Book group to discuss 'Code Talker Stories'

January 15, 2013

The ASU Book Group will discuss “Code Talker Stories” by ASU professor of English Laura Tohe from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the Emeritus College, lower level of Old Main.

The group is open to all ASU faculty, staff and students. Tohe will be present to talk about the book. Download Full Image

Tohe, whose father was a Navajo Code Talker, interviewed 20 Code Talkers, both in English and Navajo, and also some of their descendants. The Code Talkers provided battlefield details and revealed how their war experiences affected them and the generations that followed.

The February meeting, on Feb. 27, will feature "Ghosts of Revolution: Rekindled Memories of Imprisonment in Iran" by Shahla Talebi, assistant professor of religious studies. In this haunting account, Talebi remembers her years as a political prisoner in Iran. Talebi, along with her husband, was imprisoned for nearly a decade and tortured, first under the Shah and later by the Islamic Republic.

Writing about her own suffering and survival and sharing the stories of her fellow inmates, she details the painful reality of prison life and offers an intimate look at a critical period of social and political transformation in Iran.  

Also in February, the Book Group will have an additional meeting, at noon, Feb. 21, at the Emeritus College, to discuss a new historical fiction book by Maryka Biaggio, a professor of psychology for 30 years at a university in Oregon.

Biaggio’s book, titled “Parlor Games,” is about May Dugas, branded by the Pinkertons as a crafty blackmailer, but whose Dutch Baron husband thought she was the most glamorous woman to grace Europe’s shores.

“Parlor Games” is based on the true story of the woman who made headlines not only in her Michigan hometown, but also in New York and London. For more information about the book, go to

The ASU Book Group, sponsored by the Department of English and the Piper Center for Creative Writing, meets the last Wednesday of every month. For more information, contact Judith Smith,

The Department of English and the Piper Center for Creative Writing are academic and research units in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Design students compete for Arizona museum renovation project

January 15, 2013

Thirty-five teams of students from The Design School in the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will showcase their ideas for the Arizona Museum for Youth’s major renovation on Jan. 16 as part of the school’s annual Junior Cluster Project design competition – a major interdisciplinary, collaborative project for undergraduate design students.

This year’s design challenge, called Interdisciplinary Cluster Project 2013: 35 Ideas for the Next 35 Years, marks the first time student design teams have worked with an actual client. The Arizona Museum for Youth’s board of directors embarked on a major rebranding and renaming initiative in conjunction with its 35th anniversary this year. The downtown Mesa fine arts museum for children and families hosts several world-class exhibitions annually and offers art classes, workshops and programs to teach basic art principles and techniques and to introduce children to the life-changing quality of art. Download Full Image

“We are excited to have the design students help us develop ideas to improve, enhance and redesign interior and exterior spaces at the museum,” said Sunnee O’Rork, the museum’s executive director.

The student teams had 10 days beginning Jan. 7 to tour the Mesa museum, study recent marketing research that the museum had conducted, interview staff and create design plans that could address any one or more of these broad areas: creating indoor or outdoor installations, visual engagement, spatial improvement, digital interaction or branding issues.

“In terms of it being a wicked challenge with no single answer, this year’s project has that and it is exciting for students to interact with their client,” said Milagros Zingoni, a member of the architecture faculty and lecturer in The Design School, who coordinates the competition, with William Heywood, clinical assistant professor in the school's visual communications faculty.

“Understanding and developing skills in the collaborative process will serve our students well in the workplace whether they are architects, visual communication, interior, or industrial designers or landscape architects,” said Heywood.

Zingoni was contacted earlier this summer by a member of the museum’s board of directors for her ideas for the non-profit organization’s major initiative. Zingoni saw the project as an ideal opportunity for design students to have a real-world experience with a client whose needs could tap all the design disciplines equally. “This wasn’t a bricks and mortar project,” Zingoni said. “Students could design apps, installations, even a mascot that could be sold in the gift shop.”

The student teams, each representing at least four of The Design School’s five disciplines: architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, industrial design and visual communication, display their projects ideas for the initial judging by members of The Design School faculty beginning at 11 a.m. on Jan. 16 in Red Square (Design North ground floor).

Faculty members, members of the museum’s board of directors and ASU students, faculty and staff through a popular online vote will help narrow the 35 projects to seven finalists by 3:15 p.m. Beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Red Square, each team gives up to a 10-minute presentation to the judges, explaining their projects and answering questions. A panel of judges including O’Rork; Glenn Blackmore, museum board member; Jeff Morris, museum curator; Heather Landes, associate dean for the Herberger Institute; and Craig Barton, director of The Design School, selects and announces the winner from among the seven finalists.

Members of the winning team have the opportunity to help develop their idea with the museum staff during the summer. In addition, each member of the team gets to spend a day with a prominent professional in his or her discipline.

The museum plans to display all the project ideas during an exhibition later this year, according to O’Rork, and the museum will help publish a book containing the 35 teams’ ideas.

“We would like to be able to incorporate some of their ideas very quickly as part of our rebranding strategy,” O’Rork said. “For those ideas requiring capital expenditures, we plan to be able to raise the funds through donations and grants.”

For more information about The Design School, visit and for more information about the Arizona Museum for Youth visit To see the videos each team prepared visit this Vimeo site. Projects will be posted by 11 a.m., Jan. 16 on the site.