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Avery the dog
Avery was introduced to the public during the 2017 Convocation on Aug. 25 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center. With her on stage is CSULB Sgt. Ray Gonzalez.

The newest member of Cal State Long Beach campus police is adept at detecting trouble. She can sniff out problems, alert others of danger and wag her tail in excitement.

Meet Avery, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever who recently joined the force as the school’s first detection dog. She is expected to help reduce time and cost associated with detection of suspected explosives and provide a few smiles.

“We respond to suspicious objects all the time on campus,” President Jane Close Conoley said. “Kids leave backpacks or someone is at an exhibit and leaves a box. This takes a lot of people power. For safety, we empty buildings while we (detect the threat level.)”

In the past, Conoley said in certain circumstances, the school has relied on the dog from the Long Beach Police Department. Having a dog on campus enables university police to assess the situation quicker. Avery lives close by with her handler, Sgt. Ray Gonzalez.

“(From) a safety standpoint, I thought it was going to be a win for our police department,” Conoley said.

Long Beach is the sixth CSU campus to acquire a detection dog such as Avery, who is assigned the task of sniffing explosives only. Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have two dogs–one for explosives and one for drug detection.

According to Lt. Rick Goodwin, Avery’s training took three-to-four months, after which she earned her police badge/vest. She, however, will continue the highly technical training from Gonzalez as types of explosives continually change.

“When she finds something that’s suspicious, she sits down,” Goodwin said. “In her work environment, she’s completely focused.

“Notice her vest… the goal of training is that when the vest is on, it’s all business. When the vest is off, Avery will know ‘I can play with these students.’ It’s another cue to learning.”

Students can expect to see Avery on campus throughout the year in her secondary role–goodwill ambassador. Conoley said the dog will provide valuable public relations outreach to the community at such events as SOAR and safety talks, and perhaps even visit student groups and housing, just to “get students aware that there is this extra level of protection for them.”

“Safety is the primary thing, but it’s also a morale booster. Students love dogs,” Conoley said.

Extra safety and tail-wagging comes with a price tag, though.

Barbara Alpert of the Alpert Jewish Community Center in Long Beach donated the initial costs of acquiring Avery. Conoley said the constant care, feeding and training, however, needs to be raised annually. A Beachfunder has been set up with a goal of $5,000.

“There are ongoing costs — training and some of the gear Avery has and none of that is cheap,” Conoley said. “It’s all specialized. Then there are the veterinarian bills and food.”

Nursing students on stage
Loucine Huckabay (r), director of CSULB’s School of Nursing, speaks to students at the White Coat Ceremony held Aug. 24 at the Daniel Recital Hall.

Anxious students sat and listened as faculty members spoke of the importance of the short white coats that hung on their chairs. They heard words such as “symbolic”, “professional” and “life and death.”

“This is the most trusted profession there is,” said Melissa Dyo, associate professor in the School of Nursing. “As nurses, you are doing it more than for a paycheck. Nursing is so much more.”

The students at the Daniel Recital Hall last week were waiting for the moment they received their official jacket as part of the prestigious White Coat Ceremony. More than 100 schools nationwide stage a White Coat Ceremony, considered a rite of passage toward a healthcare career. This was the first such ceremony held at Cal State Long Beach.

At the end of the ceremony, each student put on their white jackets and received a pin, signifying their entry into nursing.

Loucine Huckabay, director of the CSULB’s School of Nursing, told the 78 students that by wearing a short white coat, they were “stepping over the threshold of being any student into the nursing program,” then gave them a stern warning.

She said that one misplaced decimal point on a medicine dosage could cause harm or even death to a patient. Therefore, they need to pay close attention and learn from their professors over the next five semesters of the rigorous, yet highly acclaimed program.

Barrie Reinschreiber, a transfer from Santa Monica College, said a serious of chest surgeries led him to pursue a career in nursing. He was born with a chest deformity that required several hospital stays, and interactions with medical personnel.

“It motivated me and I thought I could do a good job at it,” Reinschreiber said.

Jordan Moline called getting her white coat “a monumental symbol” of her accomplishments.

“It’s the crowning achievement of my life so far,” she said. “This is daunting, but exciting.”

Assistant professor Anita Fitzgerald gave the students six lessons she learned in teaching nursing, including to “never forget the passion that brought you here” and “expect to face challenges.”

“Wear this coach with pride,” Fitzgerald said. “You don’t just represent nursing, but Cal State Long Beach nursing.”

In 2007, the year College of Engineering (COE) celebrated 50 years of achievement, Sandra Cynar researched and created a small history of the college using PowerPoint.

“I was surprised by the faculty response to my original presentation at the 50th anniversary,” she recalled. “They really seemed to enjoy it. There were faculty who had been here for some time who did not know certain things and personalities.”

In August, the college cut the ribbon for its new History Wall on the second floor of the engineering and computer science (ECS) building.

Cynar, an emeritus COE professor, led the History Wall project. Her special status as one of the first female engineering students in the college 58 years ago, industry experience, time as a lecturer, faculty member, department chair, associate dean and interim dean served her well for this project.

“I grew up with the college,” said Cynar. “I’ve been here for every decade of its history. In 2013, the dean (Forouzan Golshani) assembled a group of the willing and that marked the beginning of the History Wall project. It took three years to complete. We started with hundreds of pictures from the college. More information was found in the CSULB archives, all of which was overwhelming. It took almost a year to gain some control over what to put into the history and what not to use.”

Speaking of the people represented on the wall, many were friends of Cynar.

“I knew these people,” she said. “I took classes from them. They were my faculty. When I came back to work here, they were my coworkers. It was nice to put up pictures of those who are not here anymore. That is one reason why I enjoyed it. It took a lot of time but it was one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever done.”

She hopes the History Wall has an impact on the college.

“The parallel technology history at the bottom informs the impact that our graduates have had on technology and society,” she said. “Our college produces very important graduates and I hope the faculty can see their impact with these parallel histories.”

Cynar hopes the History Wall points to the future as much as the past. She recalled the COE’s first Micro Mouse team and her service as its faculty advisor that took the team to championship races everywhere from Hong Kong to Toronto.

Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani
College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani studies items from yesteryear.

“Many students told me that job interviewers did not ask them about their classes but were interested in the project,” she said. “Projects like these are very important for the students to apply what they learned in class.” She believes it takes extra time for the faculty to advise these student projects, but it is an important part of their education.

Cynar believes the History Wall serves as a validation of all the efforts made by the COE, its faculty and its students.

“Not only are we still here after 50 years, we are becoming a name,” she said. “When I first went into industry, I met people from Stanford, USC, Purdue etc., but not a lot of CSULB graduates. My son Mark graduated from the COE in 1999 and when he went into industry, he met many from CSULB. Now our graduates have respect and make an impact.”

This fall, a new bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering has emerged from the College of Engineering, the only California State University campus in Southern California to offer such. The department will have seven faculty members.

“One of the fastest-growing disciplines in the U.S. is biomedical engineering,” explained David Stout, a member of the university since 2014 who is one of the founding faculty members of the new degree with mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) colleague Emil Demircan. “It is an interdisciplinary field that coincides with all other engineering programs to better understand how engineering can help biology. It is a way for aerospace and mechanical engineers to come together to help people stay alive longer. We’re talking knee replacements and patches for hearts. The goal of this degree is to show how engineering and biology can interact.”

Instruction will match traditional areas of MAE, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, computer engineering and computer science, such as statics that describe buildings that don’t move and dynamics that describe objects that do move.

“These topics will be presented with the normal engineering curriculum but backboned in a biological setting,” said Stout. “In addition to dynamics, for instance, we will offer biomechanics or how the body moves. The topics of techniques in molecular and cellular engineering will show how biologists do research and experiments in a way that is tailored for engineers. We will offer classes in biomaterials or how the material sciences interact with biology. There will be stem cell engineering classes.”

He estimates 75-80 percent of the enrolled students have a personal story attached to their areas of interest.

One of his students researches how a 3D printer can create kidney cells because his mother suffers from kidney failure. Another student pursues pancreatic research to devise a material that can assist with that research because he has a sibling who is insulin-dependent.

“I think that’s really cool,” said Stout. “They are not only dedicated from a career perspective, but they are also dedicated from a personal perspective.”

The degree comes in the wake of tremendous advances in biomedical engineering over the last 10 years.

“It has grown exponentially,” said Stout. “For instance, ‘advanced’ implants first appeared 25 years ago and were made of either aluminum or titanium. They worked but they were good only for 10-15 years before wear and tear made you get a new one. Fast forward to now, we have carbon-based nanomaterials embedded into traditional ‘advanced’ implants that make these implant last 20+ years. New research studies how these new materials interact with the body. You want to reduce wear, tear and rejection. How do we promote the body? A new theory is to avoid what the body does not create itself. What if we could manipulate the human body so it could regenerate itself at a faster pace? That includes growing new bones.”

A helpful resource for the new degree is Stout’s new BSL Level 2 laboratory where “We do a lot of awesome stuff,” he said. Students play a big role.

biomedical students

Biomedical students work in lab.

“Not a single student is a biomedical engineering major,” Stout laughed. “There is a chemical engineer, a computer scientist, a mechanical engineer, an aerospace engineer, a chemistry major and an electrical engineering major. This new degree will help engineers and biologists come together.”

The new lab offers students the chance to perform both primary and secondary research.

“We can study animal as well as human cells, “he said. “We can do 3D printing which two students are using to actually print cells. Two other students are working on creating what they call a Band-Aid for the heart as a way of rebuilding tissue damaged in a heart attack. The students all work together in a big, giant room where they do serious work that interests them.”

He anticipates the new degree will offer plenty of chances for working with Southern California biomedical engineering firms as professional partners.

“There’s definitely a lot of outreach,” he said. “For instance, I work with a company that specializes in condom design. They design a new condom without understanding the FDA protocols and procedures. Together with a student, we came up with a design, materials and how to present the data. I also work with Xerox who are interested in health care systems. They want to know the trends in biomedicine. This lab points to those trends.”

Stout sees continued commitment to the new degree.

“I want to build on the strengths I find here in the Los Angeles Basin,” he said. “There is work on medical implants and devices, materials and fluid systems. We’ve already been approached by local biomedical companies.”

This fall, anthropology and linguistics’ Barbara LeMaster looks forward to being the director of CSULB’s new degree program in American Sign Language Linguistics and Deaf Cultures (ASLD). The program will offer a one-two punch of bachelor’s degrees in ASL Linguistics and Deaf Cultures with an option in ASL-English interpretation.

“This is a major that will attract a lot of students,” said LeMaster, who joined the university in 1988. “I hope our students use this degree to enter fields as various as law enforcement or any service profession. If they meet someone who is deaf, they can speak to them directly. We are unique in the nation in the way we train our students to be linguists. Nobody else trains their people this way.”

LeMaster explained that the B.A. degree program’s goal is to provide students with what they need to know in whatever specialty they choose.

“Students also may choose to pursue graduate studies in such fields as linguistics, interpreting, social work, teaching, languages or cultures,” she said. “We expect our students graduating with a B.A. in our interpreting option to go on to become nationally certified interpreters who have a comprehensive background in linguistics, giving them an edge in their future professional practice.”

The ASL Linguistics and Deaf Culture major for a bachelor of arts degree consists of 50 units in 12 required courses and three elective courses. Students will be introduced to a variety of signed and spoken languages and their cultures in the U.S. and across the globe.

The 20- to 21-unit ASL and Deaf Cultures minor at CSULB consists of six required courses that focus on the acquisition of American Sign Language and American Deaf Culture in order to gain fluidity in the language and cultural competence in community interactions. Four of the units can duplicate as general education units.

The B.A. option in ASL-English Interpreting is part of the ASL Linguistics and Deaf Cultures major that consists of 19 required courses worth 64 units. Thirteen of these units can duplicate as general education units. The B.A. in ASL Linguistics and Deaf Cultures Interpreting option not only teaches students to be linguists who can work with signed and spoken languages but also trains students to become interpreters between ASL and English.

“There is great diversity in the world’s deaf communities,” said LeMaster. “There are those who were raised to speak or lip-read. Others know how to converse in signed English. Their experience ranges from not-quite English to ASL,” she said, noting this particular program addresses the broad range of the deaf community.

