Effective teaching course a game changer for College of Health Solutions faculty

Inaugural group takes advantage of ASU's push to increase teaching excellence

July 18, 2018

Smartphones, apps, social media and other technology innovations have forever changed our lives, and that includes higher education.

The current university learning environment is vastly different from even a few years ago. Today’s students expect their classroom experience to be as fast-paced, personal and responsive as the electronic devices they use, challenging faculty to revisit teaching methods and work to continually improve their courses in order to keep their students’ attention.   college professor and students in class Teachers learn techniques to increase student engagement as part of the online course in effective teaching practice from the Association College and University Educators. Download Full Image

To that end, five faculty members at the College of Health Solutions recently completed the inaugural online Course in Effective Teaching Practice through the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), a pilot teaching improvement program ASU joined earlier this year.   

Colleen Cordes, assistant dean and clinical professor in the Doctor of Behavioral Health program, was in the group and was impressed by the course.

“It absolutely changed the ways I think about teaching,” Cordes said.

Cordes completed the rigorous 28-module course, earning ACUE’s Certificate in Effective Teaching Practices, along with Sue Dahl Popolizio, also a clinical professor of behavioral health, Sarah Martinelli and Simon Holzapfel, clinical assistant professors of nutrition, and Adela Grando, assistant professor of biomedical informatics. While they reported dedicating a fair amount of time to the course, all said it was a transformational experience.

“It’s the best job training out there,” Holzapfel said.


Each lesson consisted of a video that demonstrated a research-based, active learning technique. After watching the video, faculty implemented the practice in their classrooms and then reflected on the experience, both in writing and with colleagues via online discussion boards. Faculty estimated they spent between three and eight hours a week per module.  


For all, the best part of the course was seeing how their classrooms changed when they used some of activities.

“Students really reacted well to concepts like breaking class up into smaller pieces with active work or teamwork dispersed between lecture,” Martinelli said. “I also now make an effort to engage more students and add things like skeletal notes and end-of-class feedback.”

“I’m lecturing much less and incorporating group discussions more,” Popolizio said, adding that the course has given her many more ways to deliver content. “I used to lecture from a PowerPoint, and I would see some of the students struggling to stay awake, even if they were interested in the material. I understood why this was happening, but I didn’t know what to do differently.”


Reflecting on each activity and being able to discuss it with fellow teachers who were also going through the program was equally valuable, Grando said.

“I liked that we could see each other’s assignments. I enjoyed hearing how my colleagues applied the techniques and we discussed what went well, what did not go well and what could have been improved.”


In addition to increasing student engagement and expanding their teaching repertoire, the certificate reflects a commitment to professional excellence. As the new assistant dean of nontenure-eligible faculty, Cordes said she wants to model the importance of continued professional improvement.

“It’s too easy to keep doing what we’re doing when teaching, particularly if we’re accustomed to good teaching evaluations.”

All were very positive about the learning gained from the program and agree that this type of professional development is a resume builder.

“I’m immensely proud of receiving this certificate because it’s evidence of job qualification,” Holzapfel said. “If I were on a committee to hire faculty, I would look for ACUE certification.”

Coordinator, College of Health Solutions

Sound researcher receives highest honor for decades of work in hearing science

ASU professor's expertise still sought by industry leaders, fellow researchers

July 18, 2018

We learn the basics of hearing — sound waves, ear parts, and the effects of pitch and volume — sometime around third grade, but there are still mysteries to unravel, including how we process where sounds are located, especially if there are a lot of different sounds at one time, or how we handle sounds that are moving.

William Yost has spent almost 40 years trying to solve those mysteries. william yost receives the gold medal from ASA president marcia isakson William A. Yost, research professor of speech and hearing science, receiving the 2018 ASA Gold Medal from ASA President Marcia Isakson in May. Download Full Image

In recognition of this work as well as his service in the hearing and acoustics fields, Yost, a research professor of speech and hearing science in Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions, received the Acoustical Society of America’s (ASA) Gold Medal, the society’s highest honor.

