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Taking the right path at the Crossroads

Heroin addiction among ages 18 to 25 has doubled in the last 10 years.
~10% of Americans claim to be in recovery from an alcohol or drug abuse issue.
September 18, 2018

Initiative gives ASU students health care experience, improves patient outcomes at substance abuse clinic

As the opioid epidemic in America rages on, many treatment facilities struggle to meet the health needs of freshly sober addicts, leaving them no option but to seek medical care outside the facility, increasing their likelihood to relapse.

At Crossroads for Women in Phoenix, that’s no longer a concern. In February 2016, the residential treatment center partnered with the Student Health Outreach for Wellness (SHOW) community initiative, a tri-university, student-run program serving vulnerable populations.

Over those two years, students from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona have served over 700 patients and given about $95,000-worth of free services at Crossroads. As a result, both length of stay and patient satisfaction have increased, and medical-related incident reports have fallen to zero.

The partnership is supported by the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at the University of Minnesota, and was funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

“I am so pleased that this partnership has been impactful to both SHOW and Crossroads,” said Liz Harrell, assistant clinical professor at ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation and director of SHOW.

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ASU assistant clinical professor Liz Harrell laughs as the team takes notes on the day's cases during the morning huddle of the Student Health and Outreach Wellness clinic at Crossroads residential and outpatient substances abuse treatment program in Phoenix. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

“SHOW students and faculty are engaged in ‘real-world’ interprofessional care delivery and learning about how to care for those recovering from substance-use disorders. Crossroads residents are recipients of integrated care not usually available in residential settings. … We could not have asked for a better collaborative outcome.”

Crossroads program coordinator Jenice Johnson agrees. She described the improvement in quality of care provided to patients as “amazing and drastic.”

Before she was employed at Crossroads, she was a patient there. After only a week at the facility, she developed a case of bronchitis and had to leave to seek treatment at a hospital.

“That was probably one of the scariest experiences I had,” Johnson said.

She’s grateful patients don’t have to worry about being in that kind of situation anymore.

“With SHOW being here and (the patients) being able to talk to somebody who cares and can help them get care, it’s kind of just a mind ease,” she said. “And it also helps with … somebody being two days sober and having to leave by themselves on the bus to go to the emergency room and then not returning. Or returning high.”

SHOW was founded as a service-learning program to provide health care to individuals who lack the means to get it themselves, including those experiencing homelessness, those from low-income communities and those recovering from substance use.

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

The gap in care is the result of a broken system in which health care is tied to employment, Harrell said.

“If you don’t have an employer that offers health care or you’re out of a job, you’re also out of luck,” she told ASU Now in 2016, and maintains that that’s still the case two years later.

In addition, Harrell said, the systems is “fundamentally disjointed.”

That’s why SHOW uses what’s called an interprofessional practice health care delivery method, meaning students from multiple disciplines — including nursing, psychology and social work — work together to provide more holistic care to patients.

Nikole Sciortino, a social work senior, chose to work with SHOW to fulfill her field internship requirement precisely for that reason.

“I get to work with different disciplines, and that’s really important being in my field because we do a lot of referrals, and we have to know certain signs (someone might exhibit) before we refer a client to another person,” she said.

For example, an addict might be inclined to lie about their substance use, but a social worker might not be able to suss them out without insight from a colleague trained in psychology.

The cross-benefits don’t just happen between students, though. Johnson has noticed how interactions between students and Crossroads employees have resulted in better patient care as well.

“Before this, I didn’t have any medical knowledge,” she said. “And I know for a lot of the students, they don’t have any knowledge of substance abuse. So us being able to learn from each other … (has produced vast improvements).”

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Crossroads women's program coordinator Jenice Johnson gives advice on how to approach a patient during the morning huddle. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Crossroads currently operates six facilities in the Valley. By January 2019, the goal is for SHOW to have a presence at all of them. Right now, SHOW supplies the facility with a family nurse practitioner, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, social workers and physical therapists, and plans to add legal experts soon.

SHOW is also in the process of building a shared clinic with Crossroads that will employ community providers as well as faculty to continue the service-learning model for students.

“Ultimately, we’re a learning lab where students learn how to work with other disciplines to provide care for a patient,” Harrell said.

Other student-run free clinic programs across the country have taken notice, adapting signature concepts from SHOW, such as a “patient navigator,” someone who stays with the patient throughout their entire clinic visit, acting as their health advocate and ensuring important information is accurate and passed along to the right care providers.

Several SHOW students have developed and implemented new strategies or initiatives as academic research projects while working at Crossroads. Every single one has been adopted at the facility, including a mindfulness education group.

The experience is invaluable, and not something you get from most internships, Sciortino said.

“It gives people like me, an undergrad, the opportunity to really take the lead on something. I’ve had different leadership positions before but this time I really feel like I’m in charge of stuff,” she said.

“I feel like I’m getting the best type of experience I can because it’s all hands-on learning. … I’m actually getting to experience the situation myself and having to do the problem solving on my own, which is a key part of the field internship so that I know what I’m doing when I graduate.”

Top photo: ASU doctoral student in advanced nursing practice Reena Pathak asks her patient questions during their morning meeting at the Student Health and Outreach Wellness clinic at Crossroads residential and outpatient substances abuse treatment program in Phoenix. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

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September 17, 2018

'Of all the things that have benefited downtown Phoenix, ASU having a presence in downtown has been the biggest game changer of all.' – Nicole Stanton, Quarles & Brady

It doesn’t take long to find a Phoenician who has a story or two about the years when downtown Phoenix pretty much went dark at 5:05 p.m. Sure, the arena and ballpark were there. But when the game or concert was over, most people hopped into their cars and hightailed out. Describing post-dinner food options as “limited” was generous. And nightlife? Ha.  

Having worked in downtown for 20 years, Nicole Stanton, the Phoenix office managing partner for Quarles & Brady law firm, recalls when she brought in her own food for late nights at the office because the alternative was going hungry.  

Today, a short evening stroll through these once-sleepy streets indicate those days are in the city’s rear-view mirror. The bevy of entertainment venues, cultural events, hospitality services and recreational experiences have since generated multiple reasons to linger.  

And Arizona State University’s downtown campus — established in 2006 — is in the thick of the whirlwind resurgence that has made downtown Phoenix an enviable hot spot. 

The timing of the arrival and progression of the downtown campus and surrounding community growth isn’t coincidence.  

“Of all the things that have benefited downtown Phoenix, ASU having a presence in downtown has been the biggest game changer of all,” Stanton said. 

It’s the result of a transformative partnership begun in 2005 between the city and ASU to develop a downtown campus. Less than a year later, Phoenix voters showed their support, approving a $223 million bond by a 2-1 margin, an unprecedented investment in higher education by a city. 

Wellington “Duke” Reiter, executive director of the University City Exchange at ASU and senior adviser to President Michael M. Crow, lent his creative vision in the design of the Downtown Phoenix campus more than a decade ago. 

People walking downtown
Photo by Jarrod Opperman/ASU

“At the time, we were communicating the mutual benefit for the city and university around such an idea,” Reiter said. “Having a relatively empty urban core in the fifth-largest city in the United States was not helpful in the attraction of new companies or research talent. Accordingly, both parties were motivated to fix the problem. 

“Now that the campus is well established, the city is seeing more activity on the streets, increased retail and a renewed interest in the benefits of civic space — exactly what was anticipated. The park area around which many university and new private-sector buildings are gathered was purposefully designed to generate an enhanced relationship between residents, students, and employees in the area — a way for people to get to know their city and the university anew. Such urban amenities grow out of great partnerships,” he said. 

The Valley Metro light rail line, hospitality services and corporate and independent businesses also play roles, changing the downtown landscape and culture with an influx of amenities that cater to locals’ and visitors’ needs.  

According to a recent Downtown Phoenix Inc. report, this buzz is fueled by 7,000 residential units, 13,000 students, 400 tech and creative companies, and hundreds of hotel rooms that host business and leisure travelers. In combination with major sports, arts and cultural events, this development is a powerful factor in an estimated $9.7 billion annual value of total goods and services in the area.   

The vision of a traditional campus that’s contained by geography to a few square blocks has diminished over the years. As buildings spread out to accommodate more programs moving downtown — most recently the Thunderbird School of Global Management — students and faculty have followed suit, becoming part of downtown community’s social fabric and creating age, profession and background diversity, explains Jim McPherson, downtown Phoenix advocate and executive director of Sustainable Communities Collaborative. Many have become true residents and see downtown as a spot to truly live, work and play alongside their nonuniversity neighbors. 

“The campus design has evolved and become what the grass-roots community envisioned,” McPherson said. 

Proximity and partnership with business

Downtown companies have also benefited from ASU’s presence. Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law students take on internships or other jobs at downtown law firms. Among them, Quarles & Brady, which invites top students to participate in its summer associate class. 

For a decade, The Arizona Republic/azcentral has collaborated with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on a breaking news multimedia reporting class that places student interns in virtually every department in the newsroom, from photo and digital production to features and sports. Each semester, about 14 students are assigned to the breaking news desk, where they get real-life experience speaking to police and fire personnel and witnesses, then generate stories for print, online and even Facebook Live content.  

“What we get are additional young journalists who can be on the scene in many more places than we could without them,” said Kathy Tulumello, news director for Arizona Republic/azcentral.  

Building art audiences

From professional opportunities to a rich cultural life, downtown has evolved in skyline-changing leaps and fine-grain growths, too, especially in Phoenix’s creative community downtown.  

Roosevelt Row started as an informal idea among many artists who had relocated into the area. As a recent alum of the ASU School of Art, Greg Esser was working with others from his ASU studio to build projects on Roosevelt including galleries like Eye Lounge and 515 Gallery. He credits the evolution of downtown Phoenix in part to the high concentration of artists, one aspect of “making” a destination.

“One of the driving changes in the perception of downtown was by the artists and the building of First Fridays over the years. It created a catalytic impact that supported businesses relying on that First Friday audience,” said Esser. 

Now as a leader in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Esser is supporting expansion of ASU’s art and design efforts downtown. His work is now focused on the next wave of artists, collaborating with the school’s leadership and the more than 300 graduate students at Grant Street Studios on the next chapter of growth. 

With a law school that offers affordable legal advice, several colleges serving health and well-being needs, hundreds of artists building creative works and an urban campus that is inviting to all, the university has bonded with the core of the nation’s fifth-largest city.  

“ASU’s presence downtown has brought a vibrancy, a livelihood. People live downtown now, they don’t just work here,” Stanton said. “The benefit of that and the transformation it had on downtown cannot be understated.” 

Timeline: Catalyzing moments in a downtown’s evolution

Many elements make the center of Phoenix the vibrant place it is today. From campus development to community partnerships, many investments and events have come together to bring the Downtown Phoenix campus to life. A few highlights:


Artlink connects art spaces

Artlink forms and organizes Art Detour, a multi-day, self-guided tour of galleries, studios and businesses in and around downtown. 


ASU Mercado
ASU Mercado.


ASU Downtown Center at the Mercado

Day, evening and weekend courses, degrees and professional-development programs including urban design, policy and community service are introduced. Programs bring faculty, students, local government, state agencies and other organizations together to work on local and statewide challenges. 


New artist enclaves emerge

Due to construction of what are now Chase Field and Talking Stick Resort Arena, many artists in the warehouse district are displaced, leading them to purchase properties in new areas, including Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue. USA Today later names Roosevelt Row one of the 10 Best City Arts Districts in America.  


First Fridays 

Artlink and other downtown Phoenix artists start to officially promote this monthly art walk, which has grown to become one of the largest in the U.S. With many venues open free to the public each month, First Fridays succeeds in bringing people back to downtown Phoenix. The event currently attracts from 14,000 to 20,000 visitors monthly and continues to grow.


Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors 

The Downtown Phoenix Partnership starts a safety program that would evolve into a hospitality service with specially trained downtown Phoenix customer-service ambassadors, who help with events and navigation of downtown. 


Phoenix Urban Research Lab

Known as PURL, this working research center opens and fosters the idea for the downtown campus. Through a combination of supported research, coordinated coursework and public programming, PURL assembles different academic units within the university and the public sphere. PURL launches Phoenix Urban Design Week, a series of highly anticipated annual events still active today. 


ASU, City of Phoenix partner on campus development

ASU and the City of Phoenix announce a transformative partnership for the development of the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, which is approved by a 2-to-1 margin by the city’s voters one year later. 


Phoenix Public Market’s open-air market debuts

Located at what is now the Phoenix Public Market Café parking lot, this destination spot is composed of more than 80 independent vendors selling wares, including local produce and other goods every Saturday.  


The new campus

The Downtown Phoenix campus officially opens with 2,766 students and three colleges — College of Nursing, College of Public Programs and University College — housed in two office buildings speedily remodeled for classroom use. Students move into a refurbished 1955 Ramada Inn, which serves as a temporary residence hall for the campus’s first two years. Later in the year, the School of Social Work moves to the downtown campus, becoming part of the College of Public Programs. Two years later, the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice relocates from the West campus to join the college. Today the campus offers programs across eight degree-granting colleges and schools.


Cronkite School
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Photo by Jarod Opperman/ASU


Groundbreaking for Cronkite School

Former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite breaks ground on what will become the campus’s first newly constructed building, designed to house the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Arizona PBS. In 2008, the fourth college of the campus opens its new home, a state-of-the-art digital communications complex. 


A biomedical collaboration

The Arizona Biomedical Collaborative Building opens  as part of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, a medical and bioscience campus. The LEED-certified building houses bioinformatic programs for ASU and research programs for the University of Arizona. 


Downtown living

Students move into Taylor Place, a newly built 13-story residential complex with a rooftop terrace, mountain vistas and city views. A second tower opens the following year. 


Phoenix Convention Center is revamped

A $600 million demolition and expansion is completed, creating a new and improved venue to accommodate national conventions and crowd-drawing events like Phoenix Fan Fusion, Comicon and NFL Super Bowl fan activities. 


CityScape construction begins

Construction begins on a 1.2 million-square-foot urban multi-use development, to be used as office buildings, residential units, a hotel, retail shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. It’s also the site of an outdoor ice rink each winter.


Light rail opens

Valley Metro light rail service begins, linking the Downtown Phoenix campus to Tempe. 


ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix

The academy opens downtown. Today it includes preschool, elementary, middle and high schools, and its curriculum helps students develop critical thinking and learning skills to prepare them for college.


Civic Space Park

City officials dedicate Civic Space Park, a 2.7-acre grassy oasis that replaces abandoned storefronts and empty lots. The A.E. England Building, an abandoned 1926 auto dealership on the city’s historic registry, is dedicated after a major renovation, and serves as an anchor in the park. It is used daily for classes, public meetings, art displays and special events. 


New nursing building

The Downtown Phoenix campus dedicates its second new academic building, an 84,000-square-foot building, part of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. 


Sustainability focus

The Downtown Phoenix campus dedicates its first solar power grid on the roof of the Cronkite School. Sustainability is a key feature of the campus, which has seven LEED-certified buildings. 


Crescent Ballroom opens

This music venue, bar and restaurant hot spot opens and quickly establishes itself as a premiere Valley music destination. It is the first of several downtown venues by promoter Charlie Levy; his second, the concert space the Van Buren, opens in 2017.  


Fifth college based downtown

The newly established College of Health Solutions opens on the Downtown Phoenix campus. 


Feast on the Street

This half-mile-long dining table set up on First Street turns the stretch into a pedestrian promenade in celebration of food and art in one of the largest outdoor events downtown to date, galvanizing art, food and neighborhood community ties. The feast is a free public event and community project initiated by the ASU Art Museum and the Desert Initiative, Roosevelt Row Community Development Corp. and artists Clare Patey and Matt Moore.


Adaptive reuse

The new Student Center opens in the historic U.S. Post Office building on Central Avenue adjacent to Civic Space Park. 


McDowell Mountain Music Festival 

Originally held in Scottsdale, the festival now known as M3M moves to Margaret T. Hance Park. This 100-percent nonprofit music festival has attracted visitors with major bands. The precedent set by strong attendance, Viva PHX debuts soon after, bringing a live music extravaganza hostsing 50 bands on 13 stages across downtown.


Fitness center

Students celebrate the grand opening of the new Sun Devil Fitness Center, a 73,800-square-foot health and recreational complex featuring extensive cardio and weight equipment and a rooftop pool overlooking the campus.


$275 million 

worth of goods and services created by ASU’s 2013 nonpayroll spending around the downtown campus. These goods and services are supplied by Phoenix businesses. More stats from that year: 2,100 jobs, $101 million in labor income, $168 million in gross product directly created by ASU’s spending downtown.


Grant Street Studios opens

This venue for the ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts moves several of its graduate studio programs to the Phoenix Warehouse District. 


GRID Bike Share launches

The first ever city-shared bike system launches in the urban core of Phoenix with bikes available for rent via a mobile app.


Beus Center for Law and Society 

Construction begins on the $129 million, 260,000-square-foot complex that will become the new home for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in 2016. The building space is designed to be inviting, engaging and accessible to everyone who is interested in learning about the law, its effect on our daily lives, and the many services and resources available through ASU and other BCLS partners.


ASU’s Collaboratory on Central in the Westward Ho

The community service clinic combining health and social outreach opens inside the historic Westward Ho hotel. This clinic includes office and event space on the first floor of the landmark 1928 hotel. It houses students studying social work, nursing, health monitoring and counseling, and the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy.  


Growing numbers

The downtown campus reaches 11,465 students and 644 faculty members.


Phoenix backs expansion for Thunderbird

The Phoenix City Council approves a $13.5 million investment for a new downtown building to house the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Beus Center for Law and Society event
Leo Beus addresses guests during the grand opening of the Beus Center for Law and Society on Aug. 15, 2016. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

ASU’s growth to many locations

1885: ASU Tempe campus

The Territorial Normal School is created to train teachers and teach agriculture and mechanical arts. Today, ASU offers hundreds of majors that engage undergraduates and graduates in multidisciplinary research and exploration. The Novus Innovation Corridor will integrate mixed-use urban development with enhanced collegiate athletic venues.

1984: ASU West campus

Established by the Arizona Legislature as the university’s second campus, ASU West is located on the western edge of Phoenix. Today the campus offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees across six colleges. The Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy on the campus is a learning environment for highly gifted students in grades 7-12.

1996: ASU Polytechnic campus

Founded as ASU East on the former Williams Air Force Base, this campus offers degrees in interdisciplinary sciences, engineering, management, aviation, technology and education. Industry partnerships provide learning opportunities within advanced lab spaces. ASU Prep preschool, STEM Academy for K-8 and a STEM high school are on this campus.

2002: Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care

Together, Mayo Clinic, the recognized world leader in patient care, education and research, and ASU, the nation’s most innovative university, are bringing the brightest minds together to accelerate cutting-edge research discoveries, improve patient care through health care innovation and transform medical education to enhance health outcomes.

2008: SkySong Innovation Center

The center is responsible for more than 100 spinoff companies that have collectively raised more than $600 million in venture capital. It is also home of the ASU Online/Starbucks degree program with ASU’s EdPlus team.

2012: ASU at Lake Havasu

This collaboration between the Lake Havasu Foundation and ASU brings the university’s innovative approach to higher education to a location unserved by the state university system. Students at Havasu now choose from more than 20 four-year undergraduate degree programs.

2018: ASU in Downtown Mesa

The city council approves a partnership with ASU for a campus in the center of Arizona’s second-largest city. ASU agrees to bring at least 750 students and 40 faculty members, with at least 25 scholarships earmarked for students within Mesa city limits. 


Written by By Georgann Yara. Top photo of Taylor Place by Charlie Leight/ASU Now. This story originally appeared in the fall issue of ASU Thrive magazine.

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SPARK App League gives young students chance to code, learn about college

September 14, 2018

For the sixth year in a row, middle-school and high-school students from across Arizona gathered at the Polytechnic campus for a two-day coding competition Sept. 12–13. 

The event, called the SPARK App League Game Jam, is a collaboration between Arizona State University’s Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering, the town of Gilbert, Waymo self-driving cars and the Smithsonian, and aims to get kids involved in a college atmosphere early on — while developing helpful code and winning cash prizes

But for the students, the experience is much more rewarding than the prize money. 

