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ASU experts share tips for a healthy holiday season

Staying hydrated is key when traveling by plane for the holidays.
Just say no to holiday-meal leftovers. Donate them or bring them to work.
Taking time for yourself is essential amid holiday stress.
Watch ASU video of yoga poses that can help you make it through holiday season.
November 18, 2016

School of Nutrition and Health Promotion professors Huberty and Berger suggest ways to eat well, stay active and de-stress

Even health nuts overdo it on pumpkin pie, after-dinner couch naps and “It’s a Wonderful Life” marathons this time of year, but a pair of ASU professors say a bit of planning and opportunism can help anyone have a healthier holiday season.

School of Nutrition and Health Promotion professors Jennifer Huberty and Christopher Berger share some tips with ASU Now from their areas of expertise to help you eat well, stay active and de-stress. Huberty specializes in yoga and mindfulness, and Berger’s focus is healthy air travel.

Here are their suggestions: 

Eating healthy

At the airport:

“Always bring food,” Berger said, noting that although airports have healthy options, it’s often easier for travelers who are in a rush and looking for something cheap to grab a snack that’s high in saturated fat and sugar.

He suggests durable foods, like citrus fruits and granola bars, and items that won’t get smashed in your suitcase or create a lot of weight.

Also, a little water goes a long way.

“It goes without saying, but stay hydrated,” Berger said. “When you get up to the altitude modern airliners fly at, the air is really dry. And there’s clearly a connection between perceptions of fatigue and being hydrated. You’re not just jet-lagged, you’re probably dehydrated.”

At home:

An easy way to feel like you’re still indulging without paying for it later?

“Make an effort to think about healthier alternatives to traditional recipes,” said Huberty, “especially in terms of fillings. There are lots of options for substitutions, and a good resource for that is Pinterest.”

And when it comes to leftovers, just say no.

“If you want to splurge on a traditional meal, don’t eat the leftovers. Eating that way for one day is not a big deal,” she said. “It’s the leftovers where the weight gain comes in.”

Huberty suggests cooking smaller quantities or donating leftovers.

Staying active

At the airport:

In terms of a climate-controlled environment for moderate exercise, an airport is great, Berger said. Pack a pair of walking shoes and spend that layover burning calories. Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, and many like it, even have designated walking trails.

“And you can always find room to stretch,” he added. 

At home: 

“When you have family at your house, or even if you don’t, stress can throw off your routine,” Huberty said.

But maintaining a healthy level of physical activity is key. She suggests making it a habit to take three, 10-minute walks every day when you have spare time. If you can’t seem to find any, encourage group walks after meals, or just get up a little bit earlier in the morning for a solo stroll. 

Huberty is also a big proponent of yoga, which requires only enough space to move comfortably. (See the video below, in which she demonstrates some basic yoga poses that can be done anywhere, even by beginners.) 

Being mindful

At the airport:

One thing there’s a lot of at airports: space. So if what you need is a couple minutes to yourself to maintain your sanity, Berger says to just “go find a gate that’s not being used.” 

“It’s a great place to do yoga or meditate so you can be more relaxed for your flight,” he said. 

At home:

Back at the ranch, Huberty says it’s important to take time out for yourself.

“Find a quiet room, spend some time alone and decompress,” she said.

Also, breathing exercises can help with relaxation and calming anxiety, and they can be done anywhere. There’s even a handful of apps for that.

Huberty also says yoga is as good for the mind as it is the body. 

For those interested in accessing more yoga instructional videos, Huberty is a research partner with, which offers a library of more than 400 classes, fitness programs and health and wellness challenges. Use the coupon code ASUxUDAYA for a discount.

Faculty and staff one-day-only technology sale

November 16, 2016

Sun Devil Marketplace is offering a technology one-day sale for ASU faculty and staff on Friday, Dec. 2.

The event offers special pricing on all Dell computers, Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Books, as well as all Apple computers including the all new MacBook Pro models. This pricing is on top of the already discounted pricing regularly offered. Black Friday Tech Sale Download Full Image

It is highly recommended that customers place a no-obligation reservation to ensure their machine will be waiting for them on event day. Reserve today for in-store pick-up, and free delivery is available to all ASU campuses.

All of the details including model information and the exact prices are available on or e-mail

Renew books, check ASU Libraries due dates from anywhere as break approaches

November 16, 2016

As the semester comes to a close, the ASU Libraries offer tools for faculty and students to manage their library accounts from anywhere in the world. 

