Prospective students experience the 'Thunderbird Mystique' firsthand


December 12, 2016

Thunderbird School of Global Management’s campus in Glendale is always filled with excitement, but no day rivals the excitement felt on Preview Day. This is when prospective students and their families visit the historic campus to spend a day experiencing the life of a T-bird.

During Preview Day each November, the school inspires people from around the world to visit campus and experience firsthand what global education is all about. The event also allows prospective students to explore the value and adventure that awaits them if they become part of Thunderbird’s 70-year-old, long-standing global network. Thunderbird School of Global Management Preview Day Prospective students from more than 20 countries attended Thunderbird's Preview Day in November 2016. Download Full Image

Preview Day attendees receive the red-carpet treatment at Thunderbird, with staff current students, faculty and alumni on hand to share what makes Thunderbird a unique, intimate and truly global educational experience.

This year there were 21 countries represented among the attendees.

During the visit, one of the prospective students said, “The diversity on campus was a dream come true for me. I couldn't have been happier with my visit.”

While meeting with faculty, another visitor commented, “The diversity and dedication to academic excellence really draws me. I like the fact that [Thunderbird focuses] on hands-on experiences … and is more than willing to help with getting an internship.”

Preview Day highlights included:

• an overview of Thunderbird’s specialized degree programs and campus life
• networking opportunities with the diverse Thunderbird community
• a catered lunch with faculty and current
• a preview class on “Reputation vs. Brand” presented by acclaimed Thunderbird Professor Richard Ettenson, Ph.D., a recognized expert in brand management, global strategy and marketing

As with all Thunderbird Preview Days, November’s event concluded with a memorable “Regional Night” focused on the Western Hemisphere and hosted by Thunderbird students from around the world. Thunderbird Regional Nights are a long-standing campus tradition showcasing the food, culture and traditional dress of a featured region of the world. November’s event was led by Thunderbird’s African Business Club, Middle Eastern, North African Club (MENA), and Latin American Club. The displays of different cultures were at their peak, as attendees enjoyed the diverse cuisines, music, dances and performances from these global locations.

Visiting Thunderbird’s campus helps prospective students to get a true feel for the "Thunderbird Mystique" and discover what makes Thunderbird a unique social, cultural and educational environment that can launch a global career.

The next Preview Day is March 25, 2017. Register today.

 
image title

'One of the greatest Americans of our time'

ASU's university explorer Scott Parazynski remembers the life of John Glenn.
John Glenn was an American hero and everything a fan could hope he would be.
December 8, 2016

ASU university explorer Scott Parazynski remembers his colleague and friend, astronaut and former U.S. Sen. John Glenn

John Glenn, the NASA astronaut and former U.S. senator, whose feats in the 1960s earned him entry into an elite club of bona fide American heroes, died Thursday at the age of 95.

Glenn was the last surviving of the original seven American astronauts. His flight three times around Earth in 1962 made him the first American to orbit the planet, captivating the nation.

He went on to a more than two-decade career representing his home state of Ohio in the Senate and, in 1998, returned to space setting a new record — that of the oldest American astronaut.

It was preparing for that flight, STS-95, that 77-year-old Glenn became colleagues and friends with Scott Parazynski, an astronaut, physician and now ASU university explorer and a professor of practice in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Parazynski called Glenn a true American patriot and “one of the greatest Americans of our time.” In a conversation with ASU Now, he remembers Glenn and reflects on his life and what his passing means for the country.

Question: When did you first meet John Glenn?

Answer: I first got to spend time with him in January of 1998 after he became part of our crew. He walked in to the crew in a really unique and funny way. He said, ‘If any of you guys call me Sen. Glenn, I’ll ignore you. My name is just John or Payload Specialist No. 2.' That kind of set it. He just wanted to be one of the crew, no special treatment or favors. A very down-to-earth, humble guy.

Q: You’ve said that he had inspired you before you met. Was he the icon that you expected?

A: Much more. You imagine a persona based on what you see in movies — and the only rendering we had was grainy black-and-white movies and 'The Right Stuff.' We have this perception of what he must be like; I realized he had a great patriotism about him and a real sense of mission in life. But once I got to know him, I found out he was extraordinary in many, many ways. As a pilot, as an engineer, as a statesman. He really cared about people and was an amazing character.

Q: How did he operate on board the space shuttle?

A: He wanted to be a contributing, full member of the crew, which is pretty unusual for a payload specialist. Payload specialists often would come on board and have their particular science to do and limited additional training. But he jumped in with both feet. When he started training, he was still active in the Senate, then devoted full-time to training after he retired. He really wanted to be an integral part of the mission; that included routine chores that are part of everyday life in space, and some of the jobs are not so glamorous. This was a celebrated American icon, but he just wanted to be Payload Specialist No. 2. His joke was, ‘I’m just one step ahead of Payload Specialists 3 and 4.” He was very self-deprecating.

Q: How did you work with him as his personal physician?

A: He was involved in 10 different life-science experiments, ranging from sleep studies to analyses of his immune system looking at cardiovascular adaptation and [other] functions. A number of blood draws were required during the flight and he had to be instrumented with sleep gear on his body and EEG harnesses that I’m sure were not very comfortable. But he never complained. Then of course there was the concern that this was a 77-year-old man going into an extreme environment: What if something were to happen to him? Thankfully, he was in extremely fit condition, so I didn’t have grave concerns about him managing accelerations or living and working in space. But who knows? Nobody had ever done that before. I’ve often said if something happened to John, I might as well not come home.

Q: Does any personal story stand out for you?

A: Sure. He was a dear friend and a great spirit. Sharing an intense experience like that ties you together for life. But one of the fun memories that I have of him was that — while he was a test pilot and a marine and a war hero — he was kind of a wimp when it came to needles. So one of the things I did was to sneak aboard a pair of Halloween Dracula fangs and spooked him on the flight when I was about to draw blood. We talked about that pretty much every time we saw each other in the years after. He called me Dracula or Count Parazyn-scula. He was really a humble giant among men.

Q: How important was John Glenn to NASA and the space program?

A: He took on one of the most outlandishly dangerous missions of all time when he rode Friendship 7 into orbit. It was the first orbital flight that the Americans had flown and two prior flights had blown up, you know? So the stakes were high. But he was an American patriot first and a Marine: He assessed the risk and the value of the mission and went on. Just as he had as a fighter pilot in wartime, then fought for what he thought was right over 24 years in the United States Senate, and then came back again to fly on the shuttle, which was not a trivial risk either. He was first and foremost a true American patriot, one of the greatest Americans of our time.

Q: What does his passing mean, for you and the country?

A: I feel a great void. It is a personal loss and a national loss. He was a real treasure to those who knew him and those who knew of him and what he had done. I think for future explorers and hopefully for future statesmen — and we certainly need statesmen in this day and age who can bring us together — he is a role model. There is a lot that has been written about him and lots of ways we can learn from his successes.  

Top photo: Scott Parazynski (top left) John Glenn and the crew of STS-95 aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998. Photo courtesy NASA.

Graduating student cultivates the joy – and necessity – of critical reading

ASU English student Sheilah Cummings wants to share her love for literature with others


December 8, 2016

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.

An English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher to recent immigrants, ASU master’s student Sheila Cummings was happy but not fulfilled. The California-based mother already had a Bachelor of English from UC Berkeley; she had enrolled at ASU just to get a leg-up in her teaching. Sheilah Cummings / Courtesy photo Sheila Cummings graduates from ASU this fall with a master's degree in English. "School is like the rest of life," she says, "the more you put in, the more you get out. My advice would be to fully embrace being a student. Actually do the reading!" Download Full Image

But during her ASU studies, Cummings rediscovered a dormant intellectual curiosity — and love for literature — that she hopes now to share with others. Her highly original final project was a research paper on the novela negra (black novel) tradition in Argentina. The genre draws deeply from a combination of “hard-boiled” detective fiction and Latin American writing that engages social critique, attending to socio-economic disparities within the “new suburbs” of Buenos Aires.

Cummings found that the detective fiction in Argentina is closely related to social realities that her thesis documents, having worked extensively with primary sources in both Spanish and English. Her immediate plans involve Latin America: Cummings is off to spend three weeks in Chile, traveling with her daughter in the south.

Whether she continues in her present job working with ESL students at the Adult School in Santa Cruz, CA, or if she works with college-level students, she wants to help students see literature as way for identifying and critiquing the larger culture, as the novela negra does.

We asked Cummings a few questions about why she chose ASU and how her experience in the Master of English program shaped her future plans.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study in your field? (Might be while you were at ASU or earlier.)

Answer: My initial motivation for enrolling in the MA English program at ASU was the desire to broaden my teaching horizons. I’ve been teaching ESL to adults for the last several years and I absolutely love it. But I also wanted to challenge myself and have the opportunity to teach at the local community college. I say initial because, as I progressed in the program, I rediscovered the joy of critical reading and the opportunity for deep reflection. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: Two classes in particular helped reaffirm for me the potential of literature to be life changing. One of the classes was called “American Captivities.” It dealt with writings by slaves in early American history.  I had never thought about the profound psychological effects of slavery and the diverse strategies for survival employed by slaves. The class gave me a window into a painful part of our national history and insight into some of the challenges to achieving racial equality that we still face today. The other class that had a profound impact on me was called “Spies and Detection.” I had never been drawn to either of those genres, yet I began to realize that, like all literature, they arose (and continue to arise) out of social and political contexts. The works we read served either to promote or critique a political and social order. The overarching theme for me of both of these classes was that literature, even popular literature, can help us understand our world more deeply.

Q: Why did you choose ASU? 

A: For reasons of practicality, I wanted to attend an online program. Financial and logistical factors played a large role in my choice, but I also came to appreciate the English department’s strong reputation. My experience was shaped by having excellent, caring, and involved teachers. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: School is like the rest of life; the more you put in, the more you get out. My advice would be to fully embrace being a student. Actually do the reading! Have an open mind and be willing to work hard. Fully participate as both a listener and a speaker in class discussions. If you only go through the motions, doing the bare minimum to get by, all you’ll have at the end is a piece of paper. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I hope to be a better, more critical reader and a clearer, more incisive writer. I have a newfound belief in the power of literature to help us understand ourselves and our world more deeply. I also believe that strategic reading assignments can help students who struggle with writing to become better writers. I hope to incorporate these lessons into whatever teaching I do, whether in my ESL classes or English classes I may teach at the college level. I’m also considering applying to a doctoral program, but I haven’t made a final decision.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: In this world increasingly ruled by social media and the Internet, we are all exposed to vast amounts of information and pseudo-information. I would devote resources to getting schools actively involved in helping train students to be critical and skeptical consumers and producers of media. We tend to surround ourselves with information that supports our beliefs and biases. Students need to be taught to actively seek out opposing viewpoints and to critically analyze all sides of an argument. Most importantly, students need to be able to distinguish facts from rumors. $40 million isn’t enough money to teach critical thinking to all students, but it is certainly enough to start pilot programs in media literacy.

The Department of English is an academic unit of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Elizabeth Horan contributed to this profile.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

senior marking & communications specialist, Department of English

480-965-7611

Graduating ASU student finds inspiration in archives

English student Leslie Weir discovered love of archival work during project research


December 8, 2016

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.

Full-time graduate study in English had long been Leslie Weir’s dream before she entered ASU’s master's online program, a way to make a career change from the financial management industry towards teaching and research. Weir discovered a love of archival work while developing original research for her applied project: the first to be based on the novels of Elleston Trevor, a British-born, Arizona-based author of 18 acclaimed espionage novels, including the well-known “Quiller” series. Leslie Weir / Courtesy photo Graduating ASU student Leslie Weir discovered a love of archival work while developing original research for her master's applied project: the first to be based on the novels of Elleston Trevor, a British-born, Arizona-based author of 18 acclaimed espionage novels, including the well-known “Quiller” series. Download Full Image

Driving regularly from her home in Surprise, Arizona to the ASU Tempe campus over one summer, Weir spent more than 176 hours poring through the 21 boxes of material Trevor gave to ASU Archives and Special Collections, including 13 previously uncatalogued boxes. Weir focused on the first eight “Quiller” novels, writing about these and hunting for information on the mysterious and elusive Trevor himself, about whom little biographical information is reliably known. She compared interviews he’d given, discovering that he changed his life story with each one. Weir persisted and pieced together what Trevor told reporters; she sought out and interviewed people who’d known him personally, including Marilyn Wurzburger, the former head of ASU’s Special Collections, and Jackie Hayes, a close friend of Trevor’s wife Jonquil. From these and other sources, she learned that Jonquil Trevor’s wartime work for British Intelligence services likely inspired the earliest “Quiller” novels.

Weir plans to apply to the English doctoral program at ASU so that she can become a teacher and can continue her research into relation between spy novels and real-life spies. She answered a few (unclassified) questions about those plans.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study in your field? (Might be while you were at ASU or earlier.)

Answer: In 2007 I graduated with my BA in English and began working in the financial industry. After seven years, I decided it was time for a change. Literature has always been a passion of mine, and I am happiest when I am reading or discussing a book, so I decided to take the leap and pursue my MA through the online program at ASU. I realized that more than anything I wanted to teach literature at the university level, as well as perform literary research, and I will continue to pursue that goal.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: I realized that my true passion was 20th- and 21st-century literature, especially espionage fiction. Coming into the program, I planned on studying both British and American gothic literature, but in my second semester my focus shifted. I took a class on espionage and detective fiction with Dr. [Elizabeth] Horan, and found myself fascinated with the genre. Going forward, my research focus will be on more modern literature.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I really liked that they offered the MA in English online, the wide variety of classes, and the way the program was structured.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Get to know your professors, and utilize their knowledge. I have had the honor of studying with some really amazing professors while pursuing my degree and their help has been invaluable.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: The Luhrs Reading Room at the Hayden Library was my favorite spot on campus. I spent close to eight months combing through the Elleston Trevor archives for my final MA project, so I got to know the staff there very well. They were all so helpful and nice!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I will be applying for the English literature PhD program at Arizona State University in January, and will hopefully be starting the program in August 2017. I plan on teaching at one of the Maricopa Community Colleges here in Arizona, and continuing to perform my literary research.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would use the money to help fund various animal welfare and conservation programs. There are some really amazing no-kill shelters, conservation groups, and animal sanctuaries all over the world, and they need consistent financial support in order to continue their good work.

 

The Department of English is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Elizabeth Horan contributed to this profile.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

senior marking & communications specialist, Department of English

480-965-7611

Advocacy through storytelling

Graduating ASU student Gary Walker-Roberts combines English, digital skills


December 8, 2016

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.

As a returning college student in an Arizona State University online “Digital Literacies” course, Gary Walker-Roberts admitted that he was “not good at technology.” Even the word “technology” scared him. Gary Walker-Roberts / Courtesy photo Graduating master's student Gary Walker-Roberts, seen here on his wedding day to his husband in Hawaii on June 27, 2015, was recently appointed to the Contra Costa (California) Community College Board. He is the first openly LGBTQ person to serve on the board, where he hopes to advocate for “under-represented minority students’ needs and also continue to develop the Veterans Resource Centers throughout the district.” Download Full Image

Despite his initial reluctance and busy schedule — Walker-Roberts worked full-time as an account executive and volunteered for LGBTQIA causes while in enrolled at ASU — he embraced the new challenge and his course of study. He credits course instructor Bruce Matsunaga with helping him overcome his digital fears.

Walker-Roberts will graduate from ASU’s online Master of Arts in English in program, saying that he no longer feels overwhelmed when facing a technological challenge. In fact, he has applied his new digital skills to an online LGBTQ public awareness campaign that he launched as part of his final applied project. Trans Visibility has already been used as a resource in LGBT Studies courses at Los Medanos College, where Walker-Roberts earned associate degrees and where he is still connected through outreach organizations.

Walker-Roberts, who lives in Antioch, California, was recently appointed to the Contra Costa Community College Board. He is the first openly LGBTQ person to serve on the board, where he hopes to advocate for “under-represented minority students’ needs and also continue to develop the Veterans Resource Centers throughout the district.” The appointment moves him one step closer to his goal of a career in community college teaching.

As he prepares for graduation day, we caught up with Walker-Roberts to ask a few questions.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study in your field?

Answer: My "aha" moment was when my mentor, Dr. Laurie Huffman [of the California Community College System], told me that I would be more hirable in the community college system if I had a master’s in English, math or science from a university that has both a sound accreditation and reputation. She suggested Arizona State University for their reputation of online programs. I am a great storyteller and a good writer, so I chose English and have been happy with my choice ever since.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: I learned at ASU that you can overcome self-doubt! I doubted that I was talented enough to obtain a degree in English! My inner voice told when I first began the degree, "You cannot do this. What are you thinking?" However, with the support of my husband, amazing professors, and the ASU English department, I successfully completed the program.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because of its reputation! Moreover, they are one of the only universities that is accessible to students outside of the Tempe area. They are one of the only universities in the United States that offers a rigorous and reputable English master's program online. I am so happy that I chose ASU, but in reality ASU chose me!

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: The best piece of advice that I would give to those still at the university would be to constantly look in the mirror, smile, and state out loud, "I will do this! I have what it takes to complete this degree!" In addition, I would encourage them to buy the degree frame from the bookstore, hang it on their wall and when that feeling of panic, giving up, or frustration sets in (finals week), look at the empty frame and remember that soon you'll have that degree on the wall and on your resume! Lastly, I would advise them that it's OK to take some personal "me" time and relax. Don't feel guilty if you need to take an entire day and rest in bed, or take off for two or three days for a mini escape. Clear your mind and return fresh and hit the books hard!

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: $40 million is a random number, but I would try to tackle LGBTQIA education around the world. There is a lot of work to do in our world to end years of institutionalized LGBTQIA bigotry that leads to violence on all levels: hate crimes, internalized bigotry, suicide, murder and criminalization in our own country and abroad. LGBTQIA were once respected and occupied a special place in human society that gave them equality resulted in thriving in the world safely. Sadly, that is not the case today in our world, but with that money our communities megaphone would get much bigger and we could reach around the globe faster and harder. One of my favorite quotes is from Margaret J. Wheatley: "You can't hate someone whose story you know."

The Department of English is an academic unit of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

senior marking & communications specialist, Department of English

480-965-7611

ASU student moves toward ‘relentless forward motion’

Extreme athlete Paulette Stevenson completes one of her toughest personal challenges: Earning her doctorate


December 8, 2016

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.

Extreme athlete Paulette Stevenson is completing one of her toughest personal challenges to date: earning her doctorate. Stevenson will graduate this fall from ASU’s writing, rhetorics and literacies program and with a certificate in gender studies, having recently defended her dissertation titled “Transnationalizing Title IX: Neoliberal Formations of Women’s Sport.” ASU graduate Paulette Stevenson with her daughter, Josephine. / Photo: Hillarie Mae Photography Besides turning her dissertation on Title IX and feminism into a book, new ASU graduate Paulette Stevenson looks forward to "spending some downtime" with her family. Stevenson is pictured here with her daughter, Josephine, who is 20 months old. Photo by Hillarie Mae Photography Download Full Image

As if this accomplishment wasn’t enough on its own, Stevenson finished her doctoral work just six months after becoming a mother for the third time. To top it off: the energetic powerhouse is also a full-time instructor in the English department in addition to being an ultramarathon runner. (She has said she first tried triathlons, but “sought a more adventurous sport.”)

While Stevenson’s hometown is Kankakee, Illinois, she’s made her home in Arizona for now. We caught up with her between trail runs and extreme parenting duties to ask a few questions.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study in your field? (Might be while you were at ASU or earlier.)

Answer: I entered the PhD program at the height of my term as a competitive, sponsored athlete. In my English classes and my women’s studies classes, I was reading and writing about 21st-century feminisms — including intersectionality and transnational feminism. My “aha” moments came from using the texts I was reading in my courses to examine the feminisms being articulated in my sport (women’s running). I specifically began seeing the history of the first woman to run a marathon differently, as I understood how the rhetoric aligned with white, liberal feminism.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: I learned the power of supportive, challenging mentors that help a project thrive. While I am situated in a specific discipline (rhetoric and composition), my research questions straddled many different disciplines. My committee members (Maureen Daly Goggin, Keith Miller and Heather Switzer) were vital to letting me explore across disciplinary borders and allowing me to have an open conversation with different fields.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I’m local, I have three kids, my partner has a thriving career in the valley, and I also teach full-time here. So, my decision to “come back” to school (graduated with my MA from ASU in 2009) was easy because it was ASU. Also, there’s no question that ASU’s programs in writing, rhetorics and literacies and women’s studies are powerhouses in their respective fields. So being able to learn from highly intelligent scholars was delightful bonus.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Relentless forward motion. The endurance athlete in me knows that you can’t comprehend the entirety of a race. A degree has so many moving parts, and if you try to do everything all the time, you’ll be overwhelmed by the largeness of it. I wrote my dissertation piece-by-piece. Take one task at a time and complete it, and eventually the little pieces will make up a whole.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I really dig the strong coffee at Royal Coffee Bar.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Of course I will be continuing to teach my freshmen in ENG 102! I am also applying for jobs at local community colleges and non-profits. Developing my dissertation into a book is high on the list as well. More immediately, I am looking forward to spending some downtime with my kids (Georgiana 6 months, Josephine 20 months, and Alexander 11 years), my husband (John), and my two dogs (Mara & Momo).

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would build a center for social justice policy that would help lobby for anti-racist policy but also educate American citizens at the grassroots level on the importance of anti-racist and intersectional policy.

 

The Department of English is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

senior marking & communications specialist, Department of English

480-965-7611

ASU Letters and Cultures student wins Liberal Arts Dean’s Medal

Research on Alexander the Great's literary legacy earned Glenn Maur recognition


December 7, 2016

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.

The last award Glenn Maur received was in 8th grade, when his classmates declared him “Most Likely to Become a Street Musician.” Now, at 30 and graduating college, he has received the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medal, which is just a little more prestigious. Glenn Maur Glenn Maur has received CLAS Deans Medal for his research into the literary legacy of Alexander the Great Photo provided by Tyler Kilbourne/ASU Download Full Image

Nominated for the Dean’s Medal by professor Mark Cruse, Maur earned the award for his thesis on Alexander the Great’s literary legacy across different languages and cultures.

Maur’s thesis is titled “The Many Roads to Babylon: The Thousand Year Legacy of the Sun and the Moon in the Greek, Latin, Arabic and Medieval European Vernacular Texts of the Alexander Romance.”

“Alexander is such a monumental figure in ancient studies,” Maur explained, “but he had a really pervasive legacy in medieval Europe, in Christian literature, and he also has a very important legacy in Islamic literature.”

Maur saw value in the stories surrounding Alexander, especially in the way different texts adapted his image.  In Arabic works, including the Quran,  Alexander is almost a religious figure called “The Master of Two Horns” who battles evil. French texts describe Alexander as a knight and Western conqueror, hosting banquets and setting an example for the Crusades.

Maur had the chance to present parts of his thesis at multiple conferences, including the ACMRS Conference, typically reserved for faculty and graduate students.

When Maur initially transferred to Arizona State University, he started work for his French major, but through the School of International Letters and Cultures he also studied Latin, ancient Greek, German and Arabic. For his honors thesis, he also worked with Old French, Old English, and Syriacc.

“If you like literature, if you like books, learning a foreign language is just really important,” Maur said. “It’s difficult, especially with the ancient languages. You’re trying to sound out these bizarre words that people haven’t actually spoken in a thousand years, but it forces you to look at the world in different way … it forces you to empathize with another time, another place, another culture. It makes you a better person.”

When he found out he won the Dean’s Medal, Maur was obviously excited and was surprised to receive congratulations from faculty he had never even met. He felt that sense of community throughout his time at School of International Letters and Cultures.
“I’m a fairly reserved person, but for me the big moment was just meeting my teachers in office hours,” Maur said. “Making a point to get to know your teachers better, once you do they’re really supportive and really helpful. If you just fly under the radar you’ll never know.”
In his nomination letter, Cruse calls Maur, “one of the most gifted, mature and motivated undergraduates” and “intellectually omnivorous,” describing his thesis as, “unlike anything the committee had ever seen … compelling throughout and succeeds in making a real contribution to our understanding of one of the most significant works of world literature.”

“When I approached [professor Cruse] with this idea, he really supported me and all these big ideas that I had. I had a really great experience with the faculty here,” Maur said. “They were really supportive, even when my ideas sounded crazy.”

Maur covered one thousand years of multilingual literary tradition in about two years. He appreciated that different cultures pulled value from the same story over and over. 

“We’re all connected, that was kind of the big thing I wanted to explore,” Maur continued. “Even though Christians and Muslims, and the East and West in general has had this kind of conflict that we’re obviously still living with, that we all look back to a common past if you look hard enough.”

After graduation, Maur has a job lined up teaching Latin at a junior high and plans to continue studying classics in graduate school.

Gabriel Sandler

ASU selected as institutional partner for renowned transdisciplinary organization


December 5, 2016

The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) has announced Arizona State University as its partner institution after a competitive, nationwide search. HASTAC is a leading organization in the pursuit of innovative modes of research and education, with over 15,000 members and 400 affiliated organizations around the world.   

“HASTAC is one of the premier international organizations for the Digital Humanities and Web literacy,” explained George Justice, ASU dean of humanities, “it also embodies many of our design aspirations as well as ASU's Charter.” The Nexus Lab, a project of ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research, is aimed at growing the digital humanities alongside interdisciplinary collaborations among the humanities, science, and technology.

Filling the role previously held by prestigious institutions such as Duke University and Stanford, ASU will divide HASTAC’s central administration with the City University of New York (CUNY). Jacqueline Wernimont, interim director of ASU's Nexus Lab for Computational and Digital Humanities, will act as the new co-director, alongside HASTAC co-founding director Cathy N. Davidson (director of the Futures Initiative, CUNY Graduate Center). 

Davidson explained that ASU was chosen from a highly competitive pool because, “ASU's proposal was a model of vision, practicality, and innovation with an emphasis too on access, inclusion, and diversity.” She added that “this should come as no surprise … ASU has distinguished itself as one of the most forward-looking universities in the United States.”

In tandem with CUNY leadership, Wernimont will now oversee and further develop HASTAC’s significant sources of data, research, technology, and social networking expertise, as well as its cutting-edge website. HASTAC is considered the world’s first and oldest academic social network, and serves as a virtual commons for everything from creative collaboration opportunities to the latest news on pioneering educational technology. Wernimont feels “deeply honored” to be working with Cathy Davidson and the HASTAC community, explaining that “this partnership allows CUNY and ASU to work together to continue transforming higher education and research such that it is inclusive, of public value, and assumes responsibility for the care of our communities.” 

HASTAC logo

The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory is a leading organization in the pursuit of innovative modes of research and education.

Wernimont joins the ranks of over sixty internationally-known leaders who have guided HASTAC since its inception in 2002. In addition to directing the Nexus Lab, she also teaches as an assistant professor of English, directs ASU’s new Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate, and is the founding co-director for the Human Security Collaboratory. In her ten years of professional experience she has become a nationally recognized leader in digital archives, feminist digital media, histories of quantification, and technologies of commemoration.  

Wernimont will co-direct HASTAC through the Nexus Lab, a project of ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research aimed at growing the digital humanities alongside interdisciplinary collaborations among the humanities, science, and technology. In the three years since its inception, the lab has grown to become one of the leading centers for innovative modes of research at ASU. Such work is key to addressing the mounting “wicked problems” faced by humanity.

“The grand challenges that the world faces today, including issues related to water, energy, security and food, cannot be solved by just one discipline,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU. “Researchers from across disciplines have to work together to find comprehensive and sustainable solutions for these challenges. ASU is one of world’s leading universities in driving innovative, interdisciplinary research and discoveries. The partnership with HASTAC will help us have a wider, more transformational impact.”

Susan Anderson

Communications Coordinator, Institute for Humanities Research

480-965-3787

Sun Devil alumnus takes passion for ASU to London


December 2, 2016

Marcos Gold’s passion for giving back not only shows up in his work, but also in what he does with his free time.

Gold, who graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in political science and sociology, now resides in London. With the help of another ASU alumnus in the United Kingdom, Gold was able to start the London chapter of the ASU Alumni Association. Marcos Gold, ASU alumnus, London Chapter ASU alumnus Marcos Gold helped create the London chapter of the ASU Alumni Association. Download Full Image

Often times Gold has to rely on word of mouth to find Sun Devils in the area. He also has the help from the staff at the university, which gives him a heads up when new alumni are moving to London. Gold will often try to introduce them to the local chapter as soon as they land. He said that the hard work has been rewarding.

“The warm and receptive nature of the university always made it like home,” said Gold.  “So if I could bring a bit of that to London then it was a no brainer.”

Gold works in London as a parliamentary assistant to the Right Honorable David Lidington CBE MP.  His role varies day to day but often involves assisting constituents with any numbers of different issues like their immigration, health care, benefits or housing. 

“I remember walking through our constituency when a resident stopped David and I to say thank you for helping her family with a particular problem they were having with their immigration case,” Gold said. “That was very satisfying to know that we made a difference.”

Gold said he was fortunate to have dual citizenship because working for the UK Parliament without being a British citizen is rather difficult — but that isn't all you need. Gold said that getting involved early in his career has helped him learn the “inner workings”.

“My advice for anyone who is hoping to enter government or politics is to get involved at any level,” said Gold, “whether it is by canvassing or volunteering at your local association.”

Gold, who also received his master's in international relations and democratic politics while in the U.K., said that ASU helped prepare him for his time in London. Gold said that he felt more confident in his abilities and ready for the rigors of a master's program.

“The wide range of subjects that I touched upon while studying gave me an opportunity to explore different perspectives,” Gold said. “Without sounding dramatic, what I learned at ASU prepared me for a career in politics and government for life.”

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies

480-727-9901

 
image title

ASU experts share tips for a healthy holiday season

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

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

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

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

Here are their suggestions: 

Eating healthy

At the airport:

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

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

Also, a little water goes a long way.

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

At home:

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

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

And when it comes to leftovers, just say no.

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

Huberty suggests cooking smaller quantities or donating leftovers.

Staying active

At the airport:

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

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

At home: 

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

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

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

Being mindful

At the airport:

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

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

At home:

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

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

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

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

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

Pages