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

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2019.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Assistant Director of Media Relations, ASU Knowledge Enterprise


ASU Environmental Health and Safety receives 2019 CSHEMA marketing award

July 17, 2019

The Arizona State University Environmental Health and Safety team has received the CSHEMA Marketing Award from the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association.

The award recognizes the ASU Eye Promise safety campaign during the 2018–19 academic year which encouraged those who work in labs and shops as part of their work duties to wear safety glasses in areas where hazardous materials or hazardous operations are present. CSHEMA Marketing Awards From left: Robert Ott, Irene Mendoza and Suzanne Kennedy accept the CSHEMA Marketing Award. Photo courtesy Robert Ott Download Full Image

“The Eye Promise safety campaign is another example of an initiative that embeds the culture of safety concept into the institutional fabric,” said Nichol Luoma, ASU’s University Business Services associate vice president and sustainability operations officer. “I am proud of the creative ways the EHS team engages in our campus community to help keep Sun Devils safe.”

The award was presented at the 2019 CSHEMA annual conference in Indianapolis on July 15, 2019, and is the highest honor given by the organization for the promotion of safe practices and safety culture at a university.

“I am extremely proud of the team that developed the Eye Promise safety glass campaign,” said Leon Igras, ASU EHS executive director and chief safety officer.

"Many people from ASU Biodesign, Business and Finance, EHS, Knowledge Enterprise Development, Research and University Business Services worked together on this achievement. This campaign has been a milestone in our safety culture program.”  

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. workers suffer about 2,000 eye injuries each day with one-third resulting in a trip to the hospital and 100 resulting in at least one missed day of work. ASU EHS is committed to raising awareness of safety practices to prevent injuries on and off campus. 

ASU EHS also was recognized by CSHEMA last year for fostering a strong university safety culture. At last year’s conference, ASU EHS received the CSHEMA Innovation Award in recognition of the ASU EHS Compliance Officer Program.

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ASU makes top 10 list of ‘Best Buy’ public U.S. universities in 2020

July 15, 2019

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2019.

One of the most authoritative college guides in the U.S. has placed Arizona State University in the top 10 list of “Best Buy” public universities in the nation, ASU officials confirmed Friday.

The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2020 selected universities based on the quality of their undergraduate academics in relation to cost of attendance and specifically identified ASU for having “low average” student debt compared with peer institutions.

“We are honored to be included among the top 10 public universities out of more than 300 assessed by Fiske,” said Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost. “It is a testament to the hard work of our faculty and staff that we have students from every state in the nation, and from more than 130 countries, who seek out ASU for its high-quality education at a great value. We focus intensely on efforts to be accessible to students from every background. The Fiske Guide’s evaluation is one acknowledgement of the success we are having.”

ASU is the only Arizona university selected for the top 10 Best Buy list this year. It shares the accolade with nine other powerhouse public schools, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Purdue University, University of Florida and Texas A&M. 

As ASU continues to make higher education more accessible to more students, the Fiske recognition confirms the university’s commitment to making a college degree as affordable as possible for Arizona residents. The average tuition that state residents pay after gifts, grants and financial aid — none of which is paid back — is $2,300 per year. And nearly 40% of ASU students graduate with no debt at all.   

Fiske’s selection is the latest in an impressive list of ASU achievements. In the past year, ASU earned recognition once again by U.S. News & World Report for being No. 1 in the U.S. for innovation. The latest innovation ranking was the fourth consecutive No. 1 for ASU.  ASU also earned kudos as the No. 1 choice for international students by the Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange, a comprehensive information survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.  

The Fiske Guide evaluates more than 320 four-year private and public universities each year. It has been assessing universities for the past 30 years and is considered one of the most authoritative guides for prospective students and their families. This year’s guide named 20 Best Buys schools. Half of the universities selected were public and the rest private. 

Top photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Jerry Gonzalez

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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ASU's naturalized citizens celebrate and reflect on the Fourth of July

July 2, 2019

Along with the fireworks, festivities and barbecues that celebrate the Fourth of July, one of the most moving events to witness is a naturalization ceremony. For those seeking U.S. citizenship, the effort can be years in the making and the culmination of a lifelong dream of opportunities and freedom.

To celebrate and commemorate, ASU Now asked some of its community to reflect on their unique journeys to citizenship.

Those who responded hail from across the globe. They came with their parents, sought new opportunities, wanted to vote and fled political turmoil and civil unrest. Here, we share some of the best of their responses.

Editor's note: Some answer edited for length and clarity.

Why did you want to become a U.S. citizen?

Maxim Sukharev, associate professor, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (Russia): To be a part of the advanced society that treasures personal freedom and human rights, to be able to vote and have a say, to give back to the country that welcomed my family and provided us with opportunities. 

David Manuel-Navarrete, associate professor, School of Sustainability (Spain): To vote.

Tomás Bilbao, executive director, branding and communications, Thunderbird School of Global Management (Venezuela): I first became a citizen by derivative when both my parents became naturalized citizens and I was a legal resident under the age of 18.

Catalina Monsalve, program coordinator senior, Global Outreach and Extended Education (Colombia): I love this country and have been wanting to become a citizen since I came in 1999. Given the political turmoils and talks of changes to immigration policies and naturalization standards, I thought it was imperative to make sure I was a citizen of the country I've called home for the last 20 years of my life.

Stefanie Botner, manager, International Students and Scholars Center (Germany): I wanted to become a citizen so I could participate in elections and to obtain a government job someday.

Sara Sami Jamous, lecturer, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (Lebanon): To get the freedom that I have been waiting for.

Marco Mangone, associate professor, School of Life Sciences, Biodesign Institute (Italy): I came to the U.S. 20 years ago with $500 and the desire to learn how to become a scientist. America has given me a lot of opportunities that I am tremendously grateful for, and I wanted to continue to realize my American dream. It might sound like a cliché, but it's true.

Sandra Martinez, manager, Administrative Support Operations and Staff Success, College of Health Solutions (Mexico): For decades, my father, grandfather and other relatives had migrated back and forth to the U.S. when workers were needed under the Bracero program and the like. My father eventually wanted for us to be together, so when I was 5 he brought us to the U.S. for a better life and a good education. It wasn't an easy journey, though. We had many hardships, but my father worked hard for us to become permanent legal residents in 1994. 

Now, I was motivated to apply for naturalization because I wanted to be a voice for others with my vote. I'm very fortunate to be where I am today as an immigrant, but being an immigrant in this country with the current administration you don’t know what to expect. I did not want to risk the laws changing and not be able to become a citizen. 

What does the concept of U.S. independence and freedom mean to you?

Sukharev: To choose your own path in life and follow your dreams.

Manuel-Navarrete: It means that institutions should be designed to work so as to enhance people's well-being, happiness and personal development.

Bilbao: The U.S. is more than a country. It stands for hope and opportunity for millions of people around the world. My family was fortunate that we had the resources and know-how to immigrate legally, but millions of others are not. Their desire to come to the U.S., provide their children a better future and to contribute to our country are no less deserving of our embrace.

Monsalve:  Growing up in a predominantly Catholic and generally conservative family, I always had a feeling that I was different, that I didn't necessarily fit in. When I came to the U.S. I was able to just be me, be myself, speak my truth from a personal but educated point of view, without the fear that my words would be misinterpreted in any way. Being able to just travel, live by myself and not have to marry or have children if I didn't choose to because of societal pressures. 

Botner: U.S. freedom and independence means to be able to speak and act freely. 

Jamous: It means the ability to think, speak, work and make decisions loudly for myself and environment. 

Mangone: Freedom means that you can be whatever you want, free of judgment. The only limitation on realizing your potential should be you. This is a foundation that the United States was built on, and it is a privilege that we all need to prize and defend — because you cannot take freedom for granted.

Martinez: The concept of U.S. independence/freedom is very beautiful to me. We have the privilege to practice any religion, have freedom of speech, we have a democratic process where we can vote and have access to education, to name a few. I am very thankful for all the men and women who have served to give us this amazing way of life. America is the land of opportunity where dreams do come true if you work hard and do everything you can to be the best version of yourself. The American dream is real, and I am happy to live the dream my parents dreamed for me.  

What moved you or resonated with you the most during your naturalization ceremony?

Sukharev: One particular speech given by an old lady, in which she told everyone how proud she was that she became a citizen that day, how hard she worked to get there. I believe she was 70 years old on that day.

