UCLA to have virtual commencement ceremonies to limit spread of coronavirus

LOS ANGELES — UCLA announced Wednesday that its spring 2020 commencement ceremonies will be adapted to virtual events in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“An engaging virtual ceremony,” will be held June 12 for the UCLA College commencement, the university’s largest, Chancellor Gene D. Block said.

“Consistent with our tradition, the ceremony will feature an inspiring keynote speaker, whose name will be announced soon,” Block said. “The College will offer new opportunities to connect our graduates in a variety of ways that further enhance the virtual event.”

Block pledged that “we will work diligently to make graduation as special as possible for all of our students and all of your loved ones.”

UCLA is among the local universities that have moved to distance learning because of the virus.

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UC Irvine student stabbed, university police seek attacker

A female student was stabbed near UC Irvine student housing and university police were trying to identify and find the suspect Sunday night, broadcast reports said.

KTLA reported it happened just before 10 p.m. and the victim had been walking her dog when she was attacked. An unidentified attacker was involved, UCI spokesman Tom Vasich said.

Information on the condition of the victim, who was taken to a hospital, was not immediately available.

Officials say a female UC Irvine student was stabbed around 10pm this evening in the area of Camino Del Sol. Transported in unknown condition. Police are searching for the suspect described as a male with a large build. Students urged to secure in place @CBSLA @KCBSKCALDesk pic.twitter.com/9gn1lPwmIh

— Chris Ercoli (@CErcoliCBS2KCAL) March 11, 2019

UCI Public Safety tweeted about the incident at 10:20 p.m., advising the suspect had a large build and people on campus should “secure in place.”

The situation was declared clear at 11:32 p.m., though the suspect was outstanding.

zotALERT: Situation all clear. Resume normal activity. Susp still outstanding. Suspect desc: Male large build. Call 911 if you see anything

— UCI Public Safety (@UCIrvinePD) March 11, 2019

zotALERT: UCIPD has checked campus thoroughly and have no reason to believe suspect is in the area.

— UCI Public Safety (@UCIrvinePD) March 11, 2019

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Animation and glass fuse in vivid mind of Cal State Fullerton artist

By Tien Do

Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to express myself in an artistic way. Then when it came to my adolescent years, I was exposed to the possibilities of acting and 3-D animation.


CSUF art major Tien Do looks up at one of the glass orbs in David Guiterrez’s spring exhibition “Celestial Interval.” Photo courtesy Tien Do.

With this exposure, I thought for sure that these two subjects were the careers that I wanted to pursue. This all changed during my third year of study Cal State Fullerton. During that time, I was waitlisted for an introductory class on a new 3-D modeling program called Maya. I was waitlisted as No. 1, but, unfortunately, I was unable to enroll in the class. Panicking, I entered an open class, not thinking that it would drastically affect my medium or emphasis in art. The course was an introduction to glassblowing.

My first steps into that class led me to a new perspective in art making. I never left. For the past three years, not only have I been enrolled in the animation program, but I’ve been active in the glass program, as well.

The journey and experience toward the medium of glass was so surreal. It felt like I was sculpting and shaping a medium that was stubborn, erratic and filled with life. Compared to the practice I had with animation, it was the polar opposite.

With animation, I was creating a static object into something that resembles a being of life. Whereas with glass, I was creating something alive into something static. Even though these practices seem different, they hold similar qualities in terms of shaping and sculpting an object.

Like everything that includes heavy devotion, it took time to understand the medium I was using. With a determination to be more involved, I invested myself heavily into this medium of glass. I believe that during the first two semesters, I devoted 40-60 hours a week to working with glass, in order to understand the material and to better use it in my creative projects.

I would practice heavily to understand the molten properties of glass, as well as participate in helping others, including the faculty member who taught the course, Hiromi Takizawa, assistant professor of art.

That devotion didn’t go unnoticed. Surprisingly, Hiromi nominated me and helped me acquire scholarships to represent Cal State Fullerton at a prestigious glass school called Pilchuck. This facility is located in Stanwood, Wash., where artists have the opportunity to work with a master artist to develop their skills and creative thinking. This opportunity to go to Pilchuck has solidified my interest in glass into being an artist of glass. I have gone there for the past two summers — the first as a student and the second as a teacher’s assistant. Now, I will be returning for my third year, as a student for Master Artist Martin Janecky.

At the Pilchuck Glass School, you are exposed not only to the artist/session you applied for, but also to the community that expands internationally and around the world. Everyone I have met had a different way or a new way of how to create objects in glass. But that wasn’t the importance of Pilchuck; instead, it was creating a bigger family within our glass world. Since the community is quite small, I believe it is necessary and a treasure to meet various artists that come along our journey.

With this philosophy in mind, I was able to create bonds with such notable artists as Ethan Stern, Kelly O’Dell, Raven Skyriver and Morgan Peterson, among others. Meeting these artists gave me hope and inspiration. The time spent at Pilchuck can be pretty intense, since it is a workshop that lasts two to three weeks with at least 9-12-hour days, back to back. Its facility has all the equipment for the students and artists to use, in order to accomplish our creative vision. It is an experience unlike any other, and it is a great way for an artist to get the most out of the time provided for each session.


In the CSUF glass lab, art major Tien Do is heating a sculpture to add details in an image he titled “Dancing With Fire.” Photo courtesy Tien Do.

I am thankful for this alternative route or segue from the 3-D animation world. Without that experience, I wouldn’t have the knowledge to become a better craftsman and artist. I owe thanks to my mentor Hiromi Takizawa for showing me another form of art making.

Art major Tien Do will be returning to the Pilchuck Glass School in July. In the fall, he will begin his senior year of study at Cal State Fullerton and has his sights set on graduate school. His long-term goal is to open a studio for glass or animation. In the future, Do also hopes to be able extend to students the same mentoring opportunities he has been afforded.

 

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Cal State Fullerton expert finds the Monkees were a steppin’ stone to cultural change

  • Rosanne Welch, Cal State Fullerton lecturer in cinema and television arts, is the author of a book on the Monkees.

    Rosanne Welch, Cal State Fullerton lecturer in cinema and television arts, is the author of a book on the Monkees.

  • Rosanne Welch is a lecturer in cinema and television arts at Cal State Fullerton. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

    Rosanne Welch is a lecturer in cinema and television arts at Cal State Fullerton. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

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  • “It was the critics who didn’t take their music seriously. But their music had legs,” says  Rosanne Welch, a lecturer at Cal State Fullerton who has written a book on the 1960s band and its television show. (AP file photo)

    “It was the critics who didn’t take their music seriously. But their music had legs,” says Rosanne Welch, a lecturer at Cal State Fullerton who has written a book on the 1960s band and its television show. (AP file photo)

  • In this 1966 file photo, cast members of the television show “The Monkees,” from top left, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, from lower left, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork pose next to their Monkeemobile, a customized Pontiac GTO. (AP file photo)

    In this 1966 file photo, cast members of the television show “The Monkees,” from top left, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, from lower left, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork pose next to their Monkeemobile, a customized Pontiac GTO. (AP file photo)

  • The Monkees were huge teen idols. When Davy Jones got married, it was kept secret to avoid upsetting his fans.

    The Monkees were huge teen idols. When Davy Jones got married, it was kept secret to avoid upsetting his fans.

  • Rosanne Welch met Micky Dolenz in 1986. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

    Rosanne Welch met Micky Dolenz in 1986. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

  • Rosanne Welch with Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz during their 50th-anniversary tour in 2016 in St. Louis. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

    Rosanne Welch with Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz during their 50th-anniversary tour in 2016 in St. Louis. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

  • This June 4, 1967, photo shows the Monkees with their Emmy at the 19th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The group members are, from left, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz. (AP file photo)

    This June 4, 1967, photo shows the Monkees with their Emmy at the 19th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The group members are, from left, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz. (AP file photo)

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She’s a believer.

And after Rosanne Welch spoke recently to a gathering of Cal State Fullerton students and faculty, many of them were left also believing that the Monkees, the 1960s boy band, had a greater impact on television, music and pop culture than they had thought.

Illustrated with slides of the Monkees with Paul McCartney and Janis Joplin, on cereal boxes and in pop culture references long after their heyday, Welch’s talk laid out evidence that the group’s TV show made strong feminist statements and advanced such TV practices as characters addressing the audience, used today on such shows as “Modern Family” and “House of Cards.”

“They influenced so many of today’s modern-day performers and yet people keep forgetting about that,” said Welch.

Welch, a lecturer in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts, wrote the book “Why the Monkees Matter.” She spoke as part of Pollak Library’s Faculty Noon-Time Talks, a series that invited faculty members to share their research.

Welch has written for the shows “Picket Fences,” “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Touched by an Angel.” She has edited “Women in American History” and written “America’s Forgotten Founding Father,” a novel based on the life of Filippo Mazzei, who is credited with the line “All men are created equal.”

But such lofty projects have a hard time competing with Welch’s favorite show when she was 7.

“The Monkees,” which ran from 1966 to 1968 on NBC, focused on the misadventures of a Beatles-like rock band, whose songs highlighted each episode. While the four band members were cast for the show, and did not play their own instruments at first, they all had some degree of musical experience and went on to play, and often write, their own music and record until 1971.

The show won two Emmys its first season — for outstanding comedy and comedy directing.

Welch got interested in the Monkees from a research standpoint when she was asked by Cal State Fullerton to present a class for high schoolers in the GEAR UP summer program, looking critically at a TV show. She chose “The Monkees,” only to discover it was far more innovative than she’d given it credit for as a child.

“In the ’60s, people in the know knew that this was something different and worth paying attention to,” she said.

She wrote a story on the show for a screenwriters magazine, tracking down seven of the original 15 writers, many of whom went on to win Emmys, including Treva Silverman, the first woman who wrote for TV without a male partner.

Then she wrote a book.

Welch set the stage for her CSUF audience by describing what the nation had been watching before “The Monkees” debuted: blander family shows such as “The Lucy Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show,” often in black and white.

Then she detailed what was innovative about “The Monkees”:

It contained social justice messages — something that got the Smothers Brothers canceled — which were overlooked by network executives who considered “The Monkees” a kids show. There were references to the Vietnam War, communism in Southeast Asia and the war on poverty.

“Timothy Leary watched and said it was far deeper than anyone else had given it credit for,” Welch said. The LSD guru wrote: “And woven into the fast-moving psychedelic stream of action were the prophetic, holy, challenging words.”

The song “Randy Scouse Git,” written by Micky Dolenz, included the lyrics “Why don’t you hate who I hate/ Kill who I kill to be free?”

“If that’s not a Vietnam War protest song, I don’t know what is,” Welch said. “They got away with singing that on broadcast television, in their hippy-dippy clothes.”

It took a progressive feminist approach. Sure, many episodes were about the four boys meeting girls. But every single girl who dated the boys had a job, Welch said. And in each case, we met her through her job first.

“They weren’t bubbleheads,” she said. “They weren’t waiting around to get married. I think that was an interesting message in 1966.” Never did the boys want a girl only because she was pretty; it was about getting a smart girl, she said.

In one episode, a girl turns down Davy Jones to do her job. Later in that episode, the boys get kidnapped and a girl rescues them, flipping the usual trope. In another episode, the actress Julie Newmar (Catwoman on “Batman”) guest-starred as the owner of a laundromat earning her doctorate (in laundry).

“If you were a girl watching in 1966, you learned that to get a Monkee you didn’t want to be a cheerleader; you wanted to be a woman of value because that’s who they would look at,” Welch said.

It furthered metatextuality, in which there’s a second level of commentary that makes observations on what’s going on.

In particular, the show routinely broke the fourth wall with the audience. George Burns and Jack Benny had done that when they talked to the screen, Welch said, but no show was doing it in the 1960s.

The series would joke about the action, such as superimposing writing on the screen to identify one actor as a friend of the producer. In one episode the quartet shows up at NBC’s offices.

“They’re letting you in on the joke,” Welch said. The younger, hipper audience could think “We’re part of this thing.”

She also pointed out the impact of the band and its TV show on popular culture at the time and since.

“There’s this idea that they weren’t very important and then disappeared,” she said. But a little digging shows they were culturally relevant then and still are.

  • They were friends with the Beatles, she noted. John Lennon would go to Dolenz’s house and jam.
  • Peter Tork was at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, where he was asked to go onstage during the Grateful Dead’s set and quiet the crowd. And the crowd listened to him. (Tork had played with Stephen Stills in Greenwich Village before Stills auditioned for “The Monkees,” was rejected and recommended Tork.)
  • Shows including “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” have used Monkees songs, introducing them to a new generation, as have covers of Monkees songs, including Smash Mouth’s version of “I’m a Believer” on the “Shrek” soundtrack.
  • Rachel Maddow interviewed Tork in 2012, after the death of Davy Jones, and gushed over how much she loved “The Monkees” and learned about the 1960s from watching its reruns on MTV.
  • The Monkees’ 12th album, “Good Times!”, released for the group’s 50th anniversary in 2016 was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine among its top 50 albums of the year.

“Suddenly it’s cool to like the Monkees now,” Welch said.

Welch met Dolenz in 1986 after a concert in Cleveland. She still has his phone number from an earlier phone interview, though it no longer works. Dolenz was her favorite Monkee, she said.

“My theory was there’s more girls in line for Davy, so I’d have better luck with the guy with the shorter line.”

Editor’s note: In the interest of journalistic transparency, this reporter acknowledges having constructed, in 1967, a Monkees fort in her closet, where she could daydream about Davy Jones.

 

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Cal State Fullerton graduate channels her career success into volunteering

By Nicole Saba

I grew up in Anaheim, and my childhood memories consist of visits to Disneyland and the lifelong friends I made. The friends I grew up with in my diverse community, walking together to and from the same elementary school, middle school and high school, are memories I will always cherish. It built a sense of community and strengthened ties to each other’s families.

Nicole Saba. Photo courtesy of the writer.
Nicole Saba. Photo courtesy of the writer.

I also knew from a very young age that I was going to attend Cal State Fullerton. Not only is it the anchor of Orange County, having garnered numerous state and national accolades, it’s the university where my father studied, and my younger sister, as well.

At CSUF, I studied communications and later switched my major, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing. I am very lucky to have been surrounded by solid educators and remarkable leaders who helped set the foundation for my career success and leadership skills.

I enjoyed being a student at CSUF. As a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, I recall attending Titan baseball games under the coaching leadership of Augie Garrido and later George Horton, as well as watching local bands perform at Becker Amphitheater during lunch time, just to name a few out-of-class diversions.

Upon graduation, I moved to Los Angeles, where my education from the Anaheim Union High School District and Cal State Fullerton prepared me for working in various areas of marketing, public relations, promotions and advertising. Later on, came a shift to the client side and stints as marketing manager for Princess Cruises and Cunard Line. After the birth of my first child, I started a marketing consulting business, which gives me the freedom to also volunteer.

Having young children, it was very important to me to support public education. My husband and I chose to send our children to a neighborhood school so that they could walk there and enjoy after-school activities with their friends, rather than spend endless hours in the car. We also wanted to support our neighborhood public educators.

Becoming a parent naturally led to volunteering, then to championing the ideal of public schools, where all kids have access to high-level instruction and resources, regardless of socioeconomic status.

With technology being a 21st-century reality, I developed a technology vision for our neighborhood school and, with the support of the principal, it has resulted in the consistent use of iPads and Chromebooks by students throughout all grade levels. As a classroom volunteer, I help teach computer programming, keyboarding, English language arts, the use of Google apps and math lessons using technology.

Our school’s nonprofit booster organization was founded 10 years ago by dedicated parents, and I serve as its president. We organize and assist in schoolwide fundraisers, in addition to applying for grant funding to help raise additional revenue to pay for programs where education dollars fall short.

Participating in community outreach efforts, I seek to ensure that our local businesses play an integral role in supporting our school. As president of the School Site Council, the school governance board, I also work with various leaders serving on several committees in the Los Angeles Unified School District to offer a parent’s perspective and feedback regarding decisions made at the district level.

My background in marketing comes in handy for writing press releases and supporting our social media sites with up-to-date information to keep parents and the community connected.

U.S. Rep Adam Schiff honored Nicole Saba, CSUF Class of '98, this spring as the 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year for 2018. Photo courtesy Nicole Saba.
U.S. Rep Adam Schiff honored Nicole Saba, CSUF Class of ’98, this spring as the 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year for 2018. Photo courtesy Nicole Saba.

A nomination by my sons’ school principal recently led to receiving an award from our local congressman. It was humbling surprise to say the least, but a motivating factor to continue to do more.

Nicole Saba, a Class of 1998 Titan and mother of two, was named the 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year for 2018 by Rep. Adam Schiff, in recognition of her volunteer efforts.

 

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New Cal State Fullerton student body president wants to spend his life on a college campus

  • Josh Borjas wants to boost student pride in  athletics, the performing arts and the debate team at Cal State Fullerton, where he is the new student body president. Photographed on campus May 25.  (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Josh Borjas wants to boost student pride in athletics, the performing arts and the debate team at Cal State Fullerton, where he is the new student body president. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Josh Borjas plans to focus on collaboration, engagement and involvement as the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Josh Borjas plans to focus on collaboration, engagement and involvement as the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Josh Borjas, the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton, has worked as a tour guide and orientation leader on campus. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Josh Borjas, the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton, has worked as a tour guide and orientation leader on campus. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • “At the end of the day we just want students to be happy,” says Josh Borjas, the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton. Photographed on campus May 25.  (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    “At the end of the day we just want students to be happy,” says Josh Borjas, the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Josh Borjas is the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton, where he has been serving on the Associated Students Inc. board. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Josh Borjas is the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton, where he has been serving on the Associated Students Inc. board. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Josh Borjas is the newly elected student body president at Cal State Fullerton. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Josh Borjas is the newly elected student body president at Cal State Fullerton. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • “I love learning. I’m kind of a nerd in that way,” says Josh Borjas, the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton. Photographed on campus May 25.  (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    “I love learning. I’m kind of a nerd in that way,” says Josh Borjas, the new student body president at Cal State Fullerton. Photographed on campus May 25. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Watch out, President Virjee. Someone’s gunning for your job.

Not right away, though. First, Josh Borjas needs to serve his term as Cal State Fullerton student body president for the 2018-19 academic year. He was elected this spring in an eventful Associated Students Inc. election to lead the campus of 40,000-plus students.

But eventually, Borjas would like to become a university president.

“Since I’ve been involved, I’ve really experienced the impact the university has on individuals,” said Borjas as the school year was wrapping up. “I love learning. I’m kind of a nerd in that way. I also love helping students get excited for school, or for that next class, or to do that one event. I want to continue that.”

He actually hopes to live at a university his entire life.

Borjas and his vice president, Ana Aldazabal, plan to focus on three things: collaboration, engagement and involvement across campus.

Campus involvement is a perennial problem for the largely commuter campus and one that Borjas’ predecessor, Laila Dadabhoy, also adopted as a priority.

Other areas Borjas wants to address are building students’ soft skills applicable to the outside world; being more creative in ASI’s communications with students; and boosting student pride in such successful activities as athletics, the performing arts and forensics.

“Why aren’t we celebrating?” asked Borjas, who is from Corona.

One area of particular interest is financial aid — making the federally run process more accessible and easier to navigate online for the roughly half of CSUF students who receive it while improving customer service on the campus end.

“Students didn’t know what they needed until they got that email with the list of what documents they needed,” said Borjas. He said the ASI had a financial literacy initiative that went dormant but has been revived.

“I’m excited I will have a new position that will allow me to work with that,” he said.

Borjas sat on the ASI board of directors this past year, representing the College of Communications. He is majoring in communication studies with an emphasis in organizational communication, which encompasses individual to mass communication in a business environment.

He wants to be a student affairs professional and is a fellow in the Undergraduate Fellows Program run by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, which prepares undergrads for graduate school in student affairs. He plans to earn a doctorate in education, fulfilling his mother’s dream that he become a doctor — just a different kind of doctor.

It was Borjas’ side gig as a CSUF tour guide that inspired him to run for the ASI board. He liked the university leadership’s goal of being a top-level institution but, interacting with those in the trenches, realized that the actions to get there didn’t necessarily speak to the school’s culture and what makes it unique. He offered feedback on how to better move forward, but felt he wasn’t taken seriously.

“I wanted to have a seat at the table or a title just so I can get someone to take me in a more representative light,” he said. “And so that’s why I ran.”

Then friends and staff members asked what his next step would be. He didn’t know. They asked whether he’d thought about being ASI president. He said no.

But it occurred to him that his experience on the ASI board gave him understanding of the organization and the legislative process, his work as a tour guide and orientation leader gave him familiarity with the campus, and his job as a resident adviser in student housing gave him chops in crisis management.

“My residents who live with me — I’m up with them at 4 a.m., sometimes crying about some stuff that’s happened, unfortunate things.”

He ran, choosing Aldazabal as his running mate due to her expertise in areas different from his own – especially with the campus’s diversity initiatives and resource centers. He noted the ASI officers have a lot of power but less accountability and so wanted someone with strong moral character.

The two were brought together by mutual friends who thought they’d be a good fit.

“It’s kind of like an awkward first date,” Borjas said. “But when you have a commonality of passion and vision, it starts to warm up real fast. We were there for each other when things got hard. We have that rapport already.”

Those hard times happened before the two even took office, which happened June 1.

“No one predicted this last year would be so difficult,” Borjas said.

During the election, another candidate team was disqualified after sending out a mass email to students, a violation of ASI bylaws. Then the ASI Elections Judicial Council held three closed meetings to air student complaints against those candidates without posting agendas, violating a state law.

“We thought we were in compliance,” Borjas said. “We were blindsided by it.”

Then ASI was blindsided by the last-second cancellation of headliner Kehlani, who showed up for Spring Concert but didn’t have the voice to perform. She announced her cancellation via social media before ASI was able to inform the audience. ASI quickly apologized and offered complete refunds to ticketholders.

“At the end of the day we just want students to be happy,” Borjas said. “That’s why we gave the refund, even though it was out of our control. Our purpose is to help serve students.”

Going forward, Borjas wants to borrow ideas from other CSU campuses, and from other colleges whose leaders he has met at conferences through his NASPA fellowship. He likes to ask students what their thoughts are and what they’re passionate about.

“If it’s something completely different than me, that’s totally fine,” he said. “But I’m glad this campus has brought us together for that one moment.”

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Cal State Fullerton Grand Central Art Center’s made-for-TV opera is up for two Emmys

“Vireo,” a made-for-TV opera composed by CSUF Grand Central Art Center 2017 artist-in-residence Lisa Bielawa, has received two nominations for the 70th Los Angeles Area Emmys /Television Academy Awards.


Soprano Laurie Rubin in episode 8 of “Vireo,” which has been nominated for two Emmy awards. (Photo courtesy of Mike O’Toole)

Bielawa was nominated for creative technical crafts – composer; Charlie Otte was nominated for outstanding director – programming.

The episodic production features the work of more than 350 musicians, including CSUF alum Deborah Voigt, and was shot in locations including New York’s Hudson River Valley, California’s redwoods and San Francisco’s Alcatraz.

The awards will be presented July 28 in North Hollywood.

“Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser” aired in June 2017 on KCET and is available for free streaming at KCET.org/Vireo.

Former Muck CEO heads Mihaylo’s nonprofits center

Zoot Velasco, former CEO of Fullerton’s Muckenthaler Cultural Center, is the new director of Mihaylo College’s Gianneschi Center.

Zoot Velasco, former CEO of Fullerton's Muckenthaler Cultural Center, is the new director of Mihaylo College's Gianneschi Center. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)
Zoot Velasco, former CEO of Fullerton’s Muckenthaler Cultural Center, is the new director of Mihaylo College’s Gianneschi Center. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)

Velasco plans to expand the college’s impact on local organizations and provide an on-campus hub for innovation for Southern California public good and social enterprise entities.

The alum of St. Mary’s College of California and Hope International University brings nearly two decades of leadership in the nonprofit and social enterprise sector.

He got his start in the field while touring the world in the film and television industries in the 1980s and 1990s as a break-dancing college dropout.

“I found my day job, working as a professional artist who taught in prisons, juvenile halls and housing projects, to be more fulfilling than the film business,” he said. “I found mentors so that I could advance in working for community organizations.”

Beginning in the fall, Velasco will teach undergraduate coursework in marketing and business etiquette at Mihaylo College.

Monkeys and STEM among eclectic faculty research

Research by faculty in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences appeared recently on a variety of platforms:

Anthropologists Peter Fashing and Nga Nguyen co-authored an article titled “Multilevel Social Structure and Diet Shape the Gut Microbiota of the Gelada Monkey, the Only Grazing Primate” for the scientific journal Microbiome.

The Guassa Gelada Research Project, a long-term study of a wild population of gelada monkeys, is co-directed by CSUF faculty members Peter Fashing and Nga Nguyen. (iStock photo)
The Guassa Gelada Research Project, a long-term study of a wild population of gelada monkeys, is co-directed by CSUF faculty members Peter Fashing and Nga Nguyen. (iStock photo)

Fashing also co-authored three articles on Ethiopian monkeys for the American Journal of Primatology, BMC Ecology and Primates, as well as one on African and Ethiopian wolves for Royal Society Open Access.

Lucía Alcalá, assistant professor of psychology, was a co-presenter of “Learning by Helping,” a video in the National Science Foundation’s 2018 STEM for All Video Showcase of more than 200 videos aimed at improving STEM learning and teaching. The video shows how helping others may be a powerful motivator for children to engage in science, especially for children from underrepresented backgrounds.

Natalie Fousekis, professor of history and director of the Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History, presented “Interviewing Political Women in the Age of Clinton and Trump” at the League of Women Voters of Orange County annual meeting in Irvine.

Thomas Fujita-Rony, associate professor of Asian American studies, was a panelist on “Achieving Ethnic Studies” at Chapman University’s Education and Ethnic Studies Summit.

Rec Center named among best in nation

College Consensus, a new college ratings website that aggregates publisher rankings and student reviews, included Cal State Fullerton on a list of the 50 best campus recreation centers.

Students climb an indoor rock wall that overlooks the entrance to the Student Recreation Center. The 95,000-square-foot facility is funded by student fees. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)
Students climb an indoor rock wall that overlooks the entrance to the Student Recreation Center. The 95,000-square-foot facility is funded by student fees. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)

 

“For many colleges, campus recreation is central to the mission and branding of the institution,” said Carrie Sealey-Morris, the site’s managing editor. “At some schools, you’d be hard-pressed to guess whether you were at a university or a luxury resort.”

But such luxury serves a purpose in mitigating the negative health effects of the stress of college life, she added.

The top 50 weren’t ranked within the list. The university’s Student Recreation Center, built in 2009 and boasting a martial arts studio and an indoor rock wall, was named 25th on a 2016 list of the 35 most luxurious student rec centers in the country by Collegerank.net.

The other California colleges on the new list were UCLA, UC San Diego, Cal State Long Beach, Pepperdine and Saint Mary’s College of California.

 

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With Cal State Fullerton’s help, Girl Scout stages house of horrors for college-bound students

  • Girl Scout Colette Grob introduces her “Four out of Five” Gold Award project, which refers to statistics that 4 in 5 college students drink and half that number binge drink. Students from Canyon High School reenacted scenarios that often take place at college parties, such as hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, binge drinking and sexual assault in Anaheim Hills on April  21. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Girl Scout Colette Grob introduces her “Four out of Five” Gold Award project, which refers to statistics that 4 in 5 college students drink and half that number binge drink. Students from Canyon High School reenacted scenarios that often take place at college parties, such as hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, binge drinking and sexual assault in Anaheim Hills on April 21. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Drama students from Canyon High School act out a potential college hazing situation as part of Colette Grob’s Girl Scout Gold Award project in Anaheim Hills on April  21. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Drama students from Canyon High School act out a potential college hazing situation as part of Colette Grob’s Girl Scout Gold Award project in Anaheim Hills on April 21. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Drama students from Canyon High School act out a potential college hazing situation as part of Colette Grob’s Girl Scout Gold Award project in Anaheim Hills on April  21. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Drama students from Canyon High School act out a potential college hazing situation as part of Colette Grob’s Girl Scout Gold Award project in Anaheim Hills on April 21. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kendall Dodd, 15, a Canyon High School drama student, plays the role of a college sexual assault victim as part of Colette Grob’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, “Four Out of Five,” in Anaheim Hills on April  21. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Kendall Dodd, 15, a Canyon High School drama student, plays the role of a college sexual assault victim as part of Colette Grob’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, “Four Out of Five,” in Anaheim Hills on April 21. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Students watch reenactments of scenarios that often take place at college parties, such as hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, binge drinking and sexual assault in Anaheim Hills on April  21. The presentation was part of Colette Grob’s “Four out of Five” Girl Scout Gold Award project. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Students watch reenactments of scenarios that often take place at college parties, such as hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, binge drinking and sexual assault in Anaheim Hills on April 21. The presentation was part of Colette Grob’s “Four out of Five” Girl Scout Gold Award project. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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After seeing news stories about hazing deaths of fraternity pledges, Colette Grob knew what she wanted to do for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

In collaboration with Cal State Fullerton’s Title IX office, the Canyon High School student created a live walk-through depicting reenactments of scenarios that often take place at college parties, such as hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, binge drinking and sexual assault.

More than 100 high school juniors and their parents walked through the free event staged in an Anaheim Hills home in April.

At the end of the walk-through, students met with a panel of experts that shared advice and personal stories to help students learn how to stay safe in such situations and, better yet, avoid them. Panelists included representatives from San Diego State University Delta Upsilon fraternity and Kim Girard, a college transition coach from Redondo Beach.

Grob, a member of Anaheim’s Troop 1171, called her project “Four out of Five” after a 2015 National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence statistic that four out of five college students drink and that half of those are binge drinking.

“She wanted to create a program that would be impactful for her friends, and she definitely accomplished that,” said Mary Becerra, Title IX coordinator in CSUF’s Title IX and Gender Equity office.

Grob reached out to CSUF as her local CSU campus, and Becerra said she was happy to work with her. “She is a confident, smart and caring girl.”

Grob asked Becerra about sexual misconduct among college students, and Becerra provided her with statistics, bystander intervention techniques and prevention strategies.  Grob developed a program that was accurate, realistic and addressed the major issues, Becerra said.

Grob has been a Girl Scout for 12 years. She is an aspiring film student hoping to become a Foley artist, who creates sound effects for film.

The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, recognizing girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through Take Action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities and beyond.

About 6 percent of Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards after a project that takes one to two years.

In Orange County, about 100 achieve the honor each year, said Elizabeth Fairchild, communications director for Girl Scouts of Orange County. Gold Award Girl Scouts stand out in the college admissions process, earn college scholarships and enter the military one rank higher than their peers, she said.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award means a girl has single-handedly changed the world — forever and for better,” Fairchild said.

 

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App delivers discounts, rewards to Cal State Fullerton students for wholesome fun

  • A flyer for the Point ‘N Save app shows how to use it to qualify for discounts and rewards on entertainment, such as a local appearance by the rapper Logic. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

    A flyer for the Point ‘N Save app shows how to use it to qualify for discounts and rewards on entertainment, such as a local appearance by the rapper Logic. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Point ‘N Save’s Hunter Humphrey, left, and John Barton show their app at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia on April 9. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

    Point ‘N Save’s Hunter Humphrey, left, and John Barton show their app at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia on April 9. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

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  • Point ‘N Save’s John Barton, left, and his cousin Hunter Humphrey have been mentored at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

    Point ‘N Save’s John Barton, left, and his cousin Hunter Humphrey have been mentored at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Point ‘N Save founder John Barton is seen at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia on April 9. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

    Point ‘N Save founder John Barton is seen at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia on April 9. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

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Cal State Fullerton students want to save money.

Cal State Fullerton campus organizations and nearby businesses want more foot traffic.

Bringing the two together is … a Chico State alum.

John Barton might not be a Titan. But with the help of the CSUF Startup Incubator, he has launched an app that rewards students for getting more involved in their campus and patronizing local businesses.

“I feel like I’m a student because I’m on this campus so much,” joked Barton, 24. “I feel like students get overlooked sometimes – the sacrifices they make, the struggles they go through. I wanted to give back to them.”

His Point ‘N Save app, available in the iPhone App Store, gives discounts at about a dozen local businesses to anyone with an .edu email. The app also offers rewards, such as gift cards, to frequent users. Students can check in by scanning a QR code at the destination.

Businesses that have signed up include Oggi’s, Pieology, Dripp Coffee, PlayLive Nation, Round Table Pizza, Legends Boardshop, Blaze Pizza, Watson’s Soda Fountain & Cafe, Pedro’s Tacos, Tea Joy, Smoqued California BBQ, Pandor, The Perfect Circle Cupcakery & Co. and Titan Shops.

Some businesses are in Old Towne Orange because Barton’s secondary target area is Chapman University. He aims to get at least 30 partners, including more on campus. The app is free to students; eventually businesses will pay to be featured.

“We wanted to create a really fun way to get students more involved on campus,” Barton said.

John B. Jackson, director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, said the CSUF Startup Incubator, which he directs, offered the coaching Barton needed and access to Cal State Fullerton. Barton has pitched the app to some Mihaylo College of Business & Economics classes.

“It made good business sense for us to support him,” Jackson said. “He has been embraced by our students.”

Jackson added that the wholesome values of Barton’s platform are consistent with those of the university.

Those values were part of what propelled Barton to launch his business.

A native of Roseville, near Sacramento, Barton went to Chico State, which is known for its party scene. But a lot of students complained there was little to do around campus that was fun, inexpensive and didn’t involve drinking – an activity he didn’t partake in.

“I wanted to have an outlet for students who didn’t want to go out every night but wanted to have some type of social interaction that didn’t involve going to bars,” he said, especially since the majority of students are under 21.

When he told friends he’d been to a go-kart track in Chico, for example, none were aware it existed.

At the same time, local businesses are trying to market to students using traditional methods, without as much success as they wanted.

“Businesses want to contact students where they are, and that’s on their phones. It’s not a place anymore,” Barton said.

He developed the app as part of a senior project before he graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship. He knew a lot of businesses offer student discounts, but they are often advertised only on a menu, for example, or take the form of a punch card. He wanted to package all such discounts and rewards in one place.

After testing a prototype of the app, Barton moved to Orange County in August to attend the Disney College Program and work on Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A. He learned good leadership skills and how to get the best out of people but, when the program ended, opted to keep developing his app into a viable company of his own.

He sought out CSUF’s Center for Entrepreneurship and was introduced to Jackson and the incubator. The size of the school presented an opportunity that Chico didn’t, plus it’s close to other universities, such as Chapman and Hope International. He had looked at other area incubators, but something struck him about Fullerton’s, he said.

“I was very excited to start it here,” he said. “I knew with the incubator’s help, with all the resources they had available to me, I knew I could make it work.”

The incubator paired him with two mentors – the first to advise on marketing, the second on business plan development.

Rudy Chavarria Jr., founder and CEO of College Web Media in Diamond Bar, advised Barton to reduce the text on his promotional brochure, for example, so business owners can quickly grasp what he’s presenting. He helped Barton figure out how to monetize the concept and boost the functionality of his app.

“I have to say that I really believe the mobile app has the possibility to succeed, but it’s going to be a lot of work,” said Chavarria, including 16-hour days and a strong team behind him. “I believe John has the drive and the passion required to make this successful.”

He also advised Barton to be patient as he starts seeking capital, telling him that Starbucks founder Howard Schultz was turned down by 217 of the 242 investors he first talked to. He also warned the young entrepreneur that he will eventually need to back off and be the boss, letting others take over specific roles.

“You can’t be the CEO and be the graphic designer,” Chavarria said.

In fact, Barton brought onboard his cousin, Hunter Humphrey, 23, who moved away from family and girlfriend in Sacramento to help with the app’s sales and promotion.

“There’s something about John that’s hard to not believe in the guy,” Humphrey said. “He’s going to do well. This guy has no negative attitude. Even when he doesn’t have a job, he doesn’t have a negative attitude.”

Over the summer, the duo will come up with strategies for when students return to campus in the fall, said Humphrey, who used to sell shirts with his cousin as a side job. They have some design work to do on the app, whose tech is outsourced. And they will continue to sign businesses and campus organizations.

Cal State Fullerton Athletics is planning to work with Barton, but nothing has been agreed upon, said Derrick Fazendin, sports media director, who called Barton’s concept “awesome.”

Meanwhile, the incubator helped the pair get ready to pitch to investors who share their values and mindset. They’ve been advised to seek $250,000 in funding to get them a two- to three-year runway.

Through the incubator, a student team surveyed students to find out what they’re looking for and what they like and don’t like about the app.

Barton knows what he’s doing is a leap of faith.

“It kind of excited me knowing I was taking that step that most businesspeople talk about but they don’t want to take because it’s uncharted waters,” he said. “That’s kind of what excites me about being an entrepreneur is taking those chances and rolling the dice on something you believe in and feel passionate about.”

About the incubator

The CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia, opened in early 2015, and a second one opened last fall at the university’s Irvine center have helped launch 36 new ventures by students, alumni and community members.

Each entrepreneur is paired with an experienced mentor and assigned a team of business or entrepreneurship students who support and collaborate with the startup founders.

The incubator charges “tuition” for six months of residency. Offices and conference space are shared by all participants. Speakers frequently share advise on subjects such as intellectual property, business plan development and legal entities.

No direct connection to the university is required for entrepreneurs to participate.

The CSUF Startup Incubator is part of the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship, housed in the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

For more information on the incubator program, visit business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator.

 

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Cal State Fullerton honors nurse-turned-exec-turned-teacher

He started working as an operating room and trauma nurse 29 years ago and rose to become a health care executive.

Last month, Ron Norby earned a doctorate in nursing practice from Cal State Fullerton.

For his achievements and dedication to learning, Norby was honored with the Betty Robertson Award by Cal State Fullerton’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

“My career taught me many things, but perhaps a central theme has been knowing that there was always more to know, more to understand,” said Norby.

Norby served as director of the VA Medical Center in Long Beach, then director of the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network before retiring. But rather than travel or relax with friends, he started teaching. He now directs the graduate program in nursing and health systems executive management at Cal State Long Beach.

“Cal State Fullerton’s School of Nursing is one of the most nurturing, collegial programs,” Norby said. “From the beginning, I have always felt that the faculty were there for myself and my fellow students to help us achieve academic success. The expectation was extremely high, but it paid off.”

Titan Rover completes desert challenge

The Titan Rover came in 21st in the University Rover Challenge in the Utah desert during the May 31-June 2 event, up one place from last year.

Students Dana Castro, left, and Ternel Enriquez put finishing touches on the Titan Rover's robotic arm.(Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)
Students Dana Castro, left, and Ternel Enriquez put finishing touches on the Titan Rover’s robotic arm. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)

The 36 teams competing were narrowed from an earlier field of 95. Czestochowa University of Technology in Poland came in first while defending champs Missouri University of Science and Technology came in second in the competition, a project of the Mars Society.

This was the third time Titans have qualified to compete in the University Rover Challenge. This year’s Titan Rover featured new electrical and control systems.

The rover is an ongoing project that involves about 80 CSUF students in such fields as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, geological sciences, biological science and business administration. Nina Robson, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is the team’s faculty adviser.

Members of CSUF Titan Rover team pose with "Calypso," the students' latest version of their Mars rover. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)
Members of CSUF Titan Rover team pose with “Calypso,” the students’ latest version of their Mars rover. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)

 

The rovers were required to navigate across arduous terrain — including ascending a steep ridgeline with harrowing drops on both sides — to retrieve tools and deliver them to simulated astronauts in the field.

UC San Diego, Stanford University and San Jose State, the other California schools competing, took 33rd, 34th and 35th places, respectively.

Interim dean for engineering, computer science made permanent

After providing strong and supportive leadership to the College of Engineering and Computer Science as an associate dean and interim dean, Susamma “Susan” Barua has been named dean.


Susamma “Susan” Barua has been named dean of Cal State Fullerton’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)

Barua has led numerous initiatives to drive student success and nurture diversity and inclusiveness, said the university. She provided strong leadership in curriculum, engineering education reform, program performance reviews, accreditation and facilities use.

“Beyond her experience and expertise, she demonstrates integrity, a commitment to collaboration, a focus on student success and a vision to transform the college to meet the future needs of our students,” said Kari Knutson Miller, CSUF provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Barua transformed the summer orientation experience for incoming freshmen and transfer students by integrating lab tours and the opportunity to interact with peers. She also launched graduate student orientations and advising webinars for incoming international students.

Barua holds a doctorate in computer engineering from the University of Cincinnati, a master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Tulsa and a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Regional Engineering College in India.

Finance professor will lead Academic Senate

Mark Hoven Stohs, professor of finance, has been elected chair of CSUF’s Academic Senate for the 2018-19 school year.

Members of the 2018-19 Cal State Fullerton Academic Senate Executive Board are, from left: Michael Perez, Amir Dabirian, Alexandro Gradilla, Jon Bruschke, Nancy Fitch, Mark Stohs, Katherine Powers, Steve Stambough and James Rodriguez. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)
Members of the 2018-19 Cal State Fullerton Academic Senate Executive Board are, from left: Michael Perez, Amir Dabirian, Alexandro Gradilla, Jon Bruschke, Nancy Fitch, Mark Hoven Stohs, Katherine Powers, Steve Stambough and James Rodriguez. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)

Stohs has served as Finance Department chair, associate dean of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, director of the Business Honors Program and chair of the faculty senate. He also serves on the California State University Academic Senate.

Other Academic Senate members elected to the executive board include:

Vice chair: Alexandro Gradilla, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano studies

Secretary: Nancy Fitch, professor of history

Treasurer: Amir Dabirian, vice president for information and technology and chief information officer

 

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