New Faculty

The College of Social Sciences welcomes eight new faculty members, Sergio Bejar-Lopez, Valerie Carrh, Jason Douglas, Valerie Francisco, Xiaojia Hou, Ana Pitchon, Wendy Rouse, and Susan Snycerskis.

Sergio Bejar-Lopez

Newly Appointed Assistant Professor in Political Science

Dr. Bejar-Lopez is originally from Irapuato, Mexico. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2011. Before joining San José State, Dr. Bejar-Lopez held positions as Assistant Professor of Political Science at William Paterson University of New Jersey and at the University of Texas-Pan American, and is an Associate Research Fellow at the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University.

His research and teaching interests lie in comparative politics, political economy, economic development, and political methodology, with an emphasis in Latin America. Specifically, he examines the determinants of clientelism and its political and policy consequences, the political and policy consequences of globalization, the political economy of financial policies, and the policy consequences of party systems. His work has been published in a variety of political science and economics journals.

Valerie Carr

Newly Appointed Assistant Professor in Psychology

Dr. Valerie Carr earned her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA in 2008. Afterwards she pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University and also taught courses at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Carr joined the department of Psychology at San José State University this fall as an assistant professor.

Throughout her research career, Dr. Carr has investigated the factors that influence the content, quality, and durability of memories in both younger and older adults. Her background as a cognitive neuroscientist has motivated her to develop strategies for improving memory, with an emphasis on developing interventions that reduce memory decline in aging and age-related disease.

Jason Douglas

Newly Appointed Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies

Dr. Jason Douglas is an Environmental Psychologist who conducts research with underserved communities to develop an understanding of social and environmental inequities at the local, state, national, and international levels. His research spans areas including participatory forest conservation in Jamaica, racial and ethnic approaches to community health, environmental justice and education in underserved urban communities, public policy and advocacy efforts to address root causes of childhood obesity, and hospital systems improvements related to homeless populations. Jason is also on the Board of Directors of Communities for a Better Environment, a community-based environmental justice organization located in Los Angeles and Oakland, California.

Valerie Francisco

Newly Appointed Assistant Professor in Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

Valerie Francisco received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at City University of New York, The Graduate Center. Her current book project explores the dynamics of gender and technology of care work in Filipino transnational families in the Philippines and the U.S. Through an examination of neoliberal immigration policies and market forces, Francisco contextualizes the shifts in the long-standing transnational family formation in the Philippines. Francisco's book project is a transnational qualitative study of Filipino migrant mothers in New York City and their families left behind in Manila. She is also collaborating with Dr. Robyn Rodriguez and Migrante Northern California on a participatory action research project with Filipino caregivers and domestic workers to research an understudied industry of caregiving to the elderly in the Bay Area.

Francisco's academic interests include global and transnational sociology, migration and immigration studies, diaspora with a special interest on the Philippine migration, gender and the family, labor and political economy, and transnational social movements with regard to migrant workers. Her work has been featured in journals including Critical Sociology, Working USA, The Philippine Sociological Review and International Review of Qualitative Research.

Francisco’s research is informed by the transnational activism of GABRIELA, an alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations in the Philippines and internationally, and MIGRANTE International, an international alliance of Filipino migrant workers. These networks of diasporic and transnational solidarity between Filipino migrant communities and counterparts the Philippines have shaped her scholarship. As an educator, Francisco continues to develop her pedagogy to engage students holistically in learning about sociology. Francisco is committed to students’ ability to think critically about the complex times we live in and in their potential to change the world. Dr. Francisco has been awarded the 2015 Pacific Sociological Association’s Distinguished Contribution to Sociological Praxis Award and has been named one of the ten national finalists for the 2014 Lynton Award Scholarship of Engagement for Early Scholars by the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE). Lastly, she and her daughter love hip hop and participating in building with the Filipino American community.

Xiaojia Hou

Newly Appointed Assistant Professor in History

Xiaojia Hou received her Ph.D. in history from Cornell University in 2008 with a specialization in modern Chinese history, and her undergraduate and master’s degrees in history from Peking University. Her research agenda centers on China’s socialist transformation in the 1950s. Between 2008 and 2015, she taught in the Department of History, University of Colorado Denver. She is thrilled to join San José State University this fall and loves the academic community in the area.

Ana Pitchon

Newly Appointed Assistant Professor in Anthropology

Ana Pitchon is an applied cultural anthropologist with expertise in ecological and environmental anthropology. Her specialties include marine and coastal anthropology with an emphasis on resource sustainability, adaptation, institutions and community resilience. She has worked extensively in coastal California, and has also conducted research in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Spain, Puerto Rico and the U.S. South Atlantic. She has worked as a consultant for the Federal and State government, private business and non-governmental organizations. Her grant and contract-funded work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and technical reports. She is on the editorial board of Revista Persona Y Sociedad and serves on The Bay Foundation’s Marine Resources Advisory Committee. She will be collaborating with the Moss Landing Marine Lab as affiliate faculty in the new Center for Aquaculture to promote sustainable practices in this growing industry. Prior to receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Pitchon worked at Wired Magazine, at an internet-based market research firm, as a social scientist at the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (NOAA), and later held a post-doctoral research position with Innovative Fisheries Management in Denmark. Before joining the SJSU Anthropology Department, Dr. Pitchon was permanent faculty at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Wendy Rouse

Newly Appointed Assistant Professor in Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

Wendy Rouse has an M.A. in Public History and Archaeology from CSU Sacramento and a Ph.D. in American History from U.C. Davis. Her scholarly research has focused on Progressive Era childhood and gender history. In 2009, the University of North Carolina Press published a revised version of her dissertation: The Children of Chinatown: Growing up in San Francisco's Chinatown, 1850–1920. Presently, she is working on a project that examines the emergence of a women's self-defense movement and its association with the women's suffrage movement during the early twentieth century.

Prior to teaching at the university level, Rouse taught high school history for ten years. Since completing her Ph.D., she has developed university courses to better prepare K-12 teachers to teach Social Sciences in an engaging and dynamic way. Combining student-centered pedagogical strategies with rigorous historical thinking activities, these courses prepare future teachers to meet the challenges of teaching in the 21st century. Rouse will be continuing her work at SJSU in the Social Science Teacher Preparation program which offers undergraduate degrees for students planning to pursue careers in elementary and secondary education.

Susan Snycerski

Newly Appointed Assistant Professor in Psychology

Dr. Susan Snycerski earned her Ph.D. in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior at Western Michigan University (WMU) in 2002. She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral pharmacology supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in which she examined the effects of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB, the “date rape” drug) on learning and memory in rats. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Trials Administration from WMU.

Dr. Snycerski was a full-time lecturer in the Department of Psychology at SJSU for 10 years prior to starting her position as an Assistant Professor. Courses that she regularly teaches include Drugs, Brain, and Behavior; Human Learning; and General Psychology. She is also a major advisor for the Department of Psychology.

Dr. Snycerski’s varied research interests include biological psychology, behavioral pharmacology, drug use and abuse, behavior analysis, motivation, online learning/education, and animal wellness. She has published empirical, theoretical, and methodological articles, as well as book chapters and encyclopedia entries. Her work has received over 500 citations.