Manuel-Navarrete: Over the last six years I have developed a strong personal connection with the land: the warmth of the Sonoran desert, its endless skies, the scorpions and eagles. Above all the Native cultures and spirits, the presence of which can still be felt within meandering valleys, rising mountains, rolling prairies or storming rivers. At the ceremony I was struck by the realization that I was the last one in a long string of many million Europeans who have disembarked on this land for the last three centuries. At first I felt somehow guilty for not having asked permission more explicitly, then a deep sense of responsibility to keep appreciating and respecting the land and a commitment to love it as an extension of myself.

Bilbao: I accompanied my father to his naturalization ceremony at a basketball stadium in Houston. I remember his face full of pride. At the time I thought it was about how proud he was to become an American, and that was true, but I now understand that it was also about what it meant for his four sons.

Monsalve: For me, it was being given the opportunity to volunteer to speak about my experience that made it more meaningful, not for me particularly, but for the people that had helped me get there: my mother, my ex-husband, my friends, coworkers, previous ASU bosses. I think I had over 25 guests there just for me; it was truly special to feel all that love and support. Getting the naturalization certificate, registering to vote and sending off the paperwork for the blue passport was the cherry on top! Very special day indeed.

Botner: I got chills when it was time to take the oath of allegiance. I have heard the words many times but never swore to them. 

Jamous:  It resonated with my feelings, and it was amazing to share that moment with other immigrants and my family.

Mangone: After the pledge of allegiance, President Obama appeared on a screen and delivered a welcome speech to all of us. This really touched me, because he made me feel like I'm part of a big family — with all its rights and responsibilities.

Martinez: The sweetest thing during my speech was seeing my dad there and thanking him for everything he had done for our family. Everyone gave him a round of applause, and that was truly special for me. I was also very happy to have my family and my amazing ASU colleagues there who had followed my journey. David Garcia even made it to my ceremony, which was super sweet that he took the time to be there. Lastly, if felt so nice addressing everyone as "my fellow Americans" — I had been wanting to say that for years!  

How did you celebrate your citizenship milestone?

Sukharev: With the family and friends — we celebrate this day as our second birthday.

Manuel-Navarrete: By meditating.

Bilbao: My parents met as graduate students at ASU in 1971. My father was studying physics and my mother international relations. They got married at St. Mary's church across the street from Fulton (Center) the following year. Almost 50 years later, I accepted a job with ASU and moved my family to Phoenix. Now my son, only 2, gets to walk around the Tempe campus where his grandparents once did, and where he too may be a student in the future. Last month I celebrated my 20th anniversary of having become a U.S. citizen. I've been a public servant in the federal government, managed a charitable organization, volunteered in my community and now serve the people of Arizona at ASU. I celebrate the gift of U.S. citizenship every year by doing my best to give back to the community and to protect the values that make the U.S. such a special and unique country.

Monsalve: I had a lot of people there to support me and celebrate this accomplishment. Afterwards we went to a restaurant for lunch, and other friends who could not make the ceremony joined us for dinner and drinks. For myself, the celebration became meaningful when I got my U.S. passport and my naturalization certificate. I cried in private, celebrated by going to get a glass of wine by myself and really take in the changes that were taking place. I did not realize how much fear I had been carrying for 20 years. It had paralyzed me for so long, and feeling that weight being lifted off was the unexpected gift I received after becoming a U.S. citizen. I was really sad that my dad (stepfather) was not there to see me become a citizen, which is why I celebrated in private, by myself, later on.

Botner: My family took me out for a small breakfast, and my co-workers threw me a surprise pizza party. 

Jamous: We had a big party/dinner.

Mangone: We had a barbecue with friends — it was really nice.

Martinez: We celebrated twice. First with a lovely lunch after my ceremony and second with an American-themed party at our home with family and friends. I had lots of fun testing the knowledge of our guests with the online civics test that I used to study for my citizenship interview. Let's just say many did not pass — and they were citizens!

Top photo: Catalina Monsalve, with ASU's Global Outreach and Extended Education in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, celebrates after her naturalization ceremony on April 12, 2019. Photo courtesy of Catalina Monsalve

Joe Caspermeyer

Manager (natural sciences) , Media Relations & Strategic Communications