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Zoom Innovation Lab at ASU fuels student-driven solutions

October 13, 2022

5-year partnership between ASU, Zoom combines world-class education with industry-leading technology

Building upon a long-standing relationship, Arizona State University and Zoom Video Communications Inc. today announced the Zoom Innovation Lab at ASU. And for students, it means new opportunities to work, learn and collaborate with industry leaders. 

“Innovation is more than creativity — it takes new forms of collaboration, along with a mindset of serving communities and a deep commitment to create real-world solutions. Through ASU’s corporate partnerships, we are driving hands-on learning opportunities for students and developing a skilled workforce,” said Sally C. Morton, executive vice president of ASU Knowledge Enterprise.

This new five-year strategic partnership will combine resources available across the ASU Public Enterprise — including the university’s expertise, research, networks and learning assets — with Zoom’s technology and talent to create solutions that better connect society. These connections will focus on improving access to world-class learning opportunities, telehealth and more. 

And ASU students will lead much of the development of the products, with guidance from Zoom technology partners. The Zoom Innovation Lab further adds to ASU's Corporate Innovation Labs’ prestigious list of strategic partnerships that provide students with unique opportunities to learn from and upskill with industry leaders.

“Our very first customer was a higher education institution, initially fueling our commitment to creating the Classroom of the Future,” said Eric Yuan, chief executive officer of Zoom, who was present at the launch event via Zoom. “Today, I’m proud to stand with ASU as we take that concept one step further and embark on the campus of the future."

Projects powered by the Zoom Innovation Lab are already underway across ASU, including the development of a digital twin by ASU Enterprise Technology and a telehealth app from The Luminosity Lab.

People cutting large ribbon in front of building

 ASU and Zoom leadership launch the first-ever Zoom Innovation Lab at ASU on the Tempe campus with a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony. From left to right: Jon Relvas, director of business development for corporate engagement and strategic partnerships at ASU Knowledge Enterprise; Brendan Ittelson, chief technology officer at Zoom; Randy Maestre, head of industry marketing at Zoom; Sally Morton, executive vice president of ASU Knowledge Enterprise; and Lev Gonick, chief information officer for the ASU Public Enterprise, attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony of ASU's Zoom Collaboration Studio. Eric Yuan (far right on screen), chief executive officer at Zoom, attended the event via Zoom. Photo by Mike Sanchez/ASU Enterprise Technology

Bringing Zoom in the metaverse

At its basic form, a digital twin is simply a virtual representation of a real-world physical system. However, as technology becomes more advanced, new opportunities have risen to leverage digital twins for real-time engagement and exploration.

The Learning Futures team at ASU Enterprise Technology is currently exploring such advancements, developing a digital twin they’re calling the ASUniverse. Using real-time 3D, they are creating a 3D-model to simulate a virtual campus that is live, adaptive and changing its environment. 

ASUniverse can be for learning, extracurricular activities, campus tours, sporting events and more. For example, if a learner cannot be on campus, they can create an avatar and visit the ASUniverse via a web browser or with a VR headset to simulate the on-campus experience. 

And while it’s understood how students can connect and learn with their peers in this metaverse space, the team is exploring how to further extend the digital experience with Zoom. 

“No one really knows what the interface should be because it hasn’t been done yet,” Munnerley said. “This is the opportunity — in terms of innovation — to do this for the first time: to build what Zoom will look like in a digital twin in a metaverse.”

Student workers are collaborating with Zoom developers to integrate Zoom functionality into the digital twin. This means that beyond users engaging with each other’s avatars in the digital space, the teams are contributing code that will allow a student's digital avatar to connect with a live support agent using Zoom. 

Work is well underway to bring Zoom into the ASUniverse. And starting tomorrow, more than 125 ASU students across disciplines will convene in the Zoom Innovation Lab collaboration studio to contribute ideas and code to the project. 

Enhancing the doctor-patient virtual visit experience

Education isn’t the only sector to continue exploring new ways to enhance communication and collaboration using Zoom. Health care saw a significant shift in the adoption of such tools to support telehealth options, spurred by the pandemic. 

Another example of the Zoom Innovation Lab at ASU fueling innovation reaches into the greater Phoenix community. Through a partnership with Phoenix Children’s, ASU Luminosity Lab, housed within the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is exploring a new telehealth app to support doctor-patient visits inside the hospital setting.

Developed by student industrial designers and software developers, the app aims to provide doctors with the ability to virtually connect with patients in the in-patient room setting.

“At The Luminosity Lab, we’re focused on making projects happen. There’s innovative thinking in our students saying, ‘Let’s explore new ways to bring these two partners (Zoom and Phoenix Children’s) together,'” said Mark Naufel, executive director for The Luminosity Lab.

Each patient room at Phoenix Children’s has an Amazon Fire TV for entertainment. By equipping these TVs with a camera, doctors will be able to use the Zoom-enabled app to connect with patients and make their rounds virtually. The result: a seamless, hands-free interaction for the patient, as well as more efficient visits for hospital staff. The virtual experience is offered alongside in-person consultations to enhance the overall stay of a patient. 

The new app builds upon Phoenix Children's advanced use of telehealth systems for clinic visits over the past two and a half years. 

“There’s a need and there’s technology — and together, we can work to further bridge that gap,” Naufel said. 

New projects and possibilities on the horizon

“This new five-year strategic partnership will bring together Zoom’s leadership in communications and collaboration technologies with ASU’s unchallenged designation as the nation’s most innovative university for eight consecutive years,” said Lev Gonick, chief information officer for the ASU Public Enterprise. 

At launch, this new partnership is already fueling the development of innovative solutions, including projects like the ASUniverse and the telehealth app. Much of the work will take place inside the Zoom Collaboration Studio, which opened today at the Creativity Commons on the Tempe campus.

Here, students from across all academic disciplines can collaborate in the space, which includes a green screen room and recording studios, all equipped with Zoom-enabled technology.

“We are proud and excited to collaborate with Zoom on this first-of-its-kind Innovation Lab. New solutions will be developed here that will make an impact on how people communicate, connect, live and learn,” said Grace O’Sullivan, vice president of corporate engagement with ASU Knowledge Enterprise.

Additional follow-up projects and iterations are currently underway thanks to the expanding partnership between Zoom and ASU. Projects include enhanced classroom and distance learning solutions, smart stadium experiences and more. 

The partnership will also lead to the development of a talent pipeline between ASU and Zoom for students to gain access to internships, job opportunities and career development. These opportunities align with ASU’s mission to help create the next generation of leaders.

Written by Stephanie King. For media inquiries, contact Annie Davis,

Top photo: A student checks out the new Zoom Collaboration Studio at ASU. 

Santa Monica College transfer student overcomes hurdles to reach sports medicine path

October 13, 2022

National Transfer Student Week celebrates transfer students and the professionals who support them on their journeys. This week offers the perfect opportunity to build awareness of common transfer barriers and the diverse needs of students.

Kyle Efole, a junior majoring in sports science and performance programming, overcame various obstacles ranging from transferring coursework to housing as a transfer student in pursuit of his dream and passion for sports medicine. Portrait of ASU transfer student Kyle Efole and student recruitment coordinator Sara Mcfarland. Sara Mcfarland, student recruitment coordinator, assisted Kyle Efole, a transfer student from Santa Monica College, with securing housing, along with other members of the College of Health Solutions Student Success team. Download Full Image

Efole suffered "countless injuries,” including a torn meniscus and rib fracture, while playing sports growing up. As a result, he became intrigued by the recovery and rehabilitation processes, which inspired him to pursue sports science and performance programming at Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions.

“Everything from the sports medicine doctor diagnosing my injuries after looking at my MRI, to working out with the physical therapist to help rehabilitate my knee, all the way to relearning how to breathe and walk correctly was so intriguing,” Efole said. “I loved studying injuries and learning about how simple exercises that we typically ignore on a daily basis can actually strengthen us and potentially decrease the chances of getting injured in the near future.”

He aims to educate athletes about their injuries and encourage them to view physical rehabilitation as a positive experience.

"I want to be able to help future athletes who suffer from injuries and have them look at recovery as an interesting process rather than a grudge, and I know that College of Health Solutions will provide me the best opportunity to do so," Efole said. 

After graduating with an associate degree from Santa Monica College and getting admitted into ASU earlier this year, Efole’s main objectives were finding on-campus housing and transferring his course credits to get enrolled in fall classes.

“The initial issues that Kyle faced, like having questions about his coursework, transferring and figuring out which major is the best fit for him, are very common challenges for transfer students,” said Sara Mcfarland, a student recruitment coordinator on the College of Health Solutions Student Success team.

Mcfarland acts as a first point of contact for students like Efole in helping them understand how to transfer their course credits, what degrees are a good fit for them and what resources are available to them at ASU. 

Efole took advantage of tools like MyPath2ASU to make his transfer to the College of Health Solutions easier. The set of customized online tools showed him what coursework he could take at his community college and transfer for credit into his specific degree program at the College of Health Solutions. These tools not only ensure students a smooth transfer experience to ASU but can also shorten the time needed to complete their four-year degree and help minimize credit loss.

Transfer students can use MyPath2ASU tools to ease their transition

The MyPath2ASU partnership with Santa Monica College provides a seamless transfer experience for students starting their college journey at Santa Monica College (SMC). The agreement, forged by the ASU Academic Alliances team, encourages student progression toward degree achievement and their career goals. The partnership creates a joint transfer experience between SMC and ASU to assist with students’ mobility between institutions. MyPath2ASU includes over 400 courses by course pathways that provide course planning insights so students can be prepared for classes that are both transferable and applicable to their ASU bachelor’s degree.

“It is a fantastic way for students to save money and time because it takes the guesswork out of the transfer process,” Mcfarland said.

MyPath2ASU can be found under ASU’s Transfer Guide, which acts as a resource hub for students interested in knowing exactly how their course credits transfer to ASU, helping facilitate students in their transfer planning process.

Another challenge Efole faced was finding on-campus housing in time for the fall semester. When he was admitted to ASU in February, Efole was placed on the waitlist for Upper Division Housing on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Efole believed that since he applied early, he wouldn’t have to wait too long. However, after five months, he was still on the waitlist as housing continued to rapidly fill up.

Mcfarland mentioned Efole’s situation to some of her co-workers on the College of Health Solutions Student Success team and asked for suggestions.

Kevin Morris, a student support specialist on the team, was able to help find housing for Efole.

“I reached out to a colleague from University Housing and asked if there was anything as a college we can do to help support the placement of Kyle in a Fusion on First housing unit,” Morris said. “Because of this valued partnership, University Housing was instrumental in placing Kyle almost immediately.” 

Mcfarland shared the news with Efole who was ecstatic to hear they found a place for him.

“There are literally not enough words that I could use to sum up how big Sara’s and Kevin’s roles were in helping me find a home,” Efole said. “If it wasn’t for Kevin’s and Sara’s assistance, I wouldn’t be at this school.”

Efole understands the challenges that transfer students face and shared some advice for others who want to transfer to ASU.

"My biggest piece of advice to anyone who is looking to transfer is focus on your journey. It is way too easy to compare your journey with someone else's journey and, quite frankly, that is the worst thing that one can do,” Efole said.

“With social media, it's very easy for one to become discouraged because they see their friends and family members having fun, but everyone's path is different. If you just keep your head down and put in the work, your time will come.”

Getting involved and invested for the future

After moving in and starting the semester, Efole could not wait to get involved on campus and is now in two student-led organizations — the Sports Medical Society and Black Student Union. He also plans to participate in intramural coed basketball and apply for a job at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex.

ASU transfer student Kyle Efole

Efole is motivated to make the most of his time here at ASU and not take any moment for granted. 

"Due to the pandemic, I've been unable to have an actual college experience such as going to games, making personal connections, attend social gatherings; so me being able to go back on campus gives me a second opportunity to make up for the time that I had lost while being online," Efole said.

After he graduates with a degree in sports science and performance programming, Efole said he plans on earning a master’s degree in sports science while minoring in sports psychology.

“My ultimate goal would be to become a professional sports medicine physician — whether that's for a professional or collegiate team — and at the same time, be a sports psychologist,” Efole said. “Treating people both on a psychological and physical aspect really intrigues me, so if my profession can center around doing both of these things, then it’ll be a dream come true.”

Story by Mindy Lok, digital content producer, College of Health Solutions