New recreation program encourages Fresno State students to explore the outdoors

With some of nature’s most bountiful national parks and scenic landmarks just a few hours away, it’s only natural to want to get outdoors and explore what the Central Valley has to offer. Fresno State students will have an opportunity to do just that with the launch of the University’s Outdoor Recreation Program.

The program, under the Department of Recreation Administration, provides interactive and hands-on instructional opportunities for novice participants who want to learn outdoor and safety skills for a wide variety of activities.

“This program is a great way for students, from all majors, to learn outdoor skills in a supervised setting, meet people with similar interests and take a break from daily routine,” said Dr. Jason Whiting, assistant professor in the recreation administration department and director of the program.

Through a series of workshops and adventurous trips, students (and sometimes even the community) will be able to hone their skills and learn something new.


Workshops for the academic year include an introductory guide on the do’s and don’ts of backpacking, first aid and CPR certification, the fundamentals of rock climbing and even backcountry cooking, where participants will learn different methods of preparing food in the backcountry. Who says camping food has to be bland?

There are six trips planned for the year, each one designed for students of all skill levels, with many at the moderate level. From a 3.5 mile hike through the lush landscapes of Huntington Lake or through the majestic beauty of Vernal Falls in Yosemite to fishing in the vast open waters of Shaver Lake and skiing the slopes of China Peak, each one promises a memorable experience.

Each of the two overnight trips include backpacks, a sleeping bag and a tent. Transportation for each trip, as well as equipment activity, is provided with student’s registration fees.

An experienced staff of trip leaders provide logistical planning, instruction, leadership and facilitation for each group experience or trip.


Students wishing to participate in the program must pre-register, pay necessary fees and complete required forms prior to each trip.

Upcoming workshops and trips include:

Fall 2016

Sept. 1 – Introductory Backpack Clinic ($10/$15)

Sept. 16 – 17 – Twin Lakes Backpack Trip ($50/$75) *

Oct. 14-15 – Dinkey Lake Loop Backpack Trip ($50/$75) *

Oct. 22 – Yosemite/Vernal Falls Day Hike ($30/$40)

Nov. 19 – Introductory to Rock Climbing Clinic ($30)

Dec. 1 – First Aid & CPR Certification Clinic, 5-9 p.m. ($50)

Spring 2017

Jan. 31 – Backcountry Cooking Clinic ($10/$15)

Feb. 4 – China Peak Ski Trip ($65)

Feb. 23 – Ultra-lite Backpacking Clinic ($10/$15)

Mar. 25 – Sequoia National Park Day Hike ($30/$40)

Apr. 28 – Introductory Canyoneering Trip ($60/$75) *

[*Mandatory pre-trip meeting may be required.]

So go ahead – take a break from the books and get outdoors. Adventure awaits you right around the corner!


For more information on each workshop or trip, visit the Outdoor Recreation Program website or contact Jason Whiting at or 278.8749.


Relationships built by friendship & love in Fiji

It is not every day that you get the opportunity to go to Fiji. In fact, it is not every day that you get the opportunity to not only visit a beautiful island, but also to immerse in the culture and interact with the villagers on a personal level!

This past summer, 24 Fresno State students got the opportunity to be a part of that life changing learning experience through Fresno State’s Fijian International Service Learning trip, which was designed to teach students the elements of service, leadership and reflection.


The students do not go to classes, unlike most study abroad trips, but rather focus on building relationships with the natives through community-based projects.

“An experience like this really teaches students to appreciate the differences of various cultures, not to judge others because of their differences, but to value the importance of learning about the backgrounds of their future clients or students,” said Dr. Fran Pomaville, a professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies, who also participated in the trip.

Many of the 24 students were Speech-Language Pathology majors, or were from other majors on campus, including public health, education, psychology and family services – all professions that require working with individuals and families of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Cathleen Fagundes, a senior majoring in Communication and a student assistant in the CHHS dean’s office, served as a crew leader on the trip, responsible for planning trips, leading reflections and facilitating interactions with the Fijians.

IMG_6735 - Copy
Cathleen Fagundes (l) and Emily Dull.

“We created relationships through connections and building community projects that we set up with the village,” Fagundes said. “If the Fijians are working on something and you come by, they will literally stop what they are doing to talk with you. They actually care about their relationships with other people. That is something that we do not really have here, in the United States.”

Fiji consists of 330 islands, in which 106 are inhabited. The group from Fresno State stayed in the small village of Naboutini, located in Vanua Levu, one of the main islands in Fiji. Their daily activities included working on community projects, such as building the community kitchen, classroom observations and teaching lessons at local primary schools.

Stephanie Griesbach, an undergraduate Speech-Language Pathology student, said her experience in Fiji was among the best experiences of her life.

IMG_9551“The Fijian outlook on life inspired me to become a better person,” Griesbach said. “Being able to immerse myself in a culture that is full of thoughtful, and kindhearted people led to an amazing journey that was full of laughs, knowledge, adventures, memories, and friendships that will last a life time. I also took away a new appreciation, love, and knowledge of a country and village that I will use in my future career as a Speech-Language Pathologist.”

Fagundes echoed Griesbach’s sentiments, saying one of her greatest lessons she’s learned from the trip was learning to step back and appreciate her relationships, which she admits is not always the easiest thing to do.

“You learn so much more than just the service you are doing,” Fagundes said. “You are learning about yourself and the culture. Going into this we all thought the service would be the main component of this trip, but it was more about sitting back and learning and reflecting on ourselves. I learned to appreciate the little things that we take for granted here in the U.S., for example, running water and easily accessible food.”

The trip was entirely student lead, meaning that students were responsible for making sure things ran accordingly. The faculty were there to oversee the student operations, but they were really there as participants. Before the trip the students were required to attend several meetings, which informed them of what to take to the island, as well as, how to properly interact with Fijians.


For some of the students, this was their first time away from home, or traveling by airplane. The living conditions were extremely challenging, even for an experienced traveler who is used to the harsher conditions, but that only made the experience more enriching.

“We experienced a lifestyle very different from our own, in a village without electricity or technology, no vehicles, and few material possessions”, said Pomaville. “Despite that, these were some of the happiest people we had ever met. “We were all way out of our comfort zones and had to dig deep to deal with some of the conditions we were faced with, but I was so proud of the students and the personal growth I saw in each of them.”

fiji 4a
Zandra Mitchell

Zandra Mitchell, a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program, described the trip as exceptional, life-changing and full of life long lessons.

“As a whole, I learned to be in the moment,” Mitchell said. “In the U.S we are a very fast-paced society and I find myself thinking about what is happening next rather than what is happening right now. In Fiji, they truly enjoy what is happening in the present and I found that I would rather live life in that sense.”

This trip was not only beneficial for the Fijians, but it was even more beneficial for Fresno State students and faculty.

As Pomaville said, “I think a service abroad trip like this is important for several reasons, but what I learned is it’s often more about what they do for us than about what we do for them.”

And for the students on the trip, they couldn’t agree more.


View more photos here!


The project was funded by the Division of Continuing and Global Education, the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, the Friends for Civic Engagement. Learn more at the link.

-Story written by Sierra Frank, CHHS Communication Student Assistant



Four new faculty join the college!

The College of Health and Human Services is pleased to welcome four new faculty to our college, each of whom bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and passion for their field of study. Due to the time and dedication of faculty and administration, our 4,800+ students in our college are given a first-rate education and the chance to #LiveWell and #BeBold! We welcome our new and returning faculty to the start of a great 2016-2017 school year!


JWalkerDr. Jennifer Adame-Walker is an assisant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Physiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Fresno State and her Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of California, San Francisco and Fresno State joint doctoral program.

For 18 years, she taught activity classes in the Department of Kinesiology at Fresno State and in 2011, began teaching part-time in Fresno State’s Department of Physical Therapy shortly after graduating from its doctoral program. In addition to teaching, Adame-Walker has worked in a number of areas including outpatient orthopedics and home health. Recent ventures include serving as an independent contractor with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Adame-Walker’s research interests include developing exercise programs that are safe, effective and have a good compliance rate with obese/at-risk youth and utilizing the pilates method of exercise to affect posture, strength and confidence in teenage or college-aged women.


Hajela1Dr. Nupur Hajela is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. She received her bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Baba Farid University of Health Sciences in Punjab, India; a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; and participated in a post-doctoral fellowship in Biomechanics and Electrophysiology from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

She is a physical therapist and neuroscientist who specializes in neurologic rehabilitation in patients with spinal cord injuries and stroke. A native of India, Hajela came to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. She prides herself in working with the community to increase therapy caps for people with spinal cord injuries. She is also has a growing interest in improving the quality of life for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury and concussion by helping them improve their motor and cognitive outcomes.

Hajela’s research interests include designing novel interventions utilizing robotics and technology for physical and cognitive therapy to improve quality of life for survivors of spinal cord injury, stroke and Parkinson’s. She is also researching brain stimulation, games and virtual reality for increasing physical activity and inducing neuroplasticity.


NNairDr. Nisha Nair is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and master’s degree in Public Administration, both from University of Kerala, India. She also obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at Fresno State and Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the California State University, Northern California Consortium.

Nair holds certifications as a lactation educator counselor and is a clinical nurse educator. She previously taught undergraduate level courses at Fresno State’s School of Nursing. With over 19 years of experience as an obstetric nurse, she has provided clinical leadership in this area both in national and international settings. Her passion is working with families as they make their transition to parenthood.

Nair’s research interests include parental education in newborn health, with a focus on parental empowerment leading to holistic health and reduction in hospital readmission.


NSmithDr. Nicole J. Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the University of Nevada, Reno, and master’s degree in Physical Education Teacher Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Ph.D. in Physical Education Teacher Education, with an emphasis in Physical Activity Promotion from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

She has more than 20 years of professional experience as a teacher and researcher in secondary schools and higher education settings. Her expertise is in the area of physical education teacher education, direct observation, physical activity promotion, and evidence-based interventions to increase physical activity in physical education. She presents and publishes her work in peer-reviewed outlets on these same topics.

Smith’s research interests include physical activity opportunity, school connectedness, school wellness policy, school adoption of evidence-based P.E. curricula, observation of physical activity and measured physical activity and sleep using accelerometers.



Fall 2016 semester kicks off with newly promoted faculty & department chairs

Congratulations to each of our four newly promoted and tenured faculty! They were recognized at yesterday’s Faculty Recognition Reception, under the direction of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Lynnette Zelezny.


Berrett.Bryan001Dr. Bryan Berrett is a professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies and director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at Fresno State. He served as faculty in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies for 19 years. He most recently served as a professor and department chair, where he secured two large federal grants totaling $2.4 million dollars to prepare deaf education teachers and sign language interpreters to serve deaf children. At the start of his teaching career, he was instrumental in the creation of the sign language interpreting degree option.

Actively involved on campus, Berrett received the 2012 Provost Award for Educational Technology and was named as the Spirit of Service Awards’ Outstanding Faculty. He has a strong commitment toward faculty development and has mentored new faculty in his department for several years. In addition, he has provided leadership and guidance to support students, staff and faculty on campus.

Berrett has a bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies from California State University, Northridge, and a master’s degree in Recreation Administration: Special Populations from California State University, Chico, and an Ed.D. In Educational Technology and Leadership from Pepperdine University.


TGiannettaDr. Terea Giannetta is a professor in the School of Nursing at Fresno State, where she has taught for over 30 years. She began her career at Fresno State as a lecturer and has worked up the ranks to teach all levels of nursing education from baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. As an experienced advanced practice nurse, she is able to promote clinical placements for students, as well as provide clinical competence for her teaching role at the University.

Outside of the academic setting, Giannetta serves as the chief nurse practitioner at Valley Children’s Hospital, where she is responsible for maintaining legal scope of practice for over 50 nurse practitioners. At Valley Children’s, she provides clinical placement for students and runs the clinical practice in pediatric hematology service.

While at the University she has served on various roles and committees, including University senator and graduate coordinator. Her proven leadership, teaching and clinical skills have been recognized nationally in pediatric nurse practitioner textbooks, as well as on national boards and foundations.

Giannetta received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from California State University, Sacramento, Master of Science in Nursing from Fresno State and Doctor of Nursing Practice from Brandman University.


Maul.Christine001Dr. Christine Maul is an associate professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies at Fresno State. She began her career with Fresno State in 1998 as a lecturer. On campus, she has served on numerous research and curriculum committees, including the College of Health and Human Services’ Honors Council.

As a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, Maul’s passion lies in advocating for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. In addition to presenting at national and international conferences on topics of autism, literacy acquisition and multicultural issues, she has authored and published a number of textbooks and journals relating to child language disorders and behavior principles in communicative disorders.

Maul was appointed by Governor Brown to the Porterville Developmental Advisory Board and also serves on a task force for the California Department of Health and Human Services, where she is tasked with addressing the need for community residential facilities for people with behavioral challenges.


JBeaDr. Jenna Sawdon-Bea is an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. She began her teaching career at Fresno State in 2008 as a full-time lecturer, where she now teaches in the areas of musculoskeletal and orthopedic dysfunction. She is a licensed physical therapist and is active in clinical research, having shared many projects at the state, national, and international levels.

She has served on various committees on campus, including the University’s Academic Planning and Policy Committee, the Department of Physical Therapy’s curriculum and student affairs committee and as a member of the College of Health and Human Services’ Honors Council. Outside of the academic setting, Sawdon-Bea is the president of the Art of Life Cancer Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Sawdon-Bea received her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy and Master of Science in Physical Therapy, both from Fresno State. She obtained her Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in Dallas.



In addition, we’ll be starting off the semester with three new chairs, including Dr. Steven Skelton with the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies, replacing Dr. Bryan Berrett; Dr. Kara Zografos with the Department of Public Health, replacing Dr. Vickie Krenz; and Dr. Martha Vungkhanching with the Department of Social Work Education, replacing Dr. Virginia Rondero Hernandez. Congratulations to our new incoming chairs!

Alumni Spotlight: Lisa Nichols’ Journey to Success

This story is reprinted from The Fresno State Alumni Association as written by Elisa Navarro. Originally published in the July 2016 issue of the Fresno State Alumni Association Newsletter.

“I was four and I still remember stuff…we left in the middle of the night from Oakland to get away from my dad. My mom was terrified and almost didn’t leave but my grandmother just said, ‘I’m moving to Fresno and I’m taking the grandkids…you can come or not.’ My mom decided to come. And I remember all of that…I still remember the drive to Fresno.”

Lisa Nichols (1998) has been living in Fresno ever since the night her grandmother drove her family away from the life of domestic violence they endured every day, and in 2014 she began working as an administrator at Gaston Middle School — a job she loves, which allows her to motivate kids every day.

Photo Credit: Lisa Nichols – Lisa (Far right)

As an administrator Nichols helps create school policies, educative social skills lessons, support groups, teaches lessons about bullying and many more things that allow her to help the school one way or the other. She also is able to mentor and counsel students, in order to help them find themselves whenever they are struggling through school or even life difficulties.

“The West Fresno area is a different community, so I am able to help different students and mentoring them is the best,” Nichols said. “My principal has let me be the advisor of a new club, so I can now mentor that club after school.”

Black Student Union is the club that Nichols has been an advisor of for two years and where she is able to guide students and help them succeed in any way she can, just like her grandmother was always there for her every single day of her life.

“[In kindergarten] I had a speech impediment and I was just kind of behind…I never did well with reading and math so when I was in elementary school I didn’t speak very well so I had a speech therapist,” Nichols said, “My grandmother was really good about making sure I had services every year, because it was a year-by-year basis. She was very good about saying ‘no she needs another year of services!’”

Photo Credit: Lisa Nichols – Lisa and her grandmother

For Nichols’ mother, the effect of domestic violence was too much, even after escaping it and starting a new life with her two daughters. She suffered and was diagnosed with a mental health breakdown in her mid-30s.

“My grandmother raised me because even though my mom was in the home…she was not mentally there,” Nichols said.

With her grandmother’s unconditional love and support, Nichols has obtained three degrees and two credentials from Fresno State: Bachelors of Arts in Social Work (1998), Masters in Social Work (2003), Masters in Administration Education (2014), Pupil Personnel Services Credential (2003) and an Administration Credential (2014).

“She is my motivator, because I am 44 and she passed away when I was 42, but I tell kids every day, ‘you are never too old to have a support system. You only need one person rooting for you’,” Nichols said, And I was still getting advice from my grandmother until the day she died.”

View the original Alumni Association Story in full at the LINK.

In the News: Kinesiology faculty beat the heat

Last week’s heat wave brought the media out to Fresno State to talk to our resident heat and hydration expert, Dr. Luke Pryor. He spoke to KSEE 24 news about ways individuals can spot signs of dehydration and best practices for preventing heat stroke.


Dr. Scott Sailor was also in the news to talk about ways high school athletes can can stay hydrated during summer high school practices. As president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Sailor writes a monthly column for USA TODAY High School Sports on topics relevant to coaches, student-athletes and schools. Read his latest column at the LINK.

Photo Credit: USA TODAY High School Sports

Staff Highlight: Carmen Chapman advocates for nursing mothers

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1-7 in an effort to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies all around the world. In 2013, Carmen Chapman, Administrative Support Coordinator of the Department of Public Health, spearheaded the development of the Fresno State Breastfeeding Coalition. She shares her journey with us.


When Chapman returned to work after the birth of her first child in 2010, she struggled with finding a proper place to “express” her breast milk. Because there was no accessible location on campus to do this, often times she was confined to public restrooms or her small office space during break periods. She realized during that time that other mothers on campus were going through the same struggle.

Chapman and her family.

According to the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, known as Title V, employers are required to provide a private space, other than a bathroom, to “express” breastmilk, which means to take milk from the breast either by hand or pump.

