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ASU Library opens new spaces, services for fall semester

August 22, 2019

There are many ways to reinvent a library. This academic year, the Arizona State University Library will introduce you to a few of them.   

Just in time for the start of the fall semester, and amidst a major renovation, Hayden Library has opened the Concourse level, the first newly designed space of the Hayden2020 reinvention project.

The Concourse connects the lower levels of ASU’s largest library to its four-story, above-ground tower, set to open its doors this January.

“The ASU community will be glad to know that the Hayden Library has grown bigger this semester, not smaller,” said Tomalee Doan, associate university librarian for Engagement and Learning Services. “With the opening of the Concourse level, and as we get closer to 2020, students can expect to see greater options for studying, learning and research support.”

Eight new classrooms have been added to Hayden Library's Concourse, along with a new library entrance on the north side of the library near the School of Life Sciences. 

In addition to the new classrooms, Hayden Library now features more meeting and study space with enhanced casual seating options to make students feel more comfortable and supported during their study sessions and group work. 

Students looking to take a break and relax now have the option to browse a variety of themed book collections scattered throughout the new space or get a bite to eat at the P.O.D market.

The Hayden Library Concourse also houses an interfaith reflection room, for prayer and meditation, a wellness room and gender-inclusive restrooms. 

“We are nearing the finish line of the transformation of Hayden Library, and the new spaces that have opened this semester are a reflection of that,” Doan said. “It’s just the beginning of what’s to come.”

No more paywall 

If you are a current student, faculty or staff member enjoying your free digital access to the New York Times, then you will be happy to know that you also have free digital access to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

All you need to do is activate the account

The WSJ service can be accessed via tablet, smartphone app or the web, and the service includes resources for faculty to seamlessly integrate content into course pages in facilitating classroom discussion of relevant and timely news stories. 

Student accounts will stay active until their graduation date, while faculty and staff will need to validate their memberships once a year.  

For ASU students, faculty and staff seeking thoughtful entertainment — everything from Chaplin to foreign and independent films — high quality video content is available to stream free of charge via the Kanopy platform.

An on-demand streaming service for public libraries and universities, Kanopy features a large, curated collection of diverse, unique and award-winning films and documentaries.

To start streaming, all you need to do is sign up.

Boost your research

Several new support offerings for researchers are available through the ASU Library this semester.

Among them is Researcher Support, offering ASU researchers guidance across the research lifecycle, from planning to data storage, in an effort to maximize the quality, productivity and accessibility of ASU research.

For ASU students looking to gain the research skills that will help them succeed in graduate school, the Graduate Scholars Toolkit is a series of one-hour workshops offered at various times throughout the semester on a variety of topics, including copyright, citation management, collaboration and data sharing tools, data visualization and text analysis.

The workshops are offered on all campuses with more online offerings to come.

For students, faculty and staff looking for research opportunities in data science, the Unit for Data Science and Analytics is launching its Open Lab for the 2019–20 academic year. 

A weekly event in Hayden Library, the Open Lab brings together researchers interested in collaborating and learning new skills with ongoing and available projects that engage machine learning, data visualization, text and data mining, network analysis and more.

In addition to Open Lab, the Unit for Data Science and Analytics is also open for collaborations with faculty and staff. 

“Our model is to do great work in interdisciplinary data science, and we want to make sure we include as many people as possible, whether faculty, student or staff,” said Michael Simeone, director of data science for the ASU Library.

The lab also directly mentors students and teams, meeting by appointment for developing their experiments and studies. All skill levels are welcome. 

Interested in data science and/or Open Lab? Reach out to the team for more information. 

Get your books delivered 

Need to pick up some books but can’t make it to the library?

Get them delivered!  

Secure, self-service book delivery lockers are now available in Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus to allow for the quick and convenient picking up and returning of library materials. 

All you need is your Sun Card. 

Top photo: Student worker Max Stokes, a junior in global studies, shelves book collections related to the content to be taught in nearby classrooms. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Record class hits the books as ASU bucks national trend of declining enrollment

August 21, 2019

First-year cohort is the largest, most diverse and most academically prepared to attend university to date

When Tucson native Sadie Azersky started exploring colleges, she set her sights on attending a school that would challenge her.

She found what she was looking for at Arizona State University: the opportunities of a large research university combined with the intimate setting of Barrett, The Honors College. She starts classes Thursday.  

"I'm able to have those big-school-type of experiences ... but also have a smaller-school environment at the same time, a community that's more accessible," said the music theory and composition major and President's Scholar, who said she is also drawn to the interdisciplinary opportunities offered by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Azersky is just one of nearly 14,000 first-year students stepping foot on an Arizona State University campus this fall, the largest, most diverse and most academically prepared class to attend the university to date.

That’s a 10% increase in the size of ASU’s first-year class compared with last year. And it comes at a time when enrollment in colleges and universities around the country is actually declining, distinguishing ASU as a success story amid an otherwise unfortunate national trend.

“We have put significant effort into improving the college attendance rate in the state of Arizona, and our 2019 enrollment growth is a reflection of that commitment and of our demonstrated high-quality of educational outcomes at an affordable cost,” said Mark Searle, ASU’s executive vice president and university provost.

Arizona residents constitute about 8,600 students in the first-year class, and California students make up an additional 1,400. Those are increases of 7% and 8%, respectively.

The demand for higher education in the state of Arizona and the desire by students from out of state to come to ASU to study has driven the total university enrollment up nearly 8% this fall. There are now nearly 119,000 undergraduate and graduate students attending the university this semester. ASU is serving more nontraditional students, many seeking out ASU Online degrees for the flexibility to meet life and work demands.

The incoming first-year class is the most academically talented to ever be admitted to ASU. The average SAT score for first-year students increased five points over last year, and about 55% of the class earned one of the university's top three academic scholarships, collectively called the New American University Scholarships. Of the Arizona resident first-year students, 58% received a New American University Scholarship, and the majority of students receiving a coveted Flinn Scholarship — a merit-based scholarship for Arizona students to attend an Arizona university — chose to come to ASU.

RELATED: ASU a top producer of students who win Fulbright awards

ASU has also seen an increase in first-year enrollment from families with lower to moderate income levels. A deep and sustained commitment to accessibility and affordability for Arizona resident students, demonstrated by family and student outreach programs and access to financial aid, has led to a 10% increase in enrollment of students from families earning below $40,000 per year.

Once they’re here, the university dedicates vast efforts and resources to ensure students are successful. And it’s having an effect. The number of students returning to ASU this fall for their second year is also higher than at any time in the past. That so-called “one-year retention rate,” which measures students who stay at the university after their first year, is an important predictor of eventually earning a degree. ASU’s retention rate is nearly 86% overall, and nearly 88% for Arizona resident students.

Those resources are what drew Catherine Nunez to ASU. The National Hispanic Scholar from La Grange Park, Illinois, wanted not just a stellar engineering program but a place she felt wanted.

"The school really had the support and attention that I needed," said Nunez, who had looked into a big-name program in a neighboring state but said she hadn't felt welcome there. "I feel like I was wanted (at ASU), like I would be cared for here and have access to the resources I need."

The Barrett honors student will study biomedical engineering with the goal of working in the neuroscience field. And it wasn't just the university's academic prowess that drew her, but its mission of inclusion.

"We are defined by who we include, not who we exclude," said Nunez, echoing the words of the ASU charter, "and given all these choices of elite schools that only accept X percentage of kids, I think it's really important to include everyone. ... Everyone really does offer their own special thing, and recognizing that is something ASU does well."

Video: Where do ASU students come from? Everywhere

By Linda Nguyen

More facts about ASU:

  • The university offers students more than 350 undergraduate majors and 450 graduate degree and certificate programs, including the newly launched disability studies bachelor's degree and the stackable online master's degree in supply chain management in collaboration with MIT.
  • Of full-time first-year students, 162 are veteran or active-duty military, a 14% increase over fall 2018. For all years, there are 9,063 military-affiliated students enrolled at ASU campuses and ASU Online, 9% more than last year.
  • The number of students transferring to the university is up 2.9%
  • Students who are in the first generation in their family to attend college make up 29% of the first-year class
  • Enrollment of international first-year and transfer students is up 19%.

During their first week on campus, Sun Devils are immersed in the philanthropic culture of the university and all the opportunities available to become involved. Passport to ASU, a Welcome Week event, featured more than 500 student clubs and organizations. Sun Devils can get involved with an existing organization or create one of their own. 

