Project Director: Dr. Tamar Semerjian
Dr. Tamar Z. Semerjian received her B.A. degrees in Human Biodynamics and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in sport psychology from the department of Health, Leisure, and Sport Studies from the University of Iowa. She is the director of the Silicon Valley Health Aging Partnership (SVHAP). Dr. Semerjian is currently a Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology in the Department of Kinesiology at San José State University and the coordinator of the undergraduate program. She teaches several courses in the department including undergraduate courses in sport psychology, sport sociology, stress management, diversity stress and health, and graduate courses in sport psychology and research methods. Dr. Semerjian’s research has included work with older adults, individuals with spinal cord injury, and transgender athletes. Generally, her research interests focus on exploring the experiences of marginalized groups in exercise through the lens of both cultural studies and sport psychology. In particular she has been interested in the translation of evidence-based health promotion programs in the community, the effect of exercise on older adults’ self-perceptions, and the influence of their exercise experience on long-term participation. Because of her belief in the importance of praxis, she has been active in the aging community, implementing exercise programs that are affordable and accessible to diverse populations of older adults. Dr. Semerjian’s published work has appeared in Spinal Cord, The Sport Psychologist, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, Sociology of Sport Journal, and Women’s Sport and Physical Activity Journal, and she had contributed chapters to Sport for Peace and Social Justice, The Cultural Turn in Sport Psychology, The Hidden Faces of Eating Disorders and Body Image, and Battleground: Sports.
Project Coordinator: Jennifer Schachner
Jennifer Schachner received her B.A. and M.A degree in Kinesiology, with a specialization in Adapted Physical Activity from the department of Kinesiology at San Jose State University. She will be beginning a doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Fall 2014. Jennifer is the Program Coordinator of the Silicon Valley Health Aging Partnership (SVHAP). She is currently an activity instructor and lecturer at SJSU. She teaches several courses in the department including undergraduate courses in Stress Management, Introduction to Kinesiology, Introduction to Adapted Physical Activity, Taekwondo and many other activity classes. Before engaging with senior fitness, Jennifer was a Program Manager for a corporate fitness company in Silicon Valley as well as a senior fitness instructor for Foothill Community College. Jennifer is also a 4th degree black belt in Taekwondo. She is a specialist in martial arts for older adults and those with disabilities. Her master’s thesis Wheelchair Martial Arts: An Instructors Manual paved the way to her development of other adapted martial arts program and self-defense classes. Her certifications include: Ace (Personal Training), AFAA (Group Exercise), ISSA (Functional Fitness and Senior Fitness), Matter of Balance (Coach and Master Trainer) and Enhance Fitness (Coach and Master Trainer).
Interns Staff and Volunteers
A lot of the work at SVHAP gets done due to our talented group of student interns from San Jose State University. We’re proud to introduce our current interns and share the stories of past interns who have gone on to continue the work they started at SVHAP. If you’re interested in becoming a SVHAP intern, please fill out our volunteer interest survey.
Christina Vargas is a senior Kinesiology student majoring in Exercise and Fitness at San Jose State University. This semester, Christina has been assisting SVHAP in various projects such as graphic design work surrounding logo and letterhead design. Christina works part time as a fitness instructor and teaches circuit training classes throughout the Bay Area. Her passion for teaching exercise classes lies in the potential for people to encounter mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual growth that could unfold out of the process of challenging and taking care of one’s body through fitness. In her free time, Christina enjoys reading books, doing crafts, and enjoys outdoor activities. Christina is excited about pursuing a career in exercise and fitness because she hopes to be a stepping stone in the process for individuals to achieve personal growth through fitness.
Janet Schumacher is a health and fitness professional with over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. She received a bachelor’s degree in corporate fitness/sports management from University of the Pacific, and a master’s degree in exercise physiology/nutrition from California State University East Bay. Her experience includes working in the spa, commercial and corporate wellness and fitness settings. Janet holds numerous certifications including Healthy Aging Specialist; ACE Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Group Exercise instructor from the American Council on Exercise; ACSM Health Fitness Specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine; Enhanced Fitness and Matter of Balance instructor and she is a STOTT Pilates certified instructor. Her passion is helping others achieve success in their health and wellness goals. She enjoys teaching a variety of activity classes in the community and serving as a volunteer for Dress for Success and the Silicon Valley Healthy Aging Partnership. In her spare time, she is an avid traveler, enjoys riding her EllipitGO with her husband, walking, Pilates and playing the piano.
Olga Adelung is an SVHAP intern and a senior Kinesiology student at San Jose State University. In the past, she has been a Project SHINE volunteer at On Lok Lifeways, where she helped to engage older adults with various health conditions in physical, recreational, and social activities. She was also the vice-president of the Zen Buddhism Club at San Jose State University, a Matter of Balance coach at the Japanese American Community Senior Center, and an Enhanced Fitness instructor at the Portuguese Organization for Social Services and Opportunities. Currently, she teaches Enhanced Fitness at the Akiyama Wellness Center in San Jose. Olga’s interests include reading, hiking, and meditating. Her professional goals are to help people rediscover the joy of movement for its own sake and to build their confidence in their own abilities.
Anson Ho a freshmen at SJSU majoring in Kinesiology with an interest in minoring in nutrition. He plans to follow the path of a physical therapist after he graduates. He enjoys a wide variety of sports, trying new foods from different parts of the world, as well as playing video games. He hopes to gain more knowledge and broaden his horizons through the internship experience with SVHAP.
John Horigan is a graduating senior at SJSU, majoring in Kinesiology and emphasizing in movement science. His passion and knowledge for exercise and fitness has motivated him to become one of the newest interns with SVHAP. Focusing on building his professional repertoire of experience, certifications, and personal reflections are his immediate plans following graduation, eventually wanting to return to school to attain a graduate degree. John is currently working on an individual study that hopes to publish a paper on women’s representation in sport media, as well as helping a fellow graduate student on her human factors source engine. In his free time, he likes to play hockey, soccer, ride his bike, and spend time with friends and family.
Jillian Tkach is a senior at San Jose State majoring in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology. With her experience in personal training, Jillian enjoys helping others reach new goals and discovering their physical fitness potential. Born and raised in San Jose, she participated in many different sport and exercise activities. In her spare time, she enjoys anything outdoors, especially soccer, softball, and hiking. Jillian also loves to practice photography and take on a variety of art projects.