Students net prestigious RFK Journalism Award

April 15, 2009

A student project on families divided by the U.S.-Mexico border won a prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The project, “Divided Families,” won in the college print journalism category. It traces the stories of families who are separated as a result of both legal and illegal immigration and explores the social consequences of public immigration policy. In announcing the award, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy, described the Cronkite stories as “moving and wonderfully done.” “It’s good for the rest of us to know what (families on both sides of the border) are going through and the pain of separation,” she said. Download Full Image

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights also announced 2009 winners in nine professional categories. They included The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Charlotte Observer and National Public Radio.

The RFK Journalism Awards program honors outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert F. Kennedy's concerns, including human rights, social justice and the power of individual action in the United States and around the world. Winning pieces examine the causes, conditions and remedies of injustice and analyze relevant public policies and attitudes and private endeavors.  The winning entries were selected by a panel of 40 judges in several rounds. 

The awards will be presented at a ceremony May 28 at George Washington University in Washington. The Grand Prize winner will be announced at the ceremony. Winners receive a cash prize and a bust of the late senator and U.S. attorney general.

The Divided Families project was the work of 17 students in the Cronkite School’s In-Depth Reporting class. Students took more than 30 trips to the border, deep into Mexico and to various parts of Arizona to report, record and photograph their stories. The class was taught by Cronkite Assistant Dean Kristin Gilger and faculty associate Robert Sherwood. Steve Elliott, Cronkite News Service print director, provided editing support.

The students’ stories and photographs were printed in a magazine distributed by the Cronkite School and appeared in a number of newspapers throughout the state that subscribe to Cronkite News Service. Phoenix Magazine devoted eight pages to one of the stories, about U.S. children stranded in a Mexican orphanage, in its July 2008 issue.

Cronkite students who were part of the project were Adrian Barrera, Deanna Dent, Leah Duran, Branden Eastwood, Kristi Eaton, Brian Indrelunas, Ryan Kost, Jordan LaPier, Angela Hong-Anh-Le, Ashley Lowery, Ryan A. Ruiz, Codie Sanchez, Courtney Sargent, Amanda Soares, Michael Struening, Teana Wagner and Aja Viafora.

Their work was supported by a generous grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, an Illinois-based nonprofit organization founded by the international photojournalist, author, environmentalist and philanthropist. Buffett is a key supporter of the Cronkite School’s depth reporting and photojournalism programs.The other college winner of this year’s RFK award was WMUC Radio at the University of Maryland for a project on campus rape.

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards were founded by a group of journalists covering RFK's 1968 presidential campaign and have grown to become the largest program of its kind in the world.

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights was founded in 1968 by Kennedy's family and friends as a living memorial to carry forward his vision of a more just and peaceful world. Today the impact of the RFK Center extends around the globe, through cutting-edge programs promoting human rights and social justice and empowering new generations of leaders.

ASU employees named to Forty Under 40 list

April 15, 2009

Five people from Arizona State University have been named to the 2009 Phoenix Business Journal Forty Under 40 list that honors young leaders in metro Phoenix. 

The business publication created the list in 2001 to pay homage to business, community, government and non-profit leaders who have achieved impressive milestones in their careers and make significant contributions to the Valley’s overall quality of life.  Download Full Image

ASU honorees are:

• Ernesto Fonseca is an architect and designer for the ASU Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family. Fonseca is committed to environmental sustainability and energy conservation with a particular sensitivity to multicultural communities.

Fonseca works on innovative housing projects for the Stardust Center. He has been involved in the architectural design and planning, energy engineering and building processes of homes such as the Nageezi House, Stardust Center’s first demonstration home on the Navajo Nation for a family of Navajo elders.

Fonseca is currently working on his doctoral degree in environmental design and planning at ASU and contributing to developing affordable, energy efficient and culturally relevant housing. Working closely with the residents and city officials of Guadalupe, Fonseca took the lead on the Stardust Center’s 2006 Design/Build Project. He worked in collaboration with volunteer and non-profit agencies including Guadalupe Youth Build to construct the home and conducted post-occupancy energy monitoring.

• Marisel Herrera-Anderson is the director of the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program at ASU’s College of Public Programs. The Nina Scholars program provides educational opportunities for people who wouldn’t normally receive traditional academic scholarships and specifically serves foster youth, physically disabled and adult re-entry students. She has served in a variety of roles during her 14-year tenure at ASU, primarily in student affairs.

Herrera-Anderson was honored in 2002 by the City of Tempe’s Human Relations Commission for her efforts toward promoting diversity through an ASU summer program she created, APPLES (Academic Program Promoting Leadership, Enrichment & Service).

In 2005, she was one of 22 Latinas in the nation selected for the National Hispana Leadership Institute, a national leadership development program aimed at developing Latinas as ethical world leaders. She serves on the Girls Education Project board of directors and has served on the board of directors of Mujer, Inc., both non-profit organizations focused on mentoring young girls. She has served for the past five years on the national planning committee of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute.

• Jenny Holsman is the executive director for the ASU Alumni Association where she oversees engagement and outreach efforts to 300,000 alumni, 11,000 faculty and staff and 67,000 students. Holsman is responsible for alumni operations such as human resources, finance, student outreach and business development among others. She has overseen many initiatives in the Alumni Association such as streamlining business processes and developing strategic goals and partnerships.

Holsman participates on the board of directors for several local organizations including Valley Youth Theater, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association, Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Arizona State Bar Association Young Lawyers and the American Red Cross.

“Serving my community is a very important component of my life and has been since I was a child,” Holsman says. She is an avid volunteer with organizations including ASU Advocacy Program for Battered Women, Crisis Nursery, St. Vincent’s De Paul and United Way. She is also working toward her doctoral degree in public administration.

• Kimberly A. Scott is an award-winning associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies with the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education.  She is founder and executive director of COMPUGIRLS, a program which encourages girls from under-resourced school districts to consider and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

COMPUGIRLS, Scott says, is one of the few programs nationally that wed critical thinking, social justice issues, and technology.

The program recently received a three-year, $800,000 National Science Foundation grant that will support Scott and a team of ASU researchers in efforts to evaluate, expand and refine the program and provide additional support to its participants.

“We are proving to the girls that even if they are 14 or 15, they have the means to make global change,” says Scott, a 2008-2009 Centennial Professorship Award recipient, presented by the Associated Students of ASU in recognition of excellent teaching and community service.

Scott also serves as program director of the second annual State of Black Arizona project, a community collaborative which provides a comprehensive report and public forum series initiated to explore and better understand the status, issues and concerns of African Americans in Arizona.

• Rhett Wilson is director of corporate relations for the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU where he identifies and develops major corporate and individual donors for the school.

Wilson joined the school three years ago as a career coach and developed the Investment Banking Industry Scholars program, which helps students start careers in corporate finance and investment banking. He later joined the team that launched the ASU entrepreneurship initiative.

Wilson’s history of community service began with his election to the town council in Kearny, Ariz., his hometown, when he was 18. He currently is involved with the City of Tempe’s Economic and Community Development Committee and serves as president of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership – Arizona Chapter.

His biggest accomplishment was graduating from ASU with a degree in justice studies. “I am the first in my family to earn a college degree, but more importantly it was the people I met during my college experience that helped me build a career in higher education.”