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ASU Prep graduate balanced competitive swimming with earning 4.0 GPA

ASU Prep grad to become a Sun Devil, but first is Olympic training.
May 31, 2019

After training for 2020 Olympics, elite athlete will become a Sun Devil

In addition to economics and precalculus, Jarod Arroyo has spent the last year learning a lot about balance.

Arroyo, an elite swimmer, was in the first graduating class of ASU Prep Tempe charter high school in May, finishing with a 4.0 grade point average. With high school behind him, he’ll spend the next year focusing on training for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. After that, he’ll swim for Arizona State University.

“The key is staying on top of it and not getting behind,” Arroyo said of his life balancing school and swimming. His days started at 5 a.m., when he would swim for two hours on the ASU Tempe campus, then drive to school and go to classes, and then return to the pool for another three to four hours of swimming and conditioning. Then it was dinner, homework and mental conditioning before bed.

Arroyo, who is a member of the Puerto Rican national team, traveled frequently for competitions.

Jarod Arroyo

Jarod Arroyo (left) and Andre Arnold were the only two members of the first graduating class of ASU Prep Tempe. They were among 230 graduates of all the ASU Prep schools at the ceremony on May 24. Photo contributed by ASU Prep

“I have to be proactive,” he said.

“I went to Argentina for three weeks for the youth Olympics last fall and I got ahead on all my work and turned it in before I left and when I came back I was perfectly fine because I was proactive.

“I just have to make sure that I tell my teachers.”

In addition to working with his teachers, he was able to keep up because some of his work was done online. ASU Prep TempeThe other ASU Prep locations are in Casa Grande, south Phoenix, downtown Phoenix and on the ASU Polytechnic campus in Mesa. There are more than 3,000 students total in the ASU Prep system, not including the ASU Prep Digital online school. is a blended learning campus that infuses technology in the classroom. Arroyo, who had to take both Algebra 2 and precalculus this year, learned on the ALEKS adaptive learning platform, according to Joshua Roth, principal of ASU Prep Tempe.

“So as he gets problems right or wrong, it’s adapting to where he’s at, reinforcing things or letting him get ahead on things he does know,” Roth said. “Without that platform he wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

ASU Tempe Prep’s first graduating class included Arroyo and Andre Arnold, who became good friends.

With only 48 students, the underclassmen looked up to the two seniors, Roth said.

“Jarod’s a really good role model for all of our students,” he said. “Being a small school and trying to find an identity, we were really happy to have Jarod with that senior leadership, and his presence and his demeanor.”

Arroyo’s competitive swimming career has meant sacrifices for his family. He moved to the Valley from Utah in 2016 with his mother and sister to train with the Pitchforks Aquatics swim club and its head coach, Fernando Canales. But Arroyo’s father, a professor of physiology at Brigham Young University, stayed behind. His father is from Puerto Rico, which allowed Arroyo to join the national team at age 15.

“Someday, I think by achieving my goals, that will repay them because they’ll know it was worth it,” he said.

He credits his parents with encouraging him to take swimming lessons at age 4 — even though he was afraid of the water. By age 10, he knew swimming was for him.

“My parents made sure I played lots of different sports. I played basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis,” he said. “And when I was 10, they said, ‘You have to pick one’ so I chose swimming.”

This summer, Arroyo will compete in the Pan American games in Peru, where he could qualify for the 2020 Olympics, and possibly in the world championships in Korea. His specialty events are the 400- and 200-meter individual medley and the 200-meter butterfly.

“When I was 12, watching the Olympics would inspire me,” he said. “And when I watched them in 2016 was when I realized how close I was to qualifying."

Arroyo has idolized Michael Phelps, the swimming legend and most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 medals, and was thrilled when he got to meet him.

“He’s really chill and laid back. I thought he would be so intense but he’s the nicest guy,” he said.

Phelps’ coach was Bob Bowman, who is now head coach of Sun Devil swimming and diving, which Arroyo will join in fall 2020.

“I’m so excited to come to ASU because not only do they have amazing facilities, but the men’s team has a really good culture of excellence and that’s thanks to Bob Bowman,” said Arroyo, who plans to double major in business and kinesiology because he wants to be a chiropractor.

But for the next several months, all his energy will be on getting to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.

“I like to visualize myself there,” he said. “That helps me to push through the hard practices toward the end goal.”

Stefanie Contreras, marketing and communications manager for ASU Prep, contributed to this story.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now

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Empower 2019 brings together ASU IT professionals to innovate for the future


May 31, 2019

On Thursday, May 23, Arizona State University's University Technology Office hosted Empower 2019, an ASU IT professional community retreat designed to discover new innovations and improve existing ones through peer-to-peer discussion.

Over 800 ASU IT professionals spent the day engaging with ASU Chief Information Officer Lev Gonick, one another and a wide array of speakers. ASU President Michael Crow capped the event as Empower’s keynote speaker, contextualizing the IT community’s contributions to the greater mission of the New American University. man speaking to audience CIO Lev Gonick opened the day by outlining technology’s place in the ASU community. Download Full Image

Empower was created on the basis of ASU’s eight design aspirations. Experts from inside and outside ASU delved beyond IT, speaking on subject matters such as inclusion in the workplace, honoring place and space in indigenous areas and key performance indicators.

Groups also gathered for Appreciative Inquiry Interviews, a collaborative process that uses positive questions to build a more cohesive vision of the future and progress. Christine Whitney Sanchez, UTO’s chief culture officer, opened the space for participants to create their own parallel breakout sessions focused on the convening question: “Using the eight design aspirations as guidance, what are ASU’s IT issues and opportunities for enabling and catalyzing strategic innovation, community delight and operational excellence?”

After the breakout sessions, participants reconvened to surface the top ideas from the day. Graphic recorder Karina Branson captured many of the “aha moments” of these sessions and the whole event. (Her illustrations can be seen in the gallery below.)

At last year’s event, the top idea was a unified service catalog that holds requests IT professionals may receive from the ASU community. The service catalog was launched at Empower 2019. 

This year’s top ideas identified by ASU IT community members include:

Big ideas from Empower 2019:

• Chatbots — These artificial intelligence-enabled "bots" have the potential to supplement instruction and advising as well as tailor content and information to meet individual student needs.

• Blockchain — Advancements in this emerging technology can be harnessed to advance a reinvented transcript so that all aspects of student learning are recorded, tracked, portable and owned by each individual learner.

• Shared culture of innovation — A large part of making collaboration easier for the entire ASU community is breaking down silos, making it much easier for groups that don’t always work in the same orbit to come together for exciting new projects.

• Next-generation communication — To that end, tools like Slack, a real-time messaging tool with open workspaces and extensive sharing capabilities, are crucial. Slack in the classroom (enhanced by Slackbots that can automatically respond to queries) and centralized Slack communication guidance are two of the specific facets of next-gen communication.

• Nontraditional classrooms — Attendees discussed the concept of an ASU college based on nontraditional classrooms. Untethering learning goes beyond educating online; it adds value with inclusivity and micro-credentials that rewards the learning of specific skills. This is a greater challenge than a purely technical one, but it is also indicative of the IT community’s place as “the stewards of the university’s investment in the students,” Gonick said.

• Smart infrastructure — The investment in a smart campus dovetails into a smart city and smart region, but as it applies to our ASU community, creating an ultimately interactive space and infrastructure is very important. VR campus tours, augmented reality signage, greater mobile app interactivity and more will increase student engagement and enhance their learning.

President Crow brought these focused conversations full circle when he closed out the day. He stressed that technology is a tool to fulfill the concept of a universal learner, bringing one university to many places in the process.

Select design aspirations — connected to place, social embeddedness and intellectual fusion — are important facets of the iterative process that maintains equality, research for the public good and taking responsibility, he added.

For more information, visit https://uto.asu.edu/empower/2019 and follow UTO on Twitter @ASU_UTO.