ASU In the News

After prison, more punishment


Across the country, more than 10,000 regulations restrict people with criminal records from obtaining occupational licenses, according to a database developed by the American Bar Association. The restrictions are defended as a way to protect the public. But Meko Lincoln and others point out that the rules are often arbitrary and ambiguous.

Licensing restrictions are among the many obstacles to establishing a stable economic footing after prison. Incarceration carries a stigma, and many employers are leery of hiring people who have spent time in prison. Meko Lincoln Meko Lincoln, 46, wants to be a licensed chemical dependency clinician, but his years in prison could work against him.

But states with the strictest licensing barriers tend to have higher rates of recidivism, according to research by Stephen Slivinski, an economist at the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University.

“In many states, a criminal record is a stain that you can’t wash off,” Slivinski said. “There is no amount of studying that can take away this mark in your past if a licensing board wants to use it against you.”

Article Source: The Washington Post

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

 
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McCain Institute launches ‘We Hold These Truths’ campaign

August 29, 2019

New initiative designed to engage the public on human rights and to teach liberties

Serving abroad for the Peace Corps. Pledging money to sponsor clean drinking water in developing countries. Working an election booth to ensure fairness.

All of these are prime examples of showing humanity. Unfortunately, there is no shared language to define human rights.

A new civic engagement awareness campaign launched by the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Washington, D.C., hopes to reintroduce the concept of human rights to younger generations and motivate them to advocate at home and abroad. 

“Our democracy was founded on the belief that each individual has rights — and with those rights come responsibilities,” said Paul E. Fagan, director of Human Rights and Democracy Programs for the McCain Institute. “Today, it can seem easier to disengage and to be divided by our differences than to get in the arena and stand up for our shared humanity and to serve causes greater than self. ‘We Hold These Truths’ honors the legacy of Sen. John McCain by challenging us to take responsibility for our rights and for the rights of others.”

We Hold These Truths” is a nonpartisan interactive campaign timed to the first anniversary of McCain’s death on Aug. 25, 2018. The campaign specifically targets young Americans who are interested in progress, safety and freedom. The institute hopes to educate and galvanize the public to explore and engage — through the lens of the First Amendment — in human rights in a meaningful way that’s relevant and resonant to their own experiences, and then act to protect and preserve rights for others across the country and globe.

From sharing digital content or writing a letter to creating a video or co-hosting civic discussions, the McCain Institute says there are many ways to be of greater service in defending human rights around the world.

Putting its money where its mouth is, the McCain Institute is planning on launching university ambassador groups, mentoring groups, civic dialogues at town halls and other liberty-centric events. They have also created a citizen engagement platform and Facebook page for the new initiative.

“The institute, partner organizations and supportive individuals working together to secure the understanding and practice of human rights the country and world sorely needs, it doesn’t get more McCain-like or noble than that,” said Ambassador Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute.

The campaign honors and builds on McCain’s legacy, who dedicated his life to bringing ideas of dignity and civility into the everyday lives of American people. He believed in the United States’ role as a fighter and champion of liberty, and that the country is safer and more prosperous when freedom is afforded to all.

Research shows many Americans want to engage in human rights but don’t know where to begin, or what human rights really are. The McCain Institute’s research illuminated that there is no shared language to define the issue, and people from all political backgrounds are exhausted by divisiveness. The public wants to know its rights and how to care for them.

This is where the initiative believes it can help.

“We Hold These Truths” seeks to raise the profile of human rights to be a central issue across parties in the 2020 elections.

Arizona State University has historically demonstrated humanity, civility and kindness through its programming, outreach and various initiatives, including the Immigration Clinic housed in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law since 2006.

The clinic seeks to address the current vacuum of immigration services in Arizona. It does so by collaborating with nonprofits, government agencies, other ASU departments, community advocates and funders to identify and develop projects that address Arizona’s immigration challenges, including supplying legal help for immigrant families.

“Arizona residents need lawyers that understand immigration law because immigration does not just impact immigration cases, it impacts family, criminal, labor, trade, estate planning and many other fields of the law,” said Evelyn Cruz, founder and director of the clinic. “Besides, access to justice, a critical human right, necessitates access to lawyers that are prepared to help all segments of society.”

ASU’s Project Humanities, a multiple award-winning initiative, is continually finding ways to bring people together by talking, listening and connecting at community events, workshops and lectures.

“Civility and human rights are fundamental to one's own or to another's humanity,” said Neal A. Lester, professor of English and director of Project Humanities. “Our Humanity 101 commitment to promoting kindness, respect, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, integrity and self-reflection certainly aligns with this new initiative. Together, our individual and collective efforts toward a greater social good have to challenge us all to do better and to be better.”

In 2018, ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership launched “Polarization and Civil Disagreement: Confronting America’s Civic Crisis,” a lecture series that encourages civility and “civic friendship” through dialogue and differing opinions — a calling card of John McCain’s life and work.

“Hearty thanks to the McCain Institute for calling Americans to understand and live up to our highest ideals, because restoring an ethic of civil disagreement among free people has to begin with basic civic education,” said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. “Reminding us of the Declaration of Independence and its truths about equal natural rights for all — the distinctive ideal that America has strived to fully realize, admittedly imperfectly, for nearly 250 years — is a perfect way to get to work, not least because the declaration itself arose from vigorous disagreement and debate.” 

Carrese also noted that John McCain certainly lived out the final commitment of the signers, in the declaration’s closing words, to back up “these truths” by pledging “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

Top photo: Sen. John McCain watches a video history of himself as part of his Iconic Voices series at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Feb. 19, 2016. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Reporter , ASU Now

480-727-5176

ASU professors on U.S. interest in central Europe, Black Sea region


August 26, 2019

In the 70 years since the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty established an international alliance to prevent future devastation like that which was wrought during the First and Second World Wars, threats to the liberal democratic way of life continue — from Russian military occupations to religious conflicts in Turkey to civil unrest in China.

This summer, Paul Carrese, founding director of Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, addressed these and other issues of concern at the Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum in Romania. man standing and talking at a podium Paul Carrese speaks at an event hosted by ASU's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership in January. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now Download Full Image

“Both American leaders and the leaders of the Three Seas InitiativeThe Three Seas Initiative is a forum of 12 states in the European Union, located in Central and Eastern Europe, that aims to create a regional dialogue on a variety of questions affecting the member states. states know that it is in the enlightened self-interest of all the liberal democracies to support each other, globally, in an era of unprecedented global connectedness but also uncertainty and threats,” Carrese said.

The annual forum seeks to enhance the security cooperation as well as political and economic cooperation among a dozen states bordering the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas. Other speakers included distinguished current and former diplomats from greater Europe and the U.S., current and former generals from NATO member states, scholars, institute directors and observers from NATO and the European Union.

Ileana Orlich, President’s Professor of Romanian studies and comparative literature in the School of International Letters and Cultures at ASU, was instrumental in helping to arrange ASU’s involvement in the forum. A native of Romania, Orlich first arrived at ASU as a graduate student in 1977. In 1998 she established the Romanian language program, with only 10 students. Since then, it has expanded into the largest Romanian studies program in the world and the only freestanding Romanian studies program in the U.S. In 2018, Orlich was honored with high distinction by the president of Romania, Klaus Werner Iohannis, for her efforts to promote the Romanian language and national identity abroad.

A group of students poses for a photo in Cluj, Romania.

ASU President's Professor Ileana Orlich (first row, second from right) with the ASU summer study program in Cluj, Romania.

ASU Now asked Carrese and Orlich to provide some insight into the issues currently at play in central Europe and the Black Sea region.

Question: What were some topics of concern at the forum?

Carrese: I addressed the reasons why, as a matter of the grand strategy and foreign policy of these liberal democracies in central Europe, it is a very good idea to pursue a regional initiative on security cooperation and economic development from the Baltics to the Adriatic, including the states on and near the Black Sea. This makes great sense for these dozen or so states in central Europe, making plans for peaceful mutual development among states with shared principles, values, forms of government and market economies. This also is an important initiative given the threatening posture and actions of the Russian government under President Putin against liberal democracies in the region, and against other former states of the Soviet Union, from the Baltic states to Ukraine and Georgia.  

Q: Why should Americans be concerned about security in the region today?

Carrese: Our security and prosperity have immensely benefitted from being the global leader of an alliance of liberal democracies since the 1940s. The U.S. has worked to expand the number and range of our partners in helping to provide for a more peaceful, stable and prosperous world over the past 75 years. NATO and the trans-Atlantic alliance more generally, to include the European Union, are international pillars of this U.S.-led effort to promote liberal democracy, economic prosperity and security that directly benefits America as well as other states and peoples. The Baltic, Black Sea and Adriatic states are members of NATO or the European Union or both. Serious threats to liberal democratic life in these states now are coming not only from the current Russian government but also from the governments of Iran (not very far from this region, especially given its intervention in Syria) and from China; and while China is seemingly far away from central Europe, it is a very large presence in global economic and security issues, including its current support of illiberal or anti-democratic policies of Russian and Iran.

Orlich: The Black Sea and the Bosphorus, which links the Black and Mediterranean seas, is of great strategic importance as a fault line between Western, Orthodox and Islamic civilizations. The rich history of the Black Sea goes back to the old Greek and Roman civilizations, the Byzantine control of the region and the exploits of the Ottoman Empire competing with Tsarist Russia for supremacy. Today’s Black Sea region remains the arena of conflicting interests for superpowers and regional powers. Putin’s Russia is reasserting itself after the collapse of the Soviet Union ended Russia’s time as a superpower. Russia is militarily involved in Ukraine and Syria and has occupied Crimea and strategic areas in Georgia. To counter that threat, the U.S. is emphasizing its relationship with Romania, a strong U.S. ally and member of NATO since 2004 and the European Union since 2007, and reasserting its presence in the Black Sea. Meanwhile, although a longtime member of NATO, Turkey has been moving away from the West and toward the Islamic world, testing its relationship with the U.S. and the European Union. 

Q: How can ASU students benefit from faculty scholarship in this area?

Orlich: The forum, organized by the New Strategy Center based in Bucharest but connected with prestigious universities both in Romania and in the European Union, brings together scholars, high-ranking military personnel and diplomatic representatives to discuss this strategic fault line. ASU students have much to gain from the involvement of faculty at a time when Russia is reasserting itself militarily, Turkey is testing its secular institutions and the U.S. and European Union seek to support the Black Sea democracies born out of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. Covering disciplines ranging from political science to religion, this is a robust academic debate with timely real-world consequences to which ASU can contribute and from which it can gain.

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

High school students study Constitution as they strive to become better citizens


June 27, 2019

More than 60 high school students from Arizona, California and Texas recently spent a week on the Tempe campus at Arizona State University where they studied the Constitution and Abraham Lincoln in the second annual Civic Leadership Institute from the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

The Civic Leadership Institute, hosted June 16-21, is a free program for any high school student interested in learning more about the Constitution and American principles. Led by the school’s faculty, students spent four days studying famous court cases and decisive moments in the Lincoln presidency.  The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership hosted its Civic Leadership Institute June 16-21. Students spent the final day at the camp in a moot court, where they presented and debated famous cases that have appeared in front of the Supreme Court.

The program was split into two separate tracks: Constitutional Rights and Liberties, and Abraham Lincoln and the American Principles. On the final day of the institute, both groups came together to listen to each other perform either moot court — where the students simulated famous U.S. Supreme Court cases about freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, due process of law and equal protection under the law — or cabinet battles between different members of Lincoln’s cabinet on the issues of emancipation, the Civil War and more. 

The students who attended the Civic Leadership Institute recognized how crucial it is to be informed citizens despite the fact many of them cannot vote, yet. 

“In order to be educated citizens when we grow up and vote, it’s important for us to understand the Constitution, the rights it protects and the rights we have,” said Sowmya V., a student at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale.

“If we’re educated and have the knowledge we can go back and share, it makes a much more informed people and public,” said Gustavo C., a Brophy College Preparatory junior. “We can use that information to go out on Election Day and make informed decisions and be better citizens of our country.” 

In addition to the courses, students also had the chance to explore life on the ASU campus, as well. They lived at Barrett, The Honors College’s residence hall, spent time at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex, hiked “A” Mountain and visited the Hayden Library. 

"(The program) gives you really great insight on what life would be like at ASU,” said Lexie S., a student at Veritas Preparatory Academy who also attended last year’s Civic Leadership Institute. “You can see the great teachers and great opportunities, and they talk about the amazing stuff. The campus here is so beautiful.” 

The Civic Leadership Institute is in its second year and has doubled in size in that time. The program began through inspiration from like-minded concepts at the University of Notre Dame, Yale and Princeton in an effort to expose high school students to a Socratic, small-class environment while introducing them to dorm life on a university campus. The first cohort of the Civic Leadership Institute brought together 32 students from Arizona to study the Constitution. 

Manager, Marketing and Communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

480-965-5130

ASU students experience Israel and West Bank to study democracy, leadership, civility


June 21, 2019

Israel and the West Bank offered the latest opportunity for students in The College’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership to grapple with complex political ideas.

Twelve students from Arizona State University visited the region shortly after the end of the spring 2019 semester. The trip represented a first-of-its-kind experience to explore diverse views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, practice service and leadership and reflect on the differences in the democracies of Israel and the United States. School of Civic and Economic Thought Students visited Israel and the West Bank this summer Students from the School of Civic and Economic Thought visited Israel and the West Bank this summer to explore diverse views about Israeli-Palestinian conflict, practice service and leadership and reflect on the differences in the democracies of Israel and the United States. Download Full Image

The nine-day Global Intensive Experience is part of a series of courses in the school about democracies around the world. The course provides three credits toward degrees or minors in civic and economic thought and leadership. The trip challenged the students to assess their own views about justice, democracy, conflict and leadership through a blend of readings, meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and activists and immersive experiences.

"We designed the course so that American students could encounter political polarization and conflict in another liberal democracy, and reflect on our own political polarization so that they might become leaders who contribute to more constructive political and civic activity,” said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. “The blending of service activities with exposure to both Israeli and Palestinian leaders seeks to reinforce a commitment to reasonable disagreement and taking practical steps to resolve competing claims about justice and rights."

Julia Jackman, a biochemistry and global health major planning to graduate in 2021, said the trip gave her an appreciation for the differences between groups in Israel. But rather than being satisfied with what she has seen, she wants to continue to learn more about the region.

“I am more curious than ever and want to hear more perspectives, more facts and more stories from the people who live through this reality every day,” she said.

Jackman also stayed in Israel after the course to undertake an internship supported by the school with the African Refugee Development Center. 

A unique learning opportunity

This immersive course took the students and two ASU faculty to important political, economic and religious sites in Israel and the West Bank, including Tel Aviv, East and West Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho.

The course readings and field components were designed to provide students with a glimpse into the democratic system of Israel and the leadership challenges for a liberal democracy immersed in conflict. Among other experiences, the group shared a Shabbat dinner in a Tel Aviv home, spoke with an imam at the Dome of the Rock/Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, interviewed politicians from across the political spectrum and met with a joint Israeli-Palestinian peace project.

The cohort also visited important sites for both Israeli and Palestinian communities including the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the barrier wall around East Jerusalem, an eighth-century Islamic palace near Jericho and Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial. Conversations with Jewish settlers, Palestinian community organizers, a rabbi with a background in political philosophy and soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces added to the many narratives students were asked to consider.

A public service mission

Each of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership’s Global Intensive Experience courses includes a service component. For this trip, the ASU students and faculty worked with children in a Jewish-Muslim kindergarten and harvested wheat at a Palestinian farm that hosts an educational project about political rights.

After the course concluded, the students were asked to reflect on their deepened understanding of the challenges and rewards of leadership and global awareness in the 21st century, as well as the challenges of being a citizen and leader in a liberal democracy.

“This benefited my educational experience by allowing me to search for answers beyond the American context,” said Justin Heywood, a double major of civic and economic thought and leadership and political science.

“I am more convinced than ever that social connection must be incentivized and encouraged in order to find a solution to this conflict. There will be no peace without trust,” Heywood added.

Discovering other world democracies

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership’s Global Intensive Experiences programs are sponsored in part by the school to make them more accessible for the school’s major and minor students. Last year, students embarked on a 10-day journey to India, where they studied ways in which the nation’s religious, economic and cultural diversity impacts the world’s largest democracy. And in 2021, the school is developing a trip to South Africa to focus on democratic transition.

“I learned a tremendous amount about myself and my opinions through the many discussions and debates we had over the nine days. I was grateful to have been able to get a taste of the country and the ongoing conflict prior to spending the summer in Tel Aviv on my own,” Jackman said. “In the end, I also feel like I gained a much greater appreciation for international relations and perspectives.”

To learn more about the 250-plus study-abroad programs in more than 65 different countries offered at ASU, see the Study Abroad Office website

Manager, Marketing and Communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

480-965-5130

StoryCorps project coming to ASU to promote civil discourse on campus


June 7, 2019

Arizona State University founded the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership in 2017 in part to promote civil discourse and free speech on campus.

In the more than two years since its founding, the school has developed a robust curriculum. It has expanded its academic offerings to include two bachelor's degrees, as well as a minor; expanded its public programs to include nationally renowned and politically diverse speakers from all over the country; and launched several new civic education initiatives to benefit the Arizona community. The school recently celebrated its first graduate, a Dean’s Medalist in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. StoryCorps' One Small Step project is coming to Arizona State University The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership will host StoryCorps’ One Small Step project at the beginning of the fall 2019 semester. Download Full Image

To further its mission, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership will host One Small Step at Arizona State University this August. The project, put together by national nonprofit StoryCorps, will give ASU students the opportunity to have a civil dialogue with other students with different political views.

“We’re happy to be partnered with One Small Step because it complements our curriculum and the broader experience for students, which emphasizes fundamental debate about political and civic affairs,” said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

One Small Step will host a series of 40-minute conversations between pairs of students in August to preserve and record the stories of the ASU community. With permission, StoryCorps will then archive the conversations at the Library of Congress to be preserved for future generations.

“Arizona State University's commitment to engaging with difficult topics with respect and thoughtfulness, specifically through programming hosted by the School for Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, creates the perfect environment for having these types of conversations,” said Roselyn Almonte, manager for community partnerships for One Small Step.

One Small Step is a new project from StoryCorps, which has given over 450,000 people the opportunity to record interviews about their lives and have them preserved in the Library of Congress. The One Small Step project invites people to sit down with people with different political views and have StoryCorps-style conversations in an effort to break down the barriers created by politics.

One Small Step is open to all students from all ASU campuses. To sign up, students will need to fill out a questionnaire by July 19. The questionnaire will help StoryCorps staff to match people for discussion topics.

“We think this strengthens the intellectual foundations for our 21st-century leaders in America and beyond,” Carrese said. “It also strengthens the civic and intellectual fabric of ASU, as well as our broader community.”

One Small Step has held similar programs at other universities across the country, including Berry College in Georgia, Hamilton College in New York and Trinity College in Connecticut. Past recordings have included moving connections between two seemingly opposite people days after the 2016 election

“These conversations are not debates, but a space to learn about the life experiences that have shaped someone's worldview, and share their own, as well,” Almonte added.

Another step forward

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership encourages nonpartisan civil discourse. Through the school’s previous public programs, as well as its upcoming lecture series “Citizenship and Civic Leadership in America,” the school seeks to promote honest conversation about the principles, values and discussions that influence America today.

The school’s curriculum is designed to produce a new class of leaders. Graduates from the school will thrive in public service, journalism, law, business or elected office. Through the discussion of classic, primary texts, as well as hands-on learning through the school’s Global Intensive Experiences and Summer Leadership Institutes, students in civic and economic thought and leadership courses will be prepared to handle tomorrow’s challenges.

Carrese says partnerships like this one with One Small Step will only further the school’s mission of preparing its students. By providing a platform for civil discourse, the school is giving its students a chance to have challenging, yet meaningful conversations with their peers — something they will have to do frequently when they enter their careers and civic life.

“People who want to be leaders in the private or public sector need to be able to hear diverse points of view and respond in a civil and reasonable fashion, accepting that those who disagree with one’s own principles or policies are not always bad people,” Carrese said.

For more information on the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, or the One Small Step program taking place at ASU, contact Joe Martin.

Manager, Marketing and Communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

480-965-5130

Experiential learning: ASU students get jumpstart in Washington, D.C.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Capital Scholars Program gives students an opportunity to work, live in nation's capital


June 4, 2019

Alexandria Maese grew up knowing firsthand how international affairs hit home.

“My dad is a U.S. Army veteran, and so part of the direction I’ve taken has been to try to understand that perspective,” Maese said. “My mom came from Mexico as a student and has always emphasized the importance of school especially, because not everyone has the opportunity — I really took all of that to heart.” Alexandria Maese spent two months in Washington, D.C. as part of the The College's Capital Scholars Program. Alexandria Maese, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science and concurrent minors in Italian and military leadership, spent two months in Washington, D.C., as part of the The College's Capital Scholars Program. Download Full Image

Alexandria Maese, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science and concurrent minors in Italian and military leadership, spent two months in Washington, D.C., as part of the The College's Capital Scholars Program.Alexandria Maese, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science and concurrent minors in Italian and military leadership, spent two months in Washington, D.C., as part of the The College's Capital Scholars Program.

Maese turned that knowledge into action at Arizona State University, declaring a political science major in The College of Liberal Arts and SciencesSchool of Politics and Global Studies, along with minors in Italian and military leadership. Outside the classroom, she interned at the Arizona Democratic Party and volunteered with community service and advocacy projects in the Valley.

By her junior year, she wanted to see how the topics she’d studied played out in real time on Capitol Hill. Scholarship support from The College helped her spend two months in Washington, D.C., as part of the Capital Scholars Program, where she interned with lobbying and consulting firm the Madison Group.

“D.C. was an amazing stepping stone because it made me realize that I wanted to go back to the capital, but not right away,” said Maese, who graduated in May. “Some of the best advice I received was to start by focusing on how I can impact Arizona.”

Finding common ground between local and global issues is no easy feat, but Maese said her experience allowed her to do just that. She spent her senior year as a research intern at Global Ties Arizona, the state wing of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor and Leadership Program.

Experience as a hiring prerequisite

A 2017 study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found some 65% of employers consider field experience when hiring fresh graduates.

The preference is already understood by students — at ASU, almost 50% of undergraduates complete at least one internship before graduating.

Carol McNamara, associate director for public programs at The College’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, said opportunities in the nation’s capital serve as vital platforms for those with public service aspirations.

“There is nothing quite like spending a semester on Capitol Hill for understanding and appreciating the structure of American government, and means by which Americans govern ourselves,” said McNamara, also a senior lecturer at the school. “Students have the opportunity to make themselves a part of that process by engaging with political leaders, their staff and their constituents.”

Funding the future

But living and working in Washington, D.C., comes with its own set of hurdles. Student ambitions can be stymied by the financial strain of balancing a cross-country move with the demanding, and often low-paid, intern schedule. At The College, scholarship funds play a key role in filling the void.

That was the case for Nikki Hinshaw, who studies political science and communication through the School of Politics and Global Studies and Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. Like Maese, funds from The College supported her internship with the Washington, D.C.-based McCain Institute Policy Design Studio in 2018.

Hinshaw spent the semester engulfed in foreign policy courses and international seminars through the program, all while completing an internship at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs.

“Without scholarships, I would not have been able to engage in these unpaid and often costly opportunities,” she said. “I hope that (with the experiences), I’m able to make a bigger impact on my community and give back to others someday as well.”

Matthew Jernstedt, a first-generation student who transferred from Phoenix College, used the McCain Institute Policy Design Studio internship to advance his foreign diplomacy aspirations. With the help of a recommendation letter from lifetime U.S. diplomat and current McCain Institute Senior Director Michael Polt, Jernstedt received the Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship this year.

“I want to use my fellowship to advocate for the representation of first-generation and community college students in foreign policy,” said Jernstedt, who studies political science at The College’s School of Politics and Global Studies. “With great privilege, comes the responsibility to reach out and speak out on behalf of those who are underrepresented and may doubt whether competitive fellowships are even within their reach.”

Multifaceted opportunities

Some 25 students from the School of Politics and Global Studies engage in internships through the McCain Institute and the Capital Scholars Program yearly. But students from other majors also find opportunities there.

Kristy Dohnel, a history major in The College’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, became one of just two national recipients of the Dorothy Andrews Kabis Memorial Internship last month.

The opportunity, which honors former National Federation of Republican Women president Dorothy Andrews Kabis, sends recipients to the organization’s Washington, D.C., headquarters for a summer.

“The internship is vastly unique, covers my living costs, travel expenses and gives weekly stipends — an opportunity that is almost unheard of,” Dohnel said. “Learning how to deal with the hustle and bustle of D.C. is a skill that not many people have, and I am especially excited to hone many new skills.”

Experiences in Washington, D.C., are essential building blocks for students across The College and at ASU at large. Learn more about how you can help sustain opportunities for years to come.

Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

480-965-5870

First graduate of a growing school sets the bar high

Elana Quint will graduate from School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


April 24, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2019 commencement.

Elana Quint grew up asking the big questions. School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Elana Quint. Elana Quint, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership's first graduate, plans to go to Washington, D.C., to study law. Download Full Image

It starts with her family. Originally from the Soviet Union, Quint's mother immigrated to the United States in 1989 with her family. Not knowing a word of English, unfamiliar with customs and without any connections in the United States, they settled in Tucson, where Quint would eventually be born. Her family having come from a country with a turbulent government situation, Quint quickly understood the importance of good governance and the impact the law has on society.

“Ever since I was young, I have had an insatiable curiosity and love of learning. One of the most compelling dimensions of studying philosophy and law is that oftentimes there is not a 'right answer,'" she said.

This May, Quint will graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in civic and economic leadership, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, a minor in business, and as a graduate of Barrett, The Honors College. Quint is also being recognized by The College as a Dean’s Medalist.

Her education won’t stop in May, however. Quint was one of only 24 students selected from around the country to participate in the Hertog Foundation’s seven-week political studies program, where she will study political philosophy, contemporary public affairs, economics and foreign policy. Quint plans to attend law school, clerk in appellate court and go on to a career as a lawyer.

A major milestone

When Quint walks across the stage in May, she will be the first student to graduate from ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, which was founded just over two years ago.

“I carry a great responsibility to both represent the school well and carry on our mission statement,” Quint said. “I strongly believe in the importance of vigorous debate about issues facing our world and that studying great thinkers can provide useful insight as to how we ought to approach them.”

As the first graduate of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Quint sets a high bar of achievement, something Paul Carrese, SCETL’s founding director, hopes other students see as a goal they should strive to.

“We’re delighted that talented students like Elana found us immediately and dove into our regular courses and broader experiential-learning curriculum,” Carrese said. “Our student cohort grows with each semester, and we think the school’s approach to developing students as leaders will continue to attract new students from various parts of the university who want to invest in a broader preparation for service in whatever career or life path they might choose.”

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership also will have several students graduate with a minor in civic and economic thought and leadership.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: My academic interest in studying philosophy began my freshman year of high school when I joined the speech and debate team and has only grown since.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: ASU has an incredibly diverse student population. Some of the most profound moments in my personal and intellectual growth resulted from my discussions after classes with my peers who may be considered nontraditional students. I do not think I would have these experiences were I to study at another university.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU to stay close to home — but not too close.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: At the end of my sophomore year I took a course with the theatre department in Acting Fundamentals. Dan Tobin taught me that we should take our life experiences and use it to connect more deeply with others. When he taught us how to act, he emphasized the importance of given circumstances so every moment we spent on stage would be a genuine and authentic expression of emotion.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Seek activities that push your thinking outside your comfort zone; take the remainder of the time you have in college to gain as many new experiences as you can.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: The theater building, but generally the entire northwest artsy corner of campus.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation I will move to Washington, D.C., to study law.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?  

A: I would put $40 million dollars to solve substance abuse, such as drug and alcohol abuse. Addiction can take a terrible toll on families, which are our core social institutions.

Manager, Marketing and Communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

480-965-5130

School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership forms advisory board


April 16, 2019

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University has formed a National Board of Counselors to advise the school on its mission to develop a new understanding of America’s civic principles and to help foster a vigorous and civil discourse.

The National Board of Counselors, which held its first meeting in March at ASU’s Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center in Washington, D.C., will also work with the school’s Center for Political Thought and Leadership. These national and civic leaders are committed to: ASU's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership forms National Board of Counselors The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership's National Board of Counselors. Download Full Image

  • Improving civil discourse and constructive disagreement in our democracy.

  • Increasing America’s engagement in and learning about the fundamental civic principles that should inform robust debate on political and economic issues.

The school is still actively recruiting additional board members.The following distinguished public servants and civic leaders have joined the bipartisan project:

Co-chairs:

  • Kathleen Kennedy Townsend — former lieutenant governor of Maryland.

  • Jon Kyl — former U.S. representative and senator from Arizona.

Members:

  • Dan Cardinali — president and CEO, Independent Sector.

  • Ron Christie — former special assistant for domestic policy to President George W. Bush.

  • Grady Gammage Jr. — senior research fellow, ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

  • Tom Gentzel — executive director and CEO, National School Boards Association.

  • Rich Lowry — editor in chief, “The National Review.”

  • Donald Graham — former publisher, “The Washington Post.”

  • Marc Morial — president, National Urban League.

  • Anna Tovar — Mayor of Tolleson, Arizona and former state legislator.

Arizona State University launched the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership in 2017 to develop new leadership and engagement on political civility, education in our fundamental civic principles, and rigorous open discussions on economic and policy issues. The school, with special funding from Arizona’s Legislature and governor, seeks to play a major leadership role in developing new understanding of and commitments to America’s civic principles; fostering vigorous yet civil discourse; and turning America’s current polarized politics toward a more effective liberal democracy in the 21st century.  

