The plot thickens for annual writing, design contest

Tempe contest co-sponsored by ASU expands to all of Maricopa County and will award cash prizes for first time

November 26, 2018

The annual Tempe Writing and Cover Design contest, now in its fifth year, again invites ASU students from all majors and campuses in metropolitan Phoenix to submit their creative work for review, with submissions accepted online Jan. 7–Feb. 18. 

Writers (high school age and above) are encouraged to submit an original, unpublished work in either poetry, short fiction or creative nonfiction (including essays and memoir). Budding graphic artists (age 14 and above) are invited to prepare a color cover design for the 2019 issue of Tempe Writers Forum, the publication that shares the winning entries.  Sheet of paper in typewriter with first line of a poem The fifth annual Tempe Writing and Cover Design Contest, co-sponsored by ASU, will accept online submissions of poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction and cover designs from Jan. 7–Feb. 18. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now Download Full Image

“This year there are a couple of added plot twists,” said Jeanne Hanrahan, director of community outreach in ASU’s University College. Hanrahan co-launched the contest in 2015 with Tempe Public Library adult-services librarian Jill Brenner. 

Wanting to encourage even more submissions, the contest has busted out geographically, expanding its reach to include teens and adults living in Maricopa County rather than just Tempe residents and Tempe Library cardholders, she explained. 

“Also, thanks to the generosity of Friends of the Tempe Library, this year a $50 prize will be awarded to all winners,” Hanrahan said.

In each writing genre a winner will be chosen for the three entry categories: high school student, college student (undergraduate or graduate) and community adult.

Contest winners — in addition to having their work published in Volume 5 of the Tempe Writers Forum and on the library’s website — will be celebrated at a reception at the Tempe Public Library on April 3. 

Hanrahan and Brenner agree that the growing excitement about — and attendance at — the contest’s recognition reception over the years has been an unexpected delight.

“Our focus from the start has been on encouraging writers, celebrating writing and creative expression, and building community around that,” said Brenner. “It’s been really wonderful to see contest winners, runners-up and participants attend with an entourage of friends and multi-generations of family members to cheer them on as they read their work or to enjoy the works of others.

“A number of the contest judges, volunteers from ASU’s creative writing community in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Department of English, also regularly attend,” she added. “It’s become quite an event in and of itself!” 

Full contest submission guidelines, as well as past issues of Tempe Writers Forum and the works of writers receiving honorable mention, can be found at the Tempe Public Library website

For additional questions, contact Jeanne Hanrahan, director of community outreach in University College, at 480-727-0707 or

Maureen Roen

Director, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


ASU alumna works her way up to become CEO of Special Olympics Arizona

November 26, 2018

The Special Olympics Arizona board of directors named Jamie Heckerman the president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit this fall. Heckerman is an alumna of Arizona State University's School of Community Resources and Development, where she majored in therapeutic recreation.

“I am thrilled to hear of Jamie’s appointment to president and CEO of Special Olympics Arizona because of her tireless commitment to empowering children and adults to experience the joy of sport,” said Kelly Ramella, coordinator of ASU's therapeutic recreation program. “It is a source of pride for the ASU therapeutic recreation program to know that one of our alumni has had and will continue to have a positive influence on the accessibility of sport for all and improvement of health in Arizona.” Jaime Heckerman Jamie Heckerman. Download Full Image

Heckerman earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Arizona. But the wheelchair basketball player gave it up after working with Special Olympics in Tucson. She found her calling and came to Phoenix to study therapeutic recreation at the School of Community Resources and Development.

“In therapeutic recreation, you work with so many different types of populations of people or groups of people,” Heckerman said. “I work with (an) intellectually disabled population and I really enjoy it.”

Heckerman understands the important role sports can play in the lives of people who otherwise may not be seen as athletes.

“You know, I was born with a disability. I was born with spina bifida, so I'm a full-time wheelchair user,” Heckerman said. “I got engaged in sport at a very young age, I played wheelchair basketball and got a scholarship to go to the U of A.”

She also wants to give back. She credits recreation therapists with opening the door for her.

“So it's working with a group of people that have a disability. And they're looking to not necessarily overcome it, but be a part of their community in any way that they can and act as a normal, everyday citizen, and that's what we're allowing them to do through therapeutic recreation,” Heckerman said. “Maybe it's getting them back out in the community to go out with friends, go see a movie. What we can do to make those things easier for them."

Heckerman worked in adaptive sports for the city of Peoria after graduating in 2009, which allowed her to remain involved with Special Olympics. She later joined the organization as a sports manager working with athletes and coaches. Heckerman worked her way up through a number of positions until she was called upon to serve as interim CEO earlier this year.

Jaime Heckerman at a Special Olympics flag football game

Jamie Heckerman at a Special Olympics Arizona flag football game. As the president and CEO, she oversees athletics events for more than 25,000 athletes.

“Jamie’s proven record of success in Special Olympics Arizona will ensure that our more than 25,000 athletes and almost 23,000 volunteers will have a strong leader to advocate for them moving forward,” said Peoria Police commander Douglas Steele, board chair of Special Olympics Arizona.

Heckerman will be tasked with expanding the organization’s programs, moving the location of its headquarters, and increasing the number of athletes and volunteers.

“Being able to see this organization grow and stay on the same track that we were on in terms of growth and program development is tremendous,” Heckerman said. “Personally, I get to grow as an individual. I get to increase my leadership skills and I get to meet new people and work with donors and development.”

She is also mentoring a new generation of public service leaders.

"Jamie serves as a role model for many young professionals and students and has given me an opportunity to achieve my personal goals," said Angelica Raya, a student intern from the School of Community Resources and Development. "I know that her office is always open, and (she) will always have our best interest in mind." 

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions