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CommUniverCity SJSU is governed by a Steering Committee with representatives of the University, the City, the community and our community partners, including local school districts.

The governing board of the Tower Foundation, our fiscal agent, is composed of prominent community leaders and SJSU alumni. View the list of Tower Foundation’s Board of Directors here.

CommUniverCity’s Steering Committee members serve three key roles:

  1. Ambassadors/Champions in the wider community, sharing CommUniverCity’s work through their own networks while also helping identify resources and establish strategic connections.
  2. Advisors, providing strategic direction for the organization as a whole, and feedback on specific initiatives.
  3. Partners in community projects.

Steering Committee Members


  • Vice-Chair: Joan Rivas-Cosby, Chair, FWBT Neighborhood Action Council
  • Vice-chair: Deanna Fassett, SJSU Director, Center for Faculty Development
  • Vice-chair: Angel Rios, Jr., Deputy City Manager, City of San José


  • José Posadas, President, Luna Park Business District
  • Terry Ramos, Spartan Keyes Neighborhood Action Council
  • Davide Vieira, Little Portugal Neighborhood resident

San José State University

  • Peggy Cabrera, Librarian, Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
  • Buford Furman, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Elena Klaw, Faculty Director, Center for Community Learning and Leadership, Graduate and Undergraduate Programs
  • Andrea Tully, Center for Community Learning and Leadership, Graduate and Undergraduate Programs
  • Terry Christensen, Emeritus Professor, Department of Political Science, SJSU
  • Kathrine Richardson, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Jason DeHaan, Lecturer, Department of of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
  • Edwin Tan, Government Relations, Director of Advocacy and Community Relations

Local Government

  • Nicolle Burnham, Deputy Director, Capital Programs, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, City of San Jose
  • Mera Burton, Program Manager, Office of Civic Engagement, Valley Water
  • Patricia Ceja, Community Relations Coordinator, Office of Councilmember Raul Peralez, City of San José, Council District 3
  • Karolina Gorgolewski, Librarian, Joyce Ellington Library, City of San Jose
  • Shikha Gupta, Environmental Services Department, City of San Jose (alternate Michael Gonzalez)
  • Jessica Zenk, Community Services Supervisor, Transportation Department, City of San José
  • Jo Zientek, Consumer and Environmental Protection Environmental Services, Santa Clara County


  • Wen Chang, Vice President & Branch Manager, Cathay Bank

Community-based Organizations

  • Helen Kung, Pastor, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church 
  • America G. Gomez, CORAL Managing Director, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara Program

*Non-voting members/liaisons