ASU Biodesign Institute executive director urges health care forces to 'go beyond discovery' at Arizona Wellbeing Commons conference

October 8, 2019

With organizations the caliber of Mayo Clinic, TGen, the Flinn Foundation, Arizona BioIndustry Association and the state’s universities, Arizona boasts a multitude of talented scientists, health professionals, life science entrepreneurs, nonprofits and government leaders committed to contributing to the quality of life in our state. Arizona’s bioscience sector is adding jobs at a rate that outpaces the nation. And its public universities are seeing increases in bioscience research funding, expenditures and tech transfer.

But for more than 300 people who came together last week for the Arizona Wellbeing Commons, that’s just not good enough. Created three years ago, the commons is all about making connections. conference room full of people sitting at tables More than 300 people from Arizona’s health and bioscience-related organizations convened Sept. 27 for the annual Arizona Wellbeing Commons conference. Download Full Image

“Historically, the biological sciences were studied in individual labs, each using its own particular expertise,” said Joshua LaBaer, leader of the commons and executive director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. “And that approach is fine if the goal is discovery alone. But we want to go beyond discovery to implement these discoveries into practices that have impact. Real-world impact is a higher bar that requires input from many dimensions and a team approach. This is an opportunity to build these teams — to learn about what’s happening outside our own walls and discover new ways to put our resources together to address the health and medical challenges of our community more expediently and efficiently.”

According to group leaders, the organization serves as “an umbrella group that facilitates the development of strong working partnerships to create new opportunity, build capacity and grow influence in Arizona.”

“I am inspired by this conference,” said Larry Penley, chair of the Arizona Board of Regents. “Together, you are a powerful network and your collaboration is applauded by the board.

“Because of this new ‘innovation economy,’ the Arizona Board of Regents has structured its budget requests to the state this year around this very issue; around a workforce that comes from the sciences, engineering, biomedicine and allied health; around the state’s capacity to match major university research grant proposals that will drive new ideas and new businesses in our economy.”

Penley noted his enthusiasm for the new Phoenix Biomedical Campus, a 30-acre medical and bioscience campus that will bring together the resources of ASU, the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, TGen, Flinn Foundation, the city of Phoenix and the Arizona BioIndustry Association.

“Not only will we be able to expand the availability of biomedical degrees, but also accelerate biomedical research and translation of those new ideas into new technologies that will drive our community forward,” Penley said.

Keynote speaker Alan Leshner, interim CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the executive publisher of the Science family of journals, discussed the globalization of science and emphasized the need for multidisciplinary solutions. He proposed that revolutionizing the structure of our graduate education and funding strategies is important to achieving a multidisciplinary mindset.

“Multidisciplinary science is the leading edge in discovery,” he said.

David Sklar, an emergency room physician and senior adviser and professor in ASU’s College of Health Solutions, shared his concerns about pedestrian deaths in Arizona, noting that Arizona has the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the nation. A review of factors contributing to this public health challenge — road conditions, alcoholism, speed, pedestrian walkways and emergency response — indicate that solutions to the problem will require a multidimensional effort.

Recognizing both the issues we face and the intellectual capital we have here in Arizona, the commons is organized in seven divisions, attracting those most interested in addressing specific issues:

  • Cancer prevention, detection, management and treatment.
  • Public health and health care services law, policy and equity.
  • Nutrition, obesity, exercise and lifestyle.
  • Viruses, immunity, microbiomes and infectious diseases.
  • Mental health, substance abuse, crime and behavior change.
  • Neurobiology, aging, dementias and movement disorders.
  • Culture, arts, design and humanities in health.

The culture, arts, design and humanities in health division was added this year. Tamara Underiner, associate dean for academic affairs in ASU's Graduate College and associate professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, welcomed a standing room-only crowd, explaining that although our nation spends more on health care than most countries, we still suffer lower life expectancy and higher mortality and disease burden rates. She said that adding elements of art and culture to health care programs can alleviate this disparity, citing cases where art has cured chronic depression and how introducing music to care homes has improved mental health among patients and their caregivers.

“These are just some of the things that happen when you add heart and art,” Underiner said. “It shows real vision on the part of the commons’ organizers to recognize out loud the key role culture plays in health and well-being for all Arizonans,” she added. “Finding ways to collaborate with and across the divisions will help us develop more holistic approaches to some of the biggest challenges we face.”

“I came to Arizona about the same time the Flinn Foundation started the Biosciences Roadmap,” said Jennifer Barton, director of Bio5 at University of Arizona. “I remember coming to my first Flinn meeting as a young assistant professor and thinking, ‘I’ve come to the right place. And now, some 18 years later, we’ve shown how that collaborative gene is important, and the Wellbeing Commons is a great way to bring everyone together and create tangible outcomes.”

Written by Dianne Price and Gabrielle Hirneise

Gabrielle Hirneise

Assistant science writer , Biodesign Institute


ASU alum’s short film selected for Oaxaca FilmFest in Mexico

August 22, 2019

The Oaxaca FilmFest international film festival in Mexico has featured the work of Guillermo Del Toro, Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese. And now Martín González, who graduated with a degree in film and media production from Arizona State University's School of Film, Dance and Theatre in 2018, can add his name to that list. 

González recently announced that his short film “The (Dis)united States” is an official selection for the Oaxaca FilmFest, which has been praised by MovieMaker magazine as one of the top festivals in the world.  Martín González on the set of his film Martín González on the set of his film. Photo by Haylee Finn Download Full Image

González said his film is based on true events that occurred in 2009 and in 2013 in Arizona, when two different car washes were raided by the sheriff and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

“In that situation, many workers were detained due to their immigration status,” he said. “This in result tore many families apart, which led to children coming home to no parent or guardian in sight. The log line for my film is: 'When a young man's family is on the verge of being torn apart, he makes one last plea for their freedom.'”

González, a first-generation American whose family migrated to the U.S. about 25 years ago in search of a better life, said the film means a lot to him. 

“I made this film because it is a subject that is not only personal to me, but to the people around me as well,” he said. “I am also close with plenty of people who are also immigrants. This film is my way of raising awareness for those who have been silenced due to the political climate and political challenges we are still facing to this day.”

He hopes the film creates an important conversation on the current immigration issues.

“I ask for those who don’t agree as well as for those who agree with different policies to give me 11 minutes of their time and watch the film,” he said. “Every solution starts with a conversation.”

González said he made the film while he was a student in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre because he wanted to make a difference with his work — something he encourages other filmmakers at ASU to do. 

“Create the stories that you know will make a difference, whether big or small,” he said. “Filmmaking is a way to express your feelings to the world. Never hold back and always remember you can only get better at your craft if you keep creating. Intimidation is a feeling you should use as an advantage to prove to yourself you can do it and you will.”

González’s time at ASU helped him push through his own intimidation and determine his course as a director. 

“Being a student at Herberger Institute helped me craft my art and also helped me realize what kind of artist I wanted to be,” he said. “It gave me the chance to test the waters in almost every aspect of film, and throughout my four years there, I fell in love with direction and the ability to make films that challenge not only the artist, but the viewer.”

He started drafting the idea for the film “The (Dis)united States” in his junior year, and finished production in his senior year for his capstone project. The piece was selected to screen in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre’s 2018 Fall Film Showcase, where it received the F. Miguel Valenti Award for Ethical Filmmaking. Named for the first assistant director of film at the school, who created the framework of the film program’s focus on ethical filmmaking practices, the award is presented to a project that substantially and significantly represents issues and themes related to ethical inquiries, and/or complex and difficult subject matter, in an ethically responsible and compelling manner. 

“The award meant a lot to me,” González said. “It gave me the push I needed to get my film out there and have my voice heard.” 

Since then, González and his team have been submitting the film to festivals. It was exactly one year after González wrapped work on “The (Dis)united States” that he received the news it had been accepted to Oaxaca FilmFest.

“I felt very happy within that moment but also sad,” González said. “I was glad that I had finally been accepted to be a part of a prestigious festival, but sad that I knew certain family members as well as friends would not be able to support me by my side in Mexico due to their immigration statuses. Although it was a day filled with mixed emotions, it also gave me the strength I needed to keep pushing this story forward and try to make some kind of change, big or small.”

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Studying Dance

"Studying Dance: A Guide for Campus and Beyond" is a comprehensive bridge for students transitioning into the first year of a college dance program. Through this text, students will understand dance in new and exciting ways, embrace it as an academic discipline, navigate and take charge of their dance education, and visualize potential careers after graduation.

Learning how to make it in the makerspace

High school students engage in summer program of coding and 3D design

June 27, 2019

For Jesse Lopez, the opportunity to partner with Upward Bound, a federally-funded academic program for college-bound students from underfunded communities, was a chance to pay it forward, since Lopez had once participated in the program himself. 

“I came from a culturally rich but super broke L.A. community, so Upward Bound introduced me to the idea of attending college and helped me every step of the way in high school to be accepted and attend UC Santa Barbara,” said Lopez, who completed residential summer programs with Upward Bound at Harvey Mudd College and UC Davis throughout his high school years.  mask made by an Upward Bound student A mask made in the Hayden Library makerspace by a student in the Upward Bound program. Photo by Kelsey Hinesley Download Full Image

Now, the director of student success for the ASU Library, Lopez is working to increase academic support services for one of Arizona State University’s fastest-growing populations: first-generation students, who make up 35% of ASU’s undergraduate and graduate student population.  

Lopez says partnering with Upward Bound is one way to support first-generation students by giving them the skills they need before they even enter their first year of college.  

“This was the ASU Library’s second summer hosting Upward Bound, and this year we offered a curriculum based in technical literacy with a focus on coding and 3D design,” said Lopez. “A lot of these students come from schools that don’t have makerspaces or technical literacy programs, and few of them know coding or have had experience on 3D printers. What better environment for them to learn these skills and how to apply them than in the library makerspace?” 

Awash with 3D prototypes, vinyl cutters, sewing kits, microcontroller kits and projects near-finished and others abandoned, the Hayden Library makerspace is truly a laboratory for learning — in all of its glorious stages.  

There is a lot of tinkering, and it can be messy.

“Messy learning is the best,” said Victor Surovec, coordinator of maker services for the ASU Library. “Our goal is to get everyone in here playing and having fun. When you make, you take in a lot of knowledge. You’re engaging with the material in a dynamic way, so you’re constantly having to adapt. The maker mindset is a good mindset for learning.” 

Each weekday morning over the summer, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m, the makerspace comes to life with the sounds of 27 soon-to-be high school sophomores spending a good portion of their summer vacation learning how to code and create.  

During their first week of classes, the students learned how to design and build 3D paper masks.

The mask-making was led by Surovec’s fellow maker Sarah Lankenau Moench, assistant professor of costume technology in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre within ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, who regularly uses the library makerspace to engineer costumes and other stage materials, lead workshops and stay informed about the various free resources available to ASU students. 

"Learning how to create a mask means taking a 2D design and translating that into a 3D object. It's sculpture!" Lankenau Moench said. "Masks are manageable in size and can be made with a variety of materials. They can be playful, evocative and expressive. I gave the students the option of starting with mask patterns designed by a company called Wintercroft. Having a pattern meant everyone had the opportunity to go through the process of sculpting their materials."

Under her instruction, the Upward Bounders incorporated various maker technology into their masks. Some students layered on digital elements, such as lights, fans and thermostats. (“If their mask gets to a certain heat, their fan will automatically turn on,” said Surovec.) While others devoted more time to painting their mask.

"It is so inspiring to come back several weeks later and see the explosion of creativity that came out of each student reflected in their masks," Lankenau Moench said. "The maker movement has made it possible for anyone to discover their inner artisan."

At the end of the program, each student took home the mask they designed and made, along with their very own Arduino electronics starter kit — a tool that both Surovec and Lopez say they hope will get used often.

“Giving them each an Arduino kit to take home is a way of continuing to provide them the access and opportunity needed to master the skills they learned here,” Lopez said. “They can keep applying them to new projects.”

Surovec added, “Working on a project can be an incredible motivator for learning.” 

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

Herberger Institute alumni, faculty receive grants from Arizona Commission on the Arts

June 26, 2019

The Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded grants to 31 artists throughout the state, including two faculty members and six alumni from Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

The $5,000 Research and Development Grants are awarded through a competitive application and review process and support Arizona artists as they work to advance their artistic practice, expand their creative horizons and deepen the impact of their work, according to the Arizona Commission on the Arts Photo of Heidi Hogden painting a mural at Herberger Institute Day Heidi Hogden, assistant professor in the School of Art, is one of several Herberger Institute faculty and alumni who received grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASUNow. Download Full Image

The Herberger Institute recipients and their projects include: 

• Liz Guzman, BA in music, School of Music: Percussionist Guzman’s grant will support travel to the Philippine Islands, where she will study with masters of various Filipino folk music traditions. She will create a new body of work for marimba showcasing traditional Filipino folk music.

• Hilary Harp, associate professor, School of Art: Harps’s “Better Out Than In” is the third in a series of experimental gender-fluid folk tale videos created by the multimedia artist in collaboration with Pittsburgh-based artist Suzie Silver.

• Heidi Hogden, assistant professor, School of Art: Hogden’s “Desert Survival” project will comprise seven graphite drawings, five cement sculptures and four mixed media paintings. Collectively, the works aim to demonstrate the consequences of climate change through visual storytelling and humor.

• Sara Hubbs, BFA in painting, School of Art: Hubbs will experiment with complex sculpture casting methods as well as new methods of viewer engagement with her series of three sculptures called “The Gift.” 

• Saskia Jorda, BFA in painting, School of Art: Jorda will explore themes of place and cultural identity through sculptural works that employ the metaphor of mapping of territorial disputes.

• Michelle Marji, BFA in dance, School of Film, Dance and Theatre: Marji hopes to diversify the involvement in and knowledge of two areas of personal passion through a community event that combines rock climbing and hip-hop dance and will be accompanied by community story circles, art, hip hop, food and music.

• Amanda Mollindo, BFA in photography, School of Art: As a part of her long-term, interdisciplinary project titled “Beyond the Vessel,” Mollindo will engage in research that explores the history, evolution and conditions of reproductive healthcare policy and practices. Her research will include video interviews with women across the U.S., large format photographic portraits and a series of still-life photographs representing family planning techniques employed prior to the advent of modern medicine.

• Ruby Morales, BFA in dance, School of Film, Dance and Theatre: Morales will convene a group of dancers for a five-week paid training intensive and rehearsal process during which the dancers will develop a shared movement language rooted in two disparate dance styles–break dance and Cumbia–and develop a new performance piece.

The full list of grantees represents a variety of artistic disciplines and reside in communities throughout the state. This year, thanks to a new public-philanthropic partnership between the state agency and the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF), and through funding from the Newton and Betty Rosenzweig Fund for the Arts, the number of available awards more than doubled, from 15 to 31.

For more information on the all 31 recipients and the grants, visit

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Jacob’s Pillow invites ASU dance alumni to perform their work

Renowned dance facility will feature collegiate dance standouts this summer

May 30, 2019

Two Arizona State University dance alumni will perform their work at a one-night-only performance in August 2019 as part of the Inside/Out series at Jacob’s Pillow.

For the fourth consecutive year, Jacob’s Pillow, known as a “hub and mecca of dancing,” will include a concert featuring highlights from American College Dance Association regional festivals as part of its Inside/Out programming. Emily Laird and Quinn Mihalovic, who both recently graduated from the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, presented a piece called "Inevitably, they exist,” as undergraduate students at the American College Dance Association West conference last year, and that duet was selected for the Inside/Out: American College Dance Association Highlights concert. Photo of ASU dance alumni Emily Laird and Quinn Mihalovic dancing.jpg Emily Laird and Quinn Mihalovic perform their duet "Inevitably, they exist.” Photo by Tim Trumble, courtesy of ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Download Full Image

“Having been chosen for this opportunity is still unbelievable," Laird said. “This opportunity is a means of professional networking and exposure that is perfect as we are exiting college and entering the professional dance world.”

Milhalovic said getting to perform at Jacob’s Pillow is a goal for most dancers/choreographers in contemporary dance.

To have this opportunity to launch my professional career is something I did not expect,” he said. “I am extremely grateful. It’s definitely an affirmation of all of the questioning and doubts and choices that I have made so far as an artist, and I hope to use this opportunity as a catalyst to a lifelong career in dance.”

At each regional ACDA conference around the country, a panel of expert adjudicators select works in an anonymous process to be performed at a gala performance which concludes the conference. The dances are choreographed by undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and guest artists. Selected works from each region go on to be presented at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts before highlights are selected for the Inside/Out stage. Jacob’s Pillow reviews recordings of the dances and selects which dances will be performed on the Inside/Out stage.

“Jacob’s Pillow is living dance history,” said Karen Schupp, assistant director of dance in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre. “It has ignited the careers of several notable dance artists since it was established in the 1930s and remains a critical venue for emerging dance artists. We are honored to have Emily and Quinn represent ASU in such a prestigious capacity.”

The Inside/Out: American College Dance Association Highlights concert in August also includes dancers from Slippery Rock University, Florida Southern College, El Camino College, Loyola Marymount University and San Jose State University.

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Out of the classroom and into the community

Students in the Facing Immigration II course impact the community through artistic expression and storytelling

May 24, 2019

Some students major in the humanities; others take a humanities class just to check off a general credit. No matter how you end up in a humanities class, you can expect to be learning skills such as critical thinking, clear communication, complex problem-solving and how to apply knowledge in real-world settings. That last one can be hard to learn within a classroom setting, but the Humanities Lab at Arizona State University is developing classes to get students into the community to apply their lessons to the world around them.

A class that gained a lot of discussion this spring was the Facing Immigration II course. The class was co-taught by Alexander Aviña, associate professor of 20th-century Mexican history in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and Emir Estrada, assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Photo of Facing Immigration II class in front of their mural they helped paint with Hugo Medina The Facing Immigration II class in front of the mural-in-progress they helped design and paint with artist Hugo Medina. Photo courtesy of Alexander Aviña Download Full Image

“The goal of this class was to get students out of the classroom,” said Estrada. “How do we get them engaged in the community? How do we get them to ask questions versus just reading articles and repeating the information?”

The professors decided they wanted art to be one of the teaching methods included in this course. During the semester, Estrada taught the class the art form of repujado, an embossing method that creates images and designs out of foil, metal, paper or other materials.

She has been practicing repujado for a long time, initially making items as gifts until she started getting paid to create the art. After she and her mother immigrated to America, she used the money from her art to help pay for books and to keep her from getting a third job in college.

“I’ve been doing this art form for about 20 years,” said Estrada. “When I asked if I could use any teaching method I wanted, they were open to the possibility of using that form. So I taught my students how to do repujado and then I kind of instilled that idea of, ‘This is what I do with it and it’s a part of my immigration story.’”

The students in the class were encouraged to think of their own immigration story and to use art as a way to tell those stories with the greater community.

After completing their repujado projects, the students took a cardboard painting workshop with artist Ramiro Gomez who spoke a few days later at their repujado art exhibit at the Phoenix Center for the Arts.

The class' repujado art pieces hanging in the Phoenix Center for the Arts

The repujado artwork the class did hangs in a gallery in the Phoenix Center for the Arts.

The students in the class decided to sell their artwork at the exhibit and wanted to donate the money to help those trying to immigrate to the United States. Ultimately they decided to donate to an organization called Aliento, meaning "breath" in Spanish.

Aliento uses art to promote community healing for those who are lacking an immigration status. It was founded in 2016 by ASU alumna Reyna Montoya, who holds bachelor's degrees in political science and transborder studies and a dance minor from ASU. She is proud to be able to help others who have experienced similar circumstances.

“I like being able to bring other artists to collaborate and think about the creative process and how the creative process in art can be a tool for us to process healing and to restore agency,” said Montoya. “As people who have been marginalized or have been oppressed, it’s like we have agency, we have power we are so much more than sad stories. So how can we use art to express our stories in our own way?”

The art exhibit was not the final project for the students, though. They worked with other forms of art to relay stories of immigration and family while also learning through lectures and from conversations they were bringing into their community.

One of the biggest assignments the students took on was a community mural project with artist Hugo Medina. Medina is a Bolivian-born artist who immigrated to New York when he was a child. His paintings and community work have carried him across the country for new projects. He has been commissioned to paint murals in Phoenix before, and the class wanted to work with him for their project.

Anthropology PhD candidate and student in the course, Brittany Romanello, spearheaded the effort to apply for a grant from the Osher Life Long Learning Institute to fund the mural project.

Students from the Humanities Lab class and students from OLLI met with Hugo Medina for a storytelling event. Everyone exchanged stories of their own backgrounds and helped design a mural together.

“It was a beautiful example of what can be accomplished when people of many backgrounds and viewpoints choose to unite in a common goal,” said Romanello. “We've been fooled by many systems of power into believing that our individual voices and desires for change don't matter. They absolutely do. We can resist together by any means necessary. If it's your art, if it's your music, if it's your speech or your hugs or the way you do math — it's all valid. It's all needed, too. I think we all felt that deeply in those moments at the storytelling event.”

By the end of the semester, students had been pushed out of their comfort zones, but learned how to combine education and engagement.

“I wasn't prepared for what a creative and emotional experience the class would be, and how it would impact me personally and academically,” said Romanello. “We need that humanization of others, we need that softness and vulnerability with each other that influences change on a real, physical level. I'm really proud and honored I've been a part of it.”

Alicia Godinez, an undergraduate student studying Spanish in the School of International Letters and Cultures, had taken the Facing Immigration I course and wanted to learn more about how to help her community. She was blown away by how much she and her classmates were able to accomplish during the semester.

“It started in a small classroom, a repujado art event and it turned to another project where we paint a mural, but all with one purpose; bring community together,” said Godinez. “It’s a vision that can go far beyond. Art was a bridge to help the community to be unified, to be humanified and to realize you are not alone.”

Students not only left the class with experiences they will remember for a long time, but with tangible skills and practices they can include in future job applications as well. They earned grants, executed projects and public events, gained experience in controlling a social media account and learned how to communicate their research to multiple news outlets.

“It is an amazing class,” said Godinez. “This class shows you the real world in many areas. It gives you the push to learn new things or new experiences you can add to your resume. I will take this class just for the fact you are seen as a person not just another student.”

Although the Facing Immigration courses will not be offered next semester through Humanities Lab, the lab is offering other interdisciplinary courses that will take students into an experimental space to investigate grand social challenges. 

Rachel Bunning

Communications program coordinator, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

ASU dance alum joins renowned NYC dance company

J. Bouey hopes to use position to inspire change in the dance world

May 23, 2019

When J. Bouey took their first dance class as a teenager in south Phoenix, they just wanted to be a stronger captain for their little-known high school step team. Now, after years of doubts and difficulties, the Arizona State University alum is joining the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in New York City, one of the most renowned and innovative dance groups in the world.

“I started taking dance classes at 15 and never thought I could be a professional dancer back then,” Bouey said. “I created backup plans during every stage of my dance education, picking up skills that serve me well to this day but served as a safety net in case my fears of failure manifested.” Photo of ASU dance alum J. Bouey ASU dance alum J. Bouey. Photo by Malcolm-X Betts Download Full Image

When Bouey chose to attend the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, they majored in dance education even though they really wanted to focus on dance performance. But then, a postmodern contemporary dance course professor told Bouey they could make it as a professional dancer.

“This truly broke this glass ceiling I believed was above me and my dreams of dancing in the companies I admired, like Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company,” Bouey said.

With one year of college left, Bouey changed their major from dance education to dance and filled the following year with technique classes to prepare for the rigor of what they assumed New York City and company life would require. Bouey said their time at ASU also helped them craft their artistic voice and the questions they wanted to explore.

“After graduating and engaging with the dance community in New York City, I learned that we were asked to be deeply interrogative artists while many other programs were teaching students to simply follow directions,” Bouey said. “The dance world is evolving to be more in line with what the School of Film, Dance and Theatre is teaching.”

Photo of ASU dance alum J. Bouey dancing

ASU dance alum J Bouey (left). Photo by Maria Baranova

Since graduating in 2014, Bouey has been living the life of a freelance dancer — auditioning for companies and projects, dancing within companies and with choreographers, creating their own work, teaching and founding and co-hosting the Dance Union Podcast, which explores the challenges of life as a dancer and provides tips and resources.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to keep all of my revenue coming from dance and creative projects since moving to New York,” Bouey said.

The dance life has not been easy for Bouey, which is one reason why joining the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane means so much.  

“I am a black person from South Central Los Angeles who went to high school on the south side of Phoenix,” said Bouey, who helped pay for school and living expenses at ASU by working at the IHOP that used to be across the street from ASU Gammage. “My family and I battled poverty throughout my dance training, and it was always apparent to me how money/wealth, race and class, among many other marginalizing identities, gave some access to dance training and left many of my friends and classmates outside of the studios. We had fears of not ‘making it’ after college because we spent our time outside of class working instead of networking, training and traveling. This company position with BTJ/AZ means that the work that systemic oppression required me to do to succeed has placed me in a position where my voice might be heard better.”

Photo of ASU dance alum J. Bouey dancing

ASU dance alum J. Bouey. Photo by David Gonsier

Bouey said now that their dreams of joining a company have come true, it’s time to dream bigger — to use their voice to change the dance world.

Bouey wants to see an end to sexual harassment, abuse of power and inadequate payment structures and wants to help to make dance more accessible to trans and gender nonconforming artists, artists living with disabilities and artists living with mental health challenges.

“My dream is to see a union that specifically represents dance artists and movement practitioners within my lifetime, and I know this company position is premium fuel to help make that happen,” Bouey said. “This position and visibility is a form of privilege, and just like my male privilege, I intend to use every ounce of it to dismantle systems of oppression.”

In addition to making changes in the dance world, Bouey also hopes sharing their story inspires and encourages others to pursue their own dreams.

“Nothing makes me happier than sharing my successes with my black and brown students in the Bronx, and Crown Heights, and Brownsville, neighborhoods like the ones I grew up in South Central L.A. and Phoenix,” Bouey said. “Because they deserve to see people who share their experiences move through the fears and manifest a wholehearted life.”

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


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What's in the cards for making a community work on Mars?

May 17, 2019

ASU Interplanetary Initiative card game explores off-world colony cooperation — critical for sustaining social units in space

Living in space is going to present problems. Lots of them. Heat. Cold. Radiation. Is the company liable for overtime pay when the ship wakes you from cryosleep ahead of time?

One of the more significant problems will, of course, be each other. Don’t cooperate down here, and it just means the neighbors won’t be over for a Saturday barbecue again. Do it up there, and everyone dies.

What legal, political and social norms will govern space exploration? What social structures and practices are necessary to sustain a social unit in space indefinitely?

Port of Mars” is a card game created by Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative to see how cooperation might shake out in an off-world colony.

Players are members of an early Martian settlement charged with working together to sustain the welfare of the community. Player actions are tracked and behavior analyzed. Researchers examine that data, looking for what behaviors, structures and systems worked, and what failed. Each instance of gameplay is a simulation, a modeling exercise for future space missions.

Project lead Lance Gharavi, an associate professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and affiliated faculty with the School of Earth and Space Exploration, calls Port of Mars “a social science experiment cosplaying as a game.”

“As I like to say, Port of Mars is a rehearsal for the future,” Gharavi said.

In that future, resources will have to be managed and shared. At first glance that seems simple.

Look closer. Walk-only zones on campus are a shared resource that are a constant source of negotiation among travelers. Electric scooters and their ban are another example of how views differ on the management of shared resources.

Marco Janssen, lead social scientist on the project, is an expert in how communities manage shared resources, such as groundwater resources.

“When I got introduced to the Port of Mars project, I noticed that the problems future space explorers will experience are similar to farmers in India who use groundwater, or residents in Mexico City trying to derive potable water,” said Janssen, a professor in the School of Sustainability and director of the Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment. “They have to invest time and effort in building and maintaining shared infrastructure. However, there is an important difference on Mars. The consequences of not sufficient cooperation in building and maintaining shared infrastructure quickly end up to a lack of oxygen or another life support system. Hence the consequence of insufficient contributions can lead to the death of the Mars habitat.”

Players can invest in an opportunity with direct benefit to them, or they can invest in the health of the community.

“If the total investment in community health was not sufficient at any time, it was game over and nobody received any rewards,” Janssen said. (Janssen co-ran a project a couple of years ago where eight students lived in the Mohave desert on four gallons of water a day and no air conditioning.)

Space exploration is not, as is frequently stated, a way to start over again on another planet, Janssen said.

“The level of cooperation and coordination needed to succeed are much higher than we have observed in large-scale societies on planet Earth,” he said. “Although there might be a planet B, we need to be able to address problems like climate change and infectious diseases effectively on planet Earth before a society on Mars is a viable option. This demonstrates that space research also provide venues for social science to explore cooperation in extreme conditions which can help to solve existing problems at planet Earth.”

The game will help us understand some of the social aspects of inhabiting Mars, Tanya Harrison said. Mars is a familiar place to Harrison, a planetary scientist and member of the Mars Opportunity Rover’s science team.

“The technology is likely easier for us to deal with than the human factor, because traveling to and living on Mars will be something completely new to humanity,” Harrison said. “No level of simulations will truly be able to prepare us (in my opinion), but doing research like this can at least help us better understand the social challenges we might face so that we can find ways to mitigate the potential damages.”

Currently the game is only available to ASU students because data from results has to be collected.

ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative is a pan-university effort to build the future of humans in space and create a bolder and better society. Questions of our space future across the whole landscape of human inquiry need to be explored by teams integrating across the public-private-university sectors.

Top Illustration by Titus Lunter

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU News