ASU global health alum named Gates Cambridge Scholar

February 20, 2015

Arizona State University alum Blake Thomson has been named one of 40 Gates Cambridge Scholars from the U.S. The scholarship will support Thomson’s master’s-level study of epidemiology at the University of Cambridge beginning in the fall.

Thomson graduated from ASU in 2013 with an undergraduate degree in global health before moving on to a post-bachelor fellowship at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. He plans to eventually attend medical school – and was accepted while still a junior – but is putting that on hold to gain a wide knowledgebase regarding the many components of global health. Download Full Image

His ultimate career goal is to hold a position with a nonprofit or an academic institution wherein he can help affect healthcare policy and programming.

During his time at Cambridge, he will focus on diabetes and hypertension.

“In much of the developing world, we don’t have a strong sense of where the pathway to care breaks down for these diseases – whether it’s a lack of access, financial barriers to medication adherence, or clinical mismanagement of disease,” Thomson said. “My hope is that, by improving our understanding of these diseases in their local contexts, we can improve and extend the lives of those in need.”

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship Program originated from a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest single bequest to a university in the United Kingdom. Scholars are chosen for their social commitment along with their academic excellence.

While a student in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Thomson was an Alumni Association Outstanding Social Science Graduate and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalist. He has a long history of community service, including volunteering at Phoenix’s St. Joseph’s Hospital and acting as a driving force of Vive Peru, a nonprofit designed to match Peruvian communities with self-sustaining aid programs.

Rebecca Howe

Communications Specialist, School of Human Evolution and Social Change


Engineering in spotlight at Night of the Open Door

February 23, 2015

How can you see heat? How can you get a balloon to rise 100,000 feet? How can you detect the germs that are all around you?

Want the answers to those questions and many others like them? Night of Open Door engineering Download Full Image

You can get them from about 200 students, faculty and staff members of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Night of the Open Door. The fun-filled, family-oriented event takes place from 4 to 9 p.m., Feb. 28, at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. 

University researchers and members of student organizations will conduct hands-on activities and demonstrations showing how engineering impacts our everyday lives.

You’ll see how solar cells can generate power to charge your cell phone – and how to build and race a small solar car made with LEGO building blocks.

Members of Daedalus Astronautics will open up their workshop to exhibit endeavors in rocketry. The student-directed research group ASCEND will showcase its efforts in designing and building high-altitude helium balloons.

Explore what amazing things are being made possible by 3-D printing technology and the advances in medical technology such as biosensors and other devices that promise to improve health care.

Learn from members of the Sun Devil Robotics club what new robotics technologies are in development.

See how ASU engineering students are learning to make bridges and similar structures that are stronger and can last longer.

Design, build and race small “roller-coaster cars” made from common household materials.

Children who attended an ASU engineering summer camp will display projects showing what they learned about the urban heat island effect and what can be done to deal with it.

“This is all about fun and interactive ways for children and their parents to learn together, to see all the things that engineering brings into our world,” said Jennifer Velez, a senior education outreach coordinator for the Fulton Schools of Engineering. “It’s a great way to light that spark of curiosity in kids about things they could do in their future careers."

The engineering exhibits are just one part of a wider array of attractions on campus that also showcase what’s happening at ASU in the sciences, arts and humanities. Dance, music, theater and poetry performances will be part of the festivities.

Now in its fourth year, Night of the Open Door – one of the signature events of Arizona SciTech Festival 2015 – has become the university’s largest open house gathering, drawing thousands of visitors.

In addition to activities provided by the Fulton Schools of Engineering, the Tempe campus event offers attractions presented by ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Biodesign Institute, the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the W. P. Carey School of Business and other ASU colleges, schools and programs.

Sponsors for this year’s event include Honeywell and ASU Summer Programs.

Read more about Tempe’s Night of the Open Door and other ASU Open Door events, and register early to receive a free gift the Tempe event.

You can also follow on Twitter: @ASUopendoor #ASUopendoor

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering