College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

School of Humanities and Communication


Keep up to date with HCOM events as well as news about students, alumni and faculty on our Facebook page.

A Day of Action for Racial Equity: Black faculty and staff teach-in

This day of Action at Cal State Monterey Bay was part of the 2020 #ScholarStrike. This event centered Black voices speaking their truth across a broad spectrum of topics. Apologies for the video starting after the official start of the session.

Thank you for the phenomenal CSUMB Black students, faculty, and staff or organized the event. Approximately 1,000 people participated.

Alumni Partner with Professor David Reichard in Legal Aid Internship Course

This semester, HCOM professor David Reichard is partnering in HCOM 498 with five legal aid organizations where students are working to help close the justice gap through internships. There are CSUMB alum on staff at all five sites, including HCOM grads Vanessa Ambriz (L) from California Rural Legal Assistance and Adriana Melogoza (R) from Watsonville Law Center along with Social and Behavior Sciences alum Elizabet Gonzalez (M) from UFW Foundation. Not pictured are HCOM alums Joseph Belmont from Monterey College of Law Legal Clinics and Jerennina Piquing from Legal Services for Seniors.

Want to know more about Pre-Law at CSUMB? Visit our Pre-Law Advising page at Want to support students? Consider a donation to a new Legal Studies Scholarship fund!

Legal Aid Internship Mentors
  • HCOM Fall 2018 Capstone Festival

    Come join HCOM students as they share their senior projects at this fall's capstone festival. Through oral presentations and a poster gallery, learn more about this semester's two seminars, "Diaspora" and "Digital Lives."

    Where: University Center Ballroom

    When: Thursday, December 20 from 2-4 PM

    Refreshments will be served.

    HCOM Capstone Festival Flyer

    Life in Prison and Beyond Event

    On Thursday, November 15 at 6:00 PM in the CSUMB University Center, join Jordan Jeske and Johnny Placencia for "Life in Prison and After, Justice and Personal Change." The event was organized by HCOM Lecturer Javier Cardoza-Kon and is co-sponsored by the School of Humanities and Communication, the Office of Inclusive Excellence, and the Otter Cross Cultural Center at CSUMB. The event is free and open to the public.

    Life in Prison Flyer

    Stephanie Spoto Facilitates Dialogue on Simone de Beauvoir's book, The Second Sex

    HCOM Lecturer Stephanie Spoto facilitated a conversation at Old Capitol Books on Simone de Beauvoir's book, The Second Sex. This free event was part of the Theory and Philosophy Reading Group, the event was co-sponsored by the Direct Action Monterey Network.

    Simone de Beauvoir

    David Reichard Joins CSUMB Pre-Law Club at Law School Admissions Council Forum

    HCOM faculty member David A. Reichard joined the CSUMB Pre-Law Club at the 2018 Law School Admissions Council Forum in San Francisco. Students were able to meet admissions representatives from dozens of law schools and learn more about their programs. Professor Reichard volunteered at the pre-law advising table joined by peers from other college and university pre-law programs.

    Pre Law Club at LSAC Event

    Jennifer Fletcher Keynote Speaker at Conference

    HCOM Professor Jennifer Fletcher was the keynote speaker at the Journey to College, Career and Beyond Annual Conference hosted by the Corona-Norco Unified School District. All participants received a copy of Dr. Fletcher's newest book, "Teaching Literature Rhetorically" available from Stenhouse Press.

    Conference Flyer

    HCOM Lecturer Angel Dominguez Presents at the &Now Writing Festival

    HCOM Creative Writing and Social Action Lecturer Angel Dominguez participated on the panel Second Person Permeable: Queer Epistolary Poetics at the 2018 &Now Writing Festival held at Notre Dame University. The session explored such questions as "In queer epistolary poetry, how do the boundaries between private desire and social experience begin to unravel?" and "What does it mean for poets to project the body, its desires, and its grievances across the gaps between the living and the dead, the human and the non-human?" You can read more about the conference in an article from the Guardian.

    &Now Logo

    HCOM Faculty Sharlene Gregg Co-Creator of a New Oral Presentation Citation Resource

    HCOM Lecturer Sharlene Gregg and Library faculty member Sarah Dahlen have created a new online resource, "Citing Sources in a Oral Presentation: APA" to assist both faculty and students.

    Oral Presentation Citations

    Professor Jennifer Fletcher Keynote Speaker at Writing Conference

    HCOM Professor Jennifer Fletcher will be the keynote speaker at the Write to Literacy Conference on Saturday, September 29. The event is sponsored by the Cal State Northridge Writing Project which seeks to improve "the teaching of writing and improving the use of writing across the disciplines by offering high-quality professional development programs for educators in their service areas, at all grade levels, K–16 and across the curriculum."

    Jennifer Fletcher

    Writers from the Edge Series: Author Gary Soto to Speak at CSUMB

    When: Wednesday, September 26, 6-8 PM

    Where: University Center, Room 115-16

    Gary Soto has published more than forty books for children, young adults and adults, including Baseball in April, Living Up the Street, A Summer Life, Buried Onions, and The Afterlife. His is the author of "Oranges," the most anthologized poem in contemporary literature. He has been awarded the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (twice). His New and Selected Poems was a 1995 finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. In 1999, he was featured as NBC Person of Week for his advocacy for reading. His books have sold four million copies nationwide and have been translated into French, Japanese, Italian, Korean, and Spanish. The Gary Soto Literary Museum is located at Fresno City College. He lives in Berkeley, California

    Gary Soto

    This event is co-sponsored by the School of Humanities and Communication, The School of World Languages and Cultures, and the Office of Inclusive Excellence.

    "The Town on Notice," Professor Umi Vaughan's Film, Screens at Festival

    Professor Umi Vaughan's dance film "The Town On Notice" will be screened as part of the closing night of the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, Sunday October 14, 2018. A performance by Dimensions Dance Theater will accompany the screening.

    Umi Vaughan Town on Notice

    Law School Admissions Workshops

    HCOM and Career Services are sponsoring a law school admissions workshop series this fall. All sessions will be held 12 noon to 2 PM in the Library Conference Room 2159 and will be facilitated by Professor David A. Reichard. All are welcome. The series includes:

    • Sept 10: Preparing for the LSAT
    • Sept 17: The Law School Application Process
    • Sept 24: Choosing Where to Apply to Law School
    • Oct 1: How to Finance Law School
    • Oct 8: What Makes a Good Personal Statement
    • Oct 15: Lunch and Law Panel (in the UC Living Room)

    Interested attendees should register for the workshops. The final lunch on October 15 sponsored by Career Development includes a panel of local attorneys from a variety of practice areas. For more information contact Professor David Reichard at To request disability accommodations, contact Career Services at 831-582-3845 or email

    Law School Admissions Series Flyer
  • Apply for a Krause Scholarship Today: Deadline February 16

    For all HCOM majors of junior (or rising junior status)! The deadline to apply for the Krause Scholarship is February 16, 2018. Students must have a 2.5 GPA, completed at least 60 units, and qualify for financial aid (federal OR California--DACA student welcome!)

    This scholarship is supported by the generosity of the Krause family in supporting HCOM students.

    To apply, go to the CSUMB Financial Aid website today!

  • Students Present Their Work at the Fall 2017 Senior Capstone Festival

    HCOM students shared their research, creative projects and internship experiences at the Fall 2017 HCOM Senior Capstone Festival on December 15. Each of the semester's two sections explored a particular theme. "Ways of Knowing Humanity Through Literature and Film" was guided by Professor Renee Curry while "Food for Thought: How the Humanities Can Engage the Politics of Food" was guided by Professor Mridula Mascarenhas. You can read more about the HCOM capstone model on our Senior Capstone page. Congratulations to all the students!

    HCOM student at Fall 2017 Capstone Festival
    HCOM Capstone Festival Fall 2017
    HCOM Students at the HCOM Senior Capstone Festival Fall 2017

    Community Story Share December 7

    Seaside Voice & People's Oral History Project Community Story Share

    On Thursday, December 7th from 12-2:30 in the University Center Living Room,

    HCOM 350S: Oral History & Community Memory would like to invite everyone to join in celebrating the stories recorded this semester with residents of Seaside and advocates from Community Rural Legal Assistance.

    Please join & listen to excerpts from interviews conducted by CSUMB Oral History Service Learning Students with Seaside Residents & California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) Members Celebrate their stories of history, diversity, & social justice

    For more information contact course instructor, Kristen Lafollette at

    HCOM Brown Bag November 15

    HCOM is hosting a Brown Bag lunch discussion on Wednesday, November 15 at 12:15-1:45 in Playa Hall conference room. Bring your lunch and learn more about recent HCOM faculty research and creative work.

    Lucas Bailor, "restless/reckless/relentless: a poetics"

    Sam Robinson, "Using Right Brain/Left Brain Activity to Jump-start Student Metacognition"

    Stephanie Spoto: “Wittgenstein, Aspect Blindness, and White Supremacy”

    HCOM Brown Bag Flyer

    New On-Campus Literary Arts Journal

    In the Ords Journal

    Calling all creative writers, artists, and creative minds of CSUMB:

    Now is your chance to become published by In the Ords, CSUMB's new Literary Arts Journal. We are a student-staffed organization committed to providing a space for creative expression on campus. Please see our website for submission guidelines and formatting. The submissions deadline is November 17th, and we expect to release a December edition.

    In the meantime, see our Instagram, Facebook page, and newsletter for updates and information.

    Professors Medina-Lopez & Nguyen

    Please welcome the two newest HCOM faculty members: Kelly Medina-Lopez & Phuong Nguyen! Kelly Medina-Lopez is joining us as Assistant Professor of Composition Studies and Phuong Nguyen is joining us as Assistant Professor of History.

    Phuong Nguyen & Kelly Medina-Lopez
  • Congratulations to Professor Maria Villaseñor, who has been promoted to Full Professor, and Professor Patrick Belanger, who has been tenured and promoted to Associate Professor!

    Professors Villasenor and Belanger

    Spring 2017 HCOM Capstone Festival

    Capstone Flyer

    The School of Humanities & Communication presents our Spring 2017 Capstone Festival on Friday, May 19, 2017 from 10am to 12pm in the University Center Ballroom. The event features oral presentations and a poster gallery on the following themes:

    • Section 1 - Story: The Heart of the Humanities & Communication
    • Section 2 - Rhetoric & Justice
    • Section 3 - Leadership

    University affiliates, students, faculty, and staff as well as Community members, are all welcomed to attend. If you wish to attend and require disability accommodations, please contact the HCOM main office via email or by phone (831) 582-3889. Coffee, lemonade, and light refreshments will be served as well. We sincerely hope to you can join us!

    HCOM Students Showcase LGBTQ+ History

    Students from the spring 2017 section of HCOM 359 are making history themselves. They are the first researchers to work with a new LGBTQ History of Monterey County archival collection housed at the CSUMB Library. A partnership with Rainbow Speakers and Friends and with initial donations from local LGBTQ activists, community organizations and allies, this collection will preserve and make visible local LGBTQ histories. Students from the course will showcase their research, and the library its new collection, at a public event on Thursday, May 11, 2017 from 4-6 PM in the CSUMB Library, Room 3170. The event is free, open to the campus and the community, and is co-sponsored by HCOM, the Dean of the CSUMB Library, Archives and Special Collections, and the Office of Inclusive Excellence. For more information or disability accommodations, please contact Professor David Reichard at

    Flyer for Event

    Writers From the Edge with Aya de Leon

    Flyer for event

    Writers From the Edge features Aya de Leon on Thursday, April 13th at 6pm in the Alumni Visitor's Center at CSUMB. This event is sponsored by HCOM, CAHSS, Office of Inclusive Excellence, OC3, and Poets & Writers.

    Bio: Aya de Leon is the Director of June Jordan's Poetry for the People program, teaching poetry and spoken word at UC Berkeley. In July 2016, Kensington Books published her debut feminist heist novel, Uptown Thief, a Latina Robin Hood heist story on New York's Lower East Side.. Her writing and performance work have received acclaim in the Village Voice, Washington Post, Oakland Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, SF Bay Guardian and the East Bay Express. A graduate of Harvard College, with an MFA from Antioch University, Aya has been an artist in residence at Stanford University, a Cave Canem poetry fellow, and a slam poetry champion. She has written for for various media outlets such as xojane, Ebony, Huffington Post, Guernica, Huffington Post, Reductress, Essence, Writers Digest, Bitch Magazine, Racialicious, Fusion, Quartz, and The Toast. She also blogs and tweets about culture, gender, and race, and is currently at work on the Justice Hustlers series, a YA black teen spy girl novel, a picture book about Bree Newsome, and a political satire novel. Visit her at @ayadeleon.

    HCOM at Undergraduate Research Week

    Undergraduate Research Week showcased research work and opportunities in Humanities and Communication on Tuesday, April 4th at noon. The event featured current HCOM UROC scholars Alex Jensen and Erika Perez-Montes. The trio shared about why they became involved in undergraduate research, their current research projects, and what this opportunity has meant for them. The event also featured HCOM Faculty that are currently working on research projects and seeking support from current HCOM students.

    HCOM Faculty and Students
    Professor Patrick Belanger, UROC Scholars Alex Jensen and Erika Perez-Montes, Professor Debian Marty

    Undergraduate Research Week

    Undergraduate Research Week is coming to CSUMB on April 3-8, 2017. CSUMB celebrates this week by highlighting the abundance and diversity of undergraduate research on our campus. See flyers below for the schedule of events and some of the Research opportunities in Humanities and Communication.

    2017 Undergraduate Research Schedule Flyer
    Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Humanities and Communication Flyer

    Otter Realm breaks record at the CA CMA Awards Ceremony

    The Otter Realm broke a record! Our students received 13 awards at the California College Media Association last night in San Francisco! And today, the paper got 6th place nation-wide in Best of the Show at the Associated Collegiate Press conference (ACP) among colleges with fewer than 10,000 students. There were more than 1,000 entries for the California competition and 150 schools competing at the national level. These were the winners:

    • Best Podcast: Dylan Avnet, 1st
    • Best illustration/cartoon: Dylan Avnet, 1st
    • Best Column: Dylan Avnet, 2nd
    • Best Headline portfolio: Kelly Finlay, 1st
    • Best Feature: Kelly Finlay, 3rd
    • Best Infographic: Carolina Caldas, Kim Haley, 2nd
    • Best News Photography: Ryan Sigala (Honorable Mention)
    • Best Photo Series: Benedicte Olsen, 2nd
    • Best breaking news story: Tori Johnson, Sarah Espinosa, 3rd
    • Best news series: Alex Jensen HM* Best Paper: Kelly Galten and Staff HM
    • Best Sports video: Noah Owens, 2nd
    • Best Overall Design: Kim Haley and staff, 2nd
    Group image

    And congratulations to the whole team:

    • Editor in Chief: Kelly Galten
    • Production Manager: Kim Haley
    • Online Editor: Sean Roney
    • Multimedia Editor: Dylan Avnet
    • Webmaster: Toutoua Vang
    • Advertisement & Distribution Manager: Valerie Balanon
    • Sam Robinson for being part of the journey
    • Wendy Rutledge for her hard work supporting the administrative side of the paper!

    Mridula Masacarenhas Panelist at Ethics Forum

    The 15th Annual Ethics Forum will take place on Tuesday, March 7, from 3 to 5pm in the University Center. This year the event is being sponsored by the College of Business, the College of Science, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The event will feature a debate between David Brin, Author of Transparency Society, and Lee Tien, Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Their debate will be followed by a panel session, in which HCOM Faculty Mridula Mascarenhas will serve as a panelist.

    Forum Program Pages 1-3
    Forum Program Pages 4-6

    Krause Scholarship Application Deadline Approaching

    The deadline to apply for a Krause Scholarship is next week--February 24. To be eligible, students must be HCOM majors, have completed 60 units (junior status), have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and be eligible for financial aid. Please visit Financial Aid's scholarship page for more details. This scholarship provides generous and unrestricted support for HCOM majors. Funded by an initial gift of $4.6 million dollars from the estate of Marion Krause, since 2009, the Florence C. Rathom and Alwin R. Krause Scholarship Endowment Fund has generated more than a million dollars in scholarships for HCOM majors. Last year, for example, there were 49 awards made for a total of $311,800. So, if you are eligible, please consider applying.

    Krause Flyer

    “Drum Talk" Comes to Summer Arts 2017 in Fresno

    “Drum Talk: Rhythms from Cuba and Brazil” comes to CSU Summer Arts Festival July 10 to July 23, 2017 at CSU Fresno. This is a percussion course featuring instructors John Santos and Mario Pam and coordinated by HCOM Professor, Dr. Umi Vaughan. The course is a “reunion” and conversation between the African derived music traditions of Cuba and Brazil. In it we will explore various traditional Cuban and Brazilian genres such as rumba, comparsa/conga, bembé, batá, samba, ijexá,baião, and maracatú as well as experiment with fusions of these distinct but related rhythms. Both guest artists will be present throughout the two-week course allowing the group to cross-train among various Cuban and Brazilian styles and seek commonalities right from the start. We also learn about the socio-historical context in which the rhythms were born, the current environments that sustain them, and the intimate connections between these two great traditions. Students will meet and learn with others who are as passionate about percussion, performance, and culture as they are.

    Drum Talk Poster
    Drum Talk Poster

    Writers from the Edge with Ronaldo Wilson

    Writers from the Edge features Ronaldo Wilson on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 6:00 p.m. in the University Center Living Room. The event is sponsored by: HCOM, CAHSS, Office of Inclusive Excellence, OC3, and Poets & Writers. Ronaldo Wilson is an award-winning poet andcurrently Assistant Professor in the Department ofLiterature at the University of California, SantaCruz, renowned for his scholarship on 20thCentury and Contemporary Black Poetics, Poetry,and Visual Culture. Wilson’s first book, winner of the Cave Canem Prize, Narrative of the Life of theBrown Boy and the White Man (University ofPittsburgh Press, 2008), is a series of prose poemsthat captures the interrelationship of the twocentral characters, looking into their psyches andthoughts of race, class, and identity: Black, Asian,and Queer. Wilson’s second book, Poems of theBlack Object (2009), was the winner of the ThomGunn Award in Gay Poetry and an AsianAmerican Literary Award in Poetry.

    Wilson Image

    New Book from Professor Villaseñor

    Professor Maria Villaseñor, in collaboration with WLC Professor Donaldo Urioste and Francisco Lomeli have completed a new book, Historical Dictionary of U.S. Latino Literature, published by Rowman & Littlefield. The edited collection "aims to rectify some of those misconceptions by proving that Latinos do fundamentally express American issues, concerns and perspectives with a flair in linguistic cadences, familial themes, distinct world views, and cross-cultural voices." Congratulations!

    Book cover
  • Brown Bag Series Continues

    Bring your lunch and join HCOM faculty members at our next brown bag event to discuss recent scholarly and creative work in progress. Wednesday, November 30 12:10 - 1:50pm HCOM Conference room, Building 201 Hear from Patrick Belanger, Kent Leatham, Meghan O'Donnell, and Stephanie Spoto.

    flyer for series

    Mascarenhas's Paper Recognized at Conference

    NCA 102nd Annual Convention banner

    Mridula Mascarenhas presented a paper entitled "A Rhetorical Articulation of Catholic Feminism: Prophetic and Deliberative Responses to the Institutional Church" at the National Communication Association Conference (November 2016) in Philadelphia. The paper was recognized as one of the Top Papers in the Feminist and Women's Studies Division.

    Law School Admissions Workshop Series

    Professor David Reichard will be facilitating a five part workshop series on Law School Admissions in partnership with CSUMB Career Development. The first four workshops will be held in the CSUMB Library, Conference Room 3145. The Career meet and greet with local attorneys will be held in the University Center Living Room. Free for all students.

    1. Preparing for the LSAT (September 12 from 12-2)
    2. The Law School Application Process (September 19 from 12-2)
    3. Choosing Where to Apply to Law School (September 26, 12-2)
    4. What Makes a Good Personal Statement (October 3)
    5. Meet, greet and discussion with local legal professionals (October 10)
    Flyer for event

    O'Donnell At Academic Labor Conference

    Meghan O'Donnell

    HCOM Lecturer Meghan O’Donnell was one of six delegates selected to represent the CSU system in Edmonton, AB this summer for a conference on Academic Labor, Freedom, and Grassroots Activism, at the University of Alberta. The conference focused on the current debates and crises facing academia across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Emphasis was placed on empowering workers in academia who represent historically marginalized communities, particularly the indigenous, people of color, those with mental health disorders and disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community.

    Tenure and Promotion News in HCOM

    The start of the new academic year brings good news for two HCOM faculty members. Congratulations to Jennifer Fletcher who was promoted to Full Professor. In addition to coordinating HCOM's Subject Matter Program in English, her recent book, Teaching Arguments: Rhetorical Comprehension, Critique, and Response has received wide praise and is being adopted by many programs supporting professional development for teachers. Congratulations Jennifer!

    Jennifer Fletcher

    Congratulations are also in order for Estella Porras, who earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. Since her arrival at CSUMB, she has been instrumental in mentoring students in producing the award winning Otter Realm, the campus student newspaper which, under her leadership, has expanded to include a website and podcasting. Congratulations Estella!

    Estella Porras
    Otter Realm Logo

    Book Award for Professor Benmayor

    Rina Benmayor

    Rina Benmayor, HCOM Professor Emerita, has received the annual book award from the Oral History Association for_Memory, Subjectivities, and Representation: Approaches to Oral History in Latin America, Portugal, and Spain,_ edited by Rina along with Maria Eugenia Cardenal de la Nuez, and Pilar Dominguez Prats and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. The award will be presented at the OHA annual meeting in Long Beach in October. As the Palgrave website notes, "The Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds have been crucibles for important work in oral history and other fields, but too little has been made accessible to English readers. This collection seeks to enhance and expand access to recent scholarship from the Iberian world that has not been translated or otherwise made available to English speakers."

    Professor Berteaux Lectures in France

    Professor John Berteaux was in Paris for the month of July, invited to present two lectures for the University of California San Diego Global Seminar Program. The course, “Jazz and the Music of the African Diaspora” is taught each summer by Provost Emeritus Cecil Lytle of the UCSD Department of Music. A chief element of the course is the relationship and interplay of French and American culture in film, music, the letters and world-view. Professor Berteaux's lectures Black America, Black France explored early 20th century America and the interplay of French and American culture that fostered the fallacy of French color-blindness and inclusion. His examination in fact addressed the larger issue of the way in which our historical narratives hide from us our true situation and real interests.

    As a final project for the course the students produce a concert. The venue was a small café in Paris, “Vingt Vins D’Art.” The concert is produced entirely by students who made posters, set up lighting, handled the sound system, and prepared the venue. They also interfaced with the artists, created brochures, and contacted websites in order to spread the word about the event.

    Berteaux Lecturing

    Faculty Receive Grants

    Several HCOM faculty members received grants for various projects to be completed this summer or next academic year. Congratulations!

    HCOM Faculty Wall Art
    • Dr. Ernest Stromberg and Interim Director of the First Year Program Dr. Swarup Wood received a 2016 CSUMB Innovation in Teaching and Learning grant for their project "Influences of Mindfulness Stress Reduction Techniques and Daily Meditation on the Resilience of First Year Studies"
    • Dr. Sam Robinson was awarded a Faculty Support Grant for "The CSUMB Justice Project"
    • Dr. John Berteaux was awarded a Provost Global Engagement Faculty Development grant for his project "Jazz & Music of African Diaspora"
    • Dr. Patrick Belanger was awarded a Provost Global Engagement Faculty Development Grant for "Environmental Philosophy and Communications"
    • Drs. Patrick Belanger and Ajit Abraham were awadred a CSUMB Innovation in Teaching and Learning grant for their project "Technology, Resilience, and Global Environmental Ethics"
    • HCOM faculty member Kristen LaFollette was awarded a Provost Global Engagement grant to explore international oral history partnership possibilities in collaboration with SBGS's Spain service learning course led by Dr. Juan Jose Guiterrez
    • HCOM faculty members Kristen LaFollette and Kyle Livie were awarded a grant from The Facing Project andCalifornia Campus Compact for their project "Facing Community Activism." The Facing Project features their upcoming partnership on their website.
  • Songs for Women Living With War

    In collaboration with Global Studies and the Visual and Public Art departments, HCOM co-hosted the event “Songs for Women Living with War” on April 5 at the Black Box Cabaret. The event focused on honoring, remembering, and naming atrocities against women committed as acts of war through a visual art installation, a community vocal lamentation led by musician and composer Theresa Wong, and a literary reading by renowned writer M. Evelina Galang. Galang presented work from a forthcoming book Lola’s House: Women Living with War, a project in which over the past decade she has worked to document the stories of the Filipina comfort women who endured imprisonment, sexual violation, and other brutalities during World War II. In Tagalog, “lola” means “grandmother,”and Galang’s presentation emphasized the importance of hearing the experiences of the grandmothers and breaking the silences that they were forced to endure for decades. As survivors, the grandmothers voiced harrowing stories that revealed not only the cruelty to which they were subjected, but the resilience and strength that enabled them to survive, and the love of friends and family that supported their healing. Galang’s presentation was a moving experience,and attendees were left with the indelible impact of the “lolas’” stories.

    Event image

    Dr. Tomas Summers Sandoval Visits CSUMB

    Tomas Picture

    Dr. Tomás Summers Sandoval, Associate Professor of History and Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies at Pomona College, visited CSUMB on March 7, giving a lecture titled “The Invisible History of the Vietnam War in Mexican America” to a packed audience of students, faculty, and community members in the University Center. The lecture described research that Summers Sandoval is conducting to analyze the impact of the Vietnam War on Mexican American communities in the late 20th century given that more than 200,000 Mexican Americans fought in the military as part of the U.S. War in Vietnam. Describing the significance of this research, Summers Sandoval writes: “For this generation of ‘brown baby boomers’ and their families, the war altered the course of their lives, reshaping their economic and educational trajectories as well as their notions of identity, nation, and world.” Summers Sandoval shared insights from a recent trip to Vietnam, as well as compelling audio clips from the oral histories he has been collecting for this book project from Chicano veterans and their families. In his introductory remarks, Summers Sandoval shared that he considered the visit a “homecoming,” since he is a former HCOM professor. He is author of the book Latinos at the Golden Gate: Creating Community and Identity in San Francisco (University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

    Deb Busman's Novel Nominated for Lambda Literary Award

    HCOM faculty member Debra Busman's novel, like a woman, has been named a finalist for a prestigious Lambda Literary Award. These awards, in multiple categories, "celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2015." Her book has received many accolades already and this just adds to the list. As Sarah Burghauser's review in Lambda Literary concludes, "In prose as lucid and passionate as any manifesto, this contemporary feminist anthem offers us a hero who both charms and challenges readers by way of her acuity, grit and depth. Like a Woman is destined to be a classic." The awards will be announced in June 2016.

    Book cover

    Diana Garcia Honors Dolores Huerta

    Garcia at LOC
    Poets Arlene Biala, Diana Garcia and Juan Felipe Herrera at the March 9 event in Washington, DC.

    HCOM faculty member and award winning poet Diana Garcia read from her work at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery at an event on March 9 in honor of civil rights leader and United Farm Worker's co-founder Dolores Huerta. Garcia was one of several poets, including the U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera who participated in the event coordinated with the exhibit "One Life: Dolores Huerta." As Garcia noted, it was the "first time the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress have combined resources to celebrate the life of a Chicana." Read more at this NBC News story about the event.

    HCOM Pre-Law ar Migrant Education Workshops

    Photo of participants
    Jessica Peregrina, Lizzette Ramirez, Jessica Rincon, David Reichard and Rafael Albarran after the High School Migrant Education Day pre-law workshop in February 2016.

    This academic year, the HCOM Pre-Law program was invited by the Migrant Education Program in Monterey County to participate in a series of workshops held on the CSUMB campus for students--from middle school through high school--to introduce students to careers in the law and how a college degree is a step in that process. HCOM faculty members David A. Reichard and Diana Garcia participated as well as three HCOM alums Adriana Melgoza, Clinic Manager for the Watsonville Law Center, Rafael Albarran, who attended Monterey College of Law after earning his degree at CSUMB, and recent graduate Jessica Rincon. Two current HCOM students, Lizzette Ramirez and Jessica Peregrina, also participated in one of the workshops. Through a mini mock trial and jury deliberation role play, the HCOM pre-law group gave students the opportunity to think about what lawyers do and what kinds of skills and abilities they would need to develop to reach that career goal. One workshop, for ninth graders, occurred in the fall of 2015 and two during the spring semester, one for middle school students and the most recent for 10th and 11th graders. HCOM offers both a concentration in Pre-Law for HCOM majors and a Pre-Law Minor for students from across the campus.

    HCOM Student Has Book Launch

    Siders event
    Maria Villasenor, Diana Garcia, Chris Siders and Deb Busman.

    HCOM student Christopher Siders hosted a packed-house book release party and reading at the UC Living Room on May 1 in celebration of his new book of poetry, Born in the World of. Well known on campus and in the community as a spoken word artist/social justice advocate, author of the Otter Realm column, "Memoirs of a Male Feminist," and performer/director in the MENding Monologues, Chris is an HCOM major with a concentration in Creative Writing and Social Action. Describing Chris's new book, Professor María Villasenor writes: "Born in the World of exhales the breath of life through poetry and prose that confesses, inspires, and educates. Racism, sexism, and other harsh social realities are revealed and challenged with hope and a youthful vision for the future that the reader will not soon forget." Chris is donating 45% of all book sales to Youth N.O.W., non-profit after school center for middle and high school students in Watsonville, and has already raised over $300 for the group. Books can be purchased on Amazon or in the CSUMB bookstore.

    Otter Realm Wins Multiple Awards

    The Otter Realm was recognized by a record nine awards in the less than weekly category at the 2016 California College Media Association February 20, 2016, including third place in the national Associated Collegiate Press Best of Show.

    First Place Awards

    • Best Non Breaking News story: Otter Romp-Danny Simon, Katie Kishi, Stefan Farhner about CSUMB over payment of water bills on East Campus
    • Best Headlines: Otter Realm-Achelle Reynoso, College of Science beat reports
    • Best Special Section: Otter Romp-for the second year in a row for the Special Investigative Reporting issue

    Second Place Awards

    • Best News Series: Otter Romp-Alex Hennessey, Yuri Lara, Caemen Amelio, McKenzie Handy for "Feeding the Future"
    • Best Photo Illustration: Otter Realm-Achelle Reynoso for "Breast Cancer Awareness"
    • Best Podcast: Raquelle Miller and Estella Porras

    Third Place Award

    • Best Feature Photo: Otter Realm-Andres Hernandez for "Sad little monkey"
    Otter Realm Winners
    Professors Estealla Porras and Sam Robinson with students from the Otter Realm at the California College Media Association, February 20, 2016. Back row, left to right, LaMarcus Bailey, Raquel Miller, Achelle Reynoso, Briana Mackey, Katie Kishi

    Honorable Mention Awards

    • Best Column: Otter Realm-Elizabeth Hensley
    • Best Website: Otter Realm

    Diana Garcia Reading February 9

    HCOM faculty member Diana Garcia will read from her poetry at the Cesar Chavez Library in Salinas on February 9, 2016 as part of a collaboration with the Visual and Public Art program at CSUMB in connection with Latino Americans programming supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    Flyer for event

    Journalism and Media Studies Brown Bag Event

    Join us Wed., Feb. 10 from Noon to 1:30 p.m. in the UROC conference room, (Suite 2150, second floor of the library) for research presentations and discussion. Dr. Sam Robinson and Elizabeth Hensley will present: Stop the Press: A case study using Critical Race Theory to unpack and challenge the barrier of whiteness in newspapers. Dr. Estella Porras will present: News from and about situated living bodies: Community Journalism as Embodied Practice. Bring your lunch and join the conversation about new ways to think and envision journal

    Image for the header

    Book Launch

    On March 10, 2016 from 4:30 to 7:00 PM in the Alumni and Visitors Center, there will be a book launch sponsored by the Office of Inclusive Excellence for Fostering Habits of Mind in Today's Students: A New Approach to Developmental Education. Co-edited by HCOM faculty member Jennifer Fletcher, the book explores, as its publisher Stylus notes, how these strategies "promote life-long, integrative learning and foster intellectual qualities such as curiosity, openness, flexibility, engagement, and persistence that are the key to developing internalized and transferable competencies that are seldom given direct attention in college classrooms." Contributors include CSUMB faculty Olga Blomgren, Maria Boza, Jennifer Fletcher, Rebecca Kersnar, Sunita Lanka, and Natasha Oelman and former TLA Director Becky Rosenberg.

    Fletcher book cover
  • Otter realm finalist

    From our November HCOM newsletter... The Otter Realm was selected as one of 12 newspapers as a Pacemaker by the Associated Collegiate Press organization. The award was in the four year university, non-daily category and was announced Oct. 31 in Austin, Texas. "It's great to be recognized by the Associated Collegiate Press, and win along side universities with larger staffs and departments," said Alex Hennessey, Otter Realm production manager. "I'm so proud of our past Editor in Chief Elizabeth Hensley, and the rest of our staff." "Our favorites could pass as typical community papers - they tackled investigative stories, had an active role in breaking news, combined with excellent writing, photography and graphics/design," said the judges of the category winners. See all the finalists here.

    Otter Realm Logo

    Alum takes on leadership role

    HCOM Alum Judith Flores Carmona, now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at New Mexico State University was selected as chair-elect of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS/Women Active in Letters and Social Change). See this recent story on the CSUMB news page and her alum profile for more about her and her work. Judith is a 2001 CSUMB graduate who earned her degree in HCOM and a concentration in American Multicultural Studies. Congratulations Judith!

    Judith Flores

    New tenure track faculty member


    "Mridula Mascarenhas joins HCOM as an assistant professor of communication and practical reasoning. Most recently she has been teaching at Hanover College, a liberal arts school, in Southern Indiana. She earned her doctorate degree in Rhetorical Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 'I am really excited to get to know CSUMB students and find my place in the CSUMB community,' she said. 'I am looking forward to developing courses with a focus on Communication Ethics and to discovering ways in which my students and I can make an impact on local communities.' This semester Mascarenhas is teaching Cooperative Argumentation and Media Ethics." Excerpt from the September 2015 issue of the HCOM newsletter.

    HCOM hosts visiting scholar

    HCOM is pleased to welcome Professor Zhangya Yu as its first visiting scholar. She will be in residence during the 2015-16 academic year. Her current research project is entitled Develop, Construct and Research the Third Classroom English Teaching in Video Multimodal Mode Perspective. Professor Yu is currently an associate professor of English at Shanghai University of Electric Power and will complete her doctoral program in English at the Shanghai International Studies University in December, 2015. Her research interests include systemic-functional linguistics (appraisal system), ESP teaching and practice, and film studies. Recent publications include A Study of Interpersonal Meaning in English Advertising (Beijing: National Defense Industry Press, 2014), “A Case Study of ESP Practice: Toward Better Tutoring of College Student Graduation Thesis Abstract and Introduction Writing” which appeared in the International Journal of Studies in Literature and Language (2014)

    Visiting Scholar

    Diana Garcia at library of congress

    Professor Diana Garcia has been invited to write ekphrastic poems in response to the One Life: Dolores Huerta exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery at the Library of Congress. The gallery chooses one American historical figure each year and highlights their lives in paintings, photos, and mementos. While she was in Washington, D.C. to preview the exhibit, Robert Casper, director of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress, invited Professor Garcia to record some of her poems for the Library of Congress's archive as part of the growing body of Hispanic literature. To cap it all off, in January, 2016, along with U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and Arlene Biala, a Bay Area poet, she will give a reading at the National Portrait Gallery.

    Garcia at LOC

    Two books from Jennifer Fletcher

    Book coverrs

    Congratulations to Professor Jennifer Fletcher, who has two new books out in 2015: Teaching Arguments: Rhetorical Comprehension, Critique, and Response has been published by Stenhouse. Find out more about the book at thepublishers site. And, Fostering Habits of Mind in Today's Students, which she co-edited with Adela Najarro and Hetty Yelland has been published by Stylus Publishing.