ASU Alumni Association receives No. 1 networking rank

July 1, 2019

For the sixth consecutive year, the Phoenix Business Journal has ranked the ASU Alumni Association the No. 1 networking association in the Valley of the Sun. The ASU Alumni Association, with nearly 500,000 alumni across the globe, boasts a membership of more than 246,000 Sun Devils in Maricopa County.

The ASU Alumni Association fosters a lifelong connection to the university and keeps Sun Devils connected. Alumni networking events, professional development seminars, special interest chapters and a program for Sun Devil-owned and -led businesses support ASU graduates in their professional careers. ASU Alumni Association Download Full Image

“We know it’s important for Sun Devils to grow and advance in their careers, and staying connected to their Alumni Association builds a powerful network,” said Christine K. Wilkinson, president and CEO of the ASU Alumni Association. “This ranking illustrates the strength of the Sun Devil alumni community and our commitment to fostering connections.”

The Phoenix Business Journal released its ranked list of networking associations in its June 7, 2019, edition of the publication, which compared the total membership for the networking associations.

You can get involved in the ASU Alumni Association’s upcoming networking events. The Alumni Association, dedicated to serving and uniting all ASU alumni, offers programs, hosts signature events and oversees numerous groups that enhance the alumni experience and help alumni engage with their alma mater.

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Meenakshi Wadhwa ready to lead Earth and space exploration at ASU

June 28, 2019

ASU Now talked with the new director at School of Earth and Space Exploration

Meenakshi Wadhwa has looked up her whole life.

At the Himalayas, looming over her hometown of Chandigarh in northern India, formed 40 to 50 million years ago by two massive continental plates. And to the vast gulf of space that sends chunks of planets and moons and asteroids streaking down through the atmosphere to be put into her hands, under her microscope and into her mind.

“They’re incredible,” the planetary geologist said. “I still get chills when I hold a piece of an asteroid formed 4½ billion years ago. The scale of that time period when you think about it, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it, but it’s so thrilling to think you actually can look back in time through these objects. It’s so fun to just imagine where they’ve been and what they’ve seen and what they’ve been witness to. For me that’s always been a thrill and I’ve never lost that excitement.”

Now Wadhwa is bringing her lifelong sense of wonder to Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration as its new director.

She plans to scale up the school’s explorations, offer more hands-on opportunities for students, add more engineers to the faculty, jointly build programs with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and add more partnerships with NewSpace companies, which can range from SpaceX to two guys in a garage.

As a child, Wadhwa gathered rocks in her backyard and stood entranced by the mountains, fascinated by the scale of the processes that created them. After she earned her BS in geology at Panjab University, her thoughts turned to other worlds.

“How cool would it be to do geology on other planets? What a wonderful thing to be trained in this field and be able to transfer your skills to do geology on other worlds?”

But planetary geology wasn’t being taught widely across India at the time. She applied to schools in the United States and ended up choosing Washington University in St. Louis, which had a very broad program in planetary science. However, she didn’t know what she wanted to focus on. Then one day a professor showed her a Martian meteorite.

“Would you be interested in studying this?” the professor said. “You’re trained in geology; you know what rocks are. This rock actually comes from Mars. Would you like to study it for your dissertation?”

Wadhwa had an epiphany.

“I realized at the time there were actually rocks from these other planets in our solar system that we had access to,” she said. “Strangely enough, I hadn’t had that realization before. I was hooked.”

Since then, like those rocks, she’s gone far. Asteroid 8356 has been named 8356 Wadhwa in recognition of her contributions to meteoritics and planetary science.

Wadhwa has been on two Antarctic expeditions hunting meteorites. (She calls them the highlights of her field geology career.)

Antarctica is the best place to find meteorites. Its dry, cold climate perfectly preserves the asteroid fragments that crash to Earth. Ice sheets corral them into areas where they’re relatively easy to collect and winds screaming across the surface expose buried specimens.

“It’s such a strange place,” Wadhwa said. “It doesn’t capture very well in photographs, for one thing. It looks white and bland. But when you’re there, the scale … you have these 360 views of these vast expanses of ice and snow and just a big sky. … It’s the most beautiful continent I’ve ever been to. Just the experience of being camped in a remote location with six of your best friends and colleagues and working there for two months at a time, living in a tent — sharing the tent you get to know them very well.”

Prior to her new appointment as school director, she was director of the Center for Meteorite Studies at ASU, the world’s largest university-based collection with about 2,000 different types of meteorites in its 40,000-specimen collection.

Few things intrigue people as much as meteorites. The meteorite identification program was suspended nine years ago because the center was swamped by requests. On the one day the school offers to identify meteorites — Earth and Space Exploration Day, held each fall — people come from across the country. At a recent event, one man and his son drove from Clearwater, Florida. (They didn’t have a meteorite. People rarely do.)

When Wadhwa was curator at the Field Museum in Chicago, a meteorite shower hit the city. People called the police, thinking vandals were throwing rocks at their houses. The police confiscated many of the meteorites. “At the police station they were lined up like suspects,” she said.

Wadhwa has roles on two missions currently in flight. She is a collaborating scientist on the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument on the Mars Curiosity Rover and a science team member on the Japanese Hayabusa2 sample return mission to asteroid Ryugu.

The School of Earth and Space Exploration was among the first interdisciplinary schools established at ASU, in 2006. The idea was to put scientists and engineers together in the same silo and have them work together. Wadhwa arrived from the Field Museum later that year.

“I’ve been here since the inception of the school and I’ve seen its evolution,” she said. “Outside of ASU there was a lot of skepticism about what we were doing here in terms of trying to bridge the cultures of science and engineering and furthering exploration of Earth, space and the solar system beyond. We’ve shown in the last 10 to 12 years that the school has been around that this is a model that works. Our trajectory has been tremendous.”

The school has 10 instruments or missions in flight. Eight instruments are in development and nine missions are in development.

“Every time I look at the list there’s new additions to that,” Wadhwa said. Her predecessor, Lindy Elkins-Tanton, is leading the Psyche mission to a metal asteroid (the second woman in history to lead a NASA deep space mission). “We’re well situated because of the great leadership we’ve had in the past.”

She discussed her plans for the school, which begin with scaling it beyond showing that it’s a model that works.

“When people hear the word ‘exploration,’ I want them to think about our school,” Wadhwa said. “I want this to be the global leader in exploration of Earth and the solar system and the universe. That’s a big, big mandate I guess, but we’re on a really good path already.”

She sees opportunities for cubesats not only in planetary science and astrophysics but in Earth observation. Students can expect more hands-on learning opportunities.

“Experiential learning is the way to go,” Wadhwa said. “In here, students can be involved from the ground floor and really being involved in the actual research. I want to put a focus on more opportunities for students to do that.”

More engineers will be added to the school faculty.

“We really need to show that part of our effort more significantly,” she said. “We need more faculty in that area. … That’s an area I feel strongly about we really need to build on.” 

Many engineering students take classes in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Building programs with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering will strengthen that.

“There are a lot of ways we could work effectively closely with the engineering school to make sure we’re serving all out students well,” Wadhwa said. “I think we could help engineering and they could help us. We need to figure out the pathways for that.”

Partnering with NewSpace companies can be expanded. Local companies can benefit from having ASU students work with them. 

“That’s another area of focus where the project-based learning aspect of education through these types of internships would be a real benefit,” she said. “Orbital ATK, of course. We’re already involved with them in many ways. It doesn’t even have to be local. Some of the connections we’ve built through Jim Bell’s NewSpace for example, and having connections with companies like Planet Labs and Planetary Resources and other NewSpace industry is going to be pretty interesting as well.”

Earth science won’t be forgotten in new developments, she said. Space will not be the school’s sole focus.

“Folks that are interested in the geosciences as well, we have to have opportunities for them to be able to work with various companies locally and outside of our local region,” Wadhwa said. “I would love to find ways to build collaborative internship programs with companies that can help our students gain skills on the job.”

The Grand Canyon and Arizona’s other natural resources will be used as educational tools more often.

“There is so much we can leverage from the place where we are,” she said. “Maybe we haven’t effectively used that as much as we could have. We have faculty here who are interested in promoting that — Steve Semken, for example; he’s interested in place-based research and being more effective in that area. He’s one voice among us and I think we need to be more intentional in our focus in these types of areas. Just the fact of our being where we are, we need to be able to sort of leverage the natural gifts we have available to us and really make more effective use of them.”

When not conducting research and running a school of 64 faculty who teach almost 4,000 students each semester, Wadhwa reads. Lately she’s been perusing autobiographies and memoirs of astronauts: "Carrying The Fire" by Michael Collins, "An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by Chris Hadfield, and her husband Scott Parazynski’s memoir "The Sky Below". (Parazynski, a former University Explorer at ASU, is the only astronaut to have climbed Mount Everest and is the veteran of five space missions, including one where he pulled off the longest and most dangerous space walk in history.) She also enjoys reading accounts of the polar explorers and travel books by Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux.

Wadhwa enjoys the great outdoors: running, biking, hiking, scuba diving and occasionally flying.

“For vacations, my husband and I love to be in the mountains — Colorado is a favorite — or near the oceans,” she said. “We do absolutely love being in the desert Southwest though – so many places for good hiking near here, and such spectacular sunsets!”

Top photo: Meenakshi Wadhwa is the director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration. She is a researcher and educator interested in the time scales and processes involved in the formation and evolution of the Solar System. Photo by Chad Musch/ASU

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now


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ASU’s lunar orbiter camera marks decade of discovery

June 27, 2019

A decade ago, an Atlas V rocket blazed across a bright and clear Florida sky to mark the 21st century's first major lunar rendezvous. Onboard was a very special payload, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The mission would be one small step to return humans to the moon. 

"The LRO came out of the return to the moon initiative, which was a vision for space exploration announced by then President (George W.) Bush, said Mark Robinson, Arizona State University professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. "This was shortly after the Columbia accident, and NASA was reassessing — what are we doing, where are we going?" 

"At that point in time, around 2003 and 2004, the shuttles were approaching 25 years in age, and they knew they had to rethink what NASA was doing. The space station was under construction, the shuttles were getting old, and at the time, the Bush administration pushed NASA and Congress to return to the moon."

The main idea was to survey the moon with the instruments onboard the LRO, gathering critical data to support humans' first return to the moon since the 1970s. Each LRO instrument was manned by a team to scan the lunar surface for new insights on where to go first.

"It was very exciting," Robinson said. "It was kind of like going back to Apollo after doing the shuttle. And NASA was charged with making a new heavy launch vehicle that could put enough mass in lower Earth orbit to get astronauts to the moon. We had to do a new rocket and new spacecraft to get to the moon. But at this time, it wasn’t just to the moon. It was to the moon and then to Mars. That was called the Constellation Program."

Full-resolution detail from one of the first
LROC NAC images, published July 2, 2009.
At this scale and lighting, impact craters
dominate the landscape. Image width is
1,400 meters; north is down.


Tucked onboard the maiden 2009 voyage of the LRO, along with six other sophisticated science instruments, was the ASU-led eyes of the orbiter, called the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC).

"The LRO is the spacecraft that LROC got a ride to the moon on," said Robinson, the lead LROC scientist whose proposal was chosen by NASA. Robinson thought part of the ASU proposal success was to give NASA more bang for the buck by including more than one kind of camera.

"LROC sounds like one camera, but it’s actually three cameras," Robinson said. "There are two identical narrow angle cameras which are very high resolution. We can actually see the tracks left behind by the astronauts, to give you a feel for what high resolution means. There another small camera, called the wide angle camera, and it images the moon, with each pixel about the size of a football field. It pictures the moon in seven different colors: two UV bands and then five visible bands. From that, we’ve mapped out mineral abundance and learned a lot about ages of the surface of the moon."

With a near and far-ranging view of the moon, once in its comfortable orbit (30 miles from the surface at 3,600 mph!), the LROC team could snap away to their heart's content. The very first images were published on July 2, 2009, marking its 10th anniversary this summer. It would be the first of more than a million images taken and carefully curated by the team, with a huge outreach effort to make them available for the public to explore on the LROC website. Among the site's many features are interactive maps of all of the Apollo landing sites

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

For Robinson and his LROC team, the mission has coalesced and culminated scientific career interests in lunar exploration, geology and remote sensing — and given them back far more than they may have first anticipated. 

He and his team have used LROC to retrace mankind's first steps on the moon and have seen grand vistas, huge impact craters, ancient lava flows and evidence of icy deposits across its pockmarked surface. They have seen thousands of georgeous, high-resolution images, mapped future human and robotic landing sites and revealed images so stunning that they’ve been displayed in museums across the nation, from local hipster First Friday art galleries to the Smithsonian Institute. 

Tom Watters, curator of a 2016 Smithsonian Museum exhibit that featured 61 LROC images at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., at the time called Robinson “the Rembrandt of capturing just the right kind of lighting.”

Fifty years ago, the world was stunned with images of "Earthrise" taken from Apollo 8 as it slingshotted itself around the dark side of the moon. Seeing our tiny blue dot from a new lunar perspective helped spawn the environmental movement. LROC sees 12 Earthrises every day. 

They have seen more features on the far side of the moon, which is a completely different world geologically from our daily view from Earth of the nearside. Unlike the nearside, on the far side there are no maria, the seas of smooth basaltic rock (such as the famous "Sea of Tranquility" where Apollo 11 landed) made from ancient lava flows. Instead, the far side is chock-full of battered, highlands crusts, marring jolts of huge impact craters and deep canyons from a mysterious impact long ago. 

Some of these areas remain permanently shadowed, which Robinson hopes to overcome with a next-generation instrument called Shadowcam. It is approximately 200 times more sensitive than the current narrow-angle LROC camera and will allow scientists to see these regions surrounding the moon's poles, which are hydrogen-rich regions thought to be covered with ice pockets tucked deep inside the craters.

With more than 60 space agencies worldwide now, they're also excited to join forces to aid each new lunar endeavor. More recently, they've been tracking the progress of the Chinese rover Yutu, as it tracks along the surface. But they've also seen their share of failure. They were the first to see images of the Israeli lander Beresheet, which was lost when it crashed into the moon.

"Yeah, we found its impact site," said Robinson. "That’s how good our resolution is, we can actually see spacecraft landing on the surface. But unfortunately, we imaged an impact scar.

"Along the sames lines of impact scars on the moon, since we have been in orbit for 10 years, we’re able to retake pictures. The reason is because impact craters are always forming on the moon. So far, we have discovered 500 new impact craters. The biggest one is about the size of a football field. We have also discovered tens of thousands of smaller ones. These are splotches from when bigger craters form because we find them in clusters and they are aligned pointing back to some of these newer craters we found."

Despite more than a million images taken, Robinson still revels in what his LROC team can reveal on a daily basis. And now, 10 years later, the discoveries made from LRO, and what ASU's LROC has seen, may very well pave the way to return again with the first 21st century human exploration of the moon, Mars and perhaps even further beyond before the century closes.

Recently, with NASA and commercial endeavors like Blue Origin revealing big plans to return to the moon as early as this coming decade, Robinson is hoping ASU will continue to play a major role being the watchful eyes from above to propel the next generation of human and robotic exploraton. 

"Your big constraint whenever you are on the moon, or if you are on Mars — it doesn’t really matter — is the amount of time you have. And it’s precious. Because you’ve got only so much oxygen, only so much power, and you can only stay for a certain amount of time, and so you want to be as efficient as possible. And that was really the goal of LROC, where can we go to do science, and also look for ore bodies.

"We are really trying to determine the best place to land. Then we can use the incredible, high-resolution of the narrow angle camera to actually pick where to land safely and how to get to a landing site from a rover to the more interesting areas both safely and using the least amount of fuel."

In the 20th century, it took 66 years to go from the first flight of the Wright brothers to the moon landing. And perhaps, this century, we will witness space tourism and human moon travel making that same giant leap.  

"It’s really amazing," Robinson said. "The original mission was only supposed to last for 3 years, and now we are in our 10th year, and we are still returning incredibly useful science data."

ASU Law recognized for commitment to diversity and accessibility

June 26, 2019

Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law recently received the 2019 Diversity Matters Award for its commitment to increasing diversity and accessibility to quality legal education.

Annually, the Law School Admission Council’s Diversity Committee awards this distinction to a law school offering programs that make a positive impact on the local community by connecting participants to criminal justice or social justice issues. ASU Law Pipeline Initiative program Students participate in high school moot court competitions through the ASU Law Pipeline Initiative program. Download Full Image

ASU Law received this year’s Diversity Matters Award specifically for its innovative Pipeline Initiative program. The program focuses on enhancing the diversity of the legal profession by developing and fostering a pathway for high school students that promotes the development of critical thinking and writing skills and fosters values necessary to succeed academically and professionally.

Law schools that receive this award often serve as exemplar models for other law schools around the country.

“The diversity impact award provides validation for the school and our sponsors that we are moving in the right direction,” said Ray English, assistant dean of ASU Law. “Programs like our Pipeline Initiative provide an invaluable contribution to our community and I am honored to be part of this initiative.”

This past year, the Pipeline Initiative served over 200 high school students, at eight Phoenix metropolitan-area high schools. The program also provided the opportunity for select high school students to attend a national moot court competition where two students competed in the final round.

The Pipeline Initiative programing also includes:

• Summer Writing Seminar that helps build writing skills, reading comprehension and critical thinking through legal writing exercises and oral presentations.

• Summer Law Internship Program (SLIP) where participants receive a paid internship at a corporation, local law firm or government agency to encourage their interest in higher education and the practice of law.

• High School Inns of Court (HIC) Program that is designed to improve the writing and critical thinking skills of diverse students who have an interest in pursuing a career in law. A HIC chapter is made up of high school students, law students and attorneys. The HIC chapters participate in the Law Conference and High School Moot Court Competition, hosted by ASU Law in the spring, and the Marshall-Brennan Project High School Moot Court Competition. The Marshall-Brennan competition includes a regional round hosted by ASU Law in November, and the national finals hosted in Washington, D.C., in April.

The Pipeline Initiative is made possible through the following program sponsors: U-Haul International Inc., APS, ON Semiconductor, Snell & Wilmer LLP, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, Squire Patton Boggs, and the Association of Corporate Counsel – Arizona Chapter.

If your organization is interested in participating or becoming a sponsor, contact Ray English at

Nicole Almond Anderson

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


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ASU recognized for efforts to support Latino student success

June 20, 2019

University is one of nine institutions to earn Seal of Excelencia from DC organization

Young Latinos are one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations according to the Pew Research Center, and many Latino youth will be the first in their family to go to college.

ASU has committed to serving its communities and those individuals who wish to pursue a college degree regardless of their background or socioeconomic status and to provide the support resources required for all students to succeed.

For those efforts, ASU was one of nine institutions to earn the 2019 Seal of Excelencia, a prestigious, voluntary, and comprehensive certification granted by the Washington, D.C.-based organization, Excelencia in Education.

“ASU is committed to increasing educational access and degree attainment among LatinxsLatinx is a gender-neutral term sometimes used in lieu of Latino or Latina when referring to Latin American cultural or racial identity., our future new majority population, and our institutional mission will only be complete if the students we serve reflect our surrounding diversity,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “Through ASU’s commitment to quality, inclusion and student success, one quarter of our first-year class are Latinx students and thousands of degrees are being earned by Latinx graduates, all of whom meaningfully enrich our ASU community through their personal drives, valuable perspectives, experiential insights and their dedication to giving back to the community, both now and in the future.”

Video by ASU Now

The seal recognizes an institution’s very high level of commitment and effort to serve Latino students successfully.

“Having a higher education is vital to succeed in today’s global economy,” said Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education. “If institutions aren’t effectively serving our Latino students, we lose a vital source of talent for our workforce and civic leadership. Institutions that strive for and most particularly those that earn the seal have demonstrated their capacity to grow our country’s highly skilled workforce and develop leaders — in other words, these institutions are ensuring America’s future.”

At an event in Washington, D.C., Santiago emphasized that the seal is not a ranking; it’s the credentialing of an institution that has strategically placed support programs to help Latino students succeed and where Latino students can thrive.

During the event, Stanlie James, ASU vice provost for inclusion and community engagement, accepted the recognition on behalf of ASU. Reminiscing on the spring 2019 Hispanic Convocation, she shared a moving moment she experienced at the event when first-generation students were asked to stand.

“Ninety percent of those students stood up, and I thought, 'This is what we’re here for,'” James said.

Video by ASU Now

ASU, recognizing the importance of a diverse student community and the impact it has on shaping ideas, advancing research and preparing students to engage with people unlike themselves, has become a majority-minority-serving institution.

In the last 12 years, Latino student enrollment at ASU has doubled, serving approximately 15,700 Latino students in fall 2018.

“The Seal of Exelencia that we’ve received is a great honor,” ASU Provost Mark Searle said. “It provides external validation for Arizona State University for the efforts we’ve made to build a truly inclusive institution. Our goals have been extensive to make sure that ASU is seen as a university for all students irrespective of their background, irrespective of where they came from, their socioeconomic status.”

Understanding the specific needs of the Latino community, how to best serve them and set them up to succeed is where ASU has thrived.

Access ASU is transforming Arizona's college-going culture through strategic programs and initiatives — supporting students, families and schools from underserved communities to have access to the tools, knowledge and experience needed to pursue and attain a university degree.

“At ASU we have found great success in working with families as early as kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade to start the conversation about preparing for college early,” said Sylvia Symonds, associate vice president of ASU’s Educational Outreach and Student Services. “We have created a number of culturally relevant programs and initiatives that seek to provide guidance and support for students and families to realize their goal of higher education.”

The Hispanic Mother Daughter Program at ASU was founded in 1984 to address the shortage of women and women of color in higher education. The early-outreach middle and high school program aims to connect students with ASU mentors and resources. Originally designed to serve Hispanic mothers and their daughters, today the program seeks to accept all students who identify as being a future first-generation college student with an aspiration to attend ASU.

In addition, the American Dream Academy places the focus on the family as a whole. In the eight-week program, families learn how to best support their children and are given the tools and resources necessary to provide that support and ensure a college-going mentality. To date, American Dream Academy has served 40,000 families and students.

Once on campus, the First-Year Success Center provides peer coaching services to first-year students, sophomores and new transfer students. Under Latinx leadership, First-Year Success coaches mentor students, help students adjust to college life and connect them to resources.

“We have a large and growing Latino population here in the state of Arizona as does the United States, and we also have a wonderful charter that says we will be known by whom we include not by whom we exclude,” James said. “We are delighted to be able to serve our Latino population so that they are in turn prepared to go and be of service to their community.”

Top photo: Sonia Beltran holds up a pitchfork to her friends and family during the 2019 Hispanic Convocation at Wells Fargo Arena. Photo by ASU

ASU, edX and MIT announce innovative stackable online Master of Science in Supply Chain Management

Collaboration creates world’s first stacked master’s degree on from two top-ranked universities in the field

June 19, 2019

Arizona State University, edX and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the launch of an online master’s degree program in supply chain management. This unique credit pathway between MIT and ASU takes a MicroMasters program from one university, MIT, and stacks it up to a full master’s degree on edX from ASU.

Learners who complete and pass the Supply Chain Management MicroMasters program and then apply and gain admission to ASU are eligible to earn a top-ranked graduate degree from ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business and ASU Online. MIT and ASU are both currently ranked in the top 3 for graduate supply chain and logistics by U.S. News and World Report. Download Full Image

This new master’s degree is the latest program to launch following edX’s October 2018 announcement of 10 disruptively priced and top-ranked online master’s degree programs available on Master’s degrees on edX are unique because they are stacked, degree programs with a MicroMasters program component. A MicroMasters program is a series of graduate-level courses that provides learners with valuable standalone skills that translate into career-focused advancement, as well as the option to use the completed coursework as a stepping stone toward credit in a full master’s degree program.

“We are excited to strengthen our relationship with ASU to offer this innovative, top-ranked online master’s degree program in supply chain management,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT professor. “This announcement comes at a time when the workplace is changing more rapidly than ever before, and employers are in need of highly skilled talent, especially in the fields most impacted by advances in technology. This new offering truly transforms traditional graduate education by bringing together two top-ranked schools in supply chain management to create the world’s first stackable, hybrid graduate degree program. This approach to a stackable, flexible, top-quality online master’s degree is the latest milestone in addressing today’s global skills gap.”

ASU’s online master’s degree program will help prepare a highly technical and competent global workforce for advancement in supply chain management careers across a broad diversity of industries and functions. Students enrolled in the program will also gain an in-depth understanding of the role the supply chain manager can play in an enterprise supply chain and in determining overall strategy.

“We’re very excited to collaborate with MIT and edX to increase accessibility to a top-ranked degree in supply chain management,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We believe there will be many students who are eager to dive deeper after their MicroMasters program to earn a master's degree from ASU, and that more learners will be drawn to the MIT Supply Chain Management MicroMasters program as this new pathway to a graduate degree within the edX platform becomes available.”

With this new pathway, the MIT Supply Chain Management MicroMasters program now offers learners pathways to completing a master’s degree at 21 institutions. This new program with ASU for the supply chain management online master’s degree offers a seamless learner experience through an easy transition of credit and a timely completion of degree requirements without leaving the edX platform.

“Learners who complete the MITx MicroMasters program credential from the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics will now have the opportunity to transition seamlessly online to a full master’s degree from ASU,” said Krishna Rajagopal, dean for digital learning at MIT Open Learning. “We are delighted to add this program to MIT’s growing number of pathways that provide learners with increased access to higher education and career advancement opportunities in a flexible, affordable manner.”

The online Master of Science in Supply Chain Management from ASU will launch in January 2020. Students currently enrolled in, or who have already completed, the MITx Supply Chain Management MicroMasters program can apply now for the degree program, with an application deadline of Dec. 16, 2019.

Carrie Peterson

Media Relations Manager, EdPlus at Arizona State University


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ASU vice provost honored for leadership and service, closing 40 years in education

June 18, 2019

For more than four decades, Maria Hesse has been a prominent figure in the field of education. So much so that Arizona Women in Higher Education, an organization where she served on the board for 10 years, named her the 2019 Woman of the Year.

The AWHE mission is to support women and improve the climate and professional environment for women in higher education in the state of Arizona.

“I have really enjoyed serving on the board for Arizona Women in Higher Education, an organization whose very purpose is to promote personal and professional growth,” Hesse said.

The honor is bestowed on women who exemplify leadership, innovation and service and those who help women advance into senior-level leadership roles through nominations and developing their leadership abilities.

With Hesse retiring this month, the award also marks the end of a decade of accolades, accomplishments and contributions to the ASU community and the entire state of Arizona. As ASU’s vice provost for academic partnerships, she has created a student-centered “culture of transfer” by nurturing relationships with other institutions and developing strategies designed to increase the number of students who complete associate and bachelor's degrees.

“I have spent the last 10 years at ASU working hard on issues of transfer student success. It has been a labor of love for both community colleges and for my alma mater, Arizona State University,” she said.

A group of women pose for a photo

(From left) Teresa Leyba-Ruiz, Glendale Community College president; Maria Harper-Marinick, Maricopa Community College District chancellor; Christina Haines, interim president of Scottsdale Community College; and Maria Hesse, ASU vice provost at the 2019 Arizona Women in Higher Education Woman of the Year event.

Hesse spent 25 years serving in multiple capacities within the Maricopa Community Colleges. She served as the president and chief executive officer at Chandler-Gilbert Community College for seven years before joining ASU, a natural transition into her current position focused on increasing the opportunities for community college students to pursue four-year degrees. Prior to her years in the Maricopa Community Colleges, she served as a local high school teacher and principal.

“I’ve been in education for nearly 45 years now and I think back fondly on all of these experiences,” Hesse said. “There were many wonderful people with whom I worked and from whom I learned — people that were in my institutions, colleagues from other institutions, community leaders, students — you just never know when you are going to run into someone who significantly changes your life for the better.”

Among her many contributions to higher education, her biggest priority was closing the education gap by building pathways that help community college students to have a seamless transition to ASU, tailored to each student’s academic goals.

“I have been fortunate to have fantastic staff and I thank them for their contributions,” she said. “We have nearly tripled transfer enrollment, such that last year ASU welcomed 18,864 new transfer students into the university. And we have greatly improved transfer student success, while reducing time and costs towards baccalaureate degree completion.”

Her other contributions are not so obvious, but nonetheless impactful. Her extensive knowledge about community colleges — founding one herself for the Maricopa Community Colleges — makes her a great resource to surrounding communities.

A recent project was with the San Carlos Apache Tribe, collaboratively working with tribal leadership and leveraging her expertise to open Arizona’s third tribal college – San Carlos Apache College. 

The successful collaboration between Hesse; Terry Rambler, the chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe; and Jacob Moore, the university’s assistant vice president for tribal relations brought forth not only the college, but educational resources — academic counseling, college-readiness programming and transfer opportunities — that academically supports students to be successful.

Hesse is not completely walking away from the community she built on ASU’s campus. After retirement, she will continue to teach in the higher education program at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College where future teachers and administrators can take note from her successful playbook.

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 and follow UTO on Twitter @ASU_UTO.

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President’s Recognition Ceremony honors ASU employees

May 29, 2019

President's Awards, SUN Awards honor contributions of ASU faculty and staff

Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow honored ASU employees for their contributions to the university and community on Tuesday, May 28, at the 2019 President’s Recognition Ceremony, held at the Student Pavilion on the Tempe campus.

The reception, hosted annually by the President’s Office, honors recipients of the President's Award for Innovation, President’s Award for Sustainability, President's Medal for Social Embeddedness and Top Multiple SUN Awards.

Here are this year’s honorees.

2019 President’s Award for Innovation

iTeachELLs Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Project

woman writing on large piece of paper in front of students

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College student feedback in 2014 determined that graduates do not feel prepared to work with learners whose primary language is not English (students identified as English Language Learners). As a result, a team of experts proposed a project to answer the call of preparing educators to teach culturally and linguistically diverse learners.

The project is funded by the United States Department of Education through their Teacher Quality Partnership Grants: “Integrating STEM, Literacy, and Language to Prepare all Teachers to Work with English Language Learners: iTeachELLs.”

The research team explored the best practices for the work and created a new instructional technique, titled Problem-Based Enhanced Language Learning (PBELL). This collaborative endeavor between the Teachers College and the local education agencies has increased access to rigorous content for all students. The approach emphasizes intentional planning for language and solving for a meaningful problem in classroom instruction.

Over 1,500 Arizona teachers have completed iTeachELL’s professional development and delivered over 170 PBELL lessons. PBELL is harnessing the problem-solving power of over 30,000 K-12 students, increasing their learning engagement, confidence and autonomy.

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Leads: Wendy Farr and Melanie Baca
Silvia Aparicio, Brad Bostick, Erin Bryan, Malissa Chavez-Thibault, Stephanie Lund and Anne Smith

2019 President’s Award for Sustainability

Banner Bag Program

bags made of old banners on display at bookstore

The Banner Bag Program turns discarded vinyl banners into stylish, upcycled tote bags. These bags are handmade by women from The Centers for Habilitation, which provides job skills training to individuals with disabilities.

ASU provides the no-longer-needed banner material and pays for the labor and additional materials to produce the bags. The bags are locally made in Tempe, at FABRIC — a fully equipped, no-minimum fashion manufacturing facility, created in partnership with the city of Tempe to help newcomers break into the fashion industry. 

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, together with Arizona Apparel Foundation and in support of ASU Zero Waste goals, piloted this innovative program. Today, the bags are sold in the Sun Devil Campus Store at the Orange Mall location. Through continued partnership with ASU Print and Imaging Lab at the origination of banner orders and ASU Zero Waste at the end of a banner’s useful life, the goal is that ASU will divert 100% of its banners from the landfill through this program by 2020.


Arizona State University

Auxiliary Business Services, Bookstore, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Print and Imaging Lab, University Sustainability Practices and Zero Waste
Lead: Travis Buckner 

Mick Dalrymple, Jim Dwyer, Joshua Ellner, Alana Levine, Val Ross, Courtney Russell, Katie Schumacher, Michelle Schwartz, Meredith Simpson, Cathy Skoglund and 
Paul Strauss

Fashion And Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC)

Sherri Barry and Angela Johnson

The Centers for Habilitation

Jeff Bernick, Nabora Blea, Kimberly Calvert, Hannah Dexter, Sandra Harris, Jim Hodges, Katie Holm, Ryan Mcalister, David Prather and Madison Ryan

2019 President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness

¡Viva Maryvale!

Children laughing and jumping

Obesity and Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affect Latino children, families and communities. ¡Viva Maryvale! is a solution-oriented, multilevel, multisector collaborative approach that leverages individual, social, cultural and community-level resources to support health promotion and diabetes prevention among high-risk Latino families living in Maryvale, Arizona.

¡Viva Maryvale! brings together a network of collaborating partners that include the ASU Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the St. Vincent de Paul Family Wellness Program, the Watts Family Maryvale YMCA, the Maryvale branch of Mountain Park Health Center, and the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services. 

By developing a shared mission and vision, ¡Viva Maryvale! enhanced the collective capacity of the partners to address diabetes-related disparities among vulnerable and underserved families in Maryvale. The impact of the enhanced capacity is substantiated by significant reductions in diabetes risk factors and increases in quality of life among participating families. A paper describing the development, implementation, and results of ¡Viva Maryvale! was published in the January 2019 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.


Arizona State University
Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation,
Lead: Gabriel Shaibi

Erica Basco, Jessica Camacho, Chris Gonzalez, Neeku Navabi, Armando Pena, Arlene Ramos, Erica Soltero and Allison Williams

Arizona Department of Health Services

Omar Contreras, Teresa Manygoats, Addey Rascon and Wayne Tormala

Community Member 

Maria Isabella Munoz 

Dignity Health

Anna Alonzo

Mountain Park Health Center

Uriel Castaneda, Alexa Diaz, Valentina Hernandez, Jenny Mendez, Marta Ormeno, Crystal Ramos, Saray Vera and Ugonna Woods

Saguaro Evaluation Group 

Monica Parsai

St. Vincent de Paul 

Maria Gonzalez, Monica Gutierrez, Elva Hooker, Yolanda Konopken, Elvia Lish and Maria Silva 

Watts Family Maryvale YMCA

Libby Corral, Karen Davis, Nayeli Quiroz and Heidi Wildy 

Top SUN Award Recipients

SUN Awards are a way for ASU co-workers to give specific, immediate recognition to each other and to honor employees for supporting university goals.

Here are this year’s top recipients.

Katie Senzig
Student Recruitment Coordinator Senior

College of Health Solutions 

Cassie Barbieri

Success Coach


Lindsey Morris

Academic Success Specialist

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, The Polytechnic School

Diana Herrera

Business Operations Manager

New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

To learn more about ASU’s employee recognition program, visit:

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Two ASU professors elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

May 22, 2019

Two Arizona State University professors have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Jane Buikstra, a Regents' Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, and Asunción Lavrin, an emeritus professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, were chosen for their foundational work in their respective fields. 

They are among more than 200 members in the 2019 class recognized for their outstanding achievements in academia, the arts, business, government and public affairs.  

“With the election of these members, the academy upholds the ideals of research and scholarship, creativity and imagination, intellectual exchange and civil discourse, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge in all its forms,” AAAS President David Oxtoby said.  

Buikstra is a renowned bioarcheologist and is known for forming the discipline of bioarcheology, which combines archeology with forensics, pathology, genetics and other fields to understand the lives of past peoples.

Buikstra is currently working on a number of efforts that explore the experiences of ancient humans from around the world. These include projects on the everyday lives of those who lived in Athens, Greece, during the eighth through fourth centuries B.C.; the spread of M. tuberculosis from South to North America and how it evolved as it moved between humans and other hosts; the connections between environmental change and social complexity for ancient indigenous peoples who lived along North American river systems; and how the Chiribaya culture of South America made radical social changes between 1,000 to 1,500 years ago. 

“I’m especially honored to be part of a body that recognizes the significance of humanistic endeavors along with the sciences,” Buikstra said. “The AAAS election is a most welcome recognition that significant research is often broadly based and seeks to push boundaries, as is encouraged at ASU.”

Asunción Lavrin is an award-winning author and historian with more than 100 publications to her credit. She has covered the topics of gender and women’s studies in colonial and contemporary Latin America, and religion and spirituality in colonial Mexico. 

Considered a pioneer in Latin American women’s history, Lavrin has studied and published extensively on women in Latin America, especially women in Mexico. Her work has significantly contributed to the historical record of Roman Catholicism in Mexico, beginning with a number of her early articles on nuns and nunneries, culminating in her 2008 monograph "Brides of Christ: Conventional Life in Colonial Mexico."

The academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good. The Academy’s dual mission remains essentially the same 239 years later with honorees from increasingly diverse fields and with the work focused on the arts, democracy, education, global affairs and science.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony in October in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and they will join the company of academy members elected before them, including Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Charles Darwin (1874), Albert Einstein (1924), Margaret Mead (1948), Martin Luther King Jr. (1966) and more recently, Michael Bloomberg (2007) and Judy Woodruff (2012).

Mikala Kass contributed to this article.

Director , Media Relations and Strategic Communications