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Out of your dreams, out of your car: Where Phoenix transportation is heading

Experts predict self-driving cars will change everything, from commute times.
About 80 percent of the Valley drives to work; land use is centered on cars.
October 23, 2015

ASU experts weigh in; students invited to share their vision of future for cash prizes

Transportation in Phoenix means one thing for most people: their car.

Most of the time it’s an expensive piece of equipment that sits in the garage during the day and the driveway at night. You had visions of soothing country rambles when you bought it, but reality is more often spent crawling through a vein-popping sea of red lights on a packed freeway.

Is it ever going to get any better?

Transportation experts predict the self-driving car will change everything, from commute times to ownership to pollution. Fewer people will own cars. They’ll rent them for short periods instead. Mass transit use — currently on the rise — will increase even more.

Student teams will present their vision of the Valley’s transit future for cash prizes at a February conference on “The Future of Transit.”

On Nov. 10, Arizona State University will host a screening event to determine which teams will present at the February conference. It's slated to take place at Wrigley Hall, home to the School of Sustainability and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. The presentations at both the screening event and conference will be judged by local leaders from the transportation sector.

The competition is open to any college individual or team who prepare a presentation no more than 10 minutes long on the future of transportation in the Phoenix metro area. Registration is due Nov. 6; scroll to the end of this story for details.

When the Great Recession killed Phoenix sprawl, infill took off. The light-rail system is spurring transit-oriented development, where people live within walking distance of a station. That likely will continue to happen, said transportation expert Aaron Golub.

“You’ll have densification, people living closer to each other,” said Golub, a senior sustainability scientist with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “You’re likely to see increases in cycling and walking. …

“Urban driving in Arizona has been declining per capita. People shift to some of these other things. It doesn’t mean the driving is going down, but people aren’t driving as much.”

Newer generations don’t want to drive. They want to live in urban cores, said Margaret Dunn. Dunn is a graduate of the School of Sustainability and the owner of Dunn Transportation and Ollie the Trolley.

“That’s how our communities are developing,” Dunn said. “People want to come back to center city, they want to come downtown for live-work-play. … I think people now want to have a little bit of say-so in how they are moving about the community. It’s not just a car-centric, auto-centric environment anymore.”

Dominant systems of road, bus and light rail will continue, Golub said.

“People want to come back to center city, they want to come downtown for live-work-play. … It’s not just a car-centric, auto-centric environment anymore.”
— Margaret Dunn, graduate of the ASU School of Sustainability and the owner of Ollie the Trolley 

“We have had a significant increase in mass transit,” he said. “I don’t think the roads are going anywhere, but you’ll see quite a bit more public use (of mass transit).”

About 80 percent of people in the Valley drive to work, and the land-use system is oriented around people in cars, said Michael Kuby, a professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and an expert in transportation, energy and related subjects.

“Self-driving cars will be a very big deal,” Kuby said. “That should make us think: Do we want to be adding freeways and lanes now if these same lanes 20 to 30 years from now will be carrying a lot more traffic per hour?”

Apple and Google are both working on self-driving cars. Some new cars already have features that will be on self-driving cars, like backup cameras and lane-wandering detection. Self-driving cars are predicted to improve and sped up commutes because they won’t be texting, getting into accidents or spacing out. They’ll be moving along bumper to bumper. Volvo is already working on convoying trucks together.

“Cars and trucks can be organized into convoys with minimal space,” Kuby said. “It will be safer, but it will be a mix of humans driving older cars on the road and self-driving cars. The self-driving cars will be able to predict what the other self-driving cars will do but not what the people will do.”

Perhaps a fleet of self-driving cars will ferry people door to door, at a much cheaper rate than taxis because the cost of labor has been eliminated. Mostly our vehicles sit in the garage during the day and the driveway at night. What if your car dropped you off at work and then went to work itself, shuttling people around all day and then picking you back up at the end of the day?

“That’s a big expensive piece of equipment you have invested a lot of capital in,” Kuby said. “Your car could be out there replacing Uber drivers if you had a self-driving car.”

Perhaps drivers — if they are still called that 30 years from now — won’t have to own a car at all. When driverless cars arrive, you may be able to subscribe like you do to a cellphone plan, Golub said.

“That is likely going to happen,” he said. “Imagine a city where you take the bus to work, but for an unusual errand you rent one of these cars. ... It explodes the possibilities for not living with an automobile.”

Zipcar already offers a membership for occasional rentals — such as a Saturday trip to Costco or Grandma’s house — but use isn’t widespread yet. Local company RubyRide offers a personal-driver subscription service. Services like these have been studied, Golub said.

“The impact for the families that use these cars is enormous,” he said.

The whole energy side of transportation is changing, too. Every bus in the Valley runs on compressed natural gas now. Expect to see hydrogen-powered vehicles sooner rather than later.

“It’s an exciting time to be in transit.”
— Michael Kuby, a professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

Hydrogen-fuel cars are now being mass-produced. Both Toyota and Hyundai have off-the-shelf hydrogen-fuel-cell cars. Toyota’s Mirai sells for more than $58,000. It has a range of 300 miles and emits water. It’s being sold only in California, where there are 10 filling stations.    

Shipment of hydrogen fuel cells globally rose 80 percent last year, according to Kuby.

“This is technology that’s really starting to hit the world,” he said.

For now, material handling — moving stuff on and off trucks and around warehouses with forklifts — is seeing the biggest inroads from hydrogen power. It’s much more efficient than recharging batteries. Hydrogen refuels very quickly — as quickly as a gasoline fill-up, Kuby said. By contrast, charging an electric car, even when optimized with a powerful charger, takes 20 to 25 minutes.

“It’s an exciting time to be in transit,” Kuby said.

What we won’t see in the future will be the Tomorrowland vision of monorails zipping above neighborhoods, Golub said.

“Generally people don’t like things flying over them — freeway overpasses, things like that,” he said. “Things like that are improbable.”               

'The Future of Transit' competition

What: Screening event for “The Future of Transit” competition.

When: 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Nov. 10. Registration forms are due Nov. 6.

Where: Wrigley Hall, Tempe campus, Arizona State University.

Who: Undergraduate or graduate students, individuals or teams.

How: A 10-minute presentation and performance in a question-and-answer session with the judges. Competitors may use any technology, props or example materials they wish, provided they clear all IT/AV and space needs with the contest organizer.

Details: https://sustainability.asu.edu/events/rsvp/future-of-transportation-contest.

The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning is a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Science

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now


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An ice dream come true

ASU hockey drops puck on new program.
Goal! ASU hockey program makes its debut.
5 Arizona desert natives are on the ASU hockey roster.
October 22, 2015

After years as a club-level squad, ASU's hockey team makes its debut as a varsity sport

Jordan Young grew up in Cave Creek as part of the area’s flourishing youth hockey scene, dreaming of one day lacing up his skates as part of a Division 1 collegiate squad.

But like most hockey-obsessed kids in the Valley, he was resigned to the fact that this dream would, likely, never happen in his home state.

Fast-forward a decade or so and Young is part of something that once seemed impossible: He’s a member of Arizona State University’s first varsity hockey team.

“I was hoping I would get to this level, but back then I didn’t expect it in Arizona,” said Young, one of five Arizona players on the 32-man roster. “It’s a dream come true.”

The move comes after years of watching ASU’s club hockey team build a following and a model of successASU won the club team national championship in 2014, when it was part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. — and after a $34 million private donation provided financial fuel.

“I knew the club team was getting better and better, but it seemed pretty far off that they would make the jump to Division 1,” said Drew Newmeyer, a junior from Scottsdale.

The funding, which will also allow ASU to develop two additional women’s sports teams, was announced last year. Less than 12 months later, ASU has become the 60th men’s hockey team in the top division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

hockey players playing hockey

Cave Creek native Jordan Young grew up wanting
to play Division 1 college hockey but didn't expect
it to happen at ASU.

Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

“It’s a matter of everyone getting rewarded for all the hard work they put in,” said Young, one of the team’s three captains. “It felt perfect that it happened at the right time.”

ASU will play 11 home games at Tempe's Oceanside Ice Arena and three games at Gila River Arena in Glendale, home of the Arizona Coyotes NHL team. ASU’s first game, an exhibition Oct. 3 in which they defeated the University of Arizona’s club team 8-1, was at Gila River.

Both Young and Newmeyer came to ASU’s club team after playing on local club teams and in the United States Hockey League, a premier league for players who are 20 years old and younger.

Now that they’re varsity, Young said many things on the ASU team are “amped up.”

“The preseason, the film, the hard work lifting weights, the mental preparation, everything is different,” he said.

“We’re working out four days a week at 6:30 a.m. in the gym. Last year, it was work out on your own, hold yourself accountable and be in game shape.”

Newmeyer said the heightened attention is one difference.

“Everything is way elevated from where it was before,” he said. “There are really good trainers and medical staff.”

Coach Greg Powers said that Arizona will be a prime recruiting area for the team. Youth hockey has been growing in Arizona, with membership in the USA Hockey organization nearly doubling in the past decade, to about 7,400.

“We want to make sure that the best Arizona kids stay in Arizona and play for ASU,” he said. “It’s a priority.”

ASU’s other local players are Edward McGovern of Scottsdale, Anthony Croston of Phoenix and Cody Gylling of Chandler.

But while young Arizona players can now stay in state to play Division 1 hockey, only a few will make it.

“They have to be an elite player,” Powers said. “We’re not going to take someone just because they’re from Arizona.

“But we are starting to produce some really elite players in this state.”

And now they can stay here to pursue their sport and their education.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter, ASU Now


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Finding redemption in education

ASU's Prison Education Initiatives began with English but grew to many subjects.
Students call teaching in the prisons a highlight of their time at ASU.
In one supermax class, the inmates spent the entire class in individual cages.
October 21, 2015

ASU students, faculty teach behind bars for Prison Education Initiatives and benefit as much as the inmates

This summer President Barack Obama became the first sitting president of the United States to visit a federal prison, touring one in Oklahoma. He did so at a time when the country’s criminal justice system is under intense scrutiny for its number of incarcerated individuals — though the U.S. represents about 4.4 percent of the world's population, it houses around 22 percentAccording to the International Centre for Prison Studies. of the planet’s prisoners.

“Inmate populations have more than quadrupled since 1969 when the war on drugs began,” said Arizona State University English lecturer Corri Wells.

Considering the sheer number of people behind bars, one of the topics addressed by Obama during his prison visit was the importance of education for inmates.

“It’s a really practical concern, and I think it’s an important one,” agreed Wells.

This spring, Wells took over as director of ASU’s Prison Education Initiatives, members of which were honored Oct. 3 at the Arizona State Department of Corrections' fourth annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner with awards presented by the Florence and Eyman state prisons.

Two men evaluate poems.The program got its start when ASU associate professor of English and former director Joe Lockard (left, with creative writing master’s student Bryan Asdel) began teaching at the Arizona State Prison Complex­–Florence in 2009 and realized it might be something his students could benefit from as well.

“Teaching in a prison brings you back to the basics of teaching. There’s no mediated classrooms, there’s no high-tech; it is you, the students and a blackboard, if you’re lucky,” Lockard said. “It is the fundamentals of teaching.”

Addressing a practical concern

The initiative started out as the ASU Prison English program, providing opportunities for mutual learning and engagement between ASU English students and prisoners at Florence.

Interested students would sign up, go through a lengthy and complicated process to be approved to teach in the prison and then head the nearly 60 miles southeast of Tempe to the state prison complex, where they would read stories, have discussions or write with convicted criminals.

Pretty soon, students started coming to Lockard asking about teaching subjects besides English.

A woman tutors a classroom of inmates

Janet Sipes, graduate student and teaching associate in ASU’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, tutors a student in a prison class that teaches eighth-grade to GED-level math skills. Fall 2015 is the first semester that ASU-generated math help has been available to inmate learners. Before this, they struggled on their own to study for the GED and other tests. Four ASU math teachers visit Florence and Eyman state prisons every Friday for two hours at each prison. Photo courtesy Corri Wells

One student, Tina Cai, broached the idea of teaching Chinese. Admittedly, Lockard wasn’t sure how that would fly.

“The prison admin said ‘What? You want to give them a language they can speak and we can’t understand?’” he recalled.

Despite the chilly reception, Lockard pressed on.

“It’s very important to listen to students and their ideas,” he said.

The Chinese course was eventually approved and now maxes out at 29 students, roughly eight of whom have reached the intermediate level.

Cai, now a Columbia University grad student, reported in the 2014 ASU Prison English Project newsletter how even learning a subject as seemingly impractical as Chinese bolstered the inmates’ self-confidence.

“When asked to elaborate on the personal and intellectual rewards of learning Chinese, my students offered variations on a theme: the sense of achievement derived from overcoming intellectual obstacles,” she wrote.

Another student, Anika Larson, expressed interest in teaching biology.

“I asked [Joe Lockard] whether anyone was teaching biology in this particular program,” she said. “They weren’t, but he got the biology class approved and said, ‘If you want to do it, you’ll start in September.’ I panicked, to be honest.”

But with the help and support of School of Life Sciences professor Tsafrir Mor and several doctoral students, Larson got the biology class up and running for the fall 2014 semester.

By that time, the Prison English program had expanded to teaching classes at nearby Arizona State Prison Complex–Eyman as well as Florence. The addition of the Chinese and biology classes — along with others like philosophy and theater — prompted the collective rebranding of the programs as the ASU Prison Education Initiatives.

Two ASU students stand at the front of a classroom

Gary Garrison and Jacqueline Balderrama — third-year creative writing master’s students at ASU, concentrating in fiction and poetry, respectively — lead a creative writing class discussion at one of the state prison classes. Photo courtesy Corri Wells

The new biology class was to be taught in a supermax facility at Eyman, called the Browning Unit. All of the inmate students arrived in restraints and spent the entirety of the class in individual steel cages.

The conditions added a degree of difficulty for Larson and the other biology teachers, but in the end, the class was deemed a success and was renewed for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Larson called the experience “a highlight” of her time at ASU, and Mor expressed admiration for her “commitment and idealism.”

“I believe that education is a human right that people should not be deprived of, even at supermax security prisons,” Mor said. “Moreover, it is in society’s best interest because providing such opportunities to inmates carries societal dividends.”

Among the benefits to society, Lockard cites the fact that introducing education to inmates significantly reduces recidivism rates.

“There is a very strong bipartisan recognition … that the rate of recidivism is vastly high and needs to be lowered, and education is the answer. It’s unquestionable that education helps prevent recidivism,” he said.

Erasing the stigma

Wells also teaches the course English 484: The Pen Project, a Department of English writing internship and a facet of the ASU Prison Education Initiatives that got its start in 2010 after the initial success of the Prison English program.

The Pen Project remotely and anonymously pairs ASU student interns with inmates in maximum-security prisons in Arizona and New Mexico. The interns coach inmates wanting to improve their writing skills through a process that involves the handwritten work of inmates being collected by prison staff, mailed to ASU instructors, scanned into Blackboard and transcribed by the student interns.

The student interns then read and critically comment on the inmates’ writing. This individualized instruction is edited by instructors of the course, transferred through Blackboard back to the prisons, printed in hard copy and hand-delivered by prison staff directly to prisoners in their cells.

ASU writing interns currently coach about 150 inmates who, together with the interns, produce between 1,500 and 2,000 pages of writing and critique per semester.

“People are dedicated to it; they get a lot of satisfaction from it. It’s very gratifying to know you’re being of service to people who need it,” Wells said.

Two women hold certificates of appreciation.

Jessica Fletcher (left), ASU English undergrad and president of PEAC (Prison Education Awareness Club), and Corri Wells, who took over the Prison Education Initiatives Program this spring, are honored for their volunteerism by the Arizona State Department of Corrections on Oct. 3. Photo by David Wells

Emboldened by the experience, Pen Project student interns organized PEAC (Prison Education Awareness Club), a university club dedicated to teaching students and the community at large about the prison education system.

Wells serves as a faculty adviser for PEAC, which also raises funds for and develops programs to facilitate effective education in the prison system.

