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New ASU program gives Native American youth a taste of college

June 28, 2018

Sally Kewayosh uses the short break in filming while students reposition their cameras to explain the 180-degree ruleThe 180-degree rule is a basic guideline regarding the on-screen spatial relationship between two characters within a scene. By keeping the camera on one side of an imaginary axis between the characters, the first character is always frame right of the second character. of cinematography, then instructs one of them to come in closer for a profile shot.

An accomplished filmmaker and a member of the Walpole Island First Nation, Kewayosh is on location at Arizona State University's West campus this week to share her knowledge with a group of high school students participating in the Native American Summer Arts Workshop (NASAW). She was invited by ASU Assistant Professor Jacob Meders, who is instructing the students in printmaking and drawing.

Meders, a member of the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, California, attended a similar program in high school that inspired him to get his bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Savannah College of Art and Design and, later, his master’s in printmaking at ASU. So when Patrick BixbyBixby is also an associate professor of English at ASU., director of International Tribal Initiatives at ASU's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, asked for his help organizing NASAW, he was all in.

“Coming from the family background that I came from, there was no one to really to guide me after I saw all the cool art stuff you could do in college,” said Meders, who is the founder of WarBird Press studio in Phoenix. “It wasn’t until I got older that I kind of figured it out on my own.”

An immersive, weeklong experience in which students live on campus and are encouraged to explore the university’s offerings, the arts workshop is just one of several outreach programs at ASU that are geared toward giving young Native American students an early taste of the college experience.

One week before NASAW kicked off, 50 Native American high school students taking part in the INSPIRE camp on the Tempe campus observed a mock trial, learned how to build a resume, toured the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication building on the Downtown Phoenix campus and attended a resource fair.

“This year’s INSPIRE summer program provides an unique opportunity for American Indian high school students to learn more about academic major options and potential careers from the five major themes implemented: power and place; leadership; college and career; closer look at ASU; and community partnerships,” said Annabell Bowen, director of American Indian Initiatives.

Native American students make up less than 1 percent of all college students in the U.S., and only about 13 percent of all Native American people have a college degree. Recognizing a need, ASU has created a number of college-preparedness programs aimed at Native American students. In addition to NASAW and INSPIRE, they include the daylong RECHARGE conference, featuring guest speakers and conversations on topics ranging from financial aid to wellness and careers; the SPIRIT orientation initiative, which helps Native American students adjust to college life over a two-week period; and the Tribal Nations Tour, which brings ASU to schools with high populations of American Indian students throughout the state.

woman holds a movie clapper

Group chaperone Red Gastelo, of Phoenix College, sets the clapper to start a scene as the class makes a four-minute video as part of the Native American Summer Art Workshop on the West campus on June 27.

The programs’ reaches are expanding beyond Arizona, though — a few of the students attending NASAW at ASU West came all the way from California. Mikail Morgan, who attends Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, said not many colleges where she lives have programs that speak specifically to Native American students. On Wednesday, she played one of the characters in a series of three student-filmed stories that will be showcased Friday at 7 p.m. at Art Space WestArt Space West is located on the north side of the University Center Building on ASU’s West campus. in a free and open-to-the-public exhibition of their work.

Later Wednesday afternoon, Morgan and the rest of the NASAW cohort enjoyed a special tour of the Heard Museum, one of the program’s sponsors, who also hosted them for dinner that evening. Other sponsors include the Phoenix Indian Center, the Labriola Center, the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Arizona Commission for the Arts, which also provided funding.

In the future, Bixby hopes to see the program expand to other fields of study at New College, such as its flagship forensics program. For now, he and Meders are thankful to have gotten it off to a promising start.

“Everybody in the community, Native and non-Native, has really pitched in, and it’s just awesome to see the support,” Meders said. “It’s been pretty wild to see these students working so hard. … It’s obvious to us that they all have the potential to make it in college, and to excel in college. So this is great way for them to see it in themselves.”

Top photo: Instructor Sally Kewayosh looks at the screen of Patrick House, 16, of Saw Mill, Arizona, as they prepare to shoot a scene for their four-minute video as part of the Native American Summer Art Workshop on the West campus on June 27. Kewayosh is a filmmaker with Achimowin Films in Albuquerque. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

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ASU sustainability alumnus gears up for cross-country carbon-neutral road trip

June 28, 2018

To Arizona State University alumnus John Martinson, “range anxiety” — the fear of becoming stranded in an electric vehicle after the battery dies — is a state of mind, not an actual concern.

With a bit of planning, a cross-country road trip in an electric vehicle is possible. And Martinson should know: On July 1, he’s embarking on a monthlong father-son road trip from Arizona to Canada and back in his new Tesla.

Completing an ambitious road trip in an electric vehicle may worry some people, but for Martinson, it’s another way to live his values. Martinson is a recent graduate of the ASU School of Sustainability’s Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership program, and he’s also the school’s alumni board president. Before he graduated from the school, Martinson co-owned the successful China Mist Tea Company for 34 years. He believes in natural capitalism, which is a business model that takes into account the value of earth’s natural resources and ecosystems.

Martinson and his 17-year-old son, Neo, will share driving of the Tesla Model 3, which advertises up to 310 miles of range. (For reference, Phoenix to Los Angeles is about 370 miles.)

Deciding on the route was easy for Martinson — and none of it had to be determined by the location of charging stations: “The Tesla charging infrastructure covers everywhere I wanted to go,” he said.

Their 6,000-mile-plus route winds through several states and two countries, where the father-son pair will check out national parks and visit friends and family.

After deciding on the destinations, Martinson “started looking for scenic and challenging roads to make the trip more fun,” since they didn’t just want to drive major highways. Martinson wants to prove that off-the-beaten-path areas can be reached in an electric vehicle.

Martinson most looks forward to driving the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road through Glacier National Park in Montana and the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper in Canada. Neo Martinson recently earned a private pilot certificate — with the intent to eventually earn a commercial pilot certificate — and is excited to fly small planes at a couple locations where he and his dad will have time to take to the skies.

But the trip isn’t all for fun; Martinson is ready to put into practice the knowledge he learned at the School of Sustainability.

“(The trip) gives me an opportunity to demonstrate these principles to my son and to others we meet on the road, and promote the Rocky Mountain InstituteThe Rocky Mountain Institute and the School of Sustainability are primary partners of the journey. and the ASU School of Sustainability and their many programs to various audiences along the way,” he said. But the trip isn’t all for fun; Martinson is ready to put into practice the knowledge he learned at the School of Sustainability.

It’s important to Martinson that his trip is carbon neutral. Though the Tesla Model 3 doesn’t burn fuel, the production of electricity emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. To counter these pollutants, Martinson will purchase carbon offset credits from Carbon Fund, an organization that supports vetted projects worldwide that help reduce carbon emissions. He’s letting the ASU sustainability community decide, via a social media poll, which carbon offset project to support: energy efficiency, forestry or renewable energy.

Datu Buyung Agusdinata, a professor and senior sustainability scientist at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, said that alternative forms of transportation are important for society to adopt.

In 2016, “about 28 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States were from transportation, mostly passenger cars, because 90 percent of auto fuels were fossil fuels — gasoline and diesel,” Agusdinata said. “Fossil fuel burning is also responsible for bad air quality, which negatively impacts human health.”

Agusdinata said society is slow to adopt electric vehicles because they are unfamiliar territory and there are concerns including limited driving range, higher vehicle purchase prices and sustainability of electricity sources. He expects that advances in technology will decrease the cost of electric vehicles and increase their range

Martinson wants to serve as inspiration for others who are considering an electric vehicle and alleviate their concerns regarding range through blogging, collecting data, delivering presentations and connecting with people on the road. And he wants to do ASU proud.

“It has been my great honor to have graduated from ASU and now to be able to give back,” Martinson said.

He will be presenting at School of Sustainability alumni and online-student events in Seattle on July 21 and Mountain View, California, on July 25. His Tesla is wrapped and features the school’s logo.

To learn more about Martinson's journey and to follow along, visit his road trip website

Top photo: John Martinson, School of Sustainability alumnus and China Mist co-founder (left), shows off the Tesla Model 3 that he and his 17-year-old son, Neo, will drive on their 30-day, 6,000-mile road trip of the West, to Steve Kellogg at the Autowits car dealership in Scottsdale on June 27. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Kayla Frost

Associate Editor , Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability