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Monster Hydro Stadium Blitz returning to ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium in 2021

Gamified obstacle course returns with more fun for fitness enthusiasts of all ages and abilities

June 26, 2020

Monster Hydro Stadium Blitz — the gamified obstacle course race presented by NFL star Rob Gronkowski, Gronk Nation and Monster Energy — today announced the tour will return to Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University on Feb. 20, 2021.  

When we launched Stadium Blitz in October 2019 in Buffalo and Tampa, we quickly knew it was an unrivaled competitive experience for fitness enthusiasts of all levels,” said Chris Gronkowski. The opportunity to chart your own course allows competitive racers, aspiring athletes and even families with children to all compete side-by-side in some of Americas favorite stadiums.”  Wide shot of stadium field with obstacles View of Stadium Blitz obstacle course at Sun Devil Stadium in Feb 2020. Photo by Tim Trumble. Download Full Image

Monster Hydro Stadium Blitz is designed to make the fun and empowering experience of obstacle course racing available to athletes of any level and children as young as 7 years old. One of the only obstacle course races that allows participants to determine how hard they want to be tested, Monster Hydro Stadium Blitz allows racers to challenge themselves without intimidation or the threat of punishment through a gamified, choose-your-own-adventure race course. 

“ASU continues to host the most exciting events, and we are delighted to welcome back Stadium Blitz in 2021,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU vice president for cultural affairs. “The event earlier this year was an amazing experience for everyone involved, and we are so excited to be planning for another incredible race day on the field at Sun Devil Stadium.” 

Designed to test different areas of fitness from strength to agility, Monster Hydro Stadium Blitz features three levels of obstacles, each increasing in difficulty but intermixed throughout the course. A racer who completes an obstacle is rewarded with points — the harder the obstacle, the bigger the point potential. Racers can decide to skip an obstacle and forfeit the reward. Points are earned and tracked via special RFID-connected wristbands. Participants can compete as an individual or as a team. 

Race organizers are committed to a safe, clean and socially distant experience for participants and spectators, and they will work with local officials to ensure that Stadium Blitz meets local and state health regulations. 

Early-bird registration for a Stadium Blitz obstacle course race starts at just $40 for adults. Special pricing is offered for children, students and members of the military. Fans and supporters are also invited to join in the fun by cheering participants on from special seating areas inside the stands. 

This race will give individual racers and teams the chance to qualify for the 2021 National Championship Race at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, where registrants will compete to win a cash prize.

For more information or to register, visit StadiumBlitz.com. Follow the race series on social media @StadiumBlitz and via the hashtag #AreYouGame. For group sales or sponsorship opportunities, contact: sales@stadiumblitz.com.  For media inquiries, please contact: media@stadiumblitz.com 

About Monster Hydro Stadium Blitz 
Monster Hydro Stadium Blitz is a new gamified obstacle course race series held in premier sports stadiums across the nation that puts participants in charge of how hard they want to be tested, without the threat of intimidation or punishment. In partnership with Rob Gronkowski and Gronk Nation, Monster Hydro Stadium Blitz obstacle races are designed to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for fitness enthusiasts of every level, and children as young as seven years old. For more information and multimedia assets, visit StadiumBlitz.com. 

About Gronk Nation
Gronks, the family of football. This family of five boys has pushed themselves to become elite athletes while having the time of their lives. Four of the Gronkowski brothers have played football in the NFL, while the oldest brother Gordie played professional baseball. The Gronks work hard and push themselves to be the best on and off the field. The brothers are now taking the next steps and using their talents in the business world and Hollywood, with new businesses like their Gronk Nation clothing line, Ice Shaker brand and Gronk Fitness Products. For more information, visit GronkNation.com. 

Kimberly Inglese

Marketing and Sales Coordinator, ASU 365 Community Union


Rosette law firm founder thankful for family environment he found at ASU

June 19, 2020

Ask Robert Rosette about the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, and you will hear the emotion in his voice.

“I’ll tell you what,” the 1996 ASU Law graduate says, pausing to find the words. “I just love the school so much. What they did for me.” photo of ASU Indian Legal Clinic student attorneys, ILP alumni and Rosette, LLP attorneys Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law's Indian Legal Clinic student attorneys with alumni of the Indian Legal Program at ASU Law and Rosette, LLP attorneys. Download Full Image

Rosette hearkens back to a dark moment he had as a broke law school student. Far from the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation in Montana where he grew up, Rosette had a pregnant wife, two kids and a full-time courseload. He was struggling to make ends meet, relying on food stamps and WIC. And then his only means of transportation, an old Buick Regal, was stolen.

“I lived in Mesa, about 15 miles from campus, didn’t have insurance, and the car was totaled,” he said. “So I was in really big trouble, because I had no way to get to school.”

He also had no way to get his wife to the Indian Medical Center in Phoenix, a concern he had shared with one of his professors, Rebecca Tsosie.

The next time he was on campus, he was handed the keys to a Volvo.

“Dean (Richard) Brown of the Law School Library worked with Dean (Richard) Morgan and some professors who had all chipped in and they gave me a Volvo,” he said. “They just gave it to me, no questions asked. They just said, ‘Here’s a car. We understand you’re going through a hardship. Here’s a Volvo and here’s money to get it up to speed.’ I was able to make my classes, resume normalcy and get my wife to the doctor.”

As Rosette says, it’s just one of many examples of how the ASU Law community went above and beyond for him.

“When you sign up to go to law school, you don’t expect people to take care of you like that and see you as their family and have genuine concern and, basically, love for you,” he said.

ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester says the school has always made the well-being and success of its students — not just in the classroom, but in life — a top priority.

“Robert’s story is a great example of ASU Law’s commitment to making law school accessible and ensuring our students are given every opportunity to succeed,” Sylvester said. “His experiences as a student and the relationship he has maintained with ASU Law in the years since reflect the tightknit culture that makes this such a special law school.”

‘I knew it would be a terrific opportunity’

The connection was strong from day one. A member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, Rosette had always wanted to practice federal Indian law. While attending the Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians, he was recruited by ASU Law.

photo of Robert Rosette

Robert Rosette, founder and managing partner of Rosette, LLP, graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in 1996.

“It was literally the first time I was on an airplane, was a trip to visit ASU,” said Rosette, who connected with other Indian students and was impressed by the likes of Professor and former Dean Paul Bender, a deputy solicitor general in the Clinton administration, and Judge William Canby Jr., one of the law school’s founding faculty members.

“I knew it would be a terrific opportunity to study federal Indian law,” Rosette said.

He says the education was outstanding, offering curriculum and coursework that you can’t get anywhere else. But the connection went beyond the classroom. He was embraced by the professors, practicing attorneys and other students.

“They made you feel that you were part of an important family,” he said.

As Rosette was graduating from ASU Law in 1996, Harold Monteau — a member of Rosette’s tribe — was just completing his time in the Clinton administration, where he had served as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission. He started a law firm in Washington, D.C., called Monteau and Peebles, and hired Rosette.

Less than a decade later, in 2005, Rosette returned to Phoenix to start his own law firm, Rosette, LLP.

“I envisioned a law firm that would only focus on federal Indian law, meaning we wouldn’t represent banks or development companies or casino interests or oil companies,” he said. “Just practice Indian law, purely on the tribal side as a tribal member from Rocky Boy. That was my original ambition and what I always wanted to do.”

But some may wonder, why Phoenix, after growing up in Montana and building a career in Washington?

“The reason I came back to Phoenix was because of the ASU Law family,” he said. “I just fell in love with the area and the school. I wanted to be closer to the school, there’s tribes in Arizona, and I didn’t represent any of them at the time, but I figured I’d open a law firm and make it a national practice with the sole goal of only representing Indian tribes, and over the last 16 years, we’ve managed to do that.”

Indian Legal Program a vital resource

Rosette, LLP, now has offices in Arizona, California, Michigan, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C., and a staff of 26 attorneys. Nearly half — 12 — are from ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program.

And for good reason.

“Federal Indian law is difficult to understand, it's complex,” Rosette said. “You really have to have a deeply rooted understanding and knowledge of federal Indian law to be a successful Indian law attorney. It's not something you can just pick up overnight. ASU Law provides that core training, where students come out understanding the sacred notion of tribal sovereignty.”

And understanding — truly understanding — tribal sovereignty is not easy.

“You have to understand how to protect it, how to utilize it, how to respect it so it's not eroded,” Rosette said. “The whole nation-building concepts of tribal sovereignty, administering government services to tribal citizens, and then conducting yourself as a responsible government when dealing with other governments in a government-to-government fashion, whether it be the federal government or other state governments, and respecting those sovereigns. So it's hard to take fresh law students from other schools or even other attorneys who have been practicing and have them grasp that. But when students come out of ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program, they've got the cornerstones of what it means to be an Indian law attorney, and protecting tribal sovereignty. And not just protecting it, but utilizing it in a very responsible manner.”

In addition to Rosette himself, his law firm’s roster includes the following alumni of the ASU Law ILP program:

  • Saba Bazzazieh (2008).
  • Helen Burtis (2007).
  • Luke Christian (2014).
  • Simon Gertler (2018).
  • Margaret Hirchak (2012).
  • Julian Nava (2010).
  • Richard “Jim” Palmer (2004).
  • Perry Riggs (1998).
  • Wyatt Rosette (2017).
  • Stephanie Sfiridis (2016).
  • Brett Stavin (2013).

Rosette is thankful for what the Indian Legal Program has provided, both in terms of his own education and a pipeline of talented attorneys for his law firm, and stays deeply involved. He is a member of the Indian Legal Program Advisory Board and founded the Rosette, LLP, American Indian Economic Development Program, which presents the annual “Wiring the Rez” e-commerce conference for tribal governments, businesses and entrepreneurs. The sixth annual Wiring the Rez conference was held in January on the Gila River Reservation.

“It has been a very successful and beneficial series of conferences for the ILP," said ASU Law Professor Robert Miller, faculty director of the Rosette, LLP American Indian Economic Development Program.

The conference explores the intermingling of federal Indian law with e-commerce and modern economics, which Rosette says can be quite complex.

“It's a jurisdictional quandary of who has jurisdiction over transactions that occur online, whether it's tribal governments, whether it's state governments, whether it's the federal government,” he said. “And also, whose laws apply on various transactions, and liability issues. It's a trailblazing conference that explores issues that really no other law school and no other program really have.”

Miller says an endowment fund created by Rosette has allowed the economic development program to launch a project with students researching and drafting a how-to manual for tribal governments to assist in the creation and development of private-sector economies on their reservations.

Clients in crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire world, but Indian communities have been especially hard-hit. As Rosette points out, the crisis is exacerbating inequities that already existed.

“For the tribal clients, it's devastating, because we already have underserved populations with regard to health care, essential government needs, housing needs, medical care needs, education needs,” he said. “So when you bring the pandemic into those communities that are already hurting, the harm is exponentially greater. Even the tribal economies lucky enough to have a casino have been devastated, because the casinos, until recently, were all closed. And with a lot of aid going to states and municipalities, Indian country is often left behind. It's always difficult and troubling from where I'm sitting to see that.”

The pandemic has brought those fault lines into sharper focus, underscoring the need to address a host of problems afflicting tribal communities. One such area is economic diversification, specifically in the e-commerce sector.

“A lot of the brick-and-mortar businesses are closed, but the e-commerce businesses that some of the tribes have begun to venture into are still open and still functioning and still generating badly needed revenue,” he said. “So one takeaway from that is when you diversify your tribal economy, you should look to diversify into e-commerce opportunities, specifically off of the reservation.”

Further developing tribal economies is the kind of work Rosette and his firm enjoy doing. But for the time being, the firm is busy helping clients navigate the COVID-19 crisis. That includes ensuring they are receiving their full entitlements under various federal programs, properly handling contract agreements, and complying with all applicable tribal and federal employment laws.

“Our firm enjoys working with tribes on development projects and growing tribal economies, but unfortunately, where we've been focused the last several months has really been crisis management and legal maneuvering to ensure that our clients stay protected and as strong as can be as governments coming through this pandemic,” he said.

The ASU Law family

When times are tough, it’s always good to know you can rely on your family. And Rosette is especially thankful now to have so many graduates of ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program at his firm.

“It’s reassuring to know that we’ve got such skilled attorneys from ASU Law who can competently handle this crisis for our clients,” he said.

And for ASU Law, the family bond with Rosette remains as strong as ever.

“Rob is an enthusiastic and loyal supporter of ASU and the ILP, and it’s a pleasure to know him and work with him,” Miller said.

Kathlene Rosier, executive director of the ILP, says Rosette has made a lasting impact at ASU Law — an impact that is felt throughout the industry and region.

“Rob has shown such strong commitment to ASU Law and the Indian Legal Program,” Rosier said. “He has played a vital role in growing the next generation of Native lawyers, while thinking of innovative ways to serve Indian Country.”

It’s something he learned as a student at ASU Law, a school that — especially in his hour of need — found such innovative ways to serve him.

Nicole Almond Anderson

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


Sun Devil’s gift inspired by his own experience with the Disability Resource Center

June 17, 2020

When alumnus John L. Fuller was an undergraduate at Arizona State University, the Disability Resource Center (DRC) didn’t just help him cope with a learning disability; it helped him identify his dyslexia in the first place. 

“DRC helped me figure out exactly what my disability was and then assisted in helping establish a foundation on how to deal with being dyslexic,” Fuller said. “DRC allowed me to recreate myself as a successful student and have a successful career.”  group portrait of the Fuller family The Fuller family (from left): Joe, Kathy, John and Jack. Download Full Image

Fuller, who graduated in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in business management, is originally from Los Angeles and works as a financial adviser with Edward Jones Investments in the Bay Area. 

Now he is giving back to his alma mater through an endowment to support the Disability Resource Center. He said he hopes that this gift allows the DRC more flexibility when it comes to helping current and future generations of ASU students who rely on its resources, including by equipping the center with new technologies or supporting more staff. 

“To keep up with the new technology and additional support for students can be expensive. I found as a student that little items helped me exponentially, and I thought (an) endowment that offered to cover costs … could help the next generation of students,” Fuller said. “I am hoping this fund will give that little bit of extra help to (students) to help them get over their hurdle, whatever it may be. Every little bit of support can create exponential returns for a student.”

Fuller said his gift to the DRC was personal and that it was his way of paying it forward and giving back to a part of campus life that helped contribute so much to his own success. 

“We all owe our success to help from people or events in our past. By using an endowment, you are paying it forward by helping students who you might never meet, just as someone you never met provided you an opportunity. I think about all the people who started and developed DRC to its current success,” Fuller said.  

Fuller’s legacy at ASU is not only being memorialized with this endowment, but with the attendance of his two sons as well.   

“To have both of my boys decide to go to ASU was at first a moment of pride. I think every parent deep down would like their kids to go (to) their school if it is right for their kids,” Fuller said. “The fact we have walked the same grounds at the same times in our lives has created a unique, deeper connection between us. So as proud as I am about them being so successful as Sun Devils, I am also thankful to be able to have developed this unique connection.”

Fuller remains grateful for all those that helped him and so many other Sun Devils succeed. 

“I would like to thank my DRC counselor, Deb Taska, and all the staff at DRC between 1988 through 1991 for their support. They truly helped me at ASU and my success in life. Every time I walk by the Matthews Center, I think about how great it is to be part of DRC,” Fuller said.

For more information about how to establish an endowment to support ASU students, email Robin Okun Hengl (robin.hengl@asu.edu) or call 480-965-0830.

Make a contribution to the Fuller Family Support for Students with Disabilities fund or make general donations to the DRC.

Written by Marisol Ortega, Sun Devil Storyteller, and Hannah Moulton Belec, EOSS Marketing

Hannah Moulton Belec

Marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services


ASU alum secures dream job at Google’s Moonshot Factory

June 17, 2020

Kyle Hoefer, an Arizona State University School of Arts, Media and Engineering alumnus, has landed a job at X, Google's Moonshot Factory provided by Adecco onsite, a semisecret research and development facility and organization where inventors and entrepreneurs aim to create radical new technologies to solve the world’s hardest problems. 

Hoefer, who studied digital culture at ASU as an undergraduate and as a graduate student, said he chose to attend the School of Arts, Media and Engineering because it offered him the chance to explore different passions.  Kyle Hoefer presents his virtual reality biking system to another student at the digital culture showcase Kyle Hoefer presents his virtual reality biking system to another student at the digital culture showcase. Photo credit: Tim Trumble Download Full Image

“I saw an opportunity to combine my love of technology and music in a space where you were not constrained to one single path,” he said. This was super important and apparent to me in my first two years of undergrad. I took my required technical classes, but at the same time got to explore classes in the engineering and music spaces as well. That freedom meant a lot to me.” 

That freedom allowed Hoefer to discover his career path.  

During his sophomore year, Hoefer started working with the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset system which he used to design spatial audio and video experiences for users.  

“I always felt like the experience was cool but nothing more,” he said. “I couldn't see it fitting in the real world.”

It was not until he went back home to San Jose, California, that he saw how his “cool” work at school could lead to a job. 

While in San Jose, Hoefer met with a family friend who ran a research lab at Google and some of his friend’s employees. 

By the end of my time with them, the employees thanked me because I had given them a bit of information about my project that directly related to an issue they were running into, which helped them solve it,” Hoefer said. “Sounds a bit trivial, but this was a big personal aha moment, there's a place for these sorts of things after all.”

After the visit, he started following the moonshot factory for the next several years, and when he graduated with his master’s degree last year, he was ready to pursue a job at X. 

“A few months ago, a recruiter gave me a call mentioning an opening that happened to be at X, and it was the perfect fit,” Hoefer said. 

He said the digital cultural program required hands-on projects in a collaborative space, which helped prepare him for this new career. 

“It was through these projects that deeper connections with peers were made, and I feel like that has been very helpful in the transition to my career, in a time where — especially in tech — the need for cross-disciplinary collaboration is at a high,” Hoefer said. “These experiences helped me reach out of my comfort zone a bit and taught me vital communication skills amongst peers and now co-workers.”

Hoefer also credits his success and his decision to continue his education to Associate Professor Garth Paine.

By far the most influential class I took was MDC311: Composing and Performing for Hybrid Ensembles with Dr. Garth Paine,” he said. “It was this class where I met Dr. Paine and learned more about the science of sound, as well as his Acoustic Ecology Lab.”

His work with Paine and the Acoustic Ecology Lab continued through the rest of his time at ASU and was “the sole reason” Hoefer decided to pursue his master's degree in digital culture.

Due to the nature and sensitivity of X projects, Hoefer said he is not able to share specifics about what kind of projects he would be working on, but he did want to share advice to prospective and current students as well as alumni.

“Firstly, in the academic space, make use of the resources that have been given to you at AME,” he said. “I can confidently say that it was one or two critically defining decisions to speak with my professors after class, and during office hours, that led to me discovering the long-term path I wanted to take. Digital culture has surrounded you with like-minded people — peers and professors alike. All it takes is introducing yourself!

“Secondly, in terms of landing your dream job: Don't let the fear of failure stop you from branching off to a new idea, new concept or a newly found passion. I know from firsthand that it's easy to stare at your resumé on paper and get caught up in your own head about what you have or haven't achieved, but I also think that vulnerability and a willingness to venture into the unknown is what employers are looking for in newly graduated employees, now more than ever before. Follow your passions, learn the concepts, build the things — and most importantly do good for others! The rest will come.”

How ASU is helping admitted students find their way via Slack

Devil2Devil, ASU’s private network for admitted students is now integrated with Slack, allowing the new learners to gather virtually

June 17, 2020

For new students, the idea of going to an unfamiliar place can be daunting, and this has only been compounded by the pandemic. ASU has long believed in the power of community to address the potential concerns of settling into a new life in a new place. That’s why Devil2Devil exists: for incoming students to find friends, look for roommates, ask questions and get information about enrollment steps and other processes.

Devil2Devil has existed in one form or another since 2011, and past iterations have looked and felt very much like a social network. Some have needed Facebook authentication in order to join. But in 2019, even before the novel coronavirus exploded onto the global scene, it was clear that a paradigm shift was needed to get students active and engaged. Students no longer used Facebook as frequently as they had in years past.  students wearing gold shirts standing on "A" Mountain Download Full Image

Casey Thomas, associate director of digital engagement and public relations of admission services and Devil2Devil’s community manager since its inception, said, “We knew students weren’t really looking for another social network, so it was appropriate to move Devil2Devil into a space specific to ASU.” And so in May 2019, Thomas began talking with the University Technology Office about moving Devil2Devil to its new home as part of ASU’s Slack Enterprise Grid.

“Easy login access, a mobile app and customizable channels for conversations made Slack appealing,” said Thomas. And incoming students would now have prior exposure to the platform before using it for collaboration and coursework — a big advantage, considering the advent of Slack as the manifestation of ASU’s digital campus.

Devil2Devil is available to incoming first-year, transfer and master’s degree-level graduate students from about February to September, at which point students can continue collaborating and otherwise interacting with peers on Slack via direct messaging and other channels.

Usage data shows just how successful the move to Slack has been. Devil2Devil’s Slack presence launched Feb. 1, 2020, and it has 11,800 members as of June 9, 2020, with 2,300 active weekly users. Previous iterations of Devil2Devil have never surpassed 8,000 users.

Thomas also attributes some of the new Devil2Devil’s success with the pandemic, as admitted students have sought connection while largely isolated from the outside world. There was a significant jump in activity, for example, during the week of March 16, which for many was the first week of quarantine.

And the pandemic has impacted Devil2Devil programs as well. Just this month, Thomas and her team introduced New Student Orientation Gold Guides to Devil2Devil to host peer-led New2ASU channels with guided activities, content regarding enrollment and academic success and ASU resources. Thomas points to the success of this initiative, which would not have existed without the pandemic.

“The students hosting these channels are usually helping run in-person orientation programs and would not have been available to manage channels. And previous iterations had no effective way to create channels or groups like this,” she said.

Devil2Devil provides an invaluable service to admitted students. For some, it eases the transition of being away from home by introducing others from the same area. For others, it makes finding a roommate easier by letting users glimpse each other’s interests and personalities. However Devil2Devil is used, Thomas adds, “it’s instrumental in helping us build the sense of belonging for our admitted students.”

Andrew Schneider

Copywriter, University Technology Office


New disability studies certificates bring fresh opportunities to ASU community

School of Social Transformation has established an undergraduate, graduate certificate in disability studies for fall 2020

June 16, 2020

Arizona State University's School of Social Transformation has established an undergraduate and a graduate certificate in disability studies that promotes a new understanding of contemporary culture, not only for the disabled, but for society as well. These programs will be accepting students for the fall 2020 semester.

These certificates provide a socially embedded, intersectional overview of this emerging discipline: its history, culture, politics, philosophy and key concepts; its impact on services and supports to people with dis/abilities; its importance in disability research; and its influence in the formation of public policies. Students travel along Palm Walk Download Full Image

ASU Now spoke with ASU’s Annamaria Oliverio, lecturer at the School of Social Transformation, Beth Blue Swadener, School of Social Transformation professor, and Terri Hlava, School of Social Transformation faculty associate, to learn a little more about these new certificates coming to ASU in fall 2020.

Question: What inspired the creation of these certificates?

Oliverio: It was more a matter of serendipity for me. Since 2012, I’ve been working in the community as a music therapist with clients who have diverse abilities, yet consistently revealed the many barriers they confronted in their everyday lives, disabling them from reaching their full potential. Meanwhile, in the School of Social Transformation, Dr. Mary-Margaret Fonow and Dr. Beth Blue Swadener were in the process of elevating awareness and early planning for certificates by hosting workshops, symposia and building curricula surrounding disability issues. Knowing about my music therapy background, Dr. Fonow asked if I was interested in designing and teaching a new undergraduate class on disability as well as creating two new certificates in disability studies. In collaboration with Dr. Swadener, who has long worked in disability advocacy and inclusive education, we decided to conduct meetings that included students, faculty, activists and leaders from the disability community in order to build a robust program that would include not only academic objectives, but also represent the diverse-ability communities’ needs. Dr. Terri Hlava and her dogs, Copper and Shay, came to our meetings, further providing their knowledge, expertise and lived experience. From diverse backgrounds, we coalesced, inspired each other and collaborated.       

Q: How are these certificates different from other disability studies certificates or degrees?

Oliverio: Our certificates are designed with ASU’s motto in mind that is, “we define ourselves by who we include not exclude.” Elective class options are not only interdisciplinary, but also universitywide, so that students from other fields of interest can learn and apply a disability studies approach to their related career from business to humanities, music to health care, engineering to design. Because we began this process of building the certificates by conducting meetings with diverse community members, students and faculty, asking what they would like to see and learn about in the program, the curriculum includes and reflects a richly diverse and applied perspective. Maintaining associations with local community organizations is essential as students in the program can choose to conduct applied projects or individualized studies that expose them directly to advocacy opportunities and policy initiatives. The disability community is as diverse as each individual. Our intent is to cast as broad a net as possible to capture and continue building upon the range of this diversity.    

Q: What skills will students acquire?

Oliverio/Swadener: The undergraduate disability studies certificate program promotes a new understanding of contemporary culture not only for persons with diverse abilities but also for their communities and society. The insidious ways in which ableism is structured into society and culture both globally and locally is a major focus. Students will acquire skills in understanding the dynamics of ableism — pertaining to visible and invisible disabilities across many aspects of society. They will also gain skills in research methods, critical policy and media analysis, teaching, advocacy, activism and much more. When you consider the opportunities for choosing electives for the universitywide certificates, skills could include those from nearly any discipline (subject to approval).

The disability-studies perspective challenges social constructions of disability through the voices of diversely-abled cultures who are disabled by barriers that exist in society. Students are critically challenged to reject simplistic definitions of disability as a restrictive, functional impairment that requires “fixing” or “curing.” It examines media portrayals, cultural stereotypes, institutional abuse, violent histories, offensive public policies and school inclusion/exclusions through the lived experiences and perspectives of people with disabilities and their families in the community. 

The graduate disability studies certificate program is designed for students who want to further deepen their understanding of structural ableism and intersectional perspective on disability in society. Students pursuing this certificate will become knowledgeable, flexible professionals, change agents, researchers, educators and advocates by critically addressing diverse intersectional experiences; quality of life and justice issues; field-based applications; policy and disability rights movements; and research for ongoing learning and writing. This program emphasizes the creation of new knowledge and consequent practical implications. Students will enhance their advanced degrees with research skills, concepts, methodologies and theoretical perspectives that support much-needed, creative research that they can apply within their own fields.

Q: What career opportunities are available for students who decide to apply?

Oliverio: A disability studies certificate can benefit a number of diverse professions including, but certainly not limited to:

• Protection and advocacy, nonprofit agencies.
• Rehabilitation sciences (speech and hearing, kinesiology).
• Parent education, consulting and information centers.
• State and local disabilities agencies.
• Self-advocacy associations.
• Community and family support agencies.
• University or college offices for students, with disabilities and transition centers.
• Independent living centers.
• Senior research and training positions at university-affiliated programs, research and training centers, and private research and policy institutes.
• K-12 education.
• Human services.
• Social work.
• Health care.
• Assisted living centers.
• Gerontology institutes.

Q: Why is it important to have these types of certificates?

Hlava: The certificate program fills a niche for people who want a specific set of skills for their work, advocacy — including self-advocacy — or other interests that reflect intersectional perspectives linking dis/ability to race, class, gender, sexual orientation and other identities and experiences. While many ASU students are aware of civil rights and other social movements, fewer are aware of the rich history of the disability rights movement. Completed in only 15 credit hours, with many options for electives, students can acquire highly relevant knowledge and put it into practice quickly, making the experience affordable too.

Oliverio: Over the past eight years, students from different disciplines, as well as students within the School of Social Transformation, have expressed the desire to focus their work on the area of disability from a socially embedded, interdisciplinary approach in order to increase their marketability and desirability in the workplace including careers in government, law, advocacy, education, health and human welfare, social work and entrepreneurship.

Q: What benefits will the new certificates bring to the ASU community?

Swadener: Reflecting ASU’s mission to be inclusive, these certificate programs further enhance this goal and reflect national and international scholarship in this transdisciplinary field. The ASU community is very diverse; therefore, curriculum programs and degrees need to keep up with the academic and practical needs of our diverse university community. This includes both course offerings as well as pedagogical approaches. A theme drawn from earlier disability rights movements of “nothing about us without us” also pervades the program. The collaborative nature of these certificates across university campuses emulates the necessity for continued, sustainable, interdependent relationships fostered by individuals and organizations both from within and beyond the university environment.

Hlava: The certificates will bring students to the ASU community, and these students will be scholars who are interested in working with the largest minority in the world, the only minority that anyone can join at any time — through accident, injury, trauma, age, illness, poverty. This dynamic will enhance ASU’s diversity, and good comes from diversity on college campuses — good in terms of greater understanding and good in terms of lessening prejudice and increasing cooperation and collaboration.

Enrique Martin Palacios

Communications and Marketing Coordinator, School of Social Transformation, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


The ultimate business introduction

Camp Carey gets down to business, virtually, to introduce first-year students to everything they need to know to succeed at the W. P. Carey School

June 15, 2020

Caitlin Personale is an Arizona State University honors marketing junior with a unique background and a full plate. The vice president of membership experience for the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority responds to questions, comments and concerns of 150 college women at once, and now she has her sights set on making the first-ever virtual Camp Carey orientation a success as a director.

This summer, Personale will help lead first-year business students through activities on Zoom that help them discover their inner leader and unleash their inner Sparky as they make new friends, connect with key people and resources and map their futures in college and beyond.  Honors marketing junior Caitlin Personale, who is the Camp Carey director, is pictured in the second row, far left, with fellow peer advisers. Download Full Image

Some of the most important business skills are best learned through experience, which is why all new first-year W. P. Carey School of Business students are expected to participate in Camp Carey.

While learning about the business school and its resources, they’ll be having fun. It’s an opportunity to interact and build important and meaningful connections with peers, current and continuing students, alumni, deans, faculty and staff — friendly faces they’ll see in class and across campus throughout their time at ASU. They’ll also get to communicate ideas and engage with diverse groups — local, out-of-state and international students all find common ground at Camp Carey.

Smoothing the transition

Adjusting to college life is a big challenge for all first-year students; for some, college is intimidating and the stress of coping sometimes takes its toll. Camp Carey prepares new business students to start their academic careers on the right path. This year, more than 2,000 first-year students are expected to attend the virtual event.

During Camp Carey,  first-year students will work with volunteer facilitators like Personale, who are W. P. Carey sophomores, juniors and seniors, on leadership, communication and team facilitation skills that will be integral for future business careers. Camp Carey will also provide first-year students with a chance to build relationships and network with each other before the start of the fall semester, which can make a big difference in a student’s comfort level at the university.

“Making new friends in college helps students integrate more easily into college life,” said Personale, who works at W. P. Carey in a variety of roles, including student engagement office aide and navigator, residential engagement leader and senior peer adviser. “After attending Camp Carey, students will see familiar faces and can easily form study groups with students they meet.”

Been there, done that

Along with building lasting relationships with fellow first-year students, students who are attending Camp Carey find mentors and role models in their camp facilitators.

Personale works year-round to prepare for camp. She’s been managing all platforms of social media for Camp Carey as it has undergone a rebrand by creating new content and posting regular updates and promotions. 

“(As a director) I love working with others,” said Personale, who is earning a minor in special events management from the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. “I have a passion for customer service, communication and organizing and executing events."

What they'll learn at summer camp

As a virtual event, Camp Carey is free this year. Instead of packing an overnight bag, the only things students need to have are a great attitude and a reliable internet connection.

On June 17, the camp season kicks off with weekly, hour-long drop-in sessions offered at various times throughout the day on Wednesdays. These sessions are affectionally known as WOW (What’s on Wednesdays) sessions

WOW sessions include a campus tour, student panel, "A Day in the Life," book club and W. P. Carey traditions trivia. During this timeframe, additional sessions will be hosted, such as "Meet Your Major," a Netflix party, bingo and W. P. Carey game night. WOW sessions will run between June 17 and July 22. 

On July 29 and Aug. 5, Camp Carey will welcome all W. P. Carey students into a singular session to be welcomed by student leaders, deans, faculty and staff. A keynote speaker will help students build meaningful connections with other students who they will see in their residence halls and classes. There will be team-building, goal-setting activities and icebreakers. First-year students will learn about student clubs and organizations, play fun games and get unique opportunities to engage with their new community.

More than memories

Everyone involved in bringing Camp Carey to first-year students hopes that the virtual experience shows first-year students what the business school is all about.

“I’ve noticed that W. P. Carey reflects the modern business environment. Being collaborative and team-oriented is a skill you can’t get from a textbook,” Personale said. “(W. P. Carey faculty and staff) truly care about their students and want them to be successful, and I’m proud to be a part of Camp Carey, which helps do that.”

Personale also encourages all students — even reluctant ones  to try Camp Carey because she was once in their shoes. “College is a time to explore. I know people get nervous about ‘going to camp,’ but it’s the first chance to step out of your comfort zone in college.”

First-year business students can register for Camp Carey, download the Zoom application and a Camp Carey Zoom background, as well as ask questions by visiting camp-carey.com or emailing campcarey@asu.edu.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


image title

Living with a disability during a pandemic

About 4%-5% of ASU students have registered as disabled.
Disabilities can be both visible and invisible.
June 12, 2020

ASU experts, students on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting members of the disabled community

Editor’s note: While this article attempts to shed light on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting members of the disabled community, it is by no means intended to be comprehensive in representing everyone that includes.

Arizona State University sociologists agree: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a number of inequalities in our society related to race, gender, class, legal status and age. However, conspicuously missing from much of the media coverage on these issues are the stories of how the crisis is affecting the disabled community.

At ASU, the number of students registering with the Disability Resource Center has more than doubled in the last five years, with more than 5,600 students registered in 2019. However, at about 4% to 5% of the total population of students, that number is likely low; most statistics put the number of individuals who identify as someone with a disability in the United States at anywhere from 12% to 19%.

That’s a lot of stories going untold. And it can feel even more isolating when someone’s disability is “invisible,” something the Disability Resource Center recently addressed with the introduction of its Access Zone program, a series of training workshops designed to increase faculty and staff awareness of all disabilities, including invisible conditions like anxiety, dyslexia or autism.

Over the past couple of years, the number of students at ASU on the autism spectrum has increased from about 40 students to a couple hundred. College of Health Solutions Assistant Professor B. Blair Braden runs the Autism Brain Aging Laboratory at ASU and has been working with individuals with autism for about a decade. She said that one of the biggest ways the pandemic is likely affecting them is the disruption of their routine.

“Routine is very important to most autistic individuals,” she said. “It’s almost embedded in the diagnostic criteria. The theory is that it’s a coping strategy for managing anxiety. And right now, all of our routines have been completely turned upside down, which is hard enough for the average person, never mind someone who’s overall sense of well-being relies on it.”

Haley Tenore, a journalism and mass communication undergrad and president of the student club Autistics on Campus said when she found out campus was being closed for the rest of the spring semester, she began having panic attacks.

“I like school a lot because of the structure it gives me, and knowing exactly what I am doing every day of the week,” she said. “I remember when classes went online, I began struggling to wake up in time for my Zoom lectures and struggling to meet deadlines that I normally would remember.”

Tenore also reported having trouble maintaining social relationships during isolation, something Braden acknowledged is often another challenge for individuals with autism.

“The loss of social connection for a group who already struggles with social connection is probably going to have a big effect,” Braden said. “On the flip side, when you get into older autistic communities — teens and adults — a lot of them already have social networks established on the internet.”

That has been the case for W. P. Carey School of Business accounting senior and fellow Autistics on Campus member Ryan Arnold.

“I am currently Zooming with a bunch of friends and family members this week while I am off from school for the summer,” he told ASU Now in early May. Yet like Tenore, he said his level of anxiety has also increased over the uncertainty of the coronavirus situation.

According to Assistant Clinical Professor of psychology Matthew Meier, it’s not unusual for those who already experience anxiety and depression to be having an even harder time managing their conditions right now.

“If you already had anxiety or depression, this is really intensifying the symptoms,” Meier said. “If you’re already worried about germs, or tend to be worried about worst-case scenarios, then there’s so much fodder for you right now in the media and just in general. If you have depression and have struggled with isolation and lack of social connectedness or getting out of bed, it’s even worse for that as well. Because even if you do force yourself to get out of bed, there’s nowhere to go.”

He said two of the best things someone experiencing an increase in anxiety or depression can do are to try to stick to a routine and to reach out for help. Currently, Meier is supervising clinical psychology doctoral students who are providing telehealth to community members and students through ASU’s Clinical Psychology Center, a training facility for graduate students. It offers affordable services based on income, and students pay only $15 per session.

ASU student Adam SmithName changed to protect the student's identity, at his request. has experienced generalized anxiety for 10 years. When the pandemic took hold, he was in the process of completing two major papers and preparing for an exam. Immediately, he began to worry about his productivity, so he reached out to a counselor online.

“That has been really helpful,” he said. “Having someone to talk to about what productivity means during this pandemic. Maybe not doing something one day is productive because it can help you to become motivated again or just to relax. Self care is part of productivity.”

In addition to spikes in anxiety and depression in response to sudden crises, Meier said that psychologists also see spikes in intimate partner violence and substance use.

“In general, we know people use substances to cope with stress and anxiety, as well as to deal with boredom,” he said. “The majority of people can use recreationally and not have any problems. But when you don’t have to go to work the next day, it’s really easy to slowly increase your usage. In general, there’s enough structure in most people’s lives to correct that, but there’s such a lack of structure for everyone right now.”

But Meier feels that overall, the mental health field has done a good job of continuing to meet clients’ needs with the help of technology, and that includes resources available at ASU, such as Recovery Rising, which, along with a number of other tools provided by Live Well at ASU, have begun to offer programs via Zoom.

For some, though, technology doesn’t solve all their problems. ASU alumna Fernanda Navarrete has been deaf since she was 4 years old. Though she wears a cochlear implant that helps somewhat, she still struggles to hear well on the phone, and has missed messages about doctor appointments being rescheduled as a result.

School of International Letters and Cultures Lecturer Hannah Cheloha has worked as a sign language interpreter for 20 years and used to interpret classes for Navarrete when she was a student at Mesa Community College.

“I don’t want to speak for the deaf community, but one of the frustrations I’ve seen circulating on social media and online forums has to do with having a hard time understanding people wearing masks,” Cheloha said. “Sometimes people that are hearing aren’t very sympathetic about it.”

Navarrete confirmed that impression: “I do have trouble with lip reading and masks,” she said via email. “I just have to remind (people) to talk slow so I can completely understand.”

Cheloha suggested communicating via smartphone by typing out what you’re trying to say without having to remove your mask, or even just writing it on a piece of paper. And remember to be patient.

“I would say that there definitely needs to be more patience and understanding,” Navarrete agreed.

Another issue for the deaf community is captions. Navarrete has had trouble with YouTube videos specifically, as not all of them have captions. The same is sometimes true for local and national news media.

“Every single day there’s news coming out with new announcements and sometimes the captions are nonexistent or not accurate,” Cheloha said. “So people don’t have access to information that could be lifesaving. Also, interpreters at press conferences are sometimes too far in the background or off the screen completely.”

Similar issues exist in the blind community, as reported by The New Yorker in an April 28 article that relayed concerns about the tactile nature of a communication system such as Braille in a world where touch is suddenly taboo.

And then there are those with mobility issues, immunocompromised individuals and countless others whose daily struggles during this time are known only to them. Taking all this into consideration, ASU professors and linguists Matthew Prior and Patricia Friedrich argue we also need to be reflecting on our use of language when discussing these issues.

“Our conversations are full of language where we use difference and disability to raise some people up and put others down,” Prior said. “For example, we might say, ‘Are you deaf or something?’ to point out someone’s failure to understand … Often when people use such language, they do so metaphorically or figuratively, not literally or intending to mock people with physical and mental disabilities. Nevertheless, it always conveys negative meanings. And to those whose bodies, minds, identities and experiences are reduced to insults and jokes, ableist language is yet another reminder of the social stigma and invisibility they negotiate daily.”

Friedrich — who along with Associate Professor Theresa Devine and Professor Majia Nadesan, launched a new disabilities studies degree program last fall — encouraged empathy and innovation in the name of a more equitable outcome for everyone.

“Awareness of these challenges should cause us to ensure we take care of one another and try to create space and innovative ways of interaction,” she said.

Top photo courtesy of iStock


Paramedic credits ASU Online for success

School of Molecular Sciences student David Jacobson reflects on the journey after being accepted into medical school

June 11, 2020

Achieving your dream takes discipline, perseverance and hard work. Working hard to reach a goal is something ASU Online student and Texas resident David Jacobson knows well.

Jacobson's goal has been to attend the University of Houston College of Medicine and he was excited to learn recently that his application to their program has been successful. He will start in the program this summer.   David Jacobson Download Full Image

Jacobson describes his academic beginnings in 2010 as “less than stellar,” realizing he wasn’t yet ready for the demands of college. Not giving up on his dream to be in medicine, he completed paramedic school and fireman training. Being a paramedic helped teach him discipline and hone the skills necessary to pursue his dream of becoming a medical doctor.

However, before attending medical school, Jacobson realized he would need to earn a bachelor’s degree. Earning a degree while working full time as a paramedic and part time as a paramedic instructor would be challenging.

“I needed a flexible degree program, which is why I decided to pursue my degree online,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson researched degree programs nationwide, focusing on those that met medical-school requirements.

“I called at least two dozen schools," Jacobson said, "but finding an online program that would meet all of the pre-requisites for medical school wasn’t easy. I saw an advertisement from ASU, and after speaking with School of Molecular Sciences Clinical Assistant Professor Ara Austin, I realized that science not only could be done well online, but that it was being done well at Arizona State.” 

Jacobson has found ASU’s online program both challenging and rewarding, especially while working up to 65 hours per week.

“Once I set a schedule and stuck to it, things got easier,” Jacobson said.

Being able to adjust the playback speed of recorded lectures helped Jacobson make the most of his time. He sped up lectures when familiar with the material and slowed them down or replayed them when the concepts were challenging. What he found most helpful, however, were the instructors. 

"When I started online school, the amount of time I was putting in was enormous,” Jacobson said. “However, when I started attending office hours the instructors helped me understand where I was struggling. I began to understand more and use my time more efficiently and effectively.”

Jacobson credits his success to many of his ASU professors.

“Professor (Ian) Gould went above and beyond in office hours. All of my teachers — Ashli Morgan, Gary Cabirac and Scott Lefler, as well as others — answered my questions and made sure I understood the concepts. The conversations I had with them, as well as with Ara Austin and Kirstin Hendrickson, went beyond the class and deeper into the subject matter.”

Looking back over his journey at ASU, Jacobson admits it hasn’t been a solo journey.

“You have to have a community of support, and I had that at ASU. My fellow students provided peer support through study groups. The professors were supportive. Most of all, my wife has been my biggest cheerleader.”

Laughing, Jacobson said, “I was so excited about what I was learning; I would drive my wife crazy talking about biochemistry.”

Jacobson’s advice for students: “Attend class, utilize office hours and have a support system. Most of all, appreciate the opportunity you have and don’t waste it.

"I consider myself fortunate to have been part of the SMS biochemistry program. I have to thank every single professor and classmate I’ve had along the way to achieving my dream.”

James Klemaszewski

Science writer, School of Molecular Sciences


ASU Alumni Association achieves No. 1 ranking of networking associations in Phoenix

June 11, 2020

For the seventh consecutive year, the Phoenix Business Journal has ranked the ASU Alumni Association the No. 1 networking association in the Valley of the Sun. The ASU Alumni Association, with 504,000 alumni across the globe, boasts a membership of more than 251,000 Sun Devils in Maricopa County.

The ASU Alumni Association cultivates a lifelong connection to the university and keeps Sun Devils connected to their alma mater. Alumni networking events, professional development seminars, special interest chapters, and a program honoring and supporting Sun Devil-owned and -led businesses. ASU Alumni Networking Download Full Image

“At Arizona State University, we are measured not by whom we exclude, but by whom we include and how they succeed,” said Christine K. Wilkinson, president and CEO of the ASU Alumni Association. “Our diverse alumni base continues to grow and stay linked to their alma mater in a variety of ways through the Alumni Association. Even during uncertain times, we continue to find new and innovative ways to engage and connect our Sun Devil alumni community through virtual events and resources. We are honored to be named the No. 1 largest networking association for the seventh consecutive year.”

The Phoenix Business Journal released its ranked list of networking associations in its June 5, 2020, edition, which compared the total membership for the networking associations.

There are many ways to become involved in the ASU Alumni Association. Learn more about the association's programs, virtual events and networking opportunities.

Morgan Harrison

Director of strategic communications , ASU Alumni Association