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Exhibit uses art to communicate scientific research to community

August 17, 2022

Researchers from all 3 Arizona public universities teamed with artists to collaborate on visual pieces

Dyadic communication. Synaptogenesis. Repetitive behavior modification.

All very important lines of scientific inquiry that are all being studied in the heart of downtown Phoenix on the 30-acre medical education and research campus known as the Phoenix Bioscience Core (PBC), where innovative minds are engaged in an endeavor to enhance the health of the surrounding community.

But to the average Phoenix resident, such concepts can seem vague at best and completely foreign at worst, when in reality they each refer to research having to do with cancer, traumatic brain injury and dementia — concepts that are not only easy to grasp but that have likely touched many of their lives.

In the Artist + Researcher Exhibition, the first project to come out of the recently formed PBC Arts Committee, nine pairs of local artists and researchers from all three of the state’s public universities collaborated on visual art pieces that communicate some of the groundbreaking research taking place on the PBC every day in a way that makes it accessible to all.

Nearly a year in the making, the exhibit had a private debut last Friday in a gallery space at 850 PBC, the latest addition to the PBC, and is set to relocate to the Health Sciences Education Building at 435 N. Fifth St. on Sept. 2, where it will be available for public viewing.

The exhibit was the brainchild of Cynthia Standley of the University of Arizona College of Medicine–Phoenix, a self-described physiologist-slash-neuroscientist and dabbler in the arts who was inspired by a similar program at University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine to try her hand at bridging science and the arts here in the Valley.

“Art is so approachable, and it speaks to everybody,” Standley said. “We may not even realize it when we're looking at the piece of work, but it remains with us and we're thinking about it later. So I think it's a perfect medium to get across some of the really impactful science and innovations that are happening here on this campus and to help the community understand what is really being accomplished here.”

In “Dyad,” neon artist Lily Reeves collaborated with Shelby Langer, an associate professor in Arizona State University's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation who researches dyadic, or two-person, communication and emotion regulation within the context of chronic illness, to create a piece featuring two mirrors, each with a different-colored neon light, that use “perspective and optical illusion to speak to the combination of two truths.”

Langer is wrapping up a five-year grant-funded study called “Couple Communication in Cancer: A Multi-method Examination” in which she and colleagues assessed the communication of over 300 patients and their partners while coping with breast, colon, rectal or lung cancer.

“We're hoping to get a much more nuanced understanding of the way in which couples communicate … and identify who might need extra support for better communication,” Langer said. “The idea is to better design interventions to support these couples as they're adapting to the cancer experience.”

She and Reeves met in November 2021 during a speed-dating-style networking event hosted by exhibit organizers at Bentley Gallery, a partner on the project, designed to match participating artists and researchers based on their interests and expertise.

“I’m really interested in these, like, invisible, psychological, emotional worlds and how to improve the quality of life through art,” Reeves said. “When (Langer and I) met, her work was super interesting to me because she's studying this really nuanced thing that has these reverberative effects (on quality of life).”

In “Lost Memory in Matter + Behavioral Complexity,” ceramics sculpture artist and ASU School of Art Professor Susan Beiner collaborated with David Coon, professor and associate dean of research initiatives, support and engagement at Edson College who researches interventions that focus on culturally diverse groups of midlife and older adults facing chronic illnesses, to create two abstract pieces.

“Behavioral Complexity” features an organ-like object suspended above a square of wavy green protrusions, evoking a field.

According to Beiner, the negative space between the organ and the field, or the ground, below represents the growing space between a dementia patient’s grounded reality and the mind as it leaves it, which Coon encourages them to recast as a space where they can build new skills and mold behaviors to help manage their situation.

“David talked about molding people in relation to skill-building, and I use molds in my work,” Beiner said. “So everything here was a mold, and I sort of think of a connection between process and object, and that connected to dementia awareness.”

“Lost Memory in Matter” features a conglomeration of several small objects representing all the thoughts, memories and ideas stored in one’s brain, all cast in a variety of green hues, the last color dementia patients lose the ability to see.

