Mentoring models to move minorities to majorities in STEM

February 18, 2013

Evidence of a shift in U.S. demographics and importance of minorities took center stage during the Presidential election, but how do those growing toward majority acquire representation in our educational and technological communities?

Accelerating programs that mentor and move minorities forward to majorities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is one method that is gaining traction, said Castillo-Chavez, one of a trio of Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Mathematics = Mentors speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston. Professor Carlos Castillo-Chavez Download Full Image

Castillo-Chavez, whose own path to professorship is remarkable, will share concrete strategies to increase interest and engagement in STEM, along with co-presenters Chrysanthe Demetry, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Jean T. MacCormack, University of California. 

While there is an overriding belief that promoting underrepresented groups cannot be addressed without long-term changes in the K-12 school system, according to Castillo-Chavez there are successful models being used now which show that mentoring changes lives – particularly when undertaken at a scale offered by one of the largest public universities in the nation.

“Scientists have the responsibility to see that the American Dream is not just a theoretical construct but an achievable goal,” said Castillo-Chavez. “We can’t continue to waste immense talent because their limited access to higher education. This panel does not argue on the need of change, but on how we can achieve it, university by university.”

Chavez-Castillo is the executive director of the award-winning Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI) and The Institute for Strengthening the Understanding of Mathematics and Science or SUMS, research units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The MTBI is one example of how colleges and universities can create change in representation of underrepresented groups in STEM that has national impact. The institute hosts a summer undergraduate research experience program, and has developed integrative degrees in applied mathematics for the life and social sciences for undergraduate and doctoral students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010-2011, ASU was the leading producer of Hispanic PhDs in the mathematical sciences and fifth in the nation for all minority groups combined. The institute’s programs have contributed to the production of more than 89 PhDs, 59 U.S. underrepresented minorities, since 2005.

Castillo-Chavez is also the co-director of a national program to promote students from underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences, the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in Mathematical Sciences. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the alliance offers conferences, grants, mentoring and summer training programs, including the Field of Dreams conference, which introduces minority undergraduate students in STEM fields to possibilities and opportunities in post-baccalaureate education in math and science, hosted at ASU in 2011 and 2012.  

Castillo-Chavez, has also spearheaded a programs to attract a diverse population of students to STEM at the high school level. The Joaquin Bustoz Math-Science Honors Program advances high school students in university mathematics and sciences before graduation from high school. The intensive summer program has supported more than 2,500 students from 140 Arizona schools, including students from the Navajo Nation.

“The success of this type of intervention is not in question. We have seen remarkable outcomes at Arizona State University and Cornell University, because of MTBI and other late stage mentoring interventions,” said Chavez-Castillo, who is also the director of the Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center.

At AAAS, Castillo-Chavez will speak about the modeling institute, ways to enhance student engagement, and specifically how to move students from college into careers in science, and effective strategies for increasing diversity at all levels in STEM.

Castillo-Chavez received the 2007 AAAS Mentor Award and others honors for his research in mathematics, modeling of epidemics and his investments in mentoring. He has been selected as a Fellow by the American Mathematical Society and named a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012.

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


US Magistrates, renowned experts to headline eDiscovery, digital evidence conference

February 18, 2013

The practical and cutting-edge issues affecting the discovery and admission of electronic information in litigation is the focus of the Second Annual ASU-Arkfeld eDiscovery and Digital Evidence Conference, March 13-15, at the  Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

The conference will bring together leading jurists, attorneys and other legal professionals on a wide array of eDiscovery issues including legal hold analysis, computer-assisted search, predictive coding, project management, competency, and proportionality, among others. Download Full Image

“eDiscovery – The present and the future,” hosted by the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation, in collaboration with Michael Arkfeld, Director of the ASU-Arkfeld eDiscovery Program, is open for registration at Up to 15 hours of CLE, including three ethics credits, will be available to attendees.

An early-bird registration fee, until Feb. 28, is available for $549, and the first 80 registrants will receive a free copy of either Arkfeld’s Best Practices Guide: Information Primer for Legal Professionals or Arkfelds’ Best Practices Guide for ESI Pretrial Discovery – Strategy and Tactics. Other tuition rates: $599 (after Feb. 28), $499 (ASU law school alumni), $349 (government employees), $299 (non-attorneys), and $69 (current students).

“I think one of the most egregious competency issues for lawyers is their lack of understanding of how to discover and admit electronic evidence in their cases,” Arkfeld said. “I think 99 percent of lawyers don’t understand the basic legal and technological issues affecting digital information and how it applies to their cases.”

The American Bar Association expects all lawyers to understand the benefits and risks associated with technology, he noted.

“The fact that the College of Law at ASU is hosting the conference emphasizes their recognition of the importance of electronic evidence, which not all law schools do,” Arkfeld said.

“The list of speakers is quite impressive,” he said. “More than 30 of the top eDiscovery experts in the world will be here.”

The keynote speakers are the Hon. John Facciola, U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of Columbia, who is one of the nation's most prominent jurists and educators on eDiscovery, and the Hon. Craig Shaffer, U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of Colorado.

In his keynote address, titled “Halls of Justice: Only Rich and Poor Need Apply,” Judge Facciola will discuss ways to maximize the value and minimize the costs of eDiscovery. Many experts, including Judge Facciola, are concerned that new eDiscovery tools are available only to the wealthy.

“It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of electronic evidence in courts,” said Judge Facciola, who headlined last year’s inaugural eDiscovery conference at the College of Law. “Ninety-eight percent of all communications in the world today are electronic.”

Trying to bring costs of technology down, and educating current students on how to properly use and stay up-to-date on digital information, should be a priority at any law school, he said.

“As a younger generation enters the workforce, the legal system needs to change to cope with these new digital forms of evidence,” Judge Facciola said.

He said the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, together with the ASU-Arkfeld eDiscovery Program, are among the leaders in the field, adding that the College of Law is at the forefront in thinking about eDiscovery issues.

Judge Shaffer, a frequent presenter at conferences and seminars on electronic discovery, will lecture on “Where, oh where, have the trials gone?”

Other presenters at the conference include noted eDiscovery thought leaders Scott Kane, Maura Grossman, Browning Marean, Robert Singleton, Cecil Lynn and many others. They have a wealth of practical and legal expertise to share about effective best practices to competently handle electronic discovery within corporate, government and nonprofit environments, said Josh Abbott, Executive Director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation.

“With so many eDiscovery experts, students and professionals gathered in one place, this annual conference creates a learning environment with tremendous energy,” Abbott said. “Opportunities to learn and network abound for anyone dealing with electronically stored information in a legal setting.”

The conference is being sponsored by Document Control Group, LexisNexis Litigation Solutions, TERIS, VeDiscovery, Kroll Ontrack, eLit, Legal Hold Pro and Catalyst.

For more information about the conference, visit or email