Smithsonian, ASU launch virtual classroom

August 31, 2010

This fall, Smithsonian scientists in Panama and Arizona State University life-sciences students and researchers will talk by means of Vidyo—video-conferencing technology that transports virtual learning into the field.

This new educational and research partnership between the School of Life Sciences at ASU, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., will speed the adoption of Vidyo to promote real-time classroom activities and to facilitate research collaborations. ASU scientists Dave Pearson, Juergen Gadau and Smithsonian researcher Kate Ihle Download Full Image

"This December we will celebrate 100 years of Smithsonian science in Panama,” says Eldredge Bermingham, STRI director. “Given the importance of tropical ecosystems to human well-being in the 21st century, we are pleased to partner with ASU to give North American university students direct access to scientists working in tropical forest and reef environments that inspire exploration.”

“Vidyo’s video conferencing system transforms mediated classrooms on campus into real-time research and learning environments,” says Robert E. Page Jr., dean of the School of Life Sciences in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Students will watch video feeds from remote areas in Panama, collect and share data, and talk to researchers simultaneously on their computers.”

“Vidyo technology and products are uniquely suited for applications such as the educational partnership between ASU and the Smithsonian,” says Ofer Shapiro, co-founder and CEO of Vidyo. Low cost and mobility set Vidyo apart as does the simple desktop interface and the number of high-quality, simultaneous classroom connections.

The first use of Vidyo technology in the classroom comes with the fall 2010 launch of ASU’s tropicial biology course, Current Topics in Tropical Biology, taught by professors David Pearson and Jeurgen Gadau.

“In addition to the telepresence in the field and classroom activities, the video systems facilitate our research collaborations,” says Gadau, who is also the associate dean for graduate programs in the School of Life Sciences. “The system offers a new tool for graduate student mentorship and participation in graduate committees abroad.”

The novel ASU–STRI collaboration aims to promote educational opportunities globally and stimulate collaborative research and discovery in the areas of biofuels, social structure, sustainability and World Wide Web approaches to biodiversity and species discovery.

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


Luncheon celebrates Spirit of Service Scholars

September 1, 2010

Jennifer Truong dreams of pursuing a career in community development and hopes to establish her own micro-enterprise network to help emerging nations strengthen their economies. Presently, she is an undergraduate senior studying finance and marketing in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Her parents came to the United States as refugees from Cambodia during the reign of the Communist Khmer Rouge. After graduating from Dobson High School, she chose to stay in Arizona to earn her business degree and is currently the co-chairman for Camp Kesem, a national nonprofit organization that raises funds for kids whose parents have cancer. She wants to make a significant difference in others’ lives.

Jennifer is just one of 17 remarkable students chosen for the first cohort of Spirit of Service Scholars by ASU’s College of Public Programs. Dedicated to pursuing careers in public service, these scholars are poised to help create the next generation of public and nonprofit leaders who will transform government and society at all levels. With baby boomers rapidly retiring, we face a looming crisis: a dearth of talent available at federal and local levels to assume critically important roles in government and management.   Download Full Image

The Spirit of Service Scholars initiative provides scholarships to students dedicated to seeking careers in the public and non-profit sectors. The scholars will also serve as mentors to 34 Arizona high school students who are also interested in careers in public service.

On Sept. 13, Debra Friedman, university vice president and dean of the College of Public Programs, will host a luncheon to introduce and celebrate the inaugural cohort of the Spirit of Service Scholars. This sold-out event will be attended by the scholars, ASU President Michael Crow, City of Phoenix leaders and various corporate partners responsible for the design, funding and implementation of this initiative. Tim McManus, vice president of education and outreach for the Washington DC-based Partnership for Public Service, will deliver the keynote address at the event. The luncheon will be held at the A.E. England Building at 424 N. Central Avenue, in Downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space Park from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

All media members are invited to arrive at 10:30 a.m. to personally meet the Spirit of Service Scholars, Tim McManus, high school principals and students, as well as the community and university leaders who have been instrumental in launching this program. Media members will have the opportunity to interview these exceptional students and others who are each already actively engaged in making a difference in their communities.

Dana Berchman, dana.berchman">">
Manager, Media Communications, ASU College of Public Programs