interim dean Terri Peretti, for her “strength and determination” in making progress during her short tenure at the head of the College.

    In recognizing everyone’s need to balance life, work and fun, she also thanked faculty and staff for their contributions to the College and affirmed her “great sense of responsibility to serve the College to the best of my abilities.” She charted the direction for the College of Arts and Sciences when she declared that “…at a time when many people are questioning the value of a liberal education, we will reaffirm and make obvious our commitment to providing a strong liberal arts education to develop lifelong learners in the context of a Jesuit campus in Silicon Valley.” In this regard, she listed a number of current efforts (and requested ideas for new ones) to strengthen our community, both socially and intellectually. Highlighting a visioning process that is already under way, she also pledged leadership and collaboration to develop a strong, unified College identity, to clearly articulate the place and value of the College as the heart of liberal arts at SCU and to support current initiatives and identify new ones to help achieve these goals.

    Dean Tahmassebi thanked all Chairs, Program Directors and her staff for their valuable contributions to the College.  Before recognizing all tenure and promotion faculty members, she welcomed to the stage the winners of the 2015 College Awards and welcomed to SCU all new faculty and staff:

    2015 College Awards

    Nancy Keil Service Excellence Award – Lisa Osteraas, Departments of Psychology and Public Health

    Dr. David E. Logothetti Teaching Award – Elsa Chen, Department of Political Science

    Professor Joseph Bayma, S.J., Scholarship Award – Marilyn Fernandez, Department of Sociology

    Dr. John B. Drahmann Advising Award – Brian Buckley, Department of Philosophy

    Bernard Hubbard, S.J., Creative Collaboration Award – Michelle Bezanson, Department of Anthropology

    Professor Francisco Jiménez Reaching Out Award – Aldo Billingslea, Department of Theatre and Dance

    New tenure and promotion faculty

    Jimia Boutouba
    Modern Languages and Literatures, Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

    Juliana Chang
    English, Promotion to Professor

    Akiba Lerner
    Religious Studies, Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

    Paul Mariani, S.J.
    History, Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

    Robert Michalski
    English, Promotion to Senior Lecturer

    Don Riccomini
    English, Promotion to Senior Lecturer

    Anna Sampaio
    Ethnic Studies, Awarded Tenure

    Farid Senzai
    Political Science, Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

    Nina Tanti
    Modern Languages and Literatures, Promotion to Senior Lecturer

    Michael Whalen
    Communication, Promotion to Professor

    New faculty
    Anne Baker
    Political Science, Assistant Professor

    Cara Chiaraluce
    Sociology, Lecturer

    Meilin Chinn
    Philosophy, Assistant Professor

    Angela Holzmeister
    Classics, Lecturer

    Seiko Horibe
    Modern Languages and Literatures, Lecturer

    Stephanie Hughes
    Environmental Studies and Sciences, Lecturer

    Jean-Pierre Lacrampe
    English, Lecturer

    Amy Lueck
    English, Assistant Professor

    Roberto Mata
    Religious Studies, Assistant Professor

    Nicolette Meshkat
    Mathematics and Computer Science, Assistant Professor

    Carolynn Roncaglia
    Classics, Assistant Professor

    Robert Shanklin
    Philosophy, Lecturer

    Eric Tillman
    Chemistry and Biochemistry, Professor

    Sally Vance-Trembath
    Religious Studies, Lecturer

    New staff
    Susan Babbel
    Anthropology, Sociology, Sr. Administrative Assistant

    Joni Berticevitch
    Women’s and Gender Studies, Sr. Administrative Assistant

    Carolyn Foot
    SCU Presents, Production Manager

    Owen Gooding
    College of Arts and Sciences, Director of Laboratory Operations

    Ruth Mikusko
    Theatre and Dance, Sr. Administrative Assistant

    Tracy Robinette
    Biology, Sr. Administrative Assistant

    Faith Zhou
    College of Arts and Sciences, Laboratory Associate

    College faculty recognized during the Santa Clara University Faculty Celebration, following the University Convocation on September 15

    Shannon Vallor
    Philosophy, Louis and Dorina Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence

    Blake De Maria
    Art and Art History, University Award for Recent Achievement in Scholarship 

    Rose Marie Beebe and Bob Senkewicz
    Modern Languages and Literatures, History, University Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholarship                 

  •  In Areas of Future Conflict, the U.S. Government and World Organizations May Take a Cue from Santa Clara Research Team

    In a post-conflict country, when is international participation helpful in forging a long-lasting peace, and when does it become a hindrance?  How does external intervention compare with the more autonomous and domestically-motivated peace processes in achieving a sustainable peace? These are among the core questions that Assistant Professor of Political Science Naomi Levy and her team, which includes a group of eleven Santa Clara undergraduates, will address in a multi-year research project sponsored by two combined grants, totaling $323,054, from U.S. Department of Defense through its Minerva Initiative.  The team’s findings and insights could have great implications for the United States government and other agencies involved in national defense and international peace-building endeavors.

    The Minerva Initiative is a university-based social science research initiative launched in 2008 to focus on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy.  By leveraging the resources of the nation’s top universities, the initiative seeks to define and develop its knowledge, vetted by the best scholars in the field, about sources of present and future conflict around the world.  Professor Levy and her two co- Principal Investigators (PIs), Assistant Professor Naazneen Barma and Associate Professor Jessica Piombo, both from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, have received a total of $892,674 from the Minerva Initiative to carry out their project.

    The team’s multidimensional approach will seek to achieve a cross-national comparison by studying Cambodia and Laos, and an intertemporal comparison by looking at Uganda in two distinct time periods. The goal will be to observe the variation in external engagement in peace- and state-building initiatives by assessing the countries’ efforts in achieving sustainable peace while improving state capacity and its ability to provide public services and resolve societal grievances at the local level.  The team will focus on outcomes at the subnational and sectoral levels, where the tangible results of peace- and state-building can be best observed.

    This summer, Levy relied on her Summer Research Fellows (SRFs) to do the heavy-lifting in the collection of country-specific data from world organizations and NGOs’ websites and other sources; the analysis of qualitative data through the transcription of several dozen interviews performed by the PIs with government officials, NGO officers and government employees from the selected countries; and other important tasks.   The eleven fellows, ranging from one sophomore to several graduating seniors, faced a very competitive selection process to fill the coveted, paid positions. “I specifically designed this project to involve as many students as possible in this kind of original research.  At the end of the day, that’s what this institution is all about, and I do take my role as a teaching scholar very seriously.  I want my students to learn from experience,” says Levy, who applied for and received the secondary grant for nearly $100,000 to cover a summer stipend for ten 20-hours-per-week fellows, pay for her full-time SRF team leader Stephanie Goodman, and salary support for Santa Clara Senior Lecturer of Political Science Diana Morlang to serve as the Program Advisor, as well as funds to pay for a workshop led by subject matter experts to be held at SCU during the coming academic year.

    Goodman, a Political Science and Public Health double-major who graduated in 2015, also worked as a research assistant to Prof. Levy during her last three years at Santa Clara.   For her, this experience ignited her interest in the effectiveness of international aid and conflict resolution, which led her to spend a semester at American University, studying peace and conflict resolution, followed by a trip to Bosnia and Jordan to observe the effects of international participation in establishing peace. She is currently applying for a Fulbright research grant to study the limitations and critical needs of public services in Ghana. “I plan to attend graduate school to continue advancing my knowledge in these fields. All of these experiences and plans are a result of Professor Levy's mentorship and the work we have done for the Minerva Initiative. Her passion for her work inspired my love for research,” she says.

    For his part, Jacob Udewitz '19, a double-major in Political Science and Philosophy with a minor in History, became interested in this project because “the subject has so much relevance in a world where conversations about nation building tend to be polarizing. If we can contribute something meaningful and informative to the existing literature regarding the most efficient and effective ways to build and restore peace in post-conflict nations, we have a responsibility to do so”, says Jacob, who feels “lucky to be a part of a community that is as thoughtful, intelligent and dedicated to improving the world as Santa Clara.”

  •  Art and art history alumna Samantha Nelson '15 gets a professional head start at Santa Clara

    The tassel on Samantha ‘Sam’ Nelson’s graduation cap this June had barely switched sides when she had to report to the Palo Alto Arts Center for her first day at work as the Exhibition Intern.  A double-major in History and Art History, Sam is another beneficiary of Santa Clara’s Community Initiative for the Visual Arts, or CIVA. Among other things, the initiative provides practical experience for students through paid internships at partnering organizations. These opportunities are funded by CIVA and administered by Santa Clara’s Department of Art and Art History.

    Sam wanted to remain in the Bay Area after graduation, hoping to acquire professional experience before applying to graduate school in the same field. And while the internship will get her one step closer to that goal, her time at Santa Clara has already paved the way through other valuable learning opportunities such as her recent job as a Research Assistant t to art history associate professor Andrea Pappas. Under Pappas’ guidance, Sam contributed to groundbreaking research which examined, in depth and for the first time, the significance of the imagery in large, embroidered landscape pictures produced by elite women in colonial New England. “This was an eye-opening experience. I was able to see how a true professional goes about tackling a subject no one else had considered before,” says Samantha.  “It’s been daunting but energizing to follow a path that hasn’t been explored, and I admire and applaud Professor Pappas for instilling in me – in her students –the thought that there are always topics to explore outside the canon.”

    Pappas sees the value of the Faculty-Student Research Assistant Program that allowed Sam and other students to make valuable contributions while being paid. “Sam has been amazing. She has made a huge difference in the amount of work I have been able to get done. I hope that the research skills she has gained – and the ability to think of and answer questions independently – will serve her well as she pursues her own career.”

    Sam, who wants to pursue a graduate program in museum studies, is also familiar with this type of work thanks to her experience as the Education Coordinator at the de Saisset Museum, right on campus.  As a student, she was responsible for teaching other students the art of speaking about art to the many different audiences that visit the museum – something she enjoyed very much. “The museum and my department taught me to become the public speaker that I am.  And I would say that SCU’s art history program prepared me exceedingly well for the real world and for what’s to come in grad school.”

  •  The World is Your Classroom: Explore, Discover, and Learn

    St. Augustine said “The world is a book, and he who has not traveled has read only one page.”

    Lifelong learners, including SCU alumni fifty “and better,” are invited to return to the classroom and continue the excitement of learning in the company of fellow Broncos. Last year, SCU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) introduced a travel program that takes learning out of the classroom.  Their motto is “The World is your classroom:  Explore, Discover, and Learn.”

    The Learning Through Travel Program is open to OLLI members, SCU alumni, and friends and family of SCU.  The program offers small, educationally-oriented trips that are helping travelers to both renew old friendships and to forge new ones as they deepen their knowledge of the world. Last year, SCU travelers cruised on the Rhine and Mosel Rivers, arrived in Cuba the first day the US embargo ended, enjoyed the hidden treasures of Tuscany and Umbria, explored the wonders of Turkey including a cruise on the Turquoise Coast, discovered magical music along the Blue Danube, and spent five days romancing the arts in Los Angeles visiting world class museums and attending a concert in the Disney Concert Hall.

    The program has announced seven destinations for 2016:  Cuba, Ireland, Sicily, Turkey, a cruise from Portugal to London, a weekend in Chicago, and a trip to Oregon and the Shakespeare festival.  You’ll have to act quickly to reserve a place on one of these great destinations.  The trip to Cuba is already closed, but there are still limited spaces available on the other trips.

    Here’s how you can learn more about the program:  visit the Learning Through Travel website ( and attend the informational program “The World is Your Classroom” on Friday, October 9, at the Grand Reunion from 11 a.m. – noon.  You may also email:

  •  When climate, economics and the legacies of war conspire in Central America, Santa Clara leverages action research partnerships to propose creative responses

    Chris Bacon
    Assistant professor of environmental studies and sciences Christopher Bacon received a $272,555 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an integrated assessment of smallholders’ food and water insecurity in Central America, focusing on the coffee-growing regions of northern Nicaragua. The findings will inform global efforts to link climate adaption and disaster risk reduction with sustainable development, and have particular relevance for Latin American producers as well as the coffee industry in the United States. A key feature of this project involves the participation of at least ten undergraduate students to gain on-the-ground research experience in Nicaragua over the next three years, half of whom will self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.

    While Nicaragua continues its slow recovery from decades of violent conflict, it must also contend with a challenging mix of conditions that include a rapidly-spreading coffee pathogen (coffee leaf rust), an unrelenting drought, and sharp increases in the price of several food staples — all threatening a humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people. Leveraging Santa Clara’s breadth of expertise and collaborative strengths, Bacon will meet this multifaceted challenge with a diverse team that includes professor of Economics William A. Sundstrom, associate professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences Iris Stewart-Frey, and professor of Civil Engineering Ed Maurer. The team will work in partnership with local farmers, organizations and communities to collect data from household-level surveys and interviews, from governmental and non-governmental organizations (including the Community Agroecology Network and the Asociación para el Desarrollo Social de Nicaragua [Association for the Social Development of Nicaragua, ASDENIC], from biophysical measurements, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping and analysis and climate modeling. Through a multidimensional analysis of this rich data set, the team will combine qualitative results and regression models to understand which strategies work and which ones could lead farmers deeper into cycles of poverty and environmental degradation. “I value this team’s collaboration because together we will form an interdisciplinary effort that is greater than the sum of our parts. We will generate new knowledge and methods as we identify which responses could work for different circumstances and partner with rural communities and their allies to bounce back better than before,” says Bacon.

    Underscoring the experiential and intercultural value of this opportunity, Bacon welcomes student participation because “students bring fresh ideas and a positive attitude into this process; and it is also amazing to see how the students interpret these experiences into their future career trajectories when they return home.” In the summer of 2015, the Miller Center provided a grant for two graduating seniors to join Bacon in Nicaragua as part of a related pilot project focused on food security, water access and adaptation to climate change. “It’s crazy to think that one day I was drinking coffee in the Learning Commons at SCU to make it through final exams, and a few weeks later, I was in Estelí, meeting the Nicaraguan farmers who grew the coffee beans. It really brings things into perspective; even small actions and efforts make a difference,” says Alexandra Cabral ’15, an Economics major with a minor in Environmental Science. Morgan Cowick ’15, an Environmental Science major, had a similar experience: “I wasn’t sure what to expect from such a unique research trip like this. I came to appreciate how valuable it is to be immersed in the context of the work you are doing. There are certain things you just aren’t able to understand when you’re confined to computer research. I think our collaboration with the coffee farmers and community members was vital to enhancing my fundamental understanding of the work we were doing, and of its implications for the communities in which we worked.”