New this year is a redesigned Sun Devil Sync where students can find clubs, organizations and student events, and it allows students to track their involvement.

MORE: New students get schooled in spirit at Sun Devil Welcome

Top photo by Marcus Chormicle/ASU Now

Gain insights from top leaders into successful business strategies

The Economic Club of Phoenix, hosted by ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business, announces its 2019–20 speaker lineup

August 19, 2019

The Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series — hosted by Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business — is celebrating its 35th anniversary and has become the preeminent Arizona forum for the exchange of ideas about business and the economy. 

Every year, Phoenix-area audiences are invited to attend the club’s luncheons to hear from some major names in the business world and have a chance to network and engage.   Download Full Image

Senior executives of adidas, PetSmart and Cox are among those slated to speak during the new Economic Club of Phoenix season. 

“It’s an honor to host leaders from some of the most recognized, influential companies in the world,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “As a university, we are always excited to bring this event to the local community because it creates such a wonderful avenue for business professionals to connect and learn from one another.”

ECP 2019–20 speaker lineup

Friday, Sept. 27, 2019
First ECP luncheon of the season featuring adidas North America President Zion Armstrong
Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019
Spirit of Enterprise Award Luncheon honoring State Forty Eight
Camelback Golf Club

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019
Economic Forecast Luncheon featuring:

• Robert J. Barro, Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard University
• Bart Hobijn, applied macroeconomist, W. P. Carey School of Business
• Lee McPheters, research professor of economics, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center, W. P. Carey School of Business

Phoenix Convention Center, West Ballroom

Thursday, Jan.16, 2020
ECP luncheon featuring PetSmart CEO J.K. Symancyk 
Camelback Golf Club

Thursday, March 12, 2020
ECP luncheon featuring Cox President and CEO Alex Taylor
Camelback Golf Club

Thursday, April 9, 2020
Executive of the Year Award Luncheon honoring: 
The Carlisle Companies President and CEO Christian Koch
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon featuring W. P. Carey economists:

• Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute
• Lee McPheters, research professor of economics, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center
• Mark Stapp, executive director, Master of Real Estate Development program

Camelback Golf Club

Each luncheon runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with the exception of December's economic forecast, which is scheduled from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Tickets for nonmembers are available for $85. Funds in excess of the cost of lunch are used to support scholarships and faculty research at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Guests are subject to change.

For more information about the club or to reserve seats, visit or call 480-727-0596. Journalists interested in covering an event are asked to RSVP in advance.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


Sun Devil achievers sought for 3 Alumni Association awards

August 13, 2019

Arizona State University’s alumni network, now nearly 500,000 strong, is filled with Sun Devils who have used their ASU education to help others, enrich the community and make the world a better place. The ASU Alumni Association invites the community to nominate candidates for three upcoming award programs, which honor Sun Devils who have made significant contributions in a variety of areas of achievement.

Nominees currently are being sought for the following awards: George Dean, ’70 BS, president and CEO of Greater Phoenix Urban League, received the Alumni Service Award at ASU’s Homecoming last year from ASU Alumni Association President and CEO Christine K. Wilkinson and ASU President Michael M. Crow. Download Full Image

Homecoming Awards: The association presents two awards at Homecoming – the Alumni Service Award, which recognizes distinguished, exemplary and extraordinary service to ASU and the Alumni Association by an alumnus/alumna; and the Alumni Appreciation Award, which is presented to a community member for contributions that have enhanced the success of ASU and the Alumni Association. This year, the awards will be presented at halftime during the ASU-Oregon Homecoming game on Nov. 23. Nominations for these two awards are due by Friday, Oct. 18.

Founders’ Day Awards: The Alumni Association's Founders' Day Awards Dinner is the university’s signature event. Honorees at this event include faculty members, alumni and philanthropists whose contributions to the university and the community at large exemplify the pioneering spirit of the founders of the institution. Founders’ Day will be celebrated Feb. 25, 2020. Nominate an ASU alum for the Founders’ Day Young Alumni Achievement Award or Alumni Achievement Award by Thursday, Oct. 31.  Nominate an ASU faculty member for a Founders’ Day award by Thursday, Oct. 31.

Sun Devil 100: The Alumni Association honors the fastest growing Sun Devil-owned and -led businesses ranging from advertising agencies to wineries. Sun Devil 100 celebrates ASU’s incredible history of entrepreneurial leadership and innovation. The Class of 2020 will be announced at the next Sun Devil 100 awards ceremony, set for April 29, 2020. Nominations for Class 2020 of Sun Devil 100 are open now with full applications due Nov. 15.   

The ASU Alumni Association dedicated to serving and uniting all graduates of ASU, offers programs, hosts signature events and oversees numerous groups that enhance the alumni experience and help alumni engage with their alma mater. 

ASU Barrett Downtown under new leadership

Olga Davis has been appointed associate dean of Barrett, The Honors College at the Downtown Phoenix campus

August 12, 2019

Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus has a new leader and will move into a more spacious home in the coming weeks.

Olga Davis, a professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and a research affiliate of Mayo Clinic, has been appointed the new associate dean of Barrett Downtown.  Olga Davis Olga Davis, associate dean of Barrett, The Honors College at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. Download Full Image

Davis holds a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude from the University of Redlands, and master's and doctoral degrees in communication studies from the University of Nebraska. She came to ASU in 1998 as an associate professor in the Hugh Downs School. 

At the Hugh Downs School, Davis has served as the leader of the Health Communication Initiative (HCI), a research collaborative that brings faculty and graduate students together in an inclusive and collaborative environment.  HCI is one of six research collaboratives at the Hugh Downs School that allows scholars with expert knowledge in different areas to collaborate on projects of overlapping interest.

Her research examines the performative nature of communication, with a focus on the social determinants of health and health equity among underrepresented communities. Davis has been an affiliate faculty member in the Science of Health Care Delivery program at the College of Health Solutions on the Downtown Phoenix campus and has worked as a faculty research affiliate with the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center in the School of Social Work in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

"Dr. Davis brings a rich experience with the ASU downtown community," said Mark Jacobs, dean of Barrett, The Honors College and ASU vice provost. "Her teaching and mentoring has included many honors courses and honors theses, as well as courses on the subjects of gender and communication, health narratives, identity performance and human communication, and public speaking. She is a great fit for associate dean of Barrett at ASU downtown." 

Davis takes the helm of Barrett Downtown just in time for the move of operations from the University Center (UCENT) on Central Avenue to Suite B in the Mercado complex at 502 E. Monroe St.

“Olga Davis will bring her leadership skills to the Barrett team,” said Linda C. Lederman, professor and director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.  “Her interdisciplinary research, as well as her compassion, thoughtfulness and organizational skills, will be a true asset for the Honors College as they are for the Hugh Downs School.” 

Barrett Mercado building

Barrett, The Honors College at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus will be housed in this building at the Mercado complex. Photo courtesy Barrett, The Honors College  

For several years, Barrett Downtown has been housed in approximately 4,000 square feet on the first floor of the UCENT, with several staff offices on another floor of the building. Now, Barrett will be in an approximately 12,000-square-foot contiguous space in the Mercado with offices for faculty and staff, classrooms, meeting space and other amenities.

“Barrett at the Downtown Phoenix campus of ASU is the second largest group of honors students at the university. Although their current space is centrally located in many ways, they are bursting at the seams for study space, for lounge space, for meeting and workshop spaces and for classrooms. The latter has been a particular problem, with tensions every day trying to find classrooms set up in a seminar format and available at the right times,” Jacobs said.

"The new Mercado space is at least three times larger. It is a vast improvement for the students, faculty and staff of Barrett Downtown and a very large investment of Barrett funds to make it happen,” he added.

In addition to faculty and staff offices, classrooms and meeting and study areas, Barrett Downtown’s new suite will have space for the Barrett Writing Center, a computer lab with printers, a conference room for thesis defense sessions, and multipurpose event space. There also will be areas to display artwork made by Barrett students, a place for commuter students and others to store and heat up meals, a Nintendo Switch operable gaming space and a room with video equipment students can use to record presentations and practice interviews.

One classroom will have the equipment needed for the Barrett Global Classroom, which allows Barrett students to connect online with students from universities in other countries for interactive classes.

There also will be a “thesis gong” that students can ring when they submit their completed theses, and a 5-foot punching bag that can be used for stress-reducing workouts.

The new Barrett Downtown suite will be open and fully staffed during regular, weekday business hours and will be accessible to students on evenings and weekends.

The new space will open in several phases. In phase one, faculty and staff offices will open on Aug. 20. Meeting rooms, collaborative spaces, a student lounge, computer lab and writing center will open as the spaces are built out and furnished this fall. In phase two, four classrooms will open in mid-October. Due to scheduling constraints, in the fall 2019 semester Barrett classes will be held in the UCENT and other ASU downtown buildings. Honors classes will be scheduled into the new classrooms for the spring 2020 semester.

“The move provides an answer to the student call for more space downtown," said Kira Gatewood, Barrett Downtown project manager. "Students indicated that the current suite did not project the magnitude and vigor of the Barrett Downtown community. Now that the footprint will quadruple in size, we can have more and better programs for students and dedicated classrooms for our signature courses, The Human Event and The History of Ideas.” 

Barrett Honors Faculty Fellow Alex Young said he is looking forward to having offices, meeting and event spaces and classrooms all in the same place.

“We are happy to move into a place that will not only have more room, but better integrate our academic spaces with spaces for student programming, bringing staff, faculty and students together in a way that we hope creates a true home for Barrett Downtown. I'm quite excited about having classrooms tailored specifically to Barrett's student-centric model of seminar-style learning,” Young said.

Kacey Lorraine Cavanaugh, a senior Barrett student majoring in nursing said she welcomes the move.

“As a nursing student I am very excited that Barrett is moving to Mercado. I know a lot of nursing students aren't as involved in Barrett as other majors so this will be such a great opportunity for us to more easily take advantage of the resources that the office offers. I know a lot of people don't like walking to Mercado but it’s truly a beautiful building and Arizona Center, which is on the way to Mercado, is such a fun spot to sit down or grab some food,” she said.

Ranjani Venkatakrishnan, a Barrett student majoring in journalism, contributed to this article.

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College


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Uber and ASU education partnership expands to drivers nationwide

August 7, 2019

All eligible drivers and their families now have access to tuition coverage for 80+ online degrees, plus certificates in entrepreneurship and English language learning

The partnership between Uber and Arizona State University to provide a pathway to a fully funded college degree is now available to eligible drivers and their families nationwide.

The ASU and Uber Education Partnership, which launched in eight cities, including Phoenix, in November 2018, offers the opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree through ASU Online or nondegree courses through ASU’s Continuing and Professional Education program. 

Under the pilot, Uber estimated that 10,000 drivers would be eligible for the tuition-coverage program. Now, it’s available to 100% of the company’s qualified drivers in the United States, and, although similar to ASU’s tuition-reimbursement program with Starbucks, the Uber partnership is broader, allowing drivers to pass tuition coverage to spouses, domestic partners, children, siblings, parents, legal guardians and dependents.

The education program is open to drivers who have completed at least 3,000 rides and achieved platinum or diamond status on Uber Pro, the rewards system that was unveiled at the same time as the tuition program.

Video by Uber

When the program debuted, Emily Kuckelman of Denver was working two jobs.

“Driving was my second job when I was a second-grade teacher,” said Kuckelman, who has been with Uber for almost three years.

“I was in this place where I had decided to stop teaching and I was looking for my next career, but I didn’t want to go into terrible student debt to go back to school,” she said.

“It was perfect timing.”

Kuckelman had 2,000 rides to her credit and needed to get to 3,000 to register for her first courses in the spring.

“It was a mad dash because I was working full time,” she said.

She’s pursuing a Bachelor of Science in graphic information technology and hopes to have a career in user-experience design. Now, she’s balancing driving with studying.

“I set a strict schedule for myself,” she said. “I figure out when driving is the most profitable in Denver so I have those hours pretty set. When I’m not driving, I’m working on school. It’s all about time management.

“When I was teaching, I had to have a second job anyway so I’m used to having a packed schedule.”

Uber driver Darryn Rozas kisses his wife, an ASU Online student, on the forehead

Uber driver Darryn Rozas kisses his wife, Shannon, on the forehead. Shannon Rozas is an ASU Online student. The Uber partnership allows drivers to pass tuition coverage to spouses, domestic partners, children, siblings, parents, legal guardians and dependents. Photo by Uber

For Shannon Rozas of Mesa, Arizona, the tuition coverage meant she could pursue a dream that was long deferred. She has been married to her husband, Darryn Rozas — who drives for Uber — for 26 years. She was in college when they met.

“We got married and had kids and my schooling went on the back burner all these years,” said Shannon Rozas, who is majoring in liberal studies with a hope to work in communications.

“I have always wanted to finish my degree, and this is a wonderful opportunity to do so.”

Rozas works full time as an executive assistant and has a 13-year-old son at home, so there’s a lot of juggling.

“I have to stay on top of my scholastic calendar and fit in reading, studying, completing assignments and tests in between my personal obligations,” she said.

“Staying organized and keeping a calendar is imperative.”

The partnership offers more than 80 ASU Online undergraduate degree programs and Continuing & Professional Education certificates in entrepreneurship and English language learning.

Uber has stressed the flexibility in both its work model and the degree program. And it has worked for Kuckelman, who enjoys her job driving.

“School days might be overwhelming if I have a big project, and it’s nice to say, ‘I’ll drive tomorrow’ and I can take a day off,” she said.

“There’s a mobile app so you can have your school stuff on your phone, which is very friendly for people on the move.

“I’ll be waiting at the airport for someone and I can check something for school.”

Learn more at

Top photo:  Emily Kuckelman of Denver is pursuing a bachelor's degree in graphic information technology and hopes to have a career in user-experience design. Photo by Uber

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


Faculty gift supports creation of program that will teach how to connect classroom lessons and real-life issues

July 25, 2019

Cordelia Candelaria, Regents Professor Emeritus in the School of Transborder Studies, wants to bridge the past with the present by making Arizona State University classroom concepts and theories applicable to real-life situations. She may not teach in a classroom regularly, but she still educates everyone she meets who will listen.

Recently, the former literature and Latino studies professor developed a program called People-Power Undergoing Life Sustaining Education — PULSE — that provides workshops for ASU faculty and students to integrate fact-based reasoning into their analysis and decision-making in areas such as diversity, law and civics.   Regents Professor Emeritus Cordelia Candelaria speaks to a group of international students studying at ASU in 2017. Photo provided by Cordelia Candelaria Download Full Image

“Years ago when I taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder, our students were complaining about tenured professors who were in the dark ages when it came to gender and social equality,” Candelaria said. “This has happened here at ASU, too. We want to show how things are related, make the connection between what they’re learning and real life.”

The PULSE program is funded by a $40,000 gift by Candelaria to the School of Transborder Studies to provide an overview presentation and three PULSE workshops for part-time and full-time faculty and students. The donation will be used to provide 25 grant-in-aids in the amount of $500 for faculty and five $800 scholarships for students.

“Faculty giving is an important component to Campaign ASU 2020 and we are grateful for their generosity and support,” said Gretchen Buhlig, chief executive officer of the ASU Foundation. “The faculty are core to this institution. They engage with our students on a daily basis.”

Candelaria served as an ASU professor from 1992–2008 for the Department of English and what is now the School of Transborder Studies. In 2007, she became the founding associate dean for strategic initiatives in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to advance transdisciplinary diversity programs. Embracing diversity and helping others understand differences is part of Candelaria’s life work. The PULSE program is just the next step in her journey to help faculty and students understand how the past affects current life.

“I can envision PULSE getting faculty and students motivated to consider issues that they have not in the past,” said Lisa Magaña, associate director and professor in the School of Transborder Studies. “Cordelia wants scholars and students to think outside of their traditional frameworks and consider broader impacts of their research on others and the community. The School of Transborder Studies has always been community-focused so a proposal that encourages research in these areas fits nicely with our mission.”

PULSE workshops will be held after the school years starts and there will be optional seminars available with various community groups.

Applicants to the program must complete a two-page application that highlights their interests and goals. The form is available at the School of Transborder Studies. Faculty will need to modify their syllabus and show how they plan to incorporate what they learned from the workshops into their teaching using real-life examples.

Michelle Stermole

Director of communications, Enterprise Partners


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Three ASU researchers win PECASE awards

July 25, 2019

Three Arizona State University faculty — microbiologist Jennifer Barrila (pictured above), optical electronics researcher Yuji Zhao and materials scientist Sefaattin Tongay — have been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The awards were announced by President Donald Trump, and the more than 300 awardees where honored during a July 25 ceremony in Washington, D.C.

man's portrait

Yuji Zhao

PECASE awards are the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to outstanding young scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.

The three 2019 ASU PECASE winners are: 

Jennifer Barrila, an assistant research professor in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, was cited for her work in advancing the understanding of infectious disease with innovative space-based investigations. Her award is through NASA. Barrila’s work focuses on how changes in physical forces associated with microgravity, such as exposure to low fluid shearFluid shear in this context refers to the force of fluid that flows across cells. conditions, can alter the responses of both human and microbial cells to influence infection.

man's portrait

Sefaattin Tongay

Sefaattin Tongay, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the Fulton Schools of Engineering, was cited for his work on two-dimensional electronics materials systems. The Tongay research group plans to use the PECASE funding to expand their understanding of the optical, electrical, mechanical and magnetic properties of 2D materials with the goal of opening up new uses of the materials in a wide range of technologies. 

Yuji Zhao, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Fulton Schools of Engineering, was honored for his work in advancing the fundamental science of quantum photonics. Zhao plans to use his PECASE funding to advance a special computing chip called a photonic integrated circuit. These chips use photons of light to perform complicated tasks rather than electrons, which are used in conventional integrated circuits.

Established in 1996, the PECASE acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science, technology, education and mathematics education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education and community outreach. 

Top photo: Jennifer Barrila, assistant research professor.

Director , Media Relations and Strategic Communications


Sun Devils honor professors who go the extra mile for students

July 22, 2019

ASU prides itself on having faculty who care about their students and wish to help them succeed inside and outside of the classroom. These exceptional professors warrant recognition from the ASU community for their outstanding leadership, instruction and mentorship. The Centennial Professorship Award is an award designed to do just that.

The Associated Students of Arizona State University, made up of both Graduate and Undergraduate Student Government, established the award in 1984 and has presented it each academic year since as a means to attract and retain the highest quality leaders and teachers at ASU. Centennial Professorship Awards ceremony Vice President of Professional Development for GPSA Amelia Miholca speaks at at the Centennial Professorship Awards. Photo courtesy of Amelia Miholca Download Full Image

Amelia Miholca is vice president of professional development for GPSA and a graduate student pursuing a PhD in art history from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. As the head of the Centennial Awards Committee and one of the judges of the 37 submissions, she told ASU Now why the Centennial Professorship Award is important. 

“The award demonstrates ASU’s appreciation and recognition of high-achieving faculty members who are leaders in their respective fields and in classroom learning and innovation,” Miholca said.

Each award recipient receives a cash prize of $5,000 and an additional $5,000 to be used for the benefit of the students in classroom instruction and teaching innovation.

This year, three different professors and lecturers were chosen as recipients: Matthew Buman, Marianne Moore and Javier Gonzalez-Sanchez.

Buman, an associate professor in the College of Health Solutions at the Downtown Phoenix campus, cites his passion and his ability to make an impact on his students as a reason he was set apart from other candidates. 

He learned the importance of professor-student relationships firsthand by staying after class to ask one of his undergraduate professors a question, which eventually led him to performing a research project with her. 

“It was this experience, which simply started with a question, that inspired me to pursue a career in academia,” Buman said. “I learned that the best professors strive to inspire their students.”

Buman plans on using the money to fund a “citizen science” project, where the students will work in collaboration with the general public to gather data on the neighborhood environments of downtown Phoenix to see what supports or detracts from healthy living habits for those who live there. The data will then be released to local stakeholders and policymakers to help create a healthier living space for the neighborhoods downtown. 

Moore is an assistant professor on the Polytechnic campus in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts who teaches for the applied biological science degree. As a professor, Moore understands how showing enthusiasm for the subject and care for the students is important to students’ success and has demonstrated this by being a mentor for 22 undergraduate and four graduate students. She has developed an ecology, physiology and immunology research program centered on student involvement in the program, which her grant money will support. 

Gonzalez-Sanchez, a lecturer from the School of Computing Informatics and Decisions Systems Engineering, is another recipient of the Centennial Professorship Award. He comes from an interdisciplinary science background of software engineering and human-computer interaction, which plays into his diverse teaching practices and application-learning for his students. 

One of Gonzalez-Sanchez’s key teaching practices is the use of new technology in the classroom. He exposes his students to emerging technologies through applied learning, so they can be comfortable and confident with the technologies that are vital in their field and the future of the science. 

“Today, it is not enough for our students to learn programming or software engineering methodologies just by achieving the implementation of computer applications or mobile applications alone,” Gonzalez-Sanchez said.

Gonzalez-Sanchez plans on using the award money to further this endeavor and bring more smart objects, such as sensors and embedded and autonomous devices to classroom projects. The incorporation of the new technologies will help his classroom stay cutting-edge in the field and open up new industry opportunities to the students.

“It isn’t just this new piece of technology and hardware that is bringing new opportunities to these industries — it’s software,” Gonzalez-Sanchez said. “And I plan to have students solving problems and doing projects using these emerging technologies.”

Ultimately, the Centennial Professorship Award is a thank you from ASASU to all of ASU’s outstanding faculty for enriching students’ academic experiences and setting them up for success in the future.

Story by Lindsay Lohr

ASU School of Life Sciences selects new director

July 19, 2019

Professor Kenro Kusumi, a genome biologist, has been selected as the new director for Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences, effective immediately. Kusumi served as interim director for the school for the past six months.

He joined ASU in 2006 as an associate professor and has held additional leadership positions, including associate dean of research and digital initiatives and associate dean of graduate programs. His lab uses genomic approaches to address questions about animal evolution, with direct impact on biomedical and environmental challenges. Along with ASU colleagues, Kusumi is uncovering the molecular instructions required for regeneration in the lizard. By deciphering the genome of the desert tortoise, a hallmark animal of the American Southwest, his group is working with state and federal agencies to help conserve this threatened species. Professor Kenro Kusumi Professor Kenro Kusumi, a genome biologist, has been selected as the new director for Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now Download Full Image

“Professor Kusumi brings an outstanding record of scientific research, teaching and strong leadership to his new role as director of the School of Life Sciences,” said Nancy Gonzales, dean of natural sciences with The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We are confident in his ability to help build even stronger collaborations of interdisciplinary research, as well as support top-notch degree programs in the life sciences. Also, we are grateful to Professor Bert Jacobs for his years of service and dedication to the success of the School of Life Sciences.” 

The school is the largest academic unit within The College, housing dozens of graduate and undergraduate degree programs, as well as thousands of students, both on campus and online. The school is known for innovation in education. It recently launched the country’s first completely online Bachelor of Science biological sciences degree program.

“The School of Life Sciences is an educational innovator, creating entirely new approaches for learning in the 21st century,” Kusumi said. “By breaking down barriers, we have been able to foster transformative and interdisciplinary research in the life sciences. This is an exciting and pivotal time for our school, and I am truly honored to have the opportunity to serve as director.”

He received his doctorate from MIT and completed his postdoctoral training at the National Institute for Medical Research in London. Before coming to ASU, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he served as director of pediatric orthopedic basic research. 

“In his leadership roles at The College, we’ve come to know Professor Kusumi’s complete dedication not only to the job at hand, but also to ASU’s charter for inclusion, advancing research and discovery, and assuming the fundamental responsibility for the communities we serve,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of The College. “With his leadership experience, as well as scientific and teaching expertise, we are confident he will lead the school to even greater success.” 

Along with his directorship, Kusumi will also assume a new role in The College as associate dean of strategic partnerships.

kenro kusumi

Professor Kenro Kusumi, the new director of the ASU School of Life Sciences, talks with Jennifer Cox, a senior business operations manager at the school. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

About the school

Established in 2003 as the first interdisciplinary school in President Michael Crow’s vision for a New American University, the School of Life Sciences serves as a hub for interdisciplinary centers, institutes and attracting research talent. Dynamic laboratories, state-of-the-art technologies and a vast expansion of research infrastructure now support more than 4,000 students and 100 faculty members. From Pulitzer Prize winners to young entrepreneurial thought leaders, life sciences faculty pursue discovery and translational research, providing an entrepreneurial climate to bring the best research ideas to fruition.

Sandra Leander

Manager, Media Relations and Marketing, School of Life Sciences