Triple major graduates with plans to return to Vietnam after grad school

December 1, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.

Samuel Watson knew he wanted to double-major in chemical engineering and economics at Arizona State University, but he couldn’t shake that feeling that something was missing — so he added a third degree, a Bachler of Arts in Asia studies.  Samuel Watson triple majored in chemical engineering, economics and Asia studies, and he said he hopes to pursue graduate school in chemical engineering at ASU, with the goal of bringing chemical engineering technologies into use in Southeast Asia. Download Full Image

“Directly after high school, I deferred for two years to serve a religious mission in Vietnam,” Watson said “While I was there, I came to appreciate the culture, people and language.” 

Watson, who received the New American University President’s Award, the Beus Family Scholarship and the Elks Club Past Exalted Rulers Scholarship, is also a student in Barrett, The Honors College. His thesis project is titled “Stabilizing Relations in Vietnam: How a Nation Recovers from War,” and one of Watson’s most impactful mentors sat on his committee: An Sakach, assistant teaching professor of Vietnamese in the School of International Letters and Cultures. 

“I have taken multiple courses in Vietnamese with her, and she has been instrumental in helping me not only develop my language skills and cultural knowledge but also in helping me expand the opportunities available to me,” Watson said. 

Importantly, Sakach introduced Watson to the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship, which enabled Watson to study Vietnamese for two summers, one at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the other at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi, Vietnam. 

When asked what he hopes to accomplish with his three degrees, Watson said he hopes to pursue graduate school in chemical engineering at ASU. 

“I intend to take full advantage of my concurrent degrees by taking a business approach to engineering, combining my STEM skills and economic interests and talents into one cohesive career,” Watson said. “I am interested in bringing chemical engineering techniques and technologies into use within developing countries, especially in Southeast Asia.” 

Though Watson grew up in Tucson, it’s clear he’s a Sun Devil for life. 

“I have really enjoyed my time at ASU,” he said. “The fact alone that I was able to pursue three concurrent degrees and that my advisors were supportive of me in the process is impressive, but additionally all my professors have taught me a great deal. ASU ensures that all students get a well-rounded education with the way degree programs are laid out, but they are also very conducive to helping students learn what they are most interested in.” 

Here are some additional highlights from our Q&A with him:  

Question: What's the best piece of advice you'd give to other students?  

Answer: Seek out and apply to all opportunities possible. Also, the advice I would give to other students is to stay ahead on their assignments and do the readings prior to class. Your understanding and retention will vastly improve. Further, if you have multiple interests, consider getting a minor, certificate or a second major, especially if you are looking into more diverse career options. It takes less additional courses than you might expect and is well worth the extra effort. I have honestly been very impressed with how open counselors and staff are to inquiries about these options. 

Q: What is your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends, or otherwise? 

A: I feel like there are a lot of good spots on campus, but my personal favorite has to be the Barrett complex. I do eat at the dining hall daily, which is really convenient, but in addition to the dining hall the Barrett complex has a lot of nice amenities. I often find myself studying in one of the sitting spaces, or even occasionally outside when the weather is nice. Further, Barrett provides easy access to counselors and even holds a few clubs that I enjoy attending in addition to regular activities. If you keep yourself in the loop, you can find a lot of fun things to do there. 

Q: What's something you learned while at ASU (in the classroom or otherwise) that surprised you or changed your perspective? 

A: Something surprising I learned at ASU was how much I enjoyed studying a diversity of subjects, and how open ASU is to helping students pursue multiple degrees if they so choose. I had initially considered doing a double major in chemical engineering and economics, but I also wanted to work in Asia studies somehow. I started lighter with Asia studies as a certificate and economics as a minor, but when I wanted to increase both to majors ASU had really helpful tools like the DARS system and my advisors were very open to talk to me about my options. Of course, it takes a lot of work to study multiple fields, but I feel I have come out of ASU very well-rounded and with a lot more knowledge not only on specialty fields but even general issues in the world thanks to several of my general studies courses. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 billion to solve one problem on our planet, what would you do? 

A: If I were to receive $40 billion to solve a problem in our world, I would choose to help develop water treatment and sewage systems in developing countries at the community level. The intent would be to provide access to safe water and sanitation for people in need. Having access to clean water is necessary for a healthy and thriving community. Funds would be focused on providing the necessary infrastructure, maintenance and training of community employees or local personnel to stabilize the safe water supply.

Outstanding grad plans to make positive impacts through business

November 30, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.

“Growing up, studying business was heavily associated with making money,” says Outstanding Graduate Chitray “Ray” Eddy ('23 MBA). “I wanted my profession to have more meaning than just monetary rewards.”

Before coming to ASU, Eddy was considering graduate school but wasn’t interested in pursuing a degree in business. After participating in a work project supplying donated mattresses to families in need, everything changed.

“I loved the feeling. I knew a broad education in business administration with an MBA would give me the tools to make strategic decisions that could have widespread impact for the greater good,” says Eddy.

It was important for Eddy, who is based in Philadelphia, to get involved with his academic community while pursuing his MBA online. He served as a member of the Student Advisory Board, where he helped to shape the future of W. P. Carey School of Business' MBA programs and attended MBA orientations to share his experiences and tips for success with incoming students. He also participated on the project team that planned W. P. Carey’s first All MBA event, which brought together students and faculty from across all business programs to network and encourage community building.

“I feel I have grown in almost every aspect of my life, professionally and personally, and it is in no small part because of W. P. Carey,” Eddy says. His advice to current students is to invest in their classmates and community as much as their academics. Chitray "Ray" Eddy Chitray "Ray" Eddy Download Full Image

“It can be easy to overlook the interactions with your peers or even dread team projects,” says Eddy. "But the skills you learn from your classmates’ experiences and interactions working on team assignments are invaluable. Take full advantage of it.”

We caught up with Eddy to learn more about his ASU experience.

Notes: Answers may have been lightly edited for length or clarity.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: ASU taught me that failure can be one of an individual's or company's most important growth opportunities. I have learned about so many people and businesses that failed to create something and then went on to create something better. The negative connotation of failure I had coming into the program has been wiped away, and making mistakes can actually mean making progress in the business world.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: W. P. Carey has a reputation for rigorous coursework, compelling electives, and a fulfilling team environment. I knew this combination would give me the skills I desired in an MBA and lasting ties with peers. Outside the classroom, I could see W. P. Carey provided world-class career support, campus involvement opportunities, and a network that spanned every industry. These benefits made W. P. Carey the perfect choice to pursue my MBA.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Luiz Mesquita, associate dean of graduate programs and associate professor of management and entrepreneurship, taught me that values should drive your aspirations, not the other way around. While career planning, it’s easy to start with an end point and work backward. But by looking at your values first, you can plan forward with those in mind. I feel this is a better path to happiness, and I will absolutely keep this in mind as I navigate my career.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would tackle world hunger. I feel like a sustainable supply chain can be constructed to stabilize the current imbalance of food supply. I want to eradicate food insecurity completely.

Molly Loonam

Copywriter, W. P. Carey School of Business

Outstanding graduating senior supports fight against substance abuse, food insecurity

November 30, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.

While pursuing his business administration degree, Marine Corps veteran Dawson Hendricks ('23 BA) juggled responsibilities as a father, husband, full-time mortgage lender, and community advocate, all while maintaining over a 4.0 GPA.

“I am incredibly proud of my success during my time at ASU. To perform this well professionally and academically in unison is something I was unsure I could do,” says Hendricks.  Dawson Hendricks posing in a suit in front of a brick building. Dawson Hendricks Download Full Image

As an ASU Online student, the Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior got involved in his Oklahoma City community when he couldn’t attend on-campus clubs and activities. Hendricks serves on the young professionals board for Hope is Alive, a nonprofit assisting with substance abuse and alcoholism recovery through comprehensive programming, where he founded a financial training program for residents to educate participants on homeownership. The program has helped three residents become homeowners through multiple down payment assistance programs and grants he facilitated. 

Hendricks is also part of the 2023–24 leadership council for the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank, where he works to reduce food insecurity across the state.

“Fighting addiction and food insecurity has its challenges, but it also provides the greatest satisfaction when we win,” says Hendricks. “I have seen the impact these issues have on our neighbors and families, but I have also seen the joy that comes from a family knowing they have enough food for the week or a resident from Hope is Alive celebrating their first year of sobriety. It is truly amazing to see.”

We caught up with Hendricks to learn more about his experience and goals.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I knew majoring in business administration would be a deep dive into the business world, with the added flexibility to pursue different fields. When I realized my skill set was driving me toward the business sector, choosing a major was simple. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: A support system and connections are some of your best assets. I’m a mortgage lender in Oklahoma City, and recently met a realtor wearing an ASU hat. It turned into a 30-minute conversation, and now we are doing business together. Shout out to Clara Walker, Class of 2019!

