New scholarship empowers students to take charge of environmental stewardship

August 3, 2023

Three Arizona State University students have been awarded the ASU Canon Solutions America Environmental Equity Scholarship.

Taylor Fisher, Kennedy Gourdine and Semhar Geberemaram were awarded the new scholarship established by Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., and the African and African American Faculty and Staff Association for demonstrating a strong interest in environmental protection. hands appearing to hold a variety of envrionmentally-themed illustrations Download Full Image

The scholarship was established for ASU graduate and undergraduate students who are pursuing a major in environmental stewardship or share the university and Canon’s commitment to preserving the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices.

Fisher, a civil, environmental and sustainable engineering doctorate student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is working on a dissertation research project to use metal-organic framework nanomaterials to treat biological contaminants in drinking water. Through a two-and-a-half-month research exchange at the University of South Africa in Johannesburg, she worked with researchers on solving drinking water and wastewater concerns across South Africa. After becoming familiar with water concerns in nine South African provinces, her research goal is to develop a water treatment nanotechnology for use there and in the U.S.

“I plan to pursue a postdoctoral position at a university in Africa before pursuing my career goal of a tenure track position at a university in the United States,” Fisher said. “I believe it’s important to expand my global breadth of not just my environmental research but also life and culture outside of the USA.”

Gourdine, a junior in the College of Global Futures majoring in sustainability and minoring in urban planning, aims to use this opportunity to give back to underserved communities on the East Coast.

“I have seen firsthand how the lack of public transit, little access to green space, food deserts and car-centric communities have affected the people in the area I grew up,” Gourdine said. “I want to give back to my community by building affordable, walkable communities for everyone to enjoy.” 

While studying at ASU, Gourdine has been involved in numerous volunteer activities on and off campus that help her learn how to address poverty and inequalities in local communities.

“To me, sustainability isn't only about protecting the environment but improving the well-being of the community and addressing resource inequity,” she said.

Geberemaram, a graduate student studying global education at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, plans to take the experience and education received from this opportunity to give back to the ASU community by promoting sustainability and equity in education. A first-generation American and mother of two, Geberemaram is returning to school through ASU Online to become a leader in global education. She seeks to incorporate sustainability practices and the impact of human activity on the planet into curriculum.

“I am deeply committed to education and environmental stewardship and believe that they are interconnected,” Geberemaram said. “Through my academic and career goals, I hope to make a positive impact by promoting educational equity and environmental sustainability.”

Kenja Hassan, a member of the African and African American Faculty and Staff Association, or AAAFSA, and assistant vice president of cultural relations in ASU’s Office of Government and Community Engagement, was instrumental in establishing the partnership with Canon Solutions America in early 2022.

“Environmental equity came up numerous times during our conversations, in part due to Canon’s positive stance on taking responsibility for the environment and human prosperity,” Hassan said. “That evolved into conceptualizing a scholarship that would support students who want to play a role in environmental protection and the protection of under-resourced communities.”

The partnership between AAAFSA and Canon Solutions America began as a response to the health disparities made evident by COVID-19. The idea was to create a scholarship to address the palpable issue of pollution and other environmental challenges, which are more likely to impact areas with a lack of financial resources.

“The best way for us to make a genuine, lasting impact is to provide for students who will one day be leading the fight for environmental safety,” said Krystal Bird, associate director of strategic partnerships at ASU. “The students who are focused on confronting environmental issues, especially those which impact marginalized communities, are those we want to award with this scholarship.”

The scholarship embodies Canon Solutions America’s perspective on environmental issues and its corporate philosophy of “kyosei,” a combination of two Japanese words that Canon uses to illustrate that all individuals and organizations should work together for the common good.  

Canon Solutions America feels a social responsibility to cultivate good relationships with customers, communities, governments and the environment. Establishing this scholarship is a way to raise awareness of their business efforts and encourage a shift in how students operate in their day-to-day lives for the future of our planet.

The scholarship also represents the university’s effort to spread awareness about the LIFT (Listen, Invest, Facilitate, Teach) Initiative. LIFT is a movement developed by ASU in 2020 with the goal of enhancing opportunities for Black undergraduate and graduate students, and Black faculty and staff.

Written by Richard Canas

ASU Art Museum to present first solo museum exhibition of Puerto Rican multidisciplinary artist

'Luis Rivera Jimenez: A Brief Proposal on Race and Cultural Cosplay' showcases ASU, CALA Alliance partnership

August 3, 2023

Beginning Aug. 19, the ASU Art Museum will be presenting the first solo museum exhibition of Puerto Rican multidisciplinary artist Luis Rivera Jimenez.

"Luis Rivera Jiménez: A Brief Proposal on Race and Cultural Cosplay" features newly created works completed in 2023 while the artist was in residence with CALA Alliance, a Latino arts organization based in Phoenix that partnered with the ASU Art Museum to achieve their common mission of incubating and accelerating the presence of Latino art in the United States.
Words on a wall as part of an art exhibit that read "Do I really have to be brown forever?" Luis Rivera Jimenez, prototype for “Phatic Function #2,” 2023. Laserjet printed paper, glue, water, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and CALA Alliance, photo by Shaunté Glover Download Full Image

The works in the exhibit, ranging from sculpture and installation to authored texts and audio, offer space for discussion around race, identity and power, expanding upon the artist’s practice, which uses the intricacies of language, political thought and daily experience in the Caribbean to create intentional spaces of learning, conversation and care.

Rivera Jimenez’s sculptural objects and installations pose questions about the dynamics of race and representation. His practice reflects upon and explores the underpinning of what he describes as a “global digital society,” where a relationship between memory, images and symbols can be traced, mapped and proliferated. 

The interactive exhibition is informed by communications, encounters and materials found by Rivera Jimenez during his time in Phoenix. The objects and texts found within the show build on the artist’s accumulation and processing of various tools: discussions, found objects, experiences in contact with communities, digital content, and physical and ephemeral materials.

The exhibition is curated by Alana Hernandez, CALA Alliance curator of Latino art at the ASU Art Museum, with Sade Moore, curatorial assistant at CALA Alliance. It will be on view from Aug. 19 through Dec. 31 at the ASU Art Museum at Nelson Fine Arts Center.

This exhibition showcases, in part, how CALA Alliance and the ASU Art Museum promote the exchange of new ideas, perspectives and experiences among artists, students and the public through various programs, especially those that educate and inspire the public about the richness of the Latinx cultural heritage.

A series of three free in-person programs are offered in conjunction with “Luis Rivera Jimenez: A Brief Proposal on Race and Cultural Cosplay”:

Aug. 19: Opening reception

Aug. 20: Translation and Language Justice in the Borderlands

Sept. 7: Performance

Dec. 1: Karaoke night

More information about these programs and how to register will be available on the museum’s website as details are confirmed.

"Luis Rivera Jimenez: A Brief Proposal on Race and Cultural Cosplay” is made possible by gifts to CALA Alliance’s general operating fund and a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Communications program coordinator, ASU Art Museum