CSUN Dedicates Building Wing in Honor of HFPA
On Sept. 15, California State University, Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison formally dedicated a wing of Manzanita Hall, home to the school’s acclaimed Department of Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA), in honor of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The dedication was in recognition of a $2 million grant the association gave CSUN in January 2016 to support students, including the creation of a Hollywood Foreign Press Association Scholars program, and to enhance technology.
“We are exceptionally appreciative of the support and generosity that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has shown CSUN over the years,” Harrison said. “Their support is a big reason why our film program is ranked among the best in the world. For more than 20 years, the association’s commitment to empowering the filmmakers of tomorrow has borne fruit at CSUN. The association exposes global audiences to new voices, and its annual grant to our senior film projects reflects its dedication to expanding opportunities for diverse perspectives to be heard. “It’s only fitting that we dedicate a wing of the building where those new voices, tomorrow’s filmmakers, learn their craft,” she added.
HFPA President Meher Tatna said the association, which is made up of international journalists who report on the entertainment industry and hosts the Golden Globe Awards, “has long been dedicated to supporting programs and initiatives at the intersection of education and the arts.”
“CSUN was among the HFPA’s very first grant recipients, and we have continued to support the Department of Cinema and Television Arts because it has proven itself vital as it has provided opportunities for underrepresented storytellers,” she said. “We know that with our continued support, it will keep opening doors for the deserving and worthy students who aspire to express themselves through filmmaking.”
A panel discussion marking the HFPA’s 75th anniversary followed the dedication ceremony. The panel was hosted by award-winning actress and director Jenna Elfman (pictured above, far right). The Golden Globe-winning actress, who attended CSUN in the early 1990s, is known for her role as Dharma on the hit 1990s ABC comedy Dharma & Greg. She also starred in TV shows such as Damages, 1600 Penn, Growing Up Fisher and Imaginary Mary, as well as films Keeping the Faith and EDtv.
For the 2016-17 academic year, 87 Matador student-athletes were selected to the Big West Conference and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic Teams, with 99 total awards (12 students won in two different sports). The All-Academic Team awards cover all 19 of CSUN’s Division I sports. In the spring, Brandon E. Martin, director of athletics, and CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison (both pictured at far left) celebrated many of those student-athletes for earning a 3.2 grade point average or higher, at the 35th annual Varsity N Athletics Honor Roll ceremony.
Bookstein Hall Named in Honor of Alumni Philanthropists
California State University, Northridge officials celebrated the renaming of Juniper Hall, which houses the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, to Bookstein Hall on Oct. 17. The university renamed the building in honor of accounting industry leader Harvey Bookstein ’70 (Business Administration) and his wife, Harriet — both CSUN alumni and lifelong supporters of the university. In 2016, the couple made a $5 million gift to push CSUN over the top in a two-year campaign to raise $25 million for the Nazarian College.
“For years, Harvey and Harriet have invested their time, their energy and their resources to benefit CSUN’s business students,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said. “Their transformative gift is a legacy to their dedication to their alma mater and will benefit future generations of students.” Harvey Bookstein said he couldn’t imagine not making the gift to CSUN.
“Every time you get near the students of CSUN and see how their eyes light up from the education they are getting, I don’t see how you couldn’t do something for the university,” he said. “To see how different the students are from when they first get onto the campus to when they graduate — to see how much they have learned and grown — it’s amazing. CSUN makes such a difference in not only the students’ lives, but in the lives of the people those students interact with and in the community.”
Harriet Bookstein echoed her husband’s sentiments. “Harvey and I feel so fortunate that we are able to touch so many lives in a positive way,” she said. “How wonderful to accomplish this in our lifetime, and to impact future generations.”
Prof Proves Potato Cartel Forced American Consumers to Pay Higher Prices
United States potato-grower cooperatives in the early 2000s deployed drones and scanned satellite images as they colluded to reduce the amount of potatoes grown across the country in an effort to increase their profits, according to a report by CSUN business law professor Melanie Stallings Williams. The cooperatives’ plot meant Americans paid more for their french fries, while cooks of every stripe — from those at home to those in high-end restaurants and even manufacturers — paid up to 49 percent more for a staple of the American diet. “If you had a potato in the last decade or so, then you paid significantly more because of widespread collusion in the potato industry,” Williams said. “Every time you went to McDonald’s, every time you had something that had potato starch added to it, you paid more.”
Williams and her colleagues — Michael A. Williams, director of Competition Economics, a legal research and consulting firm, and Wei Zhao, a consultant with Competition Economics — published their findings in a report titled The OPEC of Potatoes: Should Collusive Agricultural Production Restrictions Be Immune from Antitrust Law Enforcement? in the winter 2017 edition of Virginia Law & Business Review. Their report is the result of an investigation of American potato farmers as part of an antitrust, class-action lawsuit brought by potato buyers against the United Potato Growers of America and the United Potato Growers of Idaho, collectives of farmers and agricultural cooperatives that agreed to reduce the output of potatoes. The collectives settled the lawsuit in 2015 before it went to court.
CSUN Professor Wins PEN Center USA Literary Award
Black Sheep Boy, the chronicle of a young gay man in Louisiana’s Cajun bayou by CSUN English professor Martin Pousson, captured the 2017 literary award from PEN Center USA. In September, Pousson became the first CSUN professor ever to win the prestigious literary award. Pousson said he was “shocked” when he received word that his book was one of four finalists for the literary award for fiction from the West Coast center of PEN International — the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization. “[Black Sheep Boy] was published by Rare Bird Books, a small, independent LA-based press with limited funds for advertising and promotion,” he said. “I self-funded a large part of a limited book tour. Rare Bird submitted the book to PEN — and somehow it was named a finalist. “The book is very much about defending a queer identity that is both personally and socially queer,” Pousson continued. “It’s about a teenager who pushes against assimilation and conformity and remains an individual, which is also a fight for the Cajun culture and all people who are outsiders. That’s why this award nomination from PEN is so meaningful. It’s an organization that has always stood for and defended those on the outside.”
Pousson said the honor also has particular meaning for him as a professor at CSUN, with its rich diversity of students. “When I teach on our campus, this is one of the ways I connect with our diverse body of students,” he said. “Like a lot of them, I know what it means to be outside the mainstream culture. Our students are at a crossroads, are pushed to assimilate and conform as the only gateway in a market of success. But, like the protagonist in my book, they can fight to maintain their uniqueness and succeed all the more — they can succeed in a soul-satisfying way.”
CSUN Finishes in Top Five of #MyTopCollege Competition
The internet has spoken: CSUN is one of the nation’s most loved colleges. The 2017 Forbes #MyTopCollege competition ended July 21, culminating with CSUN climbing the chart to finish at No. 5. The six-week contest encouraged students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans to post about their #MyTopCollege to Twitter and Instagram, including their school’s social media handles. Submissions came in the form of words of thanks, graduation photos, success stories and even pictures of CSUN’s famous campus squirrels.
Though the competition has ended, students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and other Matador fans can still interact with CSUN on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat:
Professor Curates Lowrider Exhibit at Petersen
CSUN Chicana/o studies professor Denise Sandoval has curated a new exhibit on lowrider cars, The High Art of Riding Low, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibit features sculptures, paintings, installations and, of course, lowrider vehicles as art.
The term “lowrider” has a dual meaning, said Sandoval ’95 (M.A., Chicana/o Studies), who previously curated the Petersen exhibitions Arte y Estilo (2000) and La Vida Lowrider: Cruising the City of Angels (2007). “The term can be applied to a certain style of customizing [cars] — lower to the ground, fantastic paint jobs, chrome,” she said. “But also, it’s a term used to define a person that either owns the car or sees themselves as part of the lowriding scene.” As all cultures do, the lowrider lifestyle holds certain values and beliefs, including “pride, respect, corazón (the Spanish word for heart), family and brotherhood,” said Sandoval, who in 2003 completed her doctoral dissertation on lowriding traditions.
The exhibit runs through July 2018, in the museum’s Armand Hammer Foundation Gallery. For more information, please visit petersen.org.
Alumna Named California Teacher of the Year
Isela Lieber was 17 years old when she left behind everything she knew. In 1988, she set out on her own from Guayaquil, a small city in Ecuador, for New York City — without a high school education or a word of English. She traveled thousands of miles to New York, where she lived for two and a half years, working at a factory for $3 an hour while learning English. Then, the teen traveled for three days by bus to Los Angeles. Once in LA, she worked as a housekeeper, took night classes and earned her GED certificate in order to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher.
In 1998, Lieber transferred to CSUN from Los Angeles Valley College. Hard work and perseverance paid off for Isela Lieber ’00 (English), M.A. ’02 (Educational Administration), as a student at CSUN and as an educator: In October 2016, state officials recognized her as one of five California Teachers of the Year, after she’d been named one of six LA County Teachers of the Year and one of 22 LAUSD Teachers of the Year.
Lieber teaches ninth- and tenth-grade English Language Development at James Monroe High School (just a few miles east of CSUN), where her students are primarily immigrants. She has been teaching for 18 years, and her love for teaching has not dimmed, she said.
“My passion for teaching is getting stronger,” Lieber said. “I would love to do my doctorate in educational research. ... I would love to attend CSUN and get my Ed.D. from there.”
CSUN Lab School Celebrates 50th Anniversary
CSUN’s Child and Family Studies Center Lab School celebrated 50 years of inclusive early-childhood education, with a “backyard party” in May at the center’s playground area. The Lab School has been a presence on CSUN’s campus since 1967, serving as a preschool program and a training facility for university students studying early childhood development and education. The school operates within CSUN’s College of Health and Human Development.
“The need for quality child care in the community and the need to produce well-educated professionals in the field of early childhood education has never lapsed,” said Christa Dunlap, program director for the Child and Family Studies Center. “The celebration highlighted how important high-quality early childhood education is, and we owe it to the new generation to continue to serve them in that way.” The Lab School’s directors said they believe scholastic advancements are as important as character development, and its teachers strive to make the learning process fun and constructive. Ashleigh Larson, a Lab School parent, said this approach made her daughter excited to attend the preschool program. “My daughter begs to go to school, even on her days off,” Larson said. “Their play-based philosophy [has] prepared my daughter to succeed socially and academically when it’s her turn to enter kindergarten.” For more information, contact the Child and Family Studies Center at (818) 677-3131.
NSF Grant Advances Innovation and Entrepreneurs on Campus
CSUN has been at the forefront of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation through on-campus incubators such as LACI@CSUN and student competitions such as Appjam, Varjam and the Bull Ring. To strengthen these efforts, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will allocate a $500,000 grant over the next five years as part of its Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program to support further science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and business entrepreneurship activities at CSUN.
The federally funded grant will provide as many as 30 teams with up to $3,000 to explore an idea, product or service to determine its viability on the commercial market. The teams consist of an entrepreneurial lead — typically a student or postdoctoral scholar — a staff or faculty member and an advisor or mentor, who can be a non-CSUN affiliate.
“The idea is to feed the pipeline of faculty and students who are interested in economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Crist Khachikian, associate vice president for research and graduate studies.