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A:  I wanted a degree from the top business school in the U.S. ASU’s top-rated online business program made it an easy decision.

Q: What’s the best advice for those still in school?

A: Enjoy the small, beautiful moments. I could say to manage your time wisely or find a study habit that works best for you, but there are going to be so many times where doubt, stress, and negativity creep into your mind. Appreciating the small moments that make your day a little better will improve your outlook on what matters. Also, be nice to people. I truly believe that a lot of my success has come from kindness and genuinely caring about people.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am going to enjoy coming home and just being a dad and husband, with no homework or exams to study for. Eventually, I plan to pursue my MBA. Professionally, the goal is the same as usual: to be the top mortgage lender in Oklahoma. 

Molly Loonam

Copywriter, W. P. Carey School of Business

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’Tis the season … to be cautious

November 30, 2023

W. P. Carey professor says economy, inflation and interest rates might dampen retailer spirits

The 2023 holiday shopping season promises to be a little different than in years past. 

Not only will temperatures cool in December, but likely so will consumer spending. That’s largely due to a sluggish economy, inflation, higher interest rates on credit cards and the fact that people have less savings than in the past. That also means most consumers will have less money to spend on presents this year.

But give retailers credit for pulling out all the stops. They have lengthened the holiday season to ensnare more consumers, replenished their supply chains, placed more emphasis on promoting online deals and employed artificial intelligence for operational efficiencies.

But one Arizona State University professor noted that despite these best efforts, it might not be enough.

“I hate to be the Grinch this Christmas, but if you dig deeper in the numbers, there are warning signs,” said Hitendra Chaturvedi, a professor of practice in Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business. “Adjusted for inflation, growth in retail sales will be a sluggish 1% over last year, according to Bain and Company, a sales growth figure that will be lowest since the financial crisis.”

An expert in supply chain management, global logistics, entrepreneurship and sustainability, Chaturvedi said the current economy is a teaching moment by offering retailers a map to navigate the “most wonderful time of the year.”

ASU News spoke with Chaturvedi about this holiday shopping season, trends in spending and how the season is guiding retailers to conduct business beyond the holidays.

Man in black shirt and blazer

Hitendra Chaturvedi

Question: As we are in the thick of the holiday shopping season, what are some key trends you’re seeing?

Answer: One key trend is that the holiday shopping season starts earlier every year. The holiday season is not limited to post-Thanksgiving shopping and, like our waistlines, expanding to cover more months! Retailers are starting holiday sales as early as July to get a share of the consumer wallet as soon as possible. Unlike bricks-and-mortar stores that had to plan months for a sale, it is relatively easy for an online store to run a holiday sales event, so we will see many more virtual “Black Fridays,” “Cyber Mondays” and “Prime Days” in the future.  

According to the National Retail Federation, less than 10% of consumers will wait until December to start their holiday shopping. Analysts predict that retail sales this holiday season are expected to grow between 3.5% and 4.5%The predicted growth of 3.5–4% is without taking inflation into account. Adjusted for inflation, the growth is just 1%. over last year. With low employment and the security of a steady paycheck, consumers are spending, but cautiously. 

Interestingly, AI has rapidly found its way into our holiday shopping experience. Under the hood, retailers are already using predictive and generative AI for operational efficiencies and personalized shopping experiences, which will impact close to $200 billion in sales, according to Salesforce, but, more interestingly, it reports that 17% of the consumers plan to use generative AI for holiday purchase “inspiration.”

Q: Does that mean we will not see a recession? 

A: As they say, the devil is in the details. We are scraping the bottom of our savings buckets as our savings rate today is 3.4%, well below the average of 8.9%. Nearly half of U.S. adults have zero or less savings than a year ago. More than a third have more credit card debt than cash reserves. A combination of high credit card debt, which has now topped a trillion dollars two quarters in a row, a rising credit card delinquency rate (still low by historical standards), high interest rates and persistently high inflation is giving consumers pause, with clear telltale signs to retailers. For example, this holiday season, the American consumer is spending less on high-ticket items, as reported by weak sales for Lowe's and Home Depot. Retailers have started to get worried about their sales and profits this holiday season.

Q: Is this why companies are trying to change their return policies and make it more difficult to return products?

A: Amazon started lenient return policies, so we would be more comfortable buying online, and other retailers were forced to follow. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, customers expect a lenient return policy. Research has shown that over 85% of the customers who have a bad return experience will not buy from that retailer again. 

