ASU graduate wants to raise the standard of health care


May 2, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2019 commencement.

Improving the lives of others has been a lifelong goal for Levi Louis Riley. He aspires to practice medicine and raise the standard of care in his hometown. To accomplish his goal, he knew he needed the best affordable education available to him and decided to attend Arizona State University. portrait of Levi Louis Riley Levi Louis Riley. Download Full Image

Since medical school was on the horizon, Riley pursued a pre-medicine biomedical engineering degree in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. His studies required diligence, but he set a goal, chose a path and stuck with it — pushing past difficulties and discouragements along the way.

“Engineering teaches one how to think and how to learn. It teaches the art and process of problem-solving,” said Riley. “I believe the skills engineering education teaches are indispensable. They have allowed me to take my knowledge of abstract subjects and apply it to solve real-world problems.”

Riley’s education was supported by the Dr. Richard O. Flynn Pre-Medical Scholarship, the Blowers Engineering Scholarship and a New American University President’s Award, among others.

Riley had the opportunity to participate in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative. He worked under the mentorship of Fulton Schools Associate Professor Brent Vernon to fabricate polymer microparticles for use in drug delivery for potential metabolic stimulation and weight loss applications.

“In many ways, I am where I am scholastically and professionally, not only because of the strong influences from my father, but also the influences and mentorship from Dr. Vernon,” said Riley, an honors student in Barrett, The Honors College.

Lecturer Michael VanAuker and Professor Michael Caplan in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of the six Fulton Schools, also had an impact on Riley’s education. Through the instruction and guidance of these three professors and his father, Riley learned how to harness his inner entrepreneur and creative ability to propel forward scholastically, professionally and personally.

Last year, Riley partnered with fellow biomedical engineering students to create a startup company. The team competed and won funding at the Venture Devils Demo Day to aid in the development of a polymer microsphere fabrication platform to improve the way drugs are delivered to patients.

After graduation, Riley will pursue his medical degree at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. He plans to complete a residency and any additional training in Arizona before returning to his hometown to serve his community as an orthopedic specialist.

Hometown: Yuma, Arizona

Riley's favorites

TV show: "House, M.D."
Movie: "Braveheart"
Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, wrestling and coaching
Performer: George Strait
Geeky possession: Mace Windu lightsaber

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2019 class.

Amanda Stoneman

Science Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

480-727-5622

Outstanding graduate gains respect for construction industry


May 2, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2019 commencement.

Nearly 15 years ago, Jonathan Thomas Lyle dropped out of high school and didn’t know what the future had in store for him. He never thought he would spend 10 years in the Army and later be graduating with honors from Arizona State University. His future, though, turned out better than he could have expected. Portrait of Jonathan Thomas Lyle Jonathan Lyle. Download Full Image

“My entire time at the university has been extremely memorable and rewarding,” said Lyle, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in construction management from ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “I’ve been grabbing hold of every opportunity that comes my way and doing everything to the utmost of my abilities.”

Lyle was drawn to the quality of the construction management program as well as the Del E. Webb School of Construction, which is housed within the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools. He also believed the mandatory internship component in the curriculum was important for his career development.

During the first year of his program, Lyle helped renovate the Sun Devil Stadium as an intern with Suntec Concrete, a commercial concrete contractor in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Nothing matches the knowledge gained by physically doing the work you plan to do. It has been awesome to go to games and see parts of structural concrete I helped build,” he said, adding that is when he knew he’d chosen the right field to pursue.

Lyle joined several student organizations to make sure he didn’t miss a single opportunity. He served as president of the student chapter of the American Concrete Institute, captained five teams for international competitions hosted by the national chapter of the American Concrete Institute and was founding treasurer of the Fulton Student Veteran Organization, among others.

His notable contributions include founding Operation Ramp-Up, a charity event that provides ADA mobility ramps to disabled veterans across the Valley, and winning a third-place trophy in concrete solutions at the 2018 Associated Schools of Construction Regions 6 & 7 competition.

After graduation, Lyle will be working as a project engineer in the self-perform concrete division of McCarthy Building Companies, a national construction company.

“I learned and gained a higher respect for the entire construction industry,” said Lyle. “I came out of ASU with a true passion for my future career.” 

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Lyle's favorites:

Movie: "Anchorman"
TV show: Any nature documentary
Hobbies: His dogs, snowboarding, camping/hunting
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Band/performer: Notorious BIG, The Used, almost anything country

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2019 class.

Amanda Stoneman

Science Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

480-727-5622