Eric Verska, a 2015 graduate of the W. P. Carey School of Business, found out about PEAC through his mother, a retired former employee of ASU’s Department of English.

His interest in the club went deeper than most. A former drug addict, Verska discovered PEAC during his second stint as an ASU student, his first attempt having ended in failure, followed shortly after by a seven-year, drug-related prison sentence.

While incarcerated, Verska found educational offerings to be invaluable.

“That was huge for me. It built my confidence and provided me with the opportunity to continue to pursue [a four-year degree],” he said.

ASU English undergrad and current club president Jessica Fletcher wants to change people’s minds about educating inmates.

“Many treat prison as ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ However … the men and women incarcerated are our neighbors and future coworkers; they are the sons and daughters of friends; they are the mothers and fathers to children in our communities. Just as traditional education is considered paramount to well-being, prison education is vital to the humanity and well-being of prison inmates,” she said.

As part of its awareness mission, PEAC facilitates the Prison Education Conference on campus each spring, with attendees from around the state and keynote speakers from around the country.

The fifth annual Prison Education Conference is set to take place March 19, 2016.

ASU teachers help an inmate with math homework

Brent Knutson, ASU School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences lecturer, and Janet Sipes, graduate student and teaching associate, help a student decipher a math problem. Most of their prison teaching is individualized tutoring like this since math skill levels vary dramatically from student to student. Photo courtesy Corri Wells

A chance at redemption

Former creative writing program manager Corey Campbell taught at the Florence state prison for three years and wrote about it in an introduction to the spring 2015 issue of Insiders, an online journal that features the writing of inmates.

During that time, she developed a bond with her inmate students that gave her a deeper appreciation for their experience.

“I think there’s an undercurrent of despair throughout the prison, throughout the yard, and anything that they can do to engage with the outside world is going to help them and remind them that they are human beings and they are part of the group; they’re not just thrown away somewhere,” she said.

Wells argued a similar point in her introduction to the summer 2015 Prison English newsletter, posturing that what the ASU Prison Education Initiatives and other programs like it offer is more than just a lesson on how to dissect a sentence or solve a math equation — what they offer is a chance at redemption.

“Anyone — even someone sentenced to die in prison for heinous acts like rape and murder, as well as someone convicted of much lesser, so-called ‘victimless’ crimes like drug possession — is capable of life-altering growth and transformation ... to their last breath.”

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

ASU grad student teaches 'big data' to high school girls

October 19, 2015

Graduate student Jessica Guo is passionate about science education. And she has lots of experience teaching coding and big data. Guo combined passion and experience to present a weeklong workshop on big data to students from Mesa Public Schools.

Twelve 11th- and 12th-grade girls spent their fall break learning a statistical computing program called “R,” which they used to analyze big data. The skills they learned will be valuable in future careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Smiling high school girls study STEM in a computer lab. Seniors Yazmin Flores (left), 17, and Theresa Ruiz, 18, realize their coding works during the “From Big Data to Big Ideas” workshop put on by ASU grad student Jessica Guo for high school girls at Mesa Public Schools' Educational Technology Training Labs on Oct. 16. More than a dozen juniors and seniors gave up part of their fall break to compile, organize and utilize weather data over a 29-year period. Download Full Image

“Programs like this one are narrowing the gap in girls’ participation and success in math and science,” said Monica Elser, education manager for ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

According to Guo, the primary goal of the workshop was for girls to develop coding skills while learning to work with large, publicly available datasets.

“In my experience teaching grad students and undergrads, learning to code in R has a steep learning curve, so I was really impressed with this group of girls and their persistence,” said Guo.

“My hope is that these students use their newly developed coding skills as a springboard for achieving their STEM goals.”

“The workshop capitalized on a broad range of data and ASU resources to create something really special for these students,” Elser said.

The students analyzed atmospheric CO2 data from Mauna Loa in Hawaii, precipitation data from the Flood Control District of Maricopa County in Arizona, and a long-term weather data set from the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research program in New Mexico.

“Programs like this one are narrowing the gap in girls’ participation and success in math and science.” 

— Monica Elser, education manager, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability

ASU’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program was a partner on the workshop, which was part of Guo’s work with the ASU/NASA Space Grant, based in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Guo is a doctoral student studying biology in the School of Life Sciences.

Arizona State University is a member of the Arizona Space Grant Consortium, part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, which funded Guo’s workshop.

Michelle Schwartz

Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability


White House recognizes ASU's outreach efforts

October 16, 2015

The White House honored Arizona State University’s Access ASU initiative for its efforts to help Hispanics prepare for college.

ASU is one of 150 public and private organizations recognized by the White House for making meaningful contributions to the advancement of educational opportunities for Latinos. family getting picture taken with ASU mascot, Sparky Access ASU programs — such as Future Sun Devil Families (pictured here), ASU Preparatory Academy, the American Dream Academy and the Hispanic Mother-Daughter program — follow students all the way to high school to ensure that Arizona youth have a pipeline to ASU. Download Full Image

“These commitments will bring critical resources to Latino students and families,” said Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. “[Access ASU] is an example of meaningful investments being made in support of the largest, youngest, and arguably fastest growing minority community.”

Access ASU, first launched by the university in 2004, strives to increase the number of Arizona students prepared to enroll at ASU. Through partnerships with local school districts, Access ASU has helped 100,000 students prepare for college. Programs operated under Access ASU include the American Dream Academy, Future Sun Devils Families, Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program, ASU Earn to Learn, Barrett Summer Scholars, Collegiate Scholars Academy, Early Outreach Scholars and SPARKS.

