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DREAMzone provides DACA, undocumented students with support network

September 5, 2019

College can be a challenging time for any student. Balancing classes, extracurriculars, work and other activities is a difficult task. But for students who are undocumented or recipients of DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), that balancing act can be even more challenging.

That’s why Arizona State University has a program called DREAMzone. DREAMzone provides biweekly support circles for DACA recipients, undocumented students and students from mixed immigration status families. Additionally, DREAMzone staff is available to talk with students or staff members who have questions regarding resources for students. DREAMzone also educates ASU staff, faculty and community members about DACA and undocumented students and how to support them.  DACA recipient an recent Arizona State University graduate Maria Sanchez Salcido Maria Sanchez Salcido is a recent Arizona State University graduate and a DACA recipient from Tucson. Download Full Image

For students with uncertain immigration status, the support circles are a necessary and valued safe space to share their experiences and connect with other students who are in similar situations. 

“Once I found DREAMzone, I feel like I was really able to open up and feel confident in that part of myself,” said Maria Sanchez Salcido, a recent graduate in biochemistry and psychology. 

Sanchez Salcido, a DACA recipient who grew up in Tucson, said she feels lucky to have been at ASU thanks to the Dream.US scholarship, but she still had her guard up on campus because she never knew how much information she should share about her immigration status. 

She struggled to find scholarships and a school that would work with her after she graduated from high school in 2015. Despite the struggle, she said that having to scramble to make college a reality taught her to persevere. 

“I’ve met a lot of great people in the DACA community who really inspire me to be better. It’s just taught me hard work,” she said.

Once she found out about DREAMzone, Sanchez Salcido said she felt like she could finally open up and know that she is “enough.”

“They helped me believe that being a DACA student can be a good thing and I should just own it,” she said. 

Sanchez Salcido started attending DREAMzone support circles in January 2019. She said that the circles provide a space to “share your stories” and build a network of support. 

“I’ve made such genuine friendships that I didn’t know were possible to make, given the context of my situation,” Sanchez Salcido said.  

DACA and undocumented students can face financial barriers and a lot of stress, said Carlos Yanez Navarro, a support specialist at DREAMzone and a DACA student himself. 

He said that being a DACA or undocumented student can be “very isolating” and that because people don’t reveal their immigration statuses often, DACA and undocumented students can “sometimes feel alone because we don’t know a lot of other students (in similar situations).” 

Yanez Navarro, also a Dream.US scholarship recipient, arrived in Arizona from Chihuahua, Mexico, at age 6 and is studying transborder studies at ASU. 

For Yanez Navarro, DREAMzone has helped him personally and provided an opportunity for him to help other students in his position. 

“I really do not feel so alone anymore,” Yanez Navarro said. “I am so grateful to DREAMzone for helping me feel comfortable at the university and to feel like I am part of the community here.” 

Are you a DACA recipient or undocumented student at ASU or want to learn more about DREAMzone? Check out the DREAMzone open house on Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Services Amphitheater on ASU’s Tempe campus to find out about DREAMzone support circles, office hours and other resources to support you.  

Faculty and staff interested in hosting a DREAMzone training to raise awareness about resources available to ASU students should contact DREAMzone@asu.edu.

Hannah Moulton Belec

Marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services


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Life lessons from the nation's capital

September 3, 2019

ASU's stable of ambassadors impart pearls of wisdom to new students

Arizona State University students have access to some of the greatest minds working in academia today.

They include Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel laureates, MacArthur Fellows and Regents Professors, among other talented scholars.

And at the ASU Barrett and O'Connor Washington Center, they have the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by five current and former U.S. ambassadors. 

ASU Now asked those five ambassadors, John F. Maisto, Edward B. O’Donnell, Michael C. Polt, Kurt Volker and Clint Williamson, to impart their wisdom to students.

Man in red tie and dark jacket

John F. Maisto

John F. Maisto is a consultant on global affairs at Arizona State University and is an advisory board member of ASU’s Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela from 1997 to 2000.

Q: What is the advice you give students upon entering your program?

A: ASU, now prominently in Washington, offers so many opportunities for incoming students, particularly those who spend some time in the nation's capital. Here’s some pointers:

  • Listen a lot, and engage with whomever you meet in the ASU world, and in the ASU-connected world.
  • Ask questions and do not fear making mistakes. You are students, and should.
  • Become acquainted with the fascinating world of national government. Visit the government buildings as part of your engagement efforts, with ASU personnel when possible.
  • Go to the Capitol, and attend Senate or House committee meetings. Visit your congressperson's office, meet staff people.
  • Visit the departments in the executive branch. Take advantage of the public tours and then go from there. Look for opportunities to accompany ASU people.
  • Sign up for and go to think-tank events. These events always have student attendees.
  • Schedule time with mentors. They are busy but will make time.
  • Soak in the many historic and cultural opportunities Washington offers, many of which are free.

Q: What advice do you give to students as they collect their diplomas and leave ASU to embark on their careers?

A: For students as they depart ASU, particularly those who will remain in touch with ASU in Washington, I say:

  • Stay close to ASU in D.C. as it is a unique resource for you due to its personnel there, those who come and go, and the widely connected ASU world.
  • Get cards printed up and get into card-exchange as you develop contacts.
  • Of course, keep an open mind as you put together your plans for the near/medium term.
  • Make sure your CV is in the best shape, and look for an ASU mentor to review it.
  • Look for recent ASU grads who have experience in areas of interest to you.
  • Take advantage of all Washington, D.C., has to offer.
Man in blue sweater with arms crossed

Edward B. O'Donnell

Edward B. O’Donnell leads the ASU course “Diplomacy in Action, the Embassy Country Team” at the McCain Institute and is developing additional educational programs. He retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2007, after 33 years in Latin America, German-speaking Europe and other positions in Washington, D.C.

Q: What is the advice you give students upon entering your program?

A: Prepare yourselves for your eventual career and consider “serving a cause greater than yourself” in the tradition of Sen. McCain, and prepare to be a “character-driven leader.” That includes having a vision of what you want to do in your life to make a difference, and also to have the skills that will make you valuable to your future supervisors and colleagues, such as critical thinking, the ability to express your views through succinct and persuasive writing and oral presentations. Also prepare yourself to be proactive in contributing to your team, expressing clearly how you can help achieve the overall mission.

Q: What advice do you give to students as they collect their diplomas and leave ASU to embark on their careers?

A: Broaden your horizons to include all possible interests in a future career and activities, and be open to opportunities you did not anticipate. Decide what issues you are passionate about and pursue those areas where you can make a difference in the lives of others. Start with the small steps toward your eventual goal and be patient, knowing that building your education, experience and skills will lead to a place in the future when you will have fulfillment that you have made a difference in the lives of others and contributed to a cause greater than yourself.

Man in glasses and blue blazer

Michael C. Polt

Michael C. Polt serves as senior director at the McCain Institute for International Leadership, after a 35-year diplomatic career including an assignment as ambassador to the Republic of Estonia.

Q: What is the advice you give students upon entering ASU?

A: The first advice I give students when they come to the Washington, D.C., (center) is that I want to introduce them to the world of foreign affairs, foreign development policy and implementation. I try to encourage them to have a career in international service, be it in the diplomatic service, be it in the national security sphere or other areas of U.S. government, or any other international endeavor. It could be in the private or nonprofit sector. I tell them as students they have a stake in international leadership in whatever area they find within the scope of their interests. We will show you and teach you and we will develop and engage you on issues of international politics, issues and leadership in order for you to get a close-up practitioner's picture as to how foreign policy and international affairs are developed, led, managed and implemented in the field. Despite all of the cynicism in our country today in regard to domestic and international politics, this is an important time for young people to enter this profession because they can make a difference.

Q: What advice do you give to students as they collect their diplomas and leave ASU to embark on their careers?

A: The first thing is I have to comment on the quality of the ASU student. Most come to us with very little international experience. Some of them with no experience outside the state of Arizona. We’re so impressed by how much they grow in that semester between the time they come to us and engage with us in those 15 weeks, and then come out the other end making most impressive presentations on pretty complex international diplomatic and foreign affairs issues.

Our advice to them is now go forth, engage and actually do these things. Don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk. Join the foreign service. Join an international organization. Join the intelligence community. Join the Defense Department. Join the military. Join whatever you find to be of the most interest to you, but do it with the intent of leading the international sphere. We’ve already chalked up some pretty successful people getting placed in impressive scholarships, impressive fellowships, moving forward in their careers in the international affairs arena. We urge them to stay in contact with us to make sure to give them the right recommendations, to give them the right connections, to help them build their professional networks in the international arena so they can be successful in whatever endeavor they choose.

Man in blue tie with smile

Kurt Volker

Kurt Volker serves as executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at ASU. His expertise is in U.S. foreign and national security policy with some 30 years of experience in a variety of government, academic and private sector capacities. In July 2017, Volker was appointed U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations.

Q: What is the advice you give students upon entering your program?

A: I recommend taking a page out of the late, great Sen. John McCain’s playbook. Have courage, recognize that character truly is destiny. Be willing to work across divides, and extend human dignity to all. Do that and you’ll worry less about being liked and the perceived parameters of conventional success. Instead you’ll thrive across whole new domains with the confidence, determination and savvy that grows from associating with causes larger than self. 

Q: What advice do you give to students as they collect their diplomas and leave ASU to embark on their careers?

Volker: Start doing it, whatever “it” looks like for your career aspirations. You are not going to get an invitation, a tap on the shoulder or a hand-delivered career path. The professional work environment is welcoming, wherever you find yourself people genuinely want to help you advance professionally, but they aren’t going to look for you or make the first move. Knock on doors, make yourself known, offer up your services, expertise and interest, however tangential. No one is against you, but you have to go for it. The way to end up in the desirable positions you see others in is to recognize they likely got there by jumping in at any available capacity, with opportunities and relationships propelling them from there.

Man in glasses with blue shirt

Clint Williamson

Clint Williamson is the senior director for law and national security at the McCain Institute and a Professor of Practice at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He served as U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues from 2006 to 2009.

Q: What is the advice you give students upon entering your program?

A: The big thing I always try to get across to students is just to follow their interests. Law school in particular tends to have a herd mentality, which I think is worse than in most other academic settings. Law students tell each other, “You’ve got to take this course,” or “You’ve got to work as a clerk at this law firm.” The reality is that the field of law is so diverse that you don’t have to follow one well-trodden path. You can actually go out and pursue the things that are your passion. A lot of times that means not going to work for a large law firm or perhaps working for a government agency, or working for an NGO or the United Nations, or doing work overseas in post-conflict settings. I tell students not to try and map out what their career will be while they’re in law school or create this step-by-step process to get where they think they should go because there’s no guarantee that’s going to work out. That said, they should pursue the things they’re interested in because they have an equal chance that that’s going to be something that will turn out well at the end of the road. They should love what they’re doing. They should be open to opportunities that are out there, again, even if it does not sound like a conventional path for a lawyer. It should be something they’re interested where they believe they can make a positive difference, and do it!

Q: What advice do you give to students as they collect their diplomas and leave ASU to embark on their careers?

A: I tell them to be patient. A lot of the jobs that they are interested in and what we’re trying to prepare them for are incredibly competitive. A lot of people are fighting to get into these fields because the topics are sexy and interesting, like counterterrorism or war crimes. It’s interesting to a lot of people and it attracts a lot of applicants. The best thing they can do is to look at how they can get some practical experience. Don’t try to aim for the top right away. Go out and get your hands dirty. Go out and volunteer for a U.S. peacekeeping mission with an NGO that might not be the best-paying job but can offer lots of field experience. I think they have a much better chance of having doors open to them if they do something like that. They should get real world experience and use that as an entrée to bigger and better things. In the long run, this strategy pays off.

Top photo: Ambassador Edward B. O'Donnell leads students in politics and law through a practice of German-American relations concerning the Boeing 737 MAX scandal during 'Policy Design Studio 484 - Diplomacy in Action, the Embassy Country Team' in the ASU in D.C. Decision Theater on March 13, 2019. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Reporter , ASU Now


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10 ways Sun Devils can go green

September 3, 2019

You can help save the planet — here are some simple ways to get started

Welcome to Arizona State University, where we harvest dates from our palm trees and LEED certify our new buildings, and where zero waste is the goal. Even if you’re not a sustainability major, you’re probably trying to reduce your carbon footprint and help the planet we live on.

ASU was just named to the top 10 of Sierra magazine's Coolest Schools — an annual list of the greenest colleges by the national magazine of the Sierra Club — for its wide-ranging efforts, from a fair trade pledge to climate-neutral construction to coral reef research.

And there are plenty of opportunities around the university for students to help. Here are 10 easy ways to go green; many of them are cheap or even free!

1. Move it

Bicycle, skateboard, walk, ride the light rail and Orbit shuttles or call a Lyft. Last year the ride service company created a carbon offset program to ensure all its rides are carbon-neutral. Don’t have a bike? You can buy one cheaply from ASU Surplus. They have hundreds to choose from. After you get your gently-used bike, you’ll need a helmet and bike lock. Parking and Transit has you covered. Buy them at any of their offices for 50% off full price.

2. Join the crowd

ASU has a number of organizations devoted to going green. Among them are the Sun Devils 4 Fair Trade. This club supports trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers. 

3. Fill your plate

Eat at Engrained Café to show your support of organic, local food. (There are two locations, in Tempe and downtown Phoenix.)  Enjoy plant based meal stations at all the dining halls. Living off campus and cooking for yourself? Stretch that student budget by grocery shopping at Borderlands Food Bank, an Arizona-based nonprofit that rescues food before it goes to the landfill. Borderlands is one of a growing number of groups working to fight food waste in America, where more than 25 million people are unsure where their next meal will come from. You can buy 70 pounds of produce for $12

4. Spend it like you mean it

Support ASU’s Fair Trade designation by buying fair trade products, such as coffee, chocolate, nuts and granola bars, at ASU Pod Stores. Buy used clothing and appliances. Look for less packaging. Use reuseable bags. Refuse to use single-use plastics. And this semester, Zero Waste is planning an on-campus trading post with clothing that has been donated by students and staff. 

5. Talk trash

Bring your own utensils, reusable straw, and refillable water bottle. Recycle correctly, including using the Blue Bags. During 2014, ASU achieved a 26.5% waste diversion rate. Sun Devils diverted more than 1,200 pounds of polystyrene, which could fill an average-size one-bedroom apartment. And Ditch the Dumpster: Every year ASU students moving on or off campus realize they have accumulated more stuff than they need or have space for. Many of those items do not belong in the landfill. Ditch the Dumpster allows for reuse, repurpose or recycling of those items. Students who moved out of residence halls in spring 2019 donated 66,740 pounds of material to community organizations to be repurposed, 7,425 pounds more than 2018. 

6. Plant a seed

The ASU Seed Library is a free campus seed project committed to increasing the capacity of our community to grow wholesome food from the basic building blocks of life — seeds. To start your garden, just ask to see the seed boxes at the front desk at Noble Science Library. There are community gardens on ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus on the west side of Health South and at the Polytechnic campus. Have no idea how to garden? Susan Norton teaches PAC 240 – Physical Activity in the Garden on the Poly campus. Harvest oranges in February. The ASU Arboretum and Sun Devil Dining harvest five tons of Seville sour oranges, which are juiced, bottled and stored at the Sun Orchard facility. Oranges are used in delicious recipes at Sun Devil Dining kitchens across ASU campuses. You can also harvest and sell dates at the three-acre date farm at Poly.

7. Pitch in

Spend the day serving the community with fellow Sun Devils! A 16-year tradition, Devils in Disguise is the largest day of student-led service at ASU. Last year, more than 1,500 Sun Devils participated, providing more than 6,000 hours of service to 45 community service agencies. Make a significant impact in the local and global community with Sparky’s Day of Service. Volunteer with the Zero Waste department to help with Blue Bag sorts or stadium clean up after sporting events. 

8. Play ball

Green football games highlight ASU's standing as a national leader in sustainability. This fall it’s the Sept. 21 game against Colorado. All food, containers, flyers and other materials provided to fans at the game are either recyclable or compostable. Zero Waste ambassadors will wear blue vests at the game and speak with fans to educate them on composting and recycling. They carry cards with specific examples of ballpark foods and materials. After the game, the ambassadors sort through all of the compost and recycle bins to ensure that each piece of waste makes it to the right spot.

9. Get smart

Enroll in or take classes with the School of Sustainability. In study abroad programs you can witness and learn sustainability principles and solutions in international community, urban and political settings.

10. Get with the program

Report water leaks or buildings that are too hot or cold to Facilities Maintenance. Be aware of “vampire" energy and unplug cords that are not in use. Participate in Carbon Free Day on April 17. The full-day event extends to all ASU campuses and helps reach its goal of zero carbon emissions by 2025. Sun Devils can pledge to ride a bike instead of driving, eat plant based meals on campus or other carbon reduction methods such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator. 

Top photo: Undergraduate Brianna Smith pulls seeded lettuce out during the PPE 240 Gardening class that focuses on gardening in desert climates on the Tempe campus on April 23, 2019. The course, fulfilling physical activity requirements, is a partnership between Mary Lou Fulton, the School of Sustainability and Barrett, The Honors College and is open to all university students. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU alum utilizes his humanities degrees to join political conversations, past and present

August 30, 2019

For L. Benjamin Rolsky, a 2006 undergraduate alumnus in history and religious studies, his passion for research is practically a genetic trait. His grandmother subscribed to multiple academic journals in her pursuit of big questions and deep interest in the Hebrew Bible. While he was always fascinated with the topics, he says his grandma influenced him greatly.

“Growing up, I was always drawn to history in general and American history in particular,” Rolsky said. “In many ways, my interest in history and religion is a direct outgrowth of my grandmother’s interest in biblical studies as an academic field.” Photo of Benjamin Rolsky Benjamin Rolsky graduated in 2006 with his bachelor's degree in history and religious studies. Download Full Image

Rolsky attended high school in Cave Creek, Arizona, where one of his teachers suggested he apply to Arizona State University to join the history department and Barrett, The Honors College. He began as a history major, and after taking a world religions course “began to truly pursue religion as a subject of study and research.”

He lived in the Barrett dorms where he made lifelong friends and overall enjoyed his time as a student. Then his senior year came. He was looking forward to classes and drafting his honors thesis when he experienced the defining moment in his academic career.

“During the drafting process, my thesis adviser, the late religious studies Professor Ken Morrison, suggested to me that I rethink my plans to apply to graduate school due to my performance,” said Rolsky. “This observation challenged me to think hard about my life after college. I redoubled my efforts and by the end of the year, Professor Morrison had awarded me the best double major award in the department of religious studies. Ken played an indispensable role in my development as a scholar, and I am thankful for the time that I had with him.”

After graduating from ASU, Rolsky went on to attend Claremont School of Theology where he received his Master of Arts in American religion, race and politics, his Master of Arts in religion in the history of Christianity from Yale Divinity School, and his PhD in American religious history from Drew University.

The cover of Benji's book. The title is framed with red and orange stripes and blue stars.

The cover of Rolsky's forthcoming book, "The Rise and Fall of the Religious Left: Politics, Television, and Popular Culture in the 1970s and beyond." The book is set to release in November 2019. 

He currently holds a position as an adjunct instructor at Monmouth University in New Jersey teaching history and anthropology and is a part-time lecturer in religious studies at Rutgers University. This upcoming fall, he will be taking on a new role in conjunction with his current positions.

“This coming fall, I will be serving as an expert commentator for the 2020 presidential election from my home department,” Rolsky said. “I will be made available for those journalists, writers and analysts looking to learn more about the role of religion in politics and American public life writ large.”

Rolsky is also in the midst of promoting his debut book, “The Rise and Fall of the Religious Left: Politics, Television, and Popular Culture in the 1970s and Beyond,” which is set to release on Nov. 12.

“In addition to this, I am preparing remarks for a presentation that I’ll be making at the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting in San Diego titled, ‘Establishments and their Fall: Direct Mail, the New Right, and the Transformation of American Politics.’”

What’s next for Rolsky? After he finishes his current project, he is planning to complete a book proposal for a second book project on the history of American conservatism from World War II to present day.

“I’ve known Benji since 2007, when I joined the faculty of the Claremont School of Theology, where he was an MA student,” said Richard Amesbury, the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies' new director. “He immediately impressed me as a thoughtful observer of American religious history and public life. (He) is a shining example of the sort of students (the school) produces. A summa cum laude graduate in religious studies and history, he has gone on to become a scholar and critic of postwar American culture, focusing on the fertile nexus of religion, American politics and popular culture.”

Rachel Bunning

Communications program coordinator, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Hugh Downs School doctoral student wins debate coaching award

August 29, 2019

Michael Tristano Jr., a doctoral student and a recipient of the Graduate College Completion Fellowship at Arizona State University's Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, received the Assistant Coach of the Year Award by the National Speech & Debate Association (NDSA) at their national tournament held in June in Dallas.  

Tristano, who has been involved with speech and debate for more than 15 years, moved to Arizona in August 2015 to pursue a doctorate in communication. He was nominated by Nick Klemp, director of forensics at Phoenix Country Day School. Michael Tristano Jr. receiving the Assistant Coach of the Year Award by the National Speech & Debate Association at their national tournament in Dallas. Download Full Image

In his letter to the association nominating Tristano, Klemp says he jumped to hire Tristano as an assistant coach even though they had never met, at the recommendation of multiple colleagues.

“I have learned so much working alongside Mike, and I would not be the coach I am without him as a colleague,” Klemp wrote. “His ability to connect with our students, foster their talent and humanity and motivate them to reach as high as possible leaves him without a peer in our community.” 

Tristano says that the students at Phoenix Country Day School understand that their words matter and that communication has material consequences. 

“As a coach, it’s part of my job to have really important, and sometimes really difficult conversations about what messages they want to craft,” Tristano said. “My role as a coach is never focused on trophies. I teach students that the greatest accolade they can receive in this activity is having someone listen to their story and their truth.”

Tristano added that all of the skills students need to become change-makers — including argumentation development, political awareness, style, confidence, hope, determination, advocacy and a hard work ethic — are learned through speech and debate.

“Michael received multiple teaching awards here at the Hugh Downs School, so it comes as no surprise that he is being honored for his excellent work coaching speech and debate,” said Linda Lederman, director and professor of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication


Early Start Program gives first-year student a jump-start on education

August 28, 2019

Elizabeth Rapacz began her college career at Arizona State University two weeks earlier than her first-year student peers by enrolling in the Early Start Program. The first-generation student was inspired by her own personal health challenges to earn a biochemistry degree, with the goal of becoming a neurosurgeon, but she felt a little lost as to how to navigate college. 

“My parents have expectations and I have expectations for myself, but I don’t really know how this is going to go,” said Rapacz. “But I know that as a freshman, I’m going to make mistakes, and I have to be OK with that since college is just one big learning experience.” Biochemistry student Elizabeth Rapacz took part in ASU's Early Start Program. Download Full Image

Rapacz is a first-generation American whose parents immigrated to the United States from Poland and met in Phoenix. She grew up in Pinetop, Arizona, and at the age of 5 was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This life-altering diagnosis and the close bond she formed with her endocrinologist would be the biggest influences in her choice of a college major and career goals. 

“I want to keep the legacy my endo taught me of actually caring for people and helping them through their struggles,” said Rapacz. 

Rapacz is pursuing her dream of attending a university and one day having a medical practice to help serve low-income families in the community. She entered ASU through the Early Start program, developed personal relationships with her peers and mentors and found a support system and resources through the School of Molecular Sciences

The Early Start program gave Rapacz a chance to do a test run of what college was going to be like and let her explore her interests and get involved with campus activities. She has joined eight clubs and is looking forward to networking with her peers and professors and finding an internship for hands-on experience in her major. And although she is majoring in biochemistry, she intends to study abroad and take advantage of every opportunity her college experience presents.

“My experience in the Early Start School of Molecular Sciences program was absolutely amazing. I met awesome peers and mentors who really gave me an idea of how college is going to be,” said Rapacz. “It also gave me a best friend and a close-knit group of friends I could go to before classes even started.”

Communication specialist, School of Molecular Sciences

ASU 365 Community Union presents the Live Well Stadium Yoga Series

August 27, 2019

Just in time for the start of the school year, ASU 365 Community Union is officially open and ready to bring a variety of events to the ASU campus and surrounding community. Starting in September, the Community Union will be offering free yoga classes on the Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium as a part of the Live Well Stadium Yoga Series.  

“The 365 Community Union strives to bring communities together, and what better way than with free yoga?” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU vice president of cultural affairs. silhouette of someone doing a yoga pose Download Full Image

Get the mind-body benefits by learning the basic principles of yoga and practice with an amazing group of people right on the ASU Coca-Cola Sun Deck. Each one-hour introductory-level class is an opportunity for yogis and new practitioners to learn the basic principles of yoga and to share positive vibes with Sun Devils, community members and stadium views.   

“Yoga is a centuries-old wellness discipline, the practical benefits of which to cognitive function, physical adaptability and spiritual strength are only beginning to be fully realized by medical science today," said Troy Sterner, program manager for ASU 365 Community Union. "It is a profound honor to be working with local studios in the community to offer this kind of engagement as we kick off wellness programming at the ASU 365 Community Union.”

Each session is taught by instructors from local studios across the Valley, including Yoga to the People, Hot Yoga University, The Madison, Laughing Buddha Yoga and Sweatshop on Central, as well as teachers from ASU’s very own Sun Devil Fitness Complex. The 11-week series will feature 16 classes. 

Whether you are a hardcore yogi or brand new to the practice, all levels are welcome. 

As collaborating Tempe studio Laughing Buddha Yoga puts it, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” Classes are complimentary for both students and community members.Take one hour for yourself to relax, bend and breathe. Please be sure to RSVP and bring a mat, towel, water and a positive attitude.

All classes begin at 7 a.m.

Class schedule: 

  • Sept. 9-14, 16, 26, 30 
  • Oct. 7, 17, 21, 28
  • Nov. 4, 18
  • Dec. 2

Claim your free spot exclusively through the ASU Mobile App.

More information on all the upcoming events at ASU 365 Community Union at asu365communityunion.com.

Marketing Coordinator, ASU Cultural Affairs

Tempe native returned home to ASU Law, built successful legal career in Valley

August 23, 2019

Jessica Jarvi, a Tempe native who grew up about a mile from Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, comes from a family with deep ASU roots.

“We have lots of Sun Devils in our family,” she said. “My grandparents met at ASU and got married at Danforth Chapel on ASU’s campus, and my parents did too. I grew up going to ASU football games, and the Jerry Olson Stat Booth in Sun Devil Stadium is named after my grandpa.” photo of Jessica Jarvi and family Jessica Jarvi, JD 2002, a Tempe native who grew up about a mile from Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, comes from a family with deep ASU roots. Download Full Image

Her family encouraged her to consider other colleges, but were in utter shock when she chose the University of Arizona.

“My parents did not understand — they were horrified,” she recalled with a laugh, pointing out that her father even has a Sparky tattoo.

After graduating cum laude from UA with an English degree, Jarvi discovered that, contrary to Thomas Wolfe’s novel, you can go home again. She moved back to Tempe and began weighing her options.

“I was insistent that I wasn’t going to law school for a long time because both my parents were lawyers,” she said. “Then, I graduated from college and realized it was the only graduate school that interested me, so I capitulated.”

Planning a future in the Phoenix area, her hometown law school held the most appeal.

“The in-state tuition was great, and I’d always heard that you should go to law school where you want to practice,” she said. “Everything pointed back to ASU.”

She enrolled in what is now the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and, in 2002, graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree. It allowed her to build the successful career in the Valley that she had envisioned — and get back in her family’s good graces.

“I came back to ASU for law school, so they forgave the ‘Wildcat’ phase,” she said.

She is now the senior vice president, deputy general counsel for Western Alliance Bancorporation, a position she has held since 2013. She was nominated for the Arizona Public Company Counsel of the Year award in 2017, and was recently named to the 2019 list of the Most Influential Women in Arizona by Az Business and AZRE magazines.

She credits ASU Law for exposing her to a wide array of legal interests and putting her on the path to a successful career.

“I remember thinking, ‘Well, if my parents did it, so can I,’ but law school was definitely more challenging than I thought it would be going in,” she said. “But ASU Law was great. The quality of the faculty and the program made for an excellent education.”

One memory that stood out to her was the orderly fashion in which Professor Jonathan Rose conducted his class.

“He had this reputation of being a really tough professor, but I thought he taught the fundamentals of contracts really well,” she said. “I appreciated that he called on students in the order we sat, so you knew when your time was coming. He said he never found it to be of value when he called on students who weren't fully prepared, and I really appreciated that point of view. You know, in an environment where you sit in a lot of classes just feeling nervous about being called on, I thought his approach was more true to real life.”

Through an on-campus interview, she landed a summer associate’s position at Snell & Wilmer, and upon graduation, she began working there as a first-year associate. She followed one of the firm’s partners to an in-house position in banking, then joined Western Alliance in 2007.

At the time, the legal department at Western Alliance consisted of just the general counsel and herself. She now oversees a legal department that consists of 12 lawyers and five additional staff members.

“Now we’re kind of a small law firm within a business,” she said, explaining the company’s rapid growth over the past decade. “We’ve been able to build a legal department that is customized to a bank that has grown dramatically over the last decade. We were about $5 billion in assets when I started, and we just passed the $25 billion mark.”

Keeping up with the needs of an active, entrepreneurial company can be challenging.

“We have to be able to respond to a wide variety of legal needs in a fast-paced environment where there isn’t time to write lengthy research memos or anything like that,” she said. “But when you get to work with great people the challenges can be enjoyable. We’ve got a terrific team in the legal department, and the bank is just full of good internal clients.”

As for being named to the Most Influential Women in Arizona list, she was honored but said she wasn’t sure she belonged.

“My immediate reaction was pretty lawyerly, which is, ‘What’s the definition of influence?’” she said. “I wasn’t sure I understood it. But it feels really good to be recognized, especially with so many other accomplished women in the state.”

And as a mother of three young children, she knows the challenge so many other parents face trying to manage a demanding career with a busy home life.

“It's not easy to be a working parent, so I give a lot of credit to everybody out there who's trying to work on a successful career while they're raising kids,” she said. “You need to manage the priorities of what needs to get done at work and the priorities of what needs to get done at home, and somehow feel like you’re doing the best you can in both worlds.”

Nicole Almond Anderson

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


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The College Picks: Standout courses to bookmark this fall

August 22, 2019

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the largest and most diverse academic unit at Arizona State University. With 23 field-spanning departments and schools, its courses delve into everything from how civilizations deal with disasters and construct legends to the chemistry of human emotions and the cultural significance American Indian film. But what does that actually look like? 

We asked academic leaders from the natural science, social science and humanities divisions around The College to recommend standout courses offered through their units, both in-person and online. All are offered this fall, and many are available to nonmajors. Registration information is provided through the link.

Take a look at The College’s top course picks. 

Natural sciences

Student researcher working outside.

BIO 432: Why people steal, cheat and lie (ASU Online)
They may not seem like quantifiable questions, but School of Life Sciences Director Kenro Kusumi said this ASU Online course examines the biological drivers behind human behavior.

“The course explores the ecological and evolutionary causes of selfishness and cooperation in human societies,” he said. “Students apply biological models to predict patterns of behavior in human populations and evaluate these models with empirical data.” 

Kusumi said this interdisciplinary course pulls from biology, psychology, anthropology, criminology, sociology and philosophy to develop new perspectives on the larger human experience.   

PHY 498: Sustainable Energy 
From controlling indoor environments and powering vehicles to the production of materials, energy touches nearly every facet of our lives. 

Department of Physics Chair Peter Bennett said students in this course use physics to understand how energy interacts with everyday life and the feasibility of ideas like the Green New Deal and zero-carbon alternatives. 

“Putting in the numbers is essential to deciding whether something is practical, so we do a lot of order-of-magnitude calculations,” Bennett said. “This class will appeal to students who are curious about society’s energy needs and who are capable of some quantitative reasoning.”

CHM 107: Chemistry and Society (ASU Online)
“You never use chemistry outside the lab.” 

That’s a statement Kirstin Hendrickson, a professor in The College’s School of Molecular Sciences, hears time and again. 

But where some see a science isolated to the lab, Hendrickson sees a multifaceted field found in every aspect of our world, from climate change and water potability, to medicine, alternative energy and even human emotions.

“The reality is that chemistry is all around us and inside us, all the time, every day,” she said. “This class was written to help students see and become conversant in the chemistry taking place in the real world, and strives to answer the critical question: When am I ever going to use this again?”

STP 226: Elements of Statistics
In today's information age, data is everywhere. Donald Jones, associate director of undergraduate studies at the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, said being able to extract useful knowledge and gain a sound understanding of complex data sets has never been more important. 

“Statistical analysis is pervasive in many fields, including political, social, medical and economic sciences, advertising and sports, artificial intelligence, speech and image recognition, gaming, health care and fraud detection,” he said. “This could be the most useful class you will take at ASU because you’re developing a solid understanding of the way data works in the modern world.”

SES 106: Habitable Worlds
What makes the planet habitable? Are there others like ours? In this online course from the School of Earth and Space Exploration, students explore those questions using interactive activities that go beyond the classroom. Meenakshi Wadhwa, the school’s director, said the course delves into ideas once relegated to science fiction, all without textbooks, lectures and traditional exams.  

“Astronomers are discovering planets around other stars, planetary scientists are exploring the worlds in our solar system, biologists are unlocking the secrets of metabolism and evolution and geoscientists are determining how the Earth supports life,” she said. “As we struggle to build a sustainable future for ourselves, all of us are finding out how technologically advanced civilizations rise, and how they might fall — this course surveys all of these topics.”

Social sciences

Patricia Solis, executive director of the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience, explains the data on a map of Maricopa County denoting the total number of residential homes with the number of households receiving utility payment assistance.

POS 394: Fake News: How to Identify and Refute It 
In this online course from the School of Politics and Global Studies, Gina Woodall, a senior lecturer in the school, delves into one of the most pressing media issues impacting society today.  

Her syllabus asks: “Given the breadth of information pummeling us online, TV, radio, and in blogs, newspapers and social media, how do we know what is real (fact-based) and what is fake (false)?” 

School of Politics and Global Studies Director Cameron Thies said the topic is especially important on the brink of the presidential election next year.

GIS 294: Drones to Satellites: Observing Earth from Above
Humans have spent centuries imagining a birds-eye view of the world. Thanks to modern technology, we now have the potential to see more detail than ever before.

“Seeing the Earth from above can have a profound effect on how we view our planet,” said Trisalyn Nelson, director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. “Modern technology has given us everything from huge satellites orbiting hundreds of miles above Earth, to small drones the size of a shoebox that can be launched just about anywhere to capture imagery of our rapidly changing planet — this course is an introduction to Earth observation and devices it uses."

AIS 394: American Indian and Indigenous Film 
Plenty of damaging stereotypes have been born out of Hollywood, but what are the movements that form in their wake? This course, taught by assistant professor Cheryl Bennett, delves into how Native Americans have historically been portrayed on screen and examines the Native-owned production companies that are challenging the narrative. 

Stephanie Fitzgerald, who took the helm as director of the American Indian Studies program this summer, recommends the course for its unique perspective and broad appeal. 

“American Indian, Native American and indigneous film is a burgeoning industry and field of academic study,” she said. “But the broader community may not be aware of that — taking this course would open up a whole new world.”

TCL 314/SOC 314: Transborder Latin American Migration to the U.S.
Migration is an intrinsic part of human history — not just here in Arizona, but around the world. The course, taught by Professor Eileen Díaz McConnell, examines the history and present state of immigration in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

“The U.S. has the highest number of international immigrants in the world,”  said Irasema Coronado, director of The College’s School of Transborder Studies. “Whether it’s students understanding more about the clients they serve in future careers, the diversity of the people they interact with in their community, or their own family’s history, issues of immigration touch everyone in some way.”

ASB 327: Disaster! 
From Pompeii to Hurricane Maria, disasters have always been a part of the human experience. What causes them? And how do our responses help or hinder our survival?

Kaye Reed, director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, said those are the questions students can expect to tackle in this course, taught by President’s Professor Amber Wutich.

“This course uses hands-on activities to help students learn how to use tools like disaster vulnerability assessments and evaluations of best practices for disaster responses, equipping them to better understand and respond to future crises facing humanity,” Reed said. 

FAS 294: The Compassion course
What is compassion, and how can it be cultivated? Richard Fabes, director of the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, said this course helps students better understand what’s behind the act. 

“This course is taught by Dr. Amy Reesing and uses updated behavioral science to help students understand the need for compassion in our lives and the role of self-compassion for health and well-being,” he said. “I think it’s a really meaningful class to students.”


ASU Vietnamese language lecturer Thuy-Kim Le writes names in Vietnamese ink calligraphy for visiting students.

ENG 321: Shakespeare
Shakespeare is a household name around the world. But how many of us can say we truly know the Bard? Taught by Department of English Professor Jonathan Hope, this course takes a deep dive into six plays to help students gain a real understanding of Shakespeare’s work and how it figures into aspects of the modern world. 

“This is not the course that everyone expects,” said Jeffrey Cohen, dean of humanities at The College. “Everyone thinks they know Shakespeare, but in the class students will come to realize that most of what they think they know is wrong.”

MCO/POS/REL 394: Exploring Religion, Politics and the Media
Politics and religion are at the crux of many aspects of our daily lives. Taught jointly by School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Professor Tracy Fessenden and Professor of Practice Fernanda Santos from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, this course examines how both topics are covered in the media.

“In a ‘post-truth’ era, covering politics and religion has been proven difficult,” said Richard Amesbury, director of The College’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. “This course will examine the ways journalists approach the coverage of complex issues and immerse students into the world of journalism with hands-on workshops.” 

SLC 123: Gods and Monsters: Comparative Mythology
Human civilizations have used mythology to explain the world for millennia. Yet, from ancient Greece and China to Africa and Native America, legends from radically different cultures often share common themes. Why?

That’s one question students explore in this course taught by Sarah Bolmarcich, a lecturer in The College’s School of International Letters and Cultures. 

“Students will encounter oral traditions and folklore such as the Brothers Grimm, trickster stories in African American folklore, Native American oral traditions, and the origins of various vampire legends,” said Nina Berman, the school’s director. “We all know the creatures; now discover the stories and myths that inspired them.”

Top photo: Located on the Tempe campus, Armstrong Hall is the academic home of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. 

Writer , The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


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ASU Library opens new spaces, services for fall semester

August 22, 2019

There are many ways to reinvent a library. This academic year, the Arizona State University Library will introduce you to a few of them.   

Just in time for the start of the fall semester, and amidst a major renovation, Hayden Library has opened the Concourse level, the first newly designed space of the Hayden2020 reinvention project.

The Concourse connects the lower levels of ASU’s largest library to its four-story, above-ground tower, set to open its doors this January.

“The ASU community will be glad to know that the Hayden Library has grown bigger this semester, not smaller,” said Tomalee Doan, associate university librarian for Engagement and Learning Services. “With the opening of the Concourse level, and as we get closer to 2020, students can expect to see greater options for studying, learning and research support.”

Eight new classrooms have been added to Hayden Library's Concourse, along with a new library entrance on the north side of the library near the School of Life Sciences. 

In addition to the new classrooms, Hayden Library now features more meeting and study space with enhanced casual seating options to make students feel more comfortable and supported during their study sessions and group work. 

Students looking to take a break and relax now have the option to browse a variety of themed book collections scattered throughout the new space or get a bite to eat at the P.O.D market.

The Hayden Library Concourse also houses an interfaith reflection room, for prayer and meditation, a wellness room and gender-inclusive restrooms. 

“We are nearing the finish line of the transformation of Hayden Library, and the new spaces that have opened this semester are a reflection of that,” Doan said. “It’s just the beginning of what’s to come.”

No more paywall 

If you are a current student, faculty or staff member enjoying your free digital access to the New York Times, then you will be happy to know that you also have free digital access to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

All you need to do is activate the account

The WSJ service can be accessed via tablet, smartphone app or the web, and the service includes resources for faculty to seamlessly integrate content into course pages in facilitating classroom discussion of relevant and timely news stories. 

Student accounts will stay active until their graduation date, while faculty and staff will need to validate their memberships once a year.  

For ASU students, faculty and staff seeking thoughtful entertainment — everything from Chaplin to foreign and independent films — high quality video content is available to stream free of charge via the Kanopy platform.

An on-demand streaming service for public libraries and universities, Kanopy features a large, curated collection of diverse, unique and award-winning films and documentaries.

To start streaming, all you need to do is sign up.

Boost your research

Several new support offerings for researchers are available through the ASU Library this semester.

Among them is Researcher Support, offering ASU researchers guidance across the research lifecycle, from planning to data storage, in an effort to maximize the quality, productivity and accessibility of ASU research.

For ASU students looking to gain the research skills that will help them succeed in graduate school, the Graduate Scholars Toolkit is a series of one-hour workshops offered at various times throughout the semester on a variety of topics, including copyright, citation management, collaboration and data sharing tools, data visualization and text analysis.

The workshops are offered on all campuses with more online offerings to come.

For students, faculty and staff looking for research opportunities in data science, the Unit for Data Science and Analytics is launching its Open Lab for the 2019–20 academic year. 

A weekly event in Hayden Library, the Open Lab brings together researchers interested in collaborating and learning new skills with ongoing and available projects that engage machine learning, data visualization, text and data mining, network analysis and more.

In addition to Open Lab, the Unit for Data Science and Analytics is also open for collaborations with faculty and staff. 

“Our model is to do great work in interdisciplinary data science, and we want to make sure we include as many people as possible, whether faculty, student or staff,” said Michael Simeone, director of data science for the ASU Library.

The lab also directly mentors students and teams, meeting by appointment for developing their experiments and studies. All skill levels are welcome. 

Interested in data science and/or Open Lab? Reach out to the team for more information. 

Get your books delivered 

Need to pick up some books but can’t make it to the library?

Get them delivered!  

Secure, self-service book delivery lockers are now available in Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus to allow for the quick and convenient picking up and returning of library materials. 

All you need is your Sun Card. 

Top photo: Student worker Max Stokes, a junior in global studies, shelves book collections related to the content to be taught in nearby classrooms. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now