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ASU alumnus named Arizona's Teacher of the Year

November 15, 2017

Arizona State University alumnus Josh Meibos has been honored as this year's Arizona Teacher of the Year — an annual award given by the Arizona Educational Foundation.

In order to be named Teacher of the Year, nominees must maintain an active and useful role in their community while gaining the respect of students, parents and co-workers. No one fit that bill better than Meibos, who is the PE teacher at Crockett Elementary School in east Phoenix, a position he has held for all seven years of his career.  Arizona State University alumnus Josh Meibos is the physical education teacher at Crockett Elementary School in east Phoenix. Download Full Image

"I get to be a positive role model, sometimes the only male role model a student interacts with," Meibos said. "I just use one of our students' favorite subjects, physical education, and teach kindness and respect for themselves and each other." 

The 39-year-old got a job managing Abercrombie & Fitch stores right out of college, but left that career as a business professional nine years ago.

He decided education was what he wanted to do next with his life, and that brought him to Tempe. Meibos was soon a graduate student at ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, where he completed a master's program that allowed him to pursue his new dream of becoming a teacher.

"The faculty (at ASU) gave me the confidence I needed, and the program surrounded me with like-minded peers," Meibos said. "We geeked out on the physical education curriculum.”

An athlete while in college, Meibos' position as a PE teacher allows him to stay connected to athletics while playing the role of half-coach/half-instructor. The opportunity to stay connected to sports while also working with students was one he jumped at. 

"Throughout my collegiate career, I always found myself involved with teaching and coaching opportunities," Meibos said. "The passion has always been there, so a career change in that direction seemed obvious."

Meibos was presented with the award at an Arizona Grand Resort luncheon earlier this month. The award comes with a $15,000 cash prize, a visible platform for education advocacy and a trip to the White House. He is also now eligible to be named the National Teacher of the Year.


Meghan Krein contributed to this story.

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Allowing children’s health insurance program to expire is disturbing, says ASU health professor

November 9, 2017

About 9 million disadvantaged children nationwide are in peril of losing their low-cost health insurance coverage if Congress fails to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) soon. The program was originally passed as a bipartisan effort in 1997, providing coverage for children in families with low and moderate incomes as well as for pregnant women.

The program must be periodically reauthorized by Congress. While the Affordable Care Act extended its authorization until 2019, federal funding for the program expired on Sept. 30, 2017. As a result, no new federal funds were being given to states.  

To better understand what this means for disadvantaged children, providers and taxpayers, ASU Now reached out to Swapna Reddy, a professor at ASU’s SchoolThe School for the Science of Health Care Delivery is a unit in the College of Health Solutions. for the Science of Health Care Delivery. Among Reddy’s observations: Allowing the program to expire “is particularly disturbing because our elected leaders are playing politics with the health of some of our most vulnerable — children of the working poor.” 

Woman in black shirt smiling
Swapna Reddy

Question: Why did Congress choose not to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program?

Answer: Although CHIP is a bipartisan piece of legislation, funding the program has recently turned into a partisan issue. The program is estimated to cost taxpayers $14 billion a year. While many in Congress agree on the need for the program, they are unable to agree on how to pay for CHIP moving forward. GOP proposals have included cuts to a public health fund and increasing Medicare premiums on high-income seniors. 

Q: The House passed a bill last week that would fund the program for five years. It now goes to the Senate for consideration. What does this bill contain, and how likely is it to pass through the Senate?

A: The bill that passed through the U.S. House of Representatives reauthorizes CHIP for five years. It would also extend funding for community health centers and other health programs. The bill limits subsidies to high-income elderly Medicare recipients. It is also attached to $1 billion for Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

This bill will now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration where further partisan strife is likely. Democrats and Republicans disagree on offsets for the bill, even within their own parties. Both parties are blaming the other for not compromising to pass health insurance coverage for this vulnerable population. At this point, it is unlikely that the Senate will pass the House bill and instead will include funding for the CHIP program in an end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill. 

While this may seem like politics as usual, it is particularly disturbing because our elected leaders are playing politics with the health of some of our most vulnerable—children of the working poor. 

Q: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has said that, without reauthorization, funding for KidsCare (Arizona’s version of the program) will last only through mid-December. If Congress doesn’t act by the end of the year, how will it affect the more than 23,000 Arizona children who rely on this coverage?

A: It's important to remember that Arizona was the only state in the Union that ended its state CHIP program (called KidsCare) in 2010, citing budgetary restraints. It wasn't until May 2016 that Arizona reinstated KidsCare. It's particularly difficult for low-income families to exist in a state of limbo for a program that only recently became available again for their children.

Gov. Ducey supports the current program and is urging Congress to reauthorize funding on behalf of the 23,000 Arizona children who will lose coverage as early as December 2017. In the event of federal inaction, Gov. Ducey has proposed utilizing other Arizona Medicaid funds until the spring and backfilling afterwards. While this proposal may extend the program and coverage for a few months, it will only serve as a stop-gap solution. The real and sustainable answer lies at the federal level and through a bipartisan effort on behalf of low-income children across the United States. Our children deserve better than this. 

Robots battle for FIRST Robotics Competition State Championship at ASU

November 9, 2017

FIRST Robotics Competition challenges students to form a team, raise funds and hone a variety of technical, teamwork and other skills to build and program industrial-size robots over a six-week period.

After participating in regional competitions across the Southwest, the top 30 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams comprised of more than 700 high school students from around the state converged at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, Oct. 21. Student teams worked together in three-team alliances to solve the FIRST Steamworks challenge: gather “fuel” and gears needed to start an airship and then use deployed ropes for robots to pull themselves onboard. High school students compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition Arizona State Championship at Wells Fargo Arena in October 2017. Arizona State University and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering hosted the Arizona FIRST Robotics Competition State Championship for the first time on October 21 at Wells Fargo Arena. Thirty FRC teams made up of 700 high school students competed and visitors watched demonstrations of FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST Tech Challenge teams and talked with Fulton Schools Recruitment and Access ASU about opportunities at the university. Photo by: Jessica Hochreiter/ASU Download Full Image

On the Wells Fargo Arena concourse, FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST Tech Challenge teams held demonstrations, showcasing the entire FIRST pathway from 1st grade FLL Jr. teams through high school FRC teams. The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Access ASU were available to talk to students and parents about opportunities at ASU, and students were able to talk to college students and industry professionals.

Hosting the competition came out of a new partnership between the Fulton Schools, Access ASU and the Sanghi Family Foundation, and initiated by Steve Sanghi, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Microchip Technology, Inc. and member of the FIRST board, and ASU President Michael Crow, who wanted to bring all the Arizona FRC teams and their friends and families together for the competition and to explore FIRST and STEM opportunities from kindergarten through high school in addition to college and industry careers in the state.

“As the Arizona partner for FLL and FLL Jr. this was a wonderful opportunity to continue the FIRST pathway and collaborate with FIRST at the high school level,” said Hope Parker, associate director of engineering K–12 outreach at the Fulton Schools. “It is so important for children of all ages and the community to see how they fit into opportunities like this and broader engineering.”

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Dean Kyle Squires noted in the event’s opening ceremony that he’s proud the Fulton Schools were involved with the FRC State Championship, calling it a great way to be involved in community STEM events and to show what opportunities the Fulton Schools offer for students to be successful at all levels.

“FRC is such a unique event,” Squires said. “This event is fundamentally about innovation, problem solving, teamwork and creating future engineers.”

Sylvia Symonds, assistant vice president of ASU Educational Outreach, noted the importance of community events like the FRC State Championship to guide students to engineering and STEM careers.

“There are so many creative and talented high school students in our local schools. FRC gives students an avenue to work as part of a team to develop their skills and aptitude in robotics,” Symonds said. “ASU is proud to partner with organizations like FRC to help students lay the foundation for their future pursuit of degrees and careers in STEM fields.”

Just as ASU is committed to taking responsibility for the community per its charter, the university is committed to investing in STEM opportunities in the broader community — and it takes a community to support FRC teams.

Mentors are an important part of FIRST programs, and often include industry professionals volunteering their time as well as former FRC students now attending college.

“I was in the program in high school, so it was a natural move to join again,” said University of Arizona economics senior Shelby Anderson, a mentor of Team Crush from Sonoran Science Academy in Tucson, Arizona. “Most of the college mentors were on teams in high school.”

Sami Mian, a computer engineering graduate student at ASU and FRC mentor, says he learned a lot from his mentors while he was a high school student involved in FRC.

“Mentors helped me learn different skills and helped me learn that I could make a career in engineering,” Mian said.

At ASU Mian founded a robotics club and has continued to get involved the FRC community throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies.

“I’m also giving back, and it helps me as a person because I love teaching,” Mian added.

Mentors teach students a whole variety of skills. The mission of FIRST is to foster well-rounded life capabilities that include self confidence, communication and leadership as well as science, engineering and technology skills.

Rich Simoncic, vice president of the analog division at Microchip Technology and mentor of the Wolfpack team from Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, is in his 12th year as an FRC mentor. He said he enjoys teaching and coaching students in technical and other skills.

“The idea is to create great kids,” Simoncic said. “We teach leadership, business, entrepreneurship, being a team player and team leader, dealing with different personalities, technical skills and soft skills. We need smart kids who also have good people skills.”

Teamwork among students in FRC is important to their success. In addition to working together as a team to build their robot in the allotted six-week design period of the competition, they must also work with other teams in alliances, with each team’s robot completing a different task, in order to win rounds in the competition.

The FRC State Championship doesn’t count toward qualifying for the final FRC World Championship round, but it still comes with bragging rights, and a banner and trophy to display at upcoming competitions. And after teams travel across their regions, states, countries and even around the world, they get to come home and compete against and work with local teams.

“The FRC State Championship is an opportunity for schools who have all done really well across [FRC] regionals to come together and compete with the best of the best in Arizona,” said Parker.

The Wolfpack and Team Crush have both competed at the FRC World Championship, but they were happy to compete with the best local teams at the Arizona FRC State Championship.

“Being at [the FRC World Championship] is a big deal,” said Andres Aviles, senior at Sonoran Science Academy, “but it’s cool to come back home and play with local teams and be a role model to everyone, help out and enjoy the company we have locally.”

2017 Arizona FRC State Championship winners

First Place Alliance

Team 2375 — Dragon Robotics, BioScience High School
Team 842 — Falcon Robotics, Carl Hayden High School
Team 1492 — Team CAUTION, Community Team

Second Place Alliance

Team 991 — BroncoBotics, Brophy High School
Team 3944 — All Knights, Tempe Preparatory Academy
Team 4146 — Sabercats, Saguaro High School

Monique Clement

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


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ASU Foundation volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul to prepare food, better lives

November 9, 2017

Fundraisers from the ASU Foundation welcomed in the month of November by volunteering at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona to prepare food and spruce up the organization’s Phoenix site — furthering the foundation's commitment to improving lives across the Phoenix community.

Volunteers joined forces with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona on Nov. 3 to pack more than 1,500 sack lunches, prepare 250 pounds of potatoes for meals, distribute resources — including toiletries kits and clothing to hundreds of individuals in need — and paint 15 walls.

“The ASU Foundation is an organization that is committed to serving our community, and this is a great example of doing exactly that,” said Gretchen Buhlig, who organized the event.

Buhlig was appointed CEO of the ASU Foundation in July 2017 and is committed to growing the organization’s presence in the community as she continues to lead Campaign ASU 2020, an effort to generate at least $1.5 billion in support for ASU.

“I’ll always be asking our team and myself: ‘How can we stay focused on how we better other lives, both on and off campus?’” Buhlig said.

The foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises private support for Arizona State University’s educational priorities, is one of five subsidiaries of ASU Enterprise Partners. Employees from across ASU Enterprise Partners joined in the foundation volunteer day.

Buhlig added that she is proud of her team for serving such a great cause.

“Considering that 90 percent of the work done at St. Vincent de Paul is done by the community, I believed it was critical for us as an organization to be a part of the larger effort,” she said.

Every year, St. Vincent de Paul — an international nonprofit dedicated to serving the poor — ensures hundreds of families have warm meals, clothing and a safe space where children can study and play. Recently, aided by private support, professors in ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business worked closely with the organization to improve every step of their supply chain.

“The service project was truly inspirational for me,” said Rebecca Herrera, coordinator of scholarship programs at the foundation. “I was raised to give back to others, and I quickly realized there’s a lot more I can do to help my community.”

Creating partnerships throughout the community in an effort to magnify the impact of its volunteer efforts is another goal for the ASU Foundation.

“I firmly believe that fundraising is more powerful when we team up together. I look forward for the two organizations to work together again and to be an influential part of our communities,” Buhlig said.

Aza Issifu, project manager in ASU Enterprise Partners’ communication department, said, “Being a part of the foundation and getting the opportunity to serve our community in such an active way is truly incredible.”

Enhancing the ASU community’s local impact and social embeddedness is part of the university’s mission. Programs across campus partner with local organizations in a variety of fields, including at the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, where students and faculty team up with St. Vincent de Paul.

“It’s a partnership that only continues to strengthen,” said Dale Larsen, professor of practice and honors faculty at the college. “The college hosts an annual Day of Service each fall for 100-150 student and faculty volunteers, who are assigned all kinds of tasks [at St. Vincent de Paul], including their two urban farms and indoor residential living units.”

In addition to the service days, the college also supports a project manager at St. Vincent de Paul and student internships arranged by sponsoring schools.

ASU Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul were equally thrilled about the turnout of the service. Irma Leyendecker, the volunteer services manager for St. Vincent de Paul, said they truly appreciate the support and partnership.

“St. Vincent de Paul couldn’t do all that it does without the help of partners like the Foundation and ASU,” she said. 

Written by Raneem Hamad, student writer, ASU Enterprise Partners


Top photo: ASU Enterprise Partners staff members painted 15 walls as part of a November day of service at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona.

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Shade is key element in ASU student team's winning bus stop design.
Sundial served a inspiration for bus stop design, to provide shade at any time.
November 8, 2017

Phoenix to install 400 bus stops using industrial design quartet's design

Four Arizona State University students are about to make the lives of millions of people easier and more comfortable.

There were more than 32 million bus rides taken in Phoenix last year, according to Valley Metro figures. Soon some of those passengers will be waiting at stops designed by the quartet to provide much more shade at all times of day.

“If we can make it easier and make their lives a little better, that’s a good feeling,” team member Ethan Fancher said.

Their new bus stop design won a contest open to industrial design students at ASU last academic year.

Seniors Fancher, Dan Duquette, Derek Smoker and sophomore Erlend Meling — all industrial design majors in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts — worked on the project.

They haven’t even graduated, and they’ve just completed a project any established firm would kill for, in the fifth-biggest city in the country, that will be highly visible to millions of people every day.

“It’s still really surreal,” Fancher said.

“I feel like it’s all downhill from here,” Smoker said.

Bus stop prototype
A prototype of the bus stop that will soon be installed around Phoenix sits on Dan Duquette's desk in ASU’s Design North building. The physical prototype, which is constructed mainly out of wood, was designed by Ethan Fancher, a senior industrial design major. One inch of the model equates to a foot of the finished product. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

Their stop looks sleek, but as anyone who has waited for a bus in Phoenix during the summer will tell you, it’s shade that counts.

Shade was the top priority. The stops also had to be ADA-compliant. Being vandal-proof was another necessity.

The stop provides shade no matter what time of day or what angle the sun is striking it. “We took inspiration from a sundial,” Fancher said. “No matter where the sun is, there will always be shade.”

The team ran the design through a computer simulation of 12 hours of sun. It provides shelter at any time of day, when the sun is at any angle.

“They appreciated the thought we put into it,” Fancher said.

There’s an alcove to the side so wheelchair users can wait under cover.

Seating has yet to be decided, but it will be individual, not bench-style. “We found out in research most people won’t sit next to each other on a bench,” Fancher said. “It’s this weird human-nature thing.”

The stops will be made of steel. Colors haven’t been finalized, but the quartet likes a rust finish. Even if it gets vandalized with a Sharpie, it won’t stand out.

Damaged stops will be replaced first, then stops with the highest ridership. Bus stops with no shelter at all will be next on the list. It’s a modular design that can be added to, suiting crowded stops like those in front of high schools.

The city has a five-year plan to have 400 bus stops with their design.

“One of their main focuses is to replace the bus stops with no features with these,” Fancher said.

The team worked on the design for two months. Competition rules limited them to 20 hours of work per week per person. Groups of students competed and presented. The city whittled the choices down to five finalists. Fancher’s team found out they won last May.

After they won, the team met several times with a citizens transportation committee before the design went to the city council for approval.

“It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be,” Smoker said.

“We thought it was going to be very dry,” Fancher said.

There was a considerable amount of back and forth with the citizens committee. “We expected that,” Fancher. “We’re trained for that.”

City councilman Daniel Valenzuela told the team in a meeting that whether they leave or stay in Phoenix, they will always be able to point to their bus stops with pride.


Top photo: ASU industrial design students (from left) Derek Smoker, Erlend Meling, Ethan Fancher and Dan Duquette hold a prototype of the bus stop they designed. Their design will be used for new bus stops around Phoenix. This includes covering stops that do not currently have a structure as well as the new stops that will be created in Phoenix’s bus route expansion. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU alum Royal Norman to be honored for impact, achievements

School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning selects Norman as Distinguished Alumnus

November 8, 2017

Growing up in Illinois, the Norman family would gather their chairs and sit with the garage door open, looking out over the neighborhood as storms would roll in. A young Royal, who had the habit of clipping the weather report out of the newspaper, received a cardboard meterology set as a gift from his aunt.

It can surprising how themes from childhood can grow, unwittingly, into lifelong pursuits. Royal Norman, chief meteorologist for KTVK in Phoenix, graduated from ASU in 1984.

“I’ve always liked weather. It’s always changing,” said Royal Norman, as he sits among several computers modeling the upcoming forecast to share for the evening broadcast. He’ll be on the news later that night, helping people prepare for their week. As chief meteorologist for Phoenix’s KTVK 3TV, Norman oversees weather for the station – a perfect job for the kid sitting with his family in the garage.

Norman started his career in radio. He worked the soundboards and reported on local news. His wife, Nancy, also worked in radio. It was while they were working in Battle Creek, Michigan, Nancy received a job offer in Phoenix that would ultimately change the course for Norman’s career, too.

Once in Arizona, Norman decided to pursue his lifelong interest in meteorology. Enrolling at Arizona State University, Norman was finally able to delve deeper into the science of meteorology that always intrigued him.

Norman graduated from ASU in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in geography with a focus of meteorology and climatology.

“One thing I never believed was that I could finish college — it seemed so daunting to me,” said Norman, who also attended Indiana University and Phoenix College prior to enrolling at ASU. “And then I did! So, I started thinking maybe I could do some other stuff.”

Graduating from ASU sparked a confidence in Norman. He realized that 3TV was the only station in Phoenix who only employed “weathermen,” and not a single meteorologist. He stepped out on a limb and wrote a letter to the station. “In my letter I told them I had been doing radio for years and that I was a meteorologist, and that I don’t think I would suck at it,” laughed Norman.

The letter opened the door to an audition. Norman watched the station’s top weatherman for a week straight and practiced his own forecasts in the mirror in preparation. After a few months waiting following his audition, Norman finally learned he got the job, where he started with weekend forecasts — three shows at $50 per show.

That letter has led Norman on the path to a 35-year career as a television meteorologist. It has also presented incredible opportunities like going to Hawaii to cover Kilauea.

“One day, I finished up the noon broadcast and my assistant news director asked if I wanted to go to Hawaii. I agreed,” Norman said with a laugh. “He said ‘Okay, pack your bag.’ It was amazing. I was standing just a few feet from flowing lava.”

He didn’t always have to fly across the Pacific Ocean to find excitement. In 1986, Norman witnessed a funnel cloud form over the town of Apache Junction, southeast of Phoenix, with a bird’s eye view from a helicopter. “It only lasted about five minutes, but it was really cool.” The tornado only caused minimal damage but left a lasting impression.

His career has also provided the opportunity to reconnect with his school roots. Randy Cerveny, professor of meteorology and climatology with the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, has teamed up with Norman and 3TV to provide his expertise over the years. One such instance was in 1993 when torrential rains sent floodwaters down the then dry riverbed of the Salt River. At the time, the Mill Avenue Bridge was under construction. As the flood waters raged, Norman and Cerveny provided a live coverage and commentary of the flooding as the bridge collapsed into the waters below.

Norman’s career will once again intersect with his education as the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning welcomes him back as a Distinguished Alumnus.

A brand new honor from the school, a distinguished alumnus aims to recognize alumni from the school who have gone on to make great strides and achievements in their careers. Coinciding with the distinction is the opportunity for the alumnus to share their story at the Distinguished Alumnus Lecture.

“Our alumni are making an impact in this world,” said Trisalyn Nelson, director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. “Mr. Norman is no different. Every day, he brings his knowledge of weather and cheerful demeanor into homes across Arizona. His award-winning work on monsoons has helped immensely in making Arizonans more informed and safer during the annual monsoon season.”

The inaugural lecture, featuring Royal Norman, will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at ASU’s Memorial Union. Norman will share stories of his unconventional career path, as well as some of his favorite stories from his time at ASU and throughout his career.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information and to reserve your seat, visit: geoplan.asu.edu/alumnus_lecture.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning


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Technology is disrupting our jobs but don't be afraid, ASU futurist says.
November 7, 2017

Jobs will change but people are in control, Johnson tells State of Our State Conference

Technology is disrupting our lives at an ever increasing pace, but Arizona State University’s futurist in residence has a message about that: Don’t be afraid.

“I’m an optimist,” said Brian David Johnson, whose title encompasses his roles as a professor in the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination and as director of the ASU Threatcasting Lab.

“Because I know the future is not fixed. The future is built every day with the actions of people, and we should all get together and make sure we don’t build a future that sucks.”

Johnson spoke at the State of Our State Conference on Tuesday, the ninth one held by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU. The annual conference explores issues affecting Arizona; this year’s event focused on innovation and disruption by technology.

“It begins with people and ends with people, and there’s lot of technology and stuff in between — but it’s always about people,” he said.

Johnson said that autonomy in land, sea and air transportation is coming, as is industrial artificial intelligence, which will not only process information but will be social, “knowing” the people it encounters.

“Imagine if we create a sentient building to make you feel as secure and welcoming as possible,” said Johnson, who also is a professor of practice with the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at ASU.

“Are we educating the workforce to interact with sentient tools 10 to 15 years from now? We’re not, but we need to.”

Workforce disruption was one theme of the conference, and the panelists agreed that education must focus on critical-thinking skills to keep up with the changes.

Jaime Casap, an ASU alumna whose title is education evangelist for Google, frequently speaks to young students who are asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“It’s a stupid question,” he said. “Jobs in the future don’t exist yet. Cashier jobs are going away, so in a grocery store imagine that instead of 10 cashiers you can have a person in each aisle and they’re dietitians or food experts.

“That’s why we need to teach those most important skills of collaboration and critical thinking.”

Rapid change in the workforce can exacerbate inequities, and access to new kinds of education must be universal, according to Luke Tate, assistant vice president and executive director of ASU Opportunity Initiatives. He noted that from October 2016 to April 2017, the United States lost 100,000 retail jobs.

“What we need are universally available pathways for people to build skills and continually augment their skills, not just students but also later-life workers,” he said.

“There are areas of the West Valley where a higher percentage of jobs are threatened to be destroyed, and in Chandler, where there’s already technology employment, more jobs will evolve and not go away. We have to plan for that.”

Megan Garcia, senior fellow with the New America Foundation, said her organization is working with ASU to re-examine the future of work.

“In Phoenix, the jobs most likely to be automated are retail salespeople and food-and-beverage service workers,” she said. “Jobs that won’t become automated are those that require knowledge and human interactions,” like a kindergarten teacher.

The conference also included a panel that addressed questions on the future of automated vehicles, such as: Will the vehicles improve highway congestion or make it worse? What happens when a city look doesn’t need parking spaces anymore, and how will local governments replace that lost revenue? What will an automated car of the future look like if it doesn’t require a steering wheel and brake pedal?

And what about people who like to drive? Panel moderator Duke Reiter, senior adviser to ASU President Michael Crow and executive director of University City Exchange, asked that question.

“The fact that people know that 35,000 people a year are killed but never for a moment think about not driving shows how much people associate cars with freedom,” he said.

Tekedra Mawakana, vice president of public policy and government affairs for Waymo, said she doesn’t expect autonomous cars to take over.

“People will always love their cars and it’s not an either/or. I think for a long time we will have both. I love driving when I want to drive. I love the idea of not having to drive,” she said.

Waymo announced on Tuesday that its self-driving cars operating in Arizona will now be truly driverless. Previously, the vehicles were operating autonomously but still had a driver behind the wheel.

Mawakana said that the driverless cars will likely disrupt the traditional notions of who most readily accepts new technology.

“It’s important in this case to think about who cares about safety and mobility. Not a lot of young people will be contemplating mobility options,” she said. “I caution against using an old paradigm in a new opportunity.”

Grady Gammage Jr., senior research fellow for the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said that knee-jerk political reactions can get in the way of meaningful discussion about important issues, and that’s why events like the State of Our State are important.

“What technology seems to have created is a space of less nuance, where we hang out with only people who agree with us or listen to commentators who don’t give us sophisticated public-policy responses but give us knee-jerk reactions,” he said.

“And we’re talking about those things here.”

The Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU is marking its 35th anniversary of creating nonpartisan research, analysis and discussion. Find out more here


Top photo: Brian David Johnson, ASU's futurist in residence, is optimistic about how technology will change our lives, he told the State of Our State conference on Tuesday, sponsored by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


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Fraternity and Sorority Life at ASU honored with award for philanthropy

#SunDevilsServe: @ASU Fraternity and Sorority Life to be honored Wednesday.
November 6, 2017

Each year, Arizona's chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals awards a group of students who go above and beyond in the name philanthropy — and thanks to some outstanding work by Arizona State University's fraternities and sororities, this year's award has been given to a group of Greek Sun Devils. 

ASU's Greek representatives were nominated for the philanthropy award by the Valley of the Sun United Way, and they were named the recipients of the award over the summer. They will be honored at a banquet at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix on Wednesday. 

"I think this really helps shed the light on what our Greek community does philanthropically year in and year out," said Dustin Jones, a marketing and management major who will be one of the student representatives accepting the award. "Hopefully it can also help motivate future ASU students to be a part of something that has an impact on our surrounding communities."

With the help of Sun Devils Unite, an on-campus organization dedicated to service, ASU has seen a spike in volunteer-related efforts throughout the past four years. Fraternity and Sorority Life has been at the forefront of that movement, leading to the nomination for this year's award. 

The group's production during Greek Week ultimately went a long way toward winning the prize.

Greek Week is an annual spring semester tradition that promotes community pride while engaging in community service and team-building events. Over the last two Greek Weeks, Fraternity and Sorority Life raised nearly $200,000 for Valley of the Sun United Way (VSUW), a Phoenix-based organization dedicated to fighting poverty. 

"I think that's ultimately the reason that VSUW nominated us," Jones said. "Our community worked really hard together and was focused on doing whatever we could to reach the goals we set for Greek Week." 

In addition to the work being done by Fraternity and Sorority Life, other Sun Devils have also been making a difference. Two dozen ASU students qualified for the President's Volunteer Service Award earlier this year, and 830 students participated in community engagement programs in 2016 for a total of 1,261,648 hours.

"What excites me is the communities we're impacting," Jones said. "I was fortunate to meet some of the families we helped, and the coolest thing is knowing that our Greek community helped them get meals on the table and made their lives a little easier."

ASU Law faculty honored at Native Bar Association’s awards

November 6, 2017

The Native American Bar Association of Arizona (NABA-AZ) recently held its ninth annual Seven Generations Awards Dinner and Silent Auction, to honor current law professionals and award scholarships to law students. It was a banner night for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, as two faculty members were honored with the organization’s top awards.

Kevin Gover, a tenured professor with ASU Law, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Kathlene Rosier, executive director of ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program, received the Member of the Year Award. group of people behind table The Native American Bar Association of Arizona's annual celebration featured an auction, which raises money for scholarships. This year, 11 students received $1,000 each. Download Full Image

Lifetime Achievement Award

Gover, a member of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma who is currently on leave from ASU Law to serve as the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, was honored for an influential career in government, higher education and private practice.

After establishing what became the largest Indian-owned law firm in the country in New Mexico in the 1980s, he was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Interior Department in 1997, where he served until 2001.

His tenure with Indian Affairs was noteworthy for the improvements made with Indian schools and tribal police forces — as well as a landmark apology from the federal government.

“He was responsible for having the first formal apology written to tribes on their historical treatment by the U.S. government,” Rosier said. “That was a landmark statement coming from any type of official government, and it meant a lot to tribes across the country.”

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Kevin Gover

Gover joined the faculty at ASU Law in 2003, where he has taught courses on federal Indian law, administrative law, and statutory interpretation, as well as an undergraduate course in American Indian policy.

“When he was hired at ASU, they wanted somebody who was a very well regarded national leader and thinker, and Kevin Gover fit the mold for that.” Rosier said. “Because he’s considered a thought leader, he was asked to join the Smithsonian to take over and make sure the museum is doing things that reflect what’s going on in Indian country, and he’s doing a great job of that.”

Rosier added that Gover — as he has done throughout his life — is trying to reshape the way people think about Native Americans, trying to correct misconceptions about historical events and figures, such as the first Thanksgiving and Pocahontas.

Jeff Harmon, president of NABA-AZ, said Gover is highly respected in the Indian law community. Those sentiments were evident in the anonymous commentary accompanying Gover’s nomination for the award: “Kevin is regarded as a role model for so many younger Indian law attorneys, especially those who are Native. Kevin, like so many of us, came from small towns and humble reservation roots to attend college and law school with the hope of practicing Indian law and making a difference. Kevin inspires the younger generation of Indian law attorneys to give back to our elders, to the Indian youth and our native communities.”

Although he could not attend the Seven Generations ceremony, Gover issued the following statement, which was read by fellow ASU Law Professor Robert Clinton, who accepted the award on Gover’s behalf:

“Thank you for this honor. I regret very much that I cannot be there in person to see you all. I met a Nobel economist a couple of years ago whose work demonstrated that the most important factor in an individual’s career success is luck. That is certainly the case for me. Whether measured by the serendipitous opportunities I have had, or the quality and commitment of the colleagues and friends with whom I have worked, I have been very lucky indeed. And my greatest good fortune comes in being father and husband to the best people I know. So I thank you for this award. Thanks especially to those of you I have worked with and learned from. For those of you who continue to keep the faith and fight the good fight, please know you have my respect and admiration.”

Member of the Year Award

Rosier, a member of the Comanche Tribe, joined ASU Law in 2000. She served as the director of the Indian Legal Program for 11 years, left in 2011 to become the assistant general counsel for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, then returned to her position with ASU Law in 2014.

“Kate is a very talented lawyer with a compassionate heart,” said Patricia Ferguson-Bohnee, a professor and faculty director in the Indian Legal Program. “We are really lucky to have Kate as the executive director of the Indian Legal Program.”

NABA-AZ was founded in 2007 as a nonprofit organization created to advance and improve the practice of Indian law and promote the professional development of its members. Rosier was honored that both she and Gover were recognized by NABA-AZ, because the organization and the Indian Legal Program at ASU Law are so closely aligned in their goals.

“I was really excited, because we’ve been doing a lot of important work here in the Indian Legal Program, helping to increase the number of Native students going into the legal profession,” she said. “So I think that being recognized by the group was a real testament that people are recognizing the hard work we’re putting into this process.”

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Kathlene Rosier

Rosier said that of the 1.3 million attorneys in the United States, only 2,600 are Native Americans. So in an effort to boost numbers, ASU Law started the Native American Pipeline to Law Initiative. The initiative is a national partnership with other schools — including the University of California at Berkeley, Michigan State, the University of Washington, and the University of South Dakota — designed to help Native students be more successful in the law school admissions process. Pre-law students are given general advice on the entire admissions process, as well as tips for the LSAT exam.

“She is committed to improving the legal landscape for Indian tribes across the country,” said Ferguson-Bohnee, citing the Native American Pipeline to Law Initiative. “She created this initiative in response to a 2015 study showing that Native Americans are sorely unrepresented in law schools and the legal profession, creating access to justice issues in Indian Country. Through this initiative, Kate set forth goals to respond to the issues addressed in the study regarding access to law school, raised money to fund the initiative, and developed partnerships across the country with bar associations, educational institutions, and tribal communities.”

Although she was individually recognized, Rosier considers the NABA-AZ recognition a team award, validating the efforts and success of the entire Indian Legal Program.

“We want to continue to be a leader in the United States for Indian law programs,” she said. “We want to make sure that the students we’re recruiting are successful and are going to be the future leaders of Indian Country. Whether it’s in the legal profession, or leaders of their tribes, or tribal courts, politics. We want to make sure that we give them the skills to be successful in whatever they choose to do.”

Focused on the future

The Seven Generations event was held Sept. 9 at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino, on the Gila River Reservation. The event’s moniker reflects a Native American ideal when it comes to planning ahead.

“When planning or thinking about leadership and future things that are going to affect the tribe, they’re told to think seven generations ahead, and how it will affect not only your children, but your grandchildren’s grandchildren,” Rosier said. “So it’s a Native way of thought about how to look forward.”

In addition to the awards, the annual celebration features an auction, which raises money for scholarships. This year, 11 students received $1,000 each, and the NABA-AZ has awarded over $65,000 in scholarships since 2008.

“I think it’s a great event that shows what an impact the Indian Legal Program is making, not only in Arizona but what it’s doing nationally,” said Rosier, who noted that most of the board’s members are ILP alumni.

And by raising money for scholarships, the organization helps carry on the pay-it-forward focus of the Seven Generations tradition.

“Any money we make we’re trying to give back to students, so that they can be successful as well,” she said. “And I think that shows how committed the organization is in trying to help out the next generation.”

Senior director of communications, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law


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November 4, 2017

Arizona State University is a partner in the first facility in the United States to offer long-term housing to victims of sex trafficking and their children. Called “Starfish Place,” the 15-unit apartment complex is in north Phoenix and offers furnished two- and three-bedroom units. Families could begin moving into the facility the second week of November.

On Nov. 3, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton welcomed about 100 people to the grand opening of the complex that was originally built in 2013 and refurbished by the city. Councilmembers Jim Waring and Debra Stark spoke at the event as did Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. An actress involved in stopping sex abuse and a survivor of sex trafficking also talked at the grand opening.

“In Phoenix, we are sending a message that we will not tolerate an inherently harmful industry that deprives people in our own backyards of their basic human rights,” Stanton said. “And as a community we will embrace and help our most vulnerable.”

The apartment complex has a large grass area and features a community center with a full kitchen, offices and a learning area for kids.

Interns from the ASU School of Social Work will help staff the facility and work with tenants and their children. A $50,000 grant from the ASU President’s Office and the College of Public Service and Community Solutions will pay for the internships, therapeutic opportunities such as yoga and cooking classes and cover the costs of a program evaluation.

“We have people who are going to come in and teach children all the things they need to know to prevent them from being trafficked themselves,” said Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, an associate professor of social work and director of the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research. “The funding will also pay for an evaluation to make sure that if we want to replicate this somewhere else, we can hand this to the city of Seattle, the city of Chicago and say ‘this is how we did it.’”


Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, announced that ASU will offer scholarships to human trafficking survivors. The university will make available five slots in the ASU Public Service Academy, a civilian leadership program modeled after the military Reserve Officer Training Corps. Koppell says the scholarships reflect ASU’s commitment to accessibility and inclusiveness.

“This is a spectacular place and it's entirely appropriate because what this project, to me, is about is human potential,” Koppell said. “The individuals who will be living here are not merely trafficking survivors. They're individuals with tremendous potential.”

During the grand opening ceremony, Stanton thanked the many city of Phoenix agencies, local nonprofits and donors that helped make Starfish Place a reality. He also thanked a city of Phoenix human trafficking task force led by Waring and Cindy McCain.

“Without her efforts this wouldn't be possible,” said Waring, who represents northeast Phoenix. “But, it's not just here in Arizona where she (Cindy McCain) has made an impact, it’s international. And she deserves every round of applause she gets and every award she receives for her work on this issue.”

McCain and the McCain Institute worked with the ASU Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research on several studies that measured sex trafficking in Arizona and developed evidence-based training for law enforcement and professionals who work in child welfare, health care and education. Their findings helped guide new policies adopted by the city of Phoenix and the state of Arizona and informed a U.S. Senate subcommittee examining nationwide solutions to sex trafficking.

“We are all here because we understand that everyone has a responsibility to fight human trafficking,” Stanton said. “Not just law enforcement — although law enforcement is critically important. Not just city officials or government. Everyone in our community has to be part of the solution.”

Actress AnnaLynne McCord, who starred in the reboot of the TV show 90210, spoke at the grand opening. McCord is an ambassador for the No More anti-sexual assault campaign.

“I had my first experience with how amazing Phoenix as a city is in fighting human trafficking a couple of years ago when the Super Bowl was here and I am just completely blown away by the continued efforts,” McCord said. “I hope that our country listens and uses this trend in other cities.”

Sex-trafficking survivor Lois Lucas told the grand opening audience that had such a facility existed when she needed help, her story might be different. Her son was taken from her and put up for adoption because she couldn’t escape prostitution. She finally got the help she needed and now helps other women recover from their trauma and abuse.

“There are a lot of survivors with children ready to get here to get the help they need to change their lives,” Lucas said. “There's just no place to go before today.

“So thank you city Phoenix and everyone involved for creating this special place for sex-trafficking survivors who don't get to just survive. They get to thrive!”


Top photo: Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, an associate professor of social work and director of the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, talks to ASU students who work on human trafficking issues.

Paul Atkinson

assistant director , College of Public Service and Community Solutions