Russian meteorite pieces land at ASU

April 25, 2013

ASU’s Center for Meteorite Studies (CMS) has acquired a significant new sample for its collection: pieces of the meteor that exploded spectacularly over Russia earlier this year.

Several small pieces of the meteorite that rocked Chelyabinsk, Russia in February were donated to the center by Chicago-area meteorite collector and philanthropist Terry Boudreaux. Russian meteorite display Download Full Image

The new acquisition is notable both for its size – close to 200 pieces totaling 531 grams join the center’s cache, the largest university collection of meteorites in the world – and for how quickly it ended up on display in the meteorite exhibition.

The center’s team worked quickly to process the specimens and assemble an exhibit that was ready for the public in a matter of hours.

The largest piece, comprised of cosmically shocked material, is plum-sized and has a mass of 47.5 grams. Classified as an LL5 ordinary chondrite, all of ASU’s fragments of this extraordinary meteorite are on display on the second floor of ASU’s Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV.

“The Chelyabinsk meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 41,000 mph," says Melissa Morris, assistant director of CMS and faculty research associate in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. "The blinding flash and deafening boom signaled the end of the bolide’s life as a body 17 meters (50 ft) in diameter. The catastrophic disruption of this extraterrestrial intruder, 14.5 miles above the unsuspecting residents of Chelyabinsk, created an intense blast that shattered glass in buildings around the city. All that remains are a multitude of blackened small stones scattered upon the snowy Russian landscape.”

NASA estimates the meteor had a mass of roughly 10,000 tonnes (equivalent to 1400 elephants), when it struck Earth’s atmosphere and exploded in a fireball brighter than the morning sun.

The Center for Meteorite Studies is a research unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Nikki Cassis

marketing and communications director, School of Earth and Space Exploration

Alumni Association welcomes 30 Medallion Scholars, debuts new 'Sparky' plate video

April 25, 2013

The Arizona State University Alumni Association recently welcomed 30 incoming ASU freshmen into the Medallion Scholarship Program, the Alumni Association’s signature scholarship initiative that incorporates components of leadership, scholarship and service. The scholars were honored with a dinner at Old Main on the Tempe campus on April 24, an event that also featured the debut of a new video featuring ASU’s official collegiate license plate, which funds the scholarship.

Medallion Scholars receive four-year, renewable scholarships of $3,000 annually, provided they actively participate in a mentorship program, contribute volunteer hours to the Alumni Association, maintain a satisfactory grade point average, and remain in good standing as an ASU undergraduate. Medallion Scholarship Program recipients Download Full Image

This year’s class of Medallion Scholars, who are projected to graduate in 2017, includes:

•    Amina Aden, Marcos de Niza High School, Tempe
•    Alexandra Arnieri, Red Mountain High School, Mesa
•    Megan Baker, Arcadia High School, Phoenix
•    Mariah Brown, Cibola High School, Yuma
•    Brooklyn Castellanos, Boulder Creek High School, Anthem
•    Morgan Dick, Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix
•    Brenan Edwards, Ironwood Ridge High School, Oro Valley
•    Blanca Encinas, Willow Canyon High School, Surprise
•    Kelsey Files, Seton Catholic Preparatory High School, Chandler
•    Erica Garcia, Highland High School, Gilbert
•    Hunter Hinton, Prescott High School, Prescott
•    Zachary Kopecky, Higley High School, Gilbert
•    Sonia Malek, Tempe Preparatory Academy, Tempe
•    Havell Matkus, Bioscience High School, Phoenix
•    Samantha Muller, Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix
•    Brianna Osman, Hamilton High School, Chandler
•    Victoria Ramsey, Sandra Day O'Connor High School, Phoenix
•    Brandy Reed, Dobson High School, Mesa
•    Jennie Rhiner, Arizona School for the Arts, Phoenix
•    Alan Rodriguez, Carl Hayden Community High School, Phoenix
•    Jelissa Ruis, University High School, Tucson
•    Lauren Schaecher, Arcadia High School, Phoenix
•    Samantha Siers, Estrella Mountain High School, Avondale
•    Kevin Spillman, Prescott High School, Prescott
•    Jason St. Clair, Antelope Union High School, Wellton
•    Emma Li Thompson, Foothills Academy, Scottsdale
•    Tanguy Toulouse, Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix
•    Sarah Whetzel, Willow Canyon High School, Surprise
•    Thomas Whitten, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
•    Taylor Wiley, Sunnyslope High School, Phoenix

More than 100 students currently receive the scholarship. During the most recent academic year, Medallion scholars received $300,000 in financial support, most of it coming from individual donations and from a portion of license plate fees paid to the state of Arizona. Vehicle owners with a “Sparky” plate – ASU’s official collegiate license plate issued by the state Motor Vehicle Division – pay $25 annually for their plates, and $17 from each license plate sold supports the Medallion Scholarship Program.

A new video for Sparky license plates debuted at the April 24 dinner. Produced in collaboration with ASU’s Parking and Transit Services, the 55-second video features the Sparky the Sun Devil mascot, current ASU students, alumni and a very enthusiastic Sun Devil dog. The commercial can be viewed online at the Sparky plate web page at  

Reconstituted in 2006, the Medallion Scholarship Program was born out of the Alumni Association’s previous Medallion of Merit Scholarship. The original scholarship program traced its beginnings to the 1960s and provided merit-based financial assistance to thousands of students from across the state.

For more information on the Medallion Scholarship Program, visit To learn more about the "Sparky" plate program or purchase a plate, visit