Felicidades, 2021 ASU Hispanic Heritage Month honorees

ASU recognizes distinguished alumni for their achievements and contributions to the Hispanic and Latino community in Arizona

October 15, 2021

Through a wide array of activities and events, Arizona State University annually celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of Latino and Hispanic individuals and communities across the United States. The monthlong celebration commemorates National Hispanic Heritage Month, observed Sept. 15Oct. 15.

As a highlight of the celebration, the university recognizes distinguished ASU alumni for their achievements and contributions to the Hispanic and Latino community in Arizona. The 2021 honorees were announced and presented on the field at the Oct. 8 ASU football game at Sun Devil Stadium. The honorees were also recognized at the Access ASU Partner Tailgate in La Casita, held just prior to kickoff. Silhouettes of six people giving the forks up hand signal in front of a sunset Download Full Image

“We’re so proud to recognize the 2021 honorees for Hispanic and LatinxA gender-neutral term for Latino/a preferred by some individuals and organizations. Heritage Month who have done so much for not only the ASU community but for Arizona families,” said Edmundo Hidalgo, vice president of outreach with Educational Outreach and Student Services at ASU. 

2021 ASU staff honoree: Provost Nancy Gonzales

Nancy Gonzales is the executive vice president and university provost at ASU. A first-generation college student who earned bachelor's degrees in psychology and biology from ASU, Gonzales has dedicated her career to expanding educational access and conducting research in culturally diverse populations. 

Gonzales is proud to be the first ASU alum to serve as provost and considers it an honor and a responsibility to advance the Hispanic community.

“When you are raised in a tight-knit Hispanic community like I was, giving back to the community comes naturally; it's something that you are proud to do,” she said. 

“It has been a great honor for me that I've been able to also give back as a researcher, a teacher and now as university provost. Arizona State University this year will be designated federally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and as an institution serving a large number of Hispanic students, it is our responsibility to make sure that they succeed.”

Gonzales serves as ASU’s chief academic officer, advancing all educational programs and degrees for ASU’s diverse student population and the world-class faculty needed to train the next-generation workforce and leaders of our state and nation. Prior to leading as university provost, Gonzales was the dean of natural sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She has also enjoyed a long research and teaching career as a Foundation Professor of psychology. 

2021 alumni honoree: Maria Echeveste

Maria Echeveste remembers her time at ASU fondly, and not just because of the liberal arts degree she earned; she met her husband, Craig, at a reception for the Hispanic Business Student Association. As the senior vice president and community relations manager for Bank of America’s Phoenix Local Markets Office, Echeveste now executes philanthropic programs to the tune of $2 million annually that address economic opportunities in Phoenix. 

She said that she’s so grateful to be a part of ASU to help solve inequalities in Arizona.

“ASU is an important institution in our community, in our country and around the world,” she said. “And when you look at that intersection of how are they addressing needs such as housing, climate, heat islands, education … a lot of the inequities are impacting our Latino community.”

Echeveste serves on many local boards and committees, including on the board of directors for the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, the Phoenix Local Initiative Support Corporation Local Advisory Committee, the Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities, Arizona Housing Coalition and Arizona Community Reinvestment Collaborative, in addition to her work with ASU Leveraging Talent AZ and Be A Leader. 

2021 community organization honoree: Aliento

Aliento is an Arizona organization that serves undocumented, DACAThe Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. and mixed-immigration-status families to transform trauma into hope and action. Founder and CEO Reyna Montoya grew up undocumented in Arizona. A proud ASU alum with degrees in political science and transborder studies and a minor in dance as a first-generation student, Montoya launched Aliento in 2016 after years of organizing, and the group has touched the lives of more than 25,000 people through youth-led arts, leadership development and community organizing. 

Montoya said that after going to school in predominantly white spaces, arriving at ASU was a breath of fresh air, realizing “there’s people that look like me.” Raising awareness of the power and value of diversity is very important to her. 

“I feel a lot of pride to know that our music, our heritage, our culture matters and brings a unique perspective, and that I don't have to choose between being a Latina, being Mexican, being American,” she said. “This is what home means. And ASU and Arizona are my home, and I can be Latina. I can be proud. And I can be an example for other generations to be reminded that that diversity is a strength, not a weakness.”

Aliento Education and External Affairs Director Jose Patiño was born in Mexico and became involved in the Dreamer"Dreamer" refers to those who would benefit from either DACA or the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act. movement in 2009. A DACA recipient and first-generation student, Patiño earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from ASU and now leads Aliento’s efforts to gain in-state tuition and access to scholarships for all Arizona students, regardless of their immigration status.

He is proud to serve his community and believes in giving back through opening up access to higher education. 

“I think at the end of the day, nobody can succeed alone,” he said. “That's what it's about. It's about being able to not only pay it forward, but being there for one another.”

Hannah Moulton Belec

Digital marketing manager, Educational Outreach and Student Services


Introducing XKits: Adobe Creative Cloud toolkits for ASU faculty

October 15, 2021

As an Adobe Creative Campus, Arizona State University is leading the way in imparting 21st-century digital literacy skills to students of all disciplines. Crucial to this work is using a suite of tools — packaged together under ASU’s Digital Backpack of “future-self” technologies — that are standard across numerous industries. 

Over the summer, a new course for ASU instructors approached the process of bringing Adobe Creative Cloud into an ever-increasing number of classes. The course brought together 15 ASU faculty members across five departments to design resources for fellow instructors to better incorporate Adobe’s suite of tools into their classroom. Download Full Image

Led by UTO’s Learning Experience Design team, the course is part of the group’s efforts to support faculty and students in leveraging technology toolsets to evolve teaching and learning. 

Breaking down the course

Digital Fluency Creative, or DFC, was a “12-week hybrid course focused on creating digital fluency champions across ASU,” explained Audra Carlisle, UTO Learning Experience Designer and the instructor of the course. 

The Adobe Creative Cloud, which is available to all students for free at ASU, is a suite of software tools geared towards the creativity of the digital world, such as photo, video and audio editing, graphic and web design and more.

Carlisle worked with the 15 ASU faculty members to teach the ropes of Adobe Creative Cloud, design new classroom strategies using the suite of tools, and publish open-source teaching materials in the form of Learning Experience Kits, also known as XKits.

During the course, instructors had to “rethink our pedagogy and the way we build assignments,” said Chelsie Schlesinger, a New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences instructor and DFC participant.  

XKits are now available for ASU faculty to create or modify their assignments to incorporate the various tools available in the Adobe Creative Cloud. 

The course brought together 15 ASU faculty members across five departments to design resources for fellow instructors to better incorporate Adobe’s suite of tools into their classroom.

XKits in action: ASU students use Adobe Audition to create podcasts

One approach to creating an XKit utilized Adobe Audition, an audio editing software. Schlesinger and Karla Murphy, a co-instructor in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, redesigned an assignment that teaches students the rhetorical moves used in writing: invention, organization and revision — these same principles are used in podcast creation.

“Students discovered very quickly that they have a place in a conversation ... and the technology allowed for that,” Murphy said, comparing the process to a typical essay format.

With the 10-minute requirement on the podcast, students found their transcriptions came out to be around 1,500 to 1,800 words, Murphy explained.

“Another essay on why you think something is important, or how you’re connected to it, is flat,” Schlesinger added. “But when you put them in a space (like a podcast) where they’re able to have a conversation, their ideas and competence grow.”

Murphy elaborated further.

“You can talk in class, that’s one thing, but to have that artifact (the podcast) afterwards, that became really powerful,” Murphy said.

The podcast assignment ideated by Schlesinger and Murphy was brought into an XKit, now accessible for all ASU instructors through Canvas Commons. 

“I know that some of the instructors in Karla and Chelsea’s department have seen the work that they’re doing and gone, ‘Oh, that looks really cool; I’m going to do that,’” Carlisle said. “That’s exactly what we want people to be doing: We want these teachers to be our champions for this sort of work.”

From design to deployment: XKits now available to all ASU faculty

Additional kits across a variety of tools and projects are available. From demonstrating the use of Adobe Spark to craft Public Service Announcements, to using Adobe Portfolio to pull together a diversity of voices for a website, to exploring InDesign to create lecture series posters and more, the XKits are available to help instructors better design exciting new learning opportunities.

And today, each of the participating instructors are using Adobe Creative Cloud in the classroom. Coupled with their 15 new XKits and reach through their courses, more than 500 students are now impacted by DFC. 

Instructors across all disciplines can search for XKits within Canvas Commons, a space within ASU’s Learning Management System Canvas. To find more resources and trainings from the learning experience team, visit lms.asu.edu. You can also find more information on Adobe Creative Cloud at ASU on UTO’s site.

About UTO’s Learning Experience

The Learning Experience Design team is one of four groups housed within UTO’s Learning Experience (LX), which comprises Design, Environments, Spaces and Space Success. Today, LX has over 200 team members, employing a mix of staff and student workers. 

Editorial specialist, University Technology Office