MFA grad explores poetry as bridge across boundaries


December 18, 2012

What does it mean to be human and how do we interconnect with each other and the world around us?

These are the questions that inspire Heather Poole, as she graduates with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Download Full Image

“I believe the arts and beauty are essential to the human soul and as a bridge across boundaries, that unites, inspires and allows us greater communication and understanding with one another,” says Poole. “Art assists in developing creative win-win situations where all benefit in positive ways.”

A collection of poems – Fledglings of Anani – are Poole’s master’s thesis, a project that encountered unexpected delays due to life events.

“After completion of my coursework I was unable to return to ASU for seven years,” she says. “I helped with family illnesses and death which took me away from school. Yet, in the end, this time enriched my life and the work I am now writing would not have been possible without these experiences.”

Fledglings of Anani, completed in the last year at ASU, embraces the complexity, tenderness and vitality of life, says Poole. “The subject is beauty. Beauty is harmony and an essential ingredient to the individual’s psyche as well as the growth and expansion of community and society.”

“My hope is that Fledglings of Anani uplifts, nourishes and expands the readers’ thoughts to embrace the depth and subtle connections between self, people, places, and inter-relationships, and appreciate how these things, often the most ordinary, are what give substance and meaning to our lives.”

Poole received a Graduate College Completion Fellowship for fall 2012 to support the impressive quality of her work. “The graduate fellowship enabled me to focus solely on the work and give it full time and attention in order to bring it to completion and was invaluable,” says Poole.

When she first arrived at ASU, says Poole, “I did not know I was entering into a program with reknowned writers and some of the best poets of our time.” In addition to the kinship and sense of community the writing department engendered, she experienced an unwavering dedication in the teachers who helped her and each student develop their voice and vision to their highest potential.

“Graduation is a day of deep appreciation for everyone who has been a part of this, from my mentors, my department, and to students and all who are a part of ASU – for I could not have done this without the aid of so many people.”

After graduation, Poole intends to keep creating “work that celebrates life and our interconnectedness to each another and to the world in the spirit of beauty, peace, and compassion.”

“Art is available to everyone. There is no ‘wrong’ art, and I would like to see others utilize it as a tool of empowerment for themselves and for society, as a channel that supports constructive dialogue, opens minds, extends our boundaries, and allows humanity to grow in concrete and harmonious ways that benefit all.”

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

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

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