Innovation Showcase: Highlighting the next big things in innovation

April 19, 2013

Student and industry-sponsored projects will be on display at the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) Innovation Showcase, an annual event taking place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 1, on the Polytechnic campus. Projects will be displayed in the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. The event is open and free to the public.  

With a curriculum that blends real-world problem solving and theory application in a culminating capstone called an iProject, teams of CTI students work with industry partners to create innovative solutions to real problems faced by national and local businesses, organizations and government municipalities. Innovation Showcase gives these students an opportunity to display their projects to the public. Download Full Image

The types of projects showcase CTI’s vast array of STEM-related programs, including projects with areas in military tool design, alternative energy, wireless communication, water purification and technology education methods. Industry collaborators include SRP, Lake Havasu City, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Orbital, Wireless Industrial, WebFiling, Mesa Arts Center, Honeywell and others.

Along with giving students a platform to express their academic emphases, iProjects allow students an opportunity to experience a practical, real-world application of those interests and develop job-ready skills like budgeting, project management and teamwork.

Projects that will be displayed at Innovation Showcase include:

Hair Recycling, in partnership with PetSmart. Students developed a method of efficiently disposing excess pet hair from PetSmart’s grooming facilities and discovering ways in which the hair can be used for various applications.

iPad training for education, in partnership with CK-12. Team members worked with teachers and students at the ASU Prep Academy in order to discover ways iPads can be used in an educational setting.

Microalgae for Wastewater Stream Remediation, in partnership with SRP. Students researched the integration solutions to wastewater remediation to remove heavy metals from streams and groundwater.

Creating Healthy Pool Water, in partnership with Lake Havasu City. Students examined current methods of water purification while developing new approaches of purification and their implications on the environment.

Service Module Mockup, in partnership with Orbital. Team members manufactured a model of a satellite service module that will allow Orbital to test new manufacturing procedures as they develop a new fleet of satellite systems.

The CTI Innovation Showcase is in partnership with Intel and the Arizona Commerce Authority. For more information, visit

Written by: Sydney B. Donaldson

Study: People present themselves contrary to their stereotypes

April 19, 2013

Individuals from stigmatized groups prefer to present themselves in ways that counteract stereotypes and prejudices associated with their group, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“People often think of prejudice as a simple, single phenomenon – general dislike for members of other groups – but recent research suggests that there are actually multiple, distinct types of prejudice,” says ASU graduate psychology student Rebecca Neel, who conducted the research with her advisor, ASU psychology professor Steven Neuberg, and Global Institute of Sustainability postdoctoral scholar Samantha Neufeld at ASU. Download Full Image

Neel and colleagues wanted to see whether people would be aware of the stereotypes associated with their group and whether they would opt for strategies that counteract those specific stereotypes in order to make a good first impression.

Researchers recruited 75 college students, all of whom had self-identified as overweight or not overweight, to participate in a study about “impressions of groups.” The students were told that they would answer questions about three groups randomly chosen out of a total pool of 10, but everyone received questions about the same groups: Muslims, Mexican Americans and obese people.

In a separate portion of the study, the students imagined that they were going to meet someone new and ranked eight different strategies for making a good first impression. The strategies included arriving on time, looking interested, smiling, appearing relaxed and wearing clean clothes.

Some of the participants ranked the eight strategies before receiving the questions about the three groups; others ranked them afterward, so that group-related stereotypes would be fresh in their mind.

Regardless of their own weight, the students perceived conventional stereotypes about obese people. They believed that most people feel disgust toward obese individuals and see them as a threat to their health.

However, as the researchers predicted, overweight and non-overweight students did show differences in how they ranked the strategies for making a good impression.

Overweight participants who were primed to think about group stereotypes were more likely to prioritize wearing clean clothes than participants in the other conditions – they ranked this strategy, on average, as most important. Non-overweight participants and overweight participants who hadn’t been primed tended to give “arriving on time” the highest ranking.

These findings suggest that overweight participants considered wearing clean clothes to be an important strategy for managing other people’s first impressions and diminishing the specific emotion – disgust – that underlies prejudice toward obese people.

The results were supported by a second study that included college students from two stigmatized groups: overweight men and Black men.

Once again, the students’ reports fell in line with typical stereotypes: Overweight men thought that other people viewed their group as posing a threat of disease, while Black men thought that other people saw their group as posing a threat of violence. And they ranked their impression strategies accordingly.

As before, overweight men ranked wearing clean clothes as more important when stereotypes about obese people were top-of-mind. Black men, on the other hand, viewed smiling – a strategy useful for "disarming" concerns about ill intentions – as more important when they were primed to think about stereotypes related to African Americans.

Results showed that participants adopted different strategies for managing a first impression, depending on their own group membership and the salience of specific stereotypes and prejudices about their group.

Neel and colleagues argue that this research demonstrates that stigma doesn’t manifest as just general negativity; it involves specific emotions that are felt toward specific groups. People’s experiences being on the receiving end of these emotions leads them to use different strategies for managing prejudice.

So, whether it’s a job interview, a performance evaluation, or a casual social encounter, “members of stigmatized groups may strategically change how they present themselves to others in anticipation of these different emotions,” Neel says.

The researchers believe that this research offers a new way of looking at an important social topic.

“Psychology has long been interested in understanding where prejudice comes from, and there’s a body of more recent work that seeks to understand prejudice and stereotyping from the target’s perspective,” according to the researchers. “Our research is part of a growing program that demonstrates the tight links between the psychology of prejudiced perceivers and the psychology of those targeted by these prejudices.”

The Department of Psychology is an academic unit in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.