Master's grad plans to expand communication technologies in tribal homelands


December 18, 2012

New technologies in communication are essential for the progress of Native American communities, says Alaina George, a member of the Navajo Nation. George wants to help Native Americans take advantage of the opportunities technology and science can provide to tribal homelands.

“I hope that my work at ASU will help document what the Navajo Nation has implemented to date in regards to telecommunication,” she says. “I also hope that it allows others to realize that information and communication technologies are just the first step and a lot has to happen for it to be sustainable.” Download Full Image

George is graduating with an interdisciplinary Professional Science Master (PSM) degree from ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The innovative PSM degree was a natural fit for her goals, as it is designed to prepare graduate students in science and technology with enhanced training in business and management skills.

After receiving a bachelor’s in Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of New Mexico, George searched for a graduate school. 

“After reading about the New American University vision, I really felt that ASU was where I wanted to be,” she says.

She encountered enthusiasm and encouragement when she met with faculty and staff at CPSO as well as the American Indian Policy Institute. 

“All things considered, it really just felt like the best place for me to study and to be able to research this particular topic.”

A family tragedy made the support from CPSO even more heartfelt. “My uncle had terminal liver cancer, and in January of 2012, he passed away. My department was very understanding and I was able to attend classes via televideo while I stayed with family.”

As a recipient of the 2011 Graduate College Reach for the Stars fellowship, George participated in the Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium (IRC) seminar series (formerly called Diversity across the Curriculum), where she collaborated across disciplines with other first-year graduate students. “My fellow students all had such interesting topics to research and were also a great support group to have.”

During her graduate studies, George interned in Washington, D.C. for the executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. “I was able to learn about what goes on at that level of government. It was also amazing to see firsthand how much work people put in to create change in Native communities, at all levels.”

George is already employed in Albuquerque at the Indian Health Service Area office as the TeleEducation Coordinator for the TeleBehavioral Health Center for Excellence. She plans to return to ASU to celebrate with her family at commencement.

“My family has been incredibly supportive and they tell me how proud they are," she says. "It’s good for my younger family members to see that it is possible to go to graduate school. I want them to know that anything is possible if you apply yourself and set goals for yourself. It’s something my parents shared with me and I think it is the reason I’ve come this far.”

Michele St George, michele.stgeorge@asu.edu
Graduate College

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

Low-cost remote health care is goal of doctoral computer science graduate


December 18, 2012

Designing safe and low-cost medical devices can result in dependable and affordable health care locally and globally, says Ayan Banerjee, who is graduating with a doctorate in computer science from the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Banerjee’s dissertation research was in safety analysis and verification of cyber-physical systems (CPS), which is a computing unit embedded in a physical environment. One of the potential uses of CPS is the development of medical devices that can be implanted in or worn on the human body for real-time, continuous patient monitoring. Download Full Image

It can result in early disease detection, reduced human error, facilitate home-based care, and reduce the need for the physical presence of medical personnel except in emergencies.

“Dependable remote health care with unrestricted patient mobility can significantly improve the state of the art in public health,” says Banerjee. “It will reduce cost, increase affordability, and save lives.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Jadavpur University, India, Banerjee decided to join ASU under the guidance of Sandeep Gupta, a professor in Computer Science and Engineering and an advisor to ASU’s IMPACT (Intelligent, Mobile, Pervasive Applications & Computing Technologies) lab. Banerjee was awarded a Science Foundation of Arizona (SFAz) Graduate Research Fellowship for the quality of his research, and then worked as a research assistant to Gupta.

As part of the IMPACT lab, Banerjee has explored cutting-edge computer technologies, including formal modeling and analysis, sensor networks, embedded systems, pervasive health monitoring, energy-efficient cloud computing, and the safety and sustainability of cyber-physical systems.

“My parents and my wife supported me immensely throughout my PhD career and made my years at school enjoyable,” he says. “The only difficulties I had to overcome were the fundamental research problems I was trying to solve.”

“Graduation means a lot to me,” continues Banerjee. “This is a result of five years of hard work and sacrifice, and I dedicate all my success to my parents.”

Banerjee will continue his research at ASU as a postdoctoral scholar.

Michele St George, michele.stgeorge@asu.edu
Graduate College

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library