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Liberal Arts and Sciences takes home Academic Bowl trophy

Congrats ASU CLAS for clinching the Academic Bowl title.
This year's ASU Academic Bowl got a new, improved game system.
ASU Academic Bowl pits college teams against each other for scholarship prizes.
November 10, 2016

The cerebral competition, which has colleges going head-to-head for scholarship prizes, is new and improved this year

You’ve got 10 seconds: Who was the first female vice presidential candidate of a major national party who ran alongside Walter Mondale in 1984?

If you can’t answer Geraldine Ferraro, then you’re not ready for the bright lights and big podiums of the Arizona State University Academic Bowl, which crowned its 11th champion this week.

Four teams representing the W. P. Carey School of Business, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) battled it out for the top spot on the final day of double-elimination competition, with CLAS ultimately going undefeated to claim a second-straight Academic Bowl title and a $24,000 scholarship to be split among the winning team.

“When I came here, it was kind of my responsibility to bring CLAS back. CLAS had gone through some dark times [and] failed to make an [Academic] Bowl final, [which was] almost unheard of,” said senior team captain Raymie Humbert following the college’s seventh victory in the 11-year history of the competition. “We placed second my first year there, now two-straight titles, and we’ve really changed the course.”

The Academic Bowl pits four-person teams facing off head-to-head, attempting to answer the most questions in 15-minute rounds and racing to buzz in before their opponents. A correct answer leads to a three-part bonus question where team members can confer before answering.

“The tournament is really tough and fierce. Being a former coach, I know what goes into this competition,” said ASU special events coordinator Dan Turbyfill. “There is a lot of stress that goes along with answering these questions. It’s like an athletic event for the mind.”

This year, the Academic Bowl saw some new and improved changes — including a brand new set design.

The previous set, made for the inaugural edition of the university’s biggest academic competition, had a “Family Feud”-like design where two teams of contestants answered questions seated behind desks with simple name placards. Now the set has a state-of-the-art gaming system with a “Jeopardy!” look and “Wheel of Fortune”-styled color palate.

Academic Bowl game set

The new Academic Bowl set featured a state-of-the-art gaming system.

The finals, which are broadcast, were formerly held downtown at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This year, a studio format was built at the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus so the event could be accessible to more people.

Melissa Werner, director of university ceremonies, orchestrated the move, along with the modern set design.

“When you see it on film, it has a nice, exciting pop to it,” Werner said. “Because [the students] are doing this and they’re putting themselves out there to compete, we really wanted to give it a really exciting look.”

Werner said the university aims to be an institution that other schools can look to when it comes to the Academic Bowl production: “We’d like to make sure we’re on the cutting edge.”

“I remember in the beginning only having Velcro and tape for signs, so this obviously is a lot different, and we’ve seen a lot of set designs over the years,” Turbyfill said. “Today, we have this beautiful set, and the LED lighting, and the flat screens, and the technology we have along with all the other things we have at our disposal — it’s grown both in question variety and set design.”

The finals of the Academic Bowl will be aired on Arizona PBS in December, date and time TBD.

Written by David Tate with additional reporting by Brandon Chiz.

Top photo: The CLAS Maroon team receives their trophy from Stefanie Lindquist, deputy provost and vice president of academic affairs, after winning the 2016 Academic Bowl championships. Lindquist served as the moderator for the final night. From left to right: seniors Connor Vuong, Michelle Stephens, Michal Galivob, Colllin Stevens, Raymie Humbert, team captain and Lindquist. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

Advocating for stillbirth prevention

November 10, 2016

Nearly 3 million children are stillborn every year. The majority of stillbirths globally are preventable (related to medical care and labor). But historically, little research has been done to address the issue.

Over the course of her academic career Joanne Cacciatore, an associate professor in the Arizona State University School of Social Work, has had a hand in completely shifting attitudes toward these deaths. Cacciatore symposium Joanne Cacciatore is an expert on traumatic loss. She will be sharing advancements in research and prevention of stillborn deaths at a symposium at Johns Hopkins. Download Full Image

“Before 2001, you wouldn’t get a birth certificate, just a death certificate,” she said.

Arizona was the first state to change that, followed by 36 more states.

Stillbirths were not on the National Institutes of Health research agenda until 2003. Then, in 2011, The Lancet, a leading medical journal, published a series of articles to better explore current knowledge and set an action plan to halve stillbirth rates by 2020. Cacciatore is a coauthor of the article that launched the series.

One of the first takeaways from the series was the glaring lack of data. Stillborn deaths are not included in infant mortality rates.

“In times of global focus on motherhood, the mother’s own aspiration of a liveborn baby is not recognized on the world agenda,” the authors noted.

As a result, little had been done to research the causes, interventions, costs and cultural drivers that could help improve global birth rates.

“Stillbirth takes the lives of more infants than all other causes combined,” said Cacciatore. “And in half of the cases in the Western world, we don’t know why.”

With knowledge of the causes, professionals could better develop interventions and prevention strategies.

Cacciatore has been very involved in driving efforts at the state and federal levels, including recognition of the emotional and economic toll.

“The grief of mothers might be aggravated by social stigma, blame, and marginalization in regions where most deaths occur,” authors said.

Family systems vary. She has noted a lack of consistency in providing bereavement care to mothers, fathers and children of families who have experienced a loss. There is also significant investment in planning for a baby’s arrival including medical care, home preparation and supplies.

“There are both psychological and economic costs to the family and to society,” she said.

Research in the area has continued to grow since The Lancet series was published.

Cacciatore will be speaking on the topic at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on November 16. Her symposium on cultural perspectives in psychosocial support after the death of a baby covers research from a public health perspective: psychologically, emotionally and socially.  

"We need to continue to understand the tragedy of a baby's death at the macro level, even intergenerationally, and try to reduce the high mortality rate. And psychologically our culture needs to be educated on the long-term psychosocial effects on mothers and fathers and families: ultimately traumatic grief affects us all," she said. 

Heather Beshears

director marketing and communications, College of Public Service and Community Solutions