Craig Calhoun, former president of London School of Economics and Political Science, joins ASU

World-renowned social scientist to focus on strengthening social sciences to address society's most complex problems

July 5, 2018

Craig Calhoun, the world-renowned social scientist and former director and president of the London School of Economics and Political Science, has joined Arizona State University as University Professor of social sciences.

Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle announced Calhoun’s appointment. Download Full Image

“Craig will serve as a catalyst for our efforts to enhance our impact in keeping with our charter’s instruction to advance research and discovery of public value and assume responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities we serve,” Searle said. “To accomplish this, we need to bring to bear our substantial expertise in the social sciences with other disciplines, and Craig will be working to enable that outcome.”

Calhoun’s work at ASU will focus on strengthening the ability of the social sciences, working together with the natural sciences and humanities, to address the most complex problems facing society today — problems ranging from the shifting nature of globalization to renewal of place-based communities and the complicated social and ethical issues raised by new technologies such as gene editing and artificial intelligence.

Calhoun previously served as president of the Berggruen Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, where his work has included developing an agenda for the organization based on improving governance systems in light of great transformations that reshape human life, such as advances in science and technology and the restructuring of global economics and politics. He joined Berggruen from the presidency of the London School of Economics.

“ASU has offered me the freedom to work on what I think are the most important questions in the world to which I can make a contribution,” Calhoun said. “I’m not locked into a single discipline or to just one of these questions. I’m able to connect the questions to each other, connect fields and lines of inquiry to each other, connect different schools at ASU to each other.”

Calhoun received his DPhilDPhil is an equivalent term for PhD. DPhil, from the English "Doctor of Philosophy" is used by a small number of British and Commonwealth universities, including Oxford. from Oxford, combining politics, sociology, and history. He also has advanced degrees in anthropology. His career has been interdisciplinary, but with a core focus on sociology.

He will hold joint appointments in the School of Politics and Global Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the School of Public Affairs in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions; the School for the Future of Innovation in Society; the School of Sustainability; and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative effort between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Beyond exploring the societal challenges and ethical dilemmas posed by scientific advances, Calhoun will spend his time researching and writing about large social, political and economic issues relating to global economic transformations, participation in the political process, financial instability, reimagining and reinventing universities, and the creativity that goes into designing, building and sustaining communities, which are under significant stress in today’s society.

“If we value community, we have to figure out how to reinvent it,” he said. “We can’t just make community great again. We’ve got to figure out how to make community anew, if that’s what we want.”

Calhoun started at ASU on July 1.

Solving community challenges in Africa: ASU hosts up-and-coming leaders

June 28, 2018

Benigno Canze smiles and extends his hand as a woman approaches his table at a welcome reception held June 22 at the Maricopa County Security Building ballroom in downtown Phoenix.

Dressed in a periwinkle blue suit over a vivid orange and navy blue shirt, the Mozambique medical administrator is one of 25 professionals from 17 sub-Saharan African countries attending a six-week training program hosted by Arizona State University’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions. They’re part of a U.S. Department of State leadership program called the Young African Leaders Initiative or YALI. It was created by former President Barack Obama to help educate the next generation of leaders in Africa. This is the fifth year ASU is hosting YALI fellows. Mandela Washington Fellows Mandela Washington Fellows Janet Leparteleg (far left) and Daniel Mbonzo (far right) at a reception hosted by the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Download Full Image

Canze started a nonprofit in Mozambique named Kumbatiro that helps pregnant women and young children receive the medical information and attention they need. He’s hoping to learn what it takes to expand his program to serve more mothers and small children.

“It's painful for me when I see that these small kids are condemned,” Canze said. “Some of them are born HIV-positive because their mothers are not receiving medical assistance. So, I would like to change this.”

A couple tables away Janet Leparteleg and fellow Kenyan Daniel Mbonzo discuss their goals as Mandela Washington Fellows. Mbonzo, a registered nurse, created a program to help people who are in poor health or suffer chronic illness receive proper diagnoses and treatment. Leparteleg, a financial cybersecurity specialist, began computer clubs at high schools in the northern Kenyan town of Maralal to encourage more young women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

“I started training the girls for careers in STEM because there's a huge gap for women in technology for sure, and where I come from girls rarely go to school,” Leparteleg said. “And if they get to school they don't get to go through the mainstream careers. The option they're given is either teaching on nursing.”

Jonathan Koppell, dean of the ASU College of Public Service and Community Solutions, formally welcomed the fellows and community members to the reception.

“Every year, we are blown away by the talent that is brought to us by the Mandela Washington Program,” he said.

Benigno Canze

Benigno Canze of Mozambique talks to Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, at a reception held for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows in downtown Phoenix.

Koppell explained that while the young African leaders travel to Arizona to learn, those who come in contact with them end up learning quite a bit from the fellows.

“When we tell people about this program, we always want to make clear that this isn't a group of visiting students,” Koppell said. “These are highly accomplished professionals who have done things in circumstances that we would view as an impossible set of challenges and need to be recognized as such.”

The event is the first opportunity for the 25 young African leaders to meet local professionals, college staff and instructors from the Bob Ramsey Executive Education program in the School of Public Affairs. Over the next six weeks, the fellows will learn how to be effective public managers and leaders through a series of lectures, workshops and visits to governmental and nonprofit organizations throughout the state. Mandela Washington Fellows are assigned community mentors to advise them and are introduced to people in their field who can help them succeed.

Martin Muganzi was in the first class of fellows to study at ASU in the summer of 2014. He had started an organization in Uganda to address his country’s alarming school dropout rate. Seven in 10 children stop going to school. Muganzi knew what he wanted to do — create vocational and career training — but didn’t know how to accomplish it.

“When I was here I met a number of young Africans very much doing the same thing in their home countries, and they shared a lot of their experiences,” Muganzi said. “And then we met a number of organizations and faculty who had the same kind of experience with the ideas we're trying to implement back in Uganda.”

Martin Muganzi

Martin Muganzi of Uganda came to Arizona State University in 2014 as a Mandela Washington Fellow.

He left Arizona confident he could get primary school dropouts to learn a vocational trade and improve their lives. What started as a two-person organization operating out of one center quickly grew after his return.

“Now we have about 30 staff in the space of four years, and we just keep growing,” Muganzi said. ”This opportunity — being a Mandela Washington Fellow — was like a confirmation that you can do this.”

Before they leave, each fellow will develop and present a plan identifying the community need they are addressing and how they plan to tackle it. Before they return home they will spend a week in Washington, D.C., with 700 other fellows who are studying at different American universities.

"Africa has a lot of potential, and I just love the fact that the U.S. is sponsoring this,” Leparteleg said. “It gives us an opportunity to come out of our shells and be the leaders that we want to see our continent get to the next level.”

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


Morrison Institute's Joseph Garcia honored for public service work

June 27, 2018

Valle de Sol, a Phoenix-based human services and leadership training nonprofit, awarded its 2018 Daniel R. Ortega Jr. Public Service Award to Joseph Garcia, director of the Latino Public Policy Center at Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Garcia, who also is director of communication and community impact at Morrison Institute, was given the award during the 2018 graduation ceremony of the Hispanic Leadership Institute (HLI). Joe Garcia Download Full Image

Ortega, a civil rights attorney and community leader, presented the award with his namesake, citing Garcia’s public policy work at Morrison Institute, including such reports as Arizona’s Emerging Latino Vote and Who Is Arizona’s Independent Voter? as well as Garcia's continued work toward advancing the educational attainment of Latinos. A longtime journalist, Garcia has also taught as an adjunct professor at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, His civic involvement includes serving on the boards of Arizona Children’s Action Alliance, a family advocacy nonprofit organization, and Friendly House, a nonprofit agency for workplace development, education and family services.

Garcia, who joined the Morrison Institute in 2009, said he was “honored and humbled” by the award.

“But tonight isn’t about me,” he told the audience at the Wells Fargo Conference Center in downtown Phoenix. “Tonight is about you, the Hispanic Leadership Institute grads, as you take yet another step in your life, career and pathway of leadership.”

Garcia said Arizona both welcomes and needs this new wave of leadership.

“Latinos literally represent our state’s future,” Garcia said, noting how Arizona will become a minority-majority state by 2030 and that there already are more Latino children in Arizona’s K–12 public schools than non-Latino white classmates.

“As Latinos go, so goes Arizona. Latinos in Arizona will continue to play a larger role in our state — not just in terms of demographics and mega-consumer power, but also in leadership, decision-making and culture. Our culture is strong.”

A Flagstaff native, Garcia urged HLI graduates to rise above recent discouraging acts of racism, noting that although Arizona is an exceptionally diverse state, there is but one Arizona for all people.

“It’s about ‘us,’ but not about ‘us verses them,’” Garcia said. “That’s what they do; they pit us against each other. The ‘us’ I’m talking about is big enough for all who are willing and of pure heart to build a better Arizona through education, opportunity, equity and action."

Garcia earned his master's degree in nonprofit leadership and management from the School of Community Resources and Development at ASU and his bachelor's of journalism degree from the University of Arizona.

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


Bearing the Unbearable

When a loved one dies, the pain of loss can feel unbearable — especially in the case of a traumatizing death that leaves us shouting, “No!” with every fiber of our body. The process of grieving can feel wild and nonlinear — and often lasts for much longer than other people, the nonbereaved, tell us it should.

Social work professor’s self-help book wins national award

June 15, 2018

A book on grieving authored by ASU School of Social Work Associate Professor Joanne Cacciatore is the Gold Award winner in the 2017 Indies Book of the Year Award. The literary award, given by Foreword Reviews, honors the best books published in 2017 from small, indie and university presses, as well as self-published authors. A panel of more than 150 booksellers and librarians selected winners in more than 60 categories.

Cacciatore’s book, "Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief," explores the grieving process through the stories of people who have lost their children, siblings and parents. Joanne Cacciatore Joanne Cacciatore outside The Book Stall in Winnetka, Illinois, in June 2017 where she spoke about her book "Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief." Download Full Image

“I feel deeply honored — and more than that, I feel like the lives of all those who died, whose stories are featured in the book, have been honored,” said Cacciatore.

Read: Praise for 'Bearing the Unbearable' on Sun Devil Shelf Life

Cacciatore’s interest in grief began after her daughter Cheyenne was stillborn in 1994. She felt lost after being released from the hospital without guidance on where to turn for help. She vowed to do something about it.

She turned her academic research focus to grieving and in 1996 started the MISS Foundation, an international nonprofit that provides the kind of help she didn’t have after losing her daughter. Over the years, she had been asked to recommend books on grieving but had trouble finding something that was well-written. So when she was approached by Wisdom Publications about writing a book, she jumped at the chance in the hope it would fuel a revolution in the way our culture views grief and treats those grieving.

Cacciatore feels encouraged by the reaction of readers and critics alike.

“We so rarely talk about the deaths of children and the resultant grief in our society,” Cacciatore said. “This book and its teachings are long overdue.”

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


Social work doctoral student connects research to her community

June 11, 2018

Charlene Poola says her interest in social work started with her mother.

“I am Hopi-Tewa and Navajo. My mother would be sure that the elders in our community had transportation to get groceries or go to the Laundromat. She would take them to town to get a warm meal,” Poola said. “I saw her community mobilizing. I didn’t know it was social work, but thought — that’s what I want to do.” Charlene Poola Charlene Poola Download Full Image

Poola is now pursuing her PhD in social work at Arizona State University. She is also one year into a prestigious Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship Program for doctoral students.

The program supports students who are leading efforts to improve healthcare outcomes for diverse, underserved populations.

Connecting research and practice

Before coming to ASU, Poola spent 14 years working with tribes in New Mexico.

“I really liked working with tribal organizations to enhance their behavioral systems. I was working for the University of New Mexico to bring in partnerships. My goal was to make sure our work was engaged, using community-based participatory research principles,” she said.

Poola did a needs assessment with New Mexico Native American tribes. It took nearly eight months to identify behavioral health resources, types of therapy provided and support the tribal organizations wanted to see and their thoughts about evidence-based treatments.

“Back then evidence-based was a buzzword,” she said. “I compiled the feedback and was able to present the needs to UNM and the tribal organizations to develop resources.”

“I didn’t want to collect data just to collect data,” she said. “This is what the tribes need and we have a responsibility as a public institution to support those needs. I also didn’t want to do that without tribal involvement.”

The results of her assessment took off for eight years. She helped three tribes get SAMSA grants. They implemented clinical trainings statewide that fused traditional and western culture.

Poola would stay with UNM but moved to more of a hospital environment.

“I discovered that I didn’t really like it. I realized that I am a community-based person. I also realized that our work — American Indians — was not being represented in research so that’s when I decided to come back to school,” she said.

Bringing expertise back to the community

Poola examines how to help American Indians adapt evidence-based treatment to fit their communities. She is particularly interested in the process.

“When I graduated with my master’s degree, I was a clinical social worker. The first thing I wanted to do is find out what treatments are out there for American Indians. At that time — 2003 — there were none. So what are we doing in the field to make it work?”

Poola says she learned from the team who had years of experience.

“Now, I know what occurs, because I have 14 years of practice but I didn’t document how I did it. I just knew surface adaptations that needed to occur,” she said. “I knew we needed to start doing this. Our upcoming generation of clinicians needs to have a bag of tools to provide the best treatment possible.”

She’ll be working with tribes in New Mexico as part of her dissertation.

“Social work is about addressing social injustices, social equality. I feel like if we have more students of color addressing this, maybe there would be more equitable resources for all to access,” Poola said.

Heather Beshears

director marketing and communications, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


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In banner year, more ASU students earning prestigious scholarships

More ASU students winning prestigious scholarships, some for the first time.
June 8, 2018

In addition to elite awards, Sun Devils are winning fellowships for the first time

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2018 here.

When Elyse Kats heads off to study sustainability in northern Arizona this summer, she’ll be among the first Arizona State University students to be a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar.

Kats is one of four ASU undergraduates to win the award this year, a highly selective two-year program to pursue coursework and conduct research leading to careers in environmental conservation.

Kats, a sustainability major, applied specifically because of the focus on public policy.

“I’m from Kansas and when I came to ASU I loved learning about the Southwest and I can see myself doing conservation and policy work here,” said Kats, whose program this summer is based at Northern Arizona University. “Traveling is cool but I was excited about staying in Arizona for the summer because this is where I can see myself really making a difference.”

Kats is part of a banner year for ASU when it comes to prestigious scholarships. Not only did more ASU students get into high-status programs, they’re also winning awards that have never gone to Sun Devils before, such as the Doris Duke program. ASU also had five students who were the first Sun Devils to be accepted into DAAD-RISE, the German Academic Exchange Service Research Internships in Science and Engineering program, according to Kyle Mox, director of the Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement at ASU.

“A lot of these awards aren’t household names because we don’t see a winner in the category every year from ASU, but this year was remarkable because across all of these different programs, we managed to have success in almost every one,” he said.

Mox said that considering the size and breadth of the student body at ASU, he’s been working to get more Sun Devils to apply for top-level scholarships.

"One of the major shifts that I’ve observed is that applying for these national scholarships and fellowships is perceived by many ASU students as a ‘normal’ part of their educational journey," he said. "While many people might consider applying for a Rhodes Scholarship, a Fulbright award or an NSF grant to be too far-fetched, our students see them as feasible options for supporting their personal, professional and academic development."

Mox said that students see the value of going through the application process.

"We can never promise our students that they’ll win, but we can always promise that they’ll grow as a person if they take the process seriously," he said. "They become better writers, better thinkers and better leaders who have a clearer picture of what they want out of life."

Ryan Kiracofe, a mechanical engineering major, is in the first group of Sun Devils in the DAAD-RISE program. He’s in Germany this summer, researching how to keep buildings cool without using mechanical or electrical systems.

Kiracofe applied to the program because the internship is paid, the research is high level and he can easily travel around Europe on the weekends.

“The only negative aspect is if you live in a large city, you may not ‘make’ money at the end of the summer, but the experience is more than worth it,” he said.

Kiracofe got help with his interview and with finding housing from the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, which will review essays and run mock interviews as well as holding workshops and information sessions on top scholarships.

“There are hundreds and perhaps thousands of these fellowships out there,” Mox said. “Some are very narrow and specific. The Rhodes is very well known but we won’t see hundreds of applicants for that.

