Recent Entries in Spotlight

cannesoutside.jpgSonoma State University senior Alex Bretow was working on the set of a new Steve Jobs biography film when he got the email on March 16: "Congratulations, you've been officially accepted into the Cannes CMF program!" Says Bretow, "I literally ran outside and was jumping up and down."

When the producer/director called his filmmaking partner and fellow SSU student, writer/producer Mary-Madison Baldo, she had a similar reaction "I literally screamed," she says. "I was home for spring break, so I tripped up the stairs yelling, 'Mom!' She came out of her bedroom in a panic because she thought that I had hurt myself or something."

Both are appropriate reactions to finding out you've had not one, but two films selected for the most prestigious film festival in the world this May.

SSU Society of Women Engineers logoWomen represent 24 percent of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce in the United States, a figure that's risen only 3 percent since 1993 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. But a new club at Sonoma State University is working to close the gender gap.

"We already have an electrical engineering club, which is geared toward the boys," says Alyssa Afa'ese, electrical engineering major and president of SSU's new Society For Women Engineers club. "Women are underrepresented in our major, so we wanted to start and organization where women can work together."

The club began in fall 2014 and is working to inspire young women at Sonoma State to pursue their interest in engineering science. Afa'ese believes many women are apprehensive about joining the engineering department because of its low percentage of female students.


At 70, Sonoma State University graduate biology student Nicole Karres doesn't need another career. But in 1996 her natural curiosity got the best of her, and after careers in the medical corps in the Army and as a graphic designer at a fortune 500 company, she started what would be a 20-year journey to both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in a field of study that was brand new to her.

Particularly grateful are the jarred fish, amphibian and reptile specimens she has taken to cleaning and re-preserving for future researchers like herself.

geologyvertical.jpgTwelve hearty souls from the SSU geology department took a six-day field trip in early September to the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta to explore the world-renown Burgess Shale, a UNESCO world heritage site widely lauded as the most important fossil locality in the world.

This field trip ran in conjunction with the upper level Geology elective course, GEL321: Burgess Shale Paleontology, a class taught since 2003 by paleontologist Matt James.

The fossils of Burgess Shale were discovered in 1909 during construction of the Trans-Canadian Railway. These 505-million-year-old fossils, remnants of creatures that once lived in a shallow sea, are the best record of the period of time after the appearance of modern hard-shelled multicellular animals and have proved pivotal to the study of paleontology. They are located in the majestic Canadian Rockies on the eastern border of British Columbia, surrounded by stunningly beautiful mountains shaped by numerous glaciers--in short, a geologist's heaven!

sophmoreyearexperience.jpgClass selection and academic resources are changing for first and second year students at Sonoma State University with the introduction of the voluntary Sophomore Year Experience Program (SYE).

This program, designed to help freshman transition to their sophomore year and prepare for the remainder of their college careers, began last year as a pilot program and is now expanding further among the university this year.

The Dean of the School of Business, his son, and courageous SSU sophomore Sophie Edwards know the battle against blood cancer well. SSU mounts a team for the Light the Night Walk on Oct. 11 as a fundraising event for cancer research and patient services. 

 When Benji Silver was three months old, he was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of blood cancer. At that point in his life, at such a young age, he was given a 30 percent chance of life. After three years of treatment and constant hospital visits, Benji survived leukemia. He is now healthy and happy 11 years later at age 14. 

His father, Dean of Sonoma State University's School of Business and Economics William Silver, considers his son a "conquerer" for more reasons than one, including his appreciation for life and his strength to accomplish the seemingly impossible.
romesburg.jpgQueer history is about to see the light of day in California's K-12 schools. 

If SSU Women's and Gender Studies Chair Don Romesburg has his way, the story won't just include history-making heroes. 

Professor Romesburg has worked vigorously with other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) scholars to develop a new framework that weaves analysis of gender and sexuality as social and political forces throughout time.

Since May 2013, Romesburg has steered a rigorous effort to recommend revisions of the California K-12 History - Social Science Framework.

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, he and two co-editors released the groundbreaking report: Making the Framework FAIR: California History-Social Science Framework Proposed LGBT Revisions Related to the FAIR Education Act.

"Students can only truly understand families, communities, social practices, and politics, by understanding how they shaped and were shaped by same-sex relations and gender diversity--and how this changed over time," he says.

picl.jpgThe entrance to the Children's School on the SSU campus is the first step to understanding the power of the environment as teacher.

Some children harvest raspberries as others care for chickens that inhabit the outdoor area that surrounds the school. Pears and other fruits growing in the garden are ready to be plucked soon.Sponsored by the Associated Students, the Children's School offers a one-of-a-kind learning experience for children ages one to five years old, for low income families, and for SSU students and faculty

allacademic.jpgWith another successful year in the books for SSU student-athletes, the Dept. of Intercollegiate Athletics reports that 62 Seawolves earned All-Academic honors by their respective conferences for the 2013-14 school year. In addition, 12 other student-athletes not eligible for conference awards and/or compete on a team not affiliated with a conference earned Academic Distinction for having a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher. The overall total of 74 Seawolves earning academic honors is an increase from last year's tally of 64.

nathanrank.jpegStudent research, scholarship and creative activity capitalize on the strength of the faculty and add currency to students' educational experience, says Provost Andrew Rogerson. Aiming to strengthen the major opportunities that undergraduate students at SSU have for compelling research, Rogerson funded 29 grants for faculty-student teams this semester.

kristalraheem.pngKristal Raheem is very passionate about promoting social justice and serving her community.

After witnessing her friends and peers drop out of school, she wanted to create an organization that would help students stay at SSU and earn a degree.

myrnagoodman.pngEmerita Professor Myrna Goodman, Sociology, has spent 17 years as a Holocaust and genocide scholar including serving as Director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide at SSU.

The issues confronting educators today are essentially the same as they were when she first began teaching about the Holocaust and genocide in 1997.

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