Member of the Month
Our alumni are powering Silicon Valley and their communities worldwide! Each month we feature a member of the Alumni Association and provide a glimpse into why graduates are proud Spartans. Learn more about where their SJSU degree has taken them and read about their favorite memories while at San José State!
Nov. 2013: Caitlin Kniazewycz
Oct. 2013: Shaun Tai
After graduation, Donna found herself on a career path that included teaching art,
being a junior high and high school principal, directing projects as Senior Research
Associate at West Ed, and opening her own Education Consulting Business. She will
tell you her SJSU degree opened many doors for her throughout her career.
Most recently she decided to pick up her paintbrush and begin creating art for herself. What started out as a hobby, has blossomed into an unexpected new career showing and selling her art throughout galleries in Northern California, and to collectors in the US, South Africa and the even the Caymen Islands.
Recently at the suggestion of close friends from her days at SJSU she painted "Tower Hall" and dedicated this work all her friends from SJSU and to her sorority sisters at Alpha Phi. Art prints of "Tower Hall" have proven popular and have been selling since last spring.
Major: BFA, Art (Concentration in Design), '72
Why are you proud to be a Spartan? There are so many reasons I am proud to be a SJSU Spartan. As a student in 1967 I was always aware that the University had a very well-known and impressive reputation academically whether it was in my major area of study, Art/Design, or my future professional area in Education. It was also very evident even back then that SJSU was an early leader educating and producing the best engineering graduates who began fueling the early engine of Silicon Valley.
Favorite SJSU memory: There are too many individual favorite memories to list. However, when I think about attending SJSU in the late sixties and early seventies the overall campus environment was exciting and politically charged. The Vietnam War was in full swing. I remember walking out the end door of Hoover Hall during a protest march on Seventh St. and into a cloud of tear gas. Civil Rights and the establishment of the Black Students’ Union were at the forefront of the change students were demanding. And yep – I remember the burying of a car on Seventh Street to commemorate the first-ever Earth Day in 1970.
What activities/organizations were you involved in as as student? I was a member of Alpha Phi Sorority.
Which professors had the greatest impact on you? I had two professors in particular who had a great impact on me: Jackie Thurston and James Lovera. Both were inspiring art instructors at SJSU. They were special to me because they gave me direction and confidence in my art. They had a way of providing constructive criticism yet they both told me that I had artistic strengths and very importantly encouraged me to take artistic risks. That encouragement played a big part in my life.
What influenced your success in getting a job after college: Being a substitute teacher who never turned down a substitute teaching assignment helped me immensely.
Advice to current SJSU students: Take risks. Don’t wait for things to happen. Make things happen! Have confidence. Treat each career position, not as a right, but as a privilege. Learn from your mistakes. And know when you need to move on!