3 ASU law students awarded prestigious Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internships

April 8, 2014

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University again highlights the prominence of its Indian Legal Program (ILP) with the selection of three of its students to the prestigious 2014 Native American Congressional Internship program run by the Udall Foundation. On April 2, the Foundation announced that 12 students from five tribes and nine universities have been selected as 2014 Native American Congressional Interns. ASU is proud to continue to have strong representation in this internship program, and to continue to educate exceptional Native American future leaders.

The awardees were selected by an independent review committee on the basis of academic achievement and a demonstrated commitment to careers in tribal public policy. Download Full Image

The three students are:

Glennas’ba Augborne, Navajo Nation, interning with the Council on Environmental Quality. Glennas’ba Augborne is a Dine (Navajo) from Blue Gap, Ariz., of the Coyote Pass clan, born for African-American people. She is currently seeking a juris doctorate with a certificate in the Indian Legal Program, and would like to pursue a career in Indian and international law. Augborne has a passion for the potential relationships between Indian nations and other indigenous nations abroad. Eventually, she would like to either work directly with Indian nations in a liaison capacity, a firm or in a federal agency.

Jacqueline Bisille, Navajo Nation, interning in the office of Senator John McCain. Jacqueline Bisille is from the Navajo Nation (Dine) in Arizona. Her maternal clan is Tsedeeshgizhnii (Rock Gap People), her paternal clan is Asiihii (Salt), her maternal grandfather's clan is Kinyaa'nii (Towering House People) and her paternal grandfather's clan is Kinichii’nii (Red House People -Zia). Born and raised in Phoenix, Bisille has earned a bachelor's degree in justice studies, a minor in American lndian studies and an master's with a concentration in urban management. This May, she will earn another master's from ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. Her interests include policymaking, renewable energies as an economic development driver and strengthening tribal self-governance. She intends to work on tribal legislative and government affairs.

Chelee John, Navajo Nation, interning with the Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Division of Indian Affairs. Chelee John is Navajo (Dine) from Zionsville, Ind. She is currently seeking her juris doctorate at ASU, but she previously attended Dartmouth College and graduated in 2012 with a double major in psychology and Native American studies. John currently serves as her class representative to the Student Bar Association, is the community outreach chair for the Native American Law Students' Association and volunteers as a student ambassador for admissions and financial aid. She is an active participant in moot court, was honored as a client-counseling finalist and was recently chosen to serve on the moot court executive board. John also volunteers with the Business Legal Assistance Program helping local entrepreneurs start small businesses. She hopes to help Native Americans and tribal governments by fostering economic development on reservations, and by helping tribal entities engage in capital markets.

This highly regarded internship program is intended to provide American Indians and Alaska Natives with an insider's view of the federal government. The internship is located in Washington, D.C., and is known for placing students in extremely competitive internship positions in Senate and House offices, committees, cabinet departments and the White House, where they are able to observe government decision-making processes firsthand. The Udall interns will complete an intensive, 10-week internship in the summer of 2014. Special enrichment activities will provide opportunities to meet with key decision-makers. From 1996 through 2014, 221 American Indian and Alaska Native students from 110 tribes have participated in the program.

For more information about the Indian Legal Program at ASU Law, visit http://www.law.asu.edu/ilp/TheIndianLegalProgram/ILPHome.aspx.

New study shows arid lands absorb large amount of atmospheric carbon

April 8, 2014

Research addresses big unknown of global warming

A national team of researchers, including an Arizona State University scientist, has discovered that arid lands, among the most expansive ecosystems on the planet, take up an unexpectedly large amount of carbon as levels of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere. arid areas can absorb unexpected amounts of atmospheric carbon Download Full Image

The study’s findings give scientists a better handle on the earth’s carbon budget – how much carbon remains in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide contributes to global warming, and how much gets stored in lands or oceans in other carbon-containing forms.

“This study has pointed out the importance of these arid ecosystems,” said R. Dave Evans, a Washington State University professor of biological sciences and lead investigator on the project. “They are a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide, so as CO2 levels go up, they’ll increase their uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere. They’ll help take up some of that excess CO2 going into the atmosphere. They can’t take it all up, but they’ll help.”

The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, come after a novel 10-year experiment in which researchers exposed plots in the Mojave Desert to elevated carbon-dioxide levels similar to those expected in 2050. The researchers then removed soil and plants down to a meter deep and measured how much carbon was absorbed.

Given the complexities of the datasets generated over 10 years, Kiona Ogle, an associate professor with ASU’s School of Life Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was brought into the study for her expertise in analyzing such data, and for her knowledge of desert and plant ecology.

“I found it surprising that after 10 years of exposure to elevated CO2, which would be expected to stimulate plant photosynthesis and growth, and hence plant carbon storage, the carbon contained in vegetation was not significantly affected,” said Ogle.

Ogle added, “The major effects of elevated CO2 levels were seen in the amount of carbon stored in soils, which was about 20 percent higher under elevated CO2. Thus, desert soils, but not necessarily desert vegetation, are expected to sequester more carbon under a future CO2 environment. But, the soil carbon must come from some place, and it is likely that plants are 'pumping' this carbon from the atmosphere into the soils.”

The idea for the experiment originated with scientists at Nevada’s universities in Reno and Las Vegas, and the Desert Research Institute. Researchers from the University of Idaho, Northern Arizona University and Colorado State University also contributed to the project.

The study addresses one of the big unknowns of global warming: the degree to which land-based ecosystems absorb or release carbon dioxide as it increases in the atmosphere.

Receiving less than 10 inches of rain a year, arid lands run in a wide band at 30 degrees north and south latitude. Along with semi-arid areas, which receive less than 20 inches of rain a year, they account for nearly half the earth’s land surface.

Forest soils have more organic matter. Square foot for square foot, they hold much more carbon. But because arid soils cover so much area, they may have a larger role in the earth’s carbon budget and in how much the earth warms as heat-trapping gases accumulate in the atmosphere.

The study suggests that arid lands may increase their carbon uptake enough in the future to account for 15 to 28 percent of the amount currently being absorbed by land surfaces.

Overall, said Evans, rising CO2 levels may increase the uptake by arid lands enough to account for 4 to 8 percent of current emissions. The experiment did not account for other possible changes stemming from climate change, such as varying precipitation and warming temperatures.

The research suggests that come 2050, arid ecosystems will be doing more than their fair share of taking earth-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. But a potential cause for concern is what happens to these ecosystems as the planet’s population grows, and people look for places to develop and live.

“Land is extremely valuable,” said Evans. “A lot of growth may occur in these areas that are fairly arid, and we don’t know what that’s going to do then to the carbon budget of these systems.”

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Terrestrial Carbon Processes Program and the National Science Foundation’s Ecosystem Studies Program funded the research.

Sandra Leander

Manager, Media Relations and Marketing, School of Life Sciences