Returns have become a big cost for retailers, and according to a survey by Salesforce, 88% of the retailers say they will be making return policies stricter this holiday season — but I believe that this might not be the most prudent move given the timing. As markets are slowing down and consumers are wary of economic conditions, bringing in a less-friendly return policy might spook the customer. Historically, return data has shown that retailers with less than a 30-day return window may risk reducing their sales by 7–8% over the holiday season. The question is, are retailers willing to take that risk?

Q: What happened to the supply chain issues?

A: We Americans have short memories. For many of us, the supply chain issues of the past year are distant memories and have now been replaced by the hot topic of inflation and lack of workers. Today, we have sufficient products on the shelves as the supply chains are on the mend. Some blame persistent high inflation on corporate greed, but many agree that with this inflation, we are in uncharted territory. To tackle labor challenges, including strikes, many retailers are hanging their hats on extensive automation and AI. Do not be surprised if you see a major wave of investment in warehousing technology enabled by AI across the supply chain ecosystem post-holiday. 

Top photo by iStock/Getty Images

Reporter , ASU News


Professor argues for connection of global supply chain networks in new publication

W. P. Carey's Thomas Choi says global supply chain map could address significant societal issues

November 20, 2023

Given its size and complexity, the global supply chain can be a challenge to navigate successfully.

Thomas Choi, AT&T Professor of supply chain management and recently named Regents Professor at Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business, remains at the global forefront of the upstream side of supply chains, in which a buying company interfaces with many suppliers organized into various forms of networks. Portrait of ASU Professor Thomas Choi. Thomas Choi, AT&T Professor at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business Download Full Image

Along with worldwide thought leadersAnton Pichler, Vienna University of Economics and Business; Christian Diem, Vienna University of Economics and Business; Alexander Brintrup, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge; Francois LaFond, Institute for New Economic Thinking and Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford; Glenn Magerman, European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics, Université Libre de Bruxelles; Gert Buiten, Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, The Hague/Heerlen; Vasco M Carvalho, University of Cambridge, Centre for Economic Policy Research and Alan Turing Institute; J Doyne Farmer, Institute for New Economic Thinking and Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and Santa Fe Institute; and Stefan Thurner, Santa Fe Institute, Section for Complex Systems, Medical University of Vienna and Supply Chain Intelligence Institute Austria. , Choi co-authored an article in the journal Science that proposes new collaborative efforts between nations, their public institutions, international organizations, the private sector, and scientists using the latest data and recent methodological advances to reconstruct a large share of the global firm-level supply network.

Choi says understanding this data and working with countries is crucial for addressing significant societal issues.

“Since mapping this network is probably going to keep improving, it's essential to start a dialogue about the responsible management and efficient application of these data for the benefit of the world's population,” he said. “This means working with nations to create a reliable and thorough picture of global supply chains.”

Choi and his co-authors wrote that a global supply chain map could enhance green transition management, reduce tax evasion, strengthen human rights, identify systemic risks and design secure basic provisioning systems.

“Though data limitations have reduced research, it has improved our understanding of how supply chains operate,” Choi said. “Although detailed information is available for individual ‘focal’ firms with known direct suppliers and customers, this information is not connected to the rest of the economy and does not allow for a network perspective. However, when examining the impact of supply chains on macroeconomic phenomena like gross domestic product, business cycles or inflation, the available data is usually restricted to highly aggregated relationships between various industrial sectors' inputs and outputs."

The article describes how the global economy consists of more than 300 million firms, connected through an estimated 13 billion supply links that produce most goods and services. That’s why analyzing the world economy at the firm level has long been inconceivable, even more so its complex network of supply chain linkages.

“This weakness has left us unprepared to make quick and informed decisions, causing, for example, extended shortages in raw materials and critical medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Choi said.

He and his co-authors recommend integrating various datasets and creating analytical tools to create a reliable and comprehensive picture of global supply links that can be utilized for policymaking. A powerful global coalition of diverse stakeholders, including national governments, statistical agencies, international organizations, central banks, the commercial sector and the scientific community, is needed to advance this agenda.