    In the near future, Bacon will use part of the grant funding to develop a collaboration with the LEAD Scholars Program (for first-generation college students at Santa Clara) and the Honors Program, as he creates additional opportunities for students who have been historically underrepresented in the conduct of original scientific research and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning opportunities. And, while Bacon trains his students to conduct social science field research skills, he will partner with colleagues from other disciplines to help train students in the relevant areas, such as geographic information system (GIS) mapping, climate modeling and quantitative analysis.

  •  Communication students star in the 6th Annual Genesis Film Festival

    On June 5, 2015, the Digital Filmmaking Program within the Communication Department at Santa Clara held its 6th Annual Genesis Film Festival. As in previous years the festival featured a number of films produced by Santa Clara students during the academic year. All entries were evaluated by a jury of industry professionals, and the categories included short fiction, short documentary, expanded cinema, and studio production, among others.

    Watch the Video >

  •  Bianca De La Piedra ’17: Public Health Intern

    For Bianca De La Piedra ’17, a Public Health Science major with a minor in Ethnic Studies, her summer internship with the Positive Women Network-USA (PWN-USA) has not only re-invigorated her academic interests, but it has also carved out a new path for her--one that may lead to law school after Santa Clara.

    Based in Oakland, California, PWN-USA builds leadership, creates tools and resources for advocates, develops strategic communications, and changes policy to uphold the human rights and dignity of women, including transgender women, living with HIV.  This summer, through the organization’s advocacy and community forums held in various California locations, De La Piedra participated in the efforts to change state laws that criminalize the non-disclosure and transmission of HIV.  Even when a person does not know that he or she is a carrier, “this can become a he-said-she-said argument in court that involves many social issues, such as inequality and racism,” she says.   De La Piedra worked on the coordination of well-attended forums; on the advocacy and policy component by seeking the support of city supervisors and other officials; on the collection, analysis and reporting of community-based research surveys that she helped formulate; and on the many, day-to-day tasks at the PWN’s Oakland office.

    “My learning has been non-stop all summer, and the experience has been life-changing.  I always thought I was going to attend medical school, but my passion for social issues and everything having to do with inequality and disparity under the law now makes me think that law school may be a better option for me.  And as soon as return to school, I will change my Ethnic Studies minor to my second major. I want to be better equipped to deal with future challenges,” she confides.

    But her new insights are not only shaping her academic interests; they are also inspiring her to make a difference to campus life in her own way.  “I want to do some work around STIs (Sexually-Transmitted Infections) and HIV, since these issues are so prevalent among college students.  The subjects are still very taboo, especially in our Jesuit university, but I think students need to find a place on campus where they can discuss this openly.  I haven’t quite figured out how I am going to go about his, but it’s definitely an idea I’d like to pursue.”

    About the internship

    Enabled by a generous gift from alumna Sue Valeriote '77, Biology, and her husband Ken Goldman, the Public Health Program provided support for paid summer internships for five students wishing to develop their skills and experience working in the field of Public Health.  The internships sought to build on the Winter 2015 Public Health and Social Justice Valeriote-Goldman Symposium, Women’s Health and Human Rights: Global Activism for Social Change, which focused on the complex impact of social and economic factors on women's health, and on local and global strategies for change.

    More information about the Valeriote-Goldman Symposium

  •  Andrea Pappas wins NEH fellowship to help uncover an important part of American history

    Enabled by a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship, associate professor of art history Andrea Pappas will travel this Fall to Delaware’s Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library — the premier museum of American decorative arts whose collection includes nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860. Starting mid-August, the four-month fellowship will give her sustained access to embroidered landscapes produced by elite women in colonial New England. Drawing on source material as diverse as agricultural legislation and almanacs, etiquette manuals, diaries and letters, print culture, ceramics, and embroidery, she hopes to capture an important part of American History, women’s history and the history of visual arts in America. Her research is part of Embroidering the Landscape, a book whose initial chapters garnered the NEH’s interest in supporting the project through its prestigious fellowship.

    Embroidery instruction formed the core of American women’s education from the beginning of the colonial period through the 1840s. Producing a large, embroidered picture displayed a woman’s skill, refinement, and class position. Often engaging the surrounding landscapes, the needlework pieces gave women an avenue by which they could express fantasies of power; comment on pressing issues and debates of the day; and even, sometimes, subtly critique patriarchal structures and customs circumscribing their lives. “Until now, no one had unpacked the symbolism or written about these objects from this point of view because needlework generally was considered merely as part of the history of women’s education. But, the more I looked at these landscapes, the more I became intrigued, so I started to do some research on the many symbols women depicted. Next thing I knew, I had written a chapter and outlined the others,” says Pappas, who recruited Samantha Nelson '15 as her research assistant. “This experience has been very exciting for both of us. Sam made a huge difference in the amount of work I have been able to do. I am grateful to her and to the University’s Faculty-Student Research Assistant Program for allowing us to collaborate on this project.”

    When asked how this book and experience will influence her teaching at Santa Clara, Pappas’ response is quick and enthusiastic: “The impact will be huge. I’ll be able to use this book in my American Women in the Visual Arts course; it’s also making me rethink my Cultures and Ideas courses; it is certainly changing the way I view 18th and 19th American art history. I am already looking forward to sharing some of my research with my students as soon as I return. This is exciting!” she concludes.

  •  Through research and collaboration across continents, Biology associate professor Justen Whittall turns the petal of a flower into a springboard to revolutionary breakthroughs for his students.

    During summer 2015 associate professor of biology Justen Whittall worked with Jose Carlos del Valle, a Ph.D. student from Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO), in Sevilla, Spain, as part of Whittall’s continued collaboration with UPO on research linked to flower color evolution in response to changes in climate.  While the subject may only catch the eye of a reader with very specialized interests, it is fertile ground for Whittal’s students, some of whom have already developed technologies that are generating revolutionary insights across the biological sciences.

    Take Timothy Butler ’10, who joined Whittall and UPO’s Dr. Eduardo Narbona on a trip to the North Slope of Alaska as a research assistant. Together they observed that the white mustard flower, one that is typical to the region, became rarer and was replaced by the pink form as they continued to travel north into the Arctic Circle, where the climate becomes increasingly stressful.

    Upon their return to Santa Clara, Butler, a Biology major, dedicated himself to the mind-boggling task of finding a unique gene -- the one responsible for color adaptation -- among over fifteen thousand to add credence to the team’s hypothesis. As part of his research he developed a groundbreaking bioinformatics pipeline, or a series of steps codified in computer scripts to reassemble huge amounts of genomic data, taken apart originally in search of the targeted gene -- work that earned him the prestigious DeNardo Senior Prize in 2010. Alumna Cynthia A. Dick ’08, and fellow Biology major, utilized her expertise in molecular biology to validate Butler’s techniques, and together they published their results in the online science journal PLOS ONE. To date, their paper has been viewed nearly 4,156 times and downloaded nearly 900 times, and has attracted the attention of teams from as far as China and Australia, working on similar flower color research.

    For Whittall, who splits his time among field work, the SCU greenhouse, and his lab on the second floor of the Alumni Science building, his collaborative projects are an investment that pays off in the classroom “An idea has been percolating in my head over the summer,” he says as he prepares to teach an upper division class in evolutionary biology in the fall. He’ll dispense with the typical cookbook experiments for the laboratory. Instead, he’ll have his students extract plant DNA by the end of the second week. “I will then ask an evolution question and let science happen. I like to throw out big questions and let students rise to the occasion. Some prefer to shoot low. We at Santa Clara prefer to shoot high. Our students can handle it.”

    His students will be using some of the same techniques developed by Butler and Dick before them – techniques that are as useful in the study of flower colors as they are in the search for genes related to rare cancers and inherited diseases. Some will follow in Dick’s footsteps who, having worked in Whittall’s lab for several years as a technician, went on to UC Riverside to study tropical guppy color patterns in the rivers of Trinidad; others will follow in Butler’s, who is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Oregon Health Science Institute in Portland in their genomics & bioinformatics group using Next-Generation sequencing technologies--similar genomic approaches he learned and developed in Whittall’s lab-- to understand human stem cell genetics, development, and applications in cancer research. But regardless of their path, they will be able to point to the lab on the second floor of Alumni Science, where shooting high is taught by example.

  •  The Military Science Program at Santa Clara, through the Army ROTC program which hosts Stanford and San Jose State Universities, is pleased to announce the latest accomplishments of its SCU cadets

    Mitchel Bugaj ’17 earned his air assault badge this summer and was a distinguished honor graduate.  He completed Air Assault School, which is composed of three phases: Combat Assault includes aircraft orientation and safety, close combat attacks, and combat assault operations; Slingload Operations, the second phase, includes planning and operations preparation, familiarization with equipment, and duties and responsibilities for personnel; during the third phase, soldiers receive instruction on basic ground and aircraft repelling procedures.

    Cadet Patrick Shanahan ‘16 came in fourth out of 160 cadets in his company, earning him an excellent rating during the Cadet Leaders Course (CLC), a 31-day camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. CLC is a capstone training for all juniors. The camp starts out with briefings, transitions into basic soldiering skills and culminates in a week of field operations. Santa Clara sent nine cadets to CLC this year, and four of the six highest ratings went to its cadets. 

    Among the honorable mentions for superior performance during the CLC are cadets Robert Scalzo ’17, Stephen Warnick ‘17, Christoper Iliff ‘16 and Sarah Marble ‘16, and recent graduate Rebecca Cardwell ’15.  They all performed in the top 20% across the country.

    The ROTC program is proud of the Bronco cadets.

  •  Drs. Sally and Gerald DeNardo ’54 Honored

    On August 13, 2015, Santa Clara’s Sacramento Alumni Chapter presented the Santa Claran of the Year Award to Drs. Sally and Gerald DeNardo ’54. The award recognizes leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion whose accomplishments reflect favorably on the Alumni Association, the Sacramento community, and the University.

    During the event, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Debbie Tahmassebi highlighted the DeNardos’ long-standing commitment to academic excellence, to informed ethical discourse and to social justice and service to others – all Jesuit values that motivated them to raise the profile of the health sciences at Santa Clara about 10 years ago.

    Inspired by Santa Clara’s teacher-scholar model and by the rigorous, yet innovative, learning opportunities for its undergraduates, the DeNardos created the DeNardo Lectureship, featuring eminent speakers inspired by purpose; Science Research Scholars, inspired by a culture of intellectual collaboration with faculty mentors; and the Senior Prize, to recognize outstanding science research accomplishment by a graduating senior pursuing a career in the health sciences.

    In the eight years of the Lectureship, Santa Clara has hosted three Nobel Laureates: Paul Berg, Stanley Prusiner, and Elizabeth Blackburn; the Director of Global Health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Regina Rabinovich; former Commissioner of the FDA, David Kessler; award-winning author and even more importantly, beloved physician, Abraham Verghese; as well as rising research stars and physicians, Jay Bradner and Dena Dubal. On April 26, 2016, Santa Clara will welcome pioneering physician and global philanthropist, Dr. Larry Brilliant.

    Also, in the eight years of the Lectureship, there have been nine Senior Prize winners and 18 students who have had the opportunity to be personally mentored by our own Santa Clara faculty. More than a quarter of a million dollars has been invested to nourish the hearts and the minds of some of our most outstanding young men and women—those who showed promise of going on to use their extraordinary intellectual gifts to fashion a more humane and just world. Indeed, of the 22 DeNardo Research Scholar alumni and Senior Prize winners, 14 have gone on to graduate school Ph.D. programs, and seven to medical school—four of whom are now in residency.

    Dean Tahmassebi remarked that the DeNardos’ “leadership in creating the Lectureship is a model for others. Without a doubt, it has become one of the most important events for Santa Clara University, and it is fitting that they be recognized and honored for their generosity, passion, and especially for the legacy they have provided for our students.”

  •  New Sustainability Minor

  •  Pope Francis: His Address to Congress

  •  New Biophysics Emphasis

  •  Santa Clara professors take top prize with innovative film Can’t Thread a Moving Needle

    Theatre Professor and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Barbara Means Fraser and Communications Professor Michael Whalen won a coveted Platinum Remi Award at the Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival for their film Can’t Thread a Moving Needle.  The film is meant to help prevent sexual assault on college campuses.  Running for more than forty five years, Worldfest is the only film festival in North America dedicated to recognizing independent films and filmmaking annually. Notable previous winners include George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Spike Lee, among many others.

    Along with a companion kit that facilitates its discussion by subject (i.e., acquaintance rape, alcohol and drugs, bystander intervention, the experience of the survivor, etc.), the film can be downloaded in its entirety, free of charge, from the Santa Clara Student Life website. Since its general release in April of this year, the film has been downloaded by more than 100 colleges and organizations across the United States, including the Julliard School, the University of Hawaii, Stanford University and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

    The film, financed by the Avon Foundation for Women, is the result of close collaboration among faculty, students, alumni, professionals, and many organizations across campus. Read More...

  •  Beatification of Oscar Romero

  •  Deliberation, Democracy and Civic Forums

  •  2015 Fulbright Scholarship Awards

    Two Santa Clara University seniors and two alumni have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships to study or teach abroad during the 2015-2016 academic year.

    “I extend my warmest congratulations to these outstanding Fulbright scholars,” said University President Michael Engh, S.J. “Their accomplishments and intellectual endeavors represent the best of Santa Clara University. They, like Santa Clara, have a special appreciation for the international exchange of ideas and culture as a source for positive global change.”

    For Colombia-bound Fulbright Scholar Jeff Moran ’04, Social Justice Began at Home

    Later this year, Jeff Moran ’04 will be traveling to Cartagena, an affluent colonial city in the Caribbean Coast region of Colombia and a top destination for tourists. But he won’t be one of them. “What people don’t know is that outside this beautiful city there are tens of thousands of people who live in extreme poverty and who need a lot of help. In particular, hunger and malnutrition are big problems. I am going to see how I can serve and how I can help create something that hopefully lasts even after I leave.”

    Jeff is a recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant, which will place him in a classroom for ten months to assist local English teachers while serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States. In this dual role, his 40-hour week will be divided equally between teaching and designing or participating in community service programs. “I’d like see if I can help create or work with food banks, urban gardening, or nutritional informational programs.”

    To the casual observer, this opportunity seems like the inevitable result of his academic path and professional decisions and experience. A double major in English and Theatre Arts, Jeff went on to work for Kaiser Permanente’s nationally-renowned Educational Theatre Program, which allowed him to reach at-need communities with crucial information on healthy eating, active living, adolescent development, and violence prevention—all conveyed through music, comedy and drama. He then wanted to teach English, so he returned to school to earn a Professional TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate from the UC Berkeley Extension Program, and then his Master’s degree in TESOL from the University of San Francisco. Dig deeper and you’ll find that woven through these undertakings is the thread of social justice, service, and compassion—values that he learned at Santa Clara. “They follow me everywhere I go, and they have deepened in ways that I didn’t necessarily anticipate when I was an undergrad. For instance, I think that one of the biggest injustices in this country is the way in which we treat immigrants. Teaching English to students who leave everything behind in their home countries is so rewarding, and hopefully it is one way I can serve my community. When I am at the store or at the doctor’s office, especially in the Bay Area, and I tell people what I do, it’s so humbling to hear their supportive response because they invariably know someone who had to learn English,” says Jeff.

    Jeff’s passion for teaching began at SCU, when he took English Professor Jeff Zorn’s senior seminar, Teaching English as a Vocation. “The class had a huge impact on my life. Little did I know that I’d be on this path ten years later! I also credit Professor Eileen Elrod for capturing my interest in American Literature, which became my emphasis. They were both amazing.” But if English stimulated his mind, Spanish, which he now speaks fluently, found a different niche. “I knew I wanted to travel to Latin America at some point, and I was drawn to Colombia by its history and its literature; Gabriel Garcia Marquez melted my heart.”  

    Ten years later, Jeff’s connection to his alma mater remains strong, having confidently reached out to theatre Professor and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Barbara Fraser for a Fulbright letter of recommendation. “Professor Fraser opened my eyes to so many things around me. She’s an amazing, brilliant, social justice and feminist advocate. Along with Professor Aldo Billingslea, who is a force of nature, they both represent the best values that I received from SCU.”

    Fulbright Scholar Jenny Kromm ’13 to Study History in Vienna

    Genevieve “Jenny” Kromm ’13, a history major with a minor in music, was awarded a 2015 Fulbright scholarship. Jenny's achievement will take her to Vienna, Austria in September, where her research will combine two of her passions: history and music. She will spend the year piecing together evidence, mostly written in German and other languages, to shed light on censorship campaigns in Austria during WWI and their impact on the arts, particularly music. “I will be able to speak with scholars of this period of history and gain access to archives that include rare examples of little-known artists and composers of the era,” said Jenny. She will maximize her experience by working as an English teaching assistant, taking courses at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, and finding ways to play her inseparable trumpet with the University’s orchestra.

    “Going to Vienna will take me back full-circle to a city that feels almost like home.” Jenny refers to her previous trips there in 2011 through a University Research Travel Award, and then again in 2013 while visiting during a year-long fellowship in Germany through the prestigious U.S. State Department Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. These experiences, along with her participation in the six-week, Intensive German Language Summer Program, sponsored by the Geoff & Josie Fox German Studies Fund, at the University of Freiburg in 2012, nourished her love of history, languages, and cultures. She speaks German, French, and Chinese. “I changed majors a bit late in the game, so I give much credit to the flexibility of the SCU Core for allowing me to pursue my interests. I also think that the Modern Languages Department here was a huge factor in getting me to where I am today.”

    Indeed, Jenny’s nod for history developed as an extension of her interest in psychology, her original major. “There are so many ways to approach a historical subject while still trying to understand what was going on inside people’s heads. I also realized that research has a scientific approach that I enjoy, and that history has a story-telling aspect that goes well with my passion for writing.”

    Jenny credits a history class taught by Professor Matthew Newsom Kerr called War and Democracy in the UK During WWI, which she says “changed my life.” And while she is “grateful for SCU’s rigorous preparation,” she thanks her thesis advisor, Professor Amy Randall, History, and her German teacher, Professor Josef Hellebrandt, for much of her success at SCU.

    Fulbright Scholar Keyra Galvan '15: Blazing New Trails

    Fulbright scholarship awardee Keyra Galvan, an Economics major (from the College of Arts and Sciences) with a minor in International Business heads to Mexico City this September as the first Santa Clara University winner of the Fulbright Binational Business Program. Unique among Fulbright programs worldwide, it was created in 1996 to promote mutual understanding among the business communities in Mexico and the United States. Keyra will participate in a 10-month internship at a multinational company located in Mexico while taking graduate courses at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, one of Mexico´s most prestigious private universities.

    “I always go back to Santa Clara’s way of educating the whole person. I’ve had so many opportunities to become culturally aware. From my participation in the Global Fellowship that took me to Istanbul this past year, to my studies abroad experience in Spain in 2013, and to my service events and immersion trips to D.C., New Orleans, and West Virginia—everything prepared me for this,” said Keyra, whose Spanish fluency meets a crucial requirement of the program.

    At 22, she is the eldest of five siblings and the first in her family to attend college, which distinguished her as a LEAD Scholar during her four years at Santa Clara. The Leadership, Excellence, and Academic Development Program provides opportunities to first-generation college students to excel at SCU through individualized academic and advising support, peer mentoring, community engagement,  and  workshops to explore current and future academic paths. Enrollment in the program is optional, but the 57 LEAD scholars graduating with her seem to find much value in it. “In addition to all the perks of being LEAD scholars, we get the best teachers. There were so many, but for me and all the [LEAD] students in my class, English professor Jill Goodman Gould made a huge difference. We met her at the very beginning, for our first English class. Not only did she ‘get’ our writing style, but she was patient, kind, and always there to listen. She is an amazing person.”

    Keyra decided to pursue economics at Santa Clara because “[Lecturer] Adina Ardelean made it so real for me; it all made sense. She was a good mentor.” Having worked at the SCU Bursar’s Office during her four years  at Santa Clara, Keyra also pursued summer internships at various companies, but none as meaningful  as the one at SPREEIFY, a next-generation ad platform start-up in Mountain View. A four-person company at the time, it has since grown significantly and has moved to Los Angeles. “By setting up a process to get clients on-board and by establishing a structure to train future interns and employees, I helped them establish the foundation for growth. The CEO was so impressed, that he happily agreed to write one of my Fulbright letters of recommendation.”  

    Upon her return from Mexico in June 2016, Keyra will join a major corporation in downtown San Jose as a financial analyst. The company had extended the job offer before Keyra received news of her Fulbright. “I had decided to forgo the job to pursue my grant, but the company called me, saying that it would be an honor to have a Fulbright in its ranks. They asked if I’d consider taking the position when I come back. I said yes. I like to go through doors when they open up for me,” she says.

    Fulbright Scholar Tyler Van Herweg '15 Goes the Extra Mile in Uganda

    “Once you commit to something, the world conspires for you.” That is how Fulbright Scholarship awardee Tyler “Ty” Van Herweg describes his experiences at Santa Clara in pursuit of his double degree in Economics and Theatre Arts. This prestigious award enables his single-minded commitment to change lives in Uganda. Starting in September of this year and for the following nine months, Ty will be deploying a phone app that was created at Santa Clara to help in the distribution of goods to rural customers. “This ‘last-mile distribution’ is a huge issue in Uganda. There are many social enterprises trying to distribute affordable products in rural areas, and motorcycle drivers who are capable of administering delivery, yet there is no platform to connect them. [Senior engineering students and colleagues] Michael Brew and Bryant Larsen built an SMS-based [texting technology] app that will do just that. I am very excited; this is what gets me up in the morning.”

    During his time at Santa Clara, Ty moved fluidly between two very distinct worlds—one in the Leavey School of Business and the other in the College of Arts and Sciences. “My degree in economics gave me the tools to look at things like poverty, homelessness, lack of access to education, and then ask ‘what can I do to address inefficiencies in order to make life better for others?’ And then, my degree in theatre brought things together for me. For instance, in theatre, you have to be prepared to do everything and deal with any situation; it has a very entrepreneurial aspect. There is a deadline, there is a show, and you cannot be a one-trick pony. I also did lots of play-writing, and my English skills were very important; this led to my minor in that subject. But without theatre, I would not be as well-rounded as I am. I’d say I acquired a life-long coat that will serve me well wherever I go. I thank Professor Aldo Billingslea and his magical presence for inspiring me to become a theatre major.”

    Early on, Ty knew that there had to be a way to combine his biggest passions: entrepreneurship and social good. He discovered his path during his sophomore year while working as a project coordinator with the Santa Clara Community Action Program (SCCAP), a campus organization focused on activism and justice to address social issues in and around the community.  Aware of Ty’s interests, his Department Coordinator asked him to attend an informational session at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (now known as the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship). “I had always thought that business and social good were like oil and vinegar.  But, in fact, ‘social entrepreneurship’ is what I had been looking for all along—it combined my two passions. That’s when all the dots connected for me, when I decided to pursue the app idea through the Miller Center during my senior year, things just started to fall into place along the way, including my recent Fulbright.”  

    Asked what he will do upon his return, Ty suspects that this will depend on what happens in Uganda. “Being an entrepreneur is in my blood thanks to my two grandpas, who started and ran over 20 businesses. I am well prepared. I am sure something will come up.”

  •  2015 Dean's Leadership Forum

    In only two years the Dean’s Leadership Forum has become a much-anticipated annual event of the College of Arts and Sciences. At the intersection of the humanities, arts, and sciences, the Forum brings to campus visionary leaders who urge us to action for the benefit of humanity. This year, best-selling author and anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J. and award-winning actor Martin Sheen made a compelling case for social and political activism. Their advocacy, which ranges from respect for human life in prisons to ocean conservation, underscores the value of a Jesuit education and the predisposition of our Santa Clara community, particularly our students, to “go forth and set the world on fire.”

    Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J.

    Martin Sheen

    Grace and the story of Dead Man Walking
    Find something worth fighting for

    Watch the entire video Watch the entire video
    Read The Santa Clara article Read The Santa Clara article



  •  Commencement 2015

    Details on Graduate ceremonies on June 12 and Undergraduate ceremonies on June 13.

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