Cronkite student considers ASU a healing experience

August 24, 2015

Editor's note: This story is part of our back-to-school spotlight on notable incoming students. The series will run during the first two weeks of the fall semester. Read our other profiles here.

Skylar Mason has had a difficult year. Skylar Mason makes her dorm bed Skylar Mason (right) makes her bed with the help of her sister, Hannah, 16, as she moves into Taylor Place on Friday, Aug. 14. A year before, she survived a horrific car accident that killed her father, and now the Barrett scholar is embarking on a degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Download Full Image

She lost her dad in a violent car accident last summer that also dulled her senses, broke her bones and put her in the hospital for three weeks.

It was a difficult time, but the freshman in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is looking forward to her first year at Arizona State University rather than looking back in despair.

“I know my dad wouldn’t want me to dwell on the past so much that it might inhibit my future,” said the 18-year-old Tucson native, who will also be in Barrett, The Honors College.

“I’m hoping my experience here is everything he would have hoped for.”

Mason survived the devastating car crash that instantly claimed the life of her 48-year-old father, Karl, when a woman driving a Chevy truck ran a red light and crashed into the Masons' Volkswagen Beetle. The July 20, 2014, accident shattered her skull, detached her left retina and rendered her left ear permanently deaf.   

Spending a majority of the year with physical, speech and occupational therapists, and in surgery — six surgeries in all — Mason started her senior year at Tucson’s Ironwood Ridge High School in the second quarter.

Still, she never gave up hope of achieving her long-held dream to attend ASU this fall.

Flipped perspective

Mason has long held a fascination with writing.

She wrote poetry in grade school and several novels during her middle school years. But she fell in love with journalism her freshman year and eventually became editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper, Iron Quill, for two years.

“I was super introverted when I started and found out real quick you can’t be if you want to be a journalist,” Mason said. “Among other things, journalism has taught me how to interact with people.”

After the accident, which received its fair share of media coverage in the Tucson area, Mason experienced journalism from a real-world perspective.

“It’s definitely a lot more stressful being on the other side,” Mason said. “But it was a blessing in disguise because it was a good experience to talk about my father and help rehabilitate my speech.”

Moving forward

Mason’s speech was up to speed when she moved into Taylor Place on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus with some assistance from her mother, Meta; sister, Hannah; and brother, Kody.

Meta Mason said the family unit has always been tight and that they’ve pulled through a very difficult time by sticking close to each other.

“She’s my best friend, and we’ve never lived apart,” said Hannah, 16. “It’s the start of a new chapter in her life, and it’s sad to close the other chapter.”

Meta said their family’s strength in overcoming tragedy and change comes from the love and support of others.

“We thrive because our community, family, church and friends have carried us all this time,” Meta said. “We don’t know why Karl was taken from us and often we don’t understand. Sometimes you can’t look at the big problem but just look ahead.”

Skylar Mason says she’s looking forward to meeting new friends, getting involved in clubs and activities, finding a church and embracing the college experience.

She says there are good days and bad when it comes to remembering her father, but a trip she took to the Cronkite School with him in 2013 when she was checking out journalism schools is a happy one she won’t soon forget.

“He loved the Cronkite School and said, ‘This place will give you the resources to give you the career you want,’ ” Mason said.

“He believed in this place, and so do I.”

Reporter , ASU News


ASU School of Music announces its 2015-16 organ series

August 24, 2015

With a repertoire that spans over 500 years, the pipe organ has an unmatched power and versatility in the musical world. Take in the beauty and intensity of this incredible instrument at the 2015–2016 Organ Series, through performances featuring a range of music from the Italian Renaissance to the German Baroque and even Christmas favorites! All seven programs are in the ASU Organ Hall on the Tempe campus.

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2:30 p.m. – Anthony Newman
"Bach and Newman"

Renowned Bach performer Anthony Newman plays works by the Thomaskirche Cantor alongside his own compositions. New York organist Renée Anne Louprette will play both the Fritts and Traeri organs as part of the School of Music's 2015-16 organ series. Photo by Geoffrey Silver, Acis Productions. Download Full Image

Sunday, Nov. 8, 2:30 p.m. – Kimberly Marshall
"Pioneers of the Organ"

Goldman professor of Organ Kimberly Marshall traces innovations in organ composition in a program featuring both the Fritts and Traeri organs in music by Schlick, Sweelinck, Frescobaldi and Bach.

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2:30 and 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13, 5 p.m. – Kimberly Marshall and the ASU Organ Studio
"Christmas Classics"

Enjoy your Christmas favorites in this program of seasonal organ music, with Melanie Holm, soprano. The glorious music and festively decorated Organ Hall are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit!

Sunday, Jan. 24, 2:30 p.m. – Annie Laver
"All Roads Lead to Rome"

Syracuse University organist Annie Laver explores the musical culture of Rome and its influences throughout Europe in a program that features the Traeri baroque organ.

Sunday, Feb. 7, 2:30 p.m. – Kimberly Marshall
"German Milestones"

Germany’s legacy of remarkable organ music is unparalleled. Goldman Professor of Organ Kimberly Marshall traces this from the first notated music of the 15th century to that of Max Reger, commemorating the centennial of his death.

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2:30 p.m. – Skye Hart
"Castles, Convents and Cathedrals"

ASU alumnus Skye Hart explores music from the Renaissance to the present that mirrors the architecture in which it was conceived.

Sunday, Mar. 20, 2:30 p.m. – Renée Anne Louprette
"North Meets South: Musical treasures by German Baroque and Italian Renaissance masters"

New York organist Renée Anne Louprette plays both the Fritts and Traeri organ with works by Buxtehude, Böhm, Merulo, Cavazzoni, Trabaci, De Macque and J. S. Bach.

Tickets: $22–General; $16–ASU Faculty, Staff and Alumni; $15–Senior; $12–Student.

Save 25 percent by ordering tickets to three or more events per person by Oct. 1.

A $2 handling fee applies to all orders, and a web per ticket purchase fee will apply.

Box office hours are Wednesday–Friday, 11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and Saturday 2–4 p.m.

To order tickets, call the Herberger Box Office at 480-965-6447 or go to

Media Contact:
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison