Student Ideas Matter
Students at Saint Mary’s contribute to their fields even before graduation. Last spring, Kimberly Burks, Michelle Hider, and Vanessa Touset of the Kalmanovitz School of Education designed a program to treat older adults struggling with alcohol abuse for the Community Mental Health and Trauma Interventions course’s final project.
Candace Eros Diaz, M.F.A. Creative Nonfiction ’11 and Fiction ’12, has won San Jose University's Steinbeck Fellowship, which offers emerging writers of any age and background a $10,000 stipend to pursue a significant writing project while in residence at the university. Diaz, admissions coordinator for the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing, is currently at work on a historical novel about her women ancestors.
A Cool Million
Live in Peace, a nonprofit organization founded and directed by Kalmanovitz School of Education doctoral student Heather Starnes, received $1 million from Facebook executive Chris Cox and his wife, filmmaker Visra Vichit-Vadakan, to help connect East Palo Alto youth and young adults to the tech community.
Dobkin Honored Again
For the second year in a row, Provost Bethami Dobkin was named one of the “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business” by the San Francisco Business Times. The annual list includes some of the most accomplished leaders in the fields of law, technology, health care, finance, insurance, and higher education. Under Dobkin’s academic leadership, Saint Mary’s has increased enrollment, raised the academic profile and retention and graduation rates, attained accreditation with AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), gained national prominence in the performing arts, and become eligible as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.
It’s easy to visualize English or history majors bent over their research in the Saint Mary’s Library, which serves in many ways as their laboratory. But chemistry and other science students have a similar need to conduct library research in their disciplines, using complex tools only an academic library can provide.
Twelve Saint Mary’s science students participated in a massive research project, coordinated by the Genomics Education Partnership. Part of a 940-strong group of undergraduates from 63 colleges and universities, they performed what amounted to a massively parallel research project on the evolution of an unusual fruit fly chromosome.
Free Tax Help
Thanks to Armando Martinez-Lopez, ’12, low-income families received free tax preparation help—and saved more than $200,000—with 150 tax returns last spring through a volunteer program at the Monument Crisis Center in Concord. Martinez-Lopez, who returned to Saint Mary’s for his master’s in accounting in July, had done volunteer tax assistance through an SMC accounting class.
Brianna Bibel ’16 spent 10 weeks this summer investigating changes in the neurons of Huntington’s disease patients. The prestigious 10-week fellowship at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Design at the University of California, San Francisco was funded by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.
Winning New Coach
When Saint Mary’s Director of Athletics Mark Orr announced in March that Travis Clarke would take the reins of the Gaels’ women’s soccer program, he knew he’d found his man.
Under Armour Seals Deal
With the announcement of its partnership with global performance brand Under Armour, the Saint Mary’s athletic department occupies rare company in collegiate athletics. Under Armour will exclusively design and supply the footwear, apparel, and equipment for each of the Gaels’ 17 men’s and women’s varsity teams, making Saint Mary’s the first Division I all-sports partner for Under Armour on the West Coast. By partnering with Under Armour, SMC joins a roster that includes NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry; Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth; former Gaels star Patrick Mills; and programs such as Notre Dame, Maryland, Auburn, Cincinnati, South Carolina, and the Naval Academy.
Don’t bother asking Erica Musgrave ’16 exactly how she spent her summer. One of the top college math students in the United States, Musgrave will say only that she interned for 12 weeks at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland.
Sharing the Good News
Catholic educators gathered in June for Saint Mary’s first “Sharing the Good News in the Era of Pope Francis: An Exploration of the Theology and Use of Digital Media in Dialogue and Evangelization,” a weeklong workshop sponsored by the Bishop John S. Cummins Institute for Catholic Thought, Culture, and Action and the Office of the Provost. “The internet offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity,” said Pope Francis. “This is a gift from God.”
Every spring, Saint Mary’s cultural nights sell out to students, families, and the SMC community. The Intercultural Center, founded 10 years ago to support diversity, organizes six nights—Expressions of Blackness, The Bash (LGBTQIA), Latino, Lu’au, Asian, and Arabian. “The goal is to educate people more about the values of our people,” said Taimane Tuiasosopo ’15, lead co-chair for last year’s Lu’au. These popular evenings, which highlight the historical milestones, customs, and issues of these historically underrepresented groups, had themes last year ranging from Rocky Horror to Black Lives Matter.
Goalkeeper for Guam
Former Saint Mary’s goalkeeper Doug Herrick is doing his best to become the first Gael ever to play in soccer’s World Cup. The Seattle native led Guam to a pair of unlikely victories in Group D preliminary qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup, one of the world’s largest sporting events. He was playing in goal for Guam’s 2-1 upset victory over heavily favored India, just five days after the team kicked off its qualifying matches with a 1-0 shutout win over Turkmenistan.
The Office of Faculty Development and Provost Bethami Dobkin recognize five faculty members each year. Four receive faculty awards and a $5,000 stipend from the Committee on Teaching and Scholarship, and a fifth is named Professor of the Year. This year the professors were David Bowen, Janice Doane, Ellen Rigsby, Berna Aksu, and Makiko Imamura.