ASU seeks nominations for 2024 MLK Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Award

Committee requests help of ASU community to nominate full-time students that demonstrate servant-leadership

September 7, 2023

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU vice president for cultural affairs and ASU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee chair, is soliciting nominations for the 2024 ASU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Award. This year’s theme is "Building History."

The ASU MLK Jr. Committee will present a Servant-Leadership Award to an ASU student at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 at the Tempe campus. Black-and-white illustration of the outlines of buildings with the words "building history." Illustration courtesy ASU Download Full Image

Servant-leadership is a practical philosophy, which supports people who choose to serve first and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. Servant-leaders may or may not hold formal leadership positions, but they encourage collaboration, trust, foresight, listening and the ethical use of power and empowerment.

The ASU community is invited to help in identifying a student for this award. The student must be currently enrolled full time, exemplify servant-leadership ideals and have a track record of commitment through volunteer service.

Self-nominations are also encouraged. Candidates may submit a resume with their nomination form. Letters of recommendation are acceptable, but no more than two.

The ASU MLK Jr. Committee will provide a $2,000 scholarship to the awardee to be used toward educational costs. This scholarship is available to ASU full-time undergraduate or graduate students. The winner must be a full-time student during the spring 2024 semester.

All nominations will be reviewed, and three finalists will be selected. Finalists will be contacted to arrange a 30-minute interview with the committee on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 13. Preference is for the awardee to attend the breakfast in person but accommodations can be made to accept the award virtually or otherwise.

Nominate yourself or another student by downloading the nomination form.

Please submit the nomination form by close of business on Monday, Sept. 25. Scan and email the form to Michelle Johnson at with the subject line: 2024 ASU MLK Student Nomination — Last name of the candidate.

Jillian Cote

Marketing & Communications Assistant, ASU Gammage

Partnering to bolster education equity

ASU Sanford School teaches introductory sociology to high schools in partnership with National Education Equity Lab

September 7, 2023

Each week, graduate teaching fellows from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University lead online discussions with high school students nationwide, focusing on contemporary sociological topics like law, culture and globalization. Their goal is not just to learn together, but to enhance educational equity in a groundbreaking partnership that brings introductory college courses to high school students. 

Through a partnership with the National Education Equity Lab, a national nonprofit, high-achieving students from Title I or disadvantaged high schools can earn transferable college credit at no cost to them. In a mission to increase college access, the National Education Equity Lab allows students to attend classes from their high school computer labs — reducing the need for home internet and computer access, which students may not have. High school students seated at a table working on laptops in a library. Through the partnership between ASU and the National Education Equity Lab, high-achieving students from Title I or disadvantaged high schools can earn transferable college credit at no cost to them by attending classes from their high school computer labs. Photo courtesy Adobe Stock

Using ASU Learning Enterprise's Universal Learner Courses for remote learning, ASU offers classes on various topics through this partnership, such as poetry in America, cloud computing and, in this case, Introductory Sociology. Now in its third semester, Introductory Sociology covers a range of topics in human society — from environmental issues to class conflict.

Teaching fellows, many of whom are sociology graduate students or alumni, utilize materials developed by ASU professors and instructional designers. At the end of the semester, their students receive transferable college credit for completing and passing the course. 

The goal is for students to be able to apply for college with a head start and newfound confidence. Indeed, many students end up applying to ASU and other universities — some of whom never previously considered college but developed the interest after succeeding in a college-level course. 

One of the course’s teaching fellows, Karen Gribosh, says it’s gratifying to see these students continue their education. 

“I’ve enjoyed the connections we are able to make in such a short period of time, seeing them engage and show interest in the topics,” Gribosh said. “A big reward for me is hearing of some of the students applying for ASU and other colleges.” 

Achievement is high, with the National Education Equity Lab citing that over 80% of students pass these university-partnered courses. Many more go above and beyond. In the spring semester of ASU’s sociology course alone, dozens of students earned their way into the National Education Equity Lab Honor Society, meaning they scored in the top 20% of learners nationwide. The National Education Equity Lab honored them for their accomplishments in a ceremony Aug. 23.  

Besides bolstering success for students from Title I schools, the course also serves as an enriching experience for teaching fellows. In some cases, the partnership has influenced career paths, with one fellow deciding to work for the National Education Equity Lab full time after teaching the course. Others have remained in their roles longer than they initially planned, motivated by the mission. 

Teaching fellow Brandi Mayo, who first joined the course while pursuing a graduate degree in sociology, shares that the class doesn’t feel like just a job — it feels like “a life experience.” 

“I have been energized by the students’ engagement with the content, and I love being in the virtual classroom with each class, as they are all uniquely different,” she said. “Overall, this experience has given me more than I had ever thought possible.” 

As the course continues to expand, the waiting list for high schools to participate only grows. With the support of these teaching fellows and university professors like Jennifer Harrison, who developed much of the SOC 101 teaching materials, this course is positioned to make a tangible difference in students’ lives and shows no signs of slowing down.

Jennifer Moore

Communications Specialist Associate, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics