New ASU Alumni Association chair looks to the future


July 6, 2020

Chris Hill, ’86 B.S., chair of the ASU Alumni Association Board of Directors and National Alumni Council, began his position during a unique time in history.

“So much has transpired in 2020 in our country,” Hill said. “A COVID-19 pandemic that has challenged and disrupted our country on so many levels and a social movement challenging inequality in our country that has been evident by the unfair treatment of individuals based on their race and ethnicity. It is clear to me that ASU, our alumni, our students and the board and council must continue to play a significant role locally, nationally and globally and provide both leadership and support to initiatives that address these most significant issues of our times.” Chris Hill ASU Alumni Association Chair Chris Hill, chair of the ASU Alumni Association board of directors and National Alumni Council. Download Full Image

Hill is a distinguished military graduate from ASU’s nationally ranked ROTC program and served in the Army as a Medical Service Corps officer for 20 years. The training Hill received at ASU prepared him to take on a leadership role immediately after graduation. He began his career as a second lieutenant medical platoon leader, where he was responsible for the 32 soldiers in his platoon and all of the health care needs for more than 800 soldiers.

“The critical thinking skills and the broad understanding of social issues that I was able to take away from my courses and professors were so important to help me be effective and grow as a leader in the Army,” Hill said. “ASU supported me in growing as a student and a person and helped create a greater understanding of the world I was about to enter, which created the base upon which I have built for my life.”

After retiring from the U.S. Army, Hill served as CEO for several large health care organizations and is currently the senior managing director of Treadstone Management. Hill became involved in ASU alumni, and he advocates for Sun Devil veterans through his membership in the ASU Veterans Alumni chapter and service experience.

As Hill began his term as board chair, he started by looking back at his time at ASU and why it’s important for alumni to engage with their alma mater.

“The Alumni Association has always been the way to maintain and grow my connection with ASU,” Hill said. “Whether it’s sports, career networking, social gatherings, community service or finding ways to continue to support the university and the students, the Alumni Association has always kept me connected and informed. ASU today is very different than the school I attended in the 1980s, and being a part of the Alumni Association keeps me engaged with the university that has been such a big part of my life.”

Since joining the ASU Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2015, Hill has participated in selecting scholarship award recipients and ASU Leadership Institute participants.

“Having personally reviewed applicants for the Legacy, Medallion and Chapter scholarships, I can attest that these amazing students come from all backgrounds and these scholarships are imperative to help them pursue their educational opportunities,” Hill said. “It’s so important to them, and any level of donation to these scholarship funds is meaningful. With our large database of alumni, if everyone contributes we can make a real difference for these students.”  

Hill is passionate about connecting Sun Devils far and wide. If you are not living in the Phoenix metro area, the ASU Alumni Association has more than 170 geographic, special interest, academic affiliates and international alumni chapters to keep you connected to ASU wherever you are.

“Staying connected takes so many forms, including Sun Devil Send-Offs, game watching, Tillman Honor Runs, community projects and building connections to help expand your professional network,” Hill said.

“My goal is to continue to expand our engagement with our network of 500,000 Sun Devil alumni in our community, across the nation and around the world,” Hill said. “I look forward to working with our dedicated group of Sun Devil professionals on the board and council, along with our Alumni Association staff, as we seek to advance the university through outreach, service and leadership.”

If you are interested in donating to an ASU Alumni Association scholarship fund, visit https://www.asufoundation.org/colleges-and-programs/asu-alumni-association/To learn more about alumni chapters, visit https://alumni.asu.edu/chapters#top.

Morgan Harrison

Director of strategic communications , ASU Alumni Association

480-727-7106

Fighting substance abuse by understanding the impact of childhood trauma

Psychology student wins graduate research fellowship from NSF


July 6, 2020

For a long time, Matthew Broussard has wanted to understand how childhood trauma can lead to substance abuse in adults. 

Reading a news article about research happening at Arizona State University on this topic is what led him to enroll as a transfer student. The topic also was the focus of his application to the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) last fall. Matthew Broussard was named a 2020 recipient of the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Photo courtesy of Matthew Broussard Download Full Image

Broussard, a first-generation college student who recently graduated from ASU with a double major in psychology and philosophy and a minor in religious studies, won a GRFP. The fellowship provides him with a stipend and covers his graduate school tuition, which means next semester he will be researching the impact of childhood trauma on substance use as a master’s degree student with Scott Leischow in ASU’s College of Health Solutions. Broussard plans to apply to doctoral programs in clinical psychology after completing ASU’s Master’s in the Science of Health Care Delivery program.

“Matt is really bright and enthusiastic and is addressing critically important topics that impact a lot of people in the U.S. and around the world,” Leischow said. “Matt’s research links psychology to the College of Health Solutions, and we are excited to have him as a student in our program. He is going to gain significant knowledge and expertise about the health care system that will round out his experience, given his background in psychology and desire to be clinician.” 

From the ASU Department of Psychology to the College of Health Solutions

As an undergraduate, Broussard worked in four addiction research labs, including as a lab manager for the Social Addictions Impulse Lab (SAIL), led by Julie A. Patock-Peckham in the Department of Psychology. With Patock-Peckham, Broussard studied how emotion regulation and mental health affected drinking behavior in college students. 

“Matt is a delight to work with and wants to learn everything about the research process. His passion for studying trauma and substance use combined with his love of statistics means he is already a talented addictions researcher, which is rare for someone at this stage in their career,” Patock-Peckam said.    

For his doctoral research, Broussard plans to study how emotion regulation can act as a bridge between childhood trauma and substance abuse in adults. He also wants to examine the role of health care providers and health care delivery in addressing the effects of childhood trauma on later substance abuse.

“My goal is to create a way to examine how childhood trauma might lead to a reduced ability to regulate emotions during stressful events and how that contributes to substance abuse,” Broussard said.

Broussard plans to combine biological measures like heart rate, respiratory rate, cortisol levels and microfacial expressions with subjective measures like answers to questionnaires that assess how people are dealing emotionally with current stressors and past trauma.

“The current treatments for trauma — childhood, war, sexual assault — are not as effective as we want them to be,” Broussard said. “I hope that understanding the relationship between biological markers and subjective experiences will lead to improved treatments in the future."

Science writer, Psychology Department

480-965-7598