“We try to limit ourselves to programs we can provide resources on, that are a good fit for our students, and provide good advice for those.”

Some of the most prestigious scholarships require applicants to be approved by ASU, but not all of them do. Some ASU students apply without the assistance of the scholarship office, so tracking numbers is difficult. Here is a roundup of the top awards this year:

Marshall Scholar

The scholar: Frank Smith III, who earned degrees in political science and public service and public policy in May, will study comparative social policy at the University of Oxford for the next two years. Smith also won a Truman Scholarship two years ago.

The program: The Marshall Scholarship, established in 1953 to express the post-World War II gratitude of the British people to America, supports two years of graduate study in the United Kingdom. There were 929 applicants in 2018, and of the 43 Marshall Scholars selected, only 11 are from public universities.

How ASU compares: In the past five years, ASU has ranked 11th in the U.S. for producing Marshall Scholars, tied with Brown, Berkeley, Cornell and Duke.

Gates Cambridge Scholar

The scholar: Charity Bhebhe, who earned her degree in molecular biology and biotechnology, will pursue a doctoral degree in pharmacology at Cambridge University. Bhebhe, who is from Zimbabwe, was a Mastercard Foundation Scholar and was in Barrett, The Honors College.

The program: The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established in 2000 by a donation of $210 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge, the largest ever single donation to a U.K. university. The 92 Gates Cambridge Scholars were chosen from a pool of more than 5,800 applicants from around the world.

How ASU compares: Bhebhe is the third Gates Cambridge Scholar from ASU in the past four years and the fifth since 2010.

Truman Scholar

The scholar: Alexa Scholl, a senior majoring in political science and Spanish, won $30,000 for postgraduate study. Scholl, one of 59 students to win the award, also is a member of the Prescott City Council and is a Tillman Scholar. She is in Barrett, The Honors College, and intends to go to law school.

The program: The Truman Scholarship, launched in 1975, is named for President Harry Truman, who did not go to college. It is the most prestigious national scholarship for undergraduates pursuing careers in government or public service.

How ASU compares: Scholl is ASU’s fifth Truman Scholar in the past 10 years, placing ASU ahead of the University of Texas, University of Michigan, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern and Berkeley.

Goldwater Scholar

The scholars: Two juniors in Barrett, The Honor College, were named winners. Meilin Zhu, a biochemistry major, wants to research technological solutions for global health needs. Humza Zubair has been researching neural systems at Barrow Neurological Institute for four years and in his freshman year, he authored an article that was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The program: The scholarship, established in 1986 and named for Sen. Barry Goldwater, an Arizona native, is the most prestigious undergraduate award in the nation for students in science, math and engineering fields who aspire to research careers. The 211 scholars were chosen from a pool of 1,280 applicants.

How ASU compares: ASU has produced 22 Goldwater Scholars, putting ASU in the top 10 schools in the U.S., ahead of the University of Chicago, Yale, Columbia, Duke and Northwestern.

Udall Undergraduate Scholar

The scholars: The two ASU seniors who were among 50 winners are Kinley Ragan and Karen Ibarra. Ragan, a conservation biology and ecology major, will study human-wildlife conflict management in national parks in Thailand, Australia, Nepal, South Africa and Colombia this summer, funded by a Barrett Global Explorers Grant. Ibarra, a sustainability major who transferred from Phoenix College, is active in Living United for Change in Arizona, an organization that advocates for social, economic and racial justice.

The program: Udall Undergraduate Scholarships are awarded for public service and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. The scholarships are named for brothers Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall, former congressmen from Arizona and advocates for environmental reform.

How ASU compares: Over the past decade, 13 ASU students have been selected as Udall Scholars, ranking ASU first, tied with the University of Georgia, and ahead of Cornell, Brown, American and Stanford universities.

Boren Scholars

The scholars: Robert Brown and Monica Orillo were selected as Boren Scholars. Brown, who is majoring in finance and Russian, will study Russian at Daugavpils University in Latvia. Orillo, a political science major, will study Tagalog at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

The program: The scholarship is sponsored by the National Security Education Program to build a broader and more qualified pool of Americans with foreign language and international skills by promoting long-term linguistic and cultural immersion. The program is named for David L. Boren, a former senator and the current president of the University of Oklahoma.

How ASU compares: Over the past decade, more than 45 ASU students have received Boren Awards, placing ASU among the nation’s leaders for this program, in which scholars commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

Critical Languages Scholarships

The scholars: Three students, Erica Glenn, Oscar-Armando Orozco and Kayla Phillips, will spend up to 10 weeks abroad. Both Orozco, an urban planning major, and Glenn, who is pursuing a graduate degree in conducting, will study Russian in Georgia. Phillips, a Japanese major, will study in Japan.

The program: Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the program includes intensive language instruction and cultural experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

How ASU compares: Over the past decade, ASU has sent 34 scholarship winners abroad to study Punjabi, Arabic, Bangla, Russian, Korean, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Turkish and Azerbaijani.

Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowships

The scholars: Two juniors, Anirudh Koka, who’s majoring in economics and global politics, and Christopher Frias, who’s majoring in public service and public policy, won the awards.

The program: The scholarship dates to the 1970s and was created to increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities in public service. Scholars attend a summer institute at Carnegie Mellon University focusing on economics, statistics, and domestic and international policy issues in preparation for graduate study in public policy or international affairs.

How ASU compares: The PPIA Fellowship is one of the programs that the Office of National Scholarship Advisement has been emphasizing in the past few years. At least five Sun Devils have won the awards since 2015.

Fulbright awards

ASU continues to produce many winners in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. So far in the 2019–20 competition cycle, 21 ASU applicants have won Fulbright awards to study, research or teach abroad. Over the past decade, 183 Sun Devils have received Fulbright awards, putting ASU among the top 10 Fulbright-producing research institutions, ahead of Stanford, Penn, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Duke.

ASU leads the nation in awardees to the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission Summer Institutes, with 19 Sun Devils selected since the program launched in 2010. In the 2018 cycle, three ASU students were selected: Justin Heywood, a political science and Spanish double-major who will study at Aberystwyth University, and Maggie Waller, a dance major, and Miranda Yousif, a microbiology major, who will both study at the University of Bristol.

Gilman International Scholarships

For the 2017–2018 competition cycle, 24 ASU students were awarded Gilman International Scholarships, which are U.S. Department of State-funded grants for students with financial need. The program funds international travel for young people who might not otherwise consider study abroad — such as first-generation college students, those with disabilities and underrepresented ethnic and demographic groups. The program also sends scholars to more places outside of Western Europe — the most popular study-abroad locale. Among the destinations for ASU students are Costa Rica, China, South Korea, New Zealand, Tanzania, Peru, India and Chile.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Nineteen ASU students and alumni were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships to support advanced graduate study in STEM fields. Over the past five years, 117 ASU students and alumni have received NSF Fellowships. Recipients are selected on the basis of their intellectual merit and potential for social impact.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


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Smithsonian exhibit to flow through state, exploring towns' water stories

Last winter was the driest ever recorded in Arizona.
In Page, it’s dams; in Bisbee, it’s mining — each water story is different.
ASU-developed WaterSim tool helps users visualize real water issues.
June 1, 2018

ASU contributes technology, story gathering to 'Water/Ways,' which will travel to 12 rural communities over next 2 years

The story of water in Arizona is as long and complex as the multibiomedArizona’s biotic communities represent almost all of the world's biomes. state itself, but as it snakes its way through the years — from the Pima settling on the banks of the Gila River to Charles Trumbull Hayden’s 19th-century ferry to today’s literal powerhouse Salt River Project — it remains inextricably linked to the inhabitants of the region who depend on it.

Beginning this summer, 12 rural communities throughout the state will get the chance to explore the past, present and future of water’s environmental and cultural impact in Arizona and beyond when the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit “Water/Ways” visits their town, beginning with the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum on June 2.

Presented by Arizona State University and Arizona Humanities, the exhibit's journey continues through March 2020.

“It’s almost so obvious that it’s hard to say something profound about it here in the desert,” said ASU history Professor Paul Hirt. “Everyone can intuitively see that without water, there isn’t life.

“What that leads to is the question of, in a situation where we have an extremely important and critical resource that’s also in short supply, how do we rationally and fairly and responsibly mange that scarce resource to ensure that everybody has access to it and that we’re not wasting it?”

Three years ago, Hirt was invited along with School of Community Resources and Development Professor Dave White to Washington, D.C., to consult on the design of a national water-themed exhibit for the Smithsonian. They presented the planning group with a demonstration of a visualization tool ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City had developed to estimate water supply and demand for the Phoenix metropolitan area.

WaterSim, as it is called, was a hit.

Paul Hirt

A systems dynamics model, WaterSim uses a web browser interface to allow users to view and alter data points — such as water supply, water demand, climate, population and policy data — and make side-by-side comparisons to understand how one variable relates to another.

For example, by adjusting certain variables, users can explore how water sustainability is influenced by various scenarios of regional growth, drought, climate change impacts and water management policies.

WaterSim was originally developed to estimate water supply and demand exclusively for the Phoenix area; a dedicated teamDavid Sampson, Ray Quay, Liz Marquez and Emily Grunspan all contributed to the project. at Decision Center for a Desert City worked with the Smithsonian to adapt the model to reflect the water data points unique to each location along the national “Water/Ways” route.

“Partnering with the Smithsonian on this project gave us an opportunity to expand the scope and impact of the work being done at DCDC to well beyond Phoenix and Arizona, to provide an informal educational experience in rural areas and reach an audience much broader in scope and background than we had previously been able to reach,” said White, director of Decision Center for a Desert City and a senior sustainability scientist at ASU.

That reach will expand even further now that a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation has made it possible for the WaterSim model to be disseminated throughout schools in each of the 12 communities that will host the “Water/Ways” exhibit over the next two years. Teachers are currently undergoing training on how to integrate the tool into their classroom curriculum through engaging activities for their students.

“We really see it as a vital, civic engagement activity and an important part of being an informed citizen," White said. “So it’s really important that students and others in the community are aware of the challenges that we face in managing water resources and how they can become informed and participate in the discussion and the decisions that affect them and their livelihoods moving forward.”

dave white

Dave White

SRP is also on board, having recently approved a $25,000 contribution to Arizona Humanities for the project.

Scott Harelson, a representative of the agency, said, “Given SRP’s role in water resource management and our leadership in educational programs, our involvement with these exhibits provides an opportunity to encourage and support greater discussion of water-related issues facing Arizona.”

In addition to taking the WaterSim model for a spin, visitors of the exhibits will be treated to the unique water story of each town it shows in. Over the past year, Hirt traveled with his students and Arizona Humanities grant manager Samantha Anderson to each of the 12 sites throughout the state, meeting with residents at museums and libraries to brainstorm ways to tell their story.

“Right at the very core of this program is the idea that if we’re going to educate and influence people on important themes, they need the science as well as the social science behind it,” said Hirt, also a senior sustainability scientist at ASU. “Water is more than something that we drink when we’re thirsty and use to grow crops and take showers. Water is something that has cultural meaning and is something that we often have intimate relationships with.

“In states like Arizona, where water is so scarce, it’s a blessing to come across natural flowing water. We seek it out, taking a dip in cool mountain streams on hot summer days, going boating and fishing on natural lakes along the Mogollon Rim and in Verde Valley streams. These things are part of our experience of being human in the dessert, seeking out water and celebrating the different kinds of ecosystems supported by water.

“The Smithsonian and ASU believe you need a holistic approach to understand something like water, in order to be able to fully address the challenges we face in seeking a just and sustainable future.”

To ensure that invaluable social perspective was brought to the project, Arizona Humanities provided a small amount of funding for the creation of each exhibit.

“We wanted to create conversations around the human experience with water and how it affects us all,” Anderson said. “The fact of the matter is, you’re always downstream from somebody.”

And each story, as she, Hirt and his students discovered along their tour, is different: in Page, it’s dams; in Verde Valley, it’s riparian rights; in Bisbee, it’s mining.

“Bisbee has a very personal history with water, as does everyone,” said Carrie Gustavson, director of the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. “Water is an important part of everyone’s life, and we are excited to explore what it means culturally, socially and spiritually in our own community.”

With this past winter being the driest ever recorded in Arizona, Hirt pointed out that the timing of the “Water/Ways” exhibition is especially relevant: “I think it’s time for everybody to start thinking about the future not being the same as the past and preparing to be more resilient and efficient.”

Top photo: Sun rises above the eastern end of Lake Mead, close to the Hoover Dam, on July 28, 2016. A hundred-food deep "bathtub ring" is a visible indicator around much of the lake of the volume of water missing from the Colorado River fed reservoir. The "Water/Ways" exhibit will address such issues of scarcity of water for desert dwellers. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Policing Immigrants

The United States deported nearly 2 million illegal immigrants during the first five years of the Obama presidency — more than during any previous administration. President Barack Obama stands accused by activists of being “deporter in chief.” Yet despite efforts to rebuild what many see as a broken system, the president has not yet been able to convince Congress to pass new immigration legislation, and his record remains rooted in a political landscape that was created long before his election.

ASU criminology professor part of national research collaborative on youth firearm injuries, deaths

May 30, 2018

Medical and academic researchers are conducting the first major study in 20 years on firearm injuries and deaths of children and teens. The $5 million project seeks to reduce the number of young people wounded and killed by guns. Firearm-related fatalities are the second leading cause of death among children, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“There is a gap in the literature and now we have an opportunity to actually go back and identify these gaps and come up with good policies that are based on facts, that are based on best practices, and based on what we know,” said Jesenia Pizarro, an associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. Jesenia Pizzaro ASU Associate Professor Jesenia Pizarro Download Full Image

Pizarro, who studies homicide, is one 20 researchers from a dozen universities and health-care organizations taking part in the interdisciplinary study. The consortium includes specialists in trauma surgery, adult and pediatric medicine, psychiatry and psychology.

“The large problem of gun violence, as it affects children and adolescents in the U.S., cannot be solved without an interdisciplinary group of scientists coming together to bring their individual expertise to develop solutions to this complex issue,” said Frederick P. Rivara, a professor of pediatrics and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington.

Researchers are working on different teams tasked with examining a specific focus. The first task is to create a research agenda or outline for the field of firearm injury that is specific to pediatrics. It’s scheduled to be published this fall.

“The Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) put out a broad report in 2013 but it didn’t have a research agenda on the firearm issues specifically affecting children,” said Stephen Hargarten, a professor and chair of emergency medicine and director of the Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Our workgroups are already reviewing current literature to highlight those issues and find the research gaps, and by the end of the summer, we will publish the ‘big questions’ that require investigation.”

Researchers are also working on five small projects to generate preliminary data for use on larger scale studies of firearm injuries. The FACTS consortium will serve as a training ground for new researchers, including graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. A webinar series to educate researchers will also be produced.

“There are not enough researchers, trainees, junior faculty or funding for seed projects in this research area and this is truly a capacity-building grant to jump-start the field of pediatric firearm injury prevention,” said Rebecca Cunningham, a professor of emergency medicine at Michigan Medicine and the University of Michigan School of Public Health and associate vice president for research-health sciences at the University of Michigan. “This grant will have a significant effect on reduction of firearm injury; however, to prevent childhood firearm injury and death will require similar resources as have been applied to childhood cancer, motor vehicle crashes and asthma.”

For her part, ASU’s Pizarro will examine research on suicides, accidental and intentional shootings. Researchers will also work with stakeholder groups to identify evidence-based solutions.

“We don't want this to be one sided so we are examining the issues from varying view points and angles, we're not looking to take away people's guns or do anything like that,” cautioned Pizarro. “We just want to come up with possible solutions to prevent gun injuries.”

The interdisciplinary nature of the five-year project excites Pizarro. It’s something that will not only inform her research, but also her teaching. She considers it an honor to work with leading researchers in other disciplines.

“It’s an opportunity for me to learn so much that I could bring into my classroom — that I could bring into criminology — because, too often, the fields don't talk,” Pizarro said. “We don't talk with that emergency doctor, we don't talk with a pediatrician, we don't talk with the public health specialists and now this is an opportunity for all of us to be in the same room — for all of us to learn from each other.”

The consortium is made up of faculty from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago/Northwestern University, Arizona State University, Children's National Health System, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Columbia University, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University, University of Washington and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions