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Headshot of Cody Weyhrich

Glaunsinger Innovation Award recipient develops today's most thermally stable 3D printing polymer

Cody Weyhrich, recipient of the 2023 Glaunsinger Innovation Award, came to Arizona State University from North Carolina to work with School of Molecular Sciences researcher Timothy Long.In Long’s research group, Weyhrich developed a general industrial interest in improving the thermomechanical properties of 3D printable materials. He focused on developing new materials that rely on irradiation with ultraviolet light to initiate photopolymerization, which is then exposed to thermal treatment to facilitate polymer growth via polycondensation to create complex structures composed of aromatic polyimides. The result is a low-cost polymer that can be used to manufacture complex 3D polyimide shapes with conventional post-processing thermal treatment.“Cody’s research resulted in the 3D printing of the most thermally stable polymer today, and these high-temperature polyimides will offer immediate impact for aerospace, electronics and transportation technology. He has pioneered the 3D printing of micron-scale resolution objects with a focus on lattices where dematerialization is a key tenet for sustainability. He has shown that we can achieve equal or superior performance of printed polyimides with 70% less material," Long said about Weyhrich's research.“Cody has most recently devised on a printing process to prepare 3D carbonaceous objects from water, resulting in new directions for electronics, catalysis and membrane purifications. His research exemplified a molecules-to-manufacturing approach,” Long added.Weyhrich credit’s Long’s passion, expertise and connections for contributing to his success. “I was drawn to Professor Long's research group because of his indomitable academic drive, high expectations and industrial relationships that have been proven to produce highly successful and active researchers," Weyhrich said.Active research on polymers with significant applications will continue to be part of Weyhrich’s future. He has accepted a postdoctoral scholar position at Duke University, which he will begin this summer. He will be working on a DARPA-funded research project to develop novel, fiber-reinforced polymer matrices for next-generation ballistic protection materials.In addition, Weyhrich created a start-up company, Precise Polymer, to elevate the performance and expand the usage of 3D printed materials in critical industries.Weyhrich looks back on his ASU experience with gratitude.“The recognition by the School of Molecular Sciences with the Glaunsinger Innovation Award was exciting because it was clear that others could understand the potential value and impact of this technology,” Weyhrich said.“In addition, Dr. (William) Glaunsinger's attendance at the ceremony was appreciated, and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet him. I also appreciate Professor Tim Long for his care and oversight during my graduate career, as his guidance had a tremendous effect on my ability to expand my capabilities as a professional. I would also like to thank and recognize my friends and colleagues, Jose Sintas, James Brown, Ren Bean and all other members of the Long group for making graduate school meaningful.” “Cody offers all the traits of a future entrepreneur; he combines creativity and intellect with tenacity and resiliency," Long said. "I expect he will change the world.”]]>
Five canoes side by side on a river in a forest setting.

ASU Women and Philanthropy funds 5 projects to 'build better futures'

ASU Women and Philanthropy awarded grants to five Arizona State University faculty-led projects aimed at solving complex world issues, ranging from developing electric canoes to addressing the causes of chronic pain.  One of the projects funded is Solar Canoes Against Deforestation, which is led by Janna Goebel, assistant professor of sustainability education in the School of Sustainability and a senior Global Futures scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. Goebel and her team are exploring how solar energy could transform how Ecuadorians travel the Amazon River.The Indigenous Waorani community in the Ecuadorian Amazon currently relies on gas-powered canoes, which disrupt the local ecosystem through contamination and cause air and noise pollution.Goebel and her team are striving to implement an alternative to the gas-powered motor by retrofitting canoes with an electric clean motor.“Having respectful and reciprocal interactions with Indigenous communities is very important to me,” Goebel said. “It is really important that we work on solutions with them, not for them. We are hoping with this funding that we will be able to implement one functioning prototype electric canoe to provide evidence that this is a viable solution.”In the future, Goebel and the team hope to scale up the development of electric canoe prototypes, delivering functioning solutions for sustainability to multiple communities.“The whole process has been incredible,” Goebel said. “When we got the grant, I was so excited. The mentorship we had this entire time has been so meaningful. We felt ourselves grow as scholars throughout the whole process.”ASU Women and Philanthropy awarded grants to four other projects as well. Urban food productionThe vertical farming education and research project is led by Yujin Park, an assistant professor whose research focuses on horticultural crop physiology and controlled environment agriculture, and Zhihao Chen, an instructor of chemistry and controlled environment agriculture, both in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts. Their project focuses on revolutionizing urban food production to address the challenges of decreasing freshwater resources and arable lands, rising energy prices and climate change. The team will also focus on developing a food waste fertilizer for production.Mosquito studyThe Mosquitoes in the Sonoran Desert project studies how heat and drought affect mosquito activity and insecticide efficacy. Last year, 60% of all national West Nile virus cases, which are transmitted by mosquitos, occurred in Arizona. The project is led by Assistant Professors Silvie Huijben and Krijn Paaijmans in the Center for Evolution and Medicine.Reducing chronic painThe HEAL project is led by Bradley Greger, associate professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, and considers the neurological, psychological and situational mechanisms of chronic pain to develop novel nonpharmacological treatments and address the underlying causes of chronic pain rather than attempting to reduce the symptoms using opioids.Personalized immunotherapyThe cancer immunotherapy project addresses immunotherapy efficacy to reduce adverse effects. Ji Qiu, a research professor in the Biodesign Institute's Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics, and Jin Park, associate research professor, lead the project to advance personalized immunotherapy for cancer patients using personalized-neo-antigenome analysis.'Build better futures'Women and Philanthropy has provided more than $4.5 million to over 100 programs and initiatives in the 21 years since its inception. The group was founded in 2002 with the intention of serving and making a positive impact toward ASU’s collective success as a New American University. The program offers a unique model of philanthropy, pooling philanthropic dollars and letting the donor group collectively decide how the funds are invested at ASU.Sybil Francis, standing co-chair and founding member of ASU Women and Philanthropy, helped start the initiative in the early days of her service to ASU.“Women and Philanthropy gathers a community of women philanthropists dedicated to advancing ASU. The grants we fund aim to improve society, increase longevity and quality of life, provide education and resources for underserved communities and, ultimately, build better futures,” Francis said. Written by Richard Canas]]>
Headshot of Manual Barrrera in black and white.

Dr. Manuel Barrera Jr. Memorial Scholarship honors professor, helps 1st-generation students

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University is offering a new scholarship for first-generation graduate students in the natural sciences division.The Dr. Manuel Barrera Jr. Memorial Scholarship honors the ASU professor, who dedicated decades to research and educating students in the Department of Psychology at The College.“Dr. Manuel Barrera Jr. was a professor of clinical psychology at ASU from August 1977 to May 2017. In his 40-year career with the Department of Psychology, his areas of interest and research were community psychology and social support networks. He received various honors and awards during his career, including ASU Graduate Mentor of the Year and Psychology Department Professor of the Year,” according to a statement from the Barrera family.“He advocated for underrepresented communities in public education and their inclusion in institutions of higher learning. To honor his legacy, his wife, Aurelia, and his daughter, Lea, established this scholarship. In partnership with the ASU Foundation, the scholarship seeks to open doors, create opportunities and celebrate the abilities of everyone.”The scholarship will support students registered with the Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services office who demonstrate an interest in service to the community.About Barrera Jr.Barrera, a Racine, Wisconsin, native, developed a love for writing and science at an early age. He learned to incorporate his passions into scientific studies and research in psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology in 1971.Barrera then attended the University of Oregon and received his master’s degree in 1975 and his doctorate in 1977. That same year, he was offered a job as a professor of clinical psychology at ASU.As a professor, Barrera researched prevention and behavioral treatments for Type 2 diabetes, social support and behavioral health interventions for Latino families.He also served in various roles with the Hispanic Research Center, the Office of Hispanic Research and other university-wide initiatives.Barrera strived to expand diversity and inclusion in public education, stressing the importance of access to higher learning.“(Manuel) was committed to providing higher education to everyone,” Aurelia Barrera said. “Especially those in public school, since both of us grew up in the public school system and he used that education and support to achieve everything he did academically.”During his tenure, he was recognized for his contributions, including the ASU Psi Chi Outstanding Undergraduate Instructor Award, the ASU Outstanding Mentoring Award and the Psychology Department Faculty of the Year Award.Barrera was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1987. However, he was determined not to be defined by his medical condition but by his contributions at ASU.He retired in June 2017 and passed away in March 2020 at 70 years old.“Dr. Manuel Barrera Jr. was a beloved, respected and admired member of the ASU community. We are proud to have the Dr. Manuel Barrera Jr. Memorial Scholarship to honor his legacy at ASU,” said Marisol Perez, the associate dean of graduate initiatives at The College. “This award contributes to creating a strong foundation for supporting graduate students’ educational aspirations and reduces financial burden, allowing students to focus more time and energy on their research and studies. As a recipient of a first-generation student scholarship, I can attest that the impact of this award on graduate students can be life-changing and perpetuated.”]]>
ASU SOLS student Zac Whaley working on coral restoration

