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NSF renews $2.5M grant for STEM education, careers

December 1, 2022

Alliance aims to boost diversity in STEM at ASU, across the Southwest

The National Science Foundation has renewed a $2.5 million grant over the next two years for the the Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities (WAESO) program. Headquartered at Arizona State University, WAESO works to increase enrollment in STEM disciplines for historically underrepresented students.

The WAESO Alliance was one of the first projects sponsored by the NSF’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and includes 13 institutions across Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

As the lead university of the program, ASU supports these colleges and universities to promote diversity in STEM, enhance research collaborations and student experiences across institutions. Jean Andino has directed WAESO on behalf of ASU since 2019 and was involved in LSAMP since 2006.

Andino, who is also an associate professor in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and a senior global futures scholar in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, says WAESO’s goals are accomplished primarily through intensive research experiences and mentoring from STEM faculty, peer mentoring activities, summer bridge programs and virtual workshops that culminate in an annual meeting held at ASU.

Topics range from how to have an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative research tactics to how to apply to graduate school. According to Andino, this is paramount among all WAESO participants. 

“Although this support is offered at ASU, the grant helps us to involve all of our partner schools,” she says. “This is a much-needed activity since many of the WAESO students that we serve don’t think about higher education beyond their undergraduate degree.” 

Andino teaches a variety of environmental engineering courses and is an expert in air quality research, and is grateful for the several new components that will be added and enhanced as a part of the grant renewal. A few of these additions include more resources toward analyzing the efficacy of multicontext theory within WAESO training; cross-institutional research to enhance student transitions from the community college to four-year colleges; and peer mentoring among Native American students.

“Since Native American students are still vastly underrepresented in STEM, a goal is to develop a more effective, culturally responsive mentoring approach for these students, that we also hope to transition to other underrepresented or underserved populations,” Andino says.

Andino says another critical component to the WAESO project is to introduce a more formal study of the multicontext theory to the program. Multicontext theory (MCT) is the understanding that people have many facets in their lives that intersect or overlap with each other. 

“Our social science team has shown MCT to be useful in empowering diverse individuals in STEM, as well as altering institutional approaches in teaching, hiring and administration,” she says. “Our goal will be to intentionally activate MCT in research and to show people how to do this.” 

Andino says that by studying multicontext theory, focusing on career development and enhancing mentorship programs to WAESO, ASU continues to position itself as a leader in institutional research, innovation and inclusivity across STEM disciplines.

“The grant helps us to promote collaboration and convergence in research in a way that highlights and activates diversity as a resource," she said. “It simultaneously uplifts the next generation of diverse STEM students.”

Krista Hinz

Copy Writer , ASU Media Relations

New project places personal stories at center of democracy research

November 23, 2022

In a time of question and doubt for many Americans about the future of democracy in the U.S., a group of units at Arizona State University have partnered to create the Defending Democracy project.

Defending Democracy, created by the Center for the Study of Religion and ConflictThe Melikian Center: Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, the Narrative Storytelling Initiative and the Center for Work and Democracy, asks Americans to share their personal experiences with attacks on and threats to democracy in their community. Red-and-white-striped fabric frames a view of blurred blue-and-white lights. Download Full Image

The project is an effort to spotlight the kinds of attacks Americans have experienced and witnessed and the variety of ways Americans have pushed back against anti-democratic forces in their everyday lives. The project is accepting submissions of 150–400 words or 1–2-minute videos at

“We launched Defending Democracy with a sense of urgency and hope that this public outreach can shed new insights on both specific actions and underlying motives,” says Steven Beschloss, director of the Narrative Storytelling Initiative at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. “The Narrative Storytelling Initiative is committed to transdisciplinary projects that draw on academic expertise and meaningful public input, and that positively address relevant societal challenges.”

The Defending Democracy team recognizes the need to hear the stories of everyday Americans when attempting to study and understand the current state of American democracy. This project is an opportunity for scholars at ASU and beyond to study the thoughts and experiences of real Americans alongside the cultural, historical and political contexts that usually drive academic work in this area. 

“This new project provides an opportunity for everyday citizens — rather than pundits and politicians — to say in their own words what democracy means to them and to register how they see it being threatened,” says John Carlson, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and associate professor of religious studies.

The aim of the Defending Democracy project is to capture and understand the scale and variety of anti-democratic encounters, and to create hope for democracy’s future by amplifying the voices of those individuals seeking to sustain democracy within their communities. 

“In a democracy, everyone has a voice and a right to participate,” Carlson says. “This platform provides a way for Americans — Arizonans especially — to share stories, incidents or encounters in which there has been an effort to suppress, undermine or attack these democratic rights and responsibilities. We want to hear how Americans are actually experiencing democracy — and threats to it — as they go about their daily lives.”

The Defending Democracy team anticipates that these personal stories or accounts will be a source of vital information about the current state of American democracy from the very specific perspective of lived experience. 

“We’re eager to hear from our fellow citizens and to hear what they are experiencing in their lives,” Carlson says. “Depending on what we learn, we also hope to offer some constructive suggestions and proposals for improving the health of our democratic body politic.”

The submitted essays and videos will be used to guide academics who are researching and writing about the current reality and future of democracy; a multidisciplinary collection of ASU scholars and thinkers who are joining forces to reflect on this particular time in American history and the motivating narratives influencing the public’s understanding of and response to democracy. The Defending Democracy team also hopes to share the insights gained from the submissions through a series of essays, but they are also open to other, more innovative uses for the submissions as well.