More information on the school and its Center for Political Thought and Leadership is available at scetl.asu.edu. For more information on the National Board of Counselors, please reach out to Joe Martin, marketing and communications manager at the School for Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

Manager, Marketing and Communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

480-965-5130

 
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The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recognizes academic excellence with spring 2019 Dean’s Medalists

April 15, 2019

On Tuesday, May 7, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will recognize its highest achieving students from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities at its 2019 convocation ceremony.

Each department and school within The College has selected a phenomenal student who has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to academic excellence during their time at ASU.

These students will be awarded a prestigious Dean’s Medal in honor of their achievements, to be worn with their graduation regalia as they lead their fellow graduates during the processional.

Meet this year’s Dean’s Medalists in The College:

Portrait of School of Politics and Global Studies spring 2019 Dean's Medalist, Alexandria Paterson

Alexandria Paterson
Dean’s Medal: School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Major: Asia studies
Minor: Political science
Certificate: Korean studies

Paterson became interested in pan-Asian studies and culture early on.

She traveled to China through a National Security Language Initiative youth scholarship in high school, and spent her senior year in South Korea as an exchange student.

The experience allowed her to go directly into advanced Korean language courses upon arriving at ASU.

“Allie is a highly articulate and knowledgeable young person,” said Tracy Fessenden, the interim director of the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. “Her achievement exemplifies the mission of the Asia studies major.” 

American Indian Studies program spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Alexander Soto.

Alexander Soto
Dean’s Medal: American Indian Studies
Major: American Indian Studies
Certificate: American Indian Nation Governance

When he first came to ASU as an undergraduate back in 2010, Soto made a mark on American Indian Studies faculty members right away.

“When I met Alex, his rap group, Shining Soul, was gaining traction and his growing awareness and commitment to social justice issues were evident in his lyrics and creative process,” said Michelle Hale, an assistant professor in the program.

With powerful messages about indigenous pride, culture, history and identity, Soto’s group has garnered national fame producing music Hale said resonates with Native American youth in the Phoenix area and beyond.

Soto returned to finish his undergraduate studies after briefly leaving ASU to pursue other ventures in Arizona. Under Hale’s direction as the program’s internship coordinator, he is currently working with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to bolster infrastructure and community access to information in both the nation’s tribal and elementary school library.

He also inspires others inside the classroom, said David Martinez, an associate professor in Soto’s program.

“Alex’s written assignments and comments during class discussions make clear that what students are learning in their AISAmerican Indian Studies program has real-world application to the American Indian community, on and off the reservation, from academia to politics and social science.”

 Department of English spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Chandler Fritz.

Chandler Fritz
Dean’s Medal: Department of English
Majors: English, philosophy

In addition to completing concurrent degrees from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, dual English and philosophy major Chandler Fritz is also a student at Barrett, The Honors College at ASU.

During his time on campus, he completed a short story collection entitled, “Paraprosdokian” for his honors thesis project, assisted on several research projects through his philosophy focus and received funding through the President’s Scholarship for academic excellence.

Fritz was also active outside the classroom. A study abroad program sent him to Haiti, where he planned and taught English courses to local children displaced or orphaned by the country’s devastating earthquake in 2010. In Arizona, he worked as a teaching assistant in a juvenile prison through ASU’s prison education program, which aims to give youth inmates bolstered access to educational opportunities upon their release.

Department of English chair and Professor Krista Ratcliffe said it is that blend of academic and practical aspirations that earned Fritz the Dean’s Medal.

“While he aspires to a PhD, Chandler Fritz remains committed to taking his academic knowledge and making it work in the real world,” she said. 

School of International Letters and Cultures spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Rachel Hill.

Rachel Hill
Dean’s Medal:  School of International Letters and Cultures
Major: Spanish literature

Faculty members in the School of International Letters and Cultures describe Hill as being a natural leader capable of breaking down complex discussions with classmates and navigating controversial topics with ease.

Melding literature studies with a passion for social justice, she aims to create nuanced solutions to pressing social issues in Latin America by viewing classic texts through a modern lens.  

Hill is currently enrolled in The College’s 4+1 program, an initiative allowing students to accelerate certain master’s programs by taking on graduate courses as undergraduates. Emil Volek, a Spanish professor at the School of International Letters and Cultures, said Hill’s ability to juggle the heavy course load and family commitments is another aspect that sets her apart.

“Rachel did an outstanding job in my class in 2016, but her classmates and I were truly amazed when she returned to present the summary of her final paper with her 4-day-old baby,” she said. “Indeed, as the mother of three young children, her undergraduate GPA is amazing and she has done extremely well so far in her 4+1 graduate courses.”

Hugh Downs School of Human Communication spring 3019 Dean's Medalist Robert Tovar.

Robert Tovar
Dean’s Medal: Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Majors: Communication, family and human development

Faculty members describe Tovar as being highly proficient in both academic pursuits and professional development endeavors.

In addition to coursework involved in his dual majors, he completed a communication internship with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where he tracked news coverage of the group, researched funding opportunities and produced communication materials showcasing the California professional group’s efforts.

He worked as a research assistant in ASU’s Between Two Worlds lab, a facility exploring how people from mixed backgrounds navigate cultural identities in the U.S.

As a teaching assistant, he assisted younger students in the development of their own research projects, and helped new students get settled on campus as a customer service representative for University Housing.

Barbara DeDecker, an academic success coordinator with the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, said Tovar’s mix of community engagement and personal growth is what earned him the Dean’s Medal for the school.

“Robert is an exceptional student and has maintained a strong focus on academics during his time at ASU,” he said. “Because of that, and all the ways he has given back to ASU, we’re proud for him to receive the Dean’s Medal.” 

T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Shanna Passey.

Shanna Passey
Dean’s Medal: T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Major: Family and human development

For as long as Passey can remember, she’s wanted to find ways to help families and young people.

After transferring to ASU from Chandler-Gilbert Community College, she put her passion to use by immersing herself in coursework and working directly with communities.

As a behavioral health technician with Arizona Youth and Family Services, Passey spent two years counseling at-risk youth and helping to support families working to build resilient homes and relationships.

Bolstered by the tools she gathered in the field and in her classes, Passey hopes to continue within a similar role after graduation.

“Shanna truly exemplifies the type of student we are proud to call our Dean’s Medalist and alumna,” said Stacie Foster, the undergraduate director of programs for the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamic. “We are certain she will make a difference in the lives of children and families who are in need.”

School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Elana Quint.

Elana Quint
Dean’s Medal: School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership
Majors: Civic and economic thought and leadership, philosophy

As the first Dean’s Medalist chosen by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, faculty members say Quint is an exemplary student who has excelled under the demands of concurrent majors and as a student in Barrett, The Honors College.

“Elana has never stopped challenging herself to seek new opportunities in both traditional academic coursework and exceptional learning experiences,” said Paul Carrese, a professor and the founding director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

In addition to her coursework, Quint held research assistantships spanning several ASU units, including the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society’s Global Security Initiative and the Biodesign Institute, among others. She is also a recipient of ASU’s President’s Scholarship and Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law’s Project Excellence Scholarship.

School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Rosemary Huck.

Rosemary Huck
Dean’s Medal: School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Major: Geography
Minors: History, sustainability
Certificates: Geographical information science

From analyzing desert plants to managing a full course load as a student-athlete, Huck is praised by faculty members for being a multifaceted student who transcends traditional boundaries.

Outside the classroom, she assists with environmental data and engages with fellow students as an intern for the climate-focused initiative, Defend our Future.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Huck came to ASU as an athlete playing for the ASU women’s water polo team and has been an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee throughout her time in Arizona.

Ronald Dorn, a professor in the School of Geographic Sciences and Urban Planning, said Huck’s ability to grasp difficult geographic concepts quickly while managing a packed schedule as both an athlete and a student played a key role in her nomination.

“We all know the amount of time and dedication it takes to perform as an athlete at the highest levels,” said Dorn, who is also the associate director of the school’s undergraduate programs. “Thus (all of her contributions) speak mountains about her character.” 

School of Human Evolution and Social Change spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Dean Blumenfeld.

Dean Blumenfeld
Dean’s Medal: School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Majors: Anthropology, geography

Pursuing concurrent degrees in anthropology and geography, Blumenfeld’s accomplishments at The College have been far-reaching and diverse.

As an investigator with the Northern Basin of Mexico Historic Ecological Project, he led excavations and cataloged artifacts at the Los Mogotes archaeological site in central Mexico. In Arizona, he studied ancient plant samples from Mesoamerica and the Carribean, and compiled geographical data as a research consultant for NASA DEVELOP.

In spring 2017, Blumenfeld bolstered his Spanish language skills and cultural knowledge during a study abroad program in Spain. He is also the current president of the Undergraduate Anthropology Association and is completing an honors thesis focused on archeology as a student in Barrett, The Honors College.

“Dean is an excellent student who has developed critical skills as an independent researcher,” said Carita Harrell, assistant director of academic services for the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. “He is an anthropology rock star and has really made the most of his time here at ASU.” 

School of Social Transformation spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Emily Morris.

Emily Morris
Dean’s Medal: School of Social Transformation
Majors: Justice studies, women and gender studies
Minor: Media analysis
Certificate: Socio-legal studies

Morris became interested in social justice early in her career at ASU, and used the next few years of study to drive her passion forward and empower others.

At the School of Social Transformation, she assisted faculty members in creating a two-week justice-studies course for The College’s Early Start program, which helps new students transition to college life with short-term classes ahead of their first semester. She also helped organize the Clothesline Project, an annual showcase bringing awareness to sexual violence and completed a sexual violence prevention training to become a peer educator.

Outside ASU, she helped prepare incarcerated people for reintegrating into society as an intern for Reinventing Reentry, and served as a Planned Parenthood intern with the Latino-focused Raíz program.

“Emily has been an extremely active member of the Sun Devil community,” said Bryan Brayboy, the interim director of the School of Social Transformation. “She plans to continue to make a difference through her activism with Planned Parenthood and would like to assist students as an academic adviser in the future.”

School of Transborder Studies spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Erika Galindo.

Erika Galindo
Dean’s Medal: School of Transborder Studies
Majors: Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, justice studies
Certificate: Socio-legal studies

Galindo is a passionate student whose activities on and off campus are in preparation for a future career in law. 

A former CLAS Student Leader, Galindo traveled to Washington, D.C., to represent the School of Transborder Studies in a national conference through the nonprofit organization UnidosUS.

Galindo’s most recent venture is a research associateship for a project examining migrant asylum processes with Angela Arzubiaga, an associate professor in the School of Social Transformation.

A dedicated student inside and outside the classroom, faculty members across the school praised Galindo’s commitment to her studies and far-reaching potential.

“Erika excelled in class,” said Maria Cruz-Torres, an associate professor in the School of Transborder Studies. “She is smart, thoughtful and hard-working, and deserves the high recognition (of the Dean’s Medal).” 

Department of Economics spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Brian Sweeney.

Brian Sweeney
Dean’s Medal: Department of Economics
Majors: Economics, applied mathematics

Serving as a research assistant in faculty-led projects and as a mentor to fellow undergraduate students, Sweeney is recognized by faculty for his ability to navigate a complex course load as a student in Barrett, The Honors College.

His research has earned him a wide range of accolades, including the Mathematics Undergraduate Research Award from ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts. His work within that realm included a mathematical modeling project exploring how nutritional changes among honeybees impact colony survival and the division of tasks and a similar project looking at how the insects are affected by the use of pesticides.

Faculty members praised his handling of the rigorous combination of high-level math and economic courses throughout his time on campus.

“Brian’s academic record is outstanding and all the more noteworthy since he has taken some of the university’s most challenging courses,” said Jose Mendez, the chair of the awards committee in the Department of Economics. 

School of Life Sciences spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Sierra Murphy.

Sierra Murphy
Dean’s Medal: School of Life Sciences
Majors: Mathematics, chemistry, biological sciences

Murphy is described by her instructors as being an outstanding, insightful student whose passion for science landed her in a triple major — by accident.

“Sierra is one of the most exceptional students I’ve ever known,” said Benjamin Hurlbut, an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences. “Loading up semester after semester with things she loves, she found she had something very close to a triple major, so she went ahead and finished out the last few remaining requirements (for a triple major in math, chemistry and biology).”

As an undergraduate research assistant, she worked in the lab of professor Stephen Johnson, where she played a large role in the facility’s tests to to find a cancer vaccine. Two forthcoming research papers will have her name attached.

Murphy has also made contributions outside the classroom. She is currently giving back to ASU by mentoring her fellow students as a residential assistant at Barrett, The Honors College, and as a peer mentor for the ASU Disability Resource Center.

Upon graduation, Murphy is eyeing medical school. 

School of Molecular Sciences spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Zoe Liberman-Martin

Zoe Liberman-Martin
Dean’ Medal: School of Molecular Sciences
Major: Chemistry
Minor: Mathematics

Liberman-Martin exited high school planning to become a professional musician. But after earning her associate degree in music and working as an EMT, she landed at ASU.

With graduation around the corner, faculty members praise Liberman-Martin’s natural curiosity, analytical ability and enthusiasm.

“Zoe has demonstrated uncommon initiative for a student at her level by pursuing a range of internal and extracurricular research activities,” said Anne Jones, an associate professor in the School of Molecular Sciences and the school’s associate director of academic affairs.

In 2018, she spent the summer as a research fellow at the University of Georgia’s Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry. Working toward an honors thesis as a student at Barrett, The Honors College, she also worked in the Levitus Lab under School of Molecular Sciences associate professor Andrew Chizmeshya.

Upon graduation, she plans to use her varied research, music and medical background to pursue a career in materials manufacturing. 

 School of Earth and Space Exploration spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Gabriela Huckabee.

Gabriela Huckabee
Dean’s Medal: School of Earth and Space Exploration
Major: Astrophysics

Huckabee is a National Merit Scholar, Sundial Physics Scholar and the recipient of a joint ASU-NASA space grant fellowship supporting undergraduate students working with research faculty mentors.

She has also helped usher younger students into science disciplines as a learning assistant with The College’s physics department, and as a high school tutor with Akari Tutoring.

She is currently a research assistant in ASU’s Cosmology Initiative, which aims to bring the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Department of Physics together to produce groundbreaking planetary and space research.

“Compounding the impressive nature of Gabby’s academic performance is the fact that she completed her degree in only three years, took more classes than required and always sought out opportunities to expand her knowledge,” said Jennifer Patience, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. “She is highly motivated to apply her keen intellect to a range of research projects.”

Department of Physics spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Weiqing Xu.

Weiqing Xu
Dean’s Medal: Department of Physics
Majors: Physics, mathematics

Xu is described by faculty as an engaged student with an exceptional aptitude for physics theory.

“Weiqing is among the top three undergraduate students I can remember between the time I myself was a physics undergraduate at UC Berkeley,” said Richard Kirian, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics.

Kirian said Xu would frequently come to his office with new ideas about the topics discussed in his lectures.

“He would write out an alternative mathematical derivation of a lecture topic that may be compared to that of PhD students,” he said. “Only in cases of extreme talent does a student develop such thoughts during the course of an hour-long undergraduate-level lecture.”

A fluent Chinese and English speaker, Xu was also an enthusiastic teaching assistant who was happy to break down complex topics for other students.

School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences spring 2019 Dean's Medalist David Ackerman.

David Ackerman
Dean’s Medal: School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Major: Computational mathematical sciences
Minor: Astronomy

Ackerman participated in a range of research projects spanning biochemistry, astronomy and scientific modeling during his time at ASU.

School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences President’s Professor Matthias Kawski, who also serves as the chair of the school’s awards committee, said Ackerman’s combination of research, contributions to the program and impressive academic record are what earned him the Dean’s Medal honor.

“David’s cumulative, math and minor GPA are astronomical,” he said. “In addition to his outstanding classwork, he has participated in research projects … and community service projects.”

During an internship with aerospace technology firm Orbital ATK/Northrop Grumman, Ackerman collected data for the firm and helped develop community projects including elementary school robotics competitions and playground renovations. He plans to accept a full-time position with the company after graduation.

Department of Psychology spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Edit "Libby" Villalobos.

Edit “Libby” Villalobos
Dean’s Medal: Department of Psychology
Major: Psychology

While at ASU, Villalobos engaged in projects addressing mental health issues among homeless populations, helping local youth find healthy outlets for trauma and assisting refugee populations in the Phoenix area.

She is the recipient of the department’s Smith Marshall Scholar award and ASU’s Polly Harsh Stone Memorial Scholarship, among others.

After transferring to ASU from a community college, Villalobos spent two years working on research teams including the Arizona Twin Project, Refugee Women’s Health Clinic and resiliency lab of Suniya Luthar, a Foundation Professor in the Department of Psychology.

Mary Davis, the associate chair of the Department of Psychology and a professor in the school, said Villalobos has made major contributions to a project examining how culture impacts parenting styles and child development.

Faculty members across the department praised Villalobos, a first-generation college student, for her commitment to developing research with the ability to help children and adolescents overcome trauma.

With a passion for law and psychology, she hopes to go into a clinical position in which her research has a real-world impact by informing court proceedings.

School of Politics and Global Studies spring 2019 Dean's Medalist Mia Armstrong.

Mia Armstrong
Dean's Medal: School of Politics and Global Studies
Majors: Global studies, journalism and mass communication

Armstrong is a Flinn Foundation Scholar and a student in Barrett, The Honors College who is known for her drive and willingness to explore new arenas.

“Demonstrating initiative is one of Mia’s trademarks, particularly in the areas of leadership and public service,” said Richard Herrera, an associate professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies and the associate director of undergraduate.

Amstrong made headlines at ASU even before becoming a student, when she and her father embarked on a 235-mile bike ride from their Flagstaff home to the Tempe campus the summer before her freshman year.

The momentum continued into the spring semester of that year, when she was nominated for the School of Politics and Global Studies Junior Fellows research program. Within that role, she worked with Professor Carolyn Warner, also the school’s associate director of graduate, on a study that examined the handling of sexual assault allegations in the military and Catholic church.

Armstrong has spent the last four years creating her own headlines as a student journalist. Most recently, she won a journalism competition to cover global poverty and social justice issues alongside New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff.

Writer , The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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