New investment to boost international economic development effort

August 24, 2012

ASU, Intel expanding alliance with government, education and industry leaders to strengthen business ties with Vietnam

Intel Corp., Arizona State University and the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) in partnership with other government agencies, industry and universities and colleges in Vietnam are intensifying efforts to modernize higher engineering education in the country. ASU Intel Vietnam agreement Download Full Image

The parties recently signed a memorandum of understanding for a commitment for a combined investment by Intel and MOET of more than $10 million over five years to boost the Higher Engineering Education Alliance Program (HEEAP).

The estimated target investment from current and future industry and government partners for the HEEAP expansion is $40 million.

The program seeks to accelerate economic development by providing a more highly trained workforce in Vietnam to meet the growing needs of global high-tech industries. Ultimately, HEEAP promises to strength education and research collaborations, as well as business ties, between Vietnam and the United States.

HEEAP was established in 2010 with funding support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Intel. It is administered through the Office of Global Outreach and Extended Education in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Jeffrey Goss is the director of the office.

"After only two years, the HEEAP project has achieved enough measurable impact to warrant these new commitments from Intel, MOET, USAID, and Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs,” Goss says. “The resources provided by the new investment open the opportunity to scale the current project by a factor of five and to add a leadership institute."

MOET Vice Minister Bui Van Ga. Says the Vietnamese government “is very pleased with the outcomes of the HEEAP project to be strong partners to rapidly upgrade our higher education system.”

To date the program has brought more the 100 faculty members from Vietnam’s universities and colleges to ASU for training in advanced methods for teaching engineering.

In addition, HEEAP started a scholarship program focused on bringing more women into engineering and technology fields.

In the next phase of the project – called HEEAP 2.0 – to be carried out from 2013 to 2017, the program will train hundreds of additional faculty members each year at ASU and in Vietnam, and establish a Distance Learning Network that will enable students across the country to take courses online simultaneously.

HEEAP 2.0 will also improve instruction in English for Vietnamese engineering students and promote the involvement of more women in engineering and technical fields.

In addition, Vietnamese engineering programs will be brought into compliance with requirements set by leading higher education accrediting organizations –  specifically ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology) and CDIO (Conceive, Design Implement, Operate).

The investment will provide funds to build teaching laboratories and train instructors to use the facilities effectively. There will also be upgrades of the data systems used by the engineering education programs in Vietnam colleges and universities.

It will also enable HEEAP to rapidly scale up its training program for administrators at Vietnamese college and universities through the program’s higher education leadership institute.

Since its start, the program has been joined by other industry partners Siemens, Honeywell, Danaher and Cadence. The companies have provided equipment, simulation and software tools and training of faculty on these systems.

With the additional funding, HEEAP expects to add at least 12 new industry partners within the next five years.

For more information about HEEAP, visit

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Veteran overcomes troubled youth to earn degree

August 24, 2012

Standing at the door of the C130 aircraft, Elijah Allan watched the stoplight turn – red, yellow, then, finally, green – signaling it was his turn to jump to the war zone below. When the jumpmaster gave the final go ahead, he knew turning back was not an option. All he could do was leap into the billow of clouds below.

As a member of the 75 Ranger Regimen under Operation Enduring Freedom, Allan made roughly seven airborne jumps, and never overcame the nerves of leaving the comfort of an airplane to literally throw caution to the wind. Elijah Allan Download Full Image

He did, however, gain a strong sense of confidence that he lacked growing up on his Navajo reservation in Tuba City, Ariz. This, coupled with the core values of the Army, helped Allan overcome some of the “troubles” he faced in his youth that provoked him to enlist.

Now a student at Arizona State University, his focus has shifted to a conservation biology and ecology major with a graphic information technology certificate. After leaving the military in 2005, hiking and similar outdoor activities became Allan’s form of therapy and stress relief, so selecting the biological sciences degree was “an easy decision.”

Through his degree, Allan seeks to repair ecosystems that have been damaged by human development.

“There is a big problem with species becoming endangered or threatened because of how humans are populating so fast and developing, so what better to do with my life than help this problem?” he said.

Although the pieces of Allan’s life are starting to fall nicely into place, he could have traveled down a much different path.

“A lot of guys on my Navajo reservation will choose to go into the welding profession because it is good money. The only thing is you stay away from your family for long periods of time and it’s just constant work,” he explains.

But with a 16-month-old son at home to worry about, being away from home was the last thing he wanted to do. Allan was also dealing with emotional stress from a strained relationship with his mother and the absence of his father growing up.

So he leaned on his mentor for support, a man named Lorenzo who he says “took me under his wing and became like my adoptive father.” It was Lorenzo and Allan’s brother, Josh, who motivated Allan to earn a degree at ASU.

Through hard work and dedication, the sophomore has overcome his past. Allan is heavily involved with the American Indian Student Support Services office on campus, and attends American Indian Science and Engineering Society meetings when he has time.

And even though he is still pursuing his undergraduate degree, the Sun Devil is already fixated on attending graduate school to complete a master’s degree in environmental or life sciences.