MPA alum spotlighted for work in senior wellness

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 3.37.20 PMJessica McCracken (MPA, ’06) is featured in the Winter 2018 issue of LeadingAge California Magazine: Women’s Edition. The publication’s first women’s issue explores a range of factors contributing to the financial challenges many women face when approaching retirement. LeadingAge California highlights the great work being done by women in senior communities. MacCracken is featured in her role as vice president of programming and development for Ruth’s Table, the creative wellness program at Bethany Center Senior Housing. See story on page 16.


Researchers say food delivery programs play a crucial role in senior health

paceLow-income seniors are sometimes forced to choose between buying good food and paying for their medications or even their rent. Other seniors can suffer from malnutrition when they become isolated without family members to help out.

A related issue is that many older people are hospitalized for one reason or another. If sent home without follow-up care — including access to nutritious meals — they often end up back in the hospital. A recent study by researchers at San Francisco State University and Merritt College found that one simple but effective program — Meals on Wheels (MOW) — improves seniors’ health and reduces the number of return hospitalizations.

The interdisciplinary study was conducted by Darlene Yee-Melichar, SF State professor and Gerontology Program coordinator; Mary Louise Zernicke, dietary manager program director at Merritt College; and Visakha Som, an SF State student who was working toward her master’s degree in public administration in 2017. The team analyzed data on 1,078 people from a national survey of older Americans to explore the impact of MOW and similar food delivery programs on health, hospitalizations and food insecurity. Their analysis, published in the journal Trends in Geriatric Healthcare, shows that older adults who received home-delivered meals had improved health outcomes and reduced hospitalizations.

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‘Solar suitcases’ deliver hands-on experience to an environmental justice course

chss_featurestoryPowerSurge4-(1)In Assistant Professor Autumn Thoyre‘s energy justice and sustainability course, students learned to assemble portable solar-power kits and then taught middle school kids the same skill. The solar suitcases were sent to meet critical needs in regions of the world where electricity is unreliable.

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Three Faculty to Join PACE in Fall 2018

The School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagment is pleased to announce that three new faculty members will be joining PACE in Fall 2018.  See short bios of the faculty below.

Aritree Samanta (Climate change and urban adaptation) is an interdisciplinary scholar with research focus in the areas of collaborative approaches to urban and environmental governance, adaptive management, and institutional response to disruptions through adaptation and transformation. She holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Public Affairs from the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and an M.A. in Social Work from the University of Delhi, India. In her current postdoctoral position at Purdue University, she studies social dimensions of watershed management focusing on the intersections between climate change, water quality, and land use management in the Midwest. Her professional work in India included research projects in the areas of urban sustainability and climate change adaptation in low-income communities. In the United States, she has held fellowship and research positions with the Alliance for the Great Lakes in Chicago, IL and the Northeast Midwest Institute in Washington D.C.

Angelica Camacho (National security and racialization) is the current Chancellor’s Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Latina/Latino Studies Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. She is also a former Ford Dissertation Fellow, and received a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Riverside. In 2010, she acquired a B.A. in both Chicana/o Studies and Black Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was the injustices present in her community, and her desire to understand, explain, and transform them that drove her to pursue a career in Ethnic Studies. Today she shares Ethnic Studies’ commitment to intellectual praxis and social justice. Her current research is on the Pelican Bay California Prisoner Hunger Strikes by incarcerated people and the subsequent uprising of their families. Additionally, Angelica simultaneously explores how the War on Drugs and the criminalization of Latinx communities has contributed to the rise of the carceral state and prison industrial complex in California. Her intellectual work aims to shift the dominant narratives of criminality that target and scapegoat communities of color into counter-hegemonic narratives that highlight social struggles for life and liberation.