Noah Terrill, 14, came to the event for the first time two years ago. 

“When I first got involved with this was two years ago; me and my friend, we just found out about this and we just wanted to give it a try … and we really liked it,” Terrill said. “I think it really develops your STEMSTEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. and your ability to work with people.”

Derek Konofalski, who runs the program and is a data and technology analyst for the town of Gilbert, said that the need to code was inevitable and that the students were getting in at the right time.

“For students especially, I personally believe that every single person is going to need to know how to code, whether they be young, old — whether they be experienced or inexperienced — everybody's coding for everything now,” Konofalski said. 

The organizer, director and emcee of the event shared his past in code and said that the future would be written in code — a theme that was echoed by every speaker and guest at the venue.

Dana Berchman, the chief digital officer for Gilbert who helped conceive of the idea, said the event not only helps the students but also helps the community.

“In governments, we don’t have big budgets to pay for things like mobile apps, so really the idea came from — I didn’t have $30,000 for a mobile app for the town, so I had to get creative to think of how we could get a mobile app for Gilbert,” Berchman said.

After the town approached ASU, the idea turned a gaming competition, where students could learn how to code — and also get early access to possible career paths in Gilbert.

“We turned it into a gaming competition where they are getting exposed to a college campus, and they get to see what major they might be pursuing and then thinking about that long-term workforce, that pipeline of people that will be our future workers in Gilbert,” Berchman said.

But in addition to the practical applications, the event gives many students their first look at a college campus, something that Berchman said many of them have never thought about.

“A lot of these kids will tell you — even though they're really smart — and their teachers will tell you they’ve never really thought about college,” she said. “And they kind of stand there and they look around. So, it’s that experience you know, and I think for Poly especially ... it's super cool to have an event like this to be focused on such a unique campus.”

Many of the students said that the event got them thinking about college, including Bagdad high school senior Kody Conner, who is looking at a number of schools — including ASU.

Conner said he wants to study video game design and came to get more experience with coding.

“I’ve had one year of coding, but it wasn’t like serious, and so this will be my first time actually coding,” Conner said. “I think it’s important to learn how to code because it is in everything now, everything is technology-based, so I think it’s a good thing to learn, it’s something that you do need in life.”

He also said he liked the format of the event and the inclusion of younger kids.

“I look around and I see a lot of little kids who, when I was their age I was like, 'Coding? I don’t know what that is,' so I think it’s a good way to learn something while having fun, instead of just learning it,” he said.

Other speakers included a systems engineer from Waymo and a representative from the Smithsonian Innovation Spark Lab, who provided the theme for the event: translating a physical prop into a video game.

The unique and focused nature of the Polytechnic campus was featured throughout the competition. In an introduction for the school, Assistant Vice President for Educational Outreach Jonathan Schmitt riled up the crowd by showcasing some of the high-profile projects ASU Polytechnic students have been involved in, including Elon Musk’s hyperloop competition, the ASU racing team and the robotics lab.

“This is a place where you are going to learn not just about jobs you have to fill but how to think, and how to process so that no matter what happens in the future you will be able to continue to stay in pace with things,” Schmitt said. “Here at Poly it's experiential learning; everything we do is hands-on.”

Top photo: Ninth-grade Mesa homeschoolers Sarah Towey (left), 13, Ben Zazick, 13, and Noah Terrill, 14, work together on their app as part of the two-day SPARK App League Game Jam at the Student Union on the Polytechnic campus Wednesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Isaac Windes

Reporter , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

ASU Early Start students give back to homeless children, community

September 13, 2018

One of the best ways to learn if you should study psychology in college is to go and experience psychology in action. Carolyn Cavanaugh-Toft leads the Early Start Program in the Arizona State University Department of Psychology, a two-week intensive program that introduces students to psychology at ASU.

The program previews some of the available psychology courses and was designed to give incoming freshmen the opportunity to discover their class options and to start thinking about what career prospects they can have with a degree in psychology. Early Start Students Helping at Homeward Bound The Early Start Program is a two-week intensive program that introduces students to psychology at ASU. The program previews some of the available psychology courses and was designed to give incoming freshmen the opportunity to discover their class options and to start thinking about what career prospects they can have with a degree in psychology. Photo by Rob Ewing/ASU Download Full Image

“I wanted to give the incoming students a chance to learn what opportunities they have in the Department of Psychology, both in research as well as in internships,” said Cavanaugh-Toft, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology who was recently named ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences lecturer of the year. “One place I wanted to introduce the students to is a place called Homeward Bound.”

Homeward Bound is an Arizona nonprofit that serves homeless families, providing training and housing to help the families get back on their feet. Each year Homeward Bound helps more than 130 families in the Phoenix area. Often these families include young children who are in a pivotal stage of early development.

“Children who enter the public education system from homeless situations are at a critical disadvantage long-term if they do not learn the life skills to cope with the cycle of homelessness,” said Marcos Hernandez, a senior manager at Homeward Bound. 

In 2015, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that more 2.5 percent of public school students are homeless. Being homeless while in school can cause academic performance to suffer, and it is a known risk factor for mental and physical health problems. Arizona is no different than the rest of the country: Over 2.6 perecent of students in Arizona schools are homeless.

Students in the Early Start Program participated in service learning projects and saw firsthand what a nonprofit organization has to do to succeed in helping others. The students sorted donations, reorganized learning centers and helped the Homeward Bound case managers with children at the center.

“We have to be mindful of our clients’ experiences, and we can’t look at everything through our own lenses,” said Patsy Rethore-Larson, vice president of programs at Homeward Bound. “We need to have a sense of understanding that our interaction with a client is based on a lifetime of experiences. It is so important to have a relationship based on mutual respect in order to make a difference.”

By volunteering at Homeward Bound, the Early Start Program students were exposed to what a career in child services could be like, and they also learned what a complex issue homelessness can be.

“Working with Homeward Bound is a wonderful experience for the students. They might not have thought much about what can cause homelessness, and it is important to have their assumptions challenged,” Cavanaugh-Toft said.

Robert Ewing

Marketing and Communications Manager, Department of Psychology


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Gila River Indian Community members see traditional house designs come to life

Gila River residents work with ASU team on culturally relevant housing design.
September 13, 2018

ASU professor, students work with residents on more efficient, culturally relevant housing

Family is the most important thing to people who live in the Gila River Indian Community, and the houses they live in should reflect that reality.

That was the key concept that members of the community told a group from Arizona State University earlier this week. About 30 community members participated in an idea session with several graduate students and an architecture professor to design new housing that would be culturally relevant.

Wanda Dalla Costa, an architect and Institute Professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, has been working with the Gila River Indian Community on the concept for about three years. She calls it “design sovereignty.”

“They’ve been residents of the desert for thousands of years, and they’ve figured out how to live in the climate,” said Dalla Costa, a member of the Saddle Lake First Nation in Alberta, Canada. Dalla Costa was the first First Nations woman to become a registered architect in Canada.

“I don’t use the word design — it’s co-design, because I’m not living there, they are living there. Even though I am indigenous, it’s not my culture.”

Thousands of years ago, the Gila River tribal members built dwellings with thick adobe walls to protect them from the heat. But in the 1960s, the federal government began providing standardized housing to reservations, which wasn’t designed for the desert climate. The Gila River Indian Community wants future housing to not only be culturally relevant but also more energy efficient.

Last year, Dalla CostaDalla Costa also is an associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. met with several Gila River residents for the first time to talk about what their houses should look like. They produced about half a dozen designs, ranging from about 1,600 to 2,600 square feet.

On Tuesday, Dalla Costa gathered the community members together with about 30 ASU graduate students in the architecture, business administration, construction and American Indian Studies master’s degree programs. In a classroom at the Huhugam Heritage Center, the residents divided into groups, took those initial designs and talked more specifically about what they wanted. The students offered different wall, roof and window options, which were then visualized in a three-dimensional computer program.

Skyler Anselmo, a 23-year-old member of the community, said that many times, more than one family lives in a house.

“We grew up sharing space,” he said. “The houses we have now are crowded together and there’s no synergy.

“The foundation of our culture is to share and prosper together,” said Anselmo, who works in Sacaton in the AmeriCorps program.

Dalla Costa told the groups they could push the envelope, and Anselmo’s group did. They designed a house with a large, open, round central family room, with other rooms coming off of it like spokes.

The community members were nearly unanimous in their desire for an outdoor cooking area, as well as a shaded patio and a play area. They were also interested in traditional features that are sustainable, like a rainwater catcher.

And everyone wants a garden.

“It’s part of our history, when we were self-sustaining,” Anselmo said. “It goes back to the roots of our culture when we grew our own food.”

Sky Dawn Reed, who earned a master’s in science and technology policy degree at ASU and now works in the planning department of the Gila River Indian Community, said the design should be flexible.

“We should think about making the houses solar-ready,” she said. “It might not be doable now, but maybe we can do it later. It might even be far off, but we should be forward-thinking.”

Belinda Ayze, a graduate student in the American Indian Studies program at ASU, sat with an elderly resident and helped to facilitate her discussion about the design.

“I was asking her how she lived her life and how she cooked and if she wanted wheelchair ramps and bars in the shower,” she said.

“I asked why she wants a cooking area outside, and she said, ‘Food tastes better with fire.’ ”

Ayze, a Navajo, said the older residents she talked to wanted traditional adobe walls and doors that face east.

“I think it’s a good idea to make the houses the way they want and the way they’ve always dreamed of living with their families,” she said.

The goal is to train Gila River residents to build the houses. Last spring, ASU architecture master’s student Selina Martinez designed a traditional adobe shade structure, or “vatho,” which was constructed by a team of Gila River builders, led by master builder Aaron Sabori.

Dalla Costa hopes to come up with about six final designs, with one or two selected to go into construction drawings. Then a prototype would be constructed within the next year. 

“The design belongs to you, and construction should belong to you because I know there is a long history of constructing your own homes,” she told the community.

Top photo: Members of the Gila River Indian Community look over several of the housing designs for the Gila River Indian Community in a collaboration between members of the community and graduate students from ASU schools of architecture, business, engineering and American Indian studies, at the Huhugam Heritage Center on Tuesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


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Conference at ASU puts gender-based violence in the spotlight

September 12, 2018

3 new initiatives — including domestic-violence certificate, the 1st on West Coast — expand university's reach into community

Social workers need to be on the front lines of imagining a world without oppression — the key to ending gender-based violence, according to experts at an Arizona State University conference on Wednesday.

“We need to envision a world without violence, a world centered around fierce, radical love and courage,” said Allie Bones, CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. That organization partnered with the ASU School of Social Work on the daylong conference at the West campus, titled “Promoting Just and Effective Solutions to Ending Gender-Based Violence.”

“It was said that social work is about being anti-oppression, and as social workers we need to understand our role is to have that perspective,” she said, “whether it’s meeting the immediate needs of people who have experienced domestic violence and trauma or working in systems that need to be changed.”

ASU is expanding its reach into the community to help domestic-violence survivors. Jill Theresa Messing, an associate professor in the School of Social Work and part of the faculty of the Office of Gender Based Violence, announced three new initiatives at the event.

In the biggest change, more social work students will get paid while they intern with community agencies. For the past three years, the School of Social Work has had a grant from the federal AmeriCorps program to pay stipends to social work undergraduates and graduate students, who are required to have internships with social service agencies. Typically, those internships are unpaid, but under the AmeriCorps program, the students get stipends as well as additional training.

Under the expansion, not only will more students be in the program but they’ll be working at agencies that don’t necessarily focus on domestic violence explicitly but who serve survivors of domestic violence, such as organizations that work with the homeless. This will allow all types of agencies to use evidence-based interventions to help domestic-violence survivors.

The expanded program will be called Survivor Link.

“The logo has three intertwined links, which we’re thinking of as research, practice and education coming together in this idea of Survivor Link,” Messing said.

In 2015, ASU had 42 student AmeriCorps members who volunteered 17,000 hours and received $100,000 in scholarship money. This year, the office expects to have 93 AmeriCorps members work 56,000 hours and receive $310,000 in scholarships, she said.

In addition, this year, for the first time, ASU has eight AmeriCorps Vista workers, who are full-time employees deployed to help agencies work on projects. Five are working with domestic-violence community organizations, and three are working in the Office of Gender Based Violence.

Also new this year, ASU is offering a domestic-violence certificate program, both undergraduate and graduate, for anyone who has an interest in working in this area, not just social workers. The potential students, who might be in law enforcement or public administration, will take a course that was created with the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and have internships working with survivors.

The certificates will make ASU the only school on the West Coast to have a specialized curriculum in domestic violence, Messing said.

At the conference, the attendees broke into groups and discussed “real solutions” to gender-based violence, such as teaching healthy dating behavior in schools, as well as “false solutions,” such as the criminalization of domestic violence, which many say has ended up harming more people than helping.

Georgie Hinojosa, a first-year master’s of social work student at ASU, said his group discussed culture and community engagement.

“We focused especially on not just teaching women how to be safe but also, how do we get men to talk about not being abusers, to let out frustrations in safe ways and deal with emotions they’re not allowed to talk about?” he said.

“We talked about how we think one of the most important things is having all interventions be culturally informed so we can give people the help they need that best speaks to their situation.”

Cultural competency — understanding the nuances of domestic violence within specific cultures — was the topic of the afternoon keynote address.

Tricia Bent-Goodley, a professor at Howard University and a social worker, researches domestic-violence homicides in the black community. She described the many variables that play into the higher rates of deaths for black women. For example, they are less likely to ask for help from law enforcement or social service providers, mainly because of the fear that they will be arrested or their children will be removed — both of which are more likely to happen to black women than white women.

They’re also less likely to seek help because they face stereotypes such as the “angry black woman” or “strong black woman,” and many of the women have been socialized to protect black men, she said.

Bent-Goodley suggested that more domestic-violence interventions come from outside the criminal justice system because the threat of arrest deters many survivors who are in danger.

“This idea of me turning my husband or partner or father of my children over to a system that could hurt them, I’m not going to do that even if it hurts me,” she said.

“That’s where our cultural competence is very important because if we understand those dynamics, we can work through that as part of their care.”

Top photo: Members discuss their approaches to violence prevention through the discussion of false, feasible and real solutions to ending gender based violence, at a conference Sept. 12 hosted by the School of Social Work at the ASU West campus. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Hear from top business leaders from some of the world’s most influential companies

The Economic Club of Phoenix, hosted by the W. P. Carey School of Business, announces 2018-19 luncheon speaker lineup

September 12, 2018

The Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series — hosted by the W. P. Carey School of Business — is celebrating its 34th anniversary and has become the preeminent Arizona forum for the exchange of ideas about business and the economy. 

Every year, Phoenix-area audiences are invited to attend the club’s luncheons to hear from some major names in the business world and have a chance to network and engage.  

CEOs of American Airlines, Mayo Clinic, Nextiva, Sprouts Farmers Market and Waste Management are among those slated to speak during the new Economic Club of Phoenix season. 

“Each year, ECP outdoes itself, so I’m very excited for this season’s calendar,” said Amy Hillman, dean of Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business. “We not only have the chance to hear from a number of Arizona-based companies, but those companies are industry leaders who are driving innovation and change. I think this season offers something for everyone, whether you’re an established leader yourself or you’re just starting out.”

ECP 2018-19 speaker lineup

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018

Spirit of Enterprise Award Luncheon honoring Nextiva, with featured speaker Tomas Gorny, CEO, Nextiva

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018

James C. Fish Jr., president and CEO, Waste Management Inc.
Camelback Golf Club

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018

Economic Forecast Luncheon
Phoenix Convention Center

• John H. Cochrane, senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University

• Bart Hobijn, applied macroeconomist, W. P. Carey School of Business

• Lee R. McPheters, research professor of economics, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center, W. P. Carey School of Business

Tuesday, Jan.15, 2019

ECP Luncheon featuring Wyatt Decker, CEO, Mayo Clinic Arizona
Camelback Golf Club

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019

Amin Maredia, CEO, Sprouts Farmers Market Inc.
Camelback Golf Club

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Executive of the Year Award Luncheon honoring Doug Parker, CEO, American Airlines
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon featuring W. P. Carey economists
The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch

• Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute

• Lee McPheters, research professor of economics, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center

• Mark Stapp, executive director, Master of Real Estate Development 

Each luncheon runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with the exception of November's economic forecast, which is scheduled from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Tickets for nonmembers are available for $85. Funds in excess of the cost of lunch are used to support scholarships and faculty research at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Guests are subject to change.

For more information about the club or to reserve seats, visit econclubphx.org or call 480-727-0596. Journalists interested in covering an event are asked to RSVP in advance.

Rebecca Ferriter

Communications Manager, W. P. Carey School of Business


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Cronkite School rich in prized professors

September 11, 2018

ASU’s journalism school boasts five Pulitzer Prize-winning faculty members

When approximately 1,300 students began fall classes at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, most were well aware that they have access to some of the best journalism faculty in the country.

What they might not know, however, is that the Cronkite faculty includes five Pulitzer Prize winners. They range from the former executive editor of The Washington Post to the former head of The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, memorialized in the movie by that name.

“Having these extraordinarily talented professors on our faculty is a tremendous asset for our students,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School. “Every day, they roll up their sleeves and work side-by-side with our students, teaching, guiding and inspiring them to create impactful journalism.”

ASU Now spoke to all five Pulitzer winners about their careers and what led them to journalism’s top prize and then to the Cronkite School.

Sarah Cohen: New Pulitzer on the block

Woman in blue shirt smiling
Sarah Cohen

Sarah Cohen became Cronkite’s most recent Pulitzer Prize-winning faculty member when she joined the school last October as the Knight Chair in Data Journalism.

While she might be the new Pulitzer winner on the block, she is not new to the practice of journalism. Cohen enjoyed a 25-year career in news, most recently leading a group of New York Times reporters who focused on data- and document-driven investigations. Prior to the Times, she was database editor at The Washington Post. She also served as the first Knight Chair in computational journalism at Duke University and is the immediate past president of Investigative Reporters and Editors, a 5,000-member training organization for journalists.

In her new role, Cohen teaches graduate and undergraduate data journalism classes at Cronkite and assists with data-driven projects in other programs, such as Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS.

The move to the western U.S. has been pleasantly surprising.

"It's been a treat to leave the East Coast for the first time in my life," Cohen said. "There's a different sense of what's important outside the East Coast corridor."

Making the transition easier is the fact that she’s working with several former colleagues, including fellow Pulitzer Prize winner Leonard Downie Jr., who hired her at The Washington Post and worked with her from 1999 to 2009.

While at the Post, Cohen shared in the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2002 for a project that exposed the failures of the District of Columbia’s child protective services to prevent 229 deaths. The series, "The District's Lost Children," also won the grand prize in the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Five years later, she was a Pulitzer finalist for public service for a series that uncovered waste and duplication in federal farm-subsidy programs.

Students are now Cohen's main focus, and she wants to teach them the skills that made her a standout journalist and editor.

"It's exciting to teach the fundamentals of investigative journalism to a new generation," Cohen said. "It will help keep the powerful accountable for another generation."

Leonard Downie Jr.: Piling up the Pulitzers

Man in blue shirt and jacket
Leonard Downie Jr.

It would be hard to find a more decorated journalist than Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School. During his 17 years as executive editor of The Washington Post, the newspaper won 25 Pulitzer Prizes, including three Gold Medals for public service. 

Downie started as an intern at the Post in 1964 and went on to report on local courts, law enforcement and mortgage fraud. He later served as the paper’s London correspondent and as deputy metro editor during the Watergate scandal. He became managing editor in 1984 under then-executive editor Ben Bradlee, eventually succeeding Bradlee as executive editor.

During his time at the paper, Downie presided over coverage of major stories that ranged from the Pentagon Papers and the Senate Watergate hearings to the impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton and the Iraq War.

Downie made his first mark at the paper just two years into the job. In 1966, he was nominated for a Pulitzer for a seven-part series on corruption and dysfunction in Washington, D.C., courts, which led to an overhaul of the system.

“The reaction to the series was swift, and legislation through Congress abolished the court,” Downie said. “That experience showed to me the power of accountability journalism.”

Accountability journalism is what Downie preaches and teaches to his students today, and it’s also the name of his signature class. He defines the term as “holding accountable everybody in society who has power and influence over others.”

Downie disputes the notion that he headed newspapers at a time when journalism was at its peak.

“It was a golden era in that it was a privileged time, which is to say there was no internet and there was a monopoly of news by newspapers and the three broadcast networks,” he said. “Today’s journalism is just as strong, and there’s more investigative journalism going on than ever before.”

Downie began teaching at Cronkite after retiring from the Post in 2009. In addition to his Accountability Journalism course, he leads a seminar for students around the country who participate in the national News21 investigative reporting program. He also mentors students pursuing investigative work in Cronkite News and is a featured speaker at several school events each semester.

Each incoming class of Cronkite students gets their first exposure to Downie in a Principles and History of Journalism class, during which Downie describes coverage of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers with the kind of detail only possible from having been there.

Outside class, Downie monitors the progress of many of the students he has come into contact with, offering career advice and job recommendations.

“Seeing them develop is very, very rewarding,” he said.

Steve Doig: The unlikely Pulitzer

Man in beard smiling
Steve Doig

Cronkite faculty member Steve Doig attributes his career to a high school football injury and a stint in the Army.

“I really owe my career to the service,” he said. “My first few years of college were spotty, and I was sort of adrift. The Army gave me strong direction and ultimately my career, which I didn’t know or want before. I’m the perfect example of someone who discovered journalism later in life.”

Doig said he was recruited to play football at Dartmouth College, but he tore his right thigh muscle, ending his sports days and leaving him feeling rudderless. He dropped out of college and promptly was drafted by the U.S. Army. After a 10-week crash course at the Defense Information School in Indianapolis, he became a combat correspondent during the Vietnam War. His work earned him a Bronze Star.

After being discharged, Doig returned to Dartmouth to finish his studies and decided to make journalism a career. He spent 19 years at the Miami Herald, serving as a research editor, pollster, science editor, columnist, federal courts reporter, state capital bureau chief, education reporter and aviation writer. In 1993 he shared a Pulitzer Prize for public service for a newspaper series, “What Went Wrong” in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew“What Went Wrong” also featured then-journalist and Cronkite professor Jacquee Petchel, who was working for the Miami Herald at the time.. The series exposed how weakened building codes and poor construction patterns contributed to the extent of the disaster, Doig said.

“This was one of those, ‘Don’t get mad, get even’ stories,” said Doig, whose own house was severely damaged. “It ended all the finger pointing and made everyone start looking at solutions." As a result of the story, Doig said building codes in the area were strengthened so they could brace for natural disasters in the future.

Doig said his “superpower” as a journalist was “dealing with numbers and data.” He became one of the country’s foremost data journalists and an early advocate of computer-assisted reporting.

These days, Doig’s superpower is teaching data journalism online, which he does from his new home in Seattle. He said he finds teaching online surprisingly personal. “You can get to know students very well through online,” he said. “I’m still able to pass on the tools and techniques of what I’ve learned over the years.”

His Pulitzer is not something he often brings up with his students — or anyone else, for that matter.

“The Pulitzer in some cases is happenstance. If Hurricane Andrew didn’t hit, we wouldn’t have won,” he said. “But it’s like my son said, ‘Once you become a Pulitzer, you know what the first line of your obituary will be.’”

Jacquee Petchel: Hometown Pulitzer makes good

Woman in necklace smiling
Jacquee Petchel

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jacquee Petchel got her start as a reporter for The State Press, ASU’s student newspaper. After graduating from the Cronkite School, she spent six years as a reporter for The Arizona Republic before moving to the Miami Herald, where she began to do investigative work.

Petchel was part of the team that won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for public service for the post-Hurricane Andrew investigation to which Doig also contributed. Later she was a member of the team that received the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for coverage of the federal raid that removed 6-year-old Elián González from his relatives’ home in Miami and returned him to his father’s custody in Cuba.

Petchel also has experience in television news. She was senior producer of investigations at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis and executive producer of investigations at WFOR-TV in Miami. Before joining the Cronkite School in 2013, she led the investigative team at the Houston Chronicle.

As executive editor of the Carnegie-Knight News 21 investigative journalism program, Petchel works with top Cronkite students and others from around the country each year to produce a major multimedia investigation into a topic of major national import. The projects, which have ranged from voting rights to hate crime, have won numerous top journalism student awards. In addition, Petchel has led two school-wide projects that resulted in documentaries on opioid and heroin addictions that have earned top professional journalism awards.

“At Cronkite we are doing our best to ensure that investigative reporting does not die, and moves forward with a new generation of journalists to tell those stories in a different variety of ways,” she said.

Returning to Cronkite after a long career as a professional journalist is “a way to give back to my alma mater because my alma mater has been so instrumental in my success,” Petchel added. “My great pleasure is to give back to students from what I learned at this very place decades ago.”

Walter V. Robinson: Spotlight on a Pulitzer-winning editor

Man in grew sweater
Walter V. Robinson

Walter V. Robinson said Michael Keaton’s character in the 2015 Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight” wasn’t loosely based on him.

“I’d say it was tightly based on me,” he said with a laugh.

During 34 years at The Boston Globe, Robinson spent seven years at the helm of the “Spotlight” team, which uncovered a decades-long cover-up of sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests. The work won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for public service.

Robinson also served as the Globe’s Middle East Bureau chief during the first Persian Gulf War and has covered four presidential elections and the White House. He is the co-author of the book “Betrayal: Crisis in the Catholic Church.”

Robinson is now the Reynolds Visiting Professor at the Cronkite School, where he teaches an investigative journalism class for graduate students and advanced undergraduates and works with reporters in Cronkite News.

He said the work of journalists has never been more important than it is now.

“Attacks on the press have awakened in people the freedoms we have,” he said. “It’s like a muscle: If we don’t use it, it atrophies. If you don’t defend your freedom, it can be quickly eroded.”

Robinson said he tries to teach students how to “look and find stories, how to work and cultivate sources, how to mine databases that use public records and how to get at those records.” He also teaches them the art of interviewing because “the interview in the end is the most important part of the story.”

He wants his students to know how to find stories and bring them to life for readers, and he wants them to value the importance of giving “voice to people who otherwise would have no voice.”

A native of Boston, Robinson got his first taste of teaching at Northeastern University in his home city, where he was a Distinguished Professor of Journalism. Being in a classroom, he decided, was “a lot of fun.”

“The vast majority of students don’t show up with a pedigree,” he said. “They show up because they understand the value of an education. … Their enthusiasm and excitement, which is what they bring to our place, is a more exciting atmosphere than what you’ll find in any newsroom.” 

Top photo: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Cronkite Professor of Practice Jacquee Petchel instructs students in a classroom at ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus. Photo courtesy of the Cronkite School.

Race, drugs and dementia part of series on controversial health topics

College of Health Solutions panel discussions examine hot-button health issues

September 7, 2018

Does your race make a difference in the quality of health care you receive? Is medical marijuana really as effective for pain relief as some people say? Is gun violence a legal issue or a health condition?

Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions brings together experts from health, medicine, business, policy and law to discuss these and other controversial topics with “We Need to Talk … A Series of Tough Conversations About Health,” a yearlong examination of hot-button health issues. woman doctor with patient Download Full Image

In its second year, this free event series features six sessions — three in the fall and three in the spring — that provide a place for experts and attendees to talk about complex health problems and explore solutions in a panel discussion and Q&A format. 

The series opens Sept. 13 with “Gender and Ethnic Diversity in the Health Care Workforce,” a candid look at the role race, gender and ethnicity play in medical treatment. Gender bias in research, patient preference in the race or gender of health care providers, unconscious racism and the effect socioeconomic status has on patient longevity and treatment will be part of this frank discussion.

All sessions begin at 5 p.m. in the A. E. England Building at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

We Need to Talk … A Series of Tough Conversations About Health

Sept. 13

Gender and Ethnic Diversity in the Health Care Workforce

Oct. 17

Medical Cannabis: What’s Real, What’s Blowin’ Smoke, and What’s Flat-Out Dangerous?

Nov. 29

Dementia 101: Dealing with the Disease from the Family Perspective

Feb. 7

Fake Health News: Trustworthy Medical Advice in the Digital Era

Mar. 21

Is Gun Violence a Health Condition?

Apr. 25

Under Pressure: ADHD and Coping in College

Events are free and open to anyone who is interested: students, alumni, community members, faculty or staff. To learn more about the series, see last year’s archive.

Learn more about this year's topics and register for the sessions.

Kelly Krause

Coordinator, College of Health Solutions

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Effects of U.S. trade war could hit consumers' wallets, ASU expert says

Trade wars could hit consumers with higher prices, ASU agribusiness expert says.
September 5, 2018

Retaliation over tariffs affecting agricultural producers as deals are renegotiated

President Donald Trump has launched a trade war over the last several months involving billions of dollars of goods and affecting the United States’ relationships with several countries, including China, Mexico and Canada, as well as the European Union. In the latest action, Trump announced Aug. 27 a new preliminary trade agreement with Mexico, but not Canada.

Troy Schmitz is an associate professor in the Morrison School of Agribusiness in the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Schmitz teaches courses on global food and agribusiness policy, and he said that with so many changes happening so quickly, he is constantly updating his teaching materials to keep up with what is happening in the news.

The trade action started in January, when Trump imposed tariffs on solar panels and washing machines from China, and in March added tariffs on steel and aluminum. That led to a round of trade retaliations by China, including tariffs on soybeans and pork, which have already led to a decline in soybean and pork futures — meaning the producers of those commodities will make less money.

Troy Schmitz

While the U.S. tariffs have been on goods like cars and steel, the retaliation has been against agricultural products that the other countries import.

Schmitz was the organizer of a panel discussion about the economic impact of renegotiating trade agreements for agriculture earlier in August held by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in Washington, D.C. 

“The majority of the panel believes we are moving toward bilateral, one-on-one trade agreements, as opposed to multilateral agreements involving more than two countries,” he said. “And that seems to be the direction the United States is headed.”

Schmitz answered questions from ASU Now about the trade war and the complicated way it could affect prices and jobs.

Question: We’re hearing a lot about tariffs right now. Is this unprecedented?

Answer: The last time we had heavy tariffs was in 1930, during the Great Depression. President Hoover campaigned on a platform to protect U.S. jobs, which were being lost rapidly due to the stock market collapse, so they passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. That was the last time we had huge tariffs in place, and the consensus view among most economists is that the tariffs exacerbated the Great Depression. The Great Depression lasted another 10 years, Smoot and Hawley were voted out in 1932 and President Roosevelt implemented the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934 as part of his “New Deal.”

More than 100 years before that we had the Tariff Act of 1828. So it seems that perhaps every 100 years or so we have these tariff wars.

What’s different this time is that those were approved by Congress, but President Trump is acting on his own to impose ad hoc tariffs on a grand scale.

Q: Why is that authority temporary?

A: Congress gives trade promotion authority to the president from time to time, and Trump has it until 2021. Obama was given trade promotion authority in 2015.

Q: Why is Trump pushing for a new trade deal with Mexico now?

A: With trade promotion authority, Trump can make an agreement and send it to Congress, which has 90 days to either approve it or reject it, without making changes. There is a new president of Mexico coming in on Dec. 1, who would likely scrap an agreement. So they are trying to get a deal to Congress.

If you don’t have trade promotion authority, then when you send a trade agreement to Congress, they’ll try to make alterations to it and however many months later you have to go back to the country that you negotiated with. That’s very hard to do.

Q: Are trade deals with Mexico and Canada important?

A: It’s important for agriculture because Canada and Mexico are our largest trading partners. We export $120 billion in goods to Mexico and $90 billion to Canada every year. Those countries buy more agricultural products than the next 10 countries combined, including China. It’s been estimated that roughly 2 million people have jobs in the U.S. because of NAFTA.

Q: What about the aid approved to help the farmers?

A: President Trump authorized a $12 billion payment to farmers of the major U.S. export crops hurt by the tariffs. That will cover, by my calculation, approximately four months of tariffs since March. What will he do to help farmers if the tariff retaliation continues?

The Farm Bill is being negotiated right now. Under the Farm Bill, if the average price received by producers of many of those export crops, such as soybeans, corn, cotton and wheat, drops below a certain dollar amount per bushel, the U.S. government will give the producers a check at the end of the year to make up much of the difference. If the prices drop low enough due to the tariffs, producers will receive more subsidies from the government than they have in the past several years.

Q: Will consumers see the effects of the trade war?

A: If it keeps escalating, what you’ll start to see with all the products we import from China and sell at places like Walmart, such as clothing, etc., is that prices will start to go up.

At the moment, the agricultural products most affected are soybeans and pork. It takes awhile for changes to hit the supermarket because of production cycles for livestock. As prices move lower, they adjust production.

While we’re helping out the steel producers, we’re hurting the ag exporters. The U.S. employs 1.5 million workers in agriculture, and obviously those jobs will be affected if this continues to escalate.

An economic analysis done at the beginning of the year found that due to the tariff on cotton, U.S. exports could drop by about 19 percent, and U.S. cotton growers could lose $67 million annually.

Over the last decade, 81 percent of total U.S. cotton production has been exported. India, Brazil and Australia are our main competitors. The U.S. could lose out to those three counties, especially Australia, because of the tariffs and because China and Australia signed the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement in 2015 — an agreement that left out the United States.

The president’s strategy of creating new one-on-one, or bilateral, agreements is the direction we’re going, but we’re losing out on these multination agreements.

Top image by Pixabay

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now