December Newsletter 2018
Dean's Corner
Headshot of Dean Scott-Johnson
As we wrap up this semester and the 2018 calendar year, I am proud of the progress made in building an NSS community, and in meeting our goals of being intentional in developing a learning environment for students. We congratulate our faculty and students who have won awards, and all on their hard work and commitment to excellence.
This semester, we welcomed the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HMMI) and the ways it will support our programs in being more inclusive, and the first cohort of Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program. Through the HHMI grant, faculty have already begun to discuss institutional and curricular barriers. The MMUF fellows have already benefited from the research experiences provided by these programs.
I am also happy to share that the NSS Dean’s Board of Advisors held its first meeting this semester and laid out concrete plans to propel the college to success and support the college’s strategic priorities. The board of advisors is comprised of NSS stakeholders in all aspects of the college – from the social sciences fields to the benchtop sciences.

In addition, the National Science Foundation granted the college, in partnership with Community Partners and the City of Los Angeles, nearly $1 million to increase data accessibility and promote citizen engagement among underserved and marginalized populations. On November 30, a workshop was held for faculty members interested in integrating the mission of the grant into their courses.
Furthermore, the College is looking ahead to finalizing and implementing the strategic plan. This is an opportunity for faculty to shape the future of the college. If interested, please complete the NSS Completion Team application form . Meetings will begin January 2019.
Finally, as we close the semester and the year, I am thankful for you. As you know, we have faced many challenges in our communities. In approaching the New Year (2019), I look forward to building more community partnerships and supporting the work of my colleagues for the benefit of our students. On behalf of the College of Natural and Social Sciences, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and restful holiday break.
See you in 2019! 
Student Highlight 
Six students from the pre-med club posing with Dr. McQueen and a female guest speaker
Feeling frustrated at the lack of resources available to pre-med students on campus, Eiley and her friend and classmate, Jaime Escalante, established the I AM Pre-Med Club. Eiley describes the club’s three objectives: to provide resources to students such as full length practice exams, mock interview and personal statement workshops; to serve as an information hub for students seeking to go on to medical school after graduation and; to provide a supportive atmosphere for pre-med students on campus.

Eiley, who serves as the club’s current president until the end of the semester, has seen the club double in the size of active membership since its establishment.

In addition to her work with the club, Eiley is a member of the labs of Professor Edward Eivers, and Professor Paul Naguzian, where she gained hands-on research experiences.

“I definitely made the most of my time on campus. I am going to miss all the faculty and staff who have helped me along the way especially Maite Villareal Rodriguez, who in addition to being the club’s adviser, was a great resource for me during the last two years. I will also miss my professors and mentors, Dr. Recinos, Dr. Eivers, Dr. Lanning, and Dr. Narguizian.”
Event Highlights
CLS 50 th Anniversary Event 
Dolores Huerta in front of a podium and speaking to the crowd
The Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies kicked off the 50 th anniversary of its founding with an inaugural lecture by legendary activist, Dolores Huerta on Sept. 7, 2018. With more than 700 students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members in attendance, Huerta recounted her involvement in the start of the United Farm Workers movement and reminded those in attendance that Chicano movement began in Los Angeles.

Chicana punk musician and Cal State LA alumna, Alice Bag, along with the mariachi trio, La Victoria performed a song she wrote to honor Dolores Huerta and for her pioneering work and activism.

At the end of the event, Huerta was surprised with plans to name an intersection in Boyle heights in her honor. 

Black Community Honors
More than 200 students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered at the Golden Eagle Ballroom on Oct. 29, 2018 for the 5 th  Annual Black Community Honors Dinner celebration . The event also served as the kick-off of a yearlong celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the Pan-African Studies Department at Cal State LA.

The evening honored four individuals who have dedicated their lives to racial and social justice for the Black community. The honorees included U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of the 13 th  Congressional District; Teri Williams , president and chief operating officer of OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in the nation; Akinyele Umoha , Cal State LA Pan-African Studies alumnus and chair of the African American Studies Department at Georgia State University; and Nana Lawson Bush V , professor of education and Pan-African Studies at Cal State LA and a traditional African priest. Bush was also named a 2018 Outstanding Professor by the University.

Provost Lynn Mahoney delivered the university welcome and Professor Melina Abdullah, chair of the Pan-African Studies department, introduced the honorees. In Abdullah’s remarks, she recounted the impact Black Studies courses had on her early life and education. 

Grifols Science Academy
Twenty students from Garfield and Roosevelt high schools participated in the 2018 Grifols Summer Science Academy at Cal State LA. Launched in 2015, the two week program was designed to encourage minority students to pursue careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Participants are exposed to learning in a university setting where they conduct research, field activities and receive hands-on learning. The students were welcomed to the program by President William Covino and Grifols, Inc. president and Cal State LA alum, Willie Zuniga. Covino expressed gratitude to both Zuniga and Grifols, Inc. for their continued support of the program. In his remarks, Zuniga encouraged attendees to absorb lessons taught by faculty members and teaching assistants.