Carina Gallo (CJ Administration and Advocacy) is an Associate Professor of Criminology and the Criminology Program Coordinator at Holy Names University in Oakland. She is also a Senior Lecturer at Lund University in Sweden. Carina’s interdisciplinary research addresses historical and international trends in crime and welfare policy, with particular attention to how policies and laws intending to support underrepresented and marginalized groups have developed over the last century. She is currently working on a book exploring the roots of the Swedish victim movement.  Carina is dedicated to exploring and applying innovative teaching practices, such as cross-cultural learning. She is particularly interested in how technology can globalize the curriculum and has led virtual international exchanges (VIEs) where students in different countries learn together in a virtual classroom. In addition, Carina has several years of professional experience as a social worker, policy evaluator, and leader in the non-profit community.





Energy Justice & Sustainability PACE Students participate in the Solar Suitecase Project

In Fall 2017, Dr. Thoyre’s Energy Justice & Sustainability (ENVS 460) course participated in a service learning project to reduce poverty, fight climate change, and mentor the next generation of energy justice advocates. After learning about the environmental injustices associated with many non-renewable energy systems, students participated in a lab where they learned to wire together a battery, charge controller, LED light bulb, and solar photovoltaic unit, creating a user-friendly, portable solar energy kit known as a Solar Suitcase. They then mentored K-12 students at Thomas R. Pollicita Middle School (Daly City) and Lincoln High School (San Francisco) in building more of the suitcases. Some of these suitcases will in turn be shipped to hospitals, refugee centers, orphanages, or schools in parts of the world with inadequate electricity, where they will contribute to sustainable development. Students in ENVS 460 also initiated a project to use the solar suitcases to teach kids at Bay Area Boys & Girls Clubs about renewable energy.

The Solar Suitcase project was originally developed out of a partnership between faculty at CSU-East Bay, the NGO We Share Solar, the electric utility PG&E, and others. The purpose was to reduce energy poverty while getting students from historically underrepresented communities involved in STEM. This year, SFSU is one of several CSUs piloting an expansion of the project, and Dr. Thoyre’s course is the first social science course to use the solar suitcases. The project demonstrates that if even a middle schooler can build a solar energy system, the question of why we don’t use more renewable energy is largely a political, economic, and social question, not a narrowly technical one. The project has thus been a key case study for students in ENVS 460 to critically reflect on the relationships between energy, inequalities, and politics.

PACE holds alumni networking reception in Sacramento

sacramentoOn September 13, the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement (PACE) convened Future Focused: A PACE Alumni Reception in Sacramento. Hosted by PACE’s partners at San Mateo County, the event was the first large-scale convening of PACE alumni since the school was founded in 2012. Hosted by Kate White (MPA, ’08), deputy secretary of environmental policy and housing coordination at the California State Transportation Agency, the event was the second in an inaugural series of place-based alumni events for PACE.

Attendees shared their passion for specific aspects of public affairs and civic engagement, which allowed alumni from each of PACE’s degree programs to learn about common interests and begin to identify opportunities to work with one another to promote a positive vision of the future. These Sacramento area alumni were enthusiastic about making new connections and re-invigorating old ones.

Pictured: PACE alumni and faculty, from left to right: Alice Kindarara (M.A., Gerontology, ’01), Ju Hong (MPA, ’16), Kareem Hines (B.A., Urban Studies & Planning, ’13), Kate White (MPA, ’08), Odet Ford (MPA, ’15), Liz Brown (PACE director), and Jennifer Shea (PACE associate director)

PACE Gerontology Program hosts successful campus event in conjunction with IAGG 2017

The International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics held its 2017 World Congress on Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) in San Francisco in July 2017. This is the premiere conference for gerontology and geriatrics professionals, with more than 6,000 delegates in attendance. In conjunction with the conference, SF State hosted a local educational trip, which featured faculty research, policy and practice presentations; student and alumni research posters; and a showcase of work by community partners in aging. Faculty presentations by Associate Professor Kate Hamel, Professor Emerita Anabel Pelham, Associate Professor Emerita Donna Schafer and Professor and Coordinator of Gerontology Darlene Yee-Melichar were well received by more than 65 participants from 14 countries. In addition, there was a tour of the MAREY Lab in Gym 150. The event was organized by a student planning team, advised by Yee-Melichar.