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ASU team hits Miami seeking sustainable future

ASU team talks sustainable design at international design, art conference.
December 6, 2016

ASU team shares design strategies at Design Miami — an influential, international conference for design and the arts

Led by Herberger Institute faculty, a team of ASU students has recently returned from an international conference for designers, architects and developers where they discussed how to hit United Nations goals for prosperity and sustainability.

ASU’s group — including Dean Steven J. Tepper and students from journalism, film and sculpture — presented a series of talks at the Design Miami conference from expert speakers, discussing sustainable design strategies, which are part on the United Nation's landmark Paris Agreement and increasingly important as the world’s urban population grows.  

According to a U.N. talking-points paper: “The way in which cities, buildings and shelters are built today is highly unsustainable and needs to change. The decisions made about how these cities are built and how industries grow, thrive and employ will impact generations.”

Design Miami, held alongside the Art Basel international art fair each December, touts itself as “the premier venue for collecting, exhibiting, discussing and creating collectible design.” It features panel discussions, gallery shows, lectures and networking opportunities. Tepper saw it as a key opportunity to introduce the U.N. sustainable development goals, calling on the influencers in attendance to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.      

“Transforming the way in which infrastructure is designed and built — with a focus on low-emission and resilient construction — will require a new level of commitment from designers, architects and developers,” the U.N. talking points read. 

The Paris Agreement’s 17 goals to transform the world by 2030, include eliminating poverty, hunger and gender equality while increasing access to  affordable energy, clean water and sanitation, and responsible consumption and production.

According to the U.N., the majority of the world’s population lives in cities today. By 2050, over 65 percent of people are projected to be living in urban areas. The paper said “design infrastructure and industries will determine the future of not only environmental health in these cities, but also the health and safety of the residents who live in these cities.”

Assisting Tepper deliver the message were three ASU faculty and four students, who interned with CNN Style, the official media sponsor of Design Miami. In addition to helping CNN with their coverage of the event, they also produced a 90-second digital video, which will be aired next week on CNN’s website and Facebook page.

Andrew Noble, a graduate 3-D and virtual reality sculpture in ASU’s School of Art, said the video couldn’t be more timely or relevant.

“We have someone entering office who doesn’t necessarily believe in climate change and the environmental impacts currently taking place,” Noble said.

Sustainability, journalism student Jiahui Jia said, can mean much more than impacts to the environment.

“It can be expanded to bigger ideas like gender equality and poverty,” said Jia, a graduate student in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “It’s good for a journalist to be exposed to a wide variety of experiences. Now I can apply the concepts of sustainability when I do a story.”

For film major Rebecca Wilson, her week in Miami turned out to be a cornucopia of contacts.

“I took the initiative to network and that was a priceless experience,” said Wilson, who is a senior in ASU’s School of Film, Dance and Theater. “I met some pretty amazing designers and architects who are looking forward to hearing from me after I graduate.”

Tepper said the Miami trip produced several good outcomes. He specifically cited the student experience with CNN; a deepening relationship with the senior leadership at the UN and plans to explore partnerships with other foundations around art and sustainability.

Photo: Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Dean Steven J. Tepper. 

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Q&A: Filmmaker, ASU official say military vets should feed next generation

Filmmaker Dulanie Ellis says vets should be trained to help with food security.
ASU screens "Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields" with panel talk.
December 6, 2016

Documentary 'Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields' precedes panel discussion on strengthening local food system

In response to census reports that showed America would need a massive influx of farmers and ranchers in the coming years, filmmaker Dulanie Ellis created a documentary that calls for military veterans to fill the job.

Ellis says vets — especially those returning from combat — are uniquely suited to take on the challenge of feeding a growing nation that is losing farmers and ranchers to retirement and urbanization.

She says the U.S. Agriculture Department has called for 1 million new farmers and ranchers and that service members are ready to fill the gap — they just need the right training.

Her film, “Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields,” has made the rounds since its completion four years ago, but Sidney Lines, coordinator for ASU’s Sustainability Connect and Food Systems Transformation Initiative, says it’s as relevant as ever ahead of a screening and panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Irish Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix.

The event, ASU Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, is open to the public and tickets are $10. Proceeds will benefit three advocacy groups that support military, farming and job training.

Here’s what Ellis and Lines had to say (answers lightly edited for length):

Question: Can you explain the concept behind “Ground Operations?”

Dulanie Ellis: There are two different problems that have a common solution. One of the challenges we face as a country we have about 2 to 2.5 million vets who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and many of them are coming back and need to find meaningful work. With that are high suicide rates, loss of purpose, loss of mission … The other problem is that we have a whole generation of farmers that are at retirement age, and they need replacements … When you put those two together, they take care of the other’s need.

Sidney Lines: The film examines two seemingly disparate issues: a need for more farmers and a large number of veterans returning from war. It creates a scenario that could provide a single, intersecting solution for each by bringing veterans into farming. … The physical act of getting their hands in the ground and tilling the earth has a calming, healing effect on them and helps reduce the effects of their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. What I would personally love to see is a joint program where the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, and United States Dairy Association pair returning veterans with local farmers in an apprentice-style program, where vets work with a farmer to gain the necessary knowledge and skills, and then go off to start their own farm or perhaps activate some of the vacant, urban lots we have around the Valley to grow food while reducing the number of food deserts.

Q: I didn’t realize there is a shortage based on the fact that corporations seem to have farming covered.

DE: While it is true that corporate farming is growing all of the commodity crops — your corn, your soy, your wheat — there is a desire from the American public to consume locally grown nutrients in food that is spurring a huge resurgence in local farming. In terms of vegetables, you lose your nutrient density the farther it travels and is stored for long periods of time. Furthermore, corporate is depleting their soil through the use of chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides, and they’re diminishing the capacity of the land to produce good food. We’re seeing a huge surge in this, and the biggest shift is in urban agriculture, which is the new face of agriculture.

SL: There are a few things happening here. The latest USDA census data show that our farmers are getting older and that we are not replacing them. The average American farmer is 58 years old, a number that has been increasing for the past 30 years, and at the same time the number of beginning farmers is decreasing. Additionally, migrant workers play a huge role in our food system. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than half of U.S. farm workers are undocumented. Even with increased wages and better working conditions, farmers are still having a hard time finding skilled American farm workers. Returning veterans could be one answer to this problem.

Q: How did you come to the conclusion that vets want to become farmers?

SL: Aside from the healing effects I mentioned earlier, some of the veterans in the film talk about education, specifically, and how it is difficult to come home from conflict and assimilate in a classroom full of students who have very different lived experiences from them. It can be very hard for veterans to transition from a highly stressful, very regimented lifestyle in a conflict zone to a university classroom, and this inevitably keeps some of them from completing a university education.

The ASU Pat Tillman Veterans Center is working diligently and successfully to assist with that transition and support veteran students as they navigate their academic careers. ... The future of farming is going to need to face complex challenges like climate change, water scarcity, booming populations, and a whole slew of issues that will require new technologies, creative innovations, and sustainable solutions. ASU is ripe for this kind of research and discovery.

DE: Farming is a highly complex and challenging career and because the GI Bill will cover vets wanting to go college, many are coming back. We want them to see this film so they know farming is an option to them. Many college-educated vets have gone into corporate America and have been so thoroughly dissatisfied with that experience and have turned to farming and ranching because it’s more satisfying to them. They like the challenge and they want to be outside, not stuck in a cubicle.

Q: What does this documentary propose? Or what questions does it pose? And what answers does it offer?

SL: I’ll just say that the documentary asks, “How can we better serve our returning veterans, utilizing their unique set of skills, while creating a more sustainable food system for all?” If you want the answer you’ll have to come watch the film and listen to the panel discussion.

DE: We’re starting to get the data on the therapeutic effects of farming on veterans through a couple of studies. A national study that interviewed over 700 veterans show a 65 to 70 percent improvement with PTSD, reduction of meds, greater sense of mission, less depression and anxiety, better ability to integrate with the public. It’s across the board. We knew it worked but now there’s specificity about why it works.

Photo from "Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields" courtesy of Dulanie Ellis . 

Reporter , ASU News


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ASU speech clinics help youth communicate with confidence

ASU prof: "Early intervention is key" for children with speech language delays.
ASU speech clinic fills in gaps where in-school speech therapy can be deficient.
December 5, 2016

Programs provide speech therapy for toddlers and elementary school students, often with one-on-one attention

A group of toddlers sits in a circle, singing and passing around maroon and gold pom poms. When the they come around to a shy 2-year-old, everyone sings, “Who are we rooting for?”

He shouts, “Max!” and beams a wide smile as they cheer.

The enthusiasm is in contrast to when he began coming to these sessions a few months ago. Back then, Max’s mother, Kelly Whalen, said she had to sit with him until he worked up the nerve to join the rest of the bunch.

Part of Max’s problem socializing, Whalen said, was difficulty speaking, and the twice weekly song time is part of an ASU program involving grad students who give youngsters one-on-one attention to help them work through speech problems. 

"Early intervention is key to giving children with speech language delays the best chance to become effective communicators," said Pediatric Communications Clinics (PCC) director and clinical supervisor Dawn Greer. "The earlier children are identified and receive services, the better."

The PCC at ASU provides speech therapy for toddlers and preschoolers through the university’s Department of Speech and Hearing Science. Most recently, it was joined by the After School Articulation and Phonology Program, which in the fall began offering similar services for kids from kindergarten through fifth grade.

"The PCC is a great resource for young children with speech sound disorders, but we wanted to reach families with older children as well, so we developed” the program, which goes by ASAP, said Kelly Ingram, whose ASU Speech and Language Clinic administers both ASAP and PCC.    

Each program was designed to fill a void: PCC focuses on early intervention to facilitate children’s communication, language, articulation, motor and social skills — before they begin traditional schooling. ASAP, meanwhile, steps in to bolster in-school speech therapy.

Ingram explained that while in-school speech therapy is a good start, there can be downsides: Children are often pulled out of regular classes and end up missing lessons; The caseloads of in-school speech therapists are often very large, which means kids aren’t getting a lot of individual attention; And the criteria for a child to qualify for speech therapy is based on age, meaning in some cases, children aren’t receiving therapy until the problem has worsened.

“Even if they’re only here for an hour and 15 minutes every week, they’re still getting a lot of practice,” ASAP clinical faculty supervisor Cathy Bacon said. “Probably more than they’re getting all week long in the schools. ASAP provides intense, individualized instruction at a low cost.”

PCC and ASAP also give graduate students in the speech-language pathology master’s program and undergraduate students working toward a speech language pathology assistant certificate hands-on experience under direct supervision of Department of Speech and Hearing Science clinical faculty.

The child participants attend once or twice weekly sessions, depending on need, on a semester-by-semester basis. The sessions range from an hour and 15 minutes to two hours, during which time the children are guided by the ASU graduate and undergraduate students through a series of activities and one-on-one drills.

The type and intensity of the activities vary based on the age group but can include singing, musical instruments, art projects, sensory play, story time, snack and outdoor play. All of the lessons are planned by the ASU students, who also set up individualized road maps for each child that detail specific areas that need work, identify goals and provide weekly progress reports for parents.

“There’s no other way to get this kind of hands-on experience,” said Sarah Shill, a speech and hearing science undergrad with ASAP. She and fellow speech-language pathology students Jessi Johnson, Dominique Vasquez and Andrea Valentin make up the program’s first cohort.

“They work so well together, troubleshooting child behavior during sessions and collaborating on lesson plans,” clinical faculty supervisor Kate Helms Tillery said.

She and Bacon observe each session in an adjacent room where they can see and hear everything that goes on, taking note of what needs work and what’s working well, so they can give the ASU students notes and guidance afterward.

“We have amazing feedback from the professors basically every day,” Valentin said.

Greer also closely observes each PCC session and provides feedback.

The programs are growing. The Department of Speech and Hearing Science is next looking at making their existing summer reading program available during the regular school year.

According to Bacon, these type of outreach programs are “just another way ASU is reaching out to provide services to the community while providing quality training opportunities for students.”

Organizers say the individual attention is key. The ratio of ASU students to children in both PCC and ASAP is presently about 2 to 1. It varies depending on the number of participants, but is never more than one ASU student to every two children.

“You can’t beat that,” Whalen said, adding that her son Max’s progress has been “huge.”

“I wish I had known about this sooner,” she said. “It has just been the absolute perfect situation for him.”

Top photo: ASU undergraduates in the speech language pathologist assistant certificate program Dominique Vasquez (left) and Sarah Shill work with After School Articulation and Phonology child participant Marcella Morales. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

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ASU faculty to fight fake news with 'teach-in'

Misinformation damages our ability to steer society, ASU professor says.
ASU professor Christopher Hanlon organizes event to push back on false info.
November 30, 2016

University experts gather at West campus to explain, contextualize current events in service to citizenship

Mosques across California received letters threatening genocide against Muslims this week, and although authorities say they didn’t rise to the level of hate crimes, ASU associate professor Patrick Bixby said they represent the latest example of Islamophobia in the U.S.

Anti-Muslim bias has been one of many topics in the news around which ASU associate professor Christopher Hanlon says there’s much misinformation — so he has organized an event to do something about it, leveraging the expertise of campus experts on religious freedom, immigration, climate change, abortion, women’s rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Hanlon’s “teach-in” starts at 11 a.m. Thursday on Fletcher Lawn at the West campus. It will feature presentations from associate professor of English Patrick Bixby and other faculty from ASU's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. The event is free and open to the public, and Hanlon hopes “students take away a renewed sense of curiosity about what is real and what is not real, and a heightened sense that not all the information circulating in the public sphere right now is authoritative and reliable.”

“And I also hope they take away a sense of agency, a sense that as citizens, we’re obliged to engage and inform ourselves so that we can help to steer our society in the right direction,” said Hanlon, an associate professor of English.

Here’s a sneak peek at what some of the professors will have to say about:


Although the term “Islamophobia” emerged in the early 20th century, Bixby said there is a long history of Muslim bias in Western culture, going all the way back to the Crusades.

More recently such bias could be seen in presidential campaigns that called for a ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S., as well as a register of all current Muslim U.S. citizens, he said.

Bixby, who studies post-colonialism, said that since the election, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has seen a spike in crimes against Muslims.

“I want students to consider the topic with some historical context in mind,” said Bixby, “so that they can be better informed when considering their civic activities over the next four years.”

Fake news and social media

Associate professor of social and behavioral sciences Alex Halavais specializes in social media’s place in politics and learning.

This past election cycle, fake news stories were all over Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.  

Many pundits said the spread of misinformation played the biggest role in determining the outcome of the election. Halavais said that’s “probably hyperbole,” but fake news is definitely prevalent.

There are three reasons people need to be wary of fake news, Halavais said:

  • When people make a decision based on bad information, they often make the wrong decision.
  • Perpetrating false information by sharing clickbait stories on social media can result in real problems.
  • When you pass on bad info, “it makes you look stupid,” Halavais said. “People won’t trust what you’re saying, and you end up looking credulous and gullible.”

 If he could ensure students graduated with one skill, he said, “it’d be the ability to determine when information is real and when it’s fake.”

Religious liberties

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, some more conservative groups have been pushing for bills at both the state and federal level that would allow individuals who object to marriage equality based on religious grounds the right to not comply with the law.

The Arizona Senate Bill 1062 that was first introduced in 2014 was just such a bill, said Tuomas Manninen, senior lecturer of philosophy. It was ultimately vetoed, but it would have given businesses the right to claim a religious objection to providing services to customers.

“Looking at it in a more philosophic way, I would say we need to strike a balance between individual liberties and equalities for all,” Manninen said. “We need to ask if certain bills would really create equality or if they would grant privileges to one group whose interests don’t support another’s.”

Abortion access and the law

“As of 2012, the latest comprehensive info we have on abortion rates in the U.S. is that they’re the lowest they’ve ever been since abortion became legal,” said associate professor of philosophy Bertha Manninen, citing information from the Guttmacher Institute. “And 91.4 percent of abortions take place in the first trimester.”

So the idea that abortion, and specifically late-term abortions, are an epidemic in America is just wrong, she said, adding that abortion in general is a topic “that can be more mired with misinformation.”

Manninen will also be talking about what would need to happen in order for certain laws to be overturned.

“There’s a process, and there are steps that need to be taken,” she said. “You can’t just sign a piece of paper and overturn a Supreme Court decision.”

ASU students sought for national cybersecurity competition

November 30, 2016

It's a student challenge based on a real-world scenario: A crippling cyberattack has hit the United States. You and your team must develop a response that includes identifying potential damage to public and private sector interests. You must come up with a plan to deal with possible public backlash and consequences to international diplomacy. And you must adapt your response in real time as new information becomes available.

Think you're up to the task? ASU is looking for students to compete in a qualifyng round to advance to the 2017 Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge in Washington, D.C. this spring. The deadline to apply is Dec. 15.  ASU team at 2016 Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge in Washington. D.C. The ASU team of Marcel Lambert, Justin Tran, Sarah Galvin and Connor Smith at the 2016 Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge. Download Full Image

"Cybersecurity is our most critical policy challenge in the 21st Century,” said retired U.S. Army Col. Bruce Pagel, a professor of practice in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions in downtown Phoenix. “It profoundly impacts national security, personal privacy, the media, and the global economy.”  

Last year's competition drew 40 teams from 25 universities. Justin Tran, Sarah Galvin, Marcel Lambert, and Connor Smith represented ASU. 

"The world is changing and rapidly becoming more digital," said Justin Tran, a political science major. "I believe the Atlantic Council's Cyber Challenge is one of the best ways to prepare young students for the future we will live in and protect American lives and interests as we move further and further into the 21st century."

Tran heard about the competition from a class he was taking but wasn't sure it was for him. Then, a classmate who competed the previous year convinced him how significant this opportunity was.

Justin Tran, Sarah Galvin, Marcel Lambert and Connor Smith represented Arizona State University in the 2016 Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge in Washington, D.C.

"The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge was an absolutely incredible experience for me," Sarah Galvin said. "As an undergraduate engineering student working to adopt a concurrent degree in political science I cannot imagine a better opportunity to interact with people who are driving the effort to ensure American cybersecurity and defense."

The competition tasks students with responding to the security, political and economic problems caused by an evolving state-sponsored cyberattack scenario. They are required to write a policy brief, present their findings to a panel of judges and answer questions from judges.

"Cyber 9/12 provides a unique opportunity for students to go deep into the intersection of cyber policy and technology, and test their thinking and writing skills against those of their peers — skills that will undoubtably help them succeed in the workplace," said Pagel, who coaches the ASU team.

The 2016 competition was based on a scenario in which a US defense contractor's computer systerms were hacked. Highly sensitive data was compromised including possible control of GPS satellites. The cyberattack meant that communication with figher jets and commercial aircraft were at risk as was cellular phone communication. In the commotion, nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan are brought to the brink of war after one country shoots down a commercial aircraft of the other that strayed into its airspace. 

Tran said having a basic understanding of foreign affairs is preferable for the challenge. The one quality that will benefit students the most, Tran said, is enthusiasm.

"I truly think that anyone who is passionate and willing to put in time and effort into researching issues is capable of competing and doing well," Tran said.

The ASU team that competed in the 2016 competition presented a comprehensive policy response that addressed the multifaceted nature of cyber threats. Team members recommended a course of action that included security measures, diplomacy and public outreach. The plan sought cooperation from both the public and private sectors.

The ASU team's policy and technical experience were recognized by several judges to be among the most impressive of all the teams present. ASU was one of only two public universities to make it to the semifinal round.

"By all accounts, our team exceeded even our own expectations and performed well under pressure," Tran said. "I could not be prouder of our accomplishments and achievements."

The competition is sponsored by the Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C. based think tank that focuses on political, economic and security issues affecting the Americas, Europe and Asia. The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge is named for what policymakers would do the day after a crisis such as 9/11.  The event offers students the chance to meet and learn from respected leaders on security issues in the public and private sector in Washington, D.C. This year's event featured live hacking demonstrations and panel discussions that focused on careers.

The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge allows students to network with competitors, judges and experts from the public and private sector.

“The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge provides a valuable opportunity to network with highly regarded cyber experts in both the academic community and the private sector, including access to cyber career information and discussions with potential employers," Pagel said. "The luncheon speakers, sidebar panel discussions, along with the competition itself, all provide an enriching and not-to-be missed student experience."           

Justin Tran wants to enter next year's competition, but a heavy class load for the spring semester may prevent him from registering. For other students wondering whether to sign up, Tran says the experience is worth it.

"This competition was a truly enriching experience and a rare opportunity to not only learn from leaders in their fields but to network and challenge ourselves in the most intellectually stimulating manner possible," Tran said.

The cyber challenge is open to students currently enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, professional, or law program. No specific major, coursework or experience in cyber conflict is necessary, but successful applicants usually have a strong link between cyber conflict policy and their current academic interest.

Teams will be made up of four students, but consideration may be given to teams of three people. A qualifying round will be held to determine who will represent ASU at the Washington, D.C. competition. Students who are interested in competing in the 2017 Cyber 9/12 Challenge have until Thursday, Dec. 15 to apply. More information is available here.

The Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge
Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


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ASU environmental students get wild (certifiably)

New ASU certificate in wildlife management helps students land jobs.
Wildlife Management Certificate seeks to help ASU students w/ conservation work.
November 29, 2016

New Wildlife Management Certificate provides application-based, hands-on experience to help maintain biodiversity

Preserving Earth’s biodiversity is no small task — some estimates put the number of species on the planet in the hundreds of millions — but that hasn’t deterred ASU students from taking on the job. 

And while a passion for the environment is essential, students looking for careers in the field also need the right credentials. To help meet that need, associate professor Heather Bateman worked with colleagues in ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts to develop the undergraduate Wildlife Management Certificate.

First offered in fall 2016, the certificate is for students interested in biology, conservation, sustainability and management of natural resources.

According to Bateman, the need was twofold: “Applied biological sciences students wanted some type of recognition when they graduated that would indicate to potential employers they had expertise in the discipline of wildlife management, and [myself and other biology professors] wanted to get the word out across ASU about opportunities to study wildlife and engage with wildlife professionals.”

Creating the certificate accomplished both.

The suite of courses that make up the curriculum for the certificate — which requires 23 credit hours — involve a heavy amount of fieldwork, with students taking two to three fieldtrips per course. On fieldtrips to such Arizona locales as the Kaibab Plateau and the Petrified Forest National Park, students get application-based, hands-on experience while engaging with wildlife professionals from such state and federal agencies as the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Forest Service.

people holding amphibians and reptiles

ASU grad student Andy Bridges (left) and associate professor Heather Bateman hold common chuckwalla lizards on a field trip to the Superstition Mountains. Photo courtesy Heather Bateman

On a recent trip to the Petrified Forest, Bateman and students from her applied herpetologyherpetology refers to the branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians course spent two days in the field with a wildlife biologist, checking traps, surveying the various reptiles and “road riding.”

“Road riding is where you drive slowly along paved roads on hot summer nights,” searching for “amphibians, reptiles and insects that are attracted to the residual heat in the pavement,” explained applied biological sciences senior Lindsey Boyd, who accompanied Bateman and other students on the Petrified Forest trip.

“We had 28 miles of park road all to ourselves, and were able to see some amazing critters,” she said.

The next morning, Boyd and the rest of the group went on a behind-the-scenes tour to areas of the park that are off-limits to the public. There, they caught lizards using noose poles, identified the lizards’ species, took measurements, determined the sex and marked each individual so that if a researcher were to catch the same lizard later, they’d have data to compare.

“The field trips are so important because you are getting hands on experience, and you have your professor and an expert in the field on hand to answer any questions you might have,” said Boyd. “Spending a day in the field with someone who is doing the job you hope to one day do is an incredibly valuable experience.”

Even more encouraging, some of those field experts were once in the same place as Boyd. A former student of Bateman’s, now an amphibians and reptiles biologist with Arizona Game and Fish, recently hosted a group of her students on a two-day fieldtrip to Sycamore Canyon in Santa Cruz.

“That’s something that’s really rewarding on a personal level,” Bateman said.

Others who teach courses for the certificate are either currently involved in their own research or have had extensive careers with state or federal agencies. ASU lecturers Stanley Cunningham and Eddie Alford are retired from Arizona Game and Fish and the U.S. Forest Service, respectively.

That kind of association can really help a student when it comes to finding a job.

“In fact, it already has,” Boyd said. “The experience I gained in the wildlife program and being able to use professors as references landed me internships with Arizona Game and Fish for the past two summers. I asked my supervisor … what made my resume stand out, and it was that I had used Stan Cunningham as a reference.”

Boyd, who calls herself “kind of a bird nerd,” says her dream job is to work for The Peregrine Fund, a Boise-based non-profit conducting research and species restoration work with birds of prey all around the world.

She’s hoping the knowledge and experience she gained while obtaining the Wildlife Management Certificate will help get her there, the same way it did with her summer internships: “For those of us who don't have the word ‘wildlife’ in our degree, [the certificate] acknowledges that we have maintained a focus during our college career and have dipped into” the related subjects needed for a career in wildlife management, including plant life, soil health, watersheds and water cycles, nutrient cycles, weather patterns, statistics and land ownership agreements.

Students interested in pursuing the Wildlife Management Certificate should call 480-965-4464 to set up an appointment with an academic advisor. There is no deadline to sign up, and students can take it at any point in their academic career.

Breaking barriers to diversity in computer science

ASU faculty and students striving to make field more welcoming to women

November 23, 2016

Lisa Baer had little hesitation making the decision her freshman year to major in computer science.

Now, looking forward to graduating from Arizona State University in the spring, Baer said she has never second-guessed her choice. In fact, she is “more passionate than ever” in pursuit of a career as a computer scientist. women-in-computer-science, women in computing, diversity in computer science Carole-Jeane Wu (standing in center), an assistant professor of computer science in ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, says more diversity in her field will enable it to better serve society's varying needs. Photo by Peter Zrioka/ASU Download Full Image

But despite the confidence she gained in her abilities in the field during the past four years, she wasn’t completely immune to what psychologists call the “impostor syndrome.”

“It’s that feeling you get that your accomplishments aren’t due to your own merits, and fearing that one day you will be exposed and disappoint people,” she said.

She wasn't alone among her fellow female computer science students in experiencing such feelings.

Studies say the syndrome seems to be common even among high-achievers, particularly women who find themselves in situations where they can feel out of place or isolated because of their gender.

That describes the kind of environment found in many computer science college classrooms and labs, where women remain a disproportionately small minority.

“You might think that being the only woman in a class would make you feel special. But it really doesn’t,” said Nichola Lubold, who earned an undergraduate degree in computer engineering and is now working on a doctoral degree in computer science.

“I’ve never felt that I’m not good enough,” she said. “But you can still get this feeling that maybe I don’t belong and maybe this isn’t right for me.” 

Connecting with peers, mentors and role models

Carole-Jean Wu, an assistant professor of computer science in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, said she sees that kind of doubt prevalent among some of the female students who make up only 15 percent of the 1,900-plus computer science majors at the university.

As a result, “we have really bright students who don’t stay” in the program, Wu said.

She points out that in addition to a small percentage of peers among female computer science majors, the number of female faculty members in the program is also comparatively low.

“So those students don’t see a lot of role models, and some of them don’t see a friendly environment or a good future for themselves in the field,” she said.

To try to change that situation, Wu and some of her faculty colleagues have worked to establish and maintain support for a scholarship program to send many of the women in the Fulton Schools computer science program to the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

The event produced by the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology and presented in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery is the world’s largest technical conference for women in computing, drawing more than 15,000 participants from more than 60 countries.

With a grant from the Anita Borg Institute’s Building, Recruiting and Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) initiative, and additional support from one of the Fulton Schools — the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering— and ASU’s Global Security Initiative, 50 of ASU’s female computer science students were able to earn scholarships to make the trip to Houston for the 2016 Grace Hopper conference in October.

At least 10 other ASU students also attended — some with support from companies for which they are working as interns.

ASU students at Grace Hopper conference

A scholarship program started by faculty members has enabled many women majoring in computer science at ASU to attend the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. The conference enables students connect to a community of mentors, peers, role models and potential employers in the computer science field. Pictured are some of the more than 50 ASU students who attended this year’s conference. Photo by Faye Navabi/ASU

Feeling a sense of community

The event features leaders in the field from industry, academia and government, presentations on research, opportunities for networking and mentoring, and a career fair for those seeking jobs and student internships.

In addition, there are professional development sessions geared to address the particular concerns of women working in the high-tech world.

Students get chances to see and learn about women who are making significant contributions to computing, and to seek out professional relationships that could nurture them throughout their careers, Wu said.

“It’s a good place to meet people in various stages of their careers, especially women who are dealing with career, family and life challenges at different times in their lives,” she said. “Students can learn from people who have successfully dealt with these issues.”

Baer said it’s invaluable for students because “you feel a sense of community, like you can be part of something important and make a real difference.”

Lubold, who wants to have children while still building her career, said the conference has given her the opportunity to “hear from women who have been where I am in my career and to learn from their experience.”

Learning about overcoming obstacles

Nichole Emmons, who is graduating with a bachelor's degree in December, calls the conference a “really powerful” experience.

“It’s amazing to see how it impacts the younger students, the ones you can tell are having those thoughts about wondering whether they want to be in a male-dominated field,” she said. “[The conference] gives them a new perspective and people they can relate to. You can see that it is going to change them.”

Waverly Roeger, who will receive her bachelor's degree in the spring, was once one of those students.

Talking and listening to others who had coped with feelings of being outsiders within their field of study “made me feel that I did belong, and that was a huge weight lifted off me,” she said.

The conference also helped her to see that the challenges she was facing were not a sign of a lack of ability.

“You learn about the obstacles these women overcame, and that their success didn’t happen because they are geniuses,” Roeger said. “You see that it took them years of hard work to build up what they have.”

Inclusiveness brings benefits to the field

The students are emphatic that their profession will contribute more to society if its practitioners are more diverse.

“When you bring different kinds of people to the table, there is a wellspring of creativity,” Lubold said. “We will come up with new technologies and solutions adapted to the different needs of a wider range of people.”

Emmons said that if only a select group of people are involved in making and using new technologies, “then a lot of people are just going to be left out” of the future that technologists are creating.

The Grace Hopper conference “is inspiring and motivating,” Roeger said, “but you also see there is a lot that still has to be done to bring awareness about the importance of diversity. And it’s not just about gender but across the spectrum of ethnicity and culture and people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with varying abilities and disabilities.”

Wu, who directs the Fulton Schools’ Energy-Efficient Computer Architecture Lab, said diversity improves the quality of research.

“It brings different perspectives to how we approach solving problems and to our decisions about what problems are most important to solve,” she said.

Women needed to meet labor demand

Nadya Bliss, director of ASU’s Global Security Initiative, is especially concerned about the lack of women earning degrees in computer science. Fewer than one out of five undergraduate degrees in computer science and engineering go to women, according to some studies.

Nadya Bliss

Bliss said the field is becoming more essential to the pursuit of advances “in every kind of security challenge we have,” including national defense, climate security and health security.

