ASU, National Academies turn up the volume on science policy discussion

October 24, 2013

To say that science and technology play an important role in our lives is a bit of an understatement. But science policy, which relates to everything from the creation of new jobs to the prevention of disease to dealing with global warming, gets only lip service inside the Washington, D.C. beltway and not much more from those outside the beltway, according to Daniel Sarewitz, co-director of ASU's Consortium for Science & Policy Outcomes and professor of science and society at Arizona State University.

Sarewitz aims to help change that, as ASU and the U.S. National Academies are set to co-produce and co-publish the quarterly magazine Issues in Science and Technology. Download Full Image

The magazine broadly covers the policy of science (how to keep a research enterprise healthy and productive) and science for policy (how we use knowledge and innovation effectively to achieve social goals). Issues in Science and Technology includes a frequently updated online presence and boasts an international audience of decision-makers and thinkers in universities, government and industry.

“Problems of science, technology, society and policy are crucial to the nation and the world, yet they don’t get much attention, which is incredible considering how important they are for every aspect of our lives,” Sarewitz said. “We want to create a more compelling voice, heard inside and outside the beltway, about the challenges of using scientific and technological advances to make the world a better place.”

“We will be publishing really interesting, well-written, provocative articles about questions of science, technology, society and policy, articles that will continue to expand the audience for Issues in Science and Technology,” he added. “We want everyone who is concerned about the future to recognize why these questions should be at the forefront of their attention.”

For Sarewitz, the time is ripe for such a thrust, given the many and major issues we confront today, ranging from global climate change and slow job growth to the risks and benefits of emerging technologies, and the rising cost of high-tech health care.

Sarewitz begins his co-editorship with the fall issue of Issues in Science and Technology, which is available on newsstands now. Among articles in the fall issue is one on factory meat – meat created in the lab and not on the traditional farms, ranches and feedlots – and what the new technology will portend for the future. A second article discusses how research universities should rethink the way they fund faculty and support their research enterprises when federal support continues to be very tight and highly competitive.

Sarewitz said a redesign of the magazine and a revamping of its on-line content is in the works. The National Academies, which includes the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, has published Issues in Science and Technology since 1984.

Sarewitz said as part of the new relationship, the magazine will be offered to ASU personnel at a reduced subscription rate of $21 per year. More information is available here.

He added that this new partnership will bolster ASU’s presence in D.C. and “adds to our existing ‘Future Tense’ partnerships with Slate and New America Foundation around improving public discussions about science, technology and society, and continues to build on ASU’s capacity to move its scholarly ideas into policy debates. These partnerships are also leading to expanding networks that can benefit ASU grads who are interested in policy work.”

Associate Director, Media Relations & Strategic Communications


Alum finds passion joining Teach For America after military

October 24, 2013

Sun Devil alumnus Raheim Smith grew up in tough circumstances. His family lived in a rough neighborhood in New York and often experienced homelessness. At 17 years of age, Smith made the decision to join the United States Army as a means to support his family and open up future doors to education.

He was trained as a cannon crewmember at the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y. According to Smith, the division is one of the most deployed units in the military. The three years he spent on active duty gave him the focus and purpose that he lacked as a teenager. Download Full Image

“I always had a strong work ethic, but the Army ramped it up," he says. "I realized that there was something bigger than myself, and I had the ability to serve others.”

Upon leaving active duty, Smith continued to serve in the National Guard. He then began his pursuit of education and landed in finance. He secured lucrative positions at firms on Wall Street, but found himself becoming jaded by the money-hungry attitudes that come with the territory.

“I was born to serve. Arizona State University became my next destination, so I could go back to school and pursue my passion to help others,” he said.

Smith says that the launch of ASU as the New American University inspired his decision to become a Sun Devil. The endless opportunities for research and innovation made the university the ideal place to meet like-minded students who want to change the world. As a political science major, he juggled being a full-time student and having a full-time job that supported his family.

In his classes, Smith would also help those struggling with their coursework. He was already an active volunteer in his community, but had never considered teaching before then. When the opportunity to join Teach for America came along, he felt compelled to apply.

Smith was placed at District 79 in New York, a public school that specifically focuses on educating teens who have run into trouble with the law. As a high school math teacher, he focuses on using real-world problems to get students interested in the subject.

“I love it. I love getting kids to care about something simple like exponents. They may ask when they will ever use the material, and I relate it to mortgages and credit scores,” he says.

The most rewarding part of his job is seeing change right before his eyes.

“I had a girl in my class who believed she was terrible at math. She got a 21 on the first exam and was seriously deflated. I told her that I used to be bad at math too, but if she dedicated 20 minutes a day to practicing that she could succeed.” Sure enough, by the second exam she improved.

“It was like a light bulb went off. She saw that she could improve if she just put in the time each day.”

Smith is currently helping his students prepare for the statewide Regents Exam. Drawing on his military training, he says that he takes each day as a mission to complete. Being a part of Teach for America has helped him accomplish his lifelong commitment to learning.

“I want to see these students go to ASU and become the next generation of Sun Devils changing the world.”