Embracing ambiguity: Why predictive metrics aren't helping

ASU alum shares how he learned to embrace the unknown during a TED-Ed talk

March 5, 2020

Last year, Arizona State University alumnus Shawn Loescher presented his TED-Ed talk at the TEDSummit in Edinburgh, Scotland. Loescher, CEO of Urban Discovery Schools, was one of just 16 extraordinary innovators worldwide recognized by the TED-Ed Innovative Educator program for his leadership in advancing education.

Loescher, a graduate of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, leads Urban Discovery Schools, an inner-city pre-K–12 school system that embraces a design thinking-based curriculum developed with student input.  man talking to camera Shawn Loescher Download Full Image

Loescher’s talk, “Embrace ambiguity! Why predictive metrics aren't helping,” recounts how the tumultuous experience of his child being born prematurely taught him to embrace ambiguity. 

In the neonatal intensive care unit, each new diagnosis from a specialist came with a predictive metric for his child’s future.

“Let me tell you, it has been wrong more times than not," he said. “I was reminded how not to confuse statistical probability with human possibility,” he said.

Meghan Krein

Copywriter, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College


ASU music theater and opera alumna returns to ASU Gammage

March 5, 2020

Arizona State University School of Music alumna Caelan Creaser returns to ASU to represent the "Frozen" North American Tour.

Creaser, who earned a bachelor's degree in musical theater and a minor in communication last year, will perform a song from "Frozen" on March 16 at ASU Gammage’s Gammy and Jerry Awards Dinner and Broadway Season announcement event. Caelan Creaser Caelan Creaser Download Full Image

Creaser is making her national tour debut in the "Frozen" North American Tour as the understudy for Elsa and a member of the ensemble. She has performed the role of Elsa at least seven times while on tour, including at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles and the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, and will perform the role at an announcement event in Las Vegas.

“The training I received in the ASU musical theater department prepared me for my career as a professional performer,” Creaser said. “My amazing voice teacher, Carole FitzPatrick, helped train me to be a smart singer. Through voice lessons with her, I have learned how to keep my instrument healthy and strong enough to withstand performing eight or nine shows a week.”

Creaser also credits the ASU music theater program and Opera New York City Showcase for connecting her with New York talent agency Bloc Agency. While in New York, she received appointments and callbacks for at least two national tours that were auditioning.

“The talent agent at the ASU New York Showcase knew that the 'Frozen' tour was looking for an understudy for Elsa who could also sing and dance in the ensemble,” said FitzPatrick, associate professor in the ASU School of Music. “When he heard Caelan perform, he arranged for her to audition and after a few more auditions she received the news that she was selected for the role of ensemble and Elsa understudy in the 'Frozen' North American Tour.”

Creaser also acknowledges the acting and dance classes at ASU that helped prepare her for what auditions and callbacks might be like in New York and pushed her to strengthen her abilities daily in singing, dancing and acting. 

“My ASU professors — Carole FitzPatrick, Robbie Harper, Dale Dreyfoos, Brian DeMaris and Molly Lajoie to name a few — truly changed my life,” Creaser said. “They challenged me every day in class to work harder and become a truly well-rounded performer and artist.”

Brian DeMaris, associate professor and artistic director of music theater and opera in the ASU School of Music, also worked with Creaser when he was director of opera and musical theater at Ithaca College in New York, where Creaser attended before she transferred to ASU.

“Caelan was one of those few students who you knew from the moment you meet them that they were going to have a career no matter what,” he said. “There was really no other way about it.”

Creaser said her love of musical theater began at age 4 when she saw her first musical, “The Wizard of Oz,” and she leaned over and whispered to her mother, “I’m gonna be Dorothy on stage someday.”

Since that moment, she has not stopped performing in musicals, concerts and recitals.

Creaser in Legally Blonde

Creaser performs in "Legally Blonde."

Creaser said her favorite show memory was playing Elle Woods in the ASU Music Theatre and Opera’s production of “Legally Blonde” her junior year at ASU. Other favorite experiences while at ASU include performing at the Phoenix Theatre Company in “Jersey Boys” and “Newsies” and in Arizona Broadway Theatre and Hale Theatre Center productions.

The best advice she would give others who want to be a professional actor is always to be willing to learn and grow.  She said she still pushes herself by taking dance classes, voice lessons and teaching master classes. While at ASU, Creaser studied voice with FitzPatrick, and she has continued lessons with her via Skype while on tour.

“The theater industry is constantly evolving and as a part of that industry, you must also be an artist who is evolving and adapting to your surroundings,” Creaser said. “It is important to remember who you are and to keep your integrity and your beliefs, and be kind to everyone you meet because it's a tough enough industry to be in.”

Creaser said she is not sure how long she will be on the "Frozen" tour but whenever she is ready for a change, her plans include officially moving to New York to pursue her lifelong dream of performing on a Broadway stage.

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music, Dance and Theatre