Gang Prevention Workshop Engages Students

Carlos Carmona

Carlos Carmona provided HNU criminology students with information on how to identify gang members and gang prevention resources.

A representative from the Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) Office of Alternative Education visited an HNU criminology class this spring to provide gang awareness training. “Students appreciate when we bring in people from the community and (provide) the opportunity to apply theories in a practical context,” Assistant Professor of Criminology Carina Gallo said.

Oakland Unite funds the OUSD gang prevention trainings, which are part of Oakland Unite’s youth services. The violence prevention program targets high-risk individuals and neighborhoods and offers services to reduce gang involvement, including street outreach teams and school-based strategies.

Carlos Carmona, who works for the Oakland Unified School District, engaged students in a discussion on the history and prevalence of gangs in the Bay Area. Social movements influenced gangs, like the Black Panthers, in the 1970s. In the 1980s, Oakland became the West Coast epicenter of crack cocaine, which led to an increase in drug trade, a decline in other commerce, and the dissolution of families. “When crack cocaine hit … a lot of families were destroyed,” he said.

Carmona said that the internet and increased use of social media also contributed to the growth and impact of gangs. Today, there are a multitude of gangs throughout Oakland.

Carmona gave students information on how to identify gang members, such as clothing, hand signals, and graffiti that are associated with gangs, and gang prevention and intervention resources. Gang prevention services available to the Oakland community include California Youth Outreach, which offers school-based programs and street outreach to reduce violence; MISSSEY (Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting, and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth), an organization dedicated to the treatment and recovery of sexually exploited children; and Project Re-Connect.

Posted in Home Page News, Student Life | Leave a comment

Two Influential Professors Retire from HNU

Holy Names University celebrated the legacy of two influential retiring professors this spring. Dolores Grunbaum, PhD joined the Holy Names campus in 1975. In her many years of service to the University, she taught countless students and held academic leadership positions. Anne Laskey, who has worked at HNU for 21 years, is director of the Kodály Center for Music Education. Grunbaum and Laskey were honored at a May 5 celebration where they were presented with captain’s chairs bearing their names.


The chair presented to Dr. Dolores Grunbaum included an inscription bearing her name and her years of service to the University.

Dr. Grunbaum, a native of Argentina, worked for Holy Names University for 39 years and previously served as the chair of the Division of Math and Sciences.  She received a licenciatura in physical chemistry from the Universidad Nacional of Cordoba, Argentina, and a PhD in chemistry from City University of New York. Dr. Grunbaum taught chemistry in Argentina and New York before coming to California. During her teaching tenure at HNU, she maintained an active research collaboration with University of California, Berkeley chemists, received a National Science Foundation grant for her work, and published widely.

“Dolores Grunbaum was the consummate teacher with high standards that she never compromised,” said Lizbeth Martin, vice president for academic affairs at HNU. “Demanding the best from her students, they worked hard but appreciated her dedication to her discipline and her determination that her students learn chemistry properly. One student comment says it all, ‘The best chem teacher (I) ever encountered. Willing to go above and beyond to make sure her students succeed in a difficult class.’”

As a professor of music and director of the Kodály Center for Music Education, Laskey has taught pedagogy, practicum, and folk music at HNU since 1993. Laskey earned a MA in music from Claremont Graduate University and a Kodály Specialist Certificate from Holy Names. She previously served as a music specialist at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco for 12 years and as assistant conductor of the San Francisco Boys Chorus for five years. Laskey was a board member of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) for three terms. She received OAKE’s Outstanding Educator Award in 2008, and HNU’s Faculty Award in 2011.

“Anne has provided 21 years of inspirational service to the HNU community and to future musicians and music teachers around the world,” Chair of the Department of Music Steven

Music students react to the recognition of Director of the Kodály Center for Music Education Anne Laskey at the Founders’ Day celebration on April 23.

Music students react to the recognition of Director of the Kodály Center for Music Education Anne Laskey at the Founders’ Day celebration on April 23.

F. Hofer, PhD said. “She has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that her students received the best education possible. As Zoltán Kodály said, ‘only the best is good enough,’ and Anne Laskey is the best.”

Grunbaum and Laskey were recognized at the Founders’ Day celebration in April along with HNU staff retiree Marilyn Goddard. The Sophia Center’s Michelle Dwyer said that Goddard, who served in an administrative role for the culture and spirituality program for 25 years, made a profound impact and was the program’s “anchor.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senior Psychology Day Highlights Student Research

sisters_psychday At the end of the spring semester, more than 150 individuals gathered in the Bay Vista Room to attend Senior Psychology Day, an annual event that featured the research of 38 seniors in a poster presentation to the HNU community. The event, a longstanding tradition in the Department of Psychology, included an introduction by Associate Professor Kate Isaacson, PhD, who teaches the Senior Coordinating Seminar, and a history of the psychology program at HNU, provided by Sister Maureen Hester, PhD, professor emerita in psychology. This year the psychology program celebrated the largest number of senior seminar students in school history.

To graduate, each senior psychology student researches and prepares a thesis on the science within a specific area of psychology. Topics explored this year included the use of positive psychology as an intervention for depression, the facilitation of post-traumatic growth, treatment for victims of drug trafficking, learning disabilities among African-American youth, and the consequences of neglect and abandonment during adolescence.

“The project requires that students work with the research of others in a very deep way,” Dr. Isaacson said. “Students learn to analyze the strengths of the body of research, and they also learn to critique what does not work, as well as to identify the questions that have yet to be answered.”

In her introduction to parents, HNU faculty and staff, and other supporters, Dr. Isaacson explained that seniors selected their area of mastery after a long and deep engagement with psychological science. “Each student here has studied the physiological underpinnings of behavior, development and change, emotion, personality, and the many ways society and others influence our thoughts and feelings and behaviors. They have also studied the complex dynamics involved in adjusting to life, relationships, work, and change,” she said. “They have studied how clinicians help others adjust, thrive, and grow through therapy, counseling, and clinical work. They have conducted their own experimental research projects in psychology, and they have conducted field research on topics of their own design.”

While this educational process is not an easy one, students are rewarded with enhanced self-knowledge and intellectual growth, Dr. Isaacson said.

“Each of you has dedicated yourself to the study of psychology. You have studied this discipline inside and out, from history to application,” she said. “Tonight would not have been possible without each step of your long journey. You are here because of a cumulative effort in your life to study and master this academic subject matter—and for that we all applaud your efforts.”

The seniors catered the event themselves, bringing in homemade desserts and other foods, many representing their diverse cultural backgrounds. The students and their projects were individually presented to the audience by the professors from the psychology program. Dr. Isaacson, Professor Martin Lampert, PhD, and Assistant Professor Perri Franskoviak, PhD read the students’ biographies, which explained how the students came to HNU, became interested in psychology, and selected their research topics. The introductions ended with students’ expressions of gratitude for those who helped them on their academic journey and a statement of their future plans, including the announcement of numerous graduate school acceptances.

Sr. Maureen provided a historical overview of the Department of Psychology. She joined the department in 1942, and is only the second person in the history of the course to teach the Senior Coordinating Seminar. Her distinguished career at HNU includes many years of teaching and serving as chair of the Division of Social Sciences. She has published research on the psychology of humor and religion as well as the history of psychology.


Posted in Home Page News, Student Life | Leave a comment

Staff Senate Organizes Development Conference

Holy Names University’s Staff Senate presented the Staff Development Conference on June 19. At the conference, staff members presented on personal and professional development topics to other HNU employees. Approximately 44 employees participated.

“The Staff Development Conference was inspired by a desire to share the gifts we have amongst the staff, spend some time together as a group, and develop personally and professionally,” said HNU Experience Coordinator Andrea Melrose Guimaraes, a member of the Staff Senate Steering Committee and one of the organizers of the event. The other committee members who helped organize the event are Director of Housing and Residence Life Justin Vacca, Accounts Receivable Specialist Mio Matsuhisa, and Executive Director of Learning and Advising Resources Laura Lyndon.

Conference sessions included “Dance Basics,” led by Dean for Student Development and Engagement Heather French; “Knitting 101,” led by Website Manager Jesse Loesberg; “The Magic of Excel Spreadsheets,” led by Controller Murray Kephart; and “Planning for Retirement,” led by Vice President of Finance and Administration Stuart Koop. Other HNU session leaders included Lyndon and Vacca as well as Assistant Professor Anastasia Prentiss and Vice President for University Advancement Richard Ortega.

The event also featured an opening prayer by Sister Carol Sellman, vice president for mission effectiveness, and a keynote address by Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Events Luis Guerra. A raffle for prizes ranging from wine baskets to movie packages to an old HNU fire alarm took place during lunch.

The Staff Senate has a professional development budget for HNU staff members. The senate reviews and grants applications for funding throughout the year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HNU Hosts Preview of Madame Butterfly

Crystal Soo-Jeong Kim performs material from the opera Madame Butterfly, and Curt Pajer accompanies her on the piano.

Crystal Soo-Jeong Kim performs material from the opera Madame Butterfly, and Curt Pajer accompanies her on the piano.

The University’s Asia Pacific Peace Studies Institute partnered with the Japan Policy Research Institute to present a preview of Madame Butterfly, the opera by esteemed composer Giacomo Puccini. The HNU event featured panelists A.J. Glueckert, Crystal Soo-Jeong Kim, and Curt Pajer from the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

“We like to cultivate empathy and openness to understanding cultural forums, especially those that cross many borders, and that’s an important foundation for peace,” Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Peace Studies Institute Chiho Sawada said.

Patrick Lloyd Hatcher, a historian and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Japan Policy Research Institute, moderated the panel. “Butterfly has had a very interesting life span,” Hatcher said as he told the history behind the opera.

The opera is based loosely on the novel Madame Chrysanthème, which was authored by Pierre Loti and published in France in the late 1800s. In the novel, a naval officer was temporarily married to a Japanese woman while in Nagasaki.“It was an intriguing story, particularly in the West, which was fascinated by things Chinese and Japanese at the end of the 19th century,” he said.

Hatcher told the audience that the novel was turned into a play and performed in 1900 in the West End of London. Puccini saw the play and decided to write the opera Madame Butterfly.

The event also included performances by Glueckert, a tenor and Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera; Soo-Jeong Kim, a soprano and graduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; and Pajer, a pianist and music director of the Opera Program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Historian Patrick Lloyd Hatcher (right) engages panelists from the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Historian Patrick Lloyd Hatcher (right) engages panelists from the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Posted in Home Page News | Leave a comment