Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, November 15, 2006, Vol. 7, No. 5

Table of contents

Silicon Valley set to meet the challenge
SCU students at mission control
President's Speakers Series
Annual Tech Museum Awards honor five global innovators
Save the date: University Holiday Party 2006, Dec. 13


Silicon Valley set to meet the challenge

SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society has taken to heart U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s challenge to Silicon Valley to “...broaden its horizon and bring more of its remarkable dynamism and innovation to the developing world.” Together with the RiOS Institute, the Center will convene the “Silicon Valley Challenge Summit: Sharing Technological Innovation for Global Benefit” on Nov. 16 at SCU to craft an action agenda for engaging Silicon Valley with the developing world. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Craig Barrett, chairman of the board for Intel Corp.; Sarbuland Khan, executive coordinator of the Global Alliance for information and communication technologies (ICT) and development for the United Nations; Dan Shine, director of the 50x15 Program at AMD; and Paul Mountford, president of emerging markets at Cisco Systems.

“The ideal audience will be people in decision-making positions within their organizations who recognize the value of engaging their organizations—whether in business, academia, venture capital, not-for-profit or other endeavors—in projects or programs that actively address the needs of developing countries,” says Pedro Hernández-Ramos, associate director of the Center, and one of the organizers of the event.

In part, the Summit will showcase what has been done and what is being done to bring ICT to developing countries. Attendees will include the 2006 laureates from the Tech Museum’s Technology Benefiting Humanity Awards. A panel discussion among civic, academic, corporate and nonprofit organization leaders will focus on what efforts are currently under way. Read more about the Summit.


SCU engineering students show off satellite that will be launched into space. Photos taken by Charles Barry.

SCU students at mission control

It is not every day that a student can say she worked alongside NASA scientists to launch a satellite into space. But for a group of SCU engineering students, that is exactly what they will be doing this December when they launch NASA’s GeneSat-1 satellite into the Earth’s orbit.

The students will use software, designed and created by SCU engineering students, to control GeneSat-1 from the mission operations center at NASA Ames. Their software and skills will immediately be put to the test once the satellite is launched. Their first task will be to find the satellite in space. Because the satellite is so small, the students will need to know the exact coordinates in order to find it.

“It’s a little stressful,” admitted Mike Rasay, a mechanical engineering graduate student who helped develop the software to operate the spacecraft. He compares the work on GeneSat-1 to a sporting event. “When people are stressed, they work at their best. It’s like in sports, you see who can handle the pressure and who can’t. So far, nobody’s cracked,” and, he added, he doesn’t expect anyone will.

“The students are on the same level as senior staff at NASA,” said John Hines, GeneSat project manager, who said he realizes that these students represent the next generation of NASA scientists. “We treat them the same, and they have the same responsibilities.”

While the project is big, what the NASA scientists will be studying is really quite small. In fact so small, the satellite is actually a “nano” satellite that will ride aboard an Air Force rocket into space. The satellite will carry a non-lethal strain of E. coli that researchers will analyze to determine the effects of space flight on bacteria.

“Having students apply their engineering knowledge and skills in compelling, real-world applications are critical components of our robotics program,” said Christopher Kitts, the mechanical engineering professor behind the project. “Our partnership with NASA on the GeneSat-1 mission is a great example of this. SCU students are an integral part of an exciting, cutting-edge space mission, and they are gaining valuable experience in how to apply their engineering skills within the context of a diverse, interdisciplinary team.”

Watch the CBS 5 story about the mission.

President's Speakers Series

undefinedphoto_spacerJanuary 2007 marks the beginning of the inaugural year of the President’s Speaker Series. This is a special opportunity for the University to bring the community face to face with speakers who are writing, thinking, and commenting on the important issues of the day.

The series begins Jan. 17 with a conversation and book-signing by Reza Aslan, 1995 SCU religious studies alumnus and author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam. Khaled Hosseini, a 1988 biology alumnus, will speak and sign his book, The Kite Runner, on Feb. 13. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam and of the screenplay “Submission,” a film that explores the issue of Muslim women and violence, will speak April 19. Jules Daly, Andrew Dominik, the producer and director of the film “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” will join in conversation with SCU Professor Ron Hansen, the author of the novel of the same name, on May 10.

The events all begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be located at the Louis B. Mayer Theatre. There is a suggested donation of $20, or $60 for the entire series. No donation is requested of students. For more information, please visit the Speaker Series Web site.

Annual Tech Museum Awards honor five global innovators
ta_trophy_02SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society judges entries from across the globe

The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the country’s leading science and technology museums, named 25 innovators from around the world to be honored by this year’s Tech Museum Awards on Nov. 15, for applying technology to benefit humanity. This group of laureates was selected from entries received from 98 countries by program partner, Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society. In addition to the five SCU faculty chairs, the judges are composed of another 10 SCU faculty members, plus CEOs and senior executives from some of the world’s largest multinational corporations and thought leaders from research institutions and the public sector. Read more about the Tech Awards.


Save the date
University Holiday Party 2006, Dec. 13
Ecumenical Prayer Service: 4:30 p.m. at the Mission Church
Holiday Party: 5:15 p.m. at Benson Memorial Center

SCU Events

Literary Cuisine: A Tasty Bite of Literature: “A Jane Austen Tea Party,”
Nov. 17, noon – 1 p.m., Williman Room, Benson Memorial Center:
The featured speaker at the Literary Cuisine will be Susan Frisbie, senior lecturer, Department of English. Enjoy a luncheon in warm and inviting surroundings as Frisbie explores the intrigue, majesty, and influence of Austen’s work. This event is presented by the University Library and Bon Appetit. Make your reservation online.

Music at Noon: Holiday Song,
Nov. 29, Recital Hall, noon–1 p.m.
Once again, the SCU voice department continues its traditional year-end Music at Noon performance, leading the campus and community into the holiday season with a special program and sing-along with fun for all ages. This year we are celebrating the International Year of Song—presenting traditional holiday songs from around the world and welcoming a surprise guest. More details are available online at the Music at Noon Web site.

More SCU events.

SCU in the News

Judy Nadler (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics) dished out advice for newly elected officials in an editorial written for the San Jose Mercury News. Read the editorial.

The Robotics Lab at SCU received considerable media attention regarding its recent findings of evidence of tsunami waves in Lake Tahoe. Read the article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Beth Van Schaak (law) was featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article for her role in a mock trial against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for genocide and crimes against humanity. Read the article.

Drew Starbird (OMIS) was interviewed on NBC 11 about the safety of spinach following the E. coli outbreak. Watch the story.

More SCU in the news.

Grants, awards, and publications

Angelo Ancheta (Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center) has received a five month award from the California Consumer Protection Foundation that provides $20,000 to support the Consumer Rights Project.

Rose Marie Beebe (modern languages) and Robert Senkewicz (history) received the 2006 Award of Meritorious Performance from the California Council for the Promotion of History. The award was presented at the Council’s annual meeting Oct. 27.

Geoffrey C. Bowker (Center for Science, Technology, and Society) was recently presented with the Best Information Science Book award by ASIS&T for his book Memory Practices in the Sciences.

Angel Islas (biology) has received a two-year award from the National Institutes of Health that provides $202,023 to support “Non-template-directed nucleotide addition by human-DNA polymerases.” Islas also received a new award from the National Science Foundation that provides $190,000 to support “RUI: Template Switching by DNA Polymerases Involved in DNA Repair and Translesion Synthesis.” This is year-one funding of an anticipated three-year award.

The Santa Clara, the student newspaper, won two awards at the Associated Collegiate Press media convention in October. The newspaper was one of nine school papers awarded the Online Pacemaker for its Web site. The Santa Clara also received an honorable mention award in the Best of Show category.

To submit grants, awards, and publication information, click here.

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