2 ASU professors awarded inaugural Navrotsky Early Career Award

July 26, 2023

Two Arizona State University professors in the STEM fields were named the inaugural recipients of the Navrotsky Early Career Award.

The award is part of a gift from Alexandra Navrotsky, Regents Professor and director of Arizona State University’s Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe, to ensure the long-term growth of materials science. Side-by-side portraits of ASU assistant professors Joseph O'Rourke (left) and Qijun Hong. Joseph O'Rourke (left) and Qijun Hong Download Full Image

Qijun Hong, an assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, and Joseph O’Rourke, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration, received the award based on their early career accomplishments in the field of materials research.

“The Center for Materials of the Universe is at the forefront of materials science research," said Kenro Kusumi, dean of natural sciences at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “This is a great opportunity for professors Hong and O’Rourke to innovate their research through a collaboration between the sciences and engineering.”

Through the Navrotsky Early Career Award, Hong and O’Rourke will build the field of solid-state science and materials research at ASU. The funding they receive will enable them to continue their teaching while encouraging innovation that bridges the Department of Physics, the School of Molecular Sciences, the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy.

The center unites cosmology, astrophysics, astronomy, planetary science and exploration, mineralogy and petrology, materials science and engineering, chemistry, physics and biology to form cross-disciplinary research teams that address grand questions of complex chemistries, explore the evolution of planets and expedite humanity’s next step in the universe.

“Alex is my role model and mentor as a professor; she is the primary reason I joined ASU. The influence she has had on shaping the trajectory of my career is beyond measure. I am profoundly grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement throughout the journey and the opportunity to collaborate with her here at ASU, where she exemplifies leadership in science and serves as a guiding light in life,” Hong said. 

“I feel truly honored to be selected for this award. I am eagerly looking forward to the coming years, as I hope to continue collaborating with Alex. I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

During the two-year term, Hong and O’Rourke will pursue and promote new ideas, discoveries and technologies in the broad field of materials, advocate for and seek new funding opportunities and provide outreach to expand these leading-edge fields.

“I feel hugely honored! The pressure I feel to live up to this award is similar to that found in Earth’s core. If there’s anything I’ve learned at ASU, it’s that collaborating widely can turbocharge scientific progress,” O’Rourke said. “I’m so excited to work with colleagues in Materials of the Universe on ambitious projects about Earth and other planets.”

Stephen Perez

Marketing and Communications Coordinator, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Justice studies doctoral student awarded Cotutelle PhD scholarship

July 26, 2023

As a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Nicholet Deschine ParkhurstNicholet Deschine Parkhurst is also a member of the Navajo Nation. took the 2016 No Dakota Access Pipeline (NoDAPL) protests personally.

Recently, the Arizona State University justice studies doctoral student was awarded a two-year Cotutelle PhD scholarship to simultaneously attend Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, where she will research Indigenous peoples' use of social media during the NoDAPL protests as well as the Stand with Standing Rock social justice movements around rights to water, land and sacred sites. ASU student Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst posing in front of large letters that read "SYD" in Sydney, Australia. ASU justice studies doctoral student Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst in Sydney, Australia. Photo courtesy Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst Download Full Image

The Cotutelle program strengthens collaborative research agendas across two international research universities. The two respective universities must agree to allow a student enrolled primarily at one university to complete a second doctoral thesis at another international university, simultaneously.

Sydney is a place broadly acknowledged as the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. Deschine Parkhurst’s research will also examine global Indigenous collaborations with the Gadigal and others, such as the Maori of New Zealand, who traveled to North Dakota to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Thanks to the Cotutelle program, Deschine Parkhurst said, “I have the opportunity to bring additional perspectives from Indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand on how social media bridged their connection to the NoDAPL protests.”

The Cotutelle scholarship is the first ever to be negotiated through ASU.

While studying at Macquarie University, Deschine Parkhurst, who already has a master's degree in social work and in public policy, will continue to uphold her responsibilities at ASU, which include serving as the director of travel for the Graduate and Professional Student Association and as a delegate for the Women’s Council of Indigenous Doctoral Scholars.

Hailey Torborg

Communications and Marketing Coordinator, School of Social Transformation