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Community inspires student growth, success at ASU Herberger Institute

Herberger Institute season provides opportunities for ASU students.
August 16, 2017

2017–18 season of events gives students opportunity to become better designers and artists

Her sophomore year, Anissa Griego served as the assistant director and choreographer for the Lyric Opera Theatre student production of “Grease.” It was one of the greatest challenges of her life, onstage or off.

“I personally struggled through the process and battled with disappointment in myself,” said Greigo, a senior musical theater student in Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

But then she ran into someone who had seen the show. 

“She told me she never particularly liked ‘Grease’ as a show, but she had so much fun with our specific production, the actors and everything, that she really enjoyed it,” Griego said. “That meant so much to me. The real heart of our show was the blood, sweat and tears our crew put in, the patience and talent of our actors, and just simply, the love for what we do. It was reassuring to know that an audience member could leave with that, and they had so much fun nothing else mattered.”

Not only did Griego  play a part in providing a unique cultural experience for this audience member, but she also learned a lot from that production — something she wouldn’t have been able to do without an audience.

Attending a performance or an exhibition at the Herberger Institute is more than just seeing a show — it's helping students become better designers and artists, and preparing them to be the changemakers and cultural catalyst of tomorrow. For Herberger Institute students, practicing their craft in a laboratory environment and performing and sharing their work with an audience in the world-class venues at ASU is part of their educational experience, and the audience members are participating in that education every time they attend a show or visit an exhibition.

This fall the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts launches another season and, with it, the chance for the surrounding community to play a critical role in the lives of young designers and artists. 

Lily Montgomery says that as an art student at ASU, the opportunity to exhibit work in ASU art galleries gives her an advantage.

“I know plenty of well-known art schools where graduating MFA students don't get a solo show because they don't have the space,” Montgomery said. “It's an incredible advantage. As a post-MFA student, applying for any high-profile residency or research opportunity requires you to have an impressive CV of both solo and group shows. It puts ASU students ahead of the game if they use the opportunities wisely.”

Montgomery also finds the School of Art exhibitions valuable to her education because they provide her the chance to flex her curatorial skills.

“Curating is a skill that, like any profession, you have to learn,” she said. Montgomery has curated two shows in ASU galleries, including “Good Wonder,” which is part of the Herberger Institute’s 2017–18 season of events and opens later this month in Gallery 100.

“This showcasing and sharing is central to our pedagogical philosophy,” said Kimberlee Swisher, a lecturer in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

Swisher says when digital culture students present their projects at the end of each semester during the Digital Cultural Showcase, feedback from the community of people who could be using that work in the future is critical. And that’s not the only benefit students get from sharing their work.

“There is another more hidden benefit, too,” she said. “When students know they are going to share their work, they are compelled during the creation process to think about their work from multiple perspectives other than their own. This means that their perspective is shifted during the development process towards thinking about how they will present and describe their work to the audience at the showcase.”

For students involved with performing arts events, including musicians, actors, dancers and those working behind the scenes, the Herberger Institute’s concerts, theater productions and dance showcases allow them to hone their skills.

“It's a way of having a fresh perspective, and almost like a chance to test out and put forward everything that has been polished in classes with professors,” Griego said. “Getting to have an audience not only puts my education and studies to the test, but clarifies that this is what I want and am meant to be doing.”

Visit for a full listing of season events, and create your own season from the hundreds of events on offer. Patrons who buy tickets to three or more performing arts events before Sept. 15 save 25 percent on the total price.

Top photo: “Distance // Cloudlight” is a piece created by School of Art graduate student Lily Montgomery. Montgomery has curated an art show for the Herberger Institute’s 2017–18 season of events. (Courtesy photo)

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator , Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


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Law student brings ultimate people skills to ASU

August 16, 2017

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles of fall 2017 incoming ASU students.

Leah Tsinajinnie’s travels as a club member of the USA Ultimate Frisbee team has allowed her to see the world and make friends around the globe.

“Ultimate Frisbee is unique because if you play the sport or are part of the community, you can have an instant connection with someone else across the world,” said Tsinajinnie, who graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in business administration in 2013.

“Everybody has a similar mind-set when they play the sport, so they feel connected.”

The 27-year-old Oakland native is hoping to make those same connections while at ASU.

In fact, she’s already off to a good start. A few months ago when Tsinajinnie visited ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus for the first time, she was given a personalized tour by Kate Rosier, director of ASU’s Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

“Walking around campus and getting to talk to a few people, everyone seemed so genuine,” Tsinajinnie said. “I could tell that I was going to fit in.”

Tsinajinnie brings a diverse range of perspectives — she’s half Navajo and half Filipino. She also lived the Middle East for 10 months as part of an Ultimate Peace fellowship program that uses the frisbee to bring youth from different cultures together.

Before Tsinajinnie hits the law books, we spoke to her about her new journey.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: When I visited the campus I was very impressed by how welcoming Kate Rosier was. She’s the director of the Indian Legal Program and offered me and my sister a personalized tour of the campus. The facilities are amazing.

Q: What drew you to your major?

A: I’ve always been interested in helping people. Understanding the legal system and knowing how it works is the most concrete way I can help people.

Q: What are you most excited to experience in your first semester?

A: I’m most excited about meeting the professors. I visited one class, and the professor was very interesting and made the subject fun.

Q: What do you like to brag about to your friends about ASU?

A: I like to brag on the law school because people don’t really understand how good it is. I’ve been telling everyone it’s a top 25-ranked school, eighth among public schools. I don’t have to go to an Ivy League school to get an equivalent education. I’ll get that at ASU Law.  

Q: What talents and skills are you bringing to the ASU community?

A: I have a lot of leadership skills. I’ve spoken in front of many large groups, been captains of teams before, and I’m very comfortable leading a group of people. I have a unique viewpoint given that I’m Navajo and Filipino. I’m able to give a unique perspective while understanding at the same time there are other perspectives, bringing people in and making them feel as if they are included.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show right now?

A: One hundred percent “Broad City.”

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your college years?

A: I hope to have a variety of experiences regarding the law, and particularly get experience in Native American Indian law.

Q: What’s a fact about yourself that only your friends know?

A: I might have to get back to you on that …

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve a problem in our world, what would you choose?

A: Well, $40 million is not a lot of money, but if I had that much I’d probably use it towards a literacy programs for kids and adults.

Q: What’s your prediction for this year’s Territorial Cup?

A: Let’s say 38-31, ASU. 

Top photo: Incoming ASU Law student Leah Tsinajinnie (photographed at the Beus Center for Law and Society on the Downtown Phoenix campus Wednesday) has competed as a club member of the USA Ultimate Frisbee team. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now