“Many employers are not aware of this law and as a result many new mothers who work, struggle to find a private area to express breast milk,” Chapman said. “Often times this hinders women from being able to nurse their child, which is not the best option for the health of mother and child.”

Shortly thereafter, in 2010, Chapman took matters into her own hands and decided to find a solution to this problem. Her years of hard work and dedication resulted in the establishment of the Fresno State Breastfeeding Coalition in 2013, as well as multiple lactation stations on campus for staff members and students.

Because of her own experience as a mother, she was inspired to establish the Coalition, as she was able to empathize the feeling of having to express breast milk in a bathroom stall or other unsanitary settings. The ultimate goal of the Coalition is to establish Fresno State as a breastfeeding friendly campus by aiding in the development of lactation stations.

“It is preferred to have at least one lactation station per building,” Chapman said. “It takes five minutes to set up the breast pump, 20 minutes to pump and five minutes to break down. For students who are in between classes, ideally you would want to be in the building that you are having your class in.”

Staff members currently have two designated lactation stations located in the Joyal Administration and Engineering East buildings. Meanwhile, students have three designated stations that could be found on the second floor of the University Student Union, the third floor of the Family and Food Science building and located centrally in the Frank W. Thomas building.

Chapman spearheaded the development of the lactation stations on campus, as seen here in the Frank W. Thomas building.

It wasn’t until this last academic year that the student-designated rooms were put into place. The road to get there was tricky, as it encompassed a dual approach. Staff members were legally covered by Title V. On the contrary, it did not cover students. Therefore, a separate approach had to be enacted.

“Today it is required by law, but when I first initiated it five and a half years ago no one seemed to know that,” Chapman said. “When I was inquiring more about it through research, I found out that it is a law and employers had to provide a space, so I called Human Resources, who found out that they did have to provide me a place as an employee, but they did not have to cover the students.”

After being told by administration that as a staff member, she could not advocate on behalf of students, Chapman began to seek out public health students to get involved. In order for lactation stations to be considered a need for students, students themselves had to inquire about it, she said.

Nancy Baus, a breastfeeding mother and nutrition student at the time, became one of the first students to collaborate with Chapman in forming the group as a student run organization. When her daughter was four months old, Baus returned to Fresno State, determined to finish her degree and graduate. However, the ability to express breast milk in between classes proved difficult.

“I would carry my breast pump with me,” Baus said in a 2013 Collegian article. “It was concealed in a black backpack along with all of my books, computer and everything else required for my classes.”

She  mentioned that producing breast milk in a bathroom stall was both unsanitary and embarrassing for her, as she struggled with organizing all the different breast pump parts, while maintaining cleanliness.

Chapman remembered Baus as someone who was just as passionate as she was about the issue. She noted that Baus also struggled with not having a designated private space to express breast milk, and was confined to pumping in restroom stalls and even in her car.

There are three designated lactation stations on campus for students and another two for staff and faculty.

Chapman’s next move involved meeting with University President Joseph Castro, who took great interest in the matter and referred her to the Human Resources department. Shortly after, a couple lactation stations were put in place for staff – and finally, in 2015, three stations were provided for students.

“A woman’s right to have a space to express breast milk is not just an issue of formality, but it is very much a public health issue,” Chapman said. “It is a matter of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, and it not only affects the baby but it also affects the mother in health-related ways.”

In babies, breastfeeding is associated with lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by 36-50 percent, lower risk of respiratory tract disease by 72 percent and gastrointestinal infections by 64 percent. While in mothers, breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of Breast Cancer by 28-50 percent, Breast Cancer with family history by 59 percent and Coronary Heart Disease by 37 percent.

“Another important factor in breastfeeding is that it also help lowers the hormone balance associated with postpartum depression in new mothers,” Chapman said.”It is key to note that out of 55 healthy breast milk ingredients, only six of those ingredients are replicated in formula.”

While the Coalition continues to push for more lactation stations on campus, their primary goals is to educate the public on health issues related to breastfeeding.

“We are going to concentrate on education this year,” Chapman said. “This is part of what the Department of Public Health does. We educate the public of the importance of these health factors.”

Learn more about the Fresno State Breastfeeding Coalition by following them on their facebook page or contact Carmen Chapman at



A map of the lactation stations for students can be found here.

– Story written by Sierra Frank, CHHS Communication Student Assistant




Our College empowers students to take a whole body approach to improving the quality of life. Our faculty and students are dedicated to helping Central California live well. Click through the slideshow to the right to learn about each of our seven departments within our college: Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies, Kinesiology, Physical Therapy, Public Health, Recreation Administration, School of Nursing and Social Work Education and Gerontology.


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