“Today’s award highlights ASU’s commitment to access and excellence,” said Beatriz Rendon, ASU’s Senior Associate Vice President for Outreach. “We will continue to widen the path for Latino students to attend ASU and successfully complete their degree.”

Programs like Access ASU represent the university’s commitment to ensuring all Arizona students can attain a college education. Programs offered by Access ASU help students and families are prepare for college academically and financially. Thanks to these outreach efforts, ASU continues to expand educational opportunities for low-income, first generation, and minority students. Since 2004, ASU has doubled the amount of low-income students enrolled at the University.

Access ASU’s partnerships with local school districts are helping more students reach college. Currently, Access ASU is partnered with Glendale Union High School District, Mesa Public Schools, Phoenix Union High School District, Tempe Union High School District and Tolleson Union High School District. Through these partnerships, ASU is able to help more students to attain their college goals.

For districts like the Phoenix Union High School District, Access ASU provides meaningful college experiences to its students. For Phoenix Union interim superintendent Chad Gestson, these experiences leave a lasting positive impact on all students.

“Through our partnership with Access ASU, we can work to dispel myths and remove real and perceived barriers to college,” Gestson said.  “Together, we’ve been able to empower our students with the college readiness resources they need to succeed.”

Access ASU will continue to work with partner districts and schools throughout the state to help more students attend and succeed in college.

To learn more about Access ASU and its programs, visit https://eoss.asu.edu/access.  

Media relations specialist, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


ASU partners with Phoenix Police, Maricopa County to help families of missing persons

October 16, 2015

Patricia Williams was 19 years old when her mother was seen getting into a car near the intersection of 21st and Campbell avenues in Phoenix, on Nov. 25, 1993. She has never been seen again.

Officials estimate that more than 600,000 people are reported missing nationwide every year. Kimber Biggs speaks about her missing sister Kimber Biggs, whose sister Mikelle is still missing after disappearing in 1999 at age 11 while waiting for an ice-cream truck, speaks at a press conference about the grief, confusion and unwillingness to give up on finding a missing loved one. She plans to participate in Missing in Arizona on Oct. 24 on ASU's West campus. Photo by: Phoenix Police Department Download Full Image

That statistic inspired Robbin Brooks, a lecturer in Arizona State University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, to begin a collaboration to stage Missing in Arizona, an event dedicated to connecting people with the resources to find their long-term missing loved ones.

The event, to be held Oct. 24 at ASU's West campus, is the result of a partnership between the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in ASU’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions, the City of Phoenix Police Department and Maricopa County.

Missing In Arizona is open to the public. Families of the missing are encouraged to attend to access help from law enforcement as well as share identifiers such as dental records, fingerprints and photographs that can be instrumental in solving cases. Support groups and private meetings will also be available to help families cope.

Similar events have yielded successes in other states. In Michigan, a similar event held for the last four years has resolved more than 50 cases, some dating back to the 1970s. This will be the first "Missing In ..." event held in Arizona.

“ASU’s participation in the event forms a link between society, law enforcement and social services,” Brooks said. “This event provides a great educational opportunity for students and educators who will be working side-by-side with law enforcement in gathering important information from families for the investigators.”

Stuart Somershoe, who has been involved with Phoenix Police’s missing-persons unit since 2007, and Christen Eggers, medicolegal death investigator for the Office of the Medical Examiner of Maricopa County, report that there are more than 2,000 people on the National Crime Information Center’s missing list in Arizona alone. They say that number could be higher due to many cases being mishandled or never investigated at all.

“Our goal is to resolve cases,” Somershoe said. “We want people to come forward and file reports, no matter how old. Unfortunately, a lot of families get the runaround. This event allows for families to come forward and file a report.”

Somershoe also acknowledged that some families fear reporting a missing person due to possible illegal-immigrant or criminal status. He assured them that this event is not about prosecuting people.

“Everyone has somebody who cares for them, loves them and wants to know what happened to them,” he said. “That’s part of the reason why we’re having it at ASU: We want to have a safe, non-law-enforcing environment, where people can come forward and we can help them.”

Friends and families of missing persons will be able to file reports on site, and they are also encouraged to bring medical and dental records of the missing individual, as there are many undocumented persons in the Maricopa County system.

“All of our unidentified information, demographic information does still get uploaded,” Eggers said. “A lot of people just don’t come forward when they have a missing person, so we don’t have the information to do a comparison with.”

But perhaps the most important aspect of the event will be the outreach and support groups that will be offered to family members.

Williams plans to attend Missing in Arizona with hopes of getting new information about her mother, but she also would like to help those who are going through the same thing.

“I was so young, I didn’t know anything except the tools she gave me, be strong, be a fighter, that’s how she raised me,” Williams said. “I hope to be that example to show people that you can live through the pain, and still keep the spirit and the memory of loved ones alive.”

Missing in Arizona will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24, at the ASU West campus, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road, in Glendale. For reservations and more information, contact Detective Stuart Somershoe at 602-261-8065 or stuart.somershoe@phoenix.gov.

Written by Christopher Hernandez.

Heather Beshears

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


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An artist's dream: Making the border appear to disappear

How to make the border fence disappear - with art
ASU enables artist Ana Teresa Fernandez to paint the Mexican border blue
October 15, 2015

Manuel Flores Flores teeters on a 15-foot ladder propped up against the south side of the U.S.-Mexico border wall that cuts through the city of Nogales.

To some, it might look like Flores Flores is trying to cross. Rather, the Mexican national has a paintbrush in hand, coating the fence’s rusty red posts with a calming hue of sky blue.

His work is part of Ana Teresa Fernandez’s community art project aimed at making the border, one of the region’s most contested constructs, appear to disappear against the sky.

Man wipes off paint from his face

Luis Antonio Esguerra wipes paint off of his face.

And it seems to be working.

“I know it’s just blue and it’s just covering the fence, but it makes it look like it’s just open and that’s kind of cool,” said Mary Ochoa, a resident of Nogales, Arizona.

The mural project began Monday as part of Fernandez’s time as artist-in-residence with Arizona State University’s Performance in the Borderlands program, which posits the borderland as a conceptual landscape that embodies political and identity borders. The painted section will remain colored, with the plan to do it again next year.

Fernandez has always recognized the influence of how the 1,954 miles of U.S.-Mexico border plays into her work.

She grew up in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, until age 10, when she crossed the border into the U.S. Fernandez credits her cross-cultural upbringing for the ability to recognize that shifting one’s experience and perspective can create a new understanding of an object or practice.

“When you realize that visual art can translate beyond languages, beyond races, beyond social class it just becomes the most expansive medium of communication and I think that it’s contagious ... ,” the artist said during one of the many interviews conducted by a steady stream of media, curious to see what Fernandez and the various volunteers and passerbys would do to the border.

Most of the work was simply coloring the wall — with paint rollers attached to extension arms or brushes used to fill the crevices where the square beams meet the metal plate that is mounted above them.

A group of ASU students chose to attend the event alongside Fernandez, but many Nogales residents, like Alejandro Ramirez Mendoza whose arms and red shirt were soon covered in spatterings of blue, simply saw the activity and felt the desire to join in.

“It’s better, it’s more presentable,” Mendoza said, reflecting on the work.

He then returned to his roller and resumed painting as a passing motorcyclist rubbernecked at the wall and a well-dressed woman in a black dress and carrying a box of pastries stopped to watch.

Ochoa and Phillip Woods were on their way to the north side of the border when they walked by the artist’s work. They paused their trip to join the project, high-fiving some of the student helpers while covering a section of the fence in paint.

The process caused Ochoa to reflect on the sights and memories associated with the divisive wall.

“It’s very sad watching families hold hands through here, that’s as far as they go, they can’t even really hug,” she said. “They touch each other’s hands, ‘Hey I miss you and I love you,’ and it’s really sad to see.”

Those are the exchanges, shared between the bars of the imposing wall, that Fernandez sees as a base for a project like “Erasing the Border.”

“I think a huge part of what I’m hoping would happen is that echoing, that reverberation of it, of the piece not just stopping here in the making of it, but hopefully the conversations that will be ignited about it,” Fernandez said.

This border project, which was coordinated with U.S. and Mexican border patrols, is the continuation of the artist’s piece “Borrando la Frontera,” or “Erasing the Border.” In 2012 Fernandez, dressed in a classic black cocktail dress, visited the U.S.-Mexico border fence at the beach in Tijuana and painted it the same hazy color of the ocean sky.

From a distance the otherwise jarringly black fence dissolved into a natural part of the seaside landscape it divides.
Nogales has provided Ferandez with a different approach in Nogales.

“One was a much more conceptual artistic rendering of this piece, but this one is a much more community-based piece so there are all hands on this particular project that are literally erasing the border together,” says Mary Stephens, director of ASU’s Performance in the Borderlands.

“I think that that has offered a new way for us to engage this project as well, how can we as a community erase borders.”

Performance in the Borderlands, an initiative through the Herberger’s School of Film, Dance and Theatre, has sponsored Fernandez’s statewide residency. This includes public talks, community workshops and dialogues, professional development training and a public art project based in Nogales, Sonora.

Fernandez’s residency with Performance in the Borderlands, which is an initiative through the Herberger Institute’s School of Film, Dance and Theater, has taken the artist to lectures in Flagstaff, Douglas, Nogales and Phoenix, where she has spoken about how her work deals with themes of feminism, border politics and arts production.

“It’s been incredibly amazing, I never expected to be able to touch and communicate with so many sectors of the community,” Fernandez said. “It  was so expansive and it just felt continuously like an intellectual and creative labyrinth where the conversations were constant.”

By Deanna Dent

ASU News

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Of revolution and reflection: ASU's Chicano collection marks 45 years preserving a community's memories

ASU has the largest repository in Arizona for Mexican-American history.
ASU's Chicano Research Collection celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.
The Chicano Research Collection has 1,500+ linear feet of historical material.
October 13, 2015

Editor's note: This feature is part of a series of stories to mark Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15.

When Nancy Godoy began researching her family tree, she ran into some roadblocks.

“My family couldn’t remember who some family members were anymore,” she said.

That’s the problem with not documenting history — it can get lost or forgotten. Godoy's work at Arizona State University is aimed at making sure that doesn't happen for the Chicano community as a whole.

As the curator of the Chicano Research Collection at ASU’s Hayden Library, Godoy spends hours sifting through crumbling photos, decades-old campaign pins, protest pamphlets and other such Chicano"Chicano" refer to Mexican-Americans or those of Mexican heritage. "Hispanic" to countries (or their peoples) originally colonized by Spain. "Latino" is close in meaning to "Hispanic" but includes countries such as Brazil. culture memorabilia, all in the name of preserving the “collective memory of a community that is under-documented.”