“Supply chain data can be weaponized if in the wrong hands, so requiring strict data security and privacy standards would also be essential,” Choi said.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


ASU colleges team up to host sports testing for Valley high school athletes

November 17, 2023

Local high school athletes were able to get valuable feedback on their skills and abilities thanks to an event developed by the Integrative Human Performance Lab within the College of Health Solutions and the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Event day operations were also supported by ASU's Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
High school students playing sports on a field. Phoenix-area high school athletes took part in an athletic performance lab put on by students from ASU's College of Health Solutions' Integrative Human Performance Lab, the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Photo courtesy Keri Hensley/ASU Download Full Image

The event took place at Glendale Apollo High School on Nov. 4 and tested multiple measures of athletic performance, including a 40-yard dash, shuttle drills, vertical jump, reaction time testing, broad jump and upper body strength measures — similar to what might be seen at the NFL Scouting Combine to assess players looking to be drafted.

Noah Feinberg, a master's student in strength and conditioning, said the event gave students a chance to learn skills that would be valuable to potential employers in the sports science, athletic training, and strength and conditioning fields. 

“It’s hands-on experience being able to test athletes in large groups and handle large amounts of data,” Feinberg said. “That’s something you probably wouldn’t be able to do unless you volunteer for events like this. It’s also a chance to be a part of the community and give back to the kids in Arizona. It’s a fun event. It’s testing athletes and being able to give them a cool experience.”

Each athlete received an individualized report to help them understand their strengths and weaknesses. The data collected was also used to create team reports for the high school coaches to provide information on their performance and help develop future programs.

Apollo High School senior Jordan Walker said he enjoyed the event, particularly the 40-yard dash and three-cone shuttle drill, where he recorded some of the fastest times.

He said he hoped the information might help him in his goal of playing college football.

“It really was a great experience for me,” Walker said. “I’ve never done anything like this before with lasers and exact timing and stuff. I think it was a great experience to get myself out there and maybe post (results) on (X, formerly known as Twitter) or some place for college coaches to see.”

Story by Cheyla Daverman, digital content producer, and Weldon B. Johhson, communications specialist, College of Health Solutions

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4 top researchers named 2024 Regents Professors

November 16, 2023

Professors earn prestigious honor for expertise in supply chain, Shakespeare, anthropology, planetary science

Four Arizona State University professors are being honored with the highest faculty award possible — Regents Professor.

The four are internationally recognized experts at the top of their fields, and on Thursday, they joined an elite rank when their nominations were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents. The new Regents Professors are:

  • Jonathan Bate, a Shakespeare and sustainability scholar and Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities in the College of Global Futures, the School of Sustainability and the Department of English in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Alexandra Brewis, a medical anthropologist and President’s Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
  • Thomas Choi, a supply-chain management expert and the AT&T Professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business.
  • Meenakshi Wadhwa, a planetary scientist, Foundation Professor and director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

“Research that has real-world impact — including the ability to spark curiosity and innovation in the classroom — is unbelievably important,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “These new Regents Professors are simultaneously driving new knowledge about our world and pioneering new ways to engage students, which in turn propels discovery that advances society in fantastic ways. They inspire us with their outstanding inquisitiveness, leadership and accomplishments.”

To receive this designation, the new Regents Professors must be recognized by peers nationally and internationally. Groups of tenured faculty members make the nominations, which are evaluated by an advisory committee following an established review process. Crow then considers the recommendations and forwards them to the Arizona Board of Regents for final approval.

“Our newest cohort of Regents Professors are globally recognized scholars and leaders in their respective fields,” said Nancy Gonzales, executive vice president and university provost. “They embody the culture of faculty excellence found throughout all fields of study at ASU and are advancing knowledge that contributes to our understanding of the world and our place in the universe.”

Here’s more on the new Regents Professors:

Jonathan Bate

Bate joined ASU in 2019 from Oxford University, where he was provost of Worcester College. He still is a professor of English literature at the University of Oxford.

Bate is an expert in sustainability as well as in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, Romanticism, biography and life-writing, contemporary poetry, visual culture and theater history. He is a Distinguished Global Futures Scholar. He has written 20 books, including “Mad about Shakespeare: Life Lessons from the Bard” in 2022.

In 2015, he was knighted for services to literary scholarship — one of only four literature scholars in the history of the U.K. to have been knighted for scholarship.

One reviewer wrote: “I cannot think of a single active literary scholar anywhere in the world whose accomplishments would better merit appointment as Regents Professor — and that is even before taking account of Bate’s founding and major continuing prominence (as a scholar and as an advocate) in the broader … field of environmental humanities.”

Alexandra Brewis

Brewis, a biocultural and medical anthropologist, founded the Center for Global Health at ASU in 2006 and served as director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change from 2010 to 2017. She is a Distinguished Global Futures Scientist.

She researches the intersections of culture, health, environment and well-being. She focuses on how low social position and resource insecurity interact with daily experiences and emotions to exacerbate the stresses that worsen physical and mental health. She is currently focusing on the topics of obesity, water security and climate change.

One reviewer wrote: “A specialist in the biology and culture of Pacific Islanders, she has done anthropological fieldwork in 13 different localities throughout the world — more than any other anthropologist I know. ... In my opinion, Professor Brewis is one of the most important biocultural anthropologists in the world. Her research has addressed a wide variety of persistent health problems for contemporary human societies — primarily of marginalized low-income populations but also for citizens of very rich countries like our own.”

Thomas Choi

Choi is co-director of the Complex Adaptive Supply Networks Research Accelerator, an international research group of scholars.

He researches the upstream side of supply chains, in which a buying company interacts with many suppliers that are organized in various networks, and his publication record makes him among the most prolific scholars in supply chain management in the world.

One reviewer wrote: “Dr. Choi is well known for his contributions to supply management and, specifically, his work on complex adaptive systems. His seminal paper from 2001 with the Journal of Operations Management served as the springboard for a plethora of papers that surfaced in this domain. One can comfortably argue that he is one of the founders of this domain in the realm of supply chain management. … His work on supplier selection and supplier relationships has revolutionized the literature as well.”

Meenakshi Wadhwa

Wadhwa has been involved in several NASA missions and is principal scientist for the Mars Sample Return mission, which is scheduled to launch no earlier than 2029. She was co-investigator on the Genesis mission and a collaborator on the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

Wadhwa researches the processes that form the planetary bodies in the solar system. Her group has developed novel approaches for using highly precise isotope analyses to measure the time scales involved in the formation of planetary bodies and study the origins of water in the solar system.

One reviewer wrote: “Another indication of her respect within, and her contribution to, the planetary science community has been her active participation, and often leadership, of the many planning committees involved in NASA-related studies of extraterrestrial materials, for example serving as president of the Meteoritical Society. … Generations of planetary scientists have been looking forward to the return of samples collected from known sites on Mars, so her lead role in this effort is a good reflection of the community’s respect for Dr. Wadhwa’s expertise and leadership.”

Editor's note: The titles will be officially conferred at a ceremony Feb. 22.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


ASU community thanks donors during a dedicated week of gratitude

Sun Devil Gratitude Week celebrates philanthropy

November 15, 2023

This week, Arizona State University is celebrating the donors who give their time, talent and treasure to support our community.

The ASU Foundation organizes Sun Devil Gratitude Week for students, faculty and staff to thank donors for their generosity. The celebration started as a single-day event on National Philanthropy Day six years ago. Reya Adoni smiling with an outdoor setting behind her. Reya Adoni is an undergraduate studying economics at the W. P. Carey School of Business who has received donor support. Download Full Image

Jessielyn Hirschl, associate director of donor relations at the ASU Foundation, said it’s essential to thank donors for their contributions. 

“ASU is doing so much amazing work, and none of it would be possible without the support of our donors and the passion of our students, faculty and staff,” she said. “It’s so important to show gratitude to all the people who make this community so special and encourage a continued commitment to building a better world.”

Last year, ASU received contributions from over 107,000 donors. The ASU Foundation will use phone calls, text messages, emails and social media posts to connect with as many donors as possible during its Gratitude Week.

Throughout the week, all ASU students and faculty are encouraged to celebrate donors, especially those who have benefited from their generosity.

Tirupalavanam Ganesh is associate dean for outreach and student success and Tooker Professor for engineering education at ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. In his roles, Ganesh sees the impact of scholarship support on students firsthand.

“I thank ASU donors for their continued support over these many years, which has allowed us to support engineering students as they earn a degree,” he said.

Nicole Ponsart is an MFA student at the School of Art, where she works in ceramics. Support from donors has allowed Ponsart to secure the materials she needs to make larger pieces.

“You’ve made it possible for me to continue my education and create a body of work that is meaningful and long-lasting,” Ponsart said of the donors who helped fund her education.

Reya Adoni is an undergraduate studying economics at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Donor support helps her focus on school and devote time to campus involvement.

“This has enabled me to focus on getting my degree while also giving me the time to really take part in my role as vice president for Women’s Club Soccer,” she said. “I’m really, really grateful.”

These stories and countless others show the impact that donors have across ASU.

“By having a special week that highlights gratitude, we can demonstrate its importance and foster a ‘gratitude mindset’ to inform our work and personal lives all year long,” Hirschl said.

Data analytics expert joins ASU as distinguished chair and professor

Olivia Liu Sheng brings 40 years of experience in data analytics and information systems research to W. P. Carey School of Business

November 15, 2023

This summer, Olivia Liu Sheng stepped into her role as the new W. P. Carey Distinguished Chair and Professor of the Department of Information Systems at Arizona State University.

She’ll co-lead the W. P. Carey School of Business' newly approved Center for AI and Data Analytics for Business and Society to use artificial intelligence responsibly. Olivia Liu Sheng W. P. Carey Distinguished Chair & Professor, W. P. Carey Information Systems Olivia Liu Sheng Download Full Image

“The W. P. Carey Chair is the most prestigious chaired position at the business school,” says Gopalakrishnan Mohan, senior associate dean of faculty at W. P. Carey. “The title owner is expected to be a thought leader, connecting theory and practice and working or coordinating research, teaching and service that enhances the school's reputation with a significant social impact. Olivia Sheng is a world-renowned expert in information systems research with a current focus on leading mindful AI efforts within our strategic initiative on AI and data analytics.” 

In 2019, a second gift by the W. P. Carey Foundation invested $10 million to create two new endowed professorships, called W. P. Carey Distinguished Chairs, to help recruit prominent professors who are outstanding teachers and researchers recognized as leaders in their fields. The gift led directly to the appointing of the first W. P. Carey Distinguished Chair in Business in 2022, Dean Ohad Kadan. Sheng received the second Distinguished Chair when she joined the information systems department on July 1.

“Olivia Sheng is a leading scholar in artificial intelligence and data analytics,” Kadan says. “Her presence is already making an impact at W. P. Carey as we roll out a host of initiatives, programs and certificates focused on applications of AI in business. We expect Olivia to transform these already innovative efforts into truly world-class initiatives that will shape the future of AI and data analytics in business.”

Sheng most recently served as a President's Professor and Emma Eccles Jones Presidential Chair of Information Systems at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. She established the Global Knowledge Management Center to seek research and education extension of business intelligence and analytics. She also organized one of the first annual academic conferences on business analytics.

Before the University of Utah, Sheng was on the faculty of management information systems at the University of Arizona since 1985 and was the department head from 1997 to 2002. She was also a visiting faculty member at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tung University and Molde University College in Norway.

As the W. P. Carey Distinguished Chair, Sheng participates in PhD education and engages with the students on mindful AI research topics.

“I was very familiar with faculty in W. P. Carey’s information systems department and interacted with them about their research over the years,” Sheng says. “I have been impressed by the growth and accomplishments of the information systems faculty. My remote colleagues refer to our information systems department as a powerhouse!”

How Sheng’s childhood shaped her

Sheng’s humble upbringing, her father’s entrepreneurial spirit and her family’s support influenced her career trajectory and approach to research and service. 

“My interest and appreciation for problem-solving came from observing my father, who was brilliantly innovative,” says Sheng, who was born in Taiwan. “He was always coming up with new inventions to solve problems.”

In Sheng’s family, it was clear that a college education was a must, and an advanced education was encouraged. Sheng pursued management science and, ultimately, quantitative business methods.

“I enjoy quantitative reasoning,” she says. “My interests became clearer in college, but before college, I always enjoyed paying attention to the details and thinking deeply about problems.”

She received her bachelor’s degree from the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.

“Management science in Taiwan isn’t considered an area of study for women students,” Sheng says. “I was always interested in disciplines, knowledge and skills that were not considered appropriate for my gender, as I enjoy math, science and technology.”

During her undergraduate education in management science, Sheng learned about coding and programming. When a donor gave a microcomputer to the school, it allowed Sheng and her classmates to get hands-on coding experience.

“After that, I wanted to see more coding results,” she says, “but I hadn't thought about how I was going to combine it with quantitative reasoning or data-driven research; I just knew I wanted to pursue technology within business school.”

This led Sheng to the U.S. to earn her master's and PhD degrees in computers and information systems from the University of Rochester in New York.

Sheng’s research focuses on machine learning with large-scale data for enhancing online and social media users’ experiences, health analytics, distributed computing management, digital government, telemedicine and telework applications. Her research has received funding from organizations such as Overstock, Yahoo!, the U.S. Army, the National Science Foundation, IBM, Toshiba, Sun Microsystems, SAP University Alliance and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Sheng also founded Aculus, an IT startup that offers business intelligence and big analytics solutions for search marketing, drug and other product review analytics.

AI meets Sheng — and mindfulness

Sheng says she'll bring her research experience to the W. P. Carey School “to grow capabilities of all kinds."

“I always want to do my best to contribute to my profession and community," Sheng says. "That motivated me to join the University of Utah 21 years ago. Now it’s ASU’s turn. ... My mission every day is to help create meaningful impact with the school’s strategic investments in the new Center for AIDA for Business and Society.

“It’s important to know that the technology is not perfect; AI can fabricate examples, pose security and privacy risks, and recreate biases," Sheng says. "So, we’ll be asking how we mitigate the risks and dangers and ensure we maximize the benefits for society.

"Mindful AI should help solution providers create fair and harmless AI technology and guide end users to engage with the technology cautiously.”

“We are super excited to welcome Professor Sheng to our big (information systems) family,” says Pei-yu Chen, chair of the information systems department. “Professor Sheng is a world-renowned researcher, well-respected scholar, a pioneer in design science research in information systems, and brings much technical and business knowledge in AI and data analytics to ASU. Her expertise and experiences will undoubtedly elevate our already strong (information systems) department to new heights on multiple fronts, including research, teaching and corporate engagements."

Sheng has been involved in complex, multidisciplinary health care research — including radiology and cardiology applications.

“I’m always excited about working on practice-oriented, real-world research that could impact our society and business,” she says. “I hope to do so one project at a time, small or big, where I can help ASU and Arizona to leverage AI more positively, to reduce the risks and avoid the harm.”

Other areas Sheng says she’d like to study include AI for problems brought on by natural and manufactured disasters, climate change, and mental health and neurological challenges.

"I think there are many opportunities here,” she says.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


ASU MBA ranked No. 6 for entrepreneurship worldwide

Poets&Quants 2024 rankings reflect entrepreneurial resources for students at W. P. Carey School of Business

November 9, 2023

The business education publication Poets&Quants (P&Q) is a vital resource for students weighing their business school options — and this year, the magazine ranked Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business MBA as No. 6 in the world for entrepreneurship, ahead of London Business School (United Kingdom), Yale University and Duke University.

“In W. P. Carey, and across ASU, we are proud to advance innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Ohad Kadan, Charles J. Robel Dean and W. P. Carey Distinguished Chair in Business. “We know that the world is changed by business, and provide our MBA students with vast opportunities to be leaders of that change through startups, venture opportunities, intellectual property, small business ownership and more.” Exterior of McCord Hall, home to ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business on the Tempe campus. ASU photo Download Full Image

The ranking’s methodology is designed to measure how entrepreneurship resources, like incubator space or mentors, are allocated to individual students within MBA programs. There are 16 total data points, with the heaviest weighted categories being the average percentage of MBAs launching businesses during B-school or immediately after, and the percentage of MBA elective courses that are 100% focused on entrepreneurship and/or innovation.

Luiz Mesquita, associate dean for graduate programs at W. P. Carey, explains the intentionality W. P. Carey has given to building entrepreneurship opportunities at the school. “Within the amazing innovation ecosystem at ASU, W. P. Carey has built an MBA that encourages entrepreneurship through dedicated coursework, funding opportunities and mentorship. If you have a great business idea, this is the place to grow it,” he said.

One such opportunity is through W. P. Carey’s New Venture Challenge, a course and competition designed for ASU graduate students, exceptional ventures and their co-founders who seek to advance a new venture concept to the next stage. The course gives participants across ASU the opportunity to further develop core aspects of their business model and fine-tune pitch messaging with feedback from experienced entrepreneur faculty and mentors.

“The New Venture Challenge course gives students an incomparable opportunity to pitch ideas and receive tailored feedback and guidance to improve their business model, strategy and approach,” said Jared Byrne, director of W. P. Carey’s Center for Entrepreneurship and New Business Design. Students who complete the New Venture Challenge also have a chance to compete for a share of $50,000 in funding.

W. P. Carey MBA students additionally have access to the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute, E+I @ Fulton, Innovation Space at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, as well as other schools across campus, corporate sponsors and community stakeholders that are a part of ASU’s extensive innovation ecosystem.

Learn more about innovation and entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Emily Beach

Director of Communications, W. P. Carey School of Business

(602) 543-3296