Virtual Africa exhibit dramatizes effects of AIDS on communities

February 26, 2009

The nationally touring, interactive World Vision Experience: AIDS exhibit will travel to Arizona State University’s West campus March 15-22 to raise awareness about the effects of the AIDS pandemic on children in developing countries.

Visitors to the free exhibit will view the AIDS crisis through the eyes of a child in an AIDS-affected community in Africa. World Vision Experience: AIDS features an audio tour, coupled with dramatic photography, to provide visitors with a new perspective on the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time.

The exhibit, which has been presented in numerous communities across the United States, is making its first appearance in Arizona. World Vision Experience: AIDS is sponsored by the Office of Student Engagement on ASU’s West campus, in cooperation with World Vision, a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

“World Vision is giving Valley residents an opportunity to see, hear and experience in a personal way the lives of children whose worlds have been devastated by AIDS,” says Kevin Cook, dean of student affairs at ASU’s West campus. “We invite the local community to join us as we do our part to make a difference in the lives of those most affected by this disease – our children.”

Visitors to the 2,500-square-foot exhibit will walk though a replica of an African village while listening on headsets to a story of a child whose life has been affected by AIDS. The stories profiled in the exhibit are those of four real children touched by the work of World Vision, and are inspired by true events.

World Vision Experience: AIDS visited 75 cities during 2007/2008, and is slated to visit 40 more in 2009.  Approximately 4,000 to 5,000 visitors are expected to tour the exhibit in each city during a typical eight-day stay.

“World Vision, unfortunately, cannot take thousands of Americans to Africa to witness the tragedy of the AIDS pandemic personally,” says Richard E. Stearns, president and CEO of World Vision, U.S. “So we've created this exhibit to enable people to ‘step into Africa’ and learn more about the effects of the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time and how they can help. No one can do everything, but each of us can to something to help turn the tide against AIDS.”

World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. More information about the organization is available at"> />
Exhibit hours are:
Sunday, March 15: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Monday, March 16: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 17: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday, March 18: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday, March 19: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday, March 20: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 21: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 22: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

World Vision Experience: AIDS is not recommended for children under 12; parental discretion is advised. For more information, or to schedule a time for a large group to visit the exhibit, call the Office of Student Engagement at (602) 543-8200.

ASU’s West campus is at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix; the exhibit will be housed in the La Sala ballroom in the campus’s University Center Building.

Standing out among geotechnical engineers and educators

February 26, 2009

Edward Kavazanjian, associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering, has won the 2009 Ralph B. Peck Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The annual award honors outstanding contributions to the geotechnical engineering profession through the publication of documented case histories.

The Peck Award recognizes Kavazanjian's contributions through his work specifically on waste containment systems, including design of landfills to withstand seismic activity and post-closure development of these facilities.

It one of several honors Kavazanjian has garnered recently. 

In February, Kavazanjian was recognized during a Greater Phoenix Area Engineers Week ceremony as 2008 Outstanding Engineering Educator of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

The honor is awarded for outstanding contributions to engineering education – particularly in mentoring students and young engineers – and exceptional contributions through his work to the public at large. Professional integrity, ethics, and statewide reputation are among criteria on which recipients are selected.

In January, Kavazanjian was appointed chair of the Committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering (COGGE) of the National Academies of Engineering and Science National Research Council.

COGGE is a standing committee of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and is the focal point within the board for scientific, technical, and public-policy issues pertaining to the engineering applications of earth sciences.

In October of 2008, he was elected vice president of the ASCE Geo-Institute, which represents more than 11,000 ASCE members who identify themselves as geotechnical engineers. He is to become president in the fall of this year.

In that position, he sits on the ASCE Technical Region Board of Governors, which governs the seven institutes that comprise the technical arm of ASCE and provides input to the ASCE Board of Direction on overall policy matters for the society.

Kavazanjian, who came to ASU after 20 years in engineering practice, has co-authored geotechnical guidance documents for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on geotechnical earthquake engineering for highways and for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on seismic design of municipal solid waste landfills. Download Full Image

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering