Home Page Display: 

USPCAS-E scholars in it to win at Arizona Student Energy Conference

November 16, 2017

Scholars from the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Energy, better known as USPCAS-E, who attend the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar and Arizona State University will be bringing home an award that will make their friends, family and country proud.

They competed with a range of graduate and postdoctoral level candidates from Arizona’s top universities in an annual two-day symposium focusing on renewable energy, technology and policy at the Sixth Annual Student Conference on Renewable Energy Science, Technology and Policy. USPCAS-E Poster Award Winners Scholars from the US-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Energy, University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar pose in front of their poster titled, “Hybrid Energy Testbeds for Remote Communities of Pakistan.” Winners listed: Khuram Shahzad (left), Muhammad Shoaib Khalid (fourth from the left), Kiran Israr (seventh from the left), Ahmad Amin and Adnan Zahid (right). Download Full Image

Muhammad Shoaib Khalid, Khuram Shahzad, Kiran Israr, Adnan Zahid and Ahmad Amin were honored with the Distinguished Poster Award. Their poster was titled, “Hybrid Energy Testbeds for Remote Communities of Pakistan” and focused on the integration of different types of generation systems, like using solar, micro-hydro and biomass systems.

USPCAS-E is a major energy research project funded by USAID in Pakistan dealing with applied and joint research. This project poster, like USPCAS-E’s goals, is focused on improving conditions for the scholars’ home country which suffers from extreme rolling blackouts in urban as well as in rural areas.

Shahzad stated that, “According to [a] World Bank report, 44 percent of [Pakistan’s] rural population is not connected to grid and deprived of electricity.” Exploring hybrid energy solutions could relieve the strain felt in rural Pakistan.

Khalid, principal investigator of the joint project emphasized the tapping of renewable energy resources for electrification of rural communities of Pakistan and the importance of their work at ASU’s Photovoltaic Reliability Lab under the supervision of Govindasamy Tamizhmani, a faculty member who studies energy efficient technologies in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. 

He explained that the joint project team, “aim[ed] to provide a foundation for [a] nationwide roll-out of microgrids with multiple generation[al] options including solar PV, solar/biomass, biomass, micro-hydro and genset.”

This is the fourth cohort of scholars participating in this USAID-funded exchange program. ASU is looking forward to hosting future award-winning scholars with the intent of furthering research into renewables while fortifying Pakistan’s energy future.

Erika Gronek

Communications Specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

image title

ASU school opens Korea Space to increase understanding of E. Asian nation

South Korea is the eleventh-largest economy in the world.
November 15, 2017

Space in Language & Literature building will be home to various historical and cultural items, as well as informational databases

Students on the lower level of the Memorial Union on Wednesday afternoon seemed unfazed by the Korean language pop song blaring from the Union Stage area. K-pop — the South Korean music genre characterized by a wide variety of audiovisual elements — has, after all, found a huge fan-base stateside over the past decade.

The popularity of K-pop and other cultural exports, such as film and video games, are emblematic of the country’s increasing influence in America, said Aaron Moore, associate professor of history. Much of that was on display Wednesday at the School of International Letters and Cultures’ Korea Day, a daylong celebration featuring taekwondo demonstrations, traditional music and ceremonies, Arizona State University’s own K-pop dance group KoDE and more.

But it goes beyond just culture — South Korea is the eleventh-largest economy in the world, No. 1 in Internet technology and No. 5 in automobile production, not to mention the country of origin of the multinational conglomerate Samsung. It also happens to be geographically connected to the nation behind one of today’s biggest global security concerns.

“Economically, politically, culturally, South Korea is a very interesting place,” Moore said, and students are picking up on that. “Over the past 10 years, there’s been a huge interest in Korea that has caught everybody by surprise at our university.”

Now, students will have a physical place to go to indulge that interest with the opening of the Korea Space in the Language and Literature building, room 173N. The space, funded by a $32,000 seed grant from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, will be home to various Korean historical and cultural items, as well as informational databases, and eventually multimedia tools.

“The biggest challenge for a teacher is to make Korea more than an abstract place in a book or a language drill,” Moore said. “We envision Korea Space as an open, lounge-like space that encourages collaboration, where classes can meet and students can immerse themselves in the subject.”

About two years ago, Moore was contacted by the nonprofit public diplomacy organization Korea Foundation, which had been working with Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote Korean studies and cultural understanding in foreign countries through Korea spaces at libraries and community centers.

They’d had a lot of success doing so in California and wanted to expand to Arizona — and specifically ASU — because of the state’s growing Korean population and the university’s strong Korean language and culture program within the School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC).

Moore worked closely with SILC Associate Director Andrew Ross and faculty Sookja Cho and Bomi Oh over the next couple of years to secure funding, brainstorm ideas for the space and work out logistics.

“There is a need to acknowledge the growing number of Korean heritage learners at ASU,” Ross said, “and to grow to meet their needs and expectations.”

One suggestion Ross and the others have made to the Korean consulate already is to create a network of all the existing Korea spaces throughout the country and the world, in order to further engage students globally. And the space will be a priority consideration when it comes time to renovate the Language and Literature building.

“This is an opportunity for us to show the consulate that this is something that will be included in our plans going forward,” Ross said, “and to establish the Korea Space as part of SILC’s overall footprint on campus.”

At Wednesday’s Korea Day event, audience members were treated to demonstrations of martial arts, traditional clothing and dancing by ASU's K-pop dance team KoDE. Everest Xu, a digital and integrated marketing communications senior, became interested in Korean culture during her freshman year of high school when her friends introduced her to K-pop.

“I like the variety and the entertainment of K-pop,” she said. Her interest carried over into college at ASU, where she is the lead dancer for KoDE and is enrolled in a Korean language course.

In a special guest lecture Wednesday, L.A.’s Korean Consul General Key Cheol Lee talked about how happy he has been with his life in the U.S. over the past couple of years since moving here.

“The best part of the U.S. is the people, the American citizens,” Lee said. “They are kind, tolerant and open-minded. But I have one complaint about the American people: They know too little about South Korea.”

With the establishment of the Korea Space, that may no longer be the case at ASU.


Top photo: ASU's K-pop dance team KoDE (K-pop Dance Evolution) performs on the Union Stage in the basement of the Memorial Union on Wednesday in Tempe. Everest Xu (second from right) leads the team. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

ASU among leading institutions for study abroad participation

November 14, 2017

For its third consecutive year, Arizona State University has increased the number of students participating in credit-bearing, study abroad programs. This increased ranking is a direct reflection of the pointed work to make study abroad accessible to students across all disciplines.

Open Doors, an annual report published by the nonprofit Institute of International Education, released their annual national rankings this week. ASU maintained its ranking as the top public university in the US for international students for the third year in a row. “As a nursing student, I never thought I would be able to study abroad. With the College of Nursing and Health Innovation’s first-ever study abroad, From Lima to Machu Picchu: Exploring Healthcare, Culture, and Ethics, I was able to learn about Transcultural Health Care and implement basic nursing care volunteering in small public clinics in Peru," said ASU nursing alumna Natalie Moceri. "What I learned from the culture and people has impacted me tremendously. I was able to grow professionally as I collaborated with a healthcare team and learned about a different health care system.”

Rankings by leading institution for study abroad are determined by the number of students universities send on study abroad programs per year. ASU tails Florida State University (no. 12), the University of Georgia (no. 13) and University of Wisconsin-Madison (no. 14) by less than 50 students.

These rankings, based on 2015–16 student participation, are released each year during International Education Week. Throughout this academic year, 2,222 ASU students participated in a study abroad program. Jumping from not being ranking in 2012–13, ASU ranked No. 25 in 2013–14, No. 18 in 2014–2015 and now sits as the No. 15 leading institution for supporting domestic students in international program participation.

ASU study abroad director, Adam Henry attributes the growth of study abroad participation to ASU’s focus and strategy to make study abroad more accessible to more students, with a strong focus on reducing academic and financial barriers.

“We are collaborating with faculty and academic advisors from ASU colleges and schools to establish a menu of program options that fit directly to a student’s ASU major,” Henry said. “We have also increased our scholarship offerings to see more students engage globally, including students who have traditionally been underrepresented in study abroad enrollments. These experiences provide students the opportunity to build new skills and knowledge that will be advantageous to them as they enter any profession.”

The top six study abroad host countries were the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, China and Australia. Students from all ASU campuses are represented in this figure, including ASU Online. The top five disciplines represented in study abroad enrollments include business, health, interdisciplinary studies, journalism and social sciences. ASU students predominantly participated in short-term programs (ranging from two to eight weeks) during the summer months.

ASU is a nationwide leader in the development and promotion of study abroad opportunities for students. Earlier in 2017, ASU (in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State) developed and implemented a study abroad massive open online course (MOOC) — Study Abroad USA: Building Capacity for U.S. Institutions. Today, there are over 4,000 learners in the course from all over the world to learn about best practices in study abroad program administration. The Study Abroad Office at ASU offers more than 250 program options in more than 65 countries, with program lengths ranging from one week to one year. Financial aid and scholarships apply to semester and year-long programming. Learn more at mystudyabroad.asu.edu.

Carrie Herrera Niesen

Communications and marketing specialist, Study Abroad Office


image title
November 13, 2017

ASU professor uses disaster as opportunity for learning, building community

Even before Hurricane Maria descended on his home island of Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, ASU Assistant Professor Manuel G. Avilés-Santiago grew anxious. 

“It was rumored that the cellphone towers were put down before the hurricane hit, in an effort to keep them from breaking during the storm,” Avilés-Santiago said. “In any event, I lost contact with my parents the day before Maria arrived.”

As he heard national news reports of the storm’s intensity, he began to imagine the worst possible scenarios.

ASU professor of culture and communication Manú Aviles-Santiago
Manuel G. Avilés-Santiago

Wanting to channel his anxiety and concern in a positive direction, Avilés-Santiago, an assistant professor of culture and communication in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, teamed up with a longtime friend in Atlanta to quickly launch a Facebook site that might serve as a central source of information to help members of the Boricua diaspora find out what was happening to loved ones at home.

“Others started joining in,” he said, “wanting to create a network of people who could share info about their family or municipality, offer moral support and answer logistical questions, like about the best ways to send water, batteries and generators.

“A couple of people in Puerto Rico who joined the site had reliable internet connection, so we could direct them to go out to investigate and verify reports of emergencies, and to take photos and get information flowing.”

Within a few days, the Facebook page Puerto Rico Maria Updates had more than 250,000 members.

But nine days after the catastrophic hurricane swept through the island, Avilés-SantiagoAvilés-Santiago’s research interests are at the intersections of technology and culture, race/ethnicity and media, and Latino/a and Spanish Caribbean studies. He is the author of “Puerto Rican Soldiers and Second-Class Citizenship: Representations in Media.” His next book, funded by a Ford Foundation Fellowship, explores the tropicalization of the Cold War in Puerto Rican comedy TV. still had heard nothing from his own family.

“I decided to put my efforts into making the situation visible, particularly among my students,” he said, who didn’t know much about the U.S. commonwealth, “and created a class dynamic that I called 'Teaching in the Dark for Puerto Rico.' ” 

The week after the storm, without saying anything to his students beforehand, Avilés-Santiago taught the first part of his Intro to Human Communication class meeting in the dark, without lights or technology. 

“When I revealed about an hour in that my actions had been intentional, the dynamic turned into a fascinating discussion in which we talked about darkness as a metaphor for the lack of knowledge about Puerto Rico, and also as a way to experience the literal darkness and uncertain times that our university-peers are facing in Puerto Rico,” said Avilés-Santiago, who was born in Mayaguez and raised in Aguada, Puerto Rico, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras before completing a doctorate in media studies at the University of Texas-Austin.

“A number of students talked to me after class about what they might be able to do,” he said. “Some used social media to post photos of themselves with messages of solidarity.”

After that class session, coincidentally, Avilés-Santiago was finally able to speak to his parents.

Business communication major Madelyn Sugg, a student in the course, said she was moved to action by the lesson: “I’ve never been particularly outspoken and have never used social media for anything remotely serious, but the 'learning in the dark' experience reminded me that this was a problem we can impact.”

Sugg said she was bothered that the plight of Puerto Rico seemed to have gotten lost between the devastating stories about the earthquake in Mexico City and the shootings in Las Vegas.

“The most common feedback I heard was, ‘It’s impossible not to feel numb,’” she said.  “I didn’t agree with that statement then, and I especially do not agree with it now.

“The third week after the storm, we made a conscious choice as students to continue learning in the dark, in solidarity with those in Puerto Rico who weren't receiving the help they needed, whose schools were destroyed and nothing was being done about it,” said Sugg. “It was the difference between sympathy and empathy.

“Even after so many weeks have passed I'm still learning of new ways that I can help. This isn't over yet for our fellow Americans, and it shouldn't be over yet for us.” 

Puerto Rico's leading newspaper, El Nuevo Dia, invited Avilés-Santiago to write a column about the learning activity. In the weeks since that article ran, Avilés-Santiago has heard from faculty at Rutgers and Ohio State universities, who have replicated the dynamic in their teaching. 

Over the past month and a half, the Facebook site Puerto Rico Maria Updates has continued to be a space to share information and news of all kinds.

People are using the site to show photos and videos documenting the damage, for example, to let loved ones know that care packages and generators have arrived or that roofs have been repaired, to spread word about missing persons, and to advertise jobs in the continental U.S. 

At ASU, Avilés-Santiago and fellow College of Integrative Sciences and Arts colleague Cristalis Capielo, assistant professor of counseling and counseling psychology, have joined with anthropologist Maria Cruz-Torres from the School of Transborder Studies to organize the conference "De Tripas Corazones: Puerto Rico's Resilience, Creativity and Solidarity After Hurricane Maria.”  

The event, to be held Monday, Nov. 20, at Old Main (Carson Ballroom) on ASU's Tempe campus, will include a faculty panel discussion; a screening of the film “The Last Colony”; a panel with members of the local, national and transnational press discussing the role of the media during a humanitarian crisis; as well as time for cultural and community engagement.

“In addition to raising awareness about the current humanitarian crisis, the discussions will present the historical, economic, political and socio-cultural implications of recovery efforts,” said Avilés-Santiago, whose conference presentation is titled "Please, Try Your Call Again Later: The Role of Social Media Before, During and After Hurricane Maria.”  

“We believe that as an institution committed to social embeddedness and innovation, ASU can play an active role in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico,” he said, “by establishing academic and scholarly collaborations with Puerto Rican scholars, students and communities.”

Conference participants will be encouraged to bring school supplies to send to the island.

Seven weeks after the storm, only 20 percent of Puerto Rico has electricity.

“It will probably take a year to have full power,” said Aviles-Santiago. “They’re trying to energize hospitals, schools, and universities first, but most hotels are closed and many jobs related to tourism will be impacted; agriculture has been devastated; 100,000 Puerto Ricans are losing their jobs, so the situation is really complicated.”  

How is his family doing?

“My mother told me they are getting used to a new reality, of having no electricity, limited communications and barely any water,” said Avilés-Santiago, who worries about how the environmental challenges could impact his parents’ health.

“I would like to bring our parents, who are in their 70s, here to Arizona,” he said. “But my mother says, if everybody leaves the island, who will rebuild?”

Avilés-Santiago suggests Arizonans looking to donate to relief efforts can contact the Puerto Rican Center of Arizona @puertoricancenterofaz on Facebook. The ASU event on Nov. 20 will accept donations and will highlight several local foundations and explain how to impact Puerto Rican communities directly. Learn more about the event here


Top photo: Students in Assistant Professor Manual Avilés-Santiago’s Introduction to Human Communication course at ASU’s Polytechnic campus took to social media with messages of solidarity for university students in Puerto Rico whose education is in limbo post-Hurricane Maria.

Maureen Roen

Editorial and communication coordinator , College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


image title

ASU is top public university in US for international students

November 13, 2017

Institute of International Education report puts ASU as top public institution and fifth overall for global learners

For the third consecutive year, Arizona State University is hosting more international students than any other public university in the country, according to a new report released Monday by an international education not-for-profit.

More than 13,000 international scholars called ASU home for at least a part of the 2016–2017 school year, up about 3 percent over the prior year, when the university was also the top public institution in the category. ASU also took the No. 1 spot for public universities in 2014–2015.

“More and more each year, our student body looks like the world we live in,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “That’s deliberate. We have made a concerted commitment to be of service to people all around the world. The international students who come learn with us in the Phoenix area thrive at ASU, and we are grateful to be able to share in their educational experience.

The report, by the Institute of International Education, ranks ASU ahead of other public schools like UCLA, Penn State and the University of Michigan, and fifth overall, in the company of such private universities as NYU (ranked first), USC (ranked second), Columbia University and Northeastern University in Boston (ranked third and fourth, respectively). The report comes at the start of International Education Week, which runs Nov. 13–17.

The ranking compiles degree-seeking students, students in intensive English programs and students who are taking advantage of practical training programs to arrive at the “hosting” metric, a broader look at how U.S. universities have become hubs for international education beyond what is traditionally thought of as college or graduate school.

The IIE also compiled the leading places of origin for international students in the United States. China sends the most students to the country, followed by India, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

That largely matches the makeup of ASU’s international student population, a few of whom shared some time with ASU Now talking about what they wished more people understood about their experience as an international student in the United States. 

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

This video is part of a series that began with Native 101. The project has asked African-AmericanswomenveteransAsians and Latino students to share their own stories and help dispel stereotypes.


Editor's note: A earlier version of this story incorrectly said ASU was the top U.S. public institution for hosting international students for the second consecutive year; it is the third straight year ASU has topped the list.

At Bonn climate meetings, US continues in a more limited role

November 9, 2017

The U.N. meeting on climate change in Bonn, Germany Nov. 6–17, or COP23, is expected to draw nearly 20,000 people as nations begin discussions of implementing the Paris climate accord. It is the first meeting since President Donald Trump decided to pull the U.S. out of the agreement and it is an important meeting for working out some of the details, like measuring the carbon emissions of nations and figuring out how to pay for these efforts. Already, Syria has decided to join the climate change effort, leaving the U.S. as the only nation not in agreement.  

“We are still part of the Paris agreement,” said Sonja Klinsky, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Sustainability and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie A. Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Given the U.S. situation, ASU Now asked Klinsky — who has participated in these meeting in the past — what to expect from COP23, including what role the U.S. could play. Download Full Image

Question: In general, what will happen at COP23?

Answer: This meeting is the second since the Paris Agreement was negotiated. The Paris Agreement provided a framework, but many of the implementation details were left to be negotiated. This two-week negotiation period will continue to iron out these details. For example, some activities will involve setting up rules for how emissions will be measured and possibly traded for those countries that are hoping to create a system that will allow this.

Q: Is this a critical point for the accord, and how it is shaped?

A: We are not at the very beginning, but still have a lot of the structure to fill in. This year and the next several years will continue to be very important. Right now they are trying to build the basic institutions and arrangements that will continue to shape how countries work together for a good long while, probably the next few decades at least. Like any other process, decisions you make early on can have long-term implications.

Q: When is the earliest the U.S. can conceivably pull out of the accord?

A: If the United States wants to pull out of the accord, it will have to file this in writing in November 2019. The process of withdrawing would then take one year from this date, so the earliest the U.S. would be out of the deal would be sometime in late November 2020.

Q: What role can the U.S. play in the Bonn meeting and how effective can we be in shaping the future of the agreement?

A: As a member of the agreement, the United States could play a number of roles. It could continue to work cooperatively with other countries to try to create a set of institutions that will work for everyone for the next few decades as it has done previously. Alternately, it could decide not to cooperate and impede the actions of other countries. We will have to see how this transpires. 

These are diplomatic processes, and other countries will be fully aware of the Trump administration’s position on climate change and other global issues. Global cooperation depends on goodwill, trust and mutual compromise. Other countries’ perceptions of the willingness of the U.S. to be a cooperative global actor generally may change how effective it is at promoting its own interests. It is a distinct possibility that the U.S. will have less influence in this arena than it had previously; however it is too early to say whether or not this has happened.

Q: Can local or state governments join in? What about companies?

A: Local and state action on climate change is very important, as is action by companies. While the current rules stop them from becoming full members of the Paris Agreement, there is a parallel process where they can participate by declaring what kinds of actions they are taking, connect with others and share best practices, and generally demonstrate their commitment to innovative solutions. 

Q: Is ASU present at the negotiations?

A: ASU has a delegation attending the negotiations. Several School of Sustainability graduate students will be conducting research while they are there. Another student is educating elementary school students about the international process by Skyping into their classrooms from the negotiations. And we have staff and students presenting research about climate solutions at events occurring in parallel with the negotiations.

Associate Director, Media Relations & Strategic Communications


image title

Center wants to expand understanding of 'moral injury' to audience beyond military

November 8, 2017

ASU's Center on Future of War to host event on condition, a debilitating injury resulting from violation of sense of right and wrong

Last year the Center on the Future of War announced Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Wood as an ASU Future of War Senior Fellow at New America, who introduced the term “moral injury” to the public lexicon through his 2016 book, “What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars.”

This year the center is taking it a step further by making the term — which means a violation of one’s sense of right or wrong in battlefield conflicts or military environments — the focus of an international conference next week.

Moral Injury: Toward an Internal Perspective” takes place in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 13 and will feature deans, directors, lecturers and experts from the United States, England and Australia, all in an effort to deepen their capacity to make sense of the experience of armed conflict.

To give more clarity to this issue and what the conference will cover, ASU Now turned to Daniel Rothenberg, a professor of practice who co-directs the center with CNN senior analyst and ASU faculty member Peter Bergen.

Question: How do moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) differ? They seem similar.

Answer: Moral injury differs from PTSD in that it isn't associated with a physical trauma but is rather a debilitating psychological or spiritual injury resulting from the transgression of deeply held moral beliefs and expectations. Importantly, the therapies that have been developed for PTSD generally do not appear to work for moral injury, which in itself is a good reason to understand the differences between the two conditions.  

Understanding the differences is complicated by the fact that occasionally the same incident gives rise to both conditions, making both treatment and diagnosis difficult. In many cases, however, moral injury often arises from a long sequence of events or experiences that do not give rise to PTSD symptoms. All this taken into account, however, it is still the case that moral injury is still being researched and defined. 

Man in beige suit
Daniel Rothenberg

Q: What is your hope with this conference?

A: We hope our conference will build upon David Wood's book; indeed, he helpfully provided a chapter for the report, “Moral Injury: Towards an International Perspective,” that we are releasing at our Nov. 13 conference. Because moral injury is so destructive of veterans, their families, and the communities that support them, we hope that our ongoing focus on this category of injury will encourage continued progress in the identification and treatment of individuals who may have suffered such an injury.  

In addition, this conference and our report both introduce for the first time an explicit multicultural approach to moral injury, which we think is a substantial contribution to research, analysis and mitigation in this area. That's because the conference and the report are products of the PLuS Alliance, which includes ASU, University of New South Wales and King's College London.

Q: In addition to military personnel, you are making an attempt to introduce the term to medical and health-care workers, theologians, journalists and uninformed personnel and peacekeepers in other parts of the world. Why is it important for them to understand the term going forward?

A: Moral injury as we are approaching it often occurs on the battlefield, but its effects are more frequently felt upon the return of the injured warrior to his or her family, and community, and they can last for many years, even many decades, as experience with Vietnam War veterans shows. 

Moreover, the phenomenon is a complex one and extends beyond the boundary of any single domain, and treatment may well involve not just traditional health-care workers, but spiritual and theological leaders, and even the community as a whole. This explains the broad collection of disciplines and discourses that we are encouraging to coalesce into a community of practitioners who can effectively address the many ways in which moral injury may be expressed.

Q: What will be some of the highlights of this conference?

A: Among the highlights will be the video presentation of Dr. Michael Crow, who will discuss the importance of addressing moral injury, and the particular strengths that the PLuS Alliance brings to such a complex task. The panel that forms the core of the conference includes a number of luminaries in this growing field, including David Wood, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on moral injury in 2012 and the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction for his book on the topic; Ed Barrett, director of research at the U.S. Naval Academy's Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership; William P. Nash, director of psychological health, United States Marine Corps; and Brad Allenby, Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics and President's Professor, at ASU.  

Q: What is the center’s ultimate hope when it comes to use and understanding of moral injury?

A: We hope that the Moral Injury Initiative, which will be under the Center on the Future of War, will become an important contributor to better understanding moral injury, and to identifying ways in which it can be prevented, and treated when it does occur.  


Top photo courtesy of Pixabay

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU students to participate in international Climate Change Theatre Action event

November 8, 2017

On Nov. 14, students from Arizona State University will participate in one of 211 events across 38 countries aimed at addressing climate change through theater.

Climate Change Theatre Action is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially in support of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP meetings). In the U.S., 132 events will take place in 96 cities across 45 states. ASU is part of the action in promoting this awareness through the power of storytelling and demonstration of science. Acting students in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will offer three staged readings. ASU Climate Change Theatre Action Download Full Image

Each play is matched with a scientist/researcher from ASU’s Biodesign Institute in order to illuminate the material and their related research. Masavi Perea, executive director of CHISPA and a local leader for climate change awareness, will be attending the event. The staged readings will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Biodesign Institute auditorium. For more information, visit climatechangetheatreaction.com/arizona-state-university/.  

The plays include:

“Homo Sapiens”
Did homo sapiens cause their own demise, or evolve into the next species? 
Written by Québécois Chantal BilodeauDirected by Rachelle Dart
Featuring Corey Reynolds and Jillian Walker, partnered with scientists Carlo Maley and Athena Aktipis

Penguins spy on scientists in a comical interpretation told from the penguins’ view. 
Written by graduate of the University of Queensland Elspeth Tilley
Directed by Professor Sandra Crews
Featuring Johnathan Gonzales, Victor Arevalo, Nick Freitas, Caroline Householder and Tara Scanlon, partnered with scientist Arvind Varsani

“Single Use”
Two characters stumble through an awkward first date, discovering their values clearly do not align.
Written by Jamaican born and Canadian raised Marcia Johnson
Directed by Professor Micha Espinosa
Featuring Fay Schneider and Dirk Fenstermacher, partnered with scientist Charles Rolsky

image title

Increasingly aggressive immigration enforcement is troubling, says ASU expert

November 7, 2017

Recent news reports of apprehensions of undocumented immigrants raise fresh questions about the rights and responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and the civil liberties of undocumented people. One high-profile case involved Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was on her way in an ambulance for gallbladder surgery when she was stoppedThe family said she was allowed to continue on to the hospital for her surgery but was picked up and detained after she was released from the hospital. by Border Patrol agents in Texas last month.  

To better understand the current dynamic, ASU Now reached out to Angela Banks, the Charles J. Merriam Distinguished Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and an immigration and citizenship expert whose research focuses on membership and belonging in democratic societies.

Woman in black shirt smiling
Angela Banks

Question: In the case of Rosa Maria Hernandez, were border patrol agents acting according to law? And are we seeing a rise in this sort of behavior by federal authorities?

Answer: The detention of Rosa Maria Hernandez after undergoing emergency gallbladder surgery is an example of increased immigration enforcement against individuals who have previously been considered low priorities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has limited resources for identifying, apprehending and deporting noncitizens eligible for deportation.

In the past, DHS policy has stated that resources would be used in ways that prioritized deporting individuals who pose a threat to public safety or national security. Rosa Maria is not a high priority, and using scarce resources to apprehend and detain her is troubling. However, detaining her for unlawful immigration status is not in itself a violation of U.S. law.

Q: Have immigration and deportation policies and actions become more extreme in the past year, or are they just getting heightened attention?

A: Immigration enforcement has become more aggressive in the last nine months, and that reflects this administration’s desire to deport any noncitizen who is deportable. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reports that immigration arrests were almost 40 percent higher during the first 100 days of the Trump administration than the same period in 2016.

Q: Do you worry that the current deportation climate is creating unreasonable amounts of insecurity throughout the immigrant communities?

A: The increased apprehension and deportation of noncitizens who are not threats to public safety or national security is exacerbating insecurity within certain immigrant communities. Research has shown that such insecurity has negative implications not only for unauthorized migrants, but also for United States citizens and noncitizens who are lawfully present. For example, in this environment noncitizens without lawful presence may be afraid to send their U.S. citizen children to school, to report crimes or to serve as witnesses to criminal activity even when the victims are U.S. citizens.

Q: How would you advise individuals in these communities to respond to these policies?

A: First, I would advise individuals to seek out reputable immigration attorneys to review their cases. Many individuals have never consulted with an immigration attorney to determine if there are avenues available to legalize their immigration status. Second, I would say that during these challenging times, utilize trusted community resources to obtain up-to-date and accurate information.


Top photo courtesy of Pixabay

ASU alumna goes from classroom to language career

November 7, 2017

Travel, language and culture can be rewarding as a tourist, but Arizona State University School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC) alumna Brianna Rafidi shows that international experience translates into international career opportunities.

“I am currently an English teacher at a primary school in San Severino, Marche, Italy,” Rafidi said. “I was approached about this position after I spent the month of June 2016 studying Italian in San Severino at an international language school called Edulingua.” Brianna Rafidi School of International Letters and Cultures alumna Brianna Rafidi Download Full Image

Rafidi went to Italy through an ASU SILC summer abroad program. She explained that SILC programs generally emphasize practicality and authenticity and partnerships with native speakers. In addition to Italian, she also studied some German.

Edulingua pairs native English speakers with Italian public schools. So while taking Italian classes on her time, Rafidi provides grade students with English instruction. Rafidi believes that for her and the students, language skills are problem solving skills, transferable across countries and careers.

“Studying another language/culture exponentially increases your ability to interact with people, art and the world,” Rafidi explained. “The SILC programs … establishing relationships with international schools like Edulingua is a perfect way for students to get connected with international contacts for their future.”

Rafidi distilled as much from SILC as she could, earning a spot on the Dean’s List consistently, receiving the presidential scholarship and a German student award. She wrote an award winning essay for the Hayden Library Book Collection. At the end of her time at SILC, she was recognized as a 2017 CLAS Outstanding Graduate.

Through all this work, however, Rafidi emphasized that the relationships she made through SILC and traveling are what she consistently pulls the most value from.

“Some of my best friends live in Mexico, Germany, and all around the world now. I have a relationship with them because I studied abroad and because I studied Italian … You go through a lot of intercultural and linguistic experiences together that are hard to not bond over,” Rafidi said.

“Culture is a big pattern of actions and meanings and understanding these different actions and their meanings dramatically increases your ability to think on your feet and operate efficiently,” Rafidi explained. “I really cannot think of one thing that I do that a better understanding of language and culture does not help.”

Gabriel Sandler