Sparky costume voting FAQ

April 22, 2013

Who is eligible?

The vote is limited to ASU students, faculty, staff, degreed alumni, athletic season ticket holders, Alumni Association Members, Sun Devil Club members and donors. Download Full Image

How do I sign in to vote?

The voting process will begin on Voters will be asked to submit their name and primary e-mail address (your most frequently used or ASU directory address or is on record with the ASU Alumni Association or Sun Devil Club). A help link will be provided if you are unable to sign into the page.

What is the voting period?

The voting will run from 12:01 a.m., Monday, April 22 to 11:59 p.m., Sunday, May 5.

What am I voting on?

Since the original Sparky icon was first drawn by Disney artist Berk Anthony in 1946, the costumed version of Sparky has changed more than a dozen times. Members of the ASU community are being asked to select one of four finalists to become the latest version of the costume that will be used beginning in the fall of 2013.

Who picked the four finalists?

Over the past few weeks, the university has worked with student leaders, the Sun Devil Coalition Advocacy Board, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Alumni Board and Chapter Leaders, and representatives from the Sun Devil Club Board to select four finalists for consideration.

When will the winner be announced?

The new costume for Sparky will be announced May 7 via social media. Follow ASU on Facebook and Twitter for the announcement.

Will the new costume be put into use immediately?

The new costume will be used beginning at the start of the 2013 academic and athletic year at ASU. The existing Sparky costume will be in place until that time.

Does this mean the Sparky logo will change as well?

No. We will continue to use the iconic Sparky image as a trademark and use it in facilities, on banners, in advertising, on license plates and in many other ways we have used it in the past. It will also continue to be offered on a full line of apparel and merchandise.

Why does the Sparky costume have to change at all?

The costumed version of Sparky has changed more than a dozen times since the character was first created in 1946 by Disney artist Berk Anthony. The current change is to make the overall look more contemporary and connect with a broader audience of fansupdate and enhance some of the features of the costume.

Lisa Robbins

Assistant Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


Undergraduates blaze path for research in ASU's newest facility

April 22, 2013

Last fall, Arizona State University opened its newest research and discovery facility: the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4). ASU’s largest research building, ISTB 4 includes roughly 300,000 square feet of research laboratories, collaboration spaces and public exhibits on the Tempe campus.

Amidst the latest technology and flexible workspaces, ASU undergraduate student researchers are collaborating with professors and graduate students in the innovative new facility. One such student is Bethany Smith. Bethany Smith Download Full Image

Smith, a sophomore majoring in materials science and engineering, works in the lab of Candace Chan, an assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy.

“I love the fact that everything is a bit more open,” says Smith. “There are windows so that you can see what other labs are working on and the general public can look in on what you’re doing. Having these open labs can let other people say ‘Oh hey, there are real people working in there.’”

“The lab and meeting facilities in ISTB4 are great,” says Chan. “Everyone loves it here and we get to interact with faculty from other departments that we normally would not have ever met.”

Smith’s research centers on developing batteries at the nanoscale, a project she has been working on since her freshman year. This research seeks to answer questions about how to make batteries more efficient and maximize their power in a smaller volume.

Currently, Smith is in the preliminary stages of experimenting with the folding of batteries, like the way you might fold a map. Commercial batteries today are rolled into cylinders. Smith’s calculations predict that by splitting the battery’s surface into 35 sections and folding it multiple times rather than rolling it, she can reduce battery size up to 28 times.

So far, Smith has successfully produced one- and two-fold battery prototypes. She plans to continue this method of folding versus rolling while contributing to the larger goal of the research, which is to condense large surface areas of power into smaller volumes while still increasing performance.

“There’s no reason why this new method shouldn’t work, but you have to prove it with research and make sure nothing can go wrong,” she says.

In addition to Smith’s work with batteries, Chan’s student team is investigating water splitting and solar energy, with an overarching theme of sustainable energy.

“Working here, you can actually see some applications for what you’re learning in class,” says Smith. “Doing work in a research setting helps supplement your education in a hands-on way.”

“I believe that part of our job as educators in preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers is not only the teaching that occurs in the classroom, but also the mentoring and teaching of research skills and the scientific thought process,” says Chan. “The former is much more difficult to learn in a formal classroom setting and is better acquired through ‘doing.’”

Many of these undergraduate researchers participate in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI), a program designed to enhance the education of undergraduate engineering students. Students applying to FURI must first develop a research idea, and with the help of mentors such as Chan, apply for funding to aid in their research, workshops, summaries and symposiums.

In addition to juggling their schoolwork and lab responsibilities, student researchers like Smith may also hold jobs outside of their research. For Smith, this includes a position with Stephen Krause of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy.

“It can get a little hectic juggling all of these responsibilities,” says Smith. “It’s all about time management.”

“ASU students are great at being engaged and involved in a lot of activities on and off-campus, in addition to excelling academically in their coursework,” says Chan. “Based on the interest and motivation of the student, we can develop the projects to more advanced levels, such as for an honors thesis.”

Smith relishes the opportunities opened to her through Chan’s lab and hopes to continue her work in material sciences in the future. Now considering an internship with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Smith says her eagerness to get involved with undergraduate research as early as possible has only helped her.

“You get a really good relationship with a professor early on,” said Smith. “By the end of my undergraduate career I’ll have been working with Dr. Chan for four years, which is invaluable.”

“Bethany is outstanding. She came to me as a first semester freshman without any lab experience and has developed into a thoughtful and inquisitive researcher,” Chan says. “I am always open to new approaches and ideas from my students. It is fun and rewarding to see them develop into independent scientists.”

Learn about undergraduate research opportunities at

Written by Lorraine Longhi, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

Allie Nicodemo

Communications specialist, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development