Alumni Association welcomes 30 Medallion Scholars, debuts new 'Sparky' plate video

April 25, 2013

The Arizona State University Alumni Association recently welcomed 30 incoming ASU freshmen into the Medallion Scholarship Program, the Alumni Association’s signature scholarship initiative that incorporates components of leadership, scholarship and service. The scholars were honored with a dinner at Old Main on the Tempe campus on April 24, an event that also featured the debut of a new video featuring ASU’s official collegiate license plate, which funds the scholarship.

Medallion Scholars receive four-year, renewable scholarships of $3,000 annually, provided they actively participate in a mentorship program, contribute volunteer hours to the Alumni Association, maintain a satisfactory grade point average, and remain in good standing as an ASU undergraduate. Medallion Scholarship Program recipients Download Full Image

This year’s class of Medallion Scholars, who are projected to graduate in 2017, includes:

•    Amina Aden, Marcos de Niza High School, Tempe
•    Alexandra Arnieri, Red Mountain High School, Mesa
•    Megan Baker, Arcadia High School, Phoenix
•    Mariah Brown, Cibola High School, Yuma
•    Brooklyn Castellanos, Boulder Creek High School, Anthem
•    Morgan Dick, Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix
•    Brenan Edwards, Ironwood Ridge High School, Oro Valley
•    Blanca Encinas, Willow Canyon High School, Surprise
•    Kelsey Files, Seton Catholic Preparatory High School, Chandler
•    Erica Garcia, Highland High School, Gilbert
•    Hunter Hinton, Prescott High School, Prescott
•    Zachary Kopecky, Higley High School, Gilbert
•    Sonia Malek, Tempe Preparatory Academy, Tempe
•    Havell Matkus, Bioscience High School, Phoenix
•    Samantha Muller, Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix
•    Brianna Osman, Hamilton High School, Chandler
•    Victoria Ramsey, Sandra Day O'Connor High School, Phoenix
•    Brandy Reed, Dobson High School, Mesa
•    Jennie Rhiner, Arizona School for the Arts, Phoenix
•    Alan Rodriguez, Carl Hayden Community High School, Phoenix
•    Jelissa Ruis, University High School, Tucson
•    Lauren Schaecher, Arcadia High School, Phoenix
•    Samantha Siers, Estrella Mountain High School, Avondale
•    Kevin Spillman, Prescott High School, Prescott
•    Jason St. Clair, Antelope Union High School, Wellton
•    Emma Li Thompson, Foothills Academy, Scottsdale
•    Tanguy Toulouse, Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix
•    Sarah Whetzel, Willow Canyon High School, Surprise
•    Thomas Whitten, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
•    Taylor Wiley, Sunnyslope High School, Phoenix

More than 100 students currently receive the scholarship. During the most recent academic year, Medallion scholars received $300,000 in financial support, most of it coming from individual donations and from a portion of license plate fees paid to the state of Arizona. Vehicle owners with a “Sparky” plate – ASU’s official collegiate license plate issued by the state Motor Vehicle Division – pay $25 annually for their plates, and $17 from each license plate sold supports the Medallion Scholarship Program.

A new video for Sparky license plates debuted at the April 24 dinner. Produced in collaboration with ASU’s Parking and Transit Services, the 55-second video features the Sparky the Sun Devil mascot, current ASU students, alumni and a very enthusiastic Sun Devil dog. The commercial can be viewed online at the Sparky plate web page at  

Reconstituted in 2006, the Medallion Scholarship Program was born out of the Alumni Association’s previous Medallion of Merit Scholarship. The original scholarship program traced its beginnings to the 1960s and provided merit-based financial assistance to thousands of students from across the state.

For more information on the Medallion Scholarship Program, visit To learn more about the "Sparky" plate program or purchase a plate, visit

Vice Provost Simon awarded Fulbright to study in South Korea

April 25, 2013

ASU's Vice Provost for International Strategic Initiatives, Denis Fred Simon, has been chosen to receive a Fulbright Award for specialized study in South Korea. The award is designed for senior academic administrators with an internationally focused job portfolio.

Simon will travel to different cities and universities across South Korea to study best practices in university internationalization. As part of a team of eight Americans and eight South Koreans, Simon will spend two intensive weeks sharing experiences and exchanging ideas in June. Denis Fred Simon Download Full Image

As a frequent visitor to Northeast Asia throughout his career, Simon first traveled to South Korea in 1978 and has been engaged in collaboration with Korean scholars and think tanks on numerous occasions. 

While his primary academic specialty is focused on Greater China and his main foreign language is Mandarin Chinese, Simon has written several articles about South Korea's science and technology policy. He was involved in the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea through a combination of Asian sports and “electronics” industry diplomacy when the two countries still did not have formal diplomatic contacts. With Simon's aid, they used the Asian Games as an informal mechanism to begin discussing meaningful cooperation as well as trade and investment relations in consumer electronics.

“The timing of this Fulbright Fellowship awarded to Vice-Provost Simon could not be better as ASU has had South Korea on its radar for a long time in terms of greater engagement regarding student recruitment, research collaboration and scholarly exchanges,” said Elizabeth Phillips, University Provost and Executive Vice President.

Simon plans to use his time to not only learn more about the South Korean higher education system, but also to forge long-term institutional partnerships and alliances with key academic and research institutions. 

“At ASU, we continue to strive to be globally engaged and my hope is that we can make South Korea one of the important components of ASU's international network of strong partners," Simon said. "South Korea already has demonstrated that it is committed to the idea of global connectivity. Thus, it is natural for ASU to have a strong presence across many fields and disciplines.”

According to the fall 2012 report on enrollment, ASU has a total of 310 students studying at the university from South Korea.