Since April, I have taken nearly 25,000 pictures for ASU Now. As with any photographer, there were some that were out of focus, others that just missed the peak moment. But some were just right: compelling, moving, fun. They're the ones that tell the story of Arizona State University — its learners, its lessons, its leaders and its victories. This is a quick look at the New American University through my viewfinder.
Some students take a non-traditional route to ASU. Cindy Wong had a career as a paralegal, then took time off for her two daughters, Raven (left), 10 and Sofia, 8. Now is her time to pursue a degree from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, with the full support of the girls and her husband, Ramiro.
Making a commitment to ASU is a commitment for the whole family. Skylar Mason jokes with her brother Kody, 11, as she moves into Taylor Place in downtown Phoenix on Aug. 14. Skylar and her father had been in a horrific auto accident about a year before; only she survived. She moved from Tucson to be a Barrett honors scholar studying journalism.
They share bonds, both familial and professional. Christina Dugan followed her mother, Deborah Sedillo Dugan, into journalism after graduating in 2013 from the Cronkite School. The younger Dugan works in Los Angeles for People magazine, while her mom is the station manager at PHXTV for the City of Phoenix.
Juan Oliveras is thriving on the energy he gets from the vibraphone as he and around 820 ASU Marching Band members and alumni create music during the Homecoming halftime game Nov. 14, where ASU defeated the University of Washington 27-17.
Disney, ASU Police Department's explosives-detection Labrador retriever, steals a kiss while posing for a selfie with Grace Cienfuegos and the K-9's handler, Det. Parker Dunwoody during the department's first-ever citizens academy. Cienfuegos is a senior in criminal justice and hopes to work with the Phoenix Police Department's K-9 unit.
ASU Now is telling the yearlong story of a group of gearheads who are building a Formula-style race car mostly from scratch to compete against teams from other universities at a national competition in Nebraska in June. Here, chassis builders measure the chrome-moly tubes as they near completion of the frame.
When you think of the university, you think of classes, and there are a lot of them throughout the calendar year. Instructor Adam Hoffman listens to sophomore Tyler Pollard in his ENG 102: First Year Composition course during summer school.
In his second career, Robin Lane, a forensics student, prepares and examines samples of pollens he has collected as part of his research using pollens and spores in forensics in his makeshift lab on the West campus. The presence or absence of area pollens can help crime investigators. Lane graduated in December and is now working on a master's degree in pollen forensics.
This year we are telling the stories of what it is like to be a freshman at ASU. One of the students, Eric Arellano, makes a to-do list about seven hours into the 36-hour Hacks for Humanity. The computing science freshman will help with the building and presentation of the team's PowerPoint demonstration of a liver transplant service.
Part of the freshman experience includes hanging out with friends. Mia Armstrong samples some of Eric Arellano's fixings as they and five friends from the Barrett, The Honors College congregate for late-night snacks at the Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt shop across the street from their residence hall. The students gather there Wednesday nights wearing pajamas to receive a discount.
Naval veteran and full-time student Kayla Colon makes faces for her 3½-week-old daughter Tatiana Sophia Colon as she eats dinner with her family at their Chandler home. Colon met her husband, Eddie, while serving aboard an aircraft carrier. The transition to civilian and student life didn't come without its challenges.
Friends hold hands during the United Fantasy Flight to the North Pole, aka Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Sixty ASU student-athletes and other volunteers made the 20th annual event a success for more than 100 disadvantaged children by giving them their first flight on an airplane, personal time with Santa, gifts and activities.
Three-year-old Cain Mendoza doesn't hold back his emotions as he pleads for the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot to shoot a ball to him as students from Sossaman Middle School show off their robot with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College preschoolers. The middle schoolers are enrolled in a robotics class and are members of the school's STEM club.
Another student we're following through his freshman year is an automotive engineering student from China. Here, Shuo Zhang plays the role of a living-dead runner in the Polypocalypse Zombie Run on the Polytechnic campus. Zhang joined around 25 other zombies chasing 125 runners through segments on a 1.5-mile loop around the campus.
After seven years photographing Tucson and 23 years covering the Valley, I finally got to cover the state's collegiate football civil war, culminating with the Sun Devils hoisting the reclaimed Territorial Cup on Nov. 21. The Sun Devils soundly won the fight for bragging rights against the UA Wildcats, 52-37.
Sun Devil spirit flies high: Air Force C/CAPT Brayden Boswell, a senior in nursing, celebrates ASU's first touchdown during the ASU-Oregon football game's Salute to Service at Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 29. During Salute to Service, ASU honors veterans and active military in a monthlong celebration.
Look into the faces of the cheerleaders and you can see the story of the game. Sun Devils Spirit Squad's Jolanie Martinez reacts to an fourth-quarter interception run in for a touchdown as the Sun Devils fight against the University of Arizona Wildcats at Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 21. Martinez is a junior in broadcast journalism.
Of all the graduations at ASU — and there are a lot — one of the nicest is the Nursing and Health Innovation Convocation ceremony, which begins at the school and proceeds to the Phoenix Convention Center, with the students walking the city streets in their graduation finery.
Graduations are about students and their families celebrating the conclusion of years of dedication, sacrifice and hard work. For a fortunate few, earning a doctorate is that pinnacle. Law professor Rhett Larson hoods Todd Gee during ASU's Spring 2015 Graduate Commencement program. Gee earned his Juris Doctorate degree.