“While we can imagine sharing the results in expected ways in written form or as videos, we are also considering the possibility of sharing the collection in audio, as a tapestry of voices and experiences, or even working with actors to help bring the submissions to life,” Beschloss says. “We also intend to partner with outside media organizations to share and amplify what we learn.” 

Although the content and quantity of the submissions will ultimately determine the outcome of the project, the team is optimistic about the possibilities early on. They anticipate that the project will be a catalyst for important conversations about American democracy.

“We think the issues surrounding threats to democracy are not only serious, they represent an existential danger to the country,” Beschloss says. “We hope the project will encourage thoughtful discourse, within ASU and beyond.”

Communications Coordinator, Narrative Storytelling Initiative

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ASU names Regents Professors for 2023

November 17, 2022

4 professors are considered among the top researchers at the nation's most innovative school

Arizona State University announced Thursday its four Regents Professors for 2023 — the most prestigious and highest faculty award possible.

Considered the best and brightest scholars, Regents Professors bring honor and distinction to their disciplines and are considered the top researchers that ASU has to offer. Fewer than 3% of all ASU faculty carry the title.

To receive this designation, they must be recognized by peers nationally and internationally. On Nov. 17, their names were submitted by ASU President Michael M. Crow and quickly approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.

“Arizona State University is home to a gifted and inventive world-class faculty,” Crow said. “The 2023 cohort of Regents Professors represents the highest standard of leading-edge scholarship and instruction, as well as the tremendous impact that an individual commitment to leadership and discovery can make in helping to propel learners, higher education and society forward.”

ASU requires all nominations for Regents Professor to come from groups of tenured faculty members. An advisory committee evaluates all nominations following an established review process. Crow then considers the recommendations and forwards them to the Arizona Board of Regents for final approval.

“These Regents Professors are a nationally recognized cohort of scholars and trailblazers in their fields,” said Nancy Gonzales, executive vice president and university provost. “The varied disciplines from which they come is characteristic of the culture of faculty excellence found throughout all fields of study at ASU.”

The new Regents Professors

Stacy Leeds — the newly announced dean of the Sandra Day O’ Connor College of Law, as well as a Foundation Professor of Law and Leadership. Leeds has served on the judiciaries of 10 tribal nations. She has also served on several institutions within the Department of the Interior and the National Judicial College.

Huan Liu — a professor of computer science and engineering with the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He is a fellow in the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2014 received the ASU’s President’s Award for Innovation.

Michael Lynch — a professor in the School of Life Sciences and director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution. He was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in 2009 and has received several lifetime achievement awards for his work in genetics and molecular biology.

Alexandra Navrotsky — a professor in the School of Molecular Sciences and the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, and the director of the Navrotsky Eyring Center for the Materials of the Universe. She is also the first female faculty member from Princeton University to be elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the first woman to win the Harry H. Hess Medal.

Learn more about them

Stacy Leeds

Headshot of Stacy Leeds

Leeds is considered one of the most important figures in the world of Indian law and policy. She is a frequent contributor to leading Native American law publications, a regular panelist and guest speaker at Indian law events around the globe and has delivered more than 20 keynote or distinguished addresses. Leeds was the first Indigenous woman in the United States to serve as a law school dean at the University of Arkansas School of Law from 2011 to 2018.

She has earned several awards for her work and scholarship. In 2006, she received the American Association of Law School’s Clyde Ferguson Jr. Award, and in 2013, she earned the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association. Leeds received the Cherokee National Statesmanship Award in 2014. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Leeds’ accomplishments include publication of books and articles, development of new courses, connections to the Native American community, grants and mentoring of Indigenous students.

Huan Liu

Headshot of Huan Liu

Liu is widely regarded as a pioneer in AI research who is exceptionally broad-based relative to most other AI researchers. He focuses on developing computational methods for data mining, machine learning and social computing.

His contributions in big data include development of AI models that can impact health care, social media and mis/disinformation, among other areas. In terms of use-inspired research, he actively collaborates across disciplines to tackle today’s societal problems. They include detecting disinformation, battling cyberbullying for teenagers, preserving user privacy, developing algorithmic solutions for socially responsible AI and, in collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers, improving our nation’s water sustainability.

Liu’s research has led to 10 U.S. patents, and he has graduated 33 PhD students whose work has been recognized with numerous awards.

Michael Lynch

Headshot of Michael Lynch

Lynch’s research focuses on uncovering the mechanisms driving evolution at the genomic, cellular and organismic levels. In recognition of his impact on the field of evolutionary biology, he has received grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Aging, National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of the Army.

He has been hailed as the world’s leading quantitative geneticist, and his 1998 book “Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits” has received nearly 10,000 citations and is considered the foundational work in quantitative genetics. His book “The Origins of Cellular Architecture” became the go-to primer on the domains of biodiversity, the evolution of genomic complexity, and the roles of genomic complexity and population size on mutation and evolution. His upcoming book “The Origins of Cellular Architecture” will be the first to strongly integrate evolutionary theory into cell biology.

In addition to his research leadership, Lynch has counseled 51 postdoctoral fellows, 34 PhD students and 17 master’s degree students, many of whom went on to become leaders in academia.

Alexandra Navrotsky

Headshot of Alexandra Navrotsky

Navrotsky has been described as the world’s leading scientist in the field of thermochemistry of minerals and related solid-state materials. Her discoveries have been of fundamental importance in solid-state chemistry, geochemistry, materials science and engineering, exoplanetary chemistry and materials for space exploration.

She is a driving force for inception of eight large, cross-disciplinary programs at ASU and around the United States. The impact of her research can further be measured by almost 1,000 pieces of scholarly work, with more than 35,000 citations and collaborations with academics and researchers in industry and government.

More recently, the American Ceramic Society established the Navrotsky Award for Experimental Thermodynamics of Solids, named for the ASU professor. The award is considered one of the highest bestowed upon a scientist.

Editor's note: The titles will be officially conferred at a ceremony Feb. 9.

Reporter , ASU News


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State of Arizona taps ASU to lead water innovation initiative

The state will make a $40 million investment in ASU for the water initiative.
November 17, 2022

University to lead partnership for immediate, actionable solutions to state's water needs now, into future

Arizona State University and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have announced that the university will lead a multiyear Arizona Water Innovation Initiative to provide immediate, actionable and evidence-based solutions to ensure that Arizona will continue to thrive with a secure future water supply.

The governor has committed resources and asked ASU to work with industrial, municipal, agricultural, tribal and international partners to rapidly accelerate and deploy new approaches and technology for water conservation, augmentation, desalination, efficiency, infrastructure and reuse.

“Since the very beginning of my administration, Arizona’s water future has been a focus, and today’s announcement will advance our efforts to use every tool possible to make sure communities across the state have access to the water they need,” Ducey said Wednesday.

The state will make a $40 million investment in ASU for the initiative, which will build upon and leverage the university’s successful programs in water science, technology, management and law.

“This is a critical innovation moment for water in the state of Arizona, and frankly for all seven basin states who have been sharing responsibility for creating water policy in this region for more than 100 years,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “The Arizona Water Innovation Initiative will strengthen water resilience while enhancing economic competitiveness, supporting high-value job creation, and recruiting and retaining leading industries.”

The funding for ASU’s water innovation initiative will serve as an extension of the goals set forth by Arizona’s plan to secure its water future. That plan was set in motion last week with the inaugural meeting of the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority.

“On the heels of our historic legislation to secure our water future, ASU will serve as a force multiplier to enhance our water resiliency,” Ducey said. “Arizona has a great resource in ASU and the leadership of President Michael Crow to respond with force when called upon to advance work that serves the state.”

A mom watches her children as they play on the edge of the Colorado River and a teen wades through it

Mother Jessica Bezdecny (in cap) checks on her kids as Caleb Porras, 14, walks across the Colorado River, while (from left) Dovena Porras, 11, Felissa Porras, 7 and Elias Porras, 10 play on the beach at Gateway Park, adjacent to downtown Yuma, Arizona, on Nov. 7. The Bezdecny-Porras family lives in Yuma, and the children are becoming increasingly aware of the river’s decreasing water level. Caleb worries that when he’s older, there won’t be enough water for the town nor the nearby agriculture. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Given the pressing nature of the water challenges, the Arizona Water Innovation Initiative will be implemented rapidly, with a one-year “innovation sprint,” followed by a four-year implementation and scale-up phase.

The university-wide initiative will be led by ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and will work closely with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the largest engineering college in the country.

Announced in 2020 and opened in 2021, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory is a unique, one-of-a-kind asset that exists only at ASU, leveraging the tools and expertise of transdisciplinary research institutes, centers and facilities across ASU to generate new ideas and solve problems.

“We created the Global Futures Laboratory to serve the collective interest of humankind to build something that’s on the scale of a national laboratory in the United States devoted to creative strategies and positive global futures,” Crow said.

“Water resiliency in the arid American Southwest presents subject-matter challenges for which GFL exists, and its purpose is to provide research-inspired solutions of public service.”

Federal partners in the water initiative include the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Science Foundation and NASA; state and local partners include the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Central Arizona Project, Salt River Project and the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, and both the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University; industry partners include TSMC, Intel and SOURCE Water, an ASU spinoff company that provides safe, clean drinking water for industrial, commercial, residential and community applications.

The initiative will include a Global Center for Water Technology. The center will advance a full range of solutions, including:

  • Technology, policy, law and infrastructure for coastal water desalination.
  • Advanced technology for more water-efficient agricultural operations.
  • Commercialization and deployment of water treatment and reuse technology that supports energy production and microchip manufacturing. 
  • New designs for urban water conservation.

This work will impact agricultural, municipal and industrial sectors throughout the state. Once operational, the Global Center for Water Technology aims to produce tangible results — including inventions, patents and related startup companies.

The initiative will also focus on an advanced water observatory and real-time decision support to revolutionize water measurement, modeling and prediction. This would provide the data necessary to identify critical risks, vulnerabilities and capabilities. The observatory will deploy state-of-the-art technology to fully map, monitor and model all of Arizona’s water supplies. This investment will enable ASU to partner with federal and state agencies, local water management agencies, research institutions and the private sector to enhance water security and reduce risks of future water shortages.

The Arizona Water Innovation Initiative will take advantage of the long history of collaboration on water solutions in the state and region. University researchers will work directly with partners across government, industry and nonprofit organizations to ensure cutting-edge research and technology are translated into real-world impact.

“This is an economic and social opportunity for Arizona to emerge as a national and global leader in water innovation, creating entirely new industries and technologies,” Crow said. “The status quo will not solve the problem. This is a critical moment for our institution and for the state, and we have the tools, ideas and systems to be of service.”

Top photo: The Colorado River, adjacent to downtown Yuma, Arizona, has several rail and automotive bridges across it, including Interstate 8 connecting the city with California. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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ASU the No. 1 public university in US for hosting international students

November 14, 2022

Ranking reflects ASU’s enduring commitment to global education

Arizona State University is the top public university chosen by international students, according to the influential 2022 Institute of International Education Open Doors Report. This is the second consecutive year ASU has earned this top spot — a distinction it has held for five of the past seven academic years.

A total of 15,293 international students made ASU their collegiate home in the 2021–22 academic year, a dramatic 17.5% increase from the 2020–21 academic year, when ASU ranked as the top public university with 13,015 international students. 

The university is the nation's fifth largest for hosting international students, behind only private universities New York University, Northeastern University, Columbia University and the University of Southern California, in that order.

“We are incredibly proud to be the No. 1 public university for hosting international students as it represents the focused support that colleagues across ASU have worked so diligently to provide for our international students,” said Kent Hopkins, vice president of ASU’s Academic Enterprise Enrollment. “And our commitment to fostering a rich and welcoming environment benefits our entire academic community. When students from Arizona, across the U.S. and around the world learn together and from each other, they develop the global perspective that is needed to succeed in our interconnected world.” 

A complexity facing international student enrollment at U.S. universities in the past two years has been uncertainty felt by families regarding international travel in a post-pandemic world. An advantage that contributed to ASU’s international student growth was the global nature of ASU’s admissions team, with staff positioned around the world. When international travel fully resumed in July, admissions leadership and faculty members intensified international visits to students’ home countries. 

ASU also enabled some students to begin or continue their ASU academic experience through remote learning in the 2021–22 academic year. And once these students were able to return to the U.S. and ASU campuses, the International Students and Scholars Center offered an expanded set of programs to ensure an active on-campus experience for international students.

Maoxuan Feng, a second-year psychology and mechanical engineering student from Weifang, Shandong, China, came to ASU in part because of the support ASU provided.

“ASU was much more responsive and easier to communicate with, especially during the pandemic,” Feng said. “As an international student, I found that the amount of support that ASU offers is impressive. From all kinds of cultural events to student groups, you'll always be able to find your own culture and have opportunities to meet others as well.”

ASU’s reputation for academic excellence and innovation continues to be a major catalyst for the university’s international enrollment growth, with students joining the university from a total of 158 countries. 

“As a global university, ASU offers a portfolio of career-relevant degrees taught by a faculty of experts, many of whom are globally recognized scholars and leaders in their respective fields,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost Nancy Gonzales. “Our top public university distinction is evidence of our global reputation for preparing graduates for successful careers that contribute to the solutions our world requires.”

An indicator of ASU’s reputation among international students for its career preparation is the increase in international graduate student enrollment, which totaled 5,537 international graduate students in the 2021–22 academic year, a 52.4% increase from 3,632 in the 202021 academic year.

“ASU is ranked in first position for innovation, and it is also in the top 10 universities in the U.S. for my major,” said Bharath Yogesh, a master's student in construction management and technology from Bangalore, India. “The course structure for my major is impressive, and I found exactly what I wanted for my master’s. Career fairs and student clubs help me build my network and more connections from the industry. My goals post-graduation will be to get hands-on experience from the industry.”

The figures published in the 2022 IIE Open Doors Report are based on the number of international students enrolled in coursework at institutions across the U.S. during the 2021–22 academic year and also include recent alumni participating in Optional Practical Training. OPT is a 12-month work authorization available to F-1 international students who have been full-time students for at least two consecutive semesters and plan to seek employment in the U.S. in their fields of study.

One such student is Tanvi Pratap Raorane from Mumbai, India, who earned a master’s degree in business data analytics and currently serves as a vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co. 

“ASU has been the primary catalyst in my career,” Raorane said. “As an international graduate student, I have benefited beyond earning a degree from the university. ASU resources and career services are student-centric and constantly evolving according to the student dynamics. I have received tremendous support from the faculty and staff here at ASU, which makes me successful in my banking career today.

“The university understands the cultural and professional differences of their international student population, and provides extended support to ensure our journeys are smooth. I owe a lot to ASU for shaping my career in the United States.”

Top photo: Student leaders of ASU's Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) pose for a group photo during International Graduate Welcome at Desert Financial Arena on the Tempe campus on Aug. 12: (kneeling) Florian A. Schneider, GPSA president from Germany, earning his doctorate in sustainability; (standing, from left) Siddharth Gianchandani, a graduate teaching associate from India, earning his doctorate in computer science; Pooja Chitre, GPSA director of international student affairs, a doctoral student in human and social dimensions of science and technology from India; Prashamsa Thapa, a graduate teaching associate from Nepal, earning her doctorate in innovation for global development; Kelsey Vourazeris, GPSA director of events, a doctoral student in business administration (agribusiness) from Brentwood, Tennessee; and Sandra Wood, a graduate teaching associate from Ghana, earning her doctorate in communication. Photo by Enrique Lopez

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Stacy Leeds named as new dean of ASU Law

November 10, 2022

Leeds will become the 2nd woman to serve as dean at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

The search for the next dean of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law was extensive. It started more than a year ago and took search committee members all around the country. 

In the end, the candidate they chose was already part of ASU’s academic community — Stacy Leeds. The experienced leader and renowned legal scholar joined ASU in 2021, as Foundation Professor of Law and Leadership at ASU, where she teaches in the Indian Legal Program. Her new post starts Feb. 1, 2023.

“The advisory committee conducted a national search and considered multiple applications from impressive, well-qualified candidates,” said Ruth McGregor, retired chief justice for the Arizona Supreme Court and an ASU Law graduate, who chaired the committee. 

