Interactive discussion to focus on capital punishment


February 28, 2012

The public is invited to participate in “Social Circles of Knowledge: A Conversation about Capital Punishment,” from 6 to 9 p.m., March 8, in the University Center Building, La Sala Ballroom at Arizona State University’s West campus. The event is free; seating is limited. Interested participants may R.S.V.P. to Wanda.Kolomyjec@asu.edu.

Social Circles is an initiative of ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, based on the West campus. Programs, to be held monthly on campus during the academic year, are designed to promote civil dialogue and offer a safe and respectful space for people with divergent opinions to share their perspectives on key societal issues. Download Full Image

“We want to create an atmosphere in which people can find common ground and learn from one another,” said Wanda Kolomyjec, project manager for Social Circles and a recent graduate of New College’s master of arts degree in social justice and human rights. “Social Circles events will feature a highly interactive roundtable format involving participants with a wide range of expertise, viewpoints and familiarity with the issues being discussed.”

The March 8 event will begin with a brief presentation from Dale Baich, an attorney with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona. Baich, who also is a faculty associate in ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, will discuss the history of capital punishment in Arizona.

Following Baich’s remarks, attendees will conduct roundtable discussions examining such questions as whether capital punishment is an effective deterrent, whether it offers closure for victims, and whether it is supported by religious teaching.

“Today’s political discourse is often fragmented and polarized, preventing many people from getting involved in the democratic process or understanding crucial issues from different perspectives,” Kolomyjec said. “Few news outlets reveal the range of viewpoints held by the public, and many views are rarely challenged by opposing opinions. People tend to cluster within familiar spaces, rarely challenged in their thinking or standpoint, reinforcing their opinions without deliberation. Our hope is that Social Circles can offer an alternative, creating a respectful space for exchange of experience and knowledge.”

The April 2012 Social Circles event at ASU’s West campus will focus on immigration and ethnic studies. Details about that event are forthcoming.

ASU grads introduce app that wins top prize at Macworld trade show


February 28, 2012

When Rad Wendzich walked into the cavernous San Francisco exhibit hall for the annual Macworld iWorld show in late January, he had high hopes for the product he had shepherded through the development process for his employer, i4software. He was excited, but also very tired. 

For more than year he had worked nights and weekends as project manager on a Video Camera application that allows users to film, preview and edit videos on a mobile device, then add music and titles before sharing the videos on social media sites. It can be used on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  Download Full Image

Then it happened. Among hundreds of new products on display for the iPhone, from companies across the world, the Video Camera was named 2012 Best of Show, one of 10 chosen. People swarmed their booth, anxious to talk to Michael Zaletel, company founder and inventor who is a 2005 ASU graduate, and Wendzich, who graduated in May 2011. 

The product has since been featured in online magazines and TV channels throughout the world. A Mac Observer reporter said it allowed him to “assemble a polished movie containing multiple clips, transitions, music and titles, in under a minute. A decade ago, you could not do anything like this at any price. Now it’s yours for a few bucks.”

WebProNews raved, “Video Camera takes the concept of movie-making as a social experience and turns it into reality. Groups of up to eight shooters can simultaneously record an event from different angles and combine the scenes into a single masterpiece.”

“All the hard work paid off,” says Wendzich, who is 22. “It’s a lot of fun being able to make something and release it to a broad audience, seeing people using it from anywhere in the world.

“We targeted people with no experience in video, letting them make really cool movies quickly. But it’s also for professionals, because you can do some complicated things with it.”

Wendzich is no stranger to hard work, having immigrated from Poland in 2007 with a limited knowledge of English. He joined his father who had come to the United States 10 years earlier, enrolling at Willow Canyon High School in Surprise as a senior. He concentrated on becoming fluent, and graduated with all As. He also was captain of the varsity soccer team.

“I wanted to excel at everything, to get good grades so I could go to college,” he says. “I wasn’t able to get many scholarships, but my dad was supportive, and I brought in income by starting my own website development company, Bright Pattern. I was also on a team, AZ Pro DJs, that won a 2010 Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative award.”

Wendzich was a leader on the ASU Polytechnic campus, founding the National Society of Leadership and Success, serving as communications director for Relay for Life and vice president of the Polytechnic Soccer Club. He received a B.S. in graphic information technology and was named the College of Technology and Innovation senior of the year in 2011.

"Rad is one of the most competent project managers I've ever known,” says Zaletel, who started his company 13 years ago. “We could have never done this without his organizational and communication skills."

Wendzich dreams of starting his own technology business one day, bringing more of his own ideas to life. Meanwhile the Video Camera is selling briskly at the App Store, and the company plans to release free updates, including more original music tracks that users can download for their videos.

Wendzich also is engaged to be married in August to Laura Brittain, who will graduate from ASU in May.

To learn more about the product visit www.i4videocamera.com.