ASU alum spurs additional donors to support Capital Scholars

August 31, 2016

Vada Manager wants to show why the university experience is important. Earning his political science degree in 1983 wasn’t the first step in forging a successful career, it was his involvement in various programs and the opportunity to form lasting relationships.

Throughout the years, Manager has worked to keep those relationships strong within Arizona State University and beyond. Manager serves on the School of Politics and Global Studies alumni advisory board, which was formed to help with everything from building alumni engagement to strategic planning for the School’s enrollment. He is also a member of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Council. Scholarship recipient and Capital Scholar Montserrat Alvarenga [right] in Washington D.C. Scholarship recipient and Capital Scholar Montserrat Alvarenga (right) in Washington D.C. Download Full Image

Manager also keeps in contact with his former financial aid officer while at ASU, Vince Roig, who is now the Chairman of the Board at the Helios Educational Foundation. The two colleagues are all too familiar with how finances can create hurdles at college so they decided to fully fund two students for the Capital Scholars Program.

Describing those hurdles while at ASU, Manager explained, “That experience of knowing how finances can be the razor thin margin between not finishing and success is the reason why I give back.”

The Capital Scholars Program is an internship opportunity for students to experience Washington D.C. as an intern while earning upper division credits. Manager and Roig did not want to exclude students from an opportunity like this because they were worried about the costs associated with the program so they funded the Manager Family and the Helios Educational Foundation scholarship.  The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences matched their donation with funding from members of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Council and donations from alumni who gave to the college's Dean’s Investment Fund.      

“Those bonds and experiences you have carry with you for 30 to 40 years later,” Manager said.

Alexandria Flores, one of the recipients of the scholarship, had never ventured further east than Arizona. Not only was she able to enjoy the various monuments, neighborhoods and memorials but she took advantage of her time to network as often as possible.

“Throughout my time in D.C.,” Flores said, “networking was one of my favorite things to do whether it was handing my card out on the Metro or meeting for coffee with an ASU Alumni, I found a way to reach out to not only those in my field but also those who are outside of my area of interest.”

The time Flores spent in the Nation’s Capital opened doors for another internship for her senior year.  It was an opportunity that she says she would not have gotten if it weren’t for the help of the Manager Family and the Helios Educational Foundation.

“Being someone who is self-supporting I could not have had this time in D.C. without [this scholarship] being awarded to me. Washington D.C. has always been a dream for me and this scholarship has made that dream a reality.”

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies


ASU grad students organize international workshop for a new generation of researchers

Team establishes a global collaboration network of research on Human Adaptation to Environmental Change

August 31, 2016

Graduate students affiliated with the Arizona State University's Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment were active this summer organizing a global network of emerging researchers in the field of social ecological systems.

Organized by Elicia Ratajczyk in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and Ute Brady from the ASU Wrigley Institute, a team of ASU grad students prepared a successful proposal to the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center to host a multi-day workshop to feature graduate student-led research projects involving the synthesis of existing data investigating the theme of “Surprise in Human Adaptation to Environmental Change.” Download Full Image

The goal of the three-and-a-half-day workshop held in Annapolis, Maryland was to develop “a collaborative network of emerging researchers who will shape new directions in the study of social-ecological systems and common-pool resources,” said Ratajczyk.

The resulting workshop involved 71 remote and onsite participants, including graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty from sixteen universities in five different countries. ASU and the Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment were well represented, with four graduate students among the organizers (Ratajczyk, Brady, Mar Mancha, and Mady Tyson), one faculty member (J.M. Anderies) and two former affiliates (Jacopo Baggio, who is now an assistant professor at Utah State University, and Allain Barnett, assistant professor at the University of New Brunswick).

In addition to the collaborative network that was developed, the group established a working group to support communication, resources, and advocacy for the network and an online collaboration platform using Slack social media and other internet-based tools. Several of the groups involved in the workshop have developed research agendas and outlines for the development of publications.

Marco Janssen, ASU professor and Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment (CBIE) director noted that the workshop was successful in a variety of ways.

“The graduate student organizers were innovative in the organization of the workshop by having various satellite meetings before the workshop to increase the productivity and impact of the actual workshop,” said Janssen. “This group [also] has created a network of researchers who will continue the legacy of the late Nobel Prize winner and CBIE founding director Elinor Ostrom, whose work inspired researchers around the world, many of whom have produced various and related datasets on social-ecological systems and common-pool resources which have yet to be organized.”

Coordinator senior, Biosocial Complexity Initiative