As President Barack Obama pointed out earlier this year, it only takes a moment to inspire, teach and even change someone's trajectory.
"It could be a word of encouragement, a helping hand, a lesson that sparked a question, that ignited a passion, and ultimately may have propelled a career," the President said in January. He was speaking to SF State Professor Frank Bayliss and 20 other educators who had traveled from across the nation to the White House to receive a presidential award for excellence in science mentoring.
In these pages we celebrate other SF State faculty members who are doing their part to help students develop their full potential. Through Kimberly Tanner's work, young people are getting early exposure to laboratory experiments at SF State and considering, for the first time, careers in science. On local school blacktops, troubled teens are catching on to the meaning of respect, thanks to Dave Walsh's guidance. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Ralf Hotchkiss and other SF State engineers are teaching workers how to use local resources to help the disabled in developing countries.
The SF State professors whose work is detailed in this issue are among the best in their field. Consider Chris Smith's contributions to the mapping of a wasp genome that may further the development of human medicine; a discovery on an archeological dig in Pompeii led by Michael Anderson that is providing new clues about an ancient population; and a first-of-its kind anthology of African American poetry edited by Camille Dungy.
With these and other examples of groundbreaking research and creative artistry among our faculty, it comes as no surprise that our graduates go on to do great things themselves. Read on to discover how Bridget Cantrell helps veterans of our armed forces readjust to life stateside. How Terri Oyarzùn and her bovid employees offer ecologically sound management of the Bay Area landscape. How Michael Moss' investigative reporting for The New York Times has brought unsafe food handling practices to light.
Behind the constant stream of alumni successes -- two Pulitzer Prize wins in just the past month -- are faculty members who believed, encouraged and guided. The power of a university to transform is something we acknowledge with great pride at this time of year, when we again bestow degrees upon more than 8,000 graduates. SF State faculty members have devoted their careers to helping their students learn to make the most of their talents. In doing so, they help us all.
Robert A. Corrigan