“I want to cooperate with Romance/German/Russian languages and literatures so that our majors can earn a certificate in Spanish,” she added. “I especially want to offer one course in Mexican sign language that is not offered anywhere else. There is such a local demand for ASL, English and Spanish interpreting skills with a basic knowledge of standard Mexican sign language that our students will get jobs immediately. Even if their ASL interpreting skills are not-yet at a nationally certified level, they are employable.”

LeMaster anticipates quite a lot of competition to get into the interpreting option, giving it the luxury of selecting the most advanced students.

“Some students were raised with ASL from birth with their deaf parents, some of our applicants are working interpreters already, and we have had interest from some who are already nationally certified interpreters, but who want to come to us for our B.A.,” she said. “We have some students who are native signers, e.g. they have deaf parents. For these students, we will be honing their native skills to help them excel in the fields of their choice.”

LeMaster encourages enrollment in the new degree programs.

“I anticipate that we will be a powerhouse like CSU Northridge,” she said. “What students would get here that they would not get at CSU Northridge is the linguistic training to understand the science of language.”

For more information, click here.

The open enrollment period for any changes to health or dental benefits, flexcash, certain voluntary benefits and enrollment/re-enrollment in the Dependent Care and Health Care Reimbursement Account plans will be Monday, Sept. 11, through Friday, Oct. 6. Changes made during the open enrollment period become effective Jan. 1.

The open enrollment fair will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 19, from noon to 2 p.m. in Brotman Hall on the third floor patio. On hand will be representatives from current medical, dental, vision and various voluntary benefits providers.

There will be two Open Enrollment informational sessions held near the Pyramid in the Barrett Athletic Administration Center (BAC) Conference Room (223 BAC).

For a campus map, click here.

The sessions will be held on Friday, Sept. 22, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Benefits department staff will provide an overview of its programs, highlight changes occurring this Open Enrollment period and assist with completing forms and answering questions.

Because of CalPERS and other state restrictions, requests received after Oct. 6 will not be accepted. It’s important to note that the Dependent and Health Care Reimbursement Account plans require re-enrollment every year, even if an employee wishes to continue the same contribution amount. Current participants must complete a new enrollment form annually. The open enrollment period is also the time when employees can add/delete dependents.

Please review your plans carefully as premium rates and co-payments are subject to change. You will not receive information from CalPERS regarding open enrollment in the mail. That information is now available through their MyCalPERS system. Open enrollment information will be available on CSULB’s Benefits Services website beginning Sept. 8.

As a reminder, a Social Security number and proof of the dependent relationship is required for any individual enrolled in a CalPERS health plan, CSU dental and/or vision plan as the dependent of a benefits eligible employee. This policy is applicable to new hires and existing employees. If an employee selects coverage for his/her dependent(s) during open enrollment and does not provide a valid Social Security number for the dependent(s), the open enrollment request will not be processed until proper documentation is provided. If the dependent is deemed ineligible to qualify for a Social Security number, the employee must provide documentation of this information.

For more information on open enrollment and available benefit plans, visit Benefits Services, the Benefit Services website or e-mail Benefits Services.

CSULB’s 2017 Convocation event in August highlighted institutional achievements and outlined initiatives for the upcoming 2017-18 academic year and beyond. At the event held in the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, President Jane Close Conoley and Provost Brian Jersky addressed the campus community and guests. There were also remarks from Academic Senate Chair Norbert Schürer and Associated Students’ President Joseph Nino.

“I am very optimistic about the future of our university,” said Conoley during her remarks to the audience. “We face today some looming challenges, but we have faced looming challenges every year for the past 67 years or so I imagine. And as the old song celebrates, we’re still here, and here in great style.

“In addition to a history of success,” she added, “my optimism is based on the conviction that we can continue to build on our commitments to student success, embrace challenges with innovative and entrepreneurial strategies and maintain and improve our position as one of the nation’s great comprehensive universities. We have shown the persistence and dedication to get hard things done.”

In addition, School of Art professor Aubry Mintz introduced a screening of an animated short film titled “Ugat” by Theresa Reyes, a recent CSULB graduate who now works at Disney’s Pixar.

Cal State Long Beach continues to be an attractive option for incoming students. The campus had 103,605 student applications for Fall 2017, the most in the university’s history.

The projected enrollment for this fall is approximately 37,000, with new freshmen numbering nearly 4,200 and a transfer enrollment of 3,850, similar to last year. Among the new students will be 32 President’s Scholars. President’s Scholars are selected from throughout the state because of their high-level of achievements, to learn more about the program, click here.

Classes for the fall semester at the university began on Monday, Aug. 28.

Jane Close Conoley
President Jane Close Conoley speaks at the 2017 Convocation.

• To access the 2017 Convocation website, which includes the text of President Conoley’s remarks, click here.

–Shayne Schroeder

Ronnie Heard, a service engineer with 38 years of service to the university, was recently named by his peers in facilities management as employee of the month.

Heard, who joined CSULB in 1979 as a helper aide in plant operations, was recognized in a special ceremony held near the University Student Union that saw Friendship Walk renamed for the month as Ronnie Heard Lane.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley applauded Heard’s recognition.

“He has certainly seen quite a few changes in his 38 years here at The Beach,” she said. “Ronnie has held several positions in facilities management, moving up the ranks to his current classification of Building Service Engineer. Ronnie takes great pride in his work and has an excellent relationship with his peers, supervisor and staff members throughout campus. When his co-workers are asked about Ronnie, they mention he always has a smile, is a great person to work with and is a great three-point shooter.”

Heard felt honored by his recognition.

“I feel good about it,” he said. “It is especially great coming after 38 years at the university. Of course, I don’t think I deserve it because there are so many great people where I work.”

One of Heard’s earliest responsibilities was protecting campus wiring from the occasional heavy rain. The job was not without its risks.

“If rain connected with electrical wiring and created a short, sometimes manhole covers would blow up,” he recalled. “Some would go as high as a building. One came down by the MHB and stuck in the ground.”

Crawling into places at CSULB where few have been is part of his job.

“Some people don’t even know these places are there,” he said. “It’s been a blast seeing the campus grow. I’ve been to a lot of places in a lot of buildings. When you think you’ve been in all the places on campus, you haven’t. I don’t care how long you’ve been here; there is always somewhere you haven’t been yet.”

Heard enjoys working in facilities management.

“I’ve met a lot of good people throughout the years,” he said. “It’s important to keep a smile on your face and remember we are here by the grace of God and it is up to us to make the best of it that we can.”

Ronnie Heard
Ronnie Heard

Heard is an active member of his local church.

“There are so many things unfolding right before us that we can read about in the Bible every day,” he said. “We are dealing with things now that we were dealing with BC. But it is important to give back to the community and help those in need.”

When he isn’t working hard to maintain CSULB, Heard enjoys playing with his grandchildren and joining his wife Beverly to watch their three professional jazz musician sons open for Faith Evans the month.

Heard received several gifts including a CSULB sweatshirt, a $25 gift certificate to California Pizza Kitchen, a gift certificate for one pound of See’s Candies and a $25 gift certificate to Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que.

Lesley Farmer, Teacher Librarian Program Coordinator, presented two papers at the International Federation of Library Associations conference in Wroclaw, Poland—”Showing school library value” and “Data-driven field experiences for mutual support.” She also successfully coordinated the International Association of School Librarianship conference, which was held at the CSULB campus Aug. 4-8. About 200 school librarians and educators from 25 countries attended the event and toured local libraries. On June 2-3, the Alpha Chapter at CSULB hosted the Phi Beta Delta 31st Annual International Conference on campus. The theme of the event was Building Partnerships for Global Learning. About 50 attendees, mainly from the U.S., shared their expertise. Farmer gave two papers, one on internationalizing school librarianship, and the other on OERs and MERLOT.

Temecula Wine Tasting, Tour and Lunch
Saturday, Sept. 30
8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Kick off the fall season by spending a day at Falkner Winery in Temecula. Enjoy six award-winning Falkner wines of your choice while taking in the stunning views of Temecula Valley, then be escorted on a tour of the winery and production facility.

Afterwards, indulge in a delicious luncheon at the Pinnacle Restaurant’s private, candle-lit barrel room. Reservation includes round-trip bus transportation between CSULB and Falkner Winery.

The event is organized by the CSULB Alumni Association. For cost and additional information, click here.

For more information or to make reservations, contact Laura Romero in the CSULB Alumni Relations office by email or call 562-985-7022.