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Year One: Life at ASU – Kaitlyn's super experience

October 19, 2015

"Year One: Life at ASU" is a periodic photo series following five freshmen navigating their first year at ASU. This installment checks in on Kaitlyn DiLorenzo as she settles in and learns how to juggle homework and time to have fun.

Arizona State University freshman Kaitlyn DiLorenzo says she didn't quite know what to expect during her first year as a student in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU's West campus. But the Prescott, Arizona, native says, "I kind of love college." Among the surprises is her appreciation for the Human Event, a Barrett class focusing on the development of humanity. "We read books such as Gilgamesh, the Tao Te Ching, and Plato's Symposium and discuss them in class. My roommate and I love the class so much that we bought a bamboo plant and named it Lao Tzu." 

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Veterans transition to student life at ASU

Veterans transition to college at ASU
Acclimation, ignorant questions part of veterans transition to college
Life at ASU: The veteran perspective
October 19, 2015

ASU helps veterans segue to civilian life with groups and services aimed to ease the life change

Editor's note: This feature is part of a series profiling different slices of ASU's diverse population. Find more stories here.

They were responsible for other people’s lives, sometimes while under enemy fire. And then, in a flash, they’re sitting in classrooms watching other students text while professors are talking.

Arizona State University has about 3,400 students who are military veterans — a population that has unique challenges and advantages.

For many, the transition from military life to campus is abrupt, with some veterans starting classes just weeks after becoming civilians.

Some take full course loads while dealing with the emotional and physical scars of battle. Others spend their evenings changing diapers instead of socializing. They can face insensitive questions about their service. The throngs of people can be overwhelming.

“It’s culture shock,” said Joanna Sweatt, military/veteran advocate at ASU. She and her staff give academic and career advice and get veterans the services they need, such as counseling, support groups and tutoring.

Their work seems to be helping. ASU was named a “Military Friendly School for 2015” by G.I. Jobs magazine for the sixth consecutive year and was ranked as the No. 2 "Best College for Veterans" by College Factual.

Sweatt also provides emotional support.

Woman holding baby

Kayla Colon holds her 3.5-week-old daughter
Tatiana Sophia Colon, as her husband prepares
dinner for the family at their Chandler home.

Charlie Leight/ASU Now

“I have to get them to communicate, and help them get over what their ideas are of the outside world,” said Sweatt, who was in the Marine Corps for nine years. “Like, now there’s no one telling them what to do. Their time is their own to manage.”

While 85 percent of the veterans have college credits when they arrive at ASU, the move to campus life is still an adjustment.

“In Tempe, they can be in a lecture hall with 250 students who are cooking away on social media, and that can be distressful to a veteran, who is used to a situation where when you’re in someone’s presence, you give them your attention,” Sweatt said.

She said that although the veterans can face challenges, they also can draw on the discipline and leadership skills they built in the military.

“They bring real-world experience to the classroom and they don’t want to do poorly,” Sweatt said.

“It’s our job to show them they’re welcome here and that they deserve a college experience.”

From fighter jets to full-time student

When she was in the Navy, Kayla Colon launched fighter jets off the deck of aircraft carriers.

“I loved the adrenaline rush. I loved the thrill. I loved the smell of jet fuel. I loved the flight deck,” she said. “It was everything I wanted.”

Colon always was a go-getter.

She graduated a year early from Sequoia Charter School in Mesa and joined the Navy at age 17, eventually serving on the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carriers.

During her second deployment, she met her husband and had a daughter.

“I decided I didn’t want to be away from her, so I needed to make the transition to being a civilian,” Colon said.

She left the Navy in June 2014 and started full time at ASU two months later, majoring in tourism development and management at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

“I am very structured, very organized. We have a system and a routine. We do things a certain way to make our lives work,” said Colon, who is 24. She expects to graduate next year, earning her degree in three years.

That organizational quality has served her well as Colon juggles a full class load with parenthood. Her husband works full time and is taking classes at Mesa Community College.

“But it’s a different mindset being around younger students who don’t have children and don’t have the responsibilities. They might work a part-time job to pay for their outings,” she said.

“I have different motivations … I look at my kids and think ‘this is why I’m doing this.’ ”

Still, the transition into civilian and student life didn’t come without challenges.

“I had a panic attack on my first day of classes,” she said. “There were so many people and it was overwhelming. I hadn’t been to school for six years.”

The support she’s received through the Student Veterans Club and with Sweatt has helped ease the change.

Last year, Colon, who wants to be a corporate event planner, organized family activities for the club. That camaraderie has helped sustain her through the tough times.

“Being a veteran comes with its own issues and being a veteran with a family has its own issues that not everybody can understand.”

Perhaps nothing shows Colon’s grit more than her most recent achievement: She gave birth to her second daughter on Friday, Sept. 11.

By the following Monday she was back in class.

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Zsuzsa Szabo holding a sign made for her by her students.

The uninformed questions

Like many veterans, Zsuzsa Szabo’s parents inspired her to pursue military service.

But not because they were veterans.

“Both of my parents are immigrants and I grew up with the ‘America is the best country’ viewpoint and I always wanted to give back in some way,” she said.

After graduating from Westwood High School in Mesa, Szabo attended Mesa Community College for a year and then joined the Air Force on the advice of her sisters — who had been in the Army.

At Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, she worked handling medical records at a hospital.

“It was the best experience I ever had — besides ASU,” Szabo said.

Though she loved the Air Force, Szabo wanted to fulfill her dream of being a teacher, and so she came to ASU as an undergraduate in 2011. Getting a work-study job at the Pat Tillman Veterans Center helped ease her transition from airman to student.

“The environment and the camaraderie and getting to be with other veterans who are going to school is a great experience,” she said.

After graduating, Szabo landed her dream job — teaching history at Dobson High School in Mesa, where she shared her life experiences with the teenagers.

“When we got to current events and we were talking about the war on terrorism, I was able to bring a unique perspective to it,” she said.

Last year, she decided to return to ASU for her master’s degree in history. As a graduate student, Szabo, 31, still checks in with the Pat Tillman Center.

“I missed it so much and I still visit when I can,” she said.

Like many veterans on campus, Szabo has faced some uninformed questions.

“Always, with the Air Force, it’s whether I flew a plane. They think everyone was a pilot.

“Or, ‘Did you kill anybody?’ My students in high school asked that too,” said Szabo, who hopes to resume teaching when she completes her masters.

“Some people don’t have any clue about the military – just what they’ve seen on TV and in the movies, so I’m happy to answer their questions.”

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Military Veteran Advocate Joanna Sweatt talks to academically transitioning veterans at the Veterans Welcome Orientation in ASU

Getting the right advice

Part of the transition from military life to student status includes paperwork, and the details about different benefits can get complicated.

That’s where Alan Phan can help.

Phan is one of the student workers at the Pat Tillman Center. A global studies major, he spent nearly four years in the Marine Corps, which he chose because it was the “toughest” branch of the military.

“I wanted to challenge myself. I regretted it the second day I was in, but I got through it and survived and I’m OK now,” he said.

Phan was an aviation and maintenance administrator at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, describing his team’s responsibilities this way: “If the airplane crashes, it comes straight back to us.”

He decided to pursue civilian life so he could spend more time with his son, who’s now 6 years old.

Phan, 28, has a full course load and works 20 hours a week at the Pat Tillman Center, helping fellow veterans navigate the administration to access their benefits.

“The best thing we can do is give them the right advice and make sure the classes they take are going toward their major. If they don’t, the VA won’t pay for it,” he said. “If you change your major and those classes don’t transfer, those benefits are gone. It’s a lot of pressure.”

Phan, who hopes to work for a non-governmental organization, said the job has helped him adjust to life on a big college campus.

“With 18-year-olds or 19-year-olds, when we have conversations, it’s hard to relate to them,” he said. “A lot of the kids here, their parents are paying for it or they’re smart and they got scholarships.

“I wouldn’t be in college without the military.”

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter, ASU Now


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Year One: Life at ASU — Sabrina volunteers

October 16, 2015

"Year One: Life at ASU" is a periodic photo series following five freshmen navigating their first year at ASU. This installment checks in on Arizona State University women's basketball guard Sabrina Haines as she helps unload cups to hand out water to runners during Race for the Cure in downtown Phoenix early Saturday morning on Oct. 11. 

Haines says her freshmen fall semester is going well and she's excited now that practice has started and the team has played it's first scrimmage: "We had our maroon and gold game ... a little scrimmage that we did and I'm excited for our first game against Kentucky."

She also feels confident about her school/life balance: "I think when I came during the summer it helped a lot with scheduling and we have great people around us who help us manage our day and learn how to organize so it's been really fun."

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Officers, Disney the dog greet visitors at ASU Police open house

October 16, 2015

The ASU Police Department held an open house on Sept. 25 in Tempe to introduce visitors to the department headquarters. About 30 students and their family members toured the headquarters as part of ASU Family Weekend.

Above: Officer Daniel Miller speaks about what he and the other 85 sworn officers discuss in the daily briefings.

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Year One: Life at ASU – Shuo takes a break

October 15, 2015

"Year One: Life at ASU" is a periodic photo series following five freshmen navigating their first year at ASU. This installment checks in on Shuo Zhang as the student from China stays fit physically and mentally. 

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ASU men's ice hockey moves to the big time

Sun Devils' ice hockey program 'amped up' after making the move to Division I.
ASU's AZ players making the most of Division I hockey experience this year.
October 13, 2015

Sun Devils make switch from club team to NCAA Division I

  Youth hockey is flourishing in Arizona but until now, there was no top-level college program in the state.

 This year, Sun Devil men’s ice hockey team made the jump from a club sport to NCAA Division I.

“I was hoping I would get to this level but back then I didn’t expect it in Arizona,” said Jordan Young, a senior who is one of the three captains of Arizona State University’s first varsity hockey team.

 Young, who is from Cave Creek, is one of five Arizona players on the 32-man roster.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said of the move to varsity.

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

ASU fans cheer on the men's ice hockey team.

Go Devils!

An Arizona State University fan throws up the pitchfork during ASU ice hockey's first game as an NCAA sport at Gila River Arena on Oct. 3, 2015. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

 The move was announced in November 2014, thanks to a $34 million private donation that also will fund two additional women’s sports team, which are to be determined.

 And just a year later, ASU has become the 60th men’s hockey team in the top division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

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

 The team won the club team national championship in 2014, when ASU was part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

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

 Youth hockey has been growing in Arizona, with membership in the USA Hockey organization nearly doubling in the last decade, to about 7,400 players.

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

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

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

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

 Newmeyer said the heightened attention is one difference.

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

Senior defender Jordan Young battles for the puck.

Arizona State University senior defender Jordan Young of Cave Creek, AZ, battles for the puck during the first game Oct. 3 at Gila River Arena. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

 Coach Greg Powers said that Arizona will be a prime recruiting area for the team.

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

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

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

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

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

 The next ASU men’s ice hockey home game is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, at Oceanside Ice Arena, 1520 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter, ASU Now


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Liberal Arts and Sciences reclaims crown in ASU Academic Bowl

October 9, 2015

ASU's Academic Bowl is an annual chance for teams of students from various schools to test their knowledge and compete for the Bowl's trophy and scholarship prizes. This year, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Maroon team rose above the rest of the schools to reclaim their spot as No. 1.

Above, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Gold team faces off against the College of Letters and Sciences at the Memorial Union during day two of the Academic Bowl on Oct. 6.

See the rest of the action from two nights of competition below.

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ASU reaches out to community for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

ASU promotes wearing purple to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month
ASU heightens domestic violence awareness in October
Combatting domestic violence takes an effort from the entire ASU community
October 7, 2015

The colors orange and black are commonly associated with the month of October, but this year Arizona State University is encouraging students, staff and faculty to wear purple to highlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

One in every five women and one in every seven men have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence reports that there were 109 homicides related to domestic violence last year in Arizona.

ASU has active efforts towards domestic and sexual violence awareness and response.

ASU Wellness offers confidential support and resources for immediate assistance and promotes awareness amongst students and staff. As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the group handed out flyers and purple wristbands, along with the ASU Police Department, during a tabling event Oct. 7 on the Tempe campus.

According to Nicole Franks, ASU media relations specialist, officers in the ASU Police Department will continuously show their support and raise awareness this month by wearing purple lapel pins on their uniforms.

ASU Police also have posted a website about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which provides details about their commitment to combat domestic violence, resources on campus and legal police contact information.

“We encourage all students, faculty and staff to report incidents of domestic violence and stalking through the proper authorities and seek assistance. People should not have to deal with this alone,” said ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson.

Combating domestic violence on ASU’s campuses is a collaborative effort, and one that does not go unnoticed.  Staff and faculty are required to participate in online training about reporting misconduct and last year 35,000 students participated in an online “Respect and Consent” course.

“Our goal is to protect our students and protect our staff,” said Erin Ellison, director of the Equity and Inclusion Office. Cases involving both students, staff and faculty members are thoroughly investigated.

Domestic violence cases fall under sexual discrimination in the ACD 401 policy in the Academic Affairs Manual. The policy prohibits sexual discrimination, which means actions taken in domestic violence cases on campus are taken very seriously, according to Title IX coordinator Jodi Preudhomme.

Although domestic violence cases are addressed on campus, many people are unaware of the resources available to them. According to Jillian McManus, senior director of Organizational Health and Development, based on the number of university employees and the statistics on domestic violence, many people may be dealing with abuse who are not accessing the resources and support available.

McManus says there is counseling available to students through the ASU Counseling Services and faculty and staff can access counseling through the Employee Assistance Office, which is covered with their health benefits.

Another way ASU is raising awareness across the university this month is through an informational video from the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, which features student athletes talking about domestic violence.

The entire university is also invited to come together for The Clothesline Project, where survivors and their supporters can design t-shirts that will be hung on a clothesline. The clothesline will be on display Nov. 2-3, on Hayden Lawn, on the Tempe campus.

Written by Kanak Jha, ASU Now

Reporter , ASU Now

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PowHER conference at ASU aims to inspire confidence in young women

The PowHER Conference inspired women to be change agents in society.
More than 250 women learned about leadership, empowerment and confidence.
"Women can make an impact on many different scales," said Jasmine McAvan.
October 6, 2015

Be legendary.

That was one of four strategies for success shared by Tish Norman, keynote speaker at the inaugural PowHER Women’s Conference held Sunday at Arizona State University.

The event, organized by five ASU Panhellenic sorority members, aimed to inspire young women with the confidence and habits that would serve them well in college and beyond — while also acknowledging that although strides have been made in female empowerment, there is still work to do.

“A lot of women are really graduating not knowing that a lot of things have not changed,” said conference speaker Dale Kalika, senior lecturer at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business.

Kalika, who spoke about the challenges Millennial women face in the workplace, said women need to be empowered to become change agents — both to change their opportunities and to change today’s organizational culture.

Speakers at the conference ranged from business experts, such as Kalika, to marketing managers to academic professionals. The event, though organized by sororities, was open to all.

Norman, executive director of leadership-development company Transforming Leaders Now, discussed how to prepare for success and how to maximize life.

“You are living in a very special time where you can be more, learn more, serve more, give more, have more, help more, read more, sing more, dance more, write more and be more,” Norman said.

Beyond being legendary — that is, making your mark, she challenged the audience to adopt three other strategies for achieving goals: Do the work; be strategic with your friends (surround yourself with people who want to achieve great things and improve themselves); and find a mentor.

“I think it’s great that there is something like this,” said conference-goer and ASU junior Alyssa Tufts, who is majoring in journalism and mass communication. “That way women can start, especially in college, they can start building leadership skills and getting into those roles at an organization, at an internship, at a job.

More than 250 women attended the conference at the Memorial Union ASU's Tempe campus and heard sessions on topics ranging from stress management to leadership to confidence.

Marlene Tromp, dean of ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, told attendees that although women have come a long way there are many cultural attitudes that still need to change. By no fault of their own, people have no conscious awareness of their implicit biases, she said.

In her lecture, “Why You (Yes, You) Should Be President,” Tromp focused on social expectations that people have about women in leadership and why women should care. She laid out the challenges women face, dared the audience to think in new ways and taught them how to change gender expectations.

“There are all these double binds, there are all these challenges, and we know that one of the things that stops women from being in successful leadership positions, one of the biggest factors is what they think about themselves,” said Tromp, who is also vice provost of ASU's West campus and a professor of English and women's and gender studies.

She talked about what can be learned from research to overcome sexism, including persisting in the face of setbacks and embracing challenges.

“If you let your fear making those mistakes drive you, you won’t take those risks,” Tromp said. “You won’t accept those challenges.”

The days' overarching theme was learning to understand the stereotypes and expectations people have of women. Once recognized, the goal is to help women break those stereotypes and teach them how to succeed.

“Women can make an impact on many different scales," said Jasmine McAvan, business law and business management major and PowHER Conference committee chair. "If they can directly take a message from a particular speaker and better themselves through their personal lives or spread their willpower to improving their communities — our goal of the conference is accomplished.”

ASU's Academic Bowl emphasizes brain over brawn

October 5, 2015

For three nights this October the geeks shall inherit the stage.

Today, Arizona State University kicks off the 10th annual Academic Bowl, which pits teams of students against each other for the chance to win scholarship money and prestige. ASU Academic Bowl logo The ASU Academic Bowl pits teams of students against each other for the chance to win scholarship money and prestige. Download Full Image

The event is spread out over three days and features teams of four from different schools within the college. Scholarship money worth $24,000 is divided among the winning team and $10,000 is divided among the runners-up, averaging out to $6,000 and $2,500 per student, respectively.  

For the past three years, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering has walked away victorious, having ended the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ five-year winning streak in 2012. 

“Our team was best during our freshman and sophomore year,” said Wesley Fullmer of the Engineering Maroon team. “We’ll be a little rusty this year, so we’ll try to take things slower.”

Fullmer explained that the biggest danger to a team’s success in the Academic Bowl is answering questions too quickly and getting overconfident.

“Typically you don’t need to play as fast against a bad team,” he said. “We have the same team as last year so for the most part we’ll just be trying not to beat ourselves.” 

Students are given toss-up questions, worth 10 points each, and if they get the question right they’re given a bonus question worth between 10 and 30 points. If the 15-minute match ends in a tie, a sudden death round begins wherein the first team to answer a toss-up question correctly is given 10 points and the win.   

Moderating the first round between the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is Connie Pangrazi. This will be her first time moderating since the 2012 Academic Bowl.

“The hardest part of my job is the complexity of the questions,” said Pangrazi, an assistant dean in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “I just received the packet of questions that will be asked in the mail. The majority of the words are spelled phonetically which makes things hard when reading the question aloud.”

What’s interesting is how the questions are selected. According to Pangrazi, each of the colleges buys the questions from the sponsors of the event.

“When you purchase the questions you must sign documents saying you won’t give them to anyone else,” she said. “It’s all tightly regulated.”

Eyes will also be focused on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which still holds the most Academic Bowl championships out of any school at ASU. But will it stay that way for long?

“The team we’re most worried about is Engineering Maroon,” said Liberal Arts and Sciences Maroon team member Raymie Humbert. “It’s true we have more titles but we’re not the number one team going into this. We’re probably number two.”

Humbert said that things are very different now than they’d been during the heyday of the Liberal Arts and Sciences teams.

“We’ve lost our alternate (player) and three of our main starters,” Humbert said. “But we do have Quiz Bowl and Academic Bowl experience.”

Catch this year’s action starting at 4 p.m. today and tomorrow in the Memorial Union Pima Room. The semifinals and finals will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Cronkite Studio A on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. View the full schedule here.

Trevor Fay

reporter, Media Relations and Strategic Communicatons