Near-death experience puts grad on activist path

December 6, 2011

A near-fatal illness when she was 16 led Beth Anne Martin to dream big dreams. She decided she wanted to make the world a better place.

Martin has hiked through rainforests to study ecology in Costa Rica and has planted hundreds of trees as a farm intern in New Zealand. She has founded a student organization to fight slavery and trafficking, and has led volunteer efforts for a Tempe homeless program and an environmental action team. Download Full Image

The young activist was one of more than 400 university students from 40 countries selected by Rotary International to study abroad. She studied food security and community-based agriculture in Chile.

She will graduate from ASU's Barrett, the Honors College this December with degrees in sustainability from the School of Sustainability and history from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Martin was sideswiped by an E.coli infection when she was in high school, and her doctor told her she had been days away from death. Always a healthy person, part of an active family with eight children, she says the experience made her reevaluate her life’s direction.

The ASU Study Abroad program has helped set her on an international path to developing her interests in sustainable development. She has traveled to Costa Rica and New Zealand to learn about food production.

“I realized I had no knowledge of farming, so I sent out about 100 emails to farms all over the world," Martin said.  "I heard back from Uma Rapiti, a small family farm of about eight acres on Waiheke Island off the coast of New Zealand.

“I spent last summer living there by myself in a wool shed, with an outdoor shower and toilet. My family was horrified, but it was wonderful. The people who owned the farm lived on the mainland and came out on weekends. I planted 300 to 400 fruit and native trees, and I planted seedlings in greenhouses for the next year.

“I believe life is shaped by the dreams one follows,” she wrote in her Rotary essay. “I want to always dream big dreams; I want those dreams to motivate me to take action.”

Written by Sarah Auffret

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

ASU Parents website connects Sun Devil families

December 6, 2011

Arizona State University recently launched an expanded website designed to provide families university news and an opportunity to connect with fellow Sun Devil parents.

ASU Parents, as the site is titled, offers the most commonly searched for information and provides families a way to interact with the ASU community. It also allows parents to engage in discussion groups based on their interests and their student’s affiliations. Screen shot from ASU Parents Website Download Full Image

ASU has increased its focus on parent communications and is building on the work of the Parents Association.

"Our faculty and staff are committed to student success, and we have created this web page to keep parents informed and involve them in assuring our students reach their potential," said Elizabeth D. Capaldi, executive vice president and provost of the university.

The site is a collaboration of the Provost Office, Educational Outreach and Student Services, and the Parents Association – and will be managed by the Office of Parent and Transition Programs

“The goals of the network are to keep parents informed throughout their students’ academic career and engage the parents in various university activities during the year,” said Regina Matos, Assistant Dean, Parent and Transition Programs. “We realize that parents are vital partners in the success of their students and we are making the information available to our families. The site is very easy to navigate and allows for parent-to-parent interaction.”

To get started, simply visit and create a free personal profile. Once a profile is created, it is easy to join or create groups based on interests, make connections and sign-up to receive pertinent information.  

ASU Parents joins the university’s already bolstering list of social networks. Families and students may learn more about ASU by following the official ASU Facebook and Twitter pages. Or, view the complete list of social media accounts now.