“Professor Leeds stood out for the combination of skills, vision and experience she brings, and for her excitement about meeting the challenges faced by and the opportunities available to the dean of ASU’s law school,” McGregor said. 

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is one of the nation’s preeminent law schools, focused on offering students a personalized legal education. It is ranked No. 1 in Arizona since 2010 and No. 30 nationally by U.S. News & World Report

Nancy Gonzales, executive vice president and university provost at ASU, said that Leeds had an illustrious career and very unique experience. 

“Her depth of experience in corporate engagement and public service to the nation, tribal nations and communities, as well as higher education leadership, is uncommon,” Gonzales said. “And this will be her second law school deanship — a rare accomplishment.”

Leeds and leadership 

Prior to coming to ASU, Leeds was the first Indigenous woman in the U.S. to become a law school dean. She led the University of Arkansas School of Law serving as dean and vice chancellor for economic development. She holds law degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Tulsa, a business degree from the University of Tennessee and an undergraduate degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis.

Leeds is an elected member of the American Law Institute and recipient of the American Bar Association's Spirit of Excellence Award. 

She replaces Dean Douglas Sylvester, who transformed ASU Law and brought its rankings to historic heights. 

Wellness plans for today and beyond

Leeds hopes to build on the successful work of her predecessors.

“My vision is to amplify our current strengths of excellence, access and innovation,” said Leeds, “but also prioritize wellness in all respects.” 

“This necessarily means creating an environment where all voices are heard and each law student is supported in their needs as a whole person,” she said.

Leeds understands the high stress levels often associated with the law school experience and the legal profession as a whole.

“Focusing on the whole person means making sure students have access to all the tools they need to succeed in life. This means a commitment not just to excellence in legal education, but also fostering paths to financial, physical, mental and spiritual wellness,” Leeds said.

Accessible legal education

Leeds also wants to make ASU Law accessible and more flexible for students. Law schools have maintained a traditional method of classroom teaching, but the American Bar Association has recently amended accreditation standards to law schools to deliver one-third of their degrees online. 

“Online platforms are still a relatively new phenomenon in the J.D. curriculum at law schools nationally,” Leeds said. “In order to offer students’ maximum flexibility to tailor their law school experience to their needs, online opportunities must rapidly evolve. As we continue to innovate, we’ll pledge to maintain the level of excellence everyone has come to expect from ASU.”

Inclusive excellence

Leeds is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and has lived much of her life within the Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee reservations in Oklahoma, where she served as a Cherokee Nation Supreme Court justice.

One of the draws to ASU was the university’s widespread commitment to inclusive excellence.

“ASU has long embraced meaningful access to education as a threshold to individual and community empowerment.” Leeds said. “It goes beyond an expectation that students from all backgrounds and life experiences should have a sense of belonging here. Imagine an institution that takes primary responsibility for student growth and success – that’s ASU.”

Leeds attributes her success to the impact of several mentors as she began her own path in the legal profession and takes seriously her responsibility to open doors for all law students, regardless of their background or dreams for their future. 

She sees her role in expanding those educational opportunities as paramount to continuing to honor the legacy of the college’s namesake, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the groundbreaking jurist who dedicated her life to public service and the rule of law. 

Leeds will carry this spirit of justice and inclusiveness to her new role, where she will have the honor of serving as the first Willard H. Pedrick Dean’s Chair. 

According to Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the Law School Admission Council, “Stacy brings an impressive set of leadership competencies that will help advance legal education’s role in justice and democracy. Congrats to ASU. I cannot wait to see the accomplishments she will lead.”

Reporter , ASU News

A 'giant' on the supply chain academic front

W. P. Carey professor receives Academic ‘Giant’ Award for lifetime impact on supply chain management

October 27, 2022

Dale Rogers describes himself as many things on his Twitter profile: an "old, slow, basketball player," a father of five, a grandfather, a husband, a professor of logistics and supply chain management at Arizona State University and an alum of both Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan, and Michigan State University.

He can now add “giant on the academic front.” Portrait of ASU Professor Dale Rogers. Dale Rogers, ON Semiconductor Professor of Business in the Department of Supply Chain Management at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business Download Full Image

Rogers was honored for his lifetime impact on supply chain management as an academic at the 2022 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Academic Research Symposium (ARS) in September. He’s the fifth to receive the Academic “Giant” Award.

“I’m very grateful to have been picked for this award,” said Rogers. “It is a real honor to receive it from my peers in supply chain academia.”

With more than 180 companies in attendance, the CSCMP symposium was where industry professionals went to meet with respected individuals working across the field and build connections designed to help their businesses come out ahead. Attendants rubbed elbows with some of the supply chain industry’s most influential leaders, including Rogers, the ON Semiconductor Professor of Business in the Department of Supply Chain Management at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business.

The CSCMP symposium uniquely focuses on education. Beyond its numerous educational sessions, spread out over the course of its three-and-a-half-day period, the academic research-focused Donald J. Bowersox Doctoral Symposium is where Rogers was presented with the Academic “Giant” Award. The symposium has been taking place since the 1990s and invites doctoral students from across the globe to submit their research on all topics related to supply chain management, logistics, transportation, marketing and much more.

AVNET Professor of Supply Chain Management Elliot Rabinovich, Professor of supply chain management and Bob Herberger Arizona Heritage Chair Scott Webster and Professor and Morrison Chair of Agribusiness Tim Richards received an award at the Donald J. Bowersox Doctoral Symposium for being on Lina Wang’s dissertation committee. Wang, who earned her PhD at W. P. Carey, won the Best Dissertation Award. She’s an assistant professor of supply chain management at the Smeal College of Business at the Pennsylvania State University.

Assistant Professor of supply chain management Mikaella Polyviou, along with former ASU PhD students Anibal Sodero and Zac Rogers, won the Journal of Business Logistics Best Reviewer Award.

“This is such a great time to be in supply chain academia,” Rogers told the doctoral students at the Academic Research Symposium. “You are coming into this field at a time when people know what it is. They know it’s hard to do and that it’s an important economic variable. That gives you a lot of opportunities to do a lot of different things.”

Significant achievements in the logistics and supply chain industry

In 2021, Rogers was the recipient of the CSCMP 2021 Distinguished Service Award, which is bestowed upon an individual for significant achievements in the logistics and supply chain management industry. Presented annually, the award was instituted in 1965 as a tribute to logistics pioneer John Drury Sheahan.

“This award means a lot to me,” Rogers said. “It was great recognition for our department and the work that is being done here. Previous award winners include leading practitioners and academics. I’m the first Sun Devil to ever win this award and I hope there are several more.”

Rogers, who came from Rutgers University as a professor of logistics and supply chain management, is the director of the Frontier Economies Logistics Lab and the co-director of the Internet Edge Supply Chain Lab at ASU’s W. P. Carey School. He is the principal investigator of the $15 million CARISCA Project — hence his @CariscaProf Twitter handle — and director of Global Projects for ILOS - Instituto de Logística e Supply Chain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2012, he became the first academic to receive the International Warehouse and Logistics Association Distinguished Service Award in its 130-year history. He is a board advisor to Flexe, Enterra Solutions and Droneventory, is a founding board member of the Global Supply Chain Resiliency Council and Reverse Logistics and Sustainability Council, and serves on the board of directors for the Organización Mundial de Ciudades y Plataformas Logísticas. 

He is published in the leading journals of the supply chain and logistics fields and has been the principal investigator on research grants from numerous organizations. He is also a senior editor at the Rutgers Business Journal, an area editor at Annals of Management Science, and an associate editor of the Journal of Business Logistics and the Journal of Supply Chain Management. 

Rogers has made more than 300 presentations to professional organizations and has been a faculty member in numerous executive education programs at universities in the United States, Africa, China, Europe and South America, as well as at major corporations and professional organizations. He has been a consultant to several companies and is the author of several books, including a new book about supply chain financing co-written with Rudi Leuschner at Rutgers Business School and Tom Choi at the W. P. Carey School.

Follow Rogers' Twitter for ASU and supply chain news, as well as the occasional basketball video.

And don’t let Rogers’ Twitter profile reference to his age and "slowness" fool you; he’s leading the creation and innovation of supply chain management and has a lot more to contribute to the industry.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


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ASU partners with Boyce Thompson Arboretum

October 26, 2022

Partnership offers new opportunities for next generation of scientists, scholars

Arizona State University has announced a new partnership with the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, a collaboration that includes the new Bernard “Bill” Benson Research Award.

The Benson Award will invest $300,000 over the next three years to further the research and education goals of the arboretum and Arizona State University.

Brit Burgard, a master’s student studying plant biology and conservation, and Guillermo Ortiz, a doctoral student studying environmental life sciences, from the School of Life Sciences are the first award recipients.

An Arizona native, Burgard grew up knowing about the arboretum and later worked there while at ASU. She was excited to hear about the funded research opportunity.

“It’s a wonderful collaboration between Boyce Thompson Arboretum and ASU,” Burgard said.

The award will allow Burgard and Ortiz to pursue their research with hands-on access to the arboretum’s extensive plant collections. This will help them pursue publication and advancement in the field of desert plants, conservation and impacts of climate change on desert life and ecosystems.

“I do flora for my master’s program related to the telegraph wildfire that burned in 2021,” Burgard said. “I will be collecting plant specimens and preserving them. Some will go to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and the rest will go to the ASU Arboretum.”

As part of her research, Burgard will also be looking at saguaro restoration and making it more cost effective.

Ortiz will be working with lichens and has set up a permanent monitoring plot at the arboretum. Using 3D photogrammetry, which takes pictures of various angles of the site, he will monitor growth of lichens in the arboretum.

The mission of the arboretum is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of desert plants, wildlife and ecosystems through education, research and conservation. This new partnership with ASU will help promote interest in the Sonoran Desert for students of all ages, with a particular focus on the young people in the Arizona towns of Superior, Miami and Globe.

“Today isn’t just about the Benson Fund but also to begin talking about all the ways that we can be working together. Our mission here encompasses not just desert plants, but also wildlife and ecosystems and education, research and conservation around those topics,” said Lynne Nemeth, executive director at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, during the partnership announcement on Oct. 21.

Future opportunities for ASU and the arboretum could include endangered and rare plant species research, developing a rare plant conservation plan, identifying which plant species are most susceptible to climate change and developing survival plans and building experimental gardens to assess climate change impacts on particular genotypes and aid adaptation strategies such as managed relocation. 

“There’s also soil and moisture studies, curricular engagement, seed collection programs for post-fire restoration, documentation of heritage collections, invasive species removal protocol and more,” Nemeth said.

The partnership will also bring new opportunities to the Desert Humanities, an initiative at ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research that provides environmental experiences with the Desert Southwest.

“The collaboration allows us to reach broad publics with our planned talks and workshops at the arboretum,” said Ron Broglio, lead of the desert humanities program at ASU. 

“For humanities scholars at ASU, desert humanities can offer writing retreats at the inspiring ecological surrounds of the Boyce Thompson,” he said.

The Benson Award is funded by Shelly Esque, Lenni Benson and their families and is named in honor of their father. Bill Benson received a Bachlor of Science in chemistry in 1949 from the then-called Arizona State Teachers College. He was first curator and then assistant director of the arboretum from 1948 to 1962. 

Benson was dedicated to ensuring that the arboretum could continue its legacy as the first botanical institution in the U.S. dedicated to the study and development of arid land plants.

“We decided to establish a fund that would promote the relationship between the Arboretum and ASU and really get the arboretum back into the research game,” Esque said. “So that’s what this fund is all about, to jumpstart the relationship with ASU and honor my dad."

Situated on 372 acres of scenic upland Sonoran Desert just 30 minutes from Mesa, Arizona, Boyce Thompson Arboretum is Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Collections include plants from the U.S., Mexico, Australia, Madagascar, India, China, Japan, Israel, South America, the Middle East, Africa, the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula — more than 20,000 plants within 105 acres of gardens. 

Approximately 30% of the arboretum’s plant species are considered species of conservation concern.

“This has been a great day to not only see the excitement around the Benson Fund, but all of the future opportunities,” said Kenro Kusumi, dean of natural sciences for The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Beyond astronomy, geological sciences, ecology, plant biology, desert humanities and everything in between. We are really going to see the next generation of scientists and scholars.”

Lauren Whitby contributed to this story.

Top photo: On Friday, Oct. 21, ASU announced a new partnership with the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and celebrated with guests at Discovery Day. The mission of the Arboretum is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of desert plants, wildlife and ecosystems through education, research and conservation. Photo by Meghan Finnerty.

Allison Connell

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

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7 things you should know about cybersecurity

October 24, 2022

ASU experts give simple steps and advice for Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Connected devices are everywhere — from our phones and doorbell cameras to our cars and smart infrastructures — and the security of those devices is critical. Cybersecurity needs to be everyone’s responsibility; we must all work together to create a safer environment for this generation and those to come.

Since 2004, the President of the United States declared October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month, led by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Cybersecurity Alliance. This year’s theme — “See Yourself in Cyber” — demonstrates that while cybersecurity may seem like a complex subject, it’s really about the people.

In this Q&A, Arizona State University experts Nadya Bliss, executive director of the Global Security Initiative, and Jamie Winterton, director of strategy at the Global Security Initiative, discuss how cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, how can you protect yourself online and what can we do about cybersecurity challenges.

1. Why is cybersecurity critical?

Nadya Bliss: Computing and connected devices are literally in every aspect of our lives and we put so much trust in them to help us function as individuals and as a broader society – from helping us organize our day to tracking our exercise to managing the worldwide supply chain of critical goods. As a result, the security of those devices is paramount.

Jamie Winterton: So many of the building blocks of society are connected to the internet, so I think it really counts as critical infrastructure at this point.

2. What can people do to protect themselves online?

Here is some practical advice from Bliss and Winterton.

  • Step back and assess. Ask yourself: “Why do I feel threatened and what do I need protection from?”
  • Keep your technologies up to date. Updates help to identify software vulnerabilities to keep our operating systems secure.
  • Be careful with untrusted sources. If you do not recognize a link that someone has shared with you, do not click on it — many times these are malicious and can cause harm.
  • Turn on multifactor authentication. In addition to your regular password, this will give you an alert to ensure this is you logging in to your bank account or credit card website.
  • Use a password manager. These let you create complex passwords that you likely cannot remember, and help make your life easier by keeping them safe.
  • Think before you share. Always check your sources and avoid spreading misinformation and phishing attacks. Many phishing scams today are relying on a fear factor, resulting in poor decision-making. Pause, think and understand.
  • Disabling unnecessary connections to the internet. Many times, day-to-day devices do not have protocols for updates that protect from security breaches — so disconnect them from the web if you can.

3. Why is cybersecurity a good career choice?

Winterton: The first reason is the pay — cybersecurity professionals tend to be paid very well. There are so many ways to participate in cybersecurity, and I think that gets missed sometimes. There are needs in governance, compliance, in policy and in being a security evangelist to users and communicators. All of these are sorely needed today.

A second reason is the fact that careers in cybersecurity drive real-world impact. You are doing something which protects those who may not be able to protect themselves. When we create more secure technology, we are asking users to take on less burden, and also less risk.

Bliss: Thinking like a hacker does not necessarily require a technical background; there are great cybersecurity professionals who have backgrounds in history, philosophy and theater. Many studies show that there is a labor shortage in cybersecurity. As technology evolves and increasingly becomes prevalent, opportunities continue to rise. An employee on this desired career path is guaranteed a growth trajectory due to the many opportunities to learn different techniques, modalities and operations within cybersecurity.

4. What is the reason and solution for the deficit within cybersecurity?

Bliss: We have an overfocus on capability and an underfocus on security, which is often relegated to a secondary consideration. Also, the cost of vulnerabilities continues to rise — from the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack to the Equifax data breaches — and the shift we see now is that people realize the importance of security. We need a different set of incentive structures in order for things to improve at a steady rate, and the next step is implementation.

Winterton: In the infosecinformation security community, we hear about companies that create job postings that do not match the actual need. Yes, we need more people in the field, but we need to hire the right people, with the right experience, as well.

Learn more about how ASU is addressing the deficit of cybersecurity.

5. What are some predictions about the cybersecurity industry in the near future?

The following predictions from Winterton and Bliss look ahead over the next five to 10 years:

  • Increased cybersecurity risk in health care, biotechnology, agriculture and automotive industries.
  • A continued increase in coordination between government and industry, much of which is made possible through the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
  • The increased adoption of artificial intelligence both in making systems more resilient to attacks, and allowing automated agents to initiate attacks faster and more efficiently.
  • Foundational breakthroughs in quantum computing capabilities and corresponding potential impacts on broadly adopted technologies such as encryption.

6. What are some grand challenges effecting cybersecurity?

Bliss: We tend to be more excited by novelty than we are about security, and I think we need to pause and ask ourselves, “Do I need this household item to be connected to the internet?” Also, we need to connect the communities of those who build the systems and those who use them. We should ensure a better understanding of the vulnerability space at all education levels, from kindergarten all the way up.

Winterton: In the United States, we have an overlap between the public and private sectors, and the regulation and governance across those spaces will always be a grand challenge. There are unique issues when privately-owned companies that perform public good are breached or fall victim to ransomware, like Colonial Pipeline. The challenges increase when we look at the international level, and we do not as of yet have an international consortium to address cybersecurity issues. This is possibly the grandest challenge of all.

7. What is ASU doing to address these challenges?

Winterton: We cannot fix cybersecurity issues without a radical interdisciplinary approach, and at ASU, we have the edge through the Center for Cybersecurity and Trusted Foundations. One of the focuses of the (center) is to give people hands-on experience in real-world situations.

ASU has a wide range of offerings in cybersecurity training and education that enable people to pursue different career paths in the field. In addition to formal degrees through the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence and other academic units, ASU is engaged in experiential learning – through efforts like supporting student hacking clubs and organizing Capture the Flag competitions, including in the past organizing the largest in the world at DEF CON.

Learn about ASU’s involvement in DEF CON.

Get involved this cybersecurity awareness month

  • ASU Hacking Club. The ASU Hacking Club aims to teach people the basics of hacking.
  • The online educational platform provides training modules to aspiring cybersecurity professionals both within and outside ASU.
  • ASU’s computer science (cybersecurity) Bachelor of Science degree. Through the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, this degree provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to build dependable and secure information systems and networks, and to ensure the integrity and quality of information being stored, processed and transmitted.
  • Get Protected. ASU is committed to raising the bar when it comes to cybersecurity awareness. Get involved with events and campaigns this October.

The Global Security Initiative is partially supported by Arizona’s Technology and Research Initiative Fund. TRIF investment has enabled hands-on training for tens of thousands of students across Arizona’s universities, thousands of scientific discoveries and patented technologies, and hundreds of new startup companies. Publicly supported through voter approval, TRIF is an essential resource for growing Arizona’s economy and providing opportunities for Arizona residents to work, learn and thrive.

Top image: Jamie Winterton (left) and Nadya Bliss.

Oliver Dean

Manager of Marketing and Communications, Knowledge Enterprise , Global Security Initiative


Applications now open for Sun Devil 100

Join the next class of outstanding ASU alumni entrepreneurs, innovators

October 17, 2022

The ASU Alumni Association is now accepting applications through Friday, Dec. 9, for the Sun Devil 100 Class of 2023, a group of outstanding ASU alumni who own or lead organizations with consecutive years of growth. 

Spanning industries and locations across the globe, and celebrating alumni ranging from individual business leaders to leaders of large corporations, the Sun Devil 100 is an impactful group of highly talented business owners and leaders who exemplify the spirit of Arizona State University.   Illustration of a sunburst. Join the next class of outstanding entrepreneurs who exemplify the spirit of ASU and operate their organizations in a manner consistent with the ASU Charter. Download Full Image

“We are excited to celebrate exceptional alumni who demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and success in their businesses, and also in the contributions to society that reflect the principles of the ASU Charter,” said Christine Wilkinson, president and CEO of the ASU Alumni Association. “The Sun Devil 100 honorees consistently demonstrate that ASU’s alumni excel in their fields.”

This year, all eligible companies for the class of 2023 will be ranked by their percentage increase in gross sales and revenue for 2019, 2020 and 2021 in three financial tiers:

  • Revenues of $250,000–$1.999 million.
  • Revenues of $2 million–$9.999 million.
  • Revenues of more than $10 million.

Introduced in 2022, the financial tiers give honorees the ability to be ranked with businesses in similar revenue categories, recognizing more alumni entrepreneurs and businesses at different stages of growth. 

All companies will be inducted into the Sun Devil 100 Class of 2023, and the top fastest-growing companies in each of the three tiers will be specially recognized.

The companies must have been in business for at least three years; have revenues of $250,000-plus for each of the past three years; and operate in a manner consistent with the ASU Charter.

In 2022, the ASU Alumni Association honored 137 alumni representing 107 organizations whose businesses grew year over year, including Josh Cohen, ‘05 BS business administration, co-founder of PC Sportscards; Matthew Kayne, ‘08 BS computer information systems (business), CEO of Majestic Water Spouts; and Gabriel Abraham Shahin, ‘06 BS business administration, CEO of Falcon Wealth Planning Inc. 

A full list of eligibility requirements and application steps is available at the ASU Alumni Sun Devil 100 website.

Laurie Merrill

Marketing Copy Writer , ASU Alumni Association