All users can log into their library account online at to check due dates, renew items and verify that the correct email address is associated with their account. In addition, users can renew their items by phone at any time at 480-965-2595. As material due dates may change due to recalls by other users, it is important to monitor both your online account and email notifications to be alerted to those changes as soon as possible.  Library Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now Download Full Image

For our users’ convenience, the ASU Libraries offer several exterior book returns to return materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Materials may be returned to any library book return, regardless of which library they were checked out from. Please note that library staff may process returned materials daily even if the library isn’t open, so due dates will be enforced accordingly.

For more information about library services during the intersession, please contact your specific library location. Contact information and hours for each location can be found on the ASU Libraries web site at

ASU named a top 20 United Way partner

November 10, 2016

Many children in the Valley who depend on school breakfasts and lunches throughout the week may go hungry on the weekends. This fall, as part of the annual Sparky’s Day of Service at Arizona State University, thousands of students lined up to make “WeekEnd Hunger Backpacks” that contained non-perishable food that children in need could take with them on Friday, supplementing their meals at home.

It’s just one of the many partnerships between ASU and United Way that helped the university be named one of the Valley of Sun United Way’s top 20 community partners.

United Way’s dedication to the Valley, and its mission as a whole, struck a chord with senior Nathan Baker, president of ASU Student United Way. Sparky Sparky gets ready for the fall 2016 Sparky’s Day of Service, where thousands of students filled "WeekEnd Hunger Backpacks" in partnership with the United Way for children in need. Download Full Image

“I chose United Way to end hunger, homelessness, and increase financial stability for families located within the Valley,” Baker said. “One in three kids do not know where their next meal is coming from, which is why we need to make the largest impact we possibly can.” 

The 20 organizations on the list play critical roles in helping communities around the metro Phoenix area. Other companies on the inaugural list include Target, Macy’s, American Airlines and Bank of America.  

“By working together, the top 20 help ensure kids have access to a good education, families have a roof over their heads, and a safe place to call home,” said Nancy Dean, chief development officer of Valley of the Sun United Way.

Since 1925, Valley of the Sun United Way has been bringing together donors, business supporters, nonprofits, government and faith-based communities and is the largest nonprofit investor in health and human-service programs in the Valley.

Currently, ASU is more than 80 percent to making its goal during its 2016 United Way campaign. To learn more or donate, visit

Reporter, ASU Now

ASU Pat Tillman Veterans Center again recognized as 'Military Friendly'

November 10, 2016

For the eighth consecutive year the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and Arizona State University earned the designation of Military Friendly School from Victory Media —publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM Jobs SM, and Military Spouse.

The 2017 award announced Thursday recognizes ASU as one of the top institutions in the nation for service members and their families to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career. Pat Tillman Veterans Center New students attending the Veterans Welcome Orientation in the Memorial Union received a T-shirt from the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. Military veterans are introduced to the support resources available on each of the four campuses, including part-time employment, veterans’ benefits and study practices. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News Download Full Image

“ASU is going to continue to be a strong choice for veterans and their families,” said Steve Borden, Pat Tillman Veterans Center director and former Navy captain. “Particularly because of the number of programs that we have available, the quality of our education and our focus on student success.”

Some of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center student success initiatives include the use of outreach teams to engage veterans and facilitate their college transition and strong advocacy among key university units and with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from Victory Media’s proprietary survey. Ratings methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Victory Media with input from the Military Friendly Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher-education and military-recruitment community.

Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

“Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to the majority of colleges gives veterans a comprehensive view of which schools are striving to provide the best opportunities and conditions for our nation’s student veterans,” said Daniel Nichols, a Navy Reserve veteran and chief product officer at Victory Media, “Military Friendly helps military families make the best use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other federal benefits while allowing us to further our goal of assisting them in finding success in their chosen career fields.”

More than 5,200 military-affiliated graduate and undergraduate students pursue their education at ASU. The university also conducts extensive research for the Department of Defense and has established multiple defense-related centers that explore global security challenges and potential solutions.

To learn more about the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, visit For more information about ASU’s military and veteran initiatives, go to

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The importance of bike safety

ASU bicyclists can get free water, take part in Bike Blitz week of Oct. 24.
Cyclists can use BikeMaps to report hazards, collisions, thefts to community.
October 21, 2016

ASU director getting the word out on bike benefits, safety information in conjunction with Bike Month

For Trisalyn Nelson, inspiration hit when the oncoming car almost did.

One day in 2014, Nelson was cycling on her way back from work at the Spatial Pattern Analysis and Research Lab she founded at Canada’s University of Victoria. As she was coming around a blind corner, a car passed by too close for comfort. By the time she arrived back at the lab the next day, an innovative new idea was in the making.

“I was mad … I said, ‘That’s it … our lab is going to work on a project, and we’re going to call it Flip the Bird and it’s going to be a place where people can rant about things that happen to them on their bike,’” said Nelson, now the director of Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.

“But then I started looking around and I realized, ‘Wait, this isn’t just a place for ranting, because nobody has good data on this. So why don’t we do it properly and we will help be part of the solution.’”

That’s how was born.

Aside from being a case study on how to effectively channel frustration, the website and app aim to make cycling safer for bike enthusiasts worldwide. Cyclists can use BikeMaps to report hazards, collisions, near misses and thefts to the rest of the cycling community.

homepage of

Cyclists can use BikeMaps to report hazards, collisions, near misses and thefts to the rest of the cycling community.

During the week of Oct. 24, the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, ASU Fitness and Wellness, University Sustainability Practices and the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists will collaborate to help distribute 1,000 water bottles imprinted with the BikeMaps logo to ASU and Tempe cyclists. The bottles will be delivered to bike racks and bike cages in the area.

Called “Bike Blitz,” the distribution occurs in conjunction with ASU’s Bike Month this October, and the bottles will contain a message encouraging recipients to take part in the BikeMaps citizen science effort.

Nelson hopes to use the data gathered from the “Bike Blitz” to help cyclists and the city of Tempe make better-informed decisions about bicycle safety practices.

“A lot of cities are focused right now on getting more people on bikes because [of] its good public health benefits, good environmental benefits, [and] you can save a lot of money if you ride your bike,” Nelson said. “But the number one barrier for more people riding is that people don’t feel safe. So the more we can make it a safe activity, the more we will make it an accessible activity.”

In addition to the Bike Blitz, the BikeMaps team will be handing out bottles at the Food Truck Thursday event Oct. 27 at the College Avenue Commons in Tempe.

Reporter , ASU Now

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Homecoming Block Party brings fun, learning to the public

ASU's Homecoming Block Party is a festival of learning.
October 20, 2016

ASU biologist Melissa Wilson Sayres — whose banana-DNA demo will be one of scores of interactive booths — says it's key for people to meet scientists face to face

Melissa Wilson Sayres thinks that people need to interact with scientists more often in their daily lives.

“We’re exposed to teachers and we’re exposed to doctors and nurses, but there’s not a routine place where you get to go and just talk to a scientist,” said Wilson Sayres, a computational biologist and assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.

“Because we have this ‘white lab coat’ view of a scientist, it can seem unattainable when you never have the chance to meet scientists.”

Visitors to ASU’s Homecoming Block Party this Saturday on the Tempe campus will have plenty of chances to interact with scientists — as well as artists, writers, mathematicians, historians and more.

The annual family-friendly event, which is free and open to the public, features more than 100 tents and displays that put the spotlight on fun, interactive learning and introduce students and the public alike to all that ASU has to offer. Among the many offerings, visitors can explore a student-built race car, learn how to build a catapult, try on medieval chain mail and watch swordplay demonstrations, have their fortune told by the Math Swami, play games, win prizes and — in Wilson Sayres’ case, learn how to extract DNA from a banana at the School of Life Sciences booth. (Find more details at the end of this story.)

Wilson SayresWilson Sayres also is a faculty member in ASU’s Center for Evolution and Medicine. has been doing outreach for years, and earlier this year she won “I’m a Scientist USA”, an “American Idol”-style contest in which she and other scientists interacted online with young people, who then “voted off” participants. Last spring, she launched a crowd-sourcing campaign that raised $10,000 to help fund her Gila monster genome-sequencing project.

She spoke with ASU Now about how she promotes her career in science and what’s next for her lab.

Question: How have you promoted science as a career?

Answer: I’ve been doing science outreach for 12 years or more in a variety of different ways. As a grad student, I organized workshops for Girl Scouts so they could earn their science badges.

We did an event reaching 10,000 at the U.S.A. Science and Engineering Fest where we were teaching them about polymer chemistry. So sometimes things that weren’t really specific in my area of genetics and genomics.

We did an event for first graders where we did “dragon genetics” — they figured out if their dragon would have wings or could breathe fire.

We want to go to retirement communities because that’s an area of outreach that’s been overlooked. Most outreach is K-12 education, and in Arizona, we have a wealth of people who have these life experiences but were not commonly taught about genetics.

I also respond to questions on Ask a Biologist.

2015 Homecoming Block Party

ASU computational biologist Melissa Wilson Sayres (at the 2015 Homecoming Block Party) will be showing how to extract DNA from a banana at the School of Life Sciences booth on Saturday. Photo by Jacob Sahertian/ASU

Q: How did you come to be in “I’m a Scientist USA”?

A: It was like a reality show with five scientists. We spent the first week live-chatting with students. It was East Coast time so I would start at 5 a.m. and chat with one or two or three classes every day. They would ask questions about science or about life or about Pokémon, just anything.

The kids ranged from about fourth grade to seniors. Sometimes they got really off track, and sometimes we had some really insightful discussions about genetics.

The largest proportion of questions were about heritable genetic disease. We had a couple special-needs classrooms and they were asking about their own conditions, and it’s great because they want to talk about it but it’s challenging because we haven’t figured out the genetic basis for a lot of diseases. And some of them have a huge environmental component.

They also wanted to know my favorite food and whether I had any pets.

Every week they voted someone off. There was one scientist who studied scabs, and I thought ‘There is no way I was going to beat the scab guy.’ But I did.

More than trying to get out information, it was to humanize scientists so they could envision themselves as scientists.

Q: What did you win?

A: I won $500, and I bought a handmade Gila monster model and a replica of a Gila monster skull.

We’ll being doing more outreach about this animal because either people don’t know about it or they’re afraid of it.

Q: Why are Gila monsters important?

A: Their saliva is venomous and feels like flaming lava. It’s not dangerous, it just hurts.

The venom has a peptide in it that used to treat type 2 diabetes and it works really well, but we don’t know anything elseSequencing the genome will allow scientists to learn whether they have other medicinal properties. about the Gila monster genome.

So to map the genome, we take a cell and we mash up the cells and get the DNA out. That’s the extraction part.

So in the lab we’ve sent off the DNA to a sequencer, and it will come back as an electronic file.

Then the hard part starts. It takes a while to put this giant puzzle together without knowing what it will look like. It has about 2 billion base pairs. We don’t know which part are functional genes and which are spacers between the genes. We talk about genetics all the time, which makes it seem easy, but it isn’t.

We chop it into pieces and sequence it, and then we have to put those pieces back together. That’s what bioinformatics is.

If we really want to know about the Gila monster, we need to get that reference genome. Once we have that we can learn more about what we should be doing to conserve them.

Video: Melissa Wilson Sayres demonstrates extracting DNA from bananas.

ASU Homecoming Block Party

What: More than 100 ASU departments and organizations will welcome visitors to learn about science, the arts, humanities and more. There will be games, photo booths, prizes, selfie ops, music and more.

When: 3-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. The Homecoming Parade — featuring classic cars, floats, the Sun Devil Marching Band and Sparky — begins at 3 p.m. along University Drive, and the Block Party runs from then until the 7 p.m. start of the Sun Devils football game against Washington State.

Where: The tents and displays will radiate out from the Old Main Lawn on the Tempe campus, covering 14 acres.

Admission: Free and open to the public. Find information on free parking at the link below. Please do not bring pets to the event.


Top photo: Sofia Diaz holds out her bubble after performing a science experiment during the 2015 Homecoming Block Party in Tempe. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now



2017 ASU President’s Award submissions now open

October 10, 2016

University teams working on a project that advances Arizona State University’s goal to create dramatic, positive change should apply for a 2017 President’s Award. The deadline to submit an application is Jan. 5, 2017.

The ASU President's Awards recognize and celebrate ASU faculty and staff that significantly contribute in the areas of: President Award Ceremony The Redesigning Teacher Professional Development team celebrated receiving the 2016 innovation award for developing and implementing free online on-demand learning modules for teachers and school leaders. Photo by Tim Trumble Download Full Image

• innovation
• social embeddedness
• sustainability

More than one team can win an award in each category. ASU President Michael Crow recognizes award recipients in April 2017 at the President’s Recognition Reception and award ceremony. Each team receives a team award, and all team members receive award certificates. 

Applicants can attend one of the Tempe campus Writers' Workshops on Nov. 3 or Dec. 7. Applicants learn about award criteria and effective application tips. Shelly Potts and Alison Cook-Davis of the University Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness explain how to measure and report project results.

Find application forms and previous award recipient abstracts on the Employee Recognition Program webpage.

To register for a Writers’ Workshop or ask questions, applicants should email Linda Uhley or call 480-965-5089.

Peter Northfelt

Editor assistant, Business and Finance Support – Communications


ASU celebrates 1st university-wide Indigenous Peoples Day

October 5, 2016

Arizona is home to one of the largest Native American populations in the United States.

To help honor the thousands of years of indigenous tradition and culture in our backyard, Arizona State University will celebrate its first university-wide Indigenous Peoples Day on Oct. 7.  flyer for ASU's Indigenous Peoples Day Download Full Image

ASU’s American Indian Council was the driving force behind expanding this celebration.

“USG (Undergraduate University Government) recently passed on all four campuses along with the Graduate Student Association to have an Indigenous Peoples Day,” said Megan Tom, president of the American Indian Council and a member of the Navajo Nation. “Before it was only on the Tempe campus.” 

Recognizing the day university-wide was a win for the council.

“In the state of Arizona there are 27 recognized tribes,” said Tom. “We just want the ASU community to be more aware that everywhere they go there are indigenous people.”

Nationwide there has been a movement to replace Columbus Day, which this year falls on Oct. 10, with Indigenous Peoples Day. In recognition of that, but so students could participate in activities before fall break (Oct. 10-11), Oct. 7 was chosen. 

“When we celebrate these cultures, including mine, that shows that the indigenous people are still here and still exist,” said Thomasina Dinehdeal, vice president of the American Indian Council and a member of the Navajo Nation.

The university-wide activities will represent the nearly 400 million indigenous people worldwide who come from 5,000 different cultures.

Students, faculty and staff are all welcome to learn more about these culture from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Tempe, Downtown Phoenix and West campuses. The Downtown Phoenix campus will also have another celebration from 11:30 to 1 p.m. on Oct. 10.

“Indigenous Peoples Day to me is about celebrating the lives of all people. It helps to bring awareness to and acknowledges the (at times) voiceless,” wrote Lorenzo Yazzie, American Indian Council Secretary and a member of the Navajo Nation. “With its passing, I’m happy that the university respects our existence.”

Various student organizations have collaborated to bring performances, arts and voices to the campus events.

“I am just a vessel for all those who have came before me, and I hold it my responsibility to share the knowledge that my ancestors have granted me with the ASU community,” Tom said.

Reporter, ASU Now

ASU Gammage art gallery presents new artists

October 3, 2016

The ASU Gammage Art Gallery will showcase three new artists from Oct. 6 to Nov. 2. 

Two artists from the S.N.A.P. art group, Shain LaBarge and Diane A. Bond, will be featured. Additionally, independent artist Barbara Colby will have her watercolor paintings on display.  Bay Tripper by Shain LaBarge Bay Tripper by Shain LaBarge Download Full Image

Shain LaBarge, an acrylic and oil painter, left college 20 years ago to cement his colorful style traveling across the country where he was introduced to a new, different world of being an artist. His exhibits in cafes led to restaurants, as well as galleries. He's sold many works along the way and developed new techniques and style.

While traveling opened his eyes to culture, his aspiration drove him to find something more secure, so he began a career at the Phoenix Art Museum to supplement his income. Despite his art exhibits, experiences with wide displays, and the articles in Santa Fe and France on his art, LaBarge said that still will never give him the exposure needed for a sale. He believes sales come when a work makes a person feel good.

Bond attended the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. She majored in commercial photography from 1983-1987 and moved to Phoenix in 1998. She’s had 18 years of documentation photography work experience including: City on Detroit Media Department, Arizona Historical Society, City of Phoenix Historical Preservation, Arizona Humanities Council, and Glendale Historical Preservation Annual Bus Tour. Bond typically works with watercolors and pencils to create her art. 

Watercolor paintings by Barbara Colby

Lastly, Barbara Colby was born and raised in New England and came to Arizona in 1965. She started painting and drawing when she retired from ASU in 2013 where she was assistant dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and faculty associate in philosophy. Her husband was on English faculty at ASU, but has retired.

Exhibit hours at ASU Gammage are Mondays from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Due to rehearsals, event set-up, performances, special events and holidays, it is advisable to call (480) 965-6912 or (480) 965-0458 to ensure viewing hours, since they are subject to cancellation without notice.