Graduate melds interests in psychology, therapy with applied learning at ASU

December 13, 2021

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2021 graduates.

ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts graduate Duncan Reid described his decision to pursue a major in counseling and applied psychological science as “kind of a slow burn of different things coming together. ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts counseling and applied psychological science graduate Duncan Reid "If you want to be a clinician, I don't think there is an undergraduate program in the country that will prepare you better than ASU’s," said Duncan Reid, a counseling and applied psychological science fall 2021 graduate who interned in a community health clinic and helped launch a pre-professional club for students in this rare bachelor's program. Download Full Image

“I've always had an interest in psychology and therapy, but I didn't really think of it as a potential career,” said Reid, who is from Reston, Virginia, but has lived in Arizona the last 11 years. “After pursuing other career options, I recognized that what I really wanted was to do something that made a positive impact on others.

“Counseling was the perfect fit,” he continued, “because you get to help and connect with people, while also integrating the really fascinating aspects of psychology into a craft where you're always learning and improving.”

Why did he choose ASU?     

“Undergraduate counseling programs are pretty rare,” Reid noted. “The fact that ASU provides a program that combines counseling-specific classes along with foundational psychology classes is great. The caliber of the faculty and the emphasis on applied learning in the counseling courses really sets the program apart, because you can only really learn counseling by practicing it. If you want to be a clinician, I don't think there is an undergraduate program in the country that will prepare you better.”

Reid interned at the community mental health clinic Lifewell Behavioral Wellness as part of his program. The experience, he said, really expanded his understanding of the scope of counseling.

“Many of the clients there were dealing with external stressors that needed concrete solutions pretty urgently,” he explained. “Prior to this, I had mainly thought about counseling as the treatment of specific disorders and internal issues, so this was a good learning experience about the importance of environmental factors.”     

Working together with fellow students Carly Brunson and Deepika Wilson, along with faculty advieor Dr. Laura Jimenez Arista, he helped create the Counseling and Applied Psychology (CAP) Student Organization at ASU Polytechnic campus, where this rapidly growing degree program was launched just a few years ago.

“We had a goal of contributing to the CAP program and providing information and resources for students, and we accomplished that,” noted Reid, with a sense of accomplishment about the impact of the new club on the student experience. “We had a lot of fun putting on different events, and being involved in the club led to some great friendships, which I'm really thankful for.”      

Read more about Reid’s ASU journey in the Q&A section below:

Question: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU and what was it?

Answer: I've learned so much from Dr. Laura Jimenez Arista while at ASU, but I think the biggest lesson has come from seeing the way she interacts with other people. She always treats others with kindness and respect, and is understanding and considerate of their perspectives. She truly cares about her students and their success, and shows that through her generosity with her time and expertise. Her demeanor has been inspiring to me and I hope I can carry what I've learned from her into my own behavior as I move forward.      

Q: Did you do an applied research project or internship related to your major?

A: Besides interning in a community health cinic (discussed above), I was also a simulated patient for (the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts') Master of Counseling program. This is another great opportunity for undergraduates because you get to experience what the training process is like for the master's students. You learn a lot from watching other people provide therapy, and it's also pretty fun taking the role of the client.    

Q; What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Be active and put yourself out there. There are so many opportunities beyond your classes, whether it's joining a club, doing an internship, volunteering, assisting in research, etc. I think some people just let these things pass them by, or maybe they don't want to step out of their comfort zone. But these are the things that really give you life experience and help you develop as a person. It also makes being in school more fun and you meet a lot of interesting people.  

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? 

A: I really like walking around Polytechnic campus and just looking at all the desert landscaping, especially in the morning when it's less crowded. There are so many little pockets between buildings that have cacti and different kinds of native plants; it's really beautiful.   

Q; What are your plans after graduation?

A: I'm currently working on applications for master of counseling programs. Hopefully I'll get into one!   

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: That's a really tough question; there are so many areas of need around the world and within our own country. Homelessness is something that I would definitely try to make a difference with. It's just hard to comprehend that more hasn't been done to help people experiencing homelessness. The underlying causes are complex and would probably take a lot more than $40 million to solve, but that money would be really helpful in providing more permanent housing and services.  

Maureen Roen

Director, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


Engineering group unlocks the creativity of University Technology Office minds with automation

December 13, 2021

In today’s workplace, technological developments and a greater awareness of responsible innovation and inclusivity are taking on a radical new shape. To lead the way in this paradigm, the University Technology Office at Arizona State University has recently entered a new era of embracing the modern workforce, unleashed under the name of “UTO 2.1.” 

As part of this agile structure and way of working, UTO has reorganized and reprioritized its teams, their members and their work under four “cores” — these include Engineering, Products and Projects, Data and Analysis, and Service Delivery. The Engineering Core’s renewed approach to human-centered design is supported by its accompanying technical innovations. Download Full Image

Bringing digital transformation across ASU

The Engineering Core prioritizes the people practicing digital transformation as much as the people who benefit from it. Utilizing a “how we work” model, which is still nascent in higher education but has proven an exciting and effective development in private industry, advocates for diverse collaboration. Based in this model, Engineering has crafted maturity for “DevSecOps,” which is the constant development of IT operation at UTO and ASU. 

The DevSecOps framework facilitates the new ideas that the Engineering Core supports: “We are capturing an architecture for culture, orchestration and next-generation platforms that enable digital trust, digital equity and more, and these are the tangible outcomes of the transformation taking place within DevSecOps,” said Nathan Wilken, executive director of UTO Engineering.

Orchestrating digital infrastructure

A key outcome of the Engineering Core’s DevSecOps model involves freeing up the capabilities of UTO minds by furthering automation goals. So a solution to automate everyday manual tasks that take up time needed to be created to offer more creative opportunities for staff. Thus, the Engineering Core built an “orchestration platform” that supports the DevSecOps concept, which streamlines much of the development process for various products and services.

An orchestration platform automates the configuration, management and coordination of computer systems, applications and services, according to Red Hat. In other words, an orchestration platform streamlines, by removing time-consuming manual tasks, many of the processes involved with offering tools and software to the ASU community.

Before its integration, code was developed, passed off to various teams in a linear manner and finally deployed after a time-consuming process that often didn’t allow for agile pivots or inclusion of new features on the fly. However, this orchestration platform automatically accomplishes many tasks previously delegated to multiple teams, such as quality assurance and testing.

“Human error around design and deployment is eliminated so an individual does not carry the burden,” Wilken said. This doesn’t remove jobs, but improves them. “It lowers their (people’s) cognitive load and allows them more time to engage with stakeholders and customers, unlocking human potential instead of relegating them to undifferentiated heavy lifting.”

This new approach allows for teams to be built from different disciplines. Developers, DevOps engineers, systems administrators and more work together from the start of the process, rather than handing off to each other without much prior communication.

Applying creativity to the My ASU portal

An outcome of this process lies in My ASU, the portal through which everyone at ASU conducts their learning, teaching and working.

“My ASU is kind of special because there are so many (ASU colleges and units) who need changes made to support their processes throughout the year,” said Cat Harper, portfolio owner of student success and My ASU product owner.

“Now, we can meet the student life cycle.”

With the orchestration platform in play, three or four of Harper’s developer colleagues can work on separate pieces, which can be deployed when ready, rather than bundled into one release that requires much more time and coordination. 

For example, the Experience Center was receiving a number of calls related to financial aid. Working with the Financial Aid Office, Harper’s team was able to quickly design, develop and deploy a “pop-up” box of helpful articles to address questions about how to pay bills. And call traffic was reduced to the Experience Center, satisfactorily answering questions more quickly.

“I’m really proud of the team because they ask, ‘What is the value to students?’ and turn things around really quickly,” Harper said.

Looking to the future

My ASU developer Jason Harper provided an example of how this more agile process also allows for other, forward-thinking solutions.

“It’s a journey, and we’re still on it, to automate,” he said.

There are other products and processes that can be brought into the orchestration platform, not just My ASU.

“(The orchestration platform) has allowed us to set out on this journey while still supporting the university,” he said.

Editorial specialist, University Technology Office