“For me and my team, it was really rewarding to see the work that we do conceptualized in a different way, because it's another way for the community to see the importance of what these interventions with these individuals and their families are trying to preserve,” Coon said.

Still, other pieces use brightly colored yarn to depict the stained dye that allows for the visualization of heart muscle imagery, or augmented reality to allow exhibit viewers to step inside an injured brain and take a look around.

Following the exhibit’s time at the Health Sciences Education Building, it will travel to various locations throughout Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson.

Looking forward, PBC communications manager Joe Martin said the city of Phoenix has committed to a generous contribution from its arts and culture program to the PBC Arts Committee, earmarked to fund future projects such as permanent art installations on the fifth and sixth floors of 850 PBC, which the committee envisions serving as the host of many community events to come.

Including the surrounding community in the developments at PBC that will ultimately affect them is a guiding principle echoed by all involved.

“This is the only place in Arizona that all three of the state universities are together in one place, physically,” said David Krietor, executive director of the PBC. “The real trick here is to take … all the great science occurring here, and all the great teaching occurring here that has never really evolved as a place yet. So we're transitioning from this collection of great things to a place. And one of the ways that you do place-making is through the arts … and one way to build a community is through the arts.”

Top photo: Attendees at the Aug. 12 opening of the Artist + Researcher Exhibition take a look at “Dyad.” Neon artist Lily Reeves collaborated with Shelby Langer, an associate professor in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at ASU who researches dyadic, or two-person, communication and emotion regulation within the context of chronic illness, to create a piece featuring two mirrors lit with different-colored neon and using optical illusion. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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New ASU programs for fall 2022 cover a range of interests

August 17, 2022

From online offerings to degrees and certificates in significant industries, students have more than ever to choose from

This fall, as Arizona State University projects a record number of undergraduate and graduate students, the university is also scaling up its degree and program offerings in a variety of areas.

New degrees for this fall include genetic counseling, disability studies, and narrative and emerging media. A number of degree programs are also now being offered online for the first time. New certificates in areas such as indoor farming and technological leadership will help meet the growing demand for employement in these areas.

Take a look at this fall’s new offerings:

Degree programs

College of Health Solutions

The Master of Science in genetic counseling, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, prepares students for a successful career as a genetic counselor. The curriculum is taught by genetic counselors and medical geneticists, and students have the opportunity to participate in diverse fieldwork experiences throughout Phoenix.

The Bachelor of Science in health care administration and policy (previously known as science of health care delivery) is now offered through ASU Online. The program provides undergraduate students foundational knowledge of systems, processes and management in health care, grounded in concepts of leadership, social determinants of health, informatics, systems engineering and economics. Read more.

College of Integrative Arts and Sciences

The Master of Project Management program will provide students with the expertise and knowledge needed for advanced positions as project managers and project leaders in a wide range of public, private and nonprofit settings. It is offered as both an immersion and ASU Online program.

The Associate of Arts in military studies is designed for a partnership with the U.S. Naval Community College to provide training to enlisted sailors, Marines and Coast Guard members. It provides a comprehensive foundation of study in the history of war and warfare, history of regions identified in the National Defense Strategy, the U.S. foreign policymaking process, international relations theories, and U.S. political and military systems.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The Department of Psychology is launching a new online Master of Science in addiction psychology. This program includes an in-person practicum experience, which is completed wherever the student lives, and prepares students to use evidence-based treatment strategies. Read more.  

The Center for Biology and Society’s Bachelor of Science in biological sciences with a concentration in biology and society now has an ASU Online degree option. This program explores how biology affects a range of ethical, historical, philosophical, political and social issues.

Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation

The RN to MS bridge offers an accelerated option for nurses who already have their associate degree in nursing to earn a graduate degree. Upon graduation, students will earn a Master of Science in nursing and be eligible to apply to the Edson College Doctor of Nursing Practice programRead more. 

Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

The Bachelor of Arts in art (art studies) has a new ASU Online option for students to pursue. The program focuses on creating something original, working with your hands and getting messy. Upon graduation, students will have the knowledge and skills needed to professionally create art of their own.

New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

The Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies (interdisciplinary arts and performance), in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, enables students to engage the innovative study of interdisciplinary art practices and theories from a perspective developed over decades of New College's undergraduate interdisciplinary arts and performance major.

In the Bachelor of Arts in disability studies, students learn to confront the marginalization of people with disabilities and to acquire skills in research, advocacy and policymaking that are increasingly important in a range of professions. This degree is also in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies.

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Based at ASU’s California Center, the Master of Arts in narrative and emerging media explores content-creation techniques in augmented, virtual and extended reality, and short-form digital, streaming and virtual production. The program is a collaboration between the Cronkite School and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. 

Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

The Bachelor of Science degree in parks, recreation and sports management in the School of Community Resources and Development combines two previous BS degrees — community sports management and parks and recreation management. Students in the program learn about wilderness, environmental communication, parks and recreation management and policy, assessment and evaluation, and sport and recreation planning and programming. 

W. P. Carey School of Business

The W. P. Carey School's Bachelor of Arts in business (sports business), a popular program on the Tempe campus, expands to the West campus this fall. The program will also provide flexibility to students with major courses offered in an iCourse/ASU Sync format for those on the West campus. 

Minors, certificates and emphasis areas

College of Integrative Arts and Sciences

The certificate in indoor farming provides specific training in indoor crop production and management, including production of clean fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants. Students will gain knowledge and skills related to plant physiology, indoor crop production systems and facility management, which are necessary for the emerging indoor farming industry.

The certificate in military studies is designed in partnership with the U.S. Naval Community College to provide enlisted personnel, veterans and nonmilitary students with an interdisciplinary focus on national security, history and political science.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Arizona State University's Interplanetary Initiative has launched a new minor in technological leadership — a program that complements and enhances a student's existing major with key skills in interdisciplinary research, technology design and collaborative leadership. It is available to both ASU Online and immersion students, and it will be available soon as an interdisciplinary studies concentration. Read more.

The School of Politics and Global Studies’ online global security and competitive statecraft certificate will deepen students’ understanding of current trends in military and technological innovation, geopolitical competition, and the changing global political and economic landscape. Read more.

ASU’s interdisciplinary certificate in philosophy, politics and economics blends perspectives about economic, moral and political issues that arise from or that should be taken under consideration when addressing major social problems. The certificate is a collaboration between four ASU units: the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies; the School of Politics and Global Studies; the Department of Economics in the W. P. Carey School of Business; and the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

The biological data science certificate, in the School of School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, provides students with real-world training at the intersection of the natural and mathematical sciences. Students learn to manipulate "big data," including the generation and analysis of data using statistical and computational tool sets. 

The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences has a new minor in aging. Students learn to develop solutions in areas of personal finance, transportation, increased demands for health care, assisted-living options and recreation needs for an aging population. 

The applied ethics minor, in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, is now available as an ASU Online program. This minor provides students an opportunity to gain a humanistic perspective on a nonhumanities field of study, such as health sciences, business and computer science.

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Business law is a new emphasis in the Master of Legal Studies online degree program. It offers students the opportunity to develop critical insights into the complex legal issues facing today’s businesses. 

Intellectual property (IP) law is a new emphasis in the Master of Laws degree program. The IP law program includes offerings in patent law, trademark law, copyright law and trade secret law, as well as IP law and society. Read more

Arizona legal paraprofessional is a new emphasis in the Master of Legal Studies program. Students will have access to the expert faculty and curricular resources to provide non-lawyer, limited legal practitioners the knowledge, expertise and preparation needed to be eligible for licensure. 

W. P. Carey School of Business 

New third-semester academic specializations can help non-MBA master's students further align their degrees with their career goals. For example, graduate students who earn a master's degree in business analytics can pursue specializations in cloud computing and tech consulting, fintech, marketing analytics or supply chain analytics; Master of Science in finance students can propel their careers with the analytical methods specialization; and students who earn a Master of Science in global logistics can select a specialization in business analytics. All third-semester specializations include a summer internship opportunity and focused career preparation. These specialization tracks are designed to give focus in a particular academic area, but do not appear on the diploma or transcript.

Top photo: Students work at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus. Photo by FJ Gaylor