Arizona Republic sports columnist joins ASU Cronkite School

January 4, 2017

Paola Boivin, the award-winning sports columnist for the Arizona Republic, is joining Arizona State University to teach in the expanding sports journalism programs at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Boivin will join the Cronkite faculty at a time of significant growth and interest in sports media. The school launched sports journalism degree programs on the master’s and bachelor’s levels in 2015 and also runs summer sports journalism camps for high school students. Paola Boivin Paola Boivin, the award-winning sports columnist for The Arizona Republic, is joining the Cronkite School as part of its growing sports journalism programs. Photo by David Wallace Download Full Image

“Paola is not only an in-depth, thoughtful and insightful sports journalist and commentator, but an excellent teacher and a wonderful role model for the many women we have at ASU interested in careers in sports media,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School. “She is a fantastic addition to our growing team of top-flight sports journalism faculty.”

Boivin, who taught part-time at the school this past year, will join a growing cadre of sports specialists on the full-time Cronkite faculty, including Douglas Anderson, the former dean of the College of Communications at Penn State University; Sada Reed, a former sports reporter; Brett Kurland, a former sports producer who runs the Cronkite News sports bureau in Phoenix; and Tom Feuer, a former sports producer in Los Angeles who runs Cronkite’s sports bureau in Santa Monica, California.

Part-time Cronkite faculty specializing in sports media include former USA Today national sports reporter Greg Boeck; Josh Rawitch, Arizona Diamondbacks senior vice president for communications; Mark Dalton, Arizona Cardinals vice president for media relations; and former Detroit Free Press baseball writer John Lowe.

“I felt an immediate connection when I walked through the doors of the Cronkite School,” Boivin said. “The marriage of committed students, top-notch faculty and state-of-the-art facilities creates an exhilarating environment and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Boivin represents the school’s multiplatform approach to journalism in the digital age. In addition to her duties as one of the Arizona Republic’s main sports columnists, she appears weekly on sports radio, has done extensive reporting for 12 News, shoots and edits video on her mobile phone for and engages audiences on various social media platforms.

“For more than 20 years, Paola has shared her incredible talent with the readers of the Arizona Republic and,” said Nicole Carroll, editor and vice president of news of the Arizona Republic and “She’s a columnist equally skilled at hard-hitting commentary as insightful game analysis. But she’s often said that she’s most drawn to the human stories, giving voice to the longshots, the underdogs. We’ve been fortunate to have Paola on our team. Now, she’ll be guiding the next generation of sports journalists at ASU. We’re happy for her — and for them.”

Boivin joined the Arizona Republic in 1994. Before becoming a regular columnist, she covered sports beats, including ASU football and basketball.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Boivin was a sports talk show host at KMPC radio in Los Angeles and a columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News before joining the Arizona Republic. Earlier in her career she was a sports editor at the Camarillo (California) Daily News.

She has won numerous awards from Associated Press Sports Editors and National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. She also served as president of the Association for Women in Sports Media in 2001.

NASA approves mission that includes ASU-designed, -built thermal emission spectrometer

Voyage will explore asteroids that scientists hope will detail history of solar system

January 4, 2017

NASA has approved a mission to explore asteroids that scientists — including Arizona State University researchers behind a key component — hope will reveal details about the earliest history of the solar system.    

The Lucy mission will carry an ASU-designed and -developed thermal emission spectrometer, which will measure surface temperatures on each asteroid the spacecraft visits, said Philip Christensen of the university’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. The Thermal Emission Spectrometer for the Lucy mission will be a close copy of the OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer, seen here under construction in the cleanroom on the Tempe campus. Its task in the Lucy mission will be to measure surface temperatures of primitive asteroids as a way of determining their physical properties. Photo by Philip Christensen/ASU Download Full Image

"I'm really excited about this instrument, the third to be built here at SESE," said Christensen, thermal emission spectrometer designer and principal investigator.

The device continues a growing tradition of hands-on engineering for exploration that has become hallmark of the school, said Christensen, Regents' Professor of geological sciences.

The announcement Wednesday came as NASA also selected for development an ASU-led mission to a metallic asteroid.

Both projects were approved through NASA's Discovery Program, a series of cost-capped exploratory missions into the solar system.

The Lucy mission was named for the iconic fossil skeleton, since it will investigate a particular collection of primitive asteroids that scientists hope may uncover fossils of planetary formation.

Its flight plan calls for a 2021 launch. Among the potential targets for an extended mission is asteroid 52246 Donaldjohanson, named for the discoverer of the Lucy fossil and director of ASU's Institute of Human Origins in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

"With each new mission, we're expanding the types of solar system objects we're studying here at ASU."

— Philip Christensen, ASU Regents' Professor of geological sciences

Originating at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the mission is under the direction of principal investigator Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute.

The target objects for the Lucy mission are asteroids that have never before been studied at close range. These minor planets circle the sun at same distance as Jupiter, roughly five times farther out than Earth, and in the same 12-year orbit as Jupiter. Through a quirk of orbital dynamics, they remain caught in two swarms, one leading and one trailing Jupiter as it orbits the sun.

The first of these asteroids was discovered in 1906 and named for the Greek warrior Achilles from Homer's epic poem "The Iliad."

As more asteroids were discovered in similar orbits, astronomers started naming them after Homeric Greek and Trojan warriors. Those with Greek names orbit ahead of Jupiter, the Trojan-named ones orbit behind. Collectively, however, both groups are called Trojans, and there are now nearly 6,200 known asteroids in Trojan orbits with Jupiter.

The mission should arrive among the Trojans in 2027 and visit six asteroids by 2033.

Because Jupiter's Trojan asteroids orbit far from the sun, they all have very cold surfaces. The role in the mission for TES, Christensen said, is to measure temperatures with great precision all over each asteroid that the Lucy spacecraft visits. 

"By mapping how temperatures vary by the local time of day," Christensen explained, "we can map the surface properties of these previously unknown objects."

That will help planetary scientists decipher their histories and how they have changed since the solar system's early days.

"With each new mission," Christensen said, "we're expanding the types of solar system objects we're studying here are ASU."

Robert Burnham

Science writer, School of Earth and Space Exploration