Sage Family Scholarship supports student's study of coral reef fisheries in Indonesia

Arizona State University student Zachary Whaley was recently awarded the Sage Family Southeast Asian Studies Scholarship, which is a tribute to William W. Sage’s interest and lifelong work in Laos and Southeast Asia that supports students at ASU who wish to travel and study abroad there.Whaley is pursuing a double major in biological sciences, with a concentration in conservation biology and ecology, from the School of Life Sciences and in global health from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. He is also a student in Barrett, The Honors College and is minoring in political science through the School of Politics and Global Studies. Whaley will graduate in May 2024. “Zac has a strong interest in the intersection of marine conservation ecology and food sovereignty, which has led him to develop a societally and ecologically relevant honor’s thesis project that he will conduct in Indonesia thanks to the Sage Fellowship,” said associate research professor Katie Cramer. Cramer is associated with the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, and serves as the director of Whaley’s thesis committee. “I admire his fierce intellectual curiosity, love of the natural world and passion for environmental justice. I have no doubt that he will continue to put his talents to use to be a force for positive change in the world,” she said.We had the chance to sit down with Whaley and ask him about this award, his time at ASU and his passion for ecology.Question: Could you tell us a little bit about your journey before you came to ASU? What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in? Answer: I have always been very passionate about ecology and love being outside, whether that’s hiking, backpacking, surfing, fishing or just studying outdoors. I graduated from high school in 2020 and originally entered ASU as a chemical engineering student. In the fall of my sophomore year, I decided to switch my major to biological sciences. The major “aha” moment for me was realizing that I could pursue a career where I would be able to spend time outside rather than being stuck inside a lab or an office all day.Q: Could you tell us what the Sage Family Scholarship means to you?A: I feel very honored to be included in a network with other Sage scholars and with the Sage Family Foundation. Much of my studies have been focused on Southeast Asian culture and ecology, and I am currently taking Indonesian language classes. Being able to travel to Indonesia to observe and participate in the culture and ecology that I have learned about in class is an absolute dream come true. Thanks to the generosity of Bill Sage, I will be able to complete research on coral reef fisheries during my time and contribute to the food sovereignty of Indonesia.Q: What have you planned so far as part of the scholarship? A: So far I am planning on visiting Marine Protected Areas within the Bird’s Head Seascape of Papua, Indonesia, in order to assess how the interplay of social, political and ecological factors influences coral reef fisheries there. I also plan on traveling around the country for a week and visiting coral reef sites in order to gain a better understanding of the social-ecological systems present in Indonesian coral reef ecosystems. Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective? A: I learned so much about conservation from my Indigenizing Food Systems Lab. This lab allowed me to really dive into Indigenous food systems and especially how they relate to ecology, which has helped shape my plans for graduate school and my honor's thesis project. Q: What is your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? A: My favorite spot on campus to study is outside the Student Services Building. I enjoy sitting under the trees while I listen to music and do my homework. My friends and I also meet up right outside the Memorial Union, which is the best place for people watching on campus. Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school, particularly those in STEM?A: ASU has so many opportunities for personal development, including research, clubs and specialized courses. I would recommend finding a lab or initiative to join that you find interesting and passionate about and taking full advantage of the resources ASU provides in order to best contribute to that activity. I’ve been able to learn so much through doing research and group projects through working in the Katie Cramer Lab and the Indigenizing Food Systems Humanities Lab and would definitely recommend that other students find and participate in similar experiences. ]]>
Photo of Julian Hill

ASU honors graduate makes his mark as a student-athlete

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.Julian Hill was a powerhouse in the swimming pool and in the classroom at Arizona State University.The freestyle specialist on the Sun Devil Men’s Swim Team graduated this week with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences (conservation biology and ecology) from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with honors from Barrett, The Honors College.He plans to stay at ASU to pursue a Master of Legal Studies with an emphasis on law and sustainability at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.Hill, who is from Gainesville, Florida, compiled an impressive swimming record as an undergraduate. He made the 2023 Pac-12 Winter Academic Honor Roll, which recognizes student-athletes with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.3 or above. He received the Stephen L. Estes Endowed Scholarship and the ASU President’s Scholarship.His swimming bona fides include being a Pac-12 champion in the 800-yard free relay and an All American in the 200-yard free and the 800-yard free relay. His team also finished second at the NCAA Championships in March - the highest finish in program history.He completed an honors thesis, titled "Sustainability of Desert Golf: An Assessment of Golf Courses in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area and Plan of Action Moving Forward."Hill took time out to reflect on his ASU experiences. Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?Answer: My "aha" moment was in ninth grade when I took AP Environmental Science at my high school.Q: What event or accomplishment helped to shape your ASU experience?A: I think a major event that shaped my ASU experience would be just this past month getting national runner-up at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Q: You are a scholar and an athlete. How did you balance these two priorities?A: It was definitely tough at times, but I put a big emphasis on getting better at time management in college. This has been so important to me and my success both in the pool and the classroom.Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: There are so many things that I have learned at ASU. I think I am a well-rounded student, and ASU has given me so many various viewpoints and curiosity.Q:  Why did you choose ASU?A: I chose ASU largely because of the swimmers, coaches and culture on the swim team. The team was really up-and-coming, and I believed in it. I also chose ASU because of the beautiful weather and campus.Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: Jianguo "Jingle" Wu has been so influential in my time at ASU. He has been my honors thesis director, and I had my favorite class while at ASU with him as well. He is a distinguished professor, author and editor. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the journal Landscape Ecology.Q: What benefits did you derive from completing an honors thesis?A: I never worked on a single project for as long as I did on this one. It taught me how to be resilient, as well as to plan long-term. I also worked with various programs, including R-ArcGIS, and did a lot of reading and research.Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?A: Enjoy it. It's over in a heartbeat.Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?A: My favorite spot on campus is on floor seven of the Life Sciences Center E wing. The views from up here are awesome.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: If someone gave me $40 million, I would take steps to mitigate global climate change and instill sustainable practices across the globe.]]>
Ashley Torres celebrates her time as a student at ASU

New York City is next stop for ASU finance graduate

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.A family legacy brought Ashley Torres to Arizona State University, and where she goes from here will be propelled by the knowledge and passion she developed during her time as a Sun Devil. Torres is graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Science in finance from the W. P. Carey School of Business. She also received a number of scholarships, including the New American University Scholarship, the Obama Scholarship and the Dean’s Award.Torres said she always enjoyed learning about finance in her classes and discussing things like personal finance with her friends. When she realized she was excited about the prospect of being tested on the subject, she knew it was the right path for her.“I remember taking my first FIN class and being excited about an exam for the first time ... it really just became a part of my everyday life,” Torres said. Much like her professors helped break down the complexities of finance and economics, she hopes to ultimately do the same for others – to make these concepts accessible and remove any intimidation.Soon, Torres will head to New York City to start her career in finance.“After graduation, I’m heading to the Big Apple. I will be working at an investment firm, Goldman Sachs, where I will be understanding how various macroeconomic factors (such as interest rates and even recessions) can affect business," Torres said. “I am excited for the next chapter of my life!”Torres shared more about her time at ASU and the people and places that shaped her experience.Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: The biggest lesson I learned was to relax and go with the flow. I have always been a planner and when I decided to join the Sun Devil Fitness Complex as a freshman to get some extra cash, I would have never realized how much I would gain from this experience. Four years later, I cherish the lifelong friendships I have made in addition to the countless lessons I've learned from some amazing mentors. I could have never anticipated for this place and the people who are a part of it to have had such an impact on where I am today. Q: Why did you choose ASU?A: I chose ASU because my mom and my tia also attended ASU. We're a Sun Devil family.Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: The most influential professor has been Kelvin Wong, who teaches ECN 212: Microeconomics. He taught me that large, complex and “scary” subjects can be easily digestible and actually fun to learn. His lectures often included game simulations, props during class and funny but memorable associations for economic terminology. Most people close themselves off when they don’t understand a topic, and economics can be a tough subject as it can get confusing quickly. Financial topics can also seem intimidating, so I carry this lesson with me, and I have made a personal mission to destigmatize the idea of finance being overwhelming. Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to students?A: My biggest piece of advice Is to be curious. Classes and assignments get way more interesting when you have a true curiosity. Instead of learning the material to pass an exam, ask yourself how the material can be used in the real world.    Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?A: My favorite spot on campus to study is definitely the fourth floor of Hayden Library and exploring the lower levels when I need a brain break. However, undeniably the coolest spot on campus is the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. I love it because it's much more than a gym where people lift weights. I can take a cycle class (with the best instructor ever, go Morgan!) or sit and play chess. They even hosted a World Cup watch party, which was really fun.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: This is a hard question. There are many problems and subproblems, some of which have been around for decades and others emerging recently. However, I would say fixing the education system in the United States would create a positive ripple effect. The current public school system is outdated, teachers are expected to be able to teach over 30 students in a classroom. Curriculum is dependent on individual state requirements, county, district standards and even funding. This creates a massive educational gap, leaving many students at a disadvantage. Just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it’s the best way.Written by Courtney McCune, copywriter and editor, Educational Outreach and Student Services.]]>
Portrait shot of ASU SOLS graduate Sarah Weiss.

ASU Dean’s Medalist and National Merit Scholar pursues passion for information and genetics

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.Arizona State University biological sciences graduate Sarah Weiss has been selected as The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' spring 2023 Dean’s Medalist for the School of Life Sciences.The Dean’s Medal recognizes outstanding students who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to academic excellence during their time at ASU. Weiss is graduating with her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with a concentration in genetics, cell and developmental biology. She is also a National Merit Scholar and a member of Barrett, the Honors College, and she minored in studio art through the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Weiss is from Phoenix. During her time at ASU, she was active in the School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research program, presenting her research at the annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiology, among other conferences and symposiums. She was a member of Assistant Professor Susanne Pfeifer’s lab, where she characterized rates and patterns of recombination across the primate clade. She also completed an internship as a Helios Scholar at TGen, where she sequenced and analyzed genomes to investigate telomere dysfunction in gliomagenesis. As an artist, Weiss had her work featured in a metal sculpture show at the Mirabella Art Show and led a group of six in a welding class that created a 13-foot-tall art installation titled “Hope in the Face of Climate Change” for ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination.We had the opportunity to talk with Weiss and ask her about her time at ASU and her determination to pursue a career that would help others.Question: Could you tell me a little bit about your journey before you came to ASU? What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in? Answer: I actually applied to ASU as an aerospace engineering major, mostly because I was a Star Trek fan and thought planes and space were cool. However, the summer before my freshman year, a combination of family health struggles and volunteering at a local hospital put things into a different light. I realized I didn’t want to spend my days calculating the optimal shapes for empty, lifeless pieces of aluminum. I wanted to help living, breathing people. And if the '60s were the Space Age, I personally believe we're in the height of an information age — hence why I chose biology with a genetics concentration. I have loved everything about my major since; every single class has been enjoyable and taught me so much (my favorite class was immunology). If I had time, I would have added a computational life sciences certificate, but since I was already in a bioinformatics lab, I ended up choosing to minor in studio art.Q: Were there any particular research experiences you participated in during your time at ASU that strongly impacted your academic journey?A: My sophomore year, which had been the year I planned on becoming involved in research, I was at home due to the pandemic. So, I joined a course-based undergraduate research experience called SEA-PHAGES, taught by Susanne Pfeifer. It was entirely remote at the time, but it was still an extremely fun and educational class. Afterward, I ended up in Dr. Pfeifer's lab, which has easily been my favorite and most rewarding experience at ASU. My favorite parts have been the project I worked on for my honors thesis and being a TA for the SEA-PHAGES course. For anyone questioning whether they should become involved in dry lab research, I would recommend it a million times over.Last summer, I was also fortunate enough to be a Helios Scholar at TGen, where I worked in Dr. (Floris) Barthel's lab on a project investigating telomere dysfunction in gliomagenesis. The project the lab had planned for us to work on actually involved both wet and dry lab work. Being a part of the entire process of taking samples from cell culture to whole genome sequence data and analysis was so much fun, and extremely educational. I'm beyond grateful for the experiences and welcoming environments in both of the labs I have been a part of. I have had nothing but good experiences, and I've learned so much.Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: I had always expected that I would easily find a friend group in college. However, the workload of my freshman and sophomore years, alongside a global pandemic, derailed those expectations rapidly. I think college can be a far lonelier time than the movies, or even social media, depict it to be. I have since talked to many people who share that sentiment, so I really do think it's a common experience that many college students have.Over time, I have found friends — mostly through forced proximity in my research lab, and through shared interests. As someone who has always considered myself content with being alone, I've realized I'm much happier when I get to see great people all the time.I have come to believe our own human experience is shaped by the connections we make with others. An average experience can be made amazing when one is surrounded with good people. I have also learned it's completely normal to have a hard time making friends.Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school, particularly those in STEM?A: One quote my mom says that has stuck with me through the years is, sometimes she feels like she's running around in a blizzard, trying to catch all the snow with nothing but a mug. Sometimes, life can feel overwhelming like that. So choose the snowflakes you catch wisely, and try not to dwell too much on the ones you can't.Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? A: Freshman year, my favorite spot to study was a room called Mordor in the basement of Armstrong. I think it's been closed since, but there might be plans to reopen it.In the fall, I have always liked sitting at a table at a courtyard next to the Student Services Building by the trees that turn orange. It's shady, peaceful and hardly anyone ever sits there.]]>
Grad Matt Joanes gets ready for a career in sports business

ASU sports business graduate winning at the game of life

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.You could say scoring a Bachelor of Arts in sports business from the W. P. Carey School of Business and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University has always been one of Matthew Joanes' main goals since he entered the game of life."I knew from a very young age that sports were my one true passion," said Joanes, a native of Mesa, Arizona. "I started playing organized sports in fourth grade, but I had been playing touch football on the playground since I was old enough to throw the ball."When I was applying to colleges in high school, I didn’t really know how to get to where I wanted to end up. However, I found out that sports business programs were starting to pop up across the country as I looked for degree programs to be admitted to. Once I saw that ASU was offering a sports business degree, I knew I’d found the right place."Joanes earned the New American University President’s Scholarship, which is offered to outstanding first-year students.Joanes' journey toward earning a degree at ASU was pretty much etched in stone from birth, since his parents are also Sun Devil alumni."I began my Sun Devil journey in the fall of 2011 when I started fourth grade at ASU Preparatory Academy – Polytechnic," Joanes said. "Even at ASU Prep, Gold Fridays were a tradition that everyone took part in. As I grew up and was exposed to more and more of ASU, I fell in love with being a Sun Devil. My parents graduated from Arizona State and got married at the Newman Center on College and University, so attending ASU just felt right."We caught up with Joanes to learn more about his experience at ASU and how he plans to use his sports business degree to be one of the stars in his career field.Question: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?Answer: This is tough because I’ve had some incredible professors in my four years at ASU. Daniel McIntosh, who taught my Intro to Sports Business class, gave me my first taste of being a sports business student. Each week, we’d spend the first 30 minutes of class talking about recent developments in the sports world based on articles from the Sports Business Journal. Professor McIntosh, who went on to become the second reader for my honors thesis, told our class that we should always make sure we know what’s going on in the sports world. Even if you’re not super passionate about a certain area, have enough knowledge about the subject to understand what’s going on if it’s brought up in conversation. That really resonated with me because as I’ve had the chance to talk to more people in the sports industry, I feel much more confident talking to them when I know what I’m talking about. Thank you, Professor!Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give students?A: Do what you’re passionate about and be authentically you. I started working as an intramural sports official during the fall of my freshman year having never refereed before, but I fell in love with it. Almost four years later, I’ve worked hundreds of games and am the most experienced official in the program, as well as a NIRSA Basketball National Championship official and the 2022-2023 SDFC Basketball Official of the Year. While a lot of my friends don’t understand why I like getting yelled at by players every night, I don’t need them to. I’m doing what I love, and that’s all that matters.Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? A: That’s easy — the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. I’ve worked hundreds of games at the SDFC and played in countless intramural games with my friends. Some of my favorite memories from college were made on the intramural fields and up in the 3-Bay Gym. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if it weren’t for the people I’ve met because of the SDFC.Q: What are your plans after graduation?A: I’m very excited to be spending a couple weeks in Omaha, Nebraska, this summer to take in the Men’s College World Series. Starting this fall, I will be pursuing a Master of Sports Law and Business in the Allan “Bud” Selig Sports Law and Business Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law here at Arizona State University. Some of my friends and mentors, including fellow referees Austin Moore and Evan Singletary, have graduated from the program and welcomed me with open arms to the SLB family. Getting the chance to learn more about the sports industry from professionals in the field was simply too great of an opportunity to pass up. Plus, I really wanted to see Kenny Dillingham’s first season from the student section.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: Wow, that’s a lot of money. If I had $40 million, I would try to tackle the issue of youth passion for baseball in the United States. I fell in love with the game of baseball in middle school, so to see such a lack of passion for the game from the young people in the world makes me sad. I’d like to buy tickets for college, minor league and major league games and give them to kids for free so that they can attend games for free. I’d also like to donate a portion of the $40 million to youth baseball programs across the country for new equipment, field maintenance and coaching. Growing the game of baseball must be a goal for the older generations, because without the kids the game is going to start to die off. People who know baseball aren’t better than everyone else, but everyone else would be better if they knew baseball.Written by from Tremaine Jasper, marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services.]]>
Group of children performing on stage.

Young students take the stage at ASU Gammage thanks to Disney grant

On May 2, more than 115 elementary students from Tempe and Phoenix had the opportunity to sing and dance on the ASU Gammage stage through the Disney Musicals in Schools program.The grant from Disney enables ASU Gammage to offer the program to four schools. Disney Musicals in Schools is designed to create sustainable theater programs in elementary schools. Through the program, participating schools produced a musical in their school community and joined in a culminating performance on the ASU Gammage stage.This year's participating schools were Desert Spirit Elementary School, Emerson Elementary School, Eisenhower Center for Innovation and Palm Lane Elementary School.“Exposing students to the arts, the earlier you're able to do that the more likely it will grow into a lifelong love of the arts, and every year that goes by we're planting more theater programs around the valley so the number of schools affected, and students affected, will only grow,” said Desiree Ong, the program's manager.The selected schools participated in a 17-week musical theater residency, led by a team of teaching artists trained by ASU Gammage and Disney Theatrical Group, at no cost. Each school received performance rights, educational support materials and guidance from the teaching artists.The program featured a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partnered with ASU Gammage teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and music direct, culminating in their first 30-minute musical at their school. The Student Share Celebration at ASU Gammage on May 2 was the culmination of this year’s program.ASU Gammage was filled with the elementary students, teachers and their families. The young performers presented their performances from “Jungle Book Jr.,” “Aladdin Jr.” and “The Lion King Jr.," each school presenting one number.The evening concluded with a heartwarming finale that included all student participants on the stage together singing “It Starts with a Dream,” an original Alan Menken number that was composed for Disney Musicals in Schools.“I've seen some students who I think were looking for an outlet like this, and this has been really positive for them," Emerson Elementary School Principal Nicholas Lodato said. "It's helped them to exercise an interest and a desire that they've had — they've just not had a music production to put on and express it. It’s like they’ve finally found their place right there."]]>
Outstanding Graduate Valeria Reyes standing in front of Old Main at ASU

First-generation ASU graduate aims to improve education for Hispanic women

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.Valeria Reyes, who has been an incredibly diligent and ambitious student during her journey at ASU, will graduate this May with degrees in French and justice studies, alongside certificates in disability studies, human rights and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). Reyes was born and raised in Mesa and as a child of immigrants from Mexico, she is bilingual in Spanish and English. Despite always having an interest in Hispanic culture, Reyes chose to pursue a degree in French and was later inspired to add a concurrent degree in justice studies after gaining an interest in the inequalities of education and learning about the judicial system. She ultimately wants to use her degrees to pursue a career in teaching.“Being a first-generation Hispanic student has given me a unique perspective on the importance of education, and I think that there are many areas within education that still fail to support every student,” Reyes said. “This is why I want to help reform the education system in some way — reviewing policies, creating new curriculums, etc. — to help combat the inequalities present within the system.”Reyes' interest in education reform is centered in her Barrett, The Honors College undergraduate thesis, "Implications of Intersectionality on the Education of Hispanic Females in Arizona." She attributes her exposure to the importance of intersectionality to her time at ASU and cites it as guiding her studies of culture and justice. She chose her area of study for her thesis, which won her a Quesada Scholarship, because she said is an under-researched topic. She was also awarded the High Impact Internship Award from ASU's English Department for her work with nonprofit Read Better Be Better, focused on improving literacy and fostering a love for reading in Arizona youths. She was also awarded the New American Scholar Award and Obama Scholarship.Reyes expands more about her academic journey below.Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?Answer: I think for my French degree, my “aha” moment was actually in high school because I had a really great high-school French teacher, who showed us how great French was and taught us all about French culture. So, I knew from high school that I really wanted to pursue French in college. That was the first major I came in with at ASU. Then, with the justice studies major, I took an elective course about the judicial system and the courts, and from there that's where I got interested in all the justice studies topics because I realized there's a lot of issues that are going on in society. So, I wanted to learn more about different issues not just in courts, but for society as a whole. That's when I started pursuing that justice studies degree.Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: Not really in the classroom, but I think just overall in my experience at ASU I learned you don't really have to have everything completely figured out. When I came in as a freshman I was like, “Oh, my God! I need to figure out everything and have all these plans and have A, B and C ready for after graduation.” Then, slowly as I started going through everything and my classes got harder I was like, “You know, it's okay if you don't have it all figured out.” A lot of people actually don’t, and even talking with professors made me realize that most of the time they don't even know what they're doing, either. We're all kind of figuring it out as we go. It's OK if you don't know exactly what you're gonna do or where you're gonna go after.Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: I really had to think about this one because there have been a lot of great professors that I've got to learn from, but I think one of my top favorites was Professor (Frederic) Canovas in the School of International Letters and Cultures. He's one of the French professors, and he really taught me to appreciate French literature. The whole idea of French literature and what he teaches is the importance of balance in life. So, that's one of the greatest lessons I've learned from him is that too much of one thing or too little of another thing is never gonna be the best for you. You have to find some sort of balance between doing what you love, and doing something that makes you money, for example. So, I think Professor Canovas was, and his French literature classes were some of the best ones.Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to students?A: My best piece of advice is to keep trying, even when it's really, really hard. I know there were times where I was ready to give up because school seemed like it was going to last forever and like I was always going to have assignments. But it does end eventually. So, I would just say, keep trying. Even if it's just doing your best job that you can possibly do. Even if it's not the complete 100% perfect that it can be. Just as long as you're trying, and you're pushing through to the end.Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? A: My favorite spot for studying is Armstrong Hall. I actually work there, too, but I really like the basement because it's pretty quiet. I feel like not a lot of people know about the basement because it's kind of on the outskirts of campus, so it's usually pretty empty. And then for hanging out, it's probably the MU just because you can get food and you can play downstairs. Q: What are your plans after graduation?A: I'm currently waiting to hear back from a French teaching program, the Teaching Assistant Program in France, to see if I got in. I’m impatiently waiting for the email to see if I got it or not because they're supposed to send it this month. So, then I would be going to the south of France and teach English there for a year. If not, I would find a job and then later on probably do grad school in either education or law. Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: Because of what I've studied and the justice studies courses I've taken, I would say that I would tackle the inequalities within education. I would like to see an education system that helps students not only become good students by catering to the specific skills and talents of each student, but also good human beings. I feel like in the educational system students are often categorized into boxes, and if you don't fit into those boxes then you're not going to get the resources you need in that education. So yeah, I would tackle those inequalities in education and hopefully, that would lead to other changes as well.]]>
Student Emma Strouse

Graduate reflects on role of ASU Chinese Flagship program in her journey

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.Emma Strouse started her journey with Chinese in elementary school where, at first, learning the language was only an academic obligation. However, after a middle school teacher recommended a program within Arizona State University called Startalk, she developed a wholehearted passion for Chinese. “Learning Chinese was a requirement at my elementary school and high school. We learned the basics so it wasn't anything that super in-depth, just something we did once a week,” Strouse said.“I just kind of continued on but didn't feel passionate about it until my teacher recommended Startalk,” a program that was previously offered by ASU’s Chinese Language Flagship program. “It was just two weeks, but that was my 'aha' moment, because I learned about the Flagship program through it, and I was able to study Chinese outside of just my middle school setting, which was really eye-opening for me.”A family trip to China in 2016 cemented Strouse’s interest in Chinese. Confronted with the fact that she struggled to speak the language even though she had been studying it since elementary school, she made the decision to continue with her Chinese studies in college to learn all aspects of the language and culture. Now, the Barrett, The Honors College student and Arizona native from Cave Creek will graduate this May with a degree in Chinese as part of the Flagship Program. Although her studies are primarily focused on Chinese language, her experience at ASU has encouraged her to broaden her horizons. As a result, she chose to focus her honors thesis on Taiwanese literature and the modernist movement.Strouse has participated in several internships that have broadened her knowledge and opened her eyes to a myriad of ways of applying her degree and interests to a career. She is currently studying abroad in Taipei, Taiwan, working on an internship with a non-governmental organization called Citizen Congress Watch that evaluates members of Taiwan's legislature. Her work centers on translating and transcribing legal documents and meetings in both Chinese and English. Although she was initially focused on work in the public sector, a number of opportunities have emerged which sparked her interest in nonprofit work. As a part of the World Innovators internship with the ASU Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab, Strouse has worked with the anti-corruption Central Asian Research Institute on Corruption and Money Laundering in Kyrgyzstan. Her favorite tasks that were editing the English version of their UN report and holding a democracy camp for high-school students. She also furthered her interest in nonprofit work when she interned with ASU Project Humanities, assisting with educational events and homeless outreach. Strouse attributed her ability to pursue her academic interests to the Flagship program and Boren Awards for supporting her study abroad. She also recognized Next Generation Service Corps, which enabled her to complete a certificate in cross-sector leadership to learn more about how to apply her Chinese language knowledge to the public, private and nonprofit sectors.]]>
Portrait of Christine Dotts with an ASU building photoshopped behind her.

Brodeur senior vice president named president of ASU's Cronkite Endowment Board

Christine "Chris" Dotts, a veteran communications executive, has been named the new president of the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.Dotts, who is a senior vice president at Brodeur Partners and has served on the board since 2018, succeeds Anita Helt, vice president and general manager of ABC15 Arizona and CW61 Arizona. Helt, who had served as board president since 2017, will remain on the board as past president.The Cronkite Endowment Board is composed of top local media and business executives who advise and assist Cronkite School leadership, mentor students and provide internship opportunities. They also help plan the annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, the largest gathering of media professionals in the Valley, at which a nationally renowned journalist is honored. “We are living in a time in which the need to inform, educate and empower the public to make decisions and engage has never been more relevant. From journalists to communications professionals, the common connection is storytelling,” Dotts said. “It is my privilege as a Sun Devil alum to support Dean Batts and serve alongside my fellow board members in helping the Cronkite School develop the next generation of storytellers.”Dotts is an established leader with more than 25 years of experience spanning media and public affairs, crisis communications, employee communications, digital marketing and brand and positioning strategy.“Chris is an exceptional communications professional and an ardent supporter of the Cronkite School,” said Cronkite School Dean Battinto L. Batts Jr. “We are excited for this next chapter of the board with her expertise, talent and commitment at the helm.”Prior to joining Brodeur Partners, Dotts was vice president of corporate communications at Avnet, where she oversaw media relations and employee communications during a CEO transition, a major divestiture, a brand refresh and new acquisitions shifting the company’s business model.She previously spent 18 years at Intel Corporation in a number of roles where she executed communications campaigns that sought to improve perceptions of technology leadership and corporate reputation. Dotts holds an MBA from DePaul University and received her degree in communication from ASU. ]]>
ASU Online and Starbucks College Achievement Plan partner Haley Andresen

ASU graduate finds opportunity to help others, provide disability education

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.Haley Andresen believes if there is one sign language phrase everyone needs to learn, it should be, “Nice to meet you.”She is one of a set of triplets, joined by her brother and sister. Born and raised in New Jersey, she and her brother, like her mother, were born with hearing loss and are legally deaf, speaking sign language at home. “My parents always instilled in me the importance of helping others,” she said. “Growing up, I volunteered for different things such as fostering dogs for a pet rescue and riding on my town’s ambulance corps.”Andresen knew she wanted to pursue a degree in psychology. Initially committed to attending an in-state college, the Starbucks College Achievement Plan offered the Starbucks partner an opportunity to earn her undergraduate degree through ASU Online.The Bachelor of Science in counseling and applied psychological science turned out to be a perfect fit for her.“I felt so grateful for the opportunity Starbucks gave me,” she said. “When I started at Arizona State University, I instantly loved how inclusive ASU Online is and how they are always celebrating everyone from all backgrounds and stages of life.” Andresen’s focus on community continued to thrive during her time at the university. In addition to joining the Sun Devils Connect and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan Partners groups on Facebook, she was also part of the disability network at Starbucks. “I am starting a Deaf Coffee Chat that will happen this summer to invite people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or want to learn, to have a place to connect,” she said. “I want to educate people about deaf culture, and Starbucks has given me that platform to embrace that.”Starbucks provided other opportunities, as well. Andresen was honored to win Partner of the Quarter twice and Partner of the District. Moving from a low-volume store to a higher-volume store gave her the opportunity to flex her leadership and communication skills. Currently, she’s a shift supervisor at a Starbucks Reserve, notable for offering extra brewing methods and an expanded selection of premium coffees in addition to the usual Starbucks menu.“I was up for the challenge and I learned how much I love leading a team,” she said. “I learned to be calm and thrive under pressure when a million things are happening all at once. I always try to make the environment positive and stay calm, because that transfers to the other baristas. Also, working at my store can get very loud and hard to hear at times with my hearing loss. I have learned to embrace my hearing loss by being more open.”Andresen shared her ASU Online journey as a transfer student and as a student with an invisible disability.Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?Answer: I was very interested in psychology and how the mind worked, but I always felt this major was very broad. When I saw ASU offered counseling as a major online, and I read the description, it felt like an “aha” moment about what I wanted to pursue and what I was passionate about. This degree focuses on psychological well-being, and I am passionate about mental health and how it is so important to receive counseling. This major also focuses on improving people’s well-being, which is something I have wanted to pursue since I was young, and this major is a stepping stone to learning the skills I need to help those around me. Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU Online — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: What surprised me the most was how supported I felt even though I was attending a school that is across the country from me. I had a success coach that reached out to me in the very beginning. I loved how many resources I had from day one. I always felt like I was checked up on and supported. I was surprised by how much support I got from the faculty, too. Pursuing a degree with ASU Online through Starbucks has allowed me to obtain many benefits that I would not be able to receive anywhere else. Q: Why did you choose ASU Online?A: I chose ASU Online since it was a huge benefit to be able to obtain college for free. I am forever grateful to have my tuition paid for, especially being a triplet. This allowed me to gain work experience while also actively being a full-time college student. ASU Online has challenged me to be the best possible student I can be and it has been a rewarding experience. Compared to my in-person college experience, I felt I had more resources attending ASU Online. I felt with my hearing loss, it made it a lot easier to be able to do ASU Online without worrying about what I would be missing in an in-person class setting. Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU Online?A: I feel that my counseling internship with Dr. Cheryl Warner, and my TAs, Sean Spille and Larren Winn, has been extremely rewarding and has made me want to continue my education and pursue a master's. The whole experience allowed the students to have a safe place to practice counseling and receive important information about counseling. I have reflected inwardly on my cultural identity throughout this internship. Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to students?A: Life is hard and things happen, so try not to be hard on yourself. I always have to remind myself that it is okay to not know it all. A college student is not one definition; being a commuter or an online student does not make you any less of a college student. It’s okay to get the resources you need when you need help, and it’s not something to be embarrassed about. I have around half my hearing left, and that number will continue to decline as I get older. I struggled at a young age with hearing loss because I did not want to stick out in a crowd. I also did not want “special treatment” since in school I was given access to sit in the front row and get notes from teachers. Now, I understand the importance and difference between equality versus equity when it comes to disabilities.  Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying and why?A: I loved going to new coffee shops around my area and enjoyed seeing new places where I lived. I thrived off of being surrounded by other people who were doing laptop work, whether that be a college student or someone working remotely. Q: What are your plans after graduation?A: I plan on gaining experience in different cultures by traveling to new parts of the world and being part of a volunteer group. Next year, in the fall, I plan on pursuing a master's in counseling to further my education. I’m really interested in the field of counseling, and I have been able to gain a lot of insight from current master’s and graduate counseling students.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: If I had to pick one problem to use that money for, it would be to make mental health services accessible for everyone and promote the idea that mental health is just as important as physical health. I would want to promote education about mental health and make mental health accessible to everyone.Written by Margot LaNoue for ASU Online.]]>
Portrait of Alicia Lewis in an outdoor setting.

Economics Dean’s Medalist inspired by personal experience to educate others on complex world of health care

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.When her two children were born prematurely, Alicia Lewis spent four months with them in the NICU. Their health battle motivated her to return to school to better understand the health care industry.Her experience with her children caused her to look at health care quantitatively, exploring why hospitals recommend specific treatments, their motivation behind doing so and the risks of those choices.Now, Lewis, an online student, is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in economics and will begin her PhD this fall.“Initially as a coping mechanism, I stopped looking at health care as a point of service to more of a systemic organizational way,” she said. “I started exploring why hospitals and physicians recommend different treatments, procedures, etc., and it led me down this path.”During school, Lewis worked with College of Health Solutions Associate Professor and Department of Economics Associate Professor Ellen Green on a National Institutes of Health project working with health care policy to improve the allocation of deceased-donor kidneys."(Green) was phenomenal in my growth during school,” Lewis said. “The hours she dedicated to help me in research and be a mentor to me were incredible.”The Department of Economics Dean’s Medalist reflected on her time at ASU.Question: What’s something you learned at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: What stood out to me was the true complexity of the research process. I came in a bit naive thinking I was going to get in there and be able to figure it out. But there’s a lot that goes into the process. How do you find data sets? How do you get funding? How do you work with physicians? The research process and its complexities were much more complicated than I anticipated.Q: Why did you choose ASU?A: A friend of mine is a professor and she spoke highly of ASU’s online system, so that is where the initial interest began. Once I researched how the online system was set up, I realized it was the most efficient way to get my degree and work with world-class professors. To have flexibility with my life outside of school, getting meaningful research done. It made sense.Q: Which professor(s) taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: Besides Green, I received a lot of guidance and instruction from Marrisa Domino, Jonathan Ketcham, Marjorie Baldwin, Rex Ballinger and Sheree Rincon. A lot of people invested in me, and I don’t want to skip out on mentioning them.Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?A: Building relationships with professors have been incredibly helpful in applying to grad school and getting the most out of my instruction. I also think it’s cliche, but working ahead, you know, reading ahead of class, doing the homework early, more times than not I have felt a little more confident going into the course when I took time to familiarize myself with the material beforehand.Q: What are your plans after graduation?A: I start a PhD at another university in August. After that, I see myself getting into health economics and would love to be a professor one day.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet what would you tackle?A: I’m passionate about mental health, especially youth mental health. I think there’s a lot of potential to help in that area.]]>

ASU graduate lands dream job at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.Aditya Khuller has always been captivated by the world of science. Inspired by his late grandfather, Khuller demonstrated his dedication from an early age, sneaking into his friend’s physics classes and reading books gifted to him by his family. This spring, Khuller is graduating from ASU with a PhD in planetary science and geology. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering in 2019 and a Master of Science in 2021 here.Raised in a tiny apartment in Gurgaon, India, Khuller always knew he wanted to do something space-related, with hopes to one day work for NASA.  Khuller began to explore his passion for science more deeply and realized that ASU could offer him the resources and support he needed to pursue his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. Every week after Professor Phil Christensen’s “Introduction to Exploration” class, Khuller would come up with questions to ask Christensen. Sometimes he would already know the answer, but didn’t care — he just wanted to talk to Christensen and learn from him. When Khuller asked what it would take to work for Christensen, he replied, “Keep bugging me, and get good grades.” Khuller persisted and started working at ASU’s Mars Space Flight Facility in 2016, and they have been working together since. “Adi is without question one of the best students I’ve ever worked with. I pointed him in the direction of some interesting problems, and he figured out what he needed to learn and learned it and who he needed to work with and began collaborating with them,” said Christensen, in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. “It was great fun to just stand back and watch. I have no doubt that Adi will go on to do amazing things in his career, and I plan to just keep watching and enjoying.” In addition to his degrees, Khuller was awarded 15 scholarships throughout his time at ASU, including the R. Greeley Planetary Geology Scholarship and ASU Outstanding Graduate Research Award. He also benefited from the ASU Graduate Research Support Program.Following graduation, Khuller has accepted a postdoctoral research position at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he is studying the radiative heating effects of dust within the water-vapor-dominated coma around the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.Khuller shared more about his experience at ASU with ASU News. Question: Why did you choose ASU?Answer: It’s funny because when I was applying to ASU in 2015, I never knew how deep our connection with NASA was, even though it had always been my dream to work at NASA. I’d never heard of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, or that we were one of a handful of schools in the world that builds instruments that fly on NASA missions! I’d heard that Barrett, The Honors College was incredible (and it really is), and that’s probably what swung it for me. I loved my experience at Barrett, it gave me so many opportunities — ranging from extra research opportunities and scholarships to friends and my incredibly transformative job as a community assistant in the dorms.Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: Phil Christensen has taught me so much about imbuing the key tenets of being a scientist — to be open, humble and understanding of all ideas and people. I have learned a tremendous amount from him, and I will forever be grateful for his generosity and kindness.Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?A: One of the main things I’ve learned at ASU (and really, life in general) is that if you want something, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. Asking for help can seem scary at first, but more often than not, people are happy to help and give you advice.Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?A: My favorite building on campus is the rather quaint-looking Virginia G. Piper Center, which has a really peaceful fountain and benches that are shrouded from view. Sitting there you can be at the heart of the busy ASU campus (right next to Palm Walk), yet worlds apart.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: There are so many problems on our planet, and I would love to help kids and dogs all around the world live a happier, healthier life. If I had to pick one problem, it would be the problem of trying to cheaply and efficiently desalinate the water in the oceans for consumption. It seems almost ludicrous to think that 70% of our planet is covered with water, and yet we still haven’t figured out how to use that water to tackle droughts and provide people with clean water to drink.Q: Any influences from past teachers, friends or family?A: My love for science and physics began a long time ago, with my late grandfather, Amrit, and the wonderful books that my parents bought for me when I was a kid. I also have a circle of very close friends — Alejandro Martinez, Deolu Ogunmefun, Sarah Rogers, Arnav Banerji, Heather Lethcoe, Leann Bowen and Sarah Braunisch. They have always been there for me when I needed their help; when I was sad, feeling alone or planning petty larceny. My mother has sacrificed a lot to help me, and her indefatigable love and sacrifices help fuel my determination, and I am forever indebted to her.]]>

Astrobiology, biogeosciences expertise prepares ASU graduate for career in planetary science

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.As a transfer student to the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, Amber Simon had to adjust to a new environment and find her place in the academic community. However, with the help of her professors and peers, she was able to come out of her shell and become an accomplished researcher and scientist.This spring, Simon will graduate from ASU with a Bachelor of Science in astrobiology and biogeosciences.One of the most significant experiences that helped Simon to grow and develop as a student was her involvement in two NASA missions, Psyche and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC). She gained hands-on experience working with cutting-edge technology and collaborating with experts in the field.Simon's contributions to the Psyche mission were particularly noteworthy, as she played a vital role with the communication and outreach team for the mission. Simon collaborated closely with Cassie Bowman, an associate research professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration and co-investigator on the Psyche mission.  “We were so fortunate to have Amber join the Psyche team during her first semester as a transfer student at ASU,” said Bowman. “Through her creativity, enthusiasm and excellent communication skills, she led and contributed to a wide range of projects focused on providing opportunities for the public to get involved in the mission.” Simon investigated the feasibility of observing opportunities, created new website content and public materials to explain the science and engineering of the mission to the asteroid Psyche, and helped implement a decision matrix for identifying high-impact outreach efforts as a ASU/NASA Space Grant intern, among other projects. Bowman also complimented Simon's passion and penchant for working on a team.Simon said she she looks forward to pursuing a career in the field of planetary science.Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?  Answer: As a transfer student, I was at my old school in the library thinking about astrobiology. I really wanted to change my major, so I did some research and found what ASU had to offer, and I thought to myself. "I could really do this" — so I did.Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: ASU taught me how to come out of my shell. I was a very reserved introvert, but the people I met at ASU encouraged me to be a better version of myself. I have more confidence in myself because of it.Q: Why did you choose ASU?A: I chose ASU because of all the opportunities they have for my field of study. I was able to do a NASA/ASU Space Grant, work with the Psyche mission and work with LROC.Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: This person isn’t a professor but the person in charge of the Psyche student collaboration team (Cassie Bowman). ... She taught me that I can never achieve what I want if I don’t get out of my comfort zone.Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to students?A: Opportunities for you are everywhere. You just have to look for them and never stop trying to achieve what you want, no matter how many times you get rejected.Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? A: My favorite spot has to be in the MU. There’s this lounge section right next to the sushi place with the most comfortable chairs.Q: What are your plans after graduation?A: For now I’m taking a break from school and going to work at an environmental lab in Phoenix. Then I’ll be applying to grad schools to get a PhD in planetary science.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: I would probably try to tackle climate change. The environment is something that is super important to me, and I’d like to see it handled with care and generosity.Q: Any influences from past teachers, friends or family?A: My high school physics teacher really encouraged me to pursue what I wanted to pursue. He’d give me astronomy articles every now and then, and that really helped validate the field I wanted to go into. My mom was my biggest supporter, of course, and her believing in me really kept me going.]]>
Photo of Ruby Maderafont

Barrett Outstanding Graduate brings history, art, culture and language to life

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.As a child, school field trips to the Art Institute and the Field Museum in Chicago piqued Ruby Maderafont’s interest in history, culture, art and science.Maderafont combined these interests as a student in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University and will receive a bachelor’s degree in museum studies with a minor in Spanish this spring.They also have been named as the Outstanding Graduate for Service and Leadership by Barrett, The Honors College.“Ruby Maderafont has an extraordinary record of accomplishments at ASU, in their early professional activities and awards at the Smithsonian, and in the several communities in which Ruby has taken leadership roles: LGBTQ+ and Latino students and artists. Ruby’s accomplishments seamlessly bridge academic, community and professional activities,” said Julie Codell, ASU professor of art history, who nominated Maderafont for the award.Maderafont, a Herberger Institute Dean’s list student, Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar and ASU New American University Scholarship recipient, not only excelled academically, but professionally as well in research and internships.They were a researcher and intern in the Latino Museum Studies Program at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C., where they researched visitor accessibility and engagement for future implementation. They also interned with ASU’s Center for Archaeology and Society Repository, focusing on the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act, ethics of artifact collection and repatriation procedures and connections among community, culture and collections.Maderafont received the LGBTQIA+ Devils’ Pride Alumni Chapter Scholarship for their commitment to supporting the LGBTQ community and the Barrett Gold Standard Award for exceptional involvement in the honors community.  They also were given the ASU Pitchfork Award for Outstanding Cultural, Diversity and Inclusion Program for efforts in reforming the Gender Inclusive Housing accommodations at ASU with the Barrett LGBTQ+ Club and the Rainbow Coalition.Maderafont was a guest panelist offering insights as a student leader in cultural affairs at the Intercultural Competency and the Future of Work Convening by the Lumina Foundation in fall 2022. They presented in Spanish an evidence-based argument on how stereotypical representations in the media can negatively impact the Latino community at the ASU Spanish as a Heritage Language Undergraduate Conference in fall 2021.Maderafont looked back on their undergraduate experience at ASU below.Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?Answer: I visited museums during school trips and felt like the scholastic environment that they provide was a comfortable space for me. I visited the exhibitions at places like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum on school trips, seeing many works that piqued my interest and allowed me to conceptualize the perspective of their creators and the historical narratives displayed. Within the field of cultural institutions, there is an interdisciplinary overlap of the arts, the sciences, history and education— all subjects I've adored since I was little. After looking into career options in the museum field, I found that my interests align well with those professions, making it my ideal career path. Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: My perspective on museums and the role of cultural institutions changed significantly. Through ASU's art history/museum studies courses, my internship with the ASU Center for Archaeology and Society Repository, and ASU's partnership with the Smithsonian's Latino Museum Studies Program, I learned about the role of colonization and conquest in the foundation of museums and the movement to address this legacy by centering underrepresented communities. I used to think that museums were beacons of objective knowledge, but museums are not objective spaces and require a critical lens when presenting historical and cultural narratives. Q: Why did you choose ASU?A: I chose to attend ASU for the resources and support I knew the university would provide as I pursued my education. My dad is an alumnus, so he showed me what a college education at ASU looks like as he had the opportunity to study abroad and learn skills that prepared him for his career. I wanted access to these unique opportunities, and I've found them here at ASU.Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: It's hard to quantify the importance of what each professor taught me, and many contributed to my success. I will say that Professor Julie Codell has been especially supportive throughout my undergraduate studies and continues to teach me to trust myself and my creativity. Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?A: Do not underestimate or limit yourself. If you are in the midst of stress and doubting yourself, reflect on what you have accomplished so far. You made it this far, so you can make it a little further, even if that means taking a breather and asking for help. Ultimately, set yourself up for your version of success. Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?A: My favorite spot on campus is the Rainbow Coalition office in the Student Pavilion. It's a comfortable room in the middle of the Tempe campus and was a wonderful central location for when I had spare time before and after class to chill, eat food from the Memorial Union and work on homework.Q: What are your plans after graduation?A: I plan on working in the field of cultural institutions and nonprofits while I research and apply for graduate programs. Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: Money alone will not solve many of the prevalent issues facing our planet, especially when these issues overlap and have deeply rooted histories and systems that perpetuate these problems. I think that money could go toward underfunded educational programs that foster awareness and creativity in potential changemakers and demonstrate how to positively contribute to one's community. This would ideally include resources that would enable people to learn and operate without barriers, addressing food insecurity, mental health needs, housing and more. This all sounds vague, but ultimately, solving one problem on our planet means addressing many. ]]>
Fulton Schools of Engineering Impact Award winner Leslie MIller Spring 2023

Accomplishments in academics, research, community service earn ASU graduate Impact Award

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.A fascination with satellites and space exploration technology lured Leslie Miller into engineering — specifically, she said, “the vast opportunities electrical engineering has to offer.”Climate and the campus atmosphere drew her to Arizona State University to study in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.“I loved the warm weather,” Miller said, adding that Palm Walk on the Tempe campus “was also a major selling point.”But she began her college studies with some trepidation.“In high school I struggled academically in some courses,” Miller said. “At times, I felt uncertain about my ability to succeed in a rigorous engineering program. But since coming to ASU, I have had a transformative experience in the Fulton Schools, which has helped me overcome significant challenges and develop a passion for engineering that I never thought possible.”That transformation came largely by getting involved in a variety of ventures beyond her coursework.Miller received an undergraduare Impact Award from the Fulton Schools. She has also served as an undergraduate teaching assistant, coauthored research papers and completed a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program in the Fulton Schools’ Sensor Signal and Information Processing , or SenSIP, Center, in which she coauthored a patent pre-disclosure.In addition to her academic performance in Barrett, The Honors College, Miller had leading roles in student organizations. She served on committees of the ASU chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and joined in a Fulton Schools Engineering Projects in Community Service effort to design housing for low-income families.She was also president of the ASU student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers honor society, Eta Kappa Nu, and helped to establish an outreach event to benefit the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children. Outside of ASU activities, she was a volunteer for the Foundation for Blind Children.She was also awarded several scholarships, including the U.S. Department of Defense SMART Scholarship for Service, the Society of Women Engineers Phoenix Section Scholarship and the GE Award scholarship.Miller said these experiences prepared her for summer internships she completed with the U.S. Space Force. She worked with the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch team and the L3Harris vision technology project to develop a hosted payload interface unit.After graduation, Miller will remain at ASU to expand her education through the Fulton Schools accelerated master’s degree in electrical engineering program. After completing those studies, she plans to move to Los Angeles to work as an engineer for the Space Force.Miller attributed much of her future success to what she learned from Andreas Spanias, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering and the director of SenSIP.“Professor Spanias played a vital role in developing my research and presentation skills and my self-confidence,” she said. “He has been an incredible role model. I would not have earned this Impact Award without him.”She is also grateful for the guidance provided by Fulton Schools electrical engineering doctoral student Glen Uehara, her SenSIP mentor.“Glen helped me grow as an engineer and an individual,” Miller said. “He helped me develop into a leader.”]]>
Graduating ASU student Ruth Beadle / Photo by Meghan Finnerty/ASU

ASU grad writes toward healing for bereaved adolescents

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.Arizona State University student Ruth Beadle believes that you can’t learn using just half of your brain.The Dean’s Medalist in English is graduating this spring not only with a BA in English (creative writing), but with minors in such disparate disciplines as mathematics, art history and French. Not surprisingly, Beadle is a proponent of a holistic approach to learning — not a right-brain-versus-left-brain one.A two-time honorary-mention awardee for ASU’s competitive Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Awards in Writing, Beadle applies her whole-brain creativity to solving complex problems. Since 2017, Beadle, originally from Tucson, has volunteered as a grief support leader working with children and young adults in various settings throughout Arizona, including at the New Song Center for Grieving Children and at Tu Nidito.It was in her ENG 471 course, taught by Professor James Blasingame, that Beadle realized the power of literature to change young lives — and wondered if that extended those experiencing grief.“I was blown away by how much reading books with protagonists that face the same challenges helps young adults,” she said.She decided to work with Blasingame on her Barrett, The Honors College thesis about grief in young adult literature.“First, I did a literature review of psychological articles about complicated grief (generally defined as prolonged, delayed or absent grief) in young adults,” Beadle explained. “I was surprised to find that there is a lack in psychological research on complicated grief (in) adolescents. A lot of the research is adapted from adults, even though adolescents face their own unique challenges.“I created a rubric to analyze young adult novels on their effectiveness at depicting and labeling productive vs. unproductive coping mechanisms. I then analyzed (young adult novel) “All My Rage” by Saaba Tahir using my rubric. Finally, I wrote a short story based upon gaps I found within the psychological research.”Beadle worked with Assistant Professor of English Jenny Irish, a creative writer, on her short story. She explained that she intentionally created a messy situation for her protagonist.“I wanted there to be space for characters to go through unproductive methods of coping,” she said. “Young adult novels are ways for adolescents to trial different actions and see the consequences without experiencing them.“Writing the short story was exciting, because I got to experience the facts and figures of the research and begin to understand how complex situations are around bereaved kids.”Beadle talked a bit more about how she used an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving during her ASU journey.Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study in your field?Answer: I have always loved reading, even as a kid. My dad would take my sister and I to the library, and I couldn’t get through enough books. I wasn’t sure when I came to ASU if I wanted to pursue a degree in engineering or in English. During The Human Event my freshman year, I really struggled with analytical writing and got a lot of help from my professor, teaching assistants and the Writing Center. The more I worked on writing, the more I enjoyed the process and the questions that I could explore with writing. I decided to change my major to English because I loved what I was talking about and wanted to explore the ideas further.Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: I think that taking math and computer science classes completely opened my eyes to the similarities to English. Growing up, you are often considered “left-” or “right-brained,” and the subjects are seen as night and day. However, I found the methods I had for writing proofs and for drafting programs were the same as what I use when writing an essay. It blew my mind that I was using the same skills for two classes that are completely different.Q: Why did you choose ASU?A: I chose ASU because of the engineering program, because I entered as a mechanical engineering major. Barrett, The Honors College was also appealing because I liked that the honors contracts helped you interact personally with professors. I also wanted to remain in-state due to scholarships.Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: (Lisa) Barca taught me a lot about resilience and being compassionate. She offered a lot of opportunities within the classroom where you could improve your grade by showing that you learned from the last essay if you wanted to put in the work. When I felt overwhelmed, we had a lot of conversations about ways to reach out for help and to face stressful situations. I also appreciated how she always put students’ personal well-being before academics and always prioritized students having the environment to turn in their best work.Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?A: Join things you are interested in! There are so many organizations and groups on campus that offer you ways to explore your passions and to learn more about things you would like to know about. Even clubs that are for fun and not about academics can offer a lot of joy and support in your experience.Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?A: I have three different spots where I go, depending on how close they are to my classes. The first is the first floor of Engineering Center G that has a lot of seats and whiteboards. I also really like the (School of International Letters and Cultures) lounge on the first floor of Durham Hall that has amazing small study spaces and comfortable chairs. The final space is the library in the Design Building. It is always really quiet there, so it is great for when I really need to concentrate.Q: What are your plans after graduation?A: I am going to get a post-bac in a teaching certificate, but I am still working on all of the details.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: I would work on solving global warming, because it affects so many other problems like hunger, droughts and inequality. Global warming is terrifying because it is such a large problem that doesn’t have a clear solution, so I would like to use my money to search for smaller technological, renewable and urban solutions. Video of Spring 2023 Outstanding Undergraduate Ruth Beadle ]]>
Cassie Harvey, criminology and criminal justice, outstanding graduate, spring 2023

ASU student is honored again as school's Outstanding Graduate

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.Cassie Harvey has navigated academia as both an Indigenous person — she is Navajo and Zuni — and the first in her family to pursue a graduate degree.“That whole experience of moving away from home, seeking financial assistance – aid and scholarships – and learning all that,” said Harvey, the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s spring 2023 Outstanding Graduate. “I would not be here without the support I’ve had in my journey.”Harvey also was an Outstanding Graduate in May 2017, when she earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, along with a bachelor’s degree in public service and public policy from the School of Public Affairs. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is part of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.Harvey’s journey has led to her work addressing the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, or MMIP, whose numbers in Arizona have increased over the past 40 years.Harvey is from Lechee, Arizona, a small Navajo Nation community outside Page near the Utah border. She is graduating with a Master of Science in criminology and criminal justice from Watts College and a Master of Legal Studies from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.Harvey said her master’s thesis is about “the resilience and protective factors of people who experience violence,” such as MMIP, which was a part of a larger research project within the Research on Violent Victimization Lab.She said she is still learning about her own tribes and of others, including backgrounds, teachings, traditions, ceremonies and how culture is used to help people deal with negative experiences.“It’s humbling. I’m in awe of all the students who participated in the research. One of the lessons, learning points, that even as a Native American, myself, I learned is we are very different, but in a lot of ways we are the same,” she said. “It involves fighting those stereotypes and dealing with people who don’t know anything about Indigenous populations. There are still a lot of people who don’t know or don’t understand. I try to enlighten people any way I can.”Harvey said being involved in MMIP research has helped her become stronger and more patient.“It helped me shape my craft and think of different ways to have conversations and address issues in positive ways to counter the negative experiences,” she said. “I am a reflective person. I obsess about conversations. I think about ways to make a conversation more effective. That helps me in where I am in life.”Harvey said several organizations helped support her graduate journey, including ASU’s Academy for Justice, Navajo Nation Graduate Scholarship, ASU Law Scholarship, Frank and Thelma Caverly Scholarship and AmeriCorps National Service Scholarship. Read on to learn more about Harvey’s ASU experience:Editor's note: Answers have been edited for length and clarity.Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?Answer: I always had an interest in law and criminal justice. After receiving my dual bachelor’s degrees in policy and criminal justice, it was just a matter of when I would come back to school. I chose my Master of Science in criminal justice program because as an undergrad, I knew I wanted to pursue research in this field, so that I could focus on Indigenous populations, youth and addressing violence within our communities. I also chose my Master of Legal Studies program because I have always been intrigued by law, business and policy. I eventually did an emphasis in business to learn the legalities of business organization, legal research, criminal procedure, contract law and employment law. I figured taking those classes would be beneficial in the future once I get over my fear of starting something of my own.Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?A: I am thankful I got to see a whole research project through, from beginning to end, from the development of the instruments to the institutional review board process, to the collaborative recruitment efforts with student-serving organizations, to the analysis, writing and the dissemination.Being a first-generation college student and the only one in my family that is involved in the world of academia, I was not sure what to expect. But I was completely in awe of the work, dedication, diligence and team effort it takes to do research with Indigenous populations. This process helped me learn so much about myself, the research process and my passions. I learned I am particularly interested in the dissemination process and finding ways to take traditional research (i.e., reports and manuscripts) and incorporate innovative, creative and culturally competent ways to tell stories using the data. At times this process was discouraging, but I continued to keep an open mind.As an Indigenous person in criminal justice, I have always been a bit uncertain of research due to the history between Indigenous peoples, academic institutions and lack of representation in the field and the literature. However, being exposed to the world of research and academia has definitely been an empowering experience that broke down those barriers of uncertainty.  Q: Why did you choose ASU?A: I chose ASU because of the research opportunities I knew I would have here. So many of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty are doing amazing things, which did make it hard to narrow my research focus, but I managed to get into the Research on Violent Victimization Lab, which is where I am now. There were other schools on my list, but my primary decision for choosing ASU for grad school was because I knew I wanted to conduct research in my home community of Arizona.Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?A: This is a hard one. Even though this may sound like a politically correct response, each of my course professors has taught me important lessons and has had an impact on me. How do I know this? Because I’m an over-thinker. I most likely obsessed over assignments, their feedback, and did some self-reflection after the course was over. So, for that, I’m sure each has taught me a lesson in one way or another.Additionally, several professors in the school took time to provide opportunities, guidance, support or words of wisdom. This list includes Kate Fox, Stacia Stolzenberg, Shi Yan, Adam Fine, Cody Telep and Ed Maguire. These faculty members, among other ASU faculty and staff, have taught me valuable lessons about research, navigating academia and life.Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give students?A: Develop a routine that prioritizes your health and surround yourself with a supportive network of people who understand your responsibilities.Q: What was your favorite spot to study, meet friends or to just think about life?A: When I was on campus for meetings, work events or class, it was almost always in University Center – sixth floor.Q: What are your plans after graduation?A: Where do I even begin since there is so much that I would like to do? Immediately after graduation I will start a certificate course on data visualization. I want to merge my skills, creativity, passions for research and desire to be community-embedded by honing into data visualization. Being able to effectively visualize data enhances the meaning of the research and makes it digestible for the community outside of academia, which is why I want to further my expertise in this area.I see myself continuing the work I have been involved in regarding missing and murdered Indigenous peoples and support research that address other issues impacting Indigenous communities. I also have ideas brewing regarding a possible nonprofit that focuses on providing victim support or court-related services for those who experience violent crime or domestic violence. Like I mentioned, there is just so much I would like to do, but I am confident that it will happen, because I have an amazing support system and people behind me that have similar passions.Overall, I am open to new opportunities, connections and experiences in this next chapter of my life. Eventually, I do see a PhD on the horizon, but I just want to make sure I am in the right headspace and have the financial capacity to take on that commitment.Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?A: I would tackle the issue of violent victimization. I did my thesis that focused on resilience among Indigenous college students who have experience with victimization, because I am particularly interested in the ways in which people overcome and cope with violence.So, if I had $40 million, I would love to start an evidence-based program that provides support services for Indigenous people impacted by violent crime. I would have various components to this program, one part that focuses on building resilience and dealing with the impacts of victimization. Another area would focus on helping survivors navigate the various systems (i.e., criminal justice, child welfare, social services, etc.), including tribal entities. Indigenous peoples face unique systemic and cultural barriers to address crime due to the complexities of jurisdiction, geography and overall lack of knowledge of Indigenous peoples by non-Indigenous professionals. Although this plan is not completely fleshed out, this would be the first problem I would tackle.]]>
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