This year, the collection celebrates its 45th anniversary. It was established in 1970, at the height of the Chicano Movement, in response to student and faculty demand for academic resources that reflected their personal experiences.

A woman looks at archival items at the libraryChristine Marin (left, pictured Sept. 4) was working in Hayden Library's bibliography department at the time when Bill Axford, then the library's new director, and Manuel Servine, who had been recruited from the University of Southern California to teach Chicano history for the first time at ASU, tapped her to be the bibliographer of the collection.

“I met Dr. Servine, I met Dr. Axford, and the two of them said, ‘Chris, do you want to be the bibliographer of the Chicano studies collection?’ ” Marin recalled. “I said, ‘Yes. What do I do?’ ”

Servine responded by handing over to Marin several bibliographies of Chicano books and sources he had prepared before coming to ASU. Along with student workers, she went through each list, checking to see what the library had and what it did not, which they then ordered.

Although academic resources were great, Servine thought the collection needed a little something extra. He told Marin to go out with her student workers and start bringing back pamphlets, posters, pins and whatever else they could find at local protests, gatherings and Mexican-American Student Organization meetings on campus.

“Little by little, we would start collecting all of this ephemera that would reflect something that was going on at the time,” Marin said. “So here I am, inching myself closer to that telephone pole, crowd over there … yanking the poster off the telephone pole, rolling it up, and saying, ‘Here, take it! Take it to the car! Hurry!’

“And then, of course, people would see me and say, ‘Chris, you don’t have to do that, we’ll give them to you!’ ”

A woman display archival items on a table

Chicano Research Collection

Nancy Godoy, curator of the Chicano Research Collection at ASU’s Hayden Library, shows special items from the collection Sept. 4 in Tempe. Cotton gloves help protect fragile items from the oils naturally on hands.

As the collection grew, Axford dedicated a space in the library for it with chairs and tables and couches. Servine invited Marin to speak at the beginning of his classes about the collection, and to encourage students to utilize it.

When they inevitably did, Marin instructed them on how to use the library’s tools to find what they needed.

Today, Godoy continues Marin’s work by teaching students and faculty how to use the collection, which has grown to be the largest repository in Arizona for Mexican-American and Chicano history, with more than 1,500 linear feet of material that focuses on labor, education, civil rights, immigration and politics.

Godoy also does community outreach to spread the word about the collection and, hopefully, continue adding to it, as members of the Chicano community are encouraged to donate to it.

In fact, Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor recently donated nearly 200 boxes of artifacts documenting his career as a member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and as Arizona’s first Latino U.S. Congressman.

“The collection gives the community a sense of pride,” she said, adding that her motto is “engage, educate, empower.”

Most recently, Godoy hosted a Latino Genealogy and Preservation of Family Archives workshop Oct. 8 for Hispanic Heritage Month, where she taught attendees how to trace their roots and preserve their family’s history.

The collection is also in the process of engaging the community by updating and making its online exhibits more accessible.

Father and adult daughter look at a computer screen

At an Oct. 8 Latino genealogy workshop hosted by Godoy, Betty Fry and her father, Eddie Gardner, look for records on their family, whose history in Arizona goes back eight generations. Attendees learned how to become their own archivists and how to preserve their family materials. Photo by: Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Learn more by visiting the Chicano Research Collection website, or the Chicano Research Collection Facebook page. Click here for a video on a slice of the overall collection, the Alianza Hispano Americana Records Collection, 1894 and a Mexican-American mutual-aid organization founded in 1894.

To view the Chicano Research Collection, make an appointment with Godoy by contacting her at nancy.godoy@asu.edu or 480-965-2594.

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

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Nursing program provides pathways for bilingual health workers

New program to get more Spanish-speaking nursing students into the industry.
October 12, 2015

Michael Moreno was building a successful career as a banking financier when the Great Recession hit, decimating the financial markets.

Just like that, Moreno was laid off and jobless. And that was OK for the Phoenix man.

While he made a fine living in the financial sector, Moreno said his career didn’t provide him great personal satisfaction. He wanted to do something that left a positive impact on the Latino community.

“Being laid off was a blessing because I could finally get into the nursing field and contribute to something that was meaningful to me,” Moreno said. “The Hispanic community has a large knowledge deficit when it comes to health care and they need help. I believe I have something to offer.”

Moreno, 29, isn’t just chasing his dreams, he’s doing it while trailblazing into a new career path. He is one of two people who will commence the inaugural Bilingual Nursing Fellows Program and Concurrent Enrollment Program, a new, award-winning collaboration between ASU’s College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, South Mountain Community College and Phoenix College.

Students in the program, which started this week, will earn their Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from Phoenix College and their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from ASU within two-and-a-half years of acceptance into the program.

Students are also encouraged to take the nursing licensure exam after earning their Associate of Applied Science in Nursing.

The bilingual nursing program was created 12 years ago at South Mountain to meet the critical shortfall of Spanish speaking nurses in Arizona, and to prepare students for employment as registered nurses.

South Mountain nursing graduates are able to transfer directly into the BSN program at ASU for reduced tuition rates.

“We have a large need for Spanish speaking nurses not only in hospitals but ambulatory care and other clinic settings,” said Diann Muzyka, ASU’s director of the RN-BSN and concurrent enrollment programs.

“People relate better to those who are more like them. If a nurse speaks Spanish, a patient can make a stronger connection and they’re more comfortable and willing to accept what you’re telling them.”

Muzyka says the next Bilingual Nursing Fellows Program cohort will begin in fall 2016.

Students who are admitted to the program must meet all ASU admission requirements, hold a GPA of 3.0 and complete a dozen prerequisite courses at the community college level and must be able to speak, write and converse fluently in English and Spanish.

“People in this program are mostly first-generation college students and definitely have a sense of accomplishment and pride as well as fulfilling their dreams,” said Loida Guitierrez, Bilingual Nursing Fellows Program coordinator at South Mountain Community College. “Once they succeed and graduate, you can’t help but share in their excitement.”

Since the program began in 2003, over 300 students have become a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or certified nurse assistant. The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence recognized the program in September as a “Bright Spot” in Hispanic Education.

For Moreno the bright spot will be his commencement, come May 2018.

“Once I graduate, my options will be wide open and not just limited to the southwestern United States,” Moreno said. “It’s going to boil down to where I want to work, how much do I want to work and how much do I want to make. And also help improve the health of Hispanics for generations to come.”

Reporter , ASU Now


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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, ASU's Listen(n) project will tell if it makes a sound

A tree falls in a forest and no one is around, but ASU can capture its sound.
Researchers at ASU are documenting and engaging with the sounds of the Southwest
October 2, 2015

Adventures with an Oculus Rift

“Here’s a question for you,” said Garth Paine. “How often does a plane fly over Joshua Tree?”

It’s an odd query about the national park 140 miles east of Los Angeles, halfway between the California coastline and the Arizona border, as it isn’t the kind of place people typically plant themselves for days or weeks to study air-traffic patterns.

But Paine, a senior sustainability scientist(and associate professor in Arizona State University’s School of Music and School of Arts, Media and Engineering), asks it because he wants to share what it sounds like when an airplane flies over a desolate chunk of Joshua Tree’s nearly 800,000 acres of protected wilderness.

The park is one of seven desert areas that Paine and a team of researchers are studying as part of Listen(n) — a multi-disciplinary project to document and engage with the sounds of national parks and reserves in the American Southwest.

The team has collected surround-sound field recordings in these environments since 2013. Their audio makes up one of the largest online databases of its kind, which is free and publicly accessible online. They plan to grow it over the coming decades by equipping park visitors and their local communities with tools to capture and respond to the acoustics of each place.

“We really think our project will raise environmental awareness and then eventually lead to nature stewardship,” said Sabine Feisst, ASU professor of musicology and senior sustainability scholar.

Garth Paine and his Listen(n) project

Arizona State University associate professor Garth Paine demonstrates his Listen(n) Project utilizing an Oculus Rift 3D headset and the 3D microphone he developed to record sound in three dimensions. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

According to the researchers, who also include associate professor of German studies and information literacy and senior sustainability scholar Daniel Gilfillan and visiting scholar and artist Leah Barclay, a change in the sonic makeup of an environment can indicate changes to the plants and animals that inhabit it.

Gilfillan cites a study about urban robins that sang during the day; when man-made noise production increased in their space, they shifted their behaviors and began communicating only during the quieter nighttime.

“Whatever the makeup of the landscape, it generates an acoustic container that colors everything in it,” Paine said. “So if you then come in and clear that landscape, that acoustic property is therefore cleared and the context is completely taken away and everything therefore changes.”

The Listen(n) team developed a new, spherical audio technology to precisely record those changes. With the 3-D format, they are able to match the angle from which a sound is recorded with 360-degree visual images enabled by an Oculus Rift headset to create what they call the “EcoRift experience.”

The experience, which was introduced at the 2014 South by Southwest-Eco conference in Austin, Texas, presents a virtual-reality sensation of being in the desert. As users turn their heads to see the landscape, the sounds change to represent corresponding spatial shifts in pitch or resonance.

The researchers hope the experience will encourage visits to the parks and provide access for the elderly or mobility-impaired, especially as virtual reality becomes ubiquitous.

They are also discussing with park rangers the idea of capturing the sights and sounds of protected areas that are normally off-limits to guests.

Engaging people to better understand their relationships with a place, and their agency within it, is closely connected to the Listen(n)team’s fieldwork: They offer listening workshops in collaboration with national park administrators and community organizations near their research sites in Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks and in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

“One of the most inspiring things is when we did one-day workshops during National Park Week,” Paine said. “When you give the kids a microphone, a recorder and a pair of headphones, they are just blown away. I’m endlessly dumbstruck by how they direct attention and really investigate.”

To encourage discourse, the team created a digital resource for storytelling, mapmaking and art related to environmental changes within soundscapes.

On Oct. 16, they will present an additional aspect of their research as they debut three of five musical works derived from the field recordings of the Listen(n)project that feature leading composers in experimental sound.

“When you give the kids a microphone, a recorder and a pair of headphones, they are just blown away.

— Garth Paine, ASU Senior Sustainability Scientist

At times, the compositions reflect the silence of a solitary land. At others, they amplify an eagle’s call, the start-stop chirping of tree frogs or winds gusting through dried shrubbery. They also contain the distant hum of highway traffic, the reverberations of a vending machine and the rattling of power lines.

And, of course, the relentless sounds of jet engines overhead, bisecting the open sky on the flight path from Los Angeles International Airport — exactly once every 30 seconds.

The Listen(n) project is supported in part by a seed grant through ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research (IHR). IHR seed grants advance faculty research with the aim of improving the quality of proposals to external funding agencies and by benefiting a wide community through public programming that features their scholarship.

Elizabeth Giudicessi, Elizabeth.Giudicessi@asu.edu
Media Relations and Strategic Communications