Project Humanities director to receive Francis Andrew March Award


November 26, 2014

Neal A. Lester, founding director of ASU Project Humanities and Foundation Professor of English, will be presented the 2014 Francis Andrew March Award by the Modern Language Association of America in Vancouver, Canada, on Jan. 10, 2015. 

The Francis Andrew March Award was established by the Association of English Departments Executive Committee in 1984. The award is named for Francis March, professor of English at Lafayette College and the first professor of English in America. The Andrew Francis March Award honors those who have committed exceptional service to the profession of English. portrait of Project Humanities director Neal A. Lester Download Full Image

In addition to being the Director of Project Humanities, Lester has received various teaching and service recognitions: Dean’s Distinguished Professor of English, Parents Association Professor of the Year and Arizona Humanities Distinguished Public Scholar. Lester received his doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University. In 1997, he joined the faculty of Arizona State University, where he chaired the English department from 2004 to 2010. While at ASU, he has also served as associate vice president for humanities and arts, dean of humanities, and visiting scholar at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. Lester has taught and published widely on African-American literature and culture, and he is a national and international expert on American race relations.

Lester founded Project Humanities in 2010 at a time when humanities programs were becoming endangered across the country as courses were being cut out of school curricula. Lester was then tasked with making humanities understanding and cross-disciplinary engagement more robust by first debunking the myth that humanities happens in the classroom. He launched Project Humanities with a goal to explore humanities by reaching across disciplines, generations, and communities. Although Lester’s teaching and scholarship emphasis was on African American literary and cultural studies, often his research, writings, and lectures in the area of human rights and race relations sparked vibrant social discourse, a pattern that became the signature of Project Humanities: "Talking, Listening, Connecting."

Lester and Project Humanities have received major accolades since the Project was founded in 2010, demonstrating the rapidly growing success and impact of this university initiative. In 2014, Lester received the Roy Wilkins Community Service Award from the East Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the inaugural Key of Excellence Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the Juliana Yoder Friend of the Humanities Award from Arizona Humanities, and a written commendation from His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the Humanity 101 effort.

Reporter , ASU Now

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Technology advances earn international, state innovation awards


November 26, 2014

Biomedical technology advances achieved by David Frakes and his Arizona State University research team have recently earned a World Technology Award in Health and Medicine, as well as one of the Arizona Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards.

In addition to Frakes’ state award, Sarah Galvin, an ASU freshman electrical engineering student, was presented one of four Future Innovators of the Year awards. Galvin was recognized for a research project she developed as a student at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe. Frakes biomedical innovation Download Full Image

Frakes is an associate professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

Through his Imaging Processing Applications Lab, he has led development of technology that aids physicians in devising patient-specific plans for endovascular treatments. It is expected to have a significant impact on the success of insertions of neurovascular stents to improve patients’ recovery.

The new technique for enhancing preparation for the treatment of blood vessel problems is among recent accomplishments deemed to have “the greatest likely long-term significance” by the international panel of scientists, engineers and inventors who select winners of the annual World Technology Awards.

The technology has become the basis for a startup company, called Endovantage.

The state Celebration of Innovation Award recognizes the achievement of Frakes’ lab team in developing a cloud-based computer simulation platform enabling precise modeling of the conditions of patients with brain aneurysms.

The awards program is organized by the Arizona Technology Council in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The modeling technology development is related to other biomedical projects that are bringing attention to Frakes’ work. Among them is the 3-D Cardiac Print Lab at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, which is being run under Frakes’ guidance by ASU biomedical engineering doctoral student Justin Ryan.

The lab produces 3-D prints of individual patients’ cardiovascular, respiratory and skeletal structures. The lab also provides physicians a novel virtual screening of the conditions of pediatric patients, helping surgeons ensure a proper fit of artificial hearts implanted into the patients.

The Future Innovators of the Year Award recognizes Galvin’s research, which involves experimentation with using combinations of various materials to make devices that could help pave the way for the next generation of electronics.

Earlier this year, the project earned her a first-place prize in the electrical and mechanical engineering category in the Intel International Science and Technology Fair for high school students. Galvin is continuing her research at ASU. Read more about her work.

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Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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