CHSS Connection

October 25, 2023


SF State group at PACT event

On Thursday, October 19, I joined Deans Ifeoma Nwankwo (Liberal and Creative Arts) and Grace Yoo (Ethnic Studies) and Vice Provosts Jamilah Moore (Student Affairs and Enrollment Management) and Fred Smith (Equity and Community Inclusion) to attend the PACT (Planning Action for Challenging Times) 60th Anniversary celebration at the invitation of VP Jeff Jackanicz. PACT is a Black educational organization founded to ensure Black student success. The event honored the founders, including Everett Brandon, JD, who was in attendance, and recent scholarship recipients throughout the Bay Area.

I was struck by a number of things: the legacy of 60K students served over 60 years, the fact that the organization still operates in the Western Addition and the number of attendees who still live in Bayview/Hunter’s Point, and the deep commitment of alumni. Mostly, I walked away feeling so pleased that I teach and currently administer at SF State, where so many of the people in attendance received their degrees. Some graduated prior to or during the ’68 strike and others, after. I also ran into one of my former Sociology students, Danielle Calibird (BA ’10), who, along with her partner, Isaiah Powell, organizes the farmer’s market, which was happening outside the event on Evans Avenue.

It was an inspirational evening at a time when I/we need some inspiration! And it’s keeping me going through this work week. I feel even more committed to the work we (staff, faculty, admin) at the CSUs are doing for Black and Latinx/e students and all that come through our doors. 



CHSS will host its next “Coffee and Conversation” Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities (RSCA) Breakfast on November 14 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in Library 121.

We will be featuring the work of four of our newest CHSS faculty members: Juliana Parma (Kinesiology), Navi Kaur (Criminal Justice Studies), Albert de la Tierra (Criminal Justice Studies) and Yeram Cheong (Child & Adolescent Development).

Further details and registration information will be forthcoming by email.

Join your colleagues to set goals for your scholarship, spend quiet time writing, check in on projects and support one another in the writing process! We are starting in-person writing group sessions based on the feedback from our survey, and Dilara Yarbrough from Criminal Justice Studies has graciously offered to open her Zoom writing accountability group to others in the College who are interested in a virtual option.

If you are interested in joining a writing group, please contact the group coordinator listed below, and feel free to join more than one group if you would like!


Mondays 1–3 p.m., HSS 233 (Kate Hamel, 10/23, 11/6, 11/27, 12/4
Thursdays 9–11 a.m., HSS 233 (Sheldon Gen, 11/2, 11/16, 11/30, 12/14


Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Fridays 8:45 a.m.–9:30 a.m. (Dilara Yarbrough, email for Zoom link
If these options don’t work for you, please also consider the SF State Transforms – CEETL groups on Tuesdays or Fridays.

We are pleased to announce that the College has staff professional development funds for FY 23-24. The eligibility requirements and process for requesting funds are detailed on the CHSS website. If you have any questions, please contact Christine Hintermann.


You are invited to register for the second annual Asian American Research Center on Health (ARCH) Symposium, which will be hosted at SF State with the support of the Health Equity Institute. The event will take place on November 8 from 2 to 5:15 p.m. and will include include welcome remarks from Founding ARCH Director Tung Nguyen and Provost Amy Sueyoshi; a faculty research panel featuring Professor of Asian American Studies Russell Jeung, Assistant Dean for Restorative and Transformative Racial Justice Valerie Francisco-Menchavez and Associate Professor of Gerontology Emiko Takagi; a mentoring and networking exchange and a student wellness space.

For any questions, please contact the symposium co-leads, Associate Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics Zubaida Qamar ( and Assistant Professor of Public Health Supriya Misra ( 

ARCH symposium flyer
ARCH Symposium flyer showing speakers
Map of Spring 2024 Semester at Sea voyage

Professor of Public Health Vivian Chávez will be bring SF State’s spirit of health equity and community inclusion to Semester at Sea Spring 2024. She will be sailing to countries in Asia, Africa and Europe, teaching courses on Applied Social Change Promoting Positive Health.  

Semester at Sea® (SAS) is a comparative global education program operated by the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) with the collaboration of its academic partner, Colorado State University. The voyage is 105 days long and visits 10 countries. Voyage participants number 900 (550 students; 125 faculty, staff, and their companions; 25 lifelong learners; 20 invited guests; and 180 officers and crew). The mission of Semester at Sea® is to educate individuals with the global understanding necessary to address the challenges of our interdependent world.

With the world as its classroom, its programs integrate multiple-country study, interdisciplinary coursework and experiential learning for meaningful engagement in the global community. Upper-division students from universities across the country can apply to the Chapman Impact Program.

Chavez will teach the “Applied Social Change” service learning course connecting a cohort of Semester at Sea students with community-based organizations that can give students an up-close and hands-on introduction to craft bold solutions to both global and local challenges.

Screen capture from Zoom workshop

Faculty from the School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) participated in a foundational workshop on “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Teaching and Learning.” The event, the first brown bag session of the Fall semester, was coordinated by the Faculty Development Committee of PACE with the intention of making such gatherings a recurring feature of PACE integrative activities. The workshop, conducted via Zoom, was led by Associate Professor Ernie Joaquin, with faculty from the Urban Studies Program, Gerontology Program and Master of Public Administration Program. 

With AI being one of the existential issues of our time, the PACE faculty must explore its transformative potential within their respective fields of expertise. In addition to Joaquin, the session featured Professor Genie Stowers, recognized for her knowledge of information and AI tools, particularly ChatGPT. Stowers delivered an overview of AI and its origins and described some of the popular AI tools, with a specific emphasis on ChatGPT. She also demonstrated the use of Adobe Firefly for crafting professional and engaging presentations, an application her students found very accessible. Joaquin delved into creating effective prompts for ChatGPT, showing its application in crafting assignments, assessing student work and case study writing. The last is a key aspect of graduate courses that emphasize written exercises. Faculty also discussed ways of using AI to generate efficient and effective feedback for students. 

The faculty availed themselves of this opportunity to engage in a substantive discourse concerning the promotion of academic integrity and strategies for detecting AI-generated assignments. They had candid discussions on the challenges associated with bias and the accuracy of ChatGPT results, acknowledging their significance in AI integration. Joaquin shared a ChatGPT policy incorporated into her syllabus, addressing some of these critical issues. The faculty also discussed ways of using AI to generate efficient and effective feedback for students, come up with ideas to enhance existing courses and directly engage AI with their students. Based on this workshop, the faculty will plan the next steps in finding and sharing ways of enhancing the educational experience at PACE as AI becomes an integral part of modern pedagogy.  

Professors Erik Peper and Richard Harvey (both with the Institute for Holistic Health Studies and Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism) coauthored an article in the October 21, 2023 issue of the Townsend Letter, titled, “Be skeptical: Finding and evaluating online health resources.” It provides recommendations how to find and evaluate health resources and make informed choices. The article is for anyone trying to make sense of the beneficial claims of procedures, drugs, supplements and other interventions.

Roberts friends and family at Wilderness Awards and Nina Roberts portrait

Professor of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Nina S. Roberts, who passed away in March 2022, was awarded the prestigious 2023 Charles “Reb” Gregg Wilderness Risk Management Award. The award was presented October 18 at the Wilderness Risk Management 30th Annual Conference.

In a moving tribute, her dear friend and colleague, Sky Gray, celebrated Roberts for her fearless fight for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Gray noted, “Nina would ask for people and organizations to connect the accurate historical dots and make needed systematic changes…she would ask that we shift towards anti-racist liberation…she would say if we are not leading culture, we will default to the dominant culture.”

Roberts’ sister, Alyssa Roberts, and cousins Monique and Kyra accepted the award on her behalf.

Story and photo courtesy of @sfsurpt on Instagram

Jessica Wolin, lecturer faculty in the Department of Public Health, and colleagues at the CSU Long Beach Center for Equitable Higher Education (CEHE) have been awarded a grant of $400,000 by the College Futures Foundation.  

