ASU School of Molecular Sciences recognizes outstanding students, instructors, faculty

April 17, 2018

On Monday, April 16, Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences held its annual award and recognition ceremony for outstanding students, research and teaching assistants, faculty members and their families at Old Main on ASU's Tempe campus.

The ceremony recognized undergraduate and graduate students who excelled in academics and research, distinguished instructors and faculty, and spring 2018 doctoral and master's degree graduates. Awards were presented by faculty members selected by each recipient, and presenters took the opportunity to highlight the many accomplishments of their respective students. 2018 SMS Award Recipients The 2018 SMS award and scholarship recipients. Download Full Image

This year, the School of Molecular Sciences introduced several new scholarships, including the John Holloway Memorial Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships, the Edward B. Skibo Memorial Scholarship, and the forthcoming School of Molecular Sciences Innovation Award. In addition, the school announced the inaugural recipients of its Women in Science and First Generation Scholarships.

Many important donors and their families, peers, and colleagues of professors with named endowments were in attendance to help celebrate these amazing students. The school welcomed Kay Krause, daughter of Therald Moeller; former unit chair Bill Glaunsinger who presented the John Holloway Memorial Scholarships and the new School of Molecular Sciences Innovation Award; Helen Rosen, John Holloway’s wife; YuJung Skibo and Eddie Skibo, Edward B. Skibo’s wife and son; and Randy Hughes and Ted Garrett from the Arizona Society for Coatings Technology. Another special guest was Linda Raish, director of development for the natural sciences in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who has been central to the successful establishment of School of Molecular Sciences scholarships.   

In total, eight achievement awards and nine scholarships were presented to the most talented and deserving undergraduate students from the school's more than 1,200 chemistry and biochemistry majors. The fall 2017 and spring 2018 Dean's Medal winners were also recognized. Additionally, this year’s School of Molecular Sciences award winners included two recipients of the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Accomplished graduate students also were celebrated, with presentation of graduate awards including the John Kacoyannakis Award, the LeRoy Eyring Memorial Fellowship in Chemistry, the George Yuen Memorial Award, the inaugural John Holloway Memorial Graduate Scholarship, and Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant and Distinguished Teaching Assistant awards. The Distinguished Instructor and Student Associates of the American Chemical Society Distinction of Merit and Scholastic Occupation Faculty Teaching Awards were also presented.

These awards and scholarships are very important to the success of the students at SMS, because they recognize the talent and hard work of the recipients, and also provide financial support that allows students to focus on their learning and academic progress.

“I am very honored to be the first recipient of the SMS Women in Science Scholarship. Receiving this award has made me reflect on the gender disparity in STEM and the importance of my success as a female scientist," said Madeleine Howell, who received both the inaugural Women in Science Scholarship and the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry Undergraduate Award. "This has motivated me to work even harder to achieve my academic and career goals, so that one day I may be a role model for other aspiring female chemists. I believe that supporting the achievements of women in science is critical to increasing female representation in STEM and it is inspiring to be a part of a school that recognizes this. I would not be where I am today without the generous support of the School and the SMS faculty.” 

Learn more about School of Molecular Sciences scholarships.

View photos of awardees, presenting faculty, and donors and families.

Full list of award and scholarship recipients:

George M. Bateman Memorial Scholarship: Rebecca Avila

Therald Moeller Scholarship: Kiko Rex

Wayne W. Luchsinger Chemistry Scholarship: Tyler Rockwood

John Holloway Memorial Scholarship (Undergraduate): Adam Akkad

Edward B. Skibo Memorial Scholarship: Julia Torline

Arizona Society for Coatings Technology Scholarship: Martin DeWitt

School of Molecular Sciences Scholarship: Juliett Zeidas

School of Molecular Sciences Women in Science Scholarship: Madeleine Howell

School of Molecular Sciences First Generation Scholarship: Joseph Ripsam

SAACS Organic Achievement Award: Uma Vrudhula

ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Undergraduate Award: Zoe Liberman-Martin

ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Award: Yvonne Manjarrez

ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Undergraduate Award: Lily Wayne

ACS Division of Physical Chemistry Undergraduate Award: Madeleine Howell

Royal Society of Chemistry Certificate of Excellence: Sai Kottapalli

Distinguished Chemistry Merit Award: Victoria Hernandez

Distinguished Chemistry Merit Award: Jacob Perez

Distinguished Biochemistry Merit Award: Alexandria Layton

Dean’s Medal, Fall 2017: Jonathan Vie

Dean’s Medal, Spring 2018: Logan Tegler

Barry Goldwater Scholarship: Meilin Zhu

Barry Goldwater Scholarship: Humza Zubair

John Kacoyannakis Award: Manas Mondal

LeRoy Eyring Memorial Fellowship in Chemistry: Diana Khusnutdinova

George Yuen Memorial Award: Ahmed Yousaf

John Holloway Memorial Scholarship (Graduate): Apar Prasad

Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant Award: Yinnan Chen, Dai Hyun Kim, Duo Ma, Brian Wadsworth, Garrett Williams

Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award: Shanika Abeysooriya, Rafael Alcala-Torano, William Asma, Kenny Barker, James Geiger, Yameng Liu, Tara MacCulloch, Corey Miles, Shayesteh Roshdi-Ferdosi, Raymond Seibel, Stephanie Thibert

Distinguished Instructor Award: Marely Tejeda Ferrari

Distinction of Merit and Scholastic Occupation (DMSO) Teaching Award: Timothy Steimle

intern, School of Molecular Sciences

Webinar with Cronkite School and Mexican think tank explores today's turbulent journalism field

ASU Professor Len Downie and renowned Mexican journalist Carlos Bravo Regidor discussed the state of their field

April 17, 2018

Want to understand why it’s a turbulent time for journalism? Look around in Mexico and the United States.

In Mexico, reporters must cover corruption, organized crime, an election year, and a surge in anti-establishment sentiment — all amid an alarming rise in threats and attacks to their lives and livelihoods. Mexico has been called by journalism advocacy groups “the most dangerous place to be a reporter in the entire Western Hemisphere.” Download Full Image

In the U.S., the press faces less dire threats. But upheavals such as the disruption to ad-based revenue models, the fracturing of audiences into media niches and bubbles, the decline and consolidation of local news coverage, the rise in speed and scale of fake news, eroding credibility, and, of course, the routine lashing out at the press by those in high office, also have a way of feeling like existential threats.

These aren’t just problems for the media, they’re dangers for democracy. And they’re the tough issues that Leonard Downie, former executive editor of the Washington Post and a Weil Family Professor at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Carlos Bravo Regidor, a renowned Mexican journalist and coordinator of the journalism program at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) tackled in a live webinar last week co-hosted by ASU’s Convergence Lab program of events in Mexico City and COMEXI, Mexico’s leading foreign policy think tank.

For Downie, who saw investigative journalism grow to be seen as an essential function of the U.S. media during his 44 years at the Washington Post, his biggest concerns lie with countries where threats to journalists mean this kind of aggressive accountability reporting can’t take root. He said we need to draw as much attention as possible to the governments, including Mexico’s, actively cracking down on the press or willing to turn a blind eye to attacks on reporters. The Mexican government, starting with the president, needs to make it clear this is wrong, and that this is a high priority, because, he said, “it’s a disgrace.”

Downie expressed optimism for the continued health of investigative journalism in the U.S., however. He praised the high-caliber reporting holding Trump administration officials accountable and the delving into the Russia probe from journalists at the New York Times and the Washington Post. He also believes the growth in readership and paid subscriptions seen by both publications since Trump’s election is a sign that audiences are willing to step in to support news, and fill the holes in the media’s business model created by eroding advertising dollars.

Downie also pointed to the expansion of other types of news media such as nonprofits, public radio stations, and the university-supported student reporting seen at Cronkite and its news service as examples of ventures that will be needed to ensure robust journalism can help shore up democracy in all communities.

Yet, as Bravo Regidor noted, it’s not just about producing quality journalism. It’s also about getting the public to engage with it. He noted that Arthur Miller once said, “a good newspaper is … a nation talking to itself,” and went on to ask what happens when citizens only get news from outlets that confirm their own bias? And what happens if they only focus on the more entertaining coverage, or, as is the problem with the scandal-fatigued public on both sides of the border today, tune it out entirely?

Downie agreed that is the timely, difficult question, and that fact-based news media needs to be as vigorous and transparent as possible — and open to reacting to criticism when they’re wrong — to build public interest and public trust. For example, he said he’s noticed that the Washington Post reporters no longer just write that their investigative stories rely on “confidential sources inside the White House,” but instead will instead get specific, “12 confidential sources, who include people who work in the White House and people outside the White House who they’re talking to.” The president and others may say that those stories are “fake news,” but it’s harder for him to convince people of that with that level of transparency and detail backing them up.

Considering the changes in media and politics that have made journalism so turbulent in recent years, the news coverage of elections in both Mexico and the United States this year will likely prove a telling test of the press and the public. In the U.S., where a volatile electorate will vote on an unusually high number of open Congressional seats in November, it’s a question of whether the news media will fall back on the perennial horse race-style of coverage — casting it as a who’s-up-and-who’s-down referendum on President Trump — or whether journalists will report on the underlying issues that are making this race so competitive, and that helped elect Trump in the first place.

In Mexico, says Bravo Regidor, the press also needs to report beyond the “horse race” and polls. With all the issues contributing to the surge in anti-establishment sentiment that has helped leftist former Mexico City Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador take a commanding lead and a dubious decision by the country’s election tribunal to put a disallowed independent candidate back on the ballot, Bravo Regidor said the media should be focusing less on the horse race and polls, and more on the continuing shortfalls of the country’s democratic process. 

Watch the full webinar.

Article by Kirsten Berg, senior editor, ASU Office of University Affairs