Summer academy mentors next generation of public service leaders

June 30, 2015

When training the next generation of public service leaders, the College of Public Service and Community Solutions is focusing on young talent – even before students graduate from high school.

This summer, the college launched its first Public Service Summer Leadership Academy, a residential program that engages motivated high school juniors and seniors, deemed Junior Scholars, in experiences that promote public service, civic engagement and community solutions. The pilot year was sponsored by the Helios Education Foundation. St. Vincent de Paul tour Public Service Summer Leadership Academy scholars participate in a team-building activity lead by a Torch Theater improv group in the Sun Devil Fitness Complex at the Downtown Phoenix campus. Photo by: Mitchelle Makanjuola/ASU Download Full Image

Eighteen high school students from across the Phoenix metro area completed community-service projects at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, toured the Arizona State Capitol and the Arizona State House of Representatives chamber and participated in workshops writing that focused on writing resumes, grants and scholarship essays and personal statements. Over the five-day program, participants lived in the Taylor Place residential hall on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Through mentorship and college-readiness campaigns, the summer program aimed to help Junior Scholars develop their potential as the next generation of public service leaders while introducing them to the opportunities at the downtown campus.

“What we gave [the Junior Scholars] was a mix of presentations and workshops on different things that they’ll need to know both in college and as students who are interested in public service,” said Anika Larson, one of the program’s mentors.

“That ranged from learning about financial aid, to learning about personal statements and to learning about how non-profit organizations work.”

Jayleen Espinoza, a rising senior at Camelback High School, says that being able to interact with other students who share the same interests in community service was her favorite part of the program.

“I’m definitely going to look into non-profit organizations and ways to help my community in the future,” Espinoza said. “[It’s] something that’s going to help improve other people’s lives, and there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing another person smile and knowing that you made that happen.”

For this pilot experience, the College of Public Service and Community Solutions invited students who served as high school participants of the ASU Spirit of Service Scholars program. Students at Cesar Chavez High School, ASU Preparatory Academy and Camelback High School completed a yearlong mentorship and leadership program in which they worked with ASU scholars on school-wide, college-readiness projects.

The Public Service Summer Leadership Academy will be open to all area high school students next summer.

Written by Adrianna Ovnicek and Jessica Eldridge

Heather Beshears

director marketing and communications, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


ASU Art Museum presents new commissioned work by artist-in-residence Yoshua Okón

June 30, 2015

Tempe, Ariz. — This summer, ASU Art Museum will present a new commissioned work by Mexico City-based artist Yoshua Okón, in an exhibition titled "Oracle" that will be on view July 2 – Aug. 22, 2015 in the Top Gallery at the museum’s 10th Street and Mill Avenue location. The multi-channel video installation centers on anti-immigration protests against unaccompanied children who are fleeing violence and poverty from Central America into the United States.

Produced during Okón’s residency at the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program, "Oracle" was inspired by Okón’s experiences in Oracle, Ariz. This small town is known for its complicated politics and mix of pro- and anti-immigration community, as well as being a stronghold for the Minutemen, now called Arizona Border Protectors, a volunteer organization dedicated to patrolling the U.S./Mexico border alongside Border Patrol forces. In July 2014, Oracle was the arena for the largest-yet protest against the entrance of unaccompanied children from Central America into the U.S. During Okón’s first trip to Oracle, he spoke to the leaders who orchestrated the protest, who agreed to gather those who participated in the protest in order for Okón to create a live reenactment, based on what happened from their ideological perspective. "Yoshua Okón, Oracle," 2015. Still from video. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Download Full Image

“Okon’s 'Oracle' project questions the relevance of nationalism in this transnational age,” says the exhibition’s curator, Julio César Morales. “In the light of the history of U.S. invasions in Central America, this piece explores root causes in order to give new readings of why thousands of children are risking their lives to come into the United States.”

"Oracle" is the second part to Okón’s critically acclaimed video "Octopus" (2011), which was produced while Okón was an artist-in-residence at the Hammer Museum, at the University of California, Los Angeles. The first video is a reenactment of the Guatemalan Civil War at the parking lot of a Home Depot in Los Angeles, where participants work as day laborers. These laborers are also ex-guerillas who fought in the war. In conjunction with "Oracle" at the ASU Art Museum, "Octopus" will be on view Aug. 24 – Oct. 3, 2015 at the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program Project Space, located in downtown Phoenix at Combine Studios.

"Oracle" is part of the Contact Zones series of exhibitions at the ASU Art Museum, which focuses on contemporary migration and its intricate uncertainties within border culture, destiny and contested histories. The series includes new commission-based video installations, public engaged programs, guest-curated exhibitions and artist initiated projects.


Yoshua Okón was born in 1970 in Mexico City, where he currently lives. His work, like a series of near-sociological experiments executed for the camera, blends staged situations, documentation and improvisation and questions habitual perceptions of reality and truth, selfhood and morality. In 2002 he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. Okón has had several international solo exhibitions, including "Yoshua Okón 2007–2010" at the Yerba Buena Center for The Arts in San Francisco; "Salò Island" at UC Irvine; "Piovra" at Kaufmann Repetto in Milan; "Poulpe" at Mor Charpentier in Paris; "Octopus" at Cornerhouse, Manchester and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and "SUBTITLE" at Städtische Kunsthalle in Munich, as well as group exhibitions at the Gwangju Biennale in Korea, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, CCA Wattis in San Francisco, New Museum and MoMA PS1 in New York. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, Hammer Museum, LACMA, Colección Jumex and MUAC, among others.


"Yoshua Okón: Oracle" is curated by Julio César Morales and is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Museums for America Grant Number MA–20–14–0236–14.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. Museums for America is the institute's largest grant program for museums, supporting projects and ongoing activities that build museums' capacity to serve their communities. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

The ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program has received additional generous support for artists and projects from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the British Council, CEC ArtsLink, Furla Foundation and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.


The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America magazine, is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

To learn more about the museum, call 480.965.2787, or visit

Location/Parking: The museum has three locations across the metro Phoenix area: the ASU Art Museum at 10th Street and Mill Avenue, on ASU’s Tempe campus; the ASU Art Museum Brickyard at 7th Street and Mill Avenue, in downtown Tempe; and the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program Project Space at Combine Studios, in downtown Phoenix. Designated parking is available at all three locations.

Admission: Free at all three locations.

Hours: The ASU Art Museum and ASU Art Museum Brickyard are open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program Project Space in downtown Phoenix at Combine Studios has variable public hours depending on exhibition schedules and is open by appointment. 

Public Contact: 
Juno Schaser
PR Specialist