News @ the Beach

Generous Gift Creates Global Connections for Students

A seven-figure endowment generously donated by Elaine Haglund, Professor Emerita from the Department of Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling, is responsible for CSULB’s newly established Global Studies Institute (GSI). The endowment’s funding comes in perpetuity and underlines the three pillars of the Declare Capital Campaign—Transformation, Access and a Greater Community.


Elaine Haglund (l) and Richard Marcus

The Global Studies Institute has as its goal making “international” integral to what it means to be educated.

“The institute is primarily committed to reaching students through the curriculum, as well as by connecting our students via technology with their counterparts overseas,” she added. “Too, the institute encourages students to study, intern or volunteer abroad. If donations to the Institute increase, we hope to establish scholarships for these extremely valuable overseas experiences that in most cases have transformative effects on their academic choices and career plans.”

One goal is to reach the vast majority of students unlikely to consider going abroad.

“However, it’s the 99 percent of the CSULB students who are not likely to study or intern abroad that are those we most need to reach,” Haglund said. “It is vital in this globalized 21st century that first, university students are exposed and sensitized to global issues; second, that they have a heightened consciousness regarding other peoples and cultures and third, where possible, that students gain a toolbox of international and global skills including transcultural and trans-lingual application.”

By conducting faculty workshops and granting faculty stipends, one of the aims of the Global Studies Institute is to develop a wide variety of internationally related courses as well as to infuse international and cross-cultural modules into existing courses.

“Currently, the institute is coordinating a federal Title VI interdisciplinary grant to aid in the development of four new foreign language certificates; a general education theme, as well as an honors track, both of which are focused on Global Competencies and Language; a Peace Corps master’s degree in Global Nursing; and evaluation measures based on objective and quantifiable data,” said Haglund.  “In addition to the campus-wide curriculum development, another goal of the Institute is to help fund students’ overseas experiences—study, internships and service learning courses.”

In Haglund’s mind, “Students need to be encouraged to engage with the unfamiliar. Learning about other cultures and languages leads to greater compassion among peoples. It is as Senator William Fulbright once stated: ‘International education turns nations into people.’”

Access is fundamental to Haglund’s vision. She emphasized that “Had it not been for California’s state-funded colleges and universities, I probably could not have attended college due to limited family finances—even though UCLA at the time was only $43 a semester. At this point in time, giving is needed more than ever to help bridge the gap between diminishing state funds and sharply increased student fees that have doubled in the last 10 years. Unfortunately, a majority of our students are graduating with an enormous burden of having to pay off their student loans—thus significantly delaying their ability to actively contribute their time and treasure, if any, to the larger community.”

The components of international education are highly developed at CSULB.

“Not only is there an International House where both domestic and international students reside, there is a thriving Center for International Education providing infrastructure for study abroad and international student services,” Haglund explained. “There is a broad array of short-term study abroad courses, a model International Studies major, active and innovative language and linguistics departments, a significant proportion of faculty committed to international education, and a clearly articulated `Global Perspective’ component in the university’s mission statement.”

Haglund joined the faculty in 1971. During her more than 40 years on campus, she received CSULB’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 1989, three Fulbright Fellowships and the Nicholas Perkins Hardeman award for Academic Leadership in 2008. Haglund has served as a visiting professor in Nigeria, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Turkish Cyprus, Morocco, Nepal, South Korea, Micronesia and twice in the People’s Republic of China.

Haglund encourages the campus and surrounding community to be generous with their support.

“We live in an interdependent and globalized world where political, economic and social interactions across borders are increasing at an exponential rate,” she declared. “Accordingly, it is vital that students graduating from all of CSULB’s diverse programs hold the skills to be globally competent and personally fulfilled in their professions.”

She concluded by saying, “Opening our students’ minds and senses to the world has been—and continues to be—a lifelong commitment.

“I can’t think of a more stimulating and pleasant place to be than on a university campus interacting with our wonderful students, faculty and staff members. But more to the point, I feel fortunate to be able to continue the work that many of us set out to accomplish over three decades ago—that of helping our students become more and more internationally knowledgeable and culturally aware, thus better prepared to live and work in this borderless world of the 21st century,” she added.

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U.S. Department of Education Grant Strengthens International Education

CSULB recently received a U.S. Department of Education grant of $188,470. Titled “Weaving Language and Global Competencies throughout the CSULB Curricula” it is led by CSULB’s Global Studies Institute (GSI) and brings together departments from three colleges to strengthen global competencies and add degree value for students while providing the global literacy necessary to survive in their careers of the borderless 21st century.


Richard Marcus

“What great news for our important international initiatives,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley. “Language and global competencies…it’s pretty fantastic.”

The grant will fund five student-centered projects, including the development of language and global competencies in general education, enhancement of global competencies as part of the Honors program, development of a Certificate in Khmer Language for Heritage Speakers in coordination with the UC Berkeley/UCLA Khmer Language Consortium, development of new tools for the Department of Romance, German, Russian Languages and Literature to enhance focus on language competencies across majors and support for program development in a new global nursing office.

“The impact of the $188,470 is magnified given the hard-to-fund activities it covers and the diverse participants from three different colleges it pulls together,” said Professor of International Studies Richard Marcus, who was the principal investigator (PI) for the grant.

He also serves as the director of the GSI, which was established in September 2012 in service to the university community.

“It will allow faculty to directly address some of the issues raised last spring by the CSULB Senate Task Force on the Study of Languages and it reflects a new coordination of impacts from spending already taking place in colleges as well as a flexibility of deans to maximize the grant impacts through combined efforts. This is an enormous step in the coordination of international education activities and the enhancement of comprehensive internationalization and global learning outcomes at CSULB,” he said.

Along with support from the Office of Academic Affairs, the three colleges on campus involved in the project are Liberal Arts, Health and Human Services and Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE). Grant

“The grant will be a tremendous help in enhancing international curricular activities at CSULB and for faculty to work towards a common goal of comprehensive internationalization,” said Jeet Joshee, Associate Vice President for International Education and Global Engagement and Dean of the CCPE. “It will also create synergy among the three colleges and multiple departments who are committed to our global mission.”

“This shows what great teamwork across departments and colleges can do,” added Asian and Asian American Studies Professor Teri Yamada, who was also one of the co-PIs on the project.

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16-Year-Old CSULB Student Going to NASA

A 16-year-old student at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) has caught NASA’s interest. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering major Joaquin Martinez was recognized recently by the NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program with one of only 20 awards of $15,000 per year for two years and a 10-week paid internship at a NASA center in the summer of 2015.

NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate has undertaken a scholarship program focused on aeronautical research and related degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The program’s purpose is twofold: to provide opportunities to attract highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students to aeronautics and related fields in accordance with the National Aeronautics Research and Development Policy and its accompanying Executive Order, and to help to advance the nation’s aeronautics enterprise by investing in the development of the aeronautics workforce.

“Even though I was only 14 when I transferred to Cal State Long Beach, I have always felt very comfortable here,” said Martinez, on his way to a bachelor of science degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. “Dr. Praveen Shankar was the first professor I met here. He was the faculty advisor for my research fellowship. His willingness to work with students creating research opportunities has made a huge difference for me and my lab mates. I believe that the research opportunities I have had in the Shankar lab have played a big role in winning this scholarship.”

Martinez’ success reflects well on the department and the university, said Shankar.  “Fewer than 25 students from across the country are recognized with this prestigious award,” he said. “Previous years’ winners include students from Caltech to the East Coast Ivy Leagues.  Having Joaquin win it for the first time for CSULB makes me very happy and proud.”

Shankar was impressed by Martinez’ youth. “It was a new experience for me to train a student as young as Joaquin,” he recalled. “He was one of my first students and helped me establish my lab in 2012. He has continued to work with me since then and spent last summer helping to develop a tutorial for a robotic manipulator.”

Nurturing talent like Martinez’ is part of the department’s mission. “The way we get recognized is through our students,” said Shankar. “The success of our students is a reflection of the success of this department. It is good to know that I have contributed in some small way towards the education of this young man who clearly is going to do something important in his life.”

Martinez is interested in robotics and hopes to use the two-year $15,000 award to pay tuition and, perhaps, use a little for robotics research. “Making robots move like humans is my primary interest now,” he said. “I want to know how to program robots to be more autonomous. I want to see how robots learn, but that can be dangerous, a little too `A.I.’”

He looks forward to his 10-week paid internship with NASA.  “I’m excited about it,” he said. “I finally get to see what NASA is really about. I received a NASA National Community College Award when I was 12 but I was too young to participate in the internship at JPL. I hope I can offer input into future NASA missions like the manned trip to Mars. That would be something really amazing.”

Shankar feels Martinez’ success carries out the goal of the NASA scholarship program to nurture fresh talent. “By identifying students like Joaquin, NASA is moving its own mission forward. These students need to be identified early on,” he said.  “It is then that their ideas are forming and they decide what they want to do. Letting students like Joaquin know that they are capable of achieving great things gives them the incentive to go ahead and do those great things. It is a fantastic award.”

Martinez encourages other CSULB students to reach out for scholarships.  “Apply for every single scholarship you can find,” he said. “So what if they say no? You are still getting out there and every application is a chance to get better at writing about yourself and your goals which is an important skill.”

When it comes to scholarships, Shankar points to Martinez. “The NASA scholarship is highly visible but there are so many other scholarships out there,” said Shankar. “I keep looking for these scholarships so I can encourage my students to apply for them.”

Martinez’ career goals include earning a master’s and doctorate in mechanical engineering.  “I am fortunate to live in Long Beach and have a great school for studying engineering in our city,” said Martinez. “I’m glad I chose CSULB. The chance to do research over the last three years has given me the opportunity to grow as an engineer. It is a fantastic school where I’ve made lots of friends.”

Shankar also will continue to encourage his students to apply for scholarships. “Awards like these demonstrate recognition beyond this campus,” he said. “When students look at the recognition they receive from the broader community, they feel more encouraged. They are more willing to do the hard work that is necessary for success.  Achievements like these keep happening in this department and college because we have an excellent faculty, support staff and the very hard-working and qualified students.”

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U.S. Department of Education Grants $2.8 Million to Help Hispanics Get Graduate Degrees

Thanks to the U.S. Department of Education’s Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program, Hispanics will have more opportunities to attain graduate degrees. It has approved the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) project proposal for a grant totaling about $2.8 million over the next five years. The project, Hispanic Opportunities for Graduate Access and Retention (HOGAR), will be used to further post-baccalaureate opportunities for Hispanic and underprivileged students. It will develop the graduate program at CSULB, support student outreach and provide monetary support for recruitment and travel for graduate students. It will also provide funding and mentoring for faculty desiring to engage in grant writing and other scholarly work that includes graduate students.


Babette Benkin, director of graduate studies in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is the principal investigator (PI) on the grant. She will collaboratively work with her co-PIs, Eric Marinez, department of chemistry and biochemistry, Rigoberto Rodriguez, department of Chicano and Latino studies, and Nancy Hall department of linguistics. Zed Mason, former associate vice president for research and external support, will serve as the evaluator for the grant.

“This project will help to both expand and enhance CSULB’s graduate studies, which is a key component of the university’s strategic plan,” said Benkin. “Through the development of the new Graduate Studies Resource Center and programs that support prospective and current students, Project HOGAR aims to increase enrollment and graduate student success at CSULB, particularly for Hispanic and underserved students. We hope that this project will propel a greater focus on graduate studies here at CSULB.”

For the first time in CSULB’s history, a Graduate Studies Resource Center will be established, which will serve as a central location to be used by all CSULB post-baccalaureate students in a dedicated space in the Peterson Hall 2 building. HOGAR will be developed to include comprehensive outreach programs for Hispanic and underserved students. The programs will enhance student engagement relating to graduate education and professional/career goals, facilitate graduate research/scholarship, grow cultural competency and scholarship excellence in faculty mentors, and develop the research infrastructure to support quality post-baccalaureate education.

CSULB is considered a Hispanic Serving Institution. It is ranked 11th nationally in awarding undergraduate degrees to Hispanics and 13th for underrepresented students generally. More than 35 percent of CSULB’s undergraduate student population is Hispanic. However, the graduate enrollment for Hispanics is significantly lower, and the graduate program is relatively small (12 percent of total enrollment) compared to other universities, including other CSU campuses. HOGAR is designed to help continue and advance CSULB’s reputation as a research-driven university.

The five-year goals of HOGAR are: to strengthen CSULB’s outreach efforts of Hispanic and underserved post-baccalaureate students by developing and implementing a comprehensive recruitment plan; to improve the experience and success of Hispanic and underserved post-baccalaureate students; to enhance the scholarship, research, and mentorship capacity of faculty to support Hispanic and underserved post-baccalaureate student success; and to improve CSULB’s graduate-level infrastructure to support Hispanic and underserved post-baccalaureate student success.

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