The grant will support CEHE’s work as a source of actionable student basic-needs research and catalyst of a California higher education system that prioritizes the student experience. This award will be used to build out CEHE’s infrastructure in the areas of policy, leadership and fundraising with a specific emphasis on shifting the frame regarding student basic needs to a student human rights framework. Wolin serves as CEHE’s director of policy and practice. 

Alumni Corner

Rebecca Alvarez Story

SF State alumna Rebecca Alvarez Story (M.A., Sexuality Studies, ’17) didn’t get much sex education growing up. She went to an all-girl high school with an abstinence-only approach to sex ed, and her parents weren’t comfortable stepping in to explain the birds and the bees. 

“In my home, we didn’t talk about sex education,” Story said. “My parents did try to have one awkward sex talk.” 

Today, however, sex talk is far from awkward for Story. In fact, it’s both her business and her mission. 

Story is the founder and CEO of Bloomi, a company offering intimate health products — oils, personal lubricants, sex aids and more — with an emphasis on bilingual marketing. The Bloomi line can be found in local spas and boutiques as well as national retailers like Target and Saks Fifth Avenue. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Story says she hopes to use Bloomi to bring quality sex education to a billion people around the globe, with an emphasis on expansion in Latin America. 

Unfortunately, Story’s own sex education journey included a traumatic detour. A Bay Area native, Story originally went to Southern California to attend college. While there, she was sexually assaulted. 

“That experience made me return home to reground myself,” Story said. “After that, I was very apprehensive about intimacy. I actually feared intimacy.” 

Back in the Bay Area, Story became inspired to use her experiences as a way to heal, and she enrolled in the Women’s Health and Sexuality program at UC Berkeley. 

“That was the beginning of me starting to understand the power of education in the category,” said Story. 

Following graduation, Story worked with startups in sexual wellness focused on intimacy products, sex coaching and sex education. Eventually she decided to continue her education in the field at SF State, where she enrolled in pursuit of a master’s degree in Sexuality Studies. 

“I was a single mom when I started the program. My daughter was 3,” said Story. “She actually came to a few courses and was on the side with her headphones.” 

On top of being a single mom and a graduate student, Story was working full-time as a sexologist. 

“It made me feel good that I was doing things I love,” said Story. “My daughter learned a lot about me at such a young age. It was an important time in my development, and it was all things that I loved.” 

Being a single mother and working full-time while pursuing a graduate degree is no small feat, and Story was fortunate to have support from her family and professors. 

“All of the professors in the Human Sexuality program were incredible,” said Story. “They are very passionate about the work, which comes through in what they’re teaching.” 

It wasn’t just the teaching that Story found inspiring. Thanks to her time working with startups, she also knew there were untapped audiences for sexual wellness products.  

“I had a lot of experience seeing what worked well and not so well with products in the category,” said Story. “The way that products were being marketed was very binary and stereotypical. I felt there was a world where we could be more inclusive about that.” 

Story had also seen brands undervalue the Latinx market. She created Bloomi to be a bilingual brand, carving out an inclusive space within the sexual wellness industry and making the brand both unique and, for her, personal. 

Despite her parents’ reluctance to discuss sex when she was younger, Story says her family has been supportive of Bloomi from the beginning. Now it gives her a deep feeling of satisfaction when, for instance, she and her father pass her company’s products for sale at Target. 

“The feeling is incredible, but it’s hard to explain to people who aren’t children of immigrants,” said Story. “It’s very emotional because it’s not just another product on the shelf. It’s the realization of several generations of people striving to get ahead and get a better education and the American dream of starting this business.” 

Republished from CampusMemo

Featured Photo

Group of Immigrant Leadership Award winners

Pictured: Recipients of 2023 San Francisco Immigrant Rights Coalition’s Immigrant Leadership Awards. Third from left is Iris Lopez (B.A., Sociology, ’23), representing the volunteer organization Collective Action for Laborers, Migrants, and Asylum Seekers (CALMA), which won the award for Grassroots Leader. See more photos and a video highlight reel from the ceremony. Photo courtesy of OCEIA on Instagram.

Submit an Item

The deadline to submit items for the November 8, 2023 issue of CHSS Connection is November 3. Send submissions to CHSS Communications Director Michael Broder at