Display of determination

Unswerving resolve on long road to electrical engineering doctoral degree exemplifies student's spirit of perseverance

May 2, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

It’s not easy to gain deep expertise in the more complex areas of engineering and technology, and it’s even more difficult in fields that are rapidly evolving and birthing new questions and mysteries. Kristen Jaskie does research to advance machine learning and deep learning Electrical engineering doctoral graduate Kristen Jaskie does research to advance machine learning and deep learning applications with the potential to benefit medical, scientific and commercial pursuits. Download Full Image

But Kristen Jaskie says she’s a perfect fit for the challenges posed by the advanced studies and research she has been involved in for seven years.

“I am by nature very stubborn,” Jaskie says, which has served her well in both higher education pursuits and her personal life.

She is currently a postdoctoral research scholar and adjunct professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the seven Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Her primary research focus is on novel applications of machine learning, which is interconnected with the broader field of artificial intelligence.

Jaskie uses machine learning and deep learning algorithms to solve complex problems with large amounts of missing data. Her work focuses on semi-supervised learning and the positive and unlabeled learning problem. Algorithms like these can be used in medicine and other scientific and commercial applications.

She is the author of some of first research papers reporting on advances in these emerging areas, and a book she has written, “Positive Unlabeled Learning,” has recently been published.

The publications stem from much of her doctoral studies at ASU focusing on signal processing and machine learning. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Positive Unlabeled Learning – Optimization and Evaluation.”

Her achievements have now earned Jaskie the Palais Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, which is bestowed on graduating electrical engineering doctoral students who exemplify excellence in both research and academics. To qualify, a candidate must maintain at least a 3.75 grade-point average and have at least one publication in a journal or at a conference.

The award was established in 2003 through the generosity of ASU Emeritus Professor Joseph Palais and his wife, Sandra Palais.

After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science with a concentration in machine learning, Jaskie worked as a machine learning research scientist and then became the owner and senior scientist of a data analytics consulting business. She also worked with the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, performing systems and machine learning research.

From 2011 to 2018, Jaskie was a computer science faculty member at Glendale Community College near Phoenix and served as the department chair in her last two years there before returning to ASU to pursue a doctoral degree.

“Kristen was one of our very best graduate students,” says Fulton Schools Professor Andreas Spanias, director of the Sensor, Signal and Information Processing Center, or SenSIP, an industry consortium. “She contributed in an exemplary manner through her doctoral research, teaching, mentoring students in SenSIP’s Research Experience for Undergraduates and International Research Experience for Students programs, and our National Science Foundation workforce development program.”

Today, in addition to her postdoctoral researcher duties, Jaskie is leading the machine learning research operations of a small company in the defense industry.

“I love both teaching and research,” she says, so becoming a research professor and then a full professor are among her plans for the future.

Jaskie faced some challenges during the years she has been progressing through her advanced studies.

“I was doing PhD studies full-time and supporting myself and my family while my husband was also in school. It was a difficult time. But I can be very stubborn,” Jaskie says. “I was determined to get the degree. So, I stayed focused and I got it done.”

Today, she says she is “most proud of persevering in following my dreams and achieving my academic goals while also being a good, present and caring mother and wife to my family.”

She recalls her son spending a good part of his early years with her while she studied, and she notes that her intense interest in her work has influenced him.

“He is 6 years old now,” Jaskie says, “and he tells people he wants to be a scientist or an engineer. He’s not sure yet about which one.”

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Agribusiness outstanding grad takes inspiration from ASU’s inclusivity

May 2, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

Adison McIntosh realized her love and appreciation for animal agriculture early during visits to a dairy goat farm in Strawberry, Arizona, with her grandparents. W. P. Carey's Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior, Adison McIntosh, in a red dress on the Tempe campus. Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Adison McIntosh is graduating from the Morrison School of Agribusiness with a 4.0 GPA. Download Full Image

“We would sample products, like ice cream, and I was just amazed by this process that creates the food we eat,” she said.

More than 15 years later, McIntosh has been named the W. P. Carey School of Business Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior and is graduating from the Morrison School of Agribusiness with a 4.0 GPA. She is pursuing a career at the U.S. Depart of Agriculture – Farm Service Agency as a county program technician, connecting Arizona farmers and ranchers to the different programs offered by the USDA.

When considering why she chose ASU to pursue this dream, McIntosh (who received numerous scholarships, including the ASU New American University Scholarship, the Williams Family Scholarship, the Robert Lytle Scholarship, the Otto and Edna Neely Foundation Scholarship, the McGab/Bean Agribusiness Scholarship and the Marvin and June Morrison Scholarship) explains what the ASU Charter means to her.

“At ASU, the focus is on being inclusive rather than exclusive. As a woman in farming and someone who has a passion for young people continuing to pursue jobs in agriculture, that focus on access and support is meaningful to me,” said McIntosh.

McIntosh shared more about her experience and how others can make the most of studying at ASU.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: Something that surprised me while at ASU and at the W. P. Carey School of Business was the power of connections and the possibilities that come from making a connection. For example, I was part of the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Conference during the fall of 2021. During this conference, I was able to meet industry leaders in the field of fresh produce (fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, etc.). The industry leaders talked about how they got their start in the fresh produce industry and how they worked their way up to the career they have now. Almost all of the industry leaders stated they got their careers from the connections they made inside and outside of their previous careers. W. P. Carey’s motto “Where business is personal” is the truth on all accounts. Business is about making personal connections with everyone you meet and then deploying those connections to facilitate success for yourself and others.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because I was aware of the ample opportunities that were available to help me succeed during my time at ASU and after graduation. Unlike many other universities, ASU prides itself on being inclusive rather than exclusive. ASU wants to see its students succeed in every way possible and supports them through academic, physical health and mental health services that are readily available to ASU students.

For example, shortly after starting my first year at ASU, I realized that I needed to take advantage of these resources to help me succeed. I was in the free ASU tutoring services almost every week to help go over complicated homework problems and to study for exams. I took a free yoga class put on by ASU’s Programming and Activities Board where I learned different breathing techniques and stretches to improve my physical health. I also used career services resources to review my resume before applying to different opportunities. ASU’s mission of making sure their students succeed was the largest factor in my decision to attend here.

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

A: We all make mistakes and fail; nobody is perfect. When you do make a mistake, do not stay down. Instead, get back up and hold your head even higher than before. Take the time to learn from your mistakes and choose to become a better person because of them. This is the definition of success, and this is what makes the difference between just living your life and thriving in your life.

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

A: My favorite spot on the Polytechnic campus is the third-floor seating area of the Santan building. At this seating area, you can see the beautiful landscape of the Polytechnic and the surrounding areas. You can also see the planes take off from the Mesa Gateway Airport, which is always very relaxing. My favorite place at the Tempe campus is the Secret Garden. The Secret Garden is beautiful and has a large diversity of plants and animals (especially the variety of birds that visit the garden). If you haven’t visited the Secret Garden yet, ask someone to take you because it is worth the trip!

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

A: I would use the $40 million to begin a nonprofit that creates an agriculture research facility to research potential demand creation areas for developing countries (expanding what the USDA – Agriculture Marketing Service is currently doing). The agriculture industry is a global industry that relies heavily on the efficiency of international agriculture markets. Helping developing countries find international markets to sell and trade their agriculture products is vital in helping their communities thrive.

Emily Beach

Director of Communications, W. P. Carey School of Business

(602) 543-3296