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Top stories from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2022

Illustrated images of a jaguar, warthog, moose and more.
December 20, 2022

In 2022, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University made headlines across ASU News and beyond. But there were a few stories that readers really gravitated towards. 

Check out The College’s top 10 countdown for most viewed ASU News stories published in 2022, from online dating to Black representation in film to simulated animal combat. 

"Soylent Green" screenshot of green cards scattered across a black table.

No.10: Did 'Soylent Green' get 2022 right?

A 1973 film, which takes place in 2022, portrays a world being devastated by climate change, its oceans polluted with waste. Overpopulation and overuse of resources lead to shortages of food and water, and housing prices skyrocket to the point where only the elite can afford apartments.

ASU professors, including Joni Adamson, President’s Professor of environmental humanities in the Department of English, discussed what “Soylent Green” got right.

An ancient village covered in snow.

No. 9: Returning to the historical treasure of Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon was the center of the ancestral Puebloan world, home to immense great houses as high as five stories tall and containing as many as 800 rooms, cavernous kivas built so that dancers appeared to rise out of fires during ceremonies, engineered roads, a prehistoric observatory and systems for communication.

Matt Peeples, an associate professor of anthropology and the director of the Center for Archaeology and Society in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, shared what he has learned as part of an NSF-funded team seeking to unravel the mysteries of Chaco Canyon.

A student exploring an Alien Zoo through virtual reality.

No. 8: VR biology lab experience leads to student success

ASU students are learning biology in a unique virtual reality experience, hurtling through space to interact with creatures in an intergalactic wildlife sanctuary the size of a small city and to solve the mystery of why the creatures are dying.

A new study on the Dreamscape Learn biology course showed that this method of learning is not only unique, but also effective:

  • Overall, students in the Dreamscape Learn course had higher lab grades than those in the conventional course — 9% higher overall. The median lab grade for students in Dreamscape Learn was 96%, compared with 87% for the other group.

  • Students enjoyed the experience. The average rating on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being excellent) was 4.4.

A smart phone on a table with a heart icon in the center of the screen.

No. 7: Online dating is booming, changing in pandemic era

Online dating is the No. 1 way to meet a romantic partner in the U.S., says Liesel Sharabi, assistant professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and director of the Relationships and Technology Lab at Arizona State University.

Sharabi shared her findings about finding companionship online and how dating has evolved through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Azmat Khan leaning against a cement wall.

No. 6: ASU professor wins Pulitzer Prize

Azmat Khan, a professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies and a mentor in the Center on the Future of War, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for her work on The New York Times series “The Civilian Casualty Files.”

According to the Pulitzer committee, the series “exposed the vast civilian toll of U.S.-led airstrikes, challenging official accounts of American military engagements in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan." Khan met with ASU News about the Pulitzer award and the reporting process from the six-year investigation.

Kiera Charley looks at darkening clouds on a butte at the Charley land outside Many Farms, Arizona.

No. 5: A student’s journey toward the stars

Astrophysics major Kiera Charley shared her journey through her first year at ASU — from leaving her home on the Navajo Nation to making new friends on campus. 

A Student’s Journey Toward the Stars” catalogs milestones and memories throughout Charley’s transition to college — and how higher education is changing to better serve the needs of Native American students.

Microscopic purple ovals and blue circles of monkeypox particles.

No. 4: ASU epidemiologist answers questions about monkeypox

On July 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 4,638 cases of monkeypox in the United States, with 41 cases in Arizona, and the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern.” 

Megan Jehn, an infectious disease epidemiologist and associate professor at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, cleared up some misinformation about monkeypox and answered some other questions about the disease.

A Black film producer works behind the camera to examine a scene of four individuals conversing.

No. 3: Black representation in film, TV still needed behind the scenes

Recent studies show that Black actors comprise 12.9% of leading roles in cable-scripted shows (proportionately reflecting the overall Black population of 13.4%). The numbers behind the scenes aren't as encouraging, though. Only 6% of the writers, directors and producers of U.S.-produced films are Black.

ASU News spoke to Aviva Dove-Viebahn, an assistant professor in the film and media studies program in the Department of English, about those numbers and how Black representation in film and TV is still needed behind the scenes.

A Falcon 9 rocket launches into the clear blue sky.

No. 2: US Space Force selects ASU as newest university partner

The U.S. Space Force and ASU signed an agreement making ASU the newest member of the service's University Partnership Program, and beginning efforts at ASU to assemble partnerships and models to collaborate with the Space Force on research and education.

“We are certainly no stranger to space,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “ASU is a leader in exploring the universe, from planets to asteroids and from the Milky Way to the most distant galaxies. We are excited to work with Space Force to continue on this path toward discovery and insight.”

Illustrated images of a squirrel, skunk and moose.

No. 1: A look inside the 10th Annual March Mammal Madness tournament

The annual March Mammal Madness tournament celebrated its 10th anniversary of combining science, storytelling and simulated animal combat to teach students about animals.

This year’s March Madness-style bracket included the following four divisions: Mammal Collectives; Wild North America; Queens of the Sea and Sky; and Why Not Both? Going beyond just mammals, the tournament featured an Arctic tern and Macaroni penguin, as well as orcas and swordfish. 

In the championship match, a "grandma" orca faced a pride of lionesses in an epic animal battle of land and sea. View the official Rodent Recap video of the championship round.

Top image: This year's top story celebrated the 10th anniversary of March Mammal Madness, which combines science, storytelling and simulated animal combat to teach students about animals.

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