Yost was among the first sound researchers in the late 1980s to describe the brain’s role in perceiving sound when the ear is confronted with many different sounds at the same time. Before then, sound study and hearing science focused mostly on the basic attributes of sound, such as pitch, loudness and sound quality, but Yost’s research showed that it is actually the brain and ear working together which determines how people hear in complex environments. Termed “auditory scene analysis,” this discovery has had important implications for how cochlear implant patients and hearing aid users process sound.

Since joining ASU in 2007, Yost has continued to build on this research with ongoing study of what is known as “sound source localization,” or how a person locates sound if both the sound and the listener are moving.

“Since being at ASU, I have realized that in the real world where sound sources and listeners move, the brain has even more challenges in determining sound source location,” Yost said. “How does the brain know where a sound source is if it moves as compared to when it and/or the listener moves? We can’t answer that question yet, but we’re getting close to an answer.”

Yost’s research embodies ASU’s spirit of innovation, said Michael Dorman, professor emeritus of speech and hearing science, and a colleague of Yost’s who collaborated with him on more than a dozen publications involving sound source localization and cochlear implants.

“Bill’s basic science work on spatial hearing fits perfectly with ASU’s emphasis on translational research," Dorman said. "Many companies, including those working in virtual reality, have come to him for advice on how we locate sounds both in space and moving through space.”  

Google and Apple have used some of Yost’s work in developing their sound-related products, and Oculus VR, manufacturer of the virtual reality system Rift, is funding Yost’s current research on how to better process sound for use in virtual reality contexts. In addition to technology applications, his research has also informed policies on the protection of marine mammals.

While both Oculus and the National Institute of Health fund Yost’s current research, his work has received continuous funding since 1968 from many agencies including the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Environmental Protection Agency and several private foundations and industries.

“Most of us have gaps in our funding,” said Nancy Scherer, professor of speech and hearing science and current program chair. “The fact that Dr. Yost has had continuous funding speaks volumes about how solid his research is.”

Teaching and service are other important components of Yost’s long career. His textbook, "Fundamentals of Hearing: An Introduction," first published in 1977 and now in its fifth edition, is considered a seminal text. He has been a member of almost every professional and scientific organization associated with hearing and sound, including the American Auditory Society and the American Speech Hearing and Language Association, and he served as president of both the Acoustical Society of America and the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.

Yost received the Gold Medal at the ASA’s 175th meeting in May.

Coordinator, College of Health Solutions

ASU researcher appointed to NSF STEM Education Advisory Panel

July 12, 2018

Kimberly Scott, ASU professor of women and gender studies and founding director of Arizona State University's Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology, has been appointed to a new National Science Foundation panel focused on innovation in science, technology, engineering and math education.

The NSF STEM Education Advisory Panel was created in consultation with the U.S. Department of Education, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In total, 18 appointees joined the panel from nonprofit, business, academic and educational organizations.   Download Full Image

“I am excited to work with other committed individuals who have a demonstrated history of exploring ways we can collectively change the face of STEM,” Scott said. “This opportunity is integral to informing policy at the highest level. I am honored to be part of such a prestigious group.”

Trained as a sociologist of education and childhoods, Scott’s interdisciplinary work examines the social and academic development of girls of color in informal spaces and their technosocial innovations. Scott previously worked as an urban educator with international and national institutions including a center for girls in Chiang Mai, Thailand; the Educational Law Center in Newark, New Jersey; and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art.

Congress authorized creation of the panel to advise a group of federal organizations called the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, or CoSTEM, on matters related to STEM education. In particular, Congress authorized the panel to identify opportunities to update that 2013-2018 Federal STEM Education 5-Year Strategic Plan, which CoSTEM developed to improve the efficiency, coordination and impact of federally supported STEM investments.

“This new panel has an opportunity to bring fresh eyes and novel approaches to CoSTEM’s next five-year strategic plan, which will help enhance the nation’s STEM ecosystem,” said NSF Director France Córdova, who co-chairs CoSTEM. “NSF continues to generate benefits for society through STEM research. To fulfill that mission, we and our federal partners need to make strategic investments to create new generations of discoverers.”

ASU New College professors awarded National Science Foundation funding

July 12, 2018

Tess Neal, assistant professor of psychology, and Nicholas Schweitzer, associate professor with the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, both in Arizona State University's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, have been awarded $14,772 in supplemental REU funding from the National Science Foundation to hire and mentor undergraduate research assistants. This funding supplements their grant, "Calibration in Court: Jurors' Use of Scientific Information." 

To assess the issue of interpretation of scientific evidence in court, this project uses an experimental approach to examine jurors' ability to interpret and act on scientific evidence. The project includes two jury simulation experiments designed to test whether fuzzy trace theory, a well-developed theory in cognitive science, applies in the context of jury research, particularly when compared to other safeguards for jury decision making with respect to scientific evidence. Tess Neal and Nicholas Schweitzer. Download Full Image

This multidisciplinary, multi-method research will examine when and how jurors' inferences are appropriately calibrated to the strength of scientific information, whether a safeguard derived from decision-making theory can improve that calibration, and how various measures relevant to the processing of scientific information are related to one another. The project addresses fundamental questions about how humans reason with and make inferences and decisions based on the quality of relevant scientific data.

Principal investigator Tess Neal and co-principal investigator Nicholas Schweitzer are two of the founding faculty members of ASU's Program on Law and Behavioral Science.

Carnegie-Knight News21 wins second consecutive Student Murrow Award

July 11, 2018

Carnegie-Knight News21, the multi-university in-depth journalism collaborative based at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, won the Student Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Digital Reporting for a second consecutive year.

This is the Cronkite School’s fourth Student Murrow Award, more than any school in the country. Elizabeth Sims, an Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow, films at Scott Mills Falls in Scott Mills, Oregon, for Carnegie-Knight News21's investigation into drinking water. Photo by Agnel Philip/News21 Download Full Image

The 2018 winners will be recognized at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala on Oct. 22 in New York.

“This national recognition is more than an honor. It's an important testament to the quality of the next generation of journalists at a time when public accountability is more important than ever,” said Jacquee Petchel, Carnegie-Knight News21 Executive Editor.

Troubled Water,” a 2017 multimedia investigation inspired by the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, and produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, featured 29 student journalists from 18 universities.

Student journalists traveled across the country to conduct hundreds of interviews, review thousands of documents, build databases and document the scope of water contamination nationwide. The team also produced a 30-minute documentary.

Among its findings:

• As many as 63 million people were exposed to potentially unsafe water more than once in the past decade.

• American taxpayers have spent $21 billion in cleanup and oversight costs of properties damaged by waste.

• Manufacturing, mining and waste disposal companies were among the country’s worst polluters.

• The most prolific water contamination problems persist in small towns, low-income communities and Native American tribal lands.

• Drinking water for millions of Americans was contaminated by nitrates and coliform bacteria found in fertilizers.

The Carnegie-Knight News21 program is an initiative that brings top journalism students from across the country to the Cronkite School to report on an issue of national significance.

In 2017, the Cronkite School was the only journalism program in the country to win multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, capturing the Student Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Newscast as well as for digital reporting with “Voting Wars,” a News21 exploration of voting rights in America.

Previous Carnegie-Knight News21 projects have spotlighted issues ranging from food safety and gun rights and regulations to veterans’ issues and marijuana legalization. The student work is published at news21.com and by dozens of news organizations, including The Washington Post, USA Today, NBCnews.com and the Center for Public Integrity.

"These projects could not be done without the generosity of our many News21 donors, which allows us to investigate critical issues that many newsrooms can no longer afford to do," Petchel said.

Established in 2015 by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Student Murrow Awards celebrate overall excellence in student journalism at the collegiate and high school levels. Unlike the professional Edward R. Murrow Awards, which are presented to a news organization, the Student Murrows are awarded to individuals in one of five categories — audio newscast, audio reporting, video newscast, video reporting and digital reporting.

The RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievements in professional journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession. The RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization exclusively serving the electronic news profession. Members include local and network news executives, news directors, producers, reporters and digital news professionals as well as educators and students.

2018 Cronkite School/News21 Fellows

Fraser Allen Best, Arizona State University, Hearst Foundations Fellow

Bryan Anderson, Elon University

Macee Beheler, University of Oklahoma, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Bryn Caswell, University of Alabama

Claire Caulfield, Arizona State University, Louis A. “Chip” Weil Fellow

Marie Esquinca, Arizona State University, Ethics and Excellent in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Jordan Houston, American University, Knight Foundation Fellow

Andrea Jaramillo, Arizona State University, Hearst Fellow

Lauren Kaljur, University of British Columbia

Brandon Kitchin, Texas Christian University

Rachel Konieczny, St. Bonaventure University

Jenna Miller, Arizona State University, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Amy Malloy, Dublin City University, Veronica Green Independent News & Media Fellow

Elissa Nunez, George Washington University

Fionnuala O’Leary, Dublin City University, Veronica Guerin Dublin City University Fellow

Agnel Phillip, Arizona State University, Don Bolles/Arizona Republic Fellow

William Taylor Potter, Louisiana State University

Alexis Reese, University of North Texas, Dallas Morning News Fellow

Corinne Roels, Arizona State University, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Michael Santiago, Syracuse University

Karl Schneider, Kent State University

Elizabeth Sims, University of Oklahoma, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Briana Smith, Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, Hofstra University

Jasmine Spearing-Bowen, Arizona State University, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Adrienne St. Clair, Arizona State University, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Nicole Tyau, Arizona State University, Hearst Foundations Fellow

Jackie Wang, University of Texas

Chelsea Rae Ybanez, Arizona State University, Hearst Foundations Fellow

Bliss Zechman, University of Tennessee, John and Patty Williams Fellow

Past Cronkite School/News21 Student Murrow Winners

2017:  Excellence in Digital Reporting: Arizona State University/News21: “Voting Wars

2017:  Excellence in Video Newscast:  Windsor Smith and Madison Romine: Cronkite News: Feb. 17, 2016

2015:  Excellence in Video:  Erin Patrick O’Connor/News21: “Gun Wars

Assistant editor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication


ASU alum sets her mind to research brain-inspired computing

July 9, 2018

After completing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a long list of research projects by age 19, Alisha Menon will head off to the University of California, Berkeley this fall as one of 2,000 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows.

Menon said she feels “so honored” to receive the fellowship because it recognizes the work she did while earning her bachelor’s degree in the Arizona State University Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and it has made her excited about starting her doctoral studies. Portrait of Alisha Menon Alisha Menon was selected as one of six ASU engineering National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows. The program supports outstanding students considered to be potential leaders in science, technology, engineering and math. These students are contributing to the high-impact research, teaching and innovation needed to maintain the nation’s technological strength, security and economic vitality. Download Full Image

Menon is one of six NSF fellowship awardees from the Fulton Schools; a total of 16 fellowships were awarded to ASU students.

“I can really just focus on the research that I want to do and that I’m passionate about,” said Menon, who was chosen out of 12,000 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship applicants. “I’m truly honored by the award — and encouraged.”

As an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, she will receive three years of support, including a stipend of $34,000 and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 per year granted to UC Berkeley.

Menon was prolific in her undergraduate research, including work on neuromorphic, or brain-inspired, computing she did with Fulton Schools electrical engineering Assistant Professor Hugh Barnaby; contributions to an implanted electromyography, or EMG, sensor with University of Washington Professor Joshua Smith; and research on an implanted neuromodulation system that interacts with the brain for prosthetics and brain biosignal processing research with UC Berkeley Donald O. Pederson Distinguished Professor Jan Rabaey.

“I had some really wonderful research experiences and was honored to have had the opportunity to work with and meet people who are conducting truly incredible research in neural engineering,” Menon said.

She credits Barnaby for getting her interested in neuromorphic computing when she took his analog-digital circuits class at ASU, and Rabaey’s lab for showing her the inclusive, collaborative research team she could be a part of for her graduate studies.

As she prepares to embark on her graduate school journey, Menon's interests include three areas of neural engineering. The first is neuromodulation systems, which sit inside and interact with the brain through stimulation and recording. The second is machine learning and neural networks, the algorithms that process the signals recorded from the brain. The last is neuromorphic computing, involving hardware designed to function like the human brain. Whether she explores one of these areas or a combination of all three, it’s an exciting field to be involved in.

“There’s a lot of room for innovation in these areas. I am really looking forward to exploring, learning, discovering and contributing over the coming years,” she said.

Before Menon starts her fellowship at UC Berkeley, she’s across the country in New York City working at a startup called CTRLLabs, which is developing an EMG-based neural interface.

“Given that neural engineering technology is at a point where it can complete a task with a brain-computer interface, I’m really excited about where it could go — prosthetics, deep brain stimulation, virtual reality, as an interface technology in general,” Menon said. “It’s really cool, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Monique Clement

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU team seeks collaboration with Kenyan universities

July 6, 2018

In late May, Professor Nina Berman of the School of International Letters and Cultures, Professor Beth Blue Swadener of the School of Social Transformation and Lecturer Paul Quinn, director of the American Sign Language program in the College of Health Solutions, met with representatives of Kenyan universities to explore various areas of collaboration. Flora Farago, a PhD alumni from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics and assistant professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, also joined the group.

At Kenyatta University, the ASU team met with colleagues from early childhood education, special-needs education, engineering, international programs and collaborations, and the Office of Disability Services. Kenyatta University (KU) is a public research university just outside of Nairobi and is one of the top universities in Kenya, ranked second among all public and private universities in the country. A team from ASU meeting with representatives from Kenyetta University. A team from ASU meeting with representatives from Kenyatta University. Download Full Image

The group also visited the Thika location of Mount Kenya University — a highly ranked private university. The ASU team met with colleagues and representatives from special needs, education and the Quality Assurance & Linkages Office.

The conversations on campus were followed by a visit to Joytown School for the Physically Disabled.

Swadener and Farago also had meetings at Moi University in Eldoret.

Quinn visited several primary schools for the deaf in the region, both residential and mainstreamed format. He also went to see vocational training sites for young adults who are deaf. During those visits, he identified a significant need for speech pathology services. This area promises great potential for collaborative efforts between the speech and hearing science academic program and Kenyatta University’s communication disorders department.

The goal of the visits was to establish collaboration agreements with ASU that create the framework for easier facilitation of faculty exchanges, student exchanges, joint research collaborations, and study abroad programs, among other activities.

Arizona and Kenya share features and concerns in many areas, among them issues related to climate change, water, drought, mining, land ownership, indigenous populations, cultural and linguistic diversity, tourism, border insecurity, drug trafficking and poverty. An abundance of collaborative and comparative research projects and exchanges involving Arizona and Kenya is foreseeable.

Julie Ann Wrigley creates new sustainability scholarship

July 5, 2018

Julie Ann Wrigley isn’t one just to talk about what needs to happen in society. She takes action. At Arizona State University alone, Wrigley has invested more than $50 million dollars in something she believes deeply in: sustainability.

Without Wrigley’s investments in ASU, the university wouldn’t be the leader in sustainability that it is today. Her philanthropy at the university started in 2004, when she joined ASU President Michael M. Crow at a pivotal retreat where many of the world’s sustainability leaders discussed challenges facing our planet and what a university could do to address them. At this retreat, the vision for an interdisciplinary sustainability institute was born. School of Sustainability graduate Farren Hinton walks at convocation Farren Hinton, graduating with a master's degree in sustainability leadership, walks across the stage at the School of Sustainability convocation on May 10, 2018. Photo by Summer Sorg/ASU Now Download Full Image

Wrigley helped make this vision a reality with an initial gift of $15 million dollars. In doing so, she became the co-founder of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, a dynamic hub of research, education and solutions. After Wrigley invested another $25 million in the institute, it was renamed after her in 2014.

With the institute grew the nation’s first and best School of Sustainability, established on ASU’s Tempe campus. Wrigley gifted $10 million dollars so that ASU could recruit the world’s top sustainability scholar-researchers to teach at the school, providing students with an exceptional education in a budding and urgently needed field. Since the school's 2007 launch, 1,234 students have graduated with sustainability degrees at ASU. That’s 1,234 more leaders who are helping the world navigate an uncertain future in ways that are healthy for the planet and its people.

Even after investing so generously — not just financially but also by giving her time and her talents — Wrigley isn’t done investing in students and in the planet’s future. With a matching investment from President Crow, Wrigley just created a new scholarship for students enrolled in the School of Sustainability: the Rob Melnick Scholarship in Sustainability Solutions, named in honor of Professor Melnick’s 10 years of leadership and service to the ASU Wrigley Institute and the university.

“One of the great privileges of my job is that I get to work with leaders who give of their time and resources to help solve society’s biggest problems, and few match the commitment of Julie Ann Wrigley,” said Crow. “Few match her energy, her passion, her dedication to the issues we address in the Global Institute of Sustainability. Perhaps most importantly, few engage as generously with our students as Julie does. She’s an outstanding partner in important work.”

Wrigley’s new scholarship in Melnick’s name will be awarded to an ASU School of Sustainability student each year to support an education, research or service activity that prepares them to address a specific sustainability challenge.

Kayla Frost

Associate Editor, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability


Craig Calhoun, former president of London School of Economics and Political Science, joins ASU

World-renowned social scientist to focus on strengthening social sciences to address society's most complex problems

July 5, 2018

Craig Calhoun, the world-renowned social scientist and former director and president of the London School of Economics and Political Science, has joined Arizona State University as University Professor of social sciences.

Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle announced Calhoun’s appointment. Download Full Image

“Craig will serve as a catalyst for our efforts to enhance our impact in keeping with our charter’s instruction to advance research and discovery of public value and assume responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities we serve,” Searle said. “To accomplish this, we need to bring to bear our substantial expertise in the social sciences with other disciplines, and Craig will be working to enable that outcome.”

Calhoun’s work at ASU will focus on strengthening the ability of the social sciences, working together with the natural sciences and humanities, to address the most complex problems facing society today — problems ranging from the shifting nature of globalization to renewal of place-based communities and the complicated social and ethical issues raised by new technologies such as gene editing and artificial intelligence.

Calhoun previously served as president of the Berggruen Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, where his work has included developing an agenda for the organization based on improving governance systems in light of great transformations that reshape human life, such as advances in science and technology and the restructuring of global economics and politics. He joined Berggruen from the presidency of the London School of Economics.

“ASU has offered me the freedom to work on what I think are the most important questions in the world to which I can make a contribution,” Calhoun said. “I’m not locked into a single discipline or to just one of these questions. I’m able to connect the questions to each other, connect fields and lines of inquiry to each other, connect different schools at ASU to each other.”

Calhoun received his DPhilDPhil is an equivalent term for PhD. DPhil, from the English "Doctor of Philosophy" is used by a small number of British and Commonwealth universities, including Oxford. from Oxford, combining politics, sociology, and history. He also has advanced degrees in anthropology. His career has been interdisciplinary, but with a core focus on sociology.

He will hold joint appointments in the School of Politics and Global Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the School of Public Affairs in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions; the School for the Future of Innovation in Society; the School of Sustainability; and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative effort between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Beyond exploring the societal challenges and ethical dilemmas posed by scientific advances, Calhoun will spend his time researching and writing about large social, political and economic issues relating to global economic transformations, participation in the political process, financial instability, reimagining and reinventing universities, and the creativity that goes into designing, building and sustaining communities, which are under significant stress in today’s society.

“If we value community, we have to figure out how to reinvent it,” he said. “We can’t just make community great again. We’ve got to figure out how to make community anew, if that’s what we want.”

Calhoun started at ASU on July 1.

ASU's Erika Camacho wins prestigious presidential award for excellence

July 2, 2018

On June 25, President Donald Trump announced the recipients for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) and the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) programs. 

Among the 41 individuals and organizations receiving a PAESMEM is Erika Camacho, an associate professor in the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences at Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. She is being awarded as a 2014 PAESMEM awardee for her contributions up to that year. Since 1996 there have been only four women mathematicians awarded, including Camacho. Erika Camacho (center) receives her award from Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios (left) and France Cordova, director of the National Science Foundation. Download Full Image

The PAESMEM program awards, administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), is the highest honor bestowed upon mentors who work to expand talent in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — fields. 

"On behalf of the White House I am honored to express the nation’s gratitude for the tireless dedication that these men and women bring to educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians,” said Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “Each day more and more jobs require a strong foundation in STEM education, so the work that you do as teachers and mentors helps ensure that all students can have access to limitless opportunities and the brightest of futures."

The PAESMEM recipients announced by President Trump join more than 240 individuals and organizations that have received the honor since the program’s 1996 inception. Together, these mentors have influenced thousands of students, from K–12 to PhD candidates, many from underrepresented groups — including minorities, women and people with disabilities.

“This is the highest award of its kind given in our nation and words cannot express my excitement and gratitude for my mentors who believed in me even when I did not believe in myself, and when all the signs around me seemed to indicate that I would probably not make it," Camacho said. "My mentees who allowed me to be part of their journey, and everyone else who took part in my incredible journey from the ghettos of East Los Angeles and South Central to a top-tier undergraduate education at Wellesley College and an Ivy League graduate education at Cornell University to Los Alamos National Laboratories as a postdoctoral researcher and finally joining the academic ranks of faculty, by creating and providing the necessary opportunities and resources for me to develop as a scientist and be competitive.

"In order to build scientific capacity and develop a strong workforce, we need selfless mentors so that our students can thrive and be able to be scientists without neglecting their identity: who they are, what they have experienced, their background, and both their culture and global perspective. New students need solid mentoring to have a fair shot at doing science. Without extraordinary individuals who make many sacrifices to advance those who don’t have the opportunities, many of us would not be scientists.”

When asked about the road to where she is now, Camacho said, “I have been a benefactor of great mentoring and extraordinary opportunities for many years; thanks to my mentors and my support communitiesIncluding the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, the Sloan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Great Minds in STEM, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, the American Mathematical Society, and Arizona State University., I have overcome many challenges and have persevered. … All my mentors starting with Jaime Escalante have carved the path that I have followed and continue to stay on. They instill in me a great sense of moral responsibility to give back and put others first and the resilience to never give up even if the obstacles seem impossible to overcome.

"For years, I felt that I would never do justice to what Jaime Escalante (aka Kimo) had given me and be able to show him that he not only transformed my life but he empowered me to transform the lives of many others that, like me, had witnessed too many drive-by shootings, had been victims of many injustices, and had suffered overwhelming hardships, and were desperately waiting for an opportunity to escape this reality. This PAESMEM award allows me to show everyone, by example, what Kimo did for me and the tremendous cascade that one single mentor can do by impacting a single individual’s life and academic trajectory.”

During a visit to the nation's capital, award recipients received a presidential citation at a ceremony and participated in discussions on STEM and STEM education priorities led by OSTP and NSF. Recipients will also receive $10,000 from the NSF, which manages the PAEMST and PAESMEM programs on behalf of the White House.