Two ASU professors selected as American Association of Geographers Fellows

January 31, 2019

In preparation for its annual meeting, the American Association of Geographers has named its 2019 Fellows. Included in this year’s honors are two from Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning: Anthony Brazel and Martin Pasqualetti.

In 2018, the American Association of Geographers created the Fellows to recognize geographers who have made significant contributions to advancing the field of geography. Beyond the recognition, those selected as Fellows serve the AAG in creating and contributing to key initiatives, advising on strategic directions and mentoring early and mid-career faculty. Anthony Brazel (left) and Martin Pasqualetti of Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning have been selected to serve as American Association of Geographers Fellows, a testament to their contributions to the field of geography. Download Full Image

Being named an AAG Fellow adds another accolade to a long career of impactful work in the realm of urban climatology for Brazel. A professor emeritus in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Brazel was selected as an AAG Fellow due to his impressive scholarly record. He has also dedicated his time in service to both research scientists and the public as the state climatologist of Arizona and director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy.

Among his list of accolades are the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science’s Outstanding Service Award, the Helmut E. Landsberg Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Association of American Geographers Climate Specialty Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award and being named a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science.

A dedicated researcher and educator, Brazel shared his passion for climatology with undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the 20 doctoral students he mentored.

During his career, Brazel authored more than 150 research articles and reports, including publishing twice in Nature and three times in Science. 

“These and other influential works represent major advances in understanding urban climate in desert environments,” said the AAG in their announcement of the Brazel’s selection.  

Joining Brazel in the 2019 Fellows is Pasqualetti, a professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Pasqualetti, an acclaimed energy geographer, has produced groundbreaking research in the field, especially the geographies of nuclear power and renewable energy landscapes including geothermal, wind and solar power.

Pasqualetti has a long history of public service, including serving as chair of Arizona’s Solar Energy Advisory Council, co-authoring the Energy Emergency Response Plan and Master Energy Plan for the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, and serving on both the advisory board of the European Conference of the Landscape Research Group and the Coalition for Action of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Pasqualetti has also provided his knowledge and talents in contributing and serving as co-editor for several books, including "The Ashgate Companion to Energy Geography," "Wind Power in View" and "The Evolving Landscape: Homer Aschmann’s Geography." These books and his more than 100 research articles and reports have led to invitations to address international conferences and to advise public agencies including the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy and the United Kingdom’s Central Electricity Generating Board.

Arizona State University and the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning are well represented within the AAG Fellows. Brazel and Pasqualetti join Patricia Gober, a research professor and former director of the school, who was selected to the inaugural class of AAG Fellows in 2018.

Brazel and Pasqualetti will be honored as members of the 2019 class of Fellows during the AAG’s annual meeting in April.

Megan Martin

Manager, Marketing and Communication, School of Human Evolution and Social Change


ASU student puts global studies major into action

January 31, 2019

As a global studies and linguistics double major, senior Karina Alonso has grown accustomed to learning about the world through her classes, her textbooks and her professors at Arizona State University. However, before graduation this May, Alonso flew to Thailand to spend a semester getting a more hands-on education where she could see the things she has learned in Tempe play out in real life.

Like all global studies majors, Alonso’s degree requires that she goes on one study abroad experience. Though studying abroad may appear daunting at first, it exposes students to new ways of life and helps them grow as individuals. This proved to be the case for Alonso. ASU global studies major Karina Alonso ASU global studies major Karina Alonso spent a semester in Thailand. Download Full Image

“I chose Thailand to challenge myself within a culture I knew nothing about,” she said. “This was also the first time I had ever lived on my own since I’ve always commuted from my parents' home since freshman year, so experiencing this level of freedom firsthand was something I’ve never done before.”

More than anything, Alonso experienced this freedom in the way her classes were set up. Rather than confining students to the classroom, Alonso’s teachers incorporated numerous field trips. When learning about Buddhism, one of Thailand’s primary religions, Alonso visited temples. She even went on a meditation retreat led by local monks.

“Having the ability to apply what we’re learning in class to real life was truly an extraordinary experience,” Alonso said.

Alonso’s field-based education wasn’t limited to urban areas. One memorable experience was a three-day hiking trip that took her through the vast jungles and rolling hills of Thailand. In addition to seeing bamboo and elephants, she had the opportunity to visit with hill tribes, whose remote location allowed them to develop a culture and way of life completely independent from the rest of Thailand. In spite of their isolated location, Alonso was able to find cultural common ground with these individuals.

“In a way, I felt more at home with the hill tribes because a lot of their beliefs and lifestyles are similar to my grandparents’ way of life,” shared Alonso. “My family is from a village in southwestern Mexico, so it was really interesting to see just how similar it was to a community on the other side of the world.”

Even if it wasn’t planned into a field trip, Alonso and her classmates were out and about participating in the community. For Alonso, who has been training for a TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate, this meant teaching English to university students in Thailand. Knowing how difficult it can be to learn English, she found all sorts of ways to make the class entertaining for her students, using role-playing exercises and even short skits to learn simple phrases. Apparently, Alonso wasn’t the only one to enjoy the class time.

“After class they told me that this was not only the most fun they had ever had in their English class, but that they felt like they actually learned a lot that day,” Alonso said. “As a teacher, that’s one of the best compliments I could ever receive, and I’m now even more reassured that this is what I want to do.”

Though Alonso’s experiences helped her grow academically and strengthened her desire to teach, above all else, she said her semester changed the way she lives her life. Regardless of the class she was attending or the field trip she was going on, Alonso constantly heard the phrase, “mai-bpen-rai,” which roughly translates to “it’s no problem.” To Alonso, this was emblematic of the way in which locals take life as it is and understand that whatever happens is meant to be.

“I used to be that person that would outline every single detail of their life. I knew what I would be doing a day from now just as well as a year from now. Thanks to this experience, I learned to break free from that and truly let life just happen.”

To learn more about the 250-plus study-abroad programs in more than 65 countries offered at ASU, see the Study Abroad Office website. And attend various events to learn more about programs and scholarships.

Student Assistant for Recruiting and Marketing, School of Politics and Global Studies