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Night of the Open Door launch: Health demos, trivia and more

February 4, 2017

The Downtown Phoenix campus started off this year's Night of the Open Door — five free open houses over the month of February — on Friday, welcoming crowds of visitors enjoying the mild weather and the chance to peek into Arizona State University's learning spaces.

Families watched health-cooking demos, explored a coral reef, learned about law and sustainability and the physics of roller coasters, and even got a chance to interview a K-9 officer about his work with his four-legged partner.

This year, downtown visitors got a double treat, as the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication held its annual Innovation Day in conjunction with Night of the Open Door. There, the storytelling technology of the future was available for participants to try out, from telepresence robots to drones to 360 virtual reality video.

If you missed the fun, don't worry: There are four more free Night of the Open Door events this month:

  • West campus: 4-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11
  • Polytechnic campus: 4-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17
  • Thunderbird campus: 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18
  • Tempe campus: 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25

Read more about what's in store at each campus here, including information on the free app that can help visitors map out the activities they want to visit.

Get free tickets in advance online and enter to win a gift package. Tickets also function as an express pass to collect the free glow wand and event programs at the registration booths once on campus.

Check ASU Now after each event for photo galleries and video, and follow along as our crew shows all the fun on Snapchat (search for username: ASUNow).

Top photo: Seven-year-old Christian Tso, of Ahwatukee, looks at live organisms under the microscope at the Downtown Phoenix campus, Friday, Feb. 3. He brought his family to Microbes: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly demonstration because of his interest in science. The exhibit was part of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts program. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Free series of open houses rolls out the welcome mat at ASU's campuses.
Family-friendly Night of the Open Door lets kids explore science, art and more.
January 31, 2017

Bring the family and 'nerd out' with hundreds of hands-on experiences, performances, tours and more on five Valley campuses

Searching for new ideas and unique experiences with the family in 2017? Does your New Year’s resolution include medieval knights and chain mail, international culture, new-age cars, space exploration or Teotihuacan pyramids? What about discovering the newest career fields or meeting the brainiacs heading labs at the No. 1 most innovative university in the country?

Arizona State University hosts the Night of the Open Door on its five campuses across metro Phoenix. Each offers adults and children the opportunity to “nerd out” and celebrate the power of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with more than 360 hands-on experiences, tours, performances, creative activities, demos, games and design challenges. 

Get free tickets in advance online and enter to win a gift package. Tickets also function as an express pass to collect the free glow wand and event programs at the registration booths once on campus.

With so many activities to consider, Night of the Open Door also offers an app through Devils on Campus (Android or iOS) to help visitors choose activities in advance and navigate each campus. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for highlights of upcoming events.

In its sixth year, Night of the Open Door is a top signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival. Each campus offers performances and activities tailored to its own unique character. For example, chart an evening at Downtown Phoenix to experience cooking and health demonstrations, Native painting activities and community arts exhibits. Come tour PBS studios, meet ASU Public Service Academy students or compete in sustainability, law and health learning games. Kids can even get their junior reporter press badge working with veteran journalists and vintage typewriters.

Exploration of West campus gets visitors thinking about black widow spiders, forensics and the neuroscience of chocolate. Try to beat a lie detector test, build electronic circuits or experience ASU students’ research in cancer, aging and drug development. There’s Minecraft, Angry Birds, art shows, design, dance and much more.

At ASU Polytechnic and Thunderbird campuses, imaginations can take flight, literally. The Polytechnic campus is home to robotics and STEAM machines, the Superstition Review Literary Magazine, Sun Devil Racing Development and a professional flight simulator. The ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management adds an international flair with arts and culture from around the world, including movies, sports, dance, festivals and food, from Peru to the Middle East and China.

ASU’s Night of the Open Door winds up on Feb. 25, with more than 150 hands-on arts and sciences activities, lab tours and demos on the Tempe campus, including the ASU Sustainability Solutions Festival (#Sustival) and, new this year, the futuristic arts exposition “Emerge.”

Emerge events bring to life how our creations are changing what it means to be human, exploring the theme of “Frankenstein” in celebration of the upcoming 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s classic novel. In addition to Victor Frankenstein’s Workshop for kids, Emerge events for adults are hosted at ASU’s University Club and include artists, virtual reality experiences, neurocomics and immersive environments. Consider the future with “Tomorrow's Monster,” a lab space designed for the year 2047 that features beautifully crafted, customized organs, enhancements and spare body parts. What are the implications of commodification for the future of medicine, artificial intelligence, robotics and what constitutes life itself?

Whether your interests are in language lessons, math or cybersecurity, ancient bones, meteorites or live snakes, Night of the Open Door events have something for everyone, fueled by more than 2,000 undergraduates, graduate students, staff and superstar-faculty volunteers from 150 academic groups.

“I’m impressed by the energy that our volunteers pour into Night of the Open Door each year,” said Darci Nagy, ASU special events manager. “It’s grassroots. Their enthusiasm makes visitors’ discoveries in sustainability, medicine, journalism, language, sciences and engineering more personal and exciting.”

“Coming to ASU for Night of the Open Door, touring the campuses and meeting the world-class people who teach and do research gives people of all ages and from all walks of life the chance to experience and imagine the future they want,” said ASU staffer Margaret Coulombe.

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications , Office of the University Provost


ASU student brings language to her profession, excels

January 31, 2017

Arizona State University student Isabella Jaber shows that learning a language doesn’t just help get you a job, but can elevate your role in a workplace and help you achieve a number of goals.

Jaber, a student in the School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC), works at American Express as a business Centurion relations manager, where she manages, “a direct portfolio of about 40 to 60 of the company’s most valued clients." The language options and the cultural opportunities that [SILC] offers, as far as majors and minors and certificates go, it was really everything that I was looking for. Download Full Image

"Within that, I do personal, business travel – I do any type of concierge’s request and all of their financial servicing with the company,” Jaber said.

While a huge responsibility, Jaber has used her skills in business and language to not only support her clients, but also her coworkers at American Express. As the only bilingual person in her department, her Spanish language skills have allowed her to translate for clients in Peru, Mexico, Chile and Spain.

“The travel and international presence that’s done in our work on a daily basis, [being bilingual] has really come in handy with that,” Jaber said. “Spanish has been an everyday part of my role since I started.”

Jaber, who is half Hispanic and half Lebanese, also speaks Arabic, which she has used more to relate to clients who are multilingual themselves. She also used Spanish and Arabic at her previous job with Bank of America.

While she grew up speaking Spanish, Jaber saw the benefit of studying it in a more formal setting. She learned how to adapt her skills to a professional sphere through a major in Spanish linguistics, also taking classes through the SILC's heritage program. She’ll be graduating this May.

“I knew with my goals of wanting to eventually study global management and work internationally, I wanted to be as proficient in Spanish as I am in English – to have that same level of articulation and proficiency overall,” Jaber said.

“As far as the Arabic goes, I, being half Lebanese, I was never really taught Arabic or anything about the culture. So Arabic studies, that’s what really drove me to SILC, I had this strong passion of wanting to learn more about that world and speak the language too, have that ability to communicate,” Jaber said.

Jaber appreciates having language skills in her personal life as well: “on a day to day basis, it has really opened my mind to how I communicate with people.”

“I do love to travel a lot,” she said, “it’s that much more motivating because I know I can go out there into the cities and learn about the culture, what it has to offer. That’s my passion, learning other cultures and traveling the world.”

Gabriel Sandler

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ASU campus harvest puts the squeeze on sustainability

Student and community volunteers sought for ASU sour orange harvest Feb. 3-5.
What to do with sour oranges? ASU prof shares a marinade recipe.
Oranges harvested in Tempe turned into drinks, dishes served on ASU campuses.
January 31, 2017

Learn more about the sour orange — including a recipe for the tart fruit — and volunteer for this week's annual harvest

Unsuspecting students who hope to snag a sweet snack off one of Arizona State University’s many orange trees are in for a tart surprise: The trees on the Tempe campus bear sour oranges, or Sevilles.

So what’s the point of a sour orange? It turns out they have a long history and a bright future.

Originating in Southeast Asia, the oranges made their way into Arabia in the ninth century and eventually to the Spanish region of Seville, which gave them their present-day nameOther names include naranja ácida, naranji, melangolo, khatta and soap orange. To the English Tudors the oranges were “golden apples,” a luxury in British winters.

For 500 years the Seville orange — which is used in savory dishes (see recipe below) and marmalades — was the only orange found in Europe, and it was the first one introduced to the New World by the Spanish. It can still be found in Everglade hammocks today.

Eventually the sour orange made its way to Arizona and to the Tempe campus.

“We don’t know exactly when they were planted,” said ASU ground services program coordinator Deborah Thirkhill. “They were very popular in the ’50s and ’60s when they were planted all around the city of Phoenix and on campus.” 

Today, the tart fruit is part of a sustainability initiative. Each year, Thirkhill and a small army of students and community volunteers take part in a harvest of 5 to 6 tons of oranges from all the trees on the Tempe campus. The harvest is a partnership between ASU Grounds Services, Aramark and Sun Orchard, which donates juicing of the sour oranges.

This year’s event is Feb. 3–5, and volunteers can sign up here.

The harvested oranges are turned into 400 gallons of juice, which Aramark chefs turn into innovative dishes and desserts available at Engrained at the Memorial Union.

Some of that juice is turned into DevilAde, a unique juice blend served in all ASU residence halls.

DevilAde “is really good, and we mix it with an agave nectar and other sweeteners,” said Krista Hicks, sustainability manager for Aramark ASU. “Then we make some delicious treats, kind of like a lemon bar — you can make a Seville orange bar, or we do Seville orange whoopie pies as well, which are my favorite.”

As a Sun Devil student herself, Hicks was one of those unsuspecting snackers when she mistook the bright orange for a sweet variety. She said the flavor reminded her of a lemon or a Sour Patch Kid.

For years the oranges were harvested by a Sunkist broker, and until 2008 they were used for marmalade and exported as far as Canada and the East Coast before the market bottomed out. The fruit spent two years being dumped into landfills before ASU sustainability practices found a new life for the unloved sour fruit. The Seville sour orange campus harvest eventually earned the 2015 President’s Award for Sustainability.

Thirkhill says she often fields questions from foreign students about why Americans don’t pick the valuable fruit. 

“Every country seems to have a signature dish,” said Thirkhill. “That kind of dropped out of our culinary repertoire, but it’s coming back big time.” 

For those who cannot make the spring harvest, there’s a fall date harvest open to volunteers. For more information or to volunteer for either harvest, contact Deborah Thirkhill at 480-268-4165. Follow the ASU Arboretum on Facebook and Twitter

Top photo: Sustainability graduate student David Fought inspects oranges, deciding which can be collected and which will be composted, during last year's sour orange harvest on the Tempe campus. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Deanna Dent

Photographer , ASU Now


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Bob Bowman uses Michael Phelps to explain how to achieve excellence

ASU swim coach: Development is imagination, challenge and high performance.
ASU swim coach Bob Bowman helped lead Michael Phelps to 28 Olympic medals.
January 30, 2017

ASU swim coach reveals success secrets of his most famous pupil to crowd of hundreds of students at First-Year Success Center talk

Michael Phelps had a dream of winning Olympic gold medals, so when he dove into the pool in one race in Beijing and his goggles filled with water, blinding him, he still managed to set a world record.

It happened because he spent years on the small details of training and learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, according to Bob Bowman, his coach.

“There can be no growth without discontent,” said Bowman, who now is the head coach of the Arizona State University swim and dive team.

“Michael learned skills so that under pressure, he could perform. Don’t try to make everything perfect for yourself — be tough on yourself.”

On Monday, Bowman addressed several hundred students on how they can work toward achieving excellence in a talk sponsored by ASU’s First-Year Success Center. He frequently used Phelps as an example of someone who embodied excellence through planning and hard work — plus talent. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 medals. Besides coaching Phelps, Bowman also was the men’s coach for the U.S. National swim team at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and was the assistant coach for the American men in the 2012 Olympics in London. He also has coached at the University of Michigan and the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

“It isn’t a straight line to success,” Bowman said of his collaboration with Phelps, whom he coached since he was 10 years old. “We didn’t just have an idea, a dream, and then just go directly toward it. Success has a lot of ups and down, backward and forward. Over time, you move in the direction you want to be.”

Bowman said the three phases of personal development are imagination, challenge and high performance.

“Imagination is where you use your noggin and heart to come up with something that drives you,” he said.

Dreams are emotional and should be the catalyst for the hours of sometimes excruciating work that’s needed for success, he said. Then you set short-, medium- and long-term goals with clearly defined time frames.

“Write down your specific target. If you write something down, it’s more meaningful,” he said. “You don’t have to post it on Facebook. It can be very private.”

A crucial part of goal setting is visualizing success, in which you see yourself in a different place.

“You’re running a movie in your head of yourself attaining your goals,” he said. It’s a powerful tool he uses with his athletes.

“I want them to visualize in the most vivid way possible. I want them to smell the chlorine and see themselves swimming exactly the way they want to. Because the brain cannot distinguish between something that’s vividly imagined and something that is real.”

Phelps was so adept at visualization that he would have recurring dreams predicting his success, Bowman said.

The challenge phase is about the process — the daily practice and refinement of details.

In one Olympic race, Phelps was behind another swimmer, but ended up winning the gold medal by one-hundredth of a second because he had his palm outstretched and touched the wall before his opponent, whose hand was flexed. It was a detail that Phelps had practiced endlessly.

“Details matter. He went back to 12 years of me yelling at him about his finish,” Bowman said.

The high-performance phase is a natural outcome of the process that led up to it, Bowman said, and includes attitude and the ability to work through adversity, including the example of Phelps winning the gold with his eyes full of water, which he did by counting his strokes so he knew when to flip at the pool wall.

“You’ll have to adjust your plan,” he said, and that’s why coaches are important.

“The journey will be circuitous. It won’t be what you mapped out, but your coach is your GPS,” he said.

The freshmen and sophomores in the First-Year Success Center are assigned peer coaches to help them adjust to college life, excel in their classes, get involved in activities and clubs and find out about financial aid. Seventy-five upperclassmen and graduate students serve as the peer coaches.

Bowman told the peer coaches in the room to personalize their approaches.

“When I first started coaching, I only had a hammer so everything looked like a nail. That is incredibly effective, but it will wear you out. You cannot be other people’s motivation,” he said.

“I now have hammer, but I also have logic, I have a pat on the back, and I have empathy. So you want to add to your toolbox because it takes different tools to reach different people.”

Now in its fifth year, the free program works on all four campuses, according to Marisel Herrera, director of the First-Year Success Center.

“What we know from the coaching profession, whether it’s life coaching or athletic coaching, is that highly successful people in every walk of life employ coaches,” Herrera said. “It’s the smart thing to do. Celebrities do it, athletes do it, and we do it here at ASU.”

Top photo: Sun Devil Athletics head swimming coach Bob Bowman talks about how to achieve world-class excellence at a First-Year Success Center talk before more than 250 freshmen and sophomores at the Memorial Union on Monday. He gave insight into the mental game that gave his protégé Michael Phelps the ability to become the best Olympic swimmer. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


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11,500 ASU freshmen set to receive training in art of civil communications.
Sun Devil Civility plans to expand from incoming freshmen to other groups.
January 27, 2017

University initiative aims to promote communication skills, finding common ground through peer-to-peer training

In a time of heated rhetoric and fraying decorum, Arizona State University is planning to train incoming freshmen in the art of civility.

Nearly 11,500 new students will take a three-hour workshop called “The Art of Inclusive Communication” next fall, with the hope that they begin their college careers with the skills to find common ground with one another.  

The Office of Student and Cultural Engagement has been piloting a workshop with students, faculty and staff for more than a year and has hired 32 student facilitators, who will train 1,400 students this spring, according to Mark Sanders, senior coordinator of the office, which is part of Educational Outreach and Student Services at ASU.

“The underlying goal is to celebrate and recognize differences and to get people to learn from each other and advance the idea of inclusion and access — all of those great things the ASU charterThe ASU charter: ASU is a comprehensive public university that is measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuring fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health our the communities it serves. is about,” he said.

Emily Kwon said she learned how to talk through emotionally charged conversations at the workshop.

“The art of communication is an undervalued art. People need to realize that the way you say it really does matter,” she said. “Especially with recent events, opinions are heated and people won’t listen to each other because of the high-impact emotions.

“So we learned that people have different opinions, and that’s OK. And it’s important to discuss it in a productive manner and how to move on,” said Kwon, a senior majoring in biological sciences.

The peer-to-peer training will be key in working with the incoming freshmen next fall.

“It’s not about ‘let’s come in and preach at you about civility,’ ” Sanders said. “They’ll talk about identity and unconscious bias, and students say, ‘I never thought about it that way before.’ And freshmen have the attitude of, ‘OK, teach me some cool things.’ ” 

Besides practical skills for managing conflict, workshop participants learn about their own values and communication style.

The idea for encouraging civility started about two years ago, when leaders at ASU noticed some issues on campus and decided to partner with the National Center for Conflict ResolutionNCRC was founded in 1983 by the University of San Diego Law Center and the San Diego County Bar Association., a San Diego-based nonprofit organization.

“We had free speech visitors coming in and yelling at people, and people were not responding in the best way,” Sanders said of the confrontations that occurred between proselytizers and students.

The National Center for Conflict Resolution partners with other universities, but ASU’s university-wide initiative is unique. First-time freshmen at the Tempe, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix and West campuses will get the training within the first eight weeks of the fall semester. Eventually, other groups will get the opportunity, including transfer, graduate, international and online students.

The Student and Cultural Engagement office offers other workshops that promote communication and respect, including “Navigating the Rainbow of Inclusion,” “Interfaith Identities: Learning and Conversation,” “Different Faces, Same Spaces: Diversifying Cross-Cultural Dialogue and Interactions” and “Global Allies Training.”

All of that will be gathered under one umbrella called Sun Devil Civility.

“The hope is that this serves as the basic platform, and it launches from there,” he said. “How do you engage with your peers? How do you move forward in the cycle of life at ASU? And what can you do to create civility and a sense of community in the citizenry of ASU, Arizona, the U.S. and the globe?”

Fasha Johari, the president of ASU’s Coalition of International Students, is a Muslim student from Malaysia. She said the tips she learned in the workshop have helped her with some uncomfortable situations.

“It’s helped me to not engage with people who want to provoke,” she said. “They want that kind of reaction so they can say, ‘This person is aggressive.’ ”

A senior majoring in biological sciences, Johari said ASU has improved in the four years she has been here.

“I really think ASU is moving forward to include all of us. They really help a lot in terms of making this a second home for us.”

Sanders said the goal of Sun Devil Civility is that students can complete several of the workshops and acquire a certificate in civility training.

“I have this vivid image that 20 years from now, these students will be our senators and representatives who say, ‘In college I learned how to have a conversation with you.’ And, ‘We disagree, but we can make this about the global good.’ ”

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


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NFL turns to Sun Devil for Super Bowl paint job

ASU's field painter is off to paint the Super Bowl field — for the 22nd time.
January 18, 2017

ASU facilities manager has painted the field for every NFL title game since 1996

With a little paint and a lot of footsteps, Peter Wozniak transforms a patch of green grass into a maroon-and-gold emblem that incites thousands of football fans.

Wozniak is in charge of painting the field at Sun Devil Stadium — a job he has done since he was student worker in the late 1980s.

And while creating 70-foot pitchforks is still a joy, he has been gratified to have his work displayed on the biggest football stage of all — the Super Bowl.

Wozniak leaves this week to begin painting the field at NRG Stadium in Houston for the Super Bowl, which will be his 22nd time working the big game. His efforts will be seen by more than 160 million people around the world when the game is broadcast Feb. 5.

Wozniak, the athletic facilities maintenance manager at ASU, has painted the field for every NFL championship since the 1996 Super BowlThe Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-17, and Diana Ross performed at halftime., which was held at Sun Devil Stadium. Brian Johnson, ASU’s athletic grounds facilities manager, has worked with Wozniak at most of them.

The 1996 Super Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe was the first time Pete Wozniak painted a Super Bowl field, and he has been doing it ever since. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals

“Super Bowl 30 at Sun Devil Stadium was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I was fortunate to be asked to do more,” Wozniak said. “We just keep the work ethic and don’t take it for granted. It’s great to represent ASU nationally.”

It takes three weeks for Wozniak and his team to organize the three trailers full of equipment and then paint not only the main field, but all the practice fields and rain covers as well as sites for the NFL Experience, the fan festival held during Super Bowl week. They typically work 70-hour weeks leading up to the game, and have to accommodate many hours of rehearsals by the halftime performers.

“They actually have 30 to 40 hours during game week doing their rehearsal, while each team only gets one hour the day before the game,” Wozniak said. “It’s kind of ironic. You’re there to play the game, but the halftime is its own event.”

Weather is sometimes a challenge. Wozniak’s team had to deal with snowy conditions at the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

“We worked on the end zones in big heated tents,” he said. “We had to bring our paint machines into the tents because the paint was freezing. We blew and shoveled and plowed the snow so they could practice.”

The cold wasn’t unfamiliar, as Wozniak is originally from New York, transferring to ASU as a student in 1986.

“I signed on to work T-shirt security. And I was looking for more work, and I got more hours to do this,” he said of field painting. “It was a fun job, and you could see the results of your work every day.”

He stayed on after graduating, and now painting the field is a tiny — but glamorous — part of what he does. 

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

“Right now, I have students packing clay at the softball field, but that’s not as exciting as painting the football field,” said Wozniak, who is in charge of the stadium, the practice fields and the soccer, lacrosse, wrestling and softball facilities.

The summer after he painted the field for the 1996 Super Bowl, the NFL asked Wozniak to go to Monterrey, Mexico, to do the field for a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys. That led to jobs at the subsequent Super Bowls and dozens more international games. He has traveled to Mexico City, Tokyo, Sydney and London.

Not too much has changed over the years.

“The football field still has white lines, numbers, hash marks. We do more branding now,” said Wozniak, who grids out the end-zone designs on graph paper.

“We’ve learned ways to make our jobs easier — what type of paint to use, painting tips and the sequence of events, so we’re more efficient,” he said.

“It requires a steady hand and patience. You can’t be rushed when you do it.”

Wozniak said that because he has more people and more time, he’ll get to be more precise with the Super Bowl field design. But otherwise, it’s similar to painting the pitchfork at Sun Devil Stadium.

“With either one, we want it to be perfect.”

Top photo: Pete Wozniak paints the pitchfork on the field at Sun Devil Stadium. He painted the field when the Super Bowl was held at Sun Devil Stadium in 1996 and has done the Super Bowl fields every year since. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

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ASU's year in review 2016

December 21, 2016

A roundup of some of the university’s top stories of 2016

It was a year of big headlines for both the nation and Arizona State University. As the world has been faced with new challenges — and opportunities for new solutions — ASU has found innovative ways to help the communities it serves. The university’s faculty, staff and students have made advancements in health, space exploration, robotics and more, all while expanding access to education and extending compassion to others.

Here are some of the top stories from 2016:


From shooting stars to shooting hoops, ASU researchers were in on some big finds.


ASU faculty and staff found real-world ways to solve today's challenges and prepare for tomorrow's.


A sprawling, forgotten building turned into bustling art studios; a tiny satellite turned space exploration on its ear; an uber-popular game turned into a teaching tool — these are just a few ways that the ASU community took an innovative approach to the world.


From student startups to a journalism "teaching hospital" with Google News Lab, ASU's entrepreneurial spirit thrived. 

Global Engagement

ASU welcomes the global community into its halls and classrooms — the university was recognized as the top public university in the country for international students. The school also sends its scholars around the world to help, study and grow understanding.

Arizona Impact

Part of ASU's charter is assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves. Faculty, students and staff embody that.

Sun Devil Life

The university celebrated icons both historical (Palm Walk turning 100) and new (Michael Phelps). 

ASU News

As ASU drew accolades ranging from ranking in the top 10 for graduate employability to being named the nation's most innovative university for the second consecutive year, it also drew some brilliant minds and doubled its number of Nobel laureates.

Outstanding graduate student honored for commitment to community, people

December 20, 2016

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.

Dominic Santiago Luna says that the greatest lesson his parents taught him was to be successful and then share. He took that to heart as a student in Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs. He was recognized for this effort with the Ed Pastor Outstanding Graduate Student Award at the Hispanic convocation last week.  Hispanic convocation Dominic Luna Dominic Santiago Luna was honored with the Ed Pastor Outstanding Graduate Student Award at ASU's Hispanic Convocation. Photo: Deanna Dent/ASU Now Download Full Image

“Much of Dominic’s life is about public service and helping out those who are less fortunate and this has been exemplified by his time at ASU,” ASU Senior Vice President Christine Wilkinson said at the ceremony.

While at ASU pursuing his master of public administration, Luna was active in the Graduate and Professional Student Association. He was elected as the assembly representative for the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Through an internship, Luna saw the inner workings of the City of Sierra Vista.

“It was an incredible experience,” he said. “I wish others could observe what these people do. It is truly an engine based on collective effort.”

“The City of Sierra Vista was fortunate to have someone of Dominic's caliber and professionalism working as an intern this past summer. He worked on a variety of projects and made welcome contributions to city operations. More importantly, Dominic demonstrated a true passion and interest in community service,” said Mary Jacobs, assistant city manager for the City of Sierra Vista.

Luna notes that he had some knowledge of how a city works, but that was greatly enhanced by the experience.

“In our line of work, it is just regular people trying to make our communities better. They are the reason the street lights work, that we feel safe. Often that goes unnoticed unless there is a scandal,” he said. “But they didn’t get into this work for the recognition. They want to make a difference.”

Luna created and recorded a video in both English and Spanish to help educate business owners on how to register as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

“His desire to reach out to people and help is what makes him so special,” said Laura Wilson, chief procurement officer for the City of Sierra Vista. ”His presence in the Procurement Division reenergized the spirit of what it means to be a community servant. I am excited to see where his accomplishments take him.”

Luna says that one of his most important accomplishments is teaching at Academia del Pueblo at Friendly House, which serves a majority Latino population in central Phoenix. He taught grades 6-8.

“I was able to share what I learned as an undergraduate with students, and hopefully they will translate that into how they follow a path of public service,” he said. “They have so much potential to make a difference in our community.

Luna was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha public administration honors society. He plans to apply to law school. His focus is on criminal and constitutional law.

“Seeing so many in our communities struggling, it feels good to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

Heather Beshears

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


The changing face of engineering

ASU celebrates diverse student engineering community

December 19, 2016

Innovation does not happen in a vacuum. Contrary to popular portrayal, scientific breakthroughs are seldom due to the work of one individual, but rather the result of incremental progress that draws on the research and work of many contributors, from diverse backgrounds, cultures and nations.

In fact, William A. Wulf, former president of the National Academy of Engineering, made a strong and memorable argument in 2002 that the quality of engineering pursuits — and the field as a whole — are greatly affected by the diversity among its practitioners. Download Full Image

“Engineering is a profoundly creative profession — not the stereotype, I know, but something I believe deeply,” said Wulf.

And creativity isn’t something that just happens, it arises from “making unexpected connections between things we already know,” he added.

Wulf concluded that creativity depends on our life experiences, and “without diversity, the life experiences we bring to an engineering problem are limited. As a consequence, we may not find the best engineering solution.”

Much like Wulf, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering recognize the inherent value that comes from different perspectives and experiences from all walks of life. Inclusion of all — from underrepresented minorities, veterans, international students, to those in the LGBTQ+ community, differently-abled and first-generation students — make the Fulton Schools a richer, more innovative and collaborative engine for change. The Fulton Schools commitment to diversity ensures we produce engineers best-equipped to solve the pressing challenges faced by our world.

As Wulf put it, “As a consequence of a lack of diversity, we pay an opportunity cost, a cost in designs not thought of, in solutions not produced.”

In celebration of our diverse and vibrant student community, this three-part series shares the strides the Fulton Schools have made — and will continue to make — in promoting varying ideas and experiences for the betterment of all.

Each entry features student stories that showcase different facets of the Fulton Schools community and the unique perspective they bring to engineering. The first will highlight students from groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering, the second female students and the third entry will focus on international students.

Part one: Underrepresented minortities

Part two: Female students 

Part three: International students

Pete Zrioka

Managing editor, Knowledge Enterprise