ASU professor honored as Educator of the Year by Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

October 19, 2017

Each year, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) gathers to honor the best and brightest among them with the SHPE Technical Achievement Recognition, or STAR awards. Among those honored this year is Arizona State University Associate Professor Jean Andino, who was named the recipient of the Educator of the Year Award in Higher Education for 2017.

Andino, a chemical engineer in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, said the award is “one of the highest honors” she could receive. Download Full Image

The STAR awards recognize the contributions of SHPE members to science, technology and engineering fields. The 21 recipients of the 2017 STAR awards were selected from a field of more than 130 nominees that include professionals, educators, students and corporations. In particular, the Educator for the Year award is granted “to a college or university faculty member or administrator who has demonstrated a concerted effort to increase the persistence rate of Latinx students in the STEM disciplines.”

“The 2017 STAR awards recipients are innovators, leaders, role models and achievers and we are so fortunate to have so many inspiring members a part of SHPE and the Hispanic community,” said Raquel Tamez, CEO of SHPE, in a press release.

Each recipient has the opportunity to accept their award at the SHPE National Conference slated to be held in Kansas City, Missouri on Nov. 1–5.

SHPE was founded in 1974 by a group of Los Angeles engineers with the intention of establishing a national organization of engineering professionals to serve as role models for the Hispanic community. Today, independent professional and student SHPE chapters span the nation, working to raise STEM awareness and promote access and development. Andino, a longtime member of SHPE, says she’s spent a good portion of her career guiding students.

“As a Puerto Rican, black woman who has always worked hard to overcome obstacles and achieve, I have been very blessed to have in my life people who encouraged me,” Andino said. “As a faculty member, I have seen the challenges that some students face to progress. The bottom line is that I believe that it is critically important to diversify the engineering profession. Diverse thoughts are critical to solving some of the most pressing grand challenges that exist in society today.”

Andino believes the best way to achieve diversity of thought and tackle society’s pressing challenges is to reach out to and engage people with a variety of backgrounds and life experiences.

“Latinx students are underrepresented in engineering, and that has a wide effect on representation in academia, industry, and government positions,” Andino noted. “The fact that I am one of only [approximately] 15 mainland US-born Latinas in engineering tenured or tenure-track faculty positions in the nation, even in 2017, is surprising — and saddening. I am committed to providing all students with opportunities, but I would like to see more Hispanic/Latinx students pursue and earn graduate engineering degrees and become professors.”

To this end, she’s become a constant presence with ASU’s student chapter of SHPE, encouraging students to become licensed professional engineers and to pursue graduate school.

“Engineering licensure is an important credential that I believe that more engineers should strive to obtain,” she said. “Thus, I take any opportunity that I have to promote engineering licensing.”

Andino also champions graduate education. She secured her first faculty position through a graduate school fair after meeting faculty from the University of Florida, where she says her career blossomed.

Though this is far from the first award Andino has received, she says the STAR award holds specific significance.

“Nationally and internationally competitive awards are extra special since they provide a measure of external recognition that I am making an impact,” she said. “Given that I have dedicated my life to working with students and making an impact, this is one of the highest honors that I could receive.”

In addition to the recognition from SHPE, Andino has received a variety of awards for her outreach and educational efforts, including the 2004 John J. McCreary Outstanding Faculty Award at the University of Florida, as well as the Faculty of the Year Award and Award for Outstanding Support from the UF chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers in 1999 and 2001, respectively. She also traveled to Venezuela in 2003 to present at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Latin American Lecture Series. In addition, she was honored by Caltech with the 1994 Multicultural Task Force Leadership & Service Award and the Caltech Graduate Dean’s Award for Service and Leadership in 1996.

Andino is known for her research work as well, earning in excess of $17 million in external grants and contracts, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1997, three NASA tech brief awards and a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award in Renewable Energy to the Republic of Panama in 2012.

Andino also dedicates time to serving on prominent national committees, including those of the National Academies and Fulbright U.S. Scholar program.

Pete Zrioka

Managing editor, Knowledge Enterprise


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Judy Woodruff at ASU: Journalists are not the 'enemy of the American people'

October 19, 2017

She and the late Gwen Ifill, co-anchors of “PBS NewsHour,” received the 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism

Judy Woodruff and the late Gwen Ifill, the award-winning co-anchors and managing editors of the “PBS NewsHour,” were awarded the 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism by Arizona State University on Thursday.

In an era with a president who built a campaign and an administration by calling most news fake and most journalists enemies of the American people, Woodruff told the audience, “I am not an enemy of the American people. I love this country.”

Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of the “PBS NewsHour,” received the 34th annual award, given by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, at a luncheon ceremony in downtown Phoenix. Roberto Ifill accepted the award on behalf of his sister Ifill, who served with Woodruff as co-anchor and co-managing editor from 2013 until her death from cancer in November.

Woodruff reflected on how the news business is in flux from a changing business and technology landscape, and not necessarily for the better.

“Newspapers have been closing down, reporters by the hundreds and even thousands have been laid off,” she said. “Too many state capitals, city halls, boards of education are going uncovered around this country today because there simply aren’t enough reporters to cover them. Once Americans found they could get their news for free, they didn’t need to buy a newspaper. And with newspapers for so long having set the pace reporting in communities across the nation, that has been a blow to the public’s ability to know what’s going on.”

Technology, which has taken so many jobs away, has also provided a new source of news, she said.

“Channels by the hundreds, an explosion of online sites, news in our Facebook feeds, whenever we check Google, Yahoo, there’s news everywhere,” Woodruff said. “It’s good news, it’s reported news, it’s sloppy news, it’s credible news, it’s made-up news, and everything in between.”

Excellent reporting still can happen. Woodruff talked about the Weinstein scandal, which was broken by the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine, and the exposure of drug lobbyists worsening the opioid crisis by encouraging Congress to hobble the DEA by CBS 60 Minutes and the Washington Post.

“Mainstream journalist organizations, which took months and months of work to nail it down,” Woodruff said in praise of both investigations. “That’s the mainstream media working for you.”

Social media is not going to replace professional journalism, she said.

“Now the news is coming to us from every conceivable source, from places that never thought they were going to be in the news, like Facebook and Twitter,” Woodruff said. “We thought they were there to do something else. We are watching the transformation as these organizations try to understand what their role is. They’ve made some big mistakes, and they’re trying to figure out how to fix that.”

As part of Woodruff’s two-day visit to ASU, she reported for the NewsHour from the Cronkite School. She sat down with Cronkite faculty member Jacquee Petchel and students Claire Caulfield and Jasmine Spearing-Bowen to discuss a major national investigation into water quality as part of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program at the Cronkite School. She also interviewed U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego as part of an ongoing NewsHour series on the future of the Democratic Party.

Woodruff’s visit included an appearance on the public affairs program “Arizona Horizon” on Arizona PBS, which is operated by the Cronkite School. Woodruff fielded questions from host Ted Simons on a variety of topics ranging from her career and friendship with Ifill, to her memories of Walter Cronkite. After the taping, Woodruff, Simons and “PBS NewsHour” Executive Producer Sara Just took questions from Cronkite students in the audience. They discussed the convergence of media, fake news and the importance of journalism, among other topics.

The job of journalism is to be the public’s eyes and ears, Woodruff said Thursday at the awards luncheon. Journalists are needed to find answers day after day.

“People often ask me if the news business is going to survive,” she said. “Yes, it absolutely is because we will always need to know what’s going on around us, what opportunity and what peril out there lies around the corner, what our fellow human beings are up to.” 

The Cronkite School contributed to this report. Top photo: Judy Woodruff addresses the audience after accepting the 34th annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix hotel on Thursday afternoon. The 2017 awardees were both Judy Woodruff and the late Gwen Ifill, award-winning anchors of the “PBS NewsHour." Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now