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Master's grad plans to expand communication technologies in tribal homelands

December 18, 2012

New technologies in communication are essential for the progress of Native American communities, says Alaina George, a member of the Navajo Nation. George wants to help Native Americans take advantage of the opportunities technology and science can provide to tribal homelands.

“I hope that my work at ASU will help document what the Navajo Nation has implemented to date in regards to telecommunication,” she says. “I also hope that it allows others to realize that information and communication technologies are just the first step and a lot has to happen for it to be sustainable.” Download Full Image

George is graduating with an interdisciplinary Professional Science Master (PSM) degree from ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The innovative PSM degree was a natural fit for her goals, as it is designed to prepare graduate students in science and technology with enhanced training in business and management skills.

After receiving a bachelor’s in Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of New Mexico, George searched for a graduate school. 

“After reading about the New American University vision, I really felt that ASU was where I wanted to be,” she says.

She encountered enthusiasm and encouragement when she met with faculty and staff at CPSO as well as the American Indian Policy Institute. 

“All things considered, it really just felt like the best place for me to study and to be able to research this particular topic.”

A family tragedy made the support from CPSO even more heartfelt. “My uncle had terminal liver cancer, and in January of 2012, he passed away. My department was very understanding and I was able to attend classes via televideo while I stayed with family.”

As a recipient of the 2011 Graduate College Reach for the Stars fellowship, George participated in the Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium (IRC) seminar series (formerly called Diversity across the Curriculum), where she collaborated across disciplines with other first-year graduate students. “My fellow students all had such interesting topics to research and were also a great support group to have.”

During her graduate studies, George interned in Washington, D.C. for the executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. “I was able to learn about what goes on at that level of government. It was also amazing to see firsthand how much work people put in to create change in Native communities, at all levels.”

George is already employed in Albuquerque at the Indian Health Service Area office as the TeleEducation Coordinator for the TeleBehavioral Health Center for Excellence. She plans to return to ASU to celebrate with her family at commencement.

“My family has been incredibly supportive and they tell me how proud they are," she says. "It’s good for my younger family members to see that it is possible to go to graduate school. I want them to know that anything is possible if you apply yourself and set goals for yourself. It’s something my parents shared with me and I think it is the reason I’ve come this far.”

Michele St George,
Graduate College

Communications Specialist, ASU Libraries

Barrett Honors College student wins prestigious Circumnavigator scholarship

December 18, 2012

Julia Anglin plans to travel the world next summer in search of the most successful methods for teaching mathematics.

Anglin, a Barrett Honors College junior majoring in computational mathematics, has received the 2013 Circumnavigator Travel Study Grant – a $9,000 grant awarded to only four students in the country each year. Julia Anglin Download Full Image

The Circumnavigator Travel Study Grant is a privately funded award for a self-designed, around-the-world research trip during the summer. Students are required to circumnavigate the globe, stopping at a minimum of five countries on three continents.

The award will fund Anglin’s travel to Finland, Italy, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and New Zealand, all countries where students are achieving above the international average in math. She will leave the United States in May and return in August. 

“I am so ecstatic to win this award, not only because I will be able to explore so many amazing places, but because I believe that the information I collect will add valuable insight to the ongoing research aimed at improving the teaching of mathematics. My project will delineate innovative and successful mathematics strategies teachers can apply in their classrooms in order to improve students’ mathematical performance, and in turn, graduate students with the mathematic skills they will need to compete in the global marketplace,” she said.

Anglin will interview math teachers and their students to uncover successful and innovative teaching strategies that are used in countries whose students excel in math.

When it comes to finding effective teaching methods, Anglin, a certified math teacher, knows what she is looking for.

“While I am a certified mathematics teacher in Arizona, I chose to go back to school to obtain a second degree in computational mathematics in order to improve my mathematical knowledge. As I progress with my studies, I plan to continue my involvement in educating others about math at Arizona State University through ‘Project Inspire: Math Without Boundaries’, a club I co-founded which aims at encouraging middle and high school students to become more involved in mathematics and science,” she said.

After completing her bachelor’s degree at ASU, Anglin plans to pursue a doctorate in computational neuroscience and conduct mathematical and computational research in the field of neuroscience in academia. The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences is an academic unit in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College