The participants presented their research at the end of the two-week program. Student speakers, Sarahi Cisneros of Garfield High School, and Katy Castillo of Roosevelt High School credited the program with widening their views of career choices. They now see a career in STEM as a viable option. The students also thanked Professor Hyunsook Park, who oversees the summer program and curriculum. Students participated in a white coat ceremony as proud family members looked on. 

Photos of the summer science academy can be found here
CSU Science Deans Annual Meeting
Science deans and associate deans from the California State University campuses gathered at Cal State LA on October 18 and 19, 2018 for their annual meeting. Dean Scott-Johnson welcomed guests and explained the goal of the meeting: to foster inclusive excellence, collaborations, and the science of team science. John Matsui, director of the Biology Scholars Program at UC Berkeley, gave the keynote address “ Inclusive Excellence through the Lenses of the HHMI. ” Professor Patrick Krug, from Cal State LA’s Department of Biological Sciences gave a lecture on his research titled “ From comics to ‘omics: Growing up during the genomics era in the CSU?” at the evening reception which took place at the Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery.

The deans ended the two-day meeting with a trip to NASA-JPL.

Photos from the meeting can be found here .
Lecturer Reception
On Oct. 11, the department chairs and dean’s office staff gathered for a reception celebrating lecturers across the college’s departments. Attendees mingled, shared ideas and stories on a Thursday evening. Special thanks to the Dean Carlos Rodriguez of the University Library for lending the college ideal space on the library’s rooftop.

View photos from the reception.
Civic and Social Innovation Summit 
The Fall 2018 Civic and Social Innovation Summit at Cal State LA was held the week of Dec. 10, 2018. The summit provided over 100 students in political science, public administration, sociology, and public accounting courses, the opportunity to showcase ideas they developed over the course of the semester. Their projects addressed a range of issues including food justice, culture on the Cal State LA campus, environmental justice, mental health, recidivism, immigration and more. The students presented these social entrepreneurial and innovative projects to invited guests (faculty, staff and administrators) who also offered feedback.

The summit is one of the core activities of the Civic and Social Innovation Group (CaSIG), which stewards students in the process of making positive social change with purpose and creativity. The Group was founded by professors Marla Parker and Dmitri Seals. For more on the Group, follow on  social media
students presenting in a classroom. Students sitting in a classroom listening to students
Four students giving presentation in a classroom. Students refer to powerpoint during presentation
Centro de Niños y Padres Garden 
A small ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Dec. 13, 2018 to celebrate the herbal garden opening at Centro de Niños y Padres in King Hall. The garden was created by students enrolled in AAAS 3510 – Food Justice, taught by Juily Phun, Ph.D. Produce from the garden (beets, basil, lettuce, cilantro and more) will help provide healthy, nutritious food for the children enrolled in Centro de Niños y Padres and their families. Students from the class were involved in every aspect of creating the garden – from growing the produce, building the garden boxes, to transplanting the seedlings into the garden boxes. The goal of the class project is to grow, nutritious food for the community and teach the students the importance of community gardens. Phun worked with Cal State LA’s Facilities Services to ensure proper irrigation of the garden beyond the semester.

This class project is partially funded by the La Kretz Family Endowment for Environmental Science, and in collaboration with Choi Chatterjee, Ph.D., and community partner, Centro de Niños y Padres.

The garden marks the 5 th garden created by Phun’s food justice class. Other partnerships include Alhambra High School, Mark Keppel High School, Anna Bing Arnold Children’s Center, and Garvey Intermediate School. 

Visit the flickr page for more photos from the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Three Cheers for Students
David Cagan , undergraduate student in the chemistry and biochemistry department, was presented an award in recognition of his excellent performance in the 2 nd Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition and Reforms in Practical Education and Training Competition, held at Tianjin University in China.

Cyrene Cruz, M.A. student in history, completed a four-week archaeological dig in Bulgaria of Ancient Greek cities last summer. She won the Michigan Humanities Emerging Scholars grant to study at the University of Michigan with noted papyrologist, Brendan Haug.

Janelle Cuala , biochemistry major and president of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Club, was one of 23 students who received the California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding achievement. The award is the CSU’s highest recognition of student achievement and scholarship and is given each year to students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service, and financial need.

Rob Tejada, undergraduate student in the physics department, was accepted into the Cal-Bridge program . Launched four years ago at Cal Poly Pomona, Cal-Bridge program creates a pathway for students from CSU campuses to Ph.D. programs in physics and astronomy at UCs across California.  

Tejada is the first student from Cal State LA accepted into this highly successful program. 

Cristina Verdugo's thesis,  The Role of Women In Ancient Maya Human Sacrifice , was selected as Cal State LA's nominee for the Western Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis Award in the Social Sciences and Humanities.
Six Cal State LA students were selected as the 2018-2019 Sally Casanova pre-doctoral scholar awardees. All six students are in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. The awards are granted to students who aspire to obtain a doctoral degree after graduation.

  • Dalesy Casasola – Undergraduate student in the Latin American Studies program
  • Nancy Escalante – Graduate student in the history department
  • Carlos González Figueroa – Graduate student in the biology department
  • Gloria Marquez – Graduate student in the psychology department
  • David J. Robles – Graduate student in the psychology department
  • Arlene Sagstume – Graduate student in the psychology department

Always a Golden Eagle (Alumni News)
Dr. Leana Wen , NSS alum, was named president of Planned Parenthood. Wen was a product of the University’s Early Entrance Program. S he graduated at age 18 with a B.S. in biochemistry. Previously, she served as the health commissioner for the City of Baltimore and has been a university professor, author, and emergency room physician. Wen is the sixth president of the organization and only the second physician to lead it. 
Dr. Sumanta Kumar Pal received the college’s Distinguished Alumnus Award at the 2018 Alumni Awards gala. The event honored 11 distinguished alumni. MGA Entertainment CEO, Issac Larian was named Alumnus of the Year.

Dr. Pal graduated at the age of 17 with a bachelor’s degree in biology before earning his medical degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is an internationally recognized leader in the area of genitourinary cancers, including kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer. He is currently co-director of City of Hope’s Kidney Cancer Program and is the head of the kidney and bladder cancer disease team at the institution. 

Staff and Faculty News
Mind Matters Champion Award
President Covino and Debbie Covino pictured with three winners of the Mind Matters Champion award
Amy Miller , assistant to the associate dean, was recognized as a Mind Matters Champion by the University for her efforts in creating a culture of caring, compassion and well-being. Miller was one of the first in the college to complete the eight-hour Mental Health First Aid training through the Mind Matters initiative. This semester, Miller organized workshops for faculty and staff on mental health issues faced by students. She also organizes the annual food drive which supports the Cal State LA Food Pantry. She was one of three awardees recognized at the 2018 Faculty and Staff Holiday Celebration.
Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award
Professor Sylvia Heubach received the prestigious Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award by the California State University system. Heubach was one of 26 faculty members awarded across the California State University system and the only one representing Cal State LA.
Other Accomplishments
Melina Abdullah, Ph.D. , was honored at the 13 th Biennial Phenomenal Woman Awards hosted by CSUN’s Department of Gender & Women’s Studies. The event celebrated women who have made outstanding contributions to the community through their scholarship, activism, and commitment to excellence. 
Jessica Bodoh-Creed, Ph.D., has a new book, The Field Journal for Cultural Anthropology coming out in January. The book is a field manual for introductory cultural anthropology courses with classroom and individual activities for students. The book covers topics from kinship to cultural relativism. 
Choi Chatterjee, Ph.D., presented a talk titled “Leo Tolstoy and Rabindranath Tagore: Principles of Global Thinking” at the Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Patrick Krug, Ph.D ., was featured in National Geographic about the new species of algae-mimicking sea slug his research team discovered.

Kittiya Lee, Ph.D. , was elected 2018-2019 President of the Brazil Studies Committee of the Conference of Latin American History (CLAH).

The co-authored article of Janet Lever, Ph.D., (sociology department) titled “What Keeps Passion Alive? Sexual Satisfaction Is Associated With Sexual Communication, Mood Setting, Sexual Variety, Oral Sex, Orgasm, and Sex Frequency in a National U.S. Study” was chosen as one of two articles to win the 2017 Hugo G. Beigel Award. 

Michelle Lopez, lecturer in the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies, co-curated the exhibition, Entre Tinta y Lucha: 45 Years of Self Help Graphics & Art at the Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery. The exhibit will be traveling to Cal State University, Bakersfield in January 2019.
Leda Ramos, lecturer in the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies, co-curated the exhibit io n,  Central American Families: Networks and Cultural Resistance  at the University Library. The exhibit explored the contributions of Cent ral American families as activ ists, artists, feminists, transactivists, students and intellectuals.
Xin Wen, Ph.D. , was granted $50,000 by the National Science Foundation for his project “I-Corps: Towards Thermally Stable Formulations.”

Ester E. Hernandez, Ph.D., of the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies, Karina Oliva Alvarado, Ph.D, (UCLA) and Alicia Ivonne Estrada (CSUN) were named first place winners of the Best Non-fiction Multi-Author for their book, U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles, and Communities of Resistance, at the 2018 International Book Awards ceremony. 

For more NSS faculty accomplishments, visit the University Reports page .
NSS in the News
Save the Date

23rd Annual Llyod N. Ferguson Distinguished Lecture
Lecture by Jason K. Sello, Ph.D., Brown University
March 15, 2018 | 12 p.m.
Golden Eagle Ballroom
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