More than that, computer science is more integral to everything from biology, business and medicine to agriculture, manufacturing, construction, journalism and social sciences, she said.

She sees the need for computer science expertise growing so rapidly that demand will significantly exceed supply, and that without more women in the field the labor pool will be depleted.

“We’re looking at maybe a million unfilled jobs,” she said. “So it’s important that schools as big as the Fulton Schools and ASU take on the challenge of helping to solve this problem.”

Much of the problem stems from “culturally ingrained attitudes” about women in science, and in computer science in particular, which are causing women to choose not to pursue those careers, she said.

Many female high school and even college students who are interested in science, engineering and other technical fields often “look around their classrooms and don’t see anyone who looks like them,” she said.

Evolving beyond stereotypes

Bliss, who spent a decade in leadership roles at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, a Department of Defense Research and Development Laboratory, said she was fortunate to grow up in a family with a tradition of women in highly skilled technical jobs.

Her mother is an engineer, one grandmother led a company’s technology division and the other grandmother was a neurologist.

As a computer science undergraduate at Cornell University, she was usually one of only a handful of women in her classes, but she had male mentors to whom “gender didn’t matter,” she said. “They just saw me as a smart student who they should help to advance. I never questioned whether I should be there.”

The work environment at MIT Lincoln Laboratory was similarly supportive.

“If you were into math, it didn’t mean you could not be into dresses. There wasn’t that image of ‘real scientists don’t wear dresses.’ The culture was one of technical meritocracy,” she said.

Unfortunately, the stereotypes still have a widespread negative impact.

“It’s not good to have a culture that is not friendly to diversity, not friendly to things like people with families also having careers,” Bliss said.

Until only a few years ago, she was not compelled to talk much about the subject. She recalls telling those who asked her to speak out that she saw herself “as a computer scientist, not as a woman computer scientist, and I didn’t want to move out of my scientist role and into the role of the woman talking about these touchy issues.”

Now she realizes, “It’s better for everyone if we just talk about this and deal with it. We need to break out of the stereotype mold, and I’m at a point in my career where I want to do everything I can to keep women from quitting the field because of that.”

Making diversity a priority

Wu points out that in addition to strong support from Bliss, other ASU colleagues in the computer science program have been putting extra effort into aiding that cause.

Wu worked with senior lecturer Faye Navabi to develop the scholarship program that has sent hundreds of students to the Grace Hopper conference over the past three years. Navabi and Principal Lecturer Mutsumi Nakamura oversee a Women in Computer Science student club.

Assistant Professor Sharon Hsiao and Lecturer Kanika Grover are on the scholarship program’s organization committee. Grover and Navabi went to this year’s Grace Hopper event as mentors to the ASU students who attended.

Professor Ronald Askin, the former director of the School for Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, has supported the scholarship program from its inception.

He helped to raise funds to establish the scholarship and then continued to participate in activities to raise awareness of the need for women in the field, Wu said.

Askin has been joined in his support by the school's interim director, professor Sandeep Gupta.

“They have all been going above and beyond the call of duty to make this an important goal,” Wu said.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Sending a message: Engineer calls for wireless communications revolution

November 22, 2016

How would we construct our wireless communications systems if we could start from scratch?

Decades of discovery in wireless communication have transformed society, but the journey has left us with wireless systems that are much too rigid and fragile. Associate professor Daniel Bliss works with students in his lab to confront both hardware and protocol design problems, essential for managing society’s increasingly diverse communication needs. Photo by Nora Skrodenis/ASU Download Full Image

“The current state of wireless communications is absolutely amazing, but also something of a mess,” said associate professor of electrical engineering Daniel Bliss.

But Bliss isn’t being critical without being proactive — and bold — in advancing research that aims to usher in a revolution for wireless communications.

His efforts are supported in part by a $2.1 million two-year grant from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group.

Google ATAP specializes in delivering results through high-risk, high-impact programs. Utilizing a model derived from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), each project operates on a strict two-year timeline and brings together teams of researchers from multiple institutions.

The team includes professor Chaitali Chakrabarti and assistant professor Umit Ogras, both faculty members along with Bliss in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, as well as collaborators at Google, Cornell University, the University of Southern California, Stanford University and more.

Explaining the current problem, Bliss said, “Our communications standards are the result of local engineering optimizations that have over time led to a relatively small set of suboptimal wireless standards when applied to any problem outside of the scope for which they were specifically designed.”

As the Internet of Things develops, and as users increasingly desire greater access, reliability, data rates and communications diversity, we can expect more kinds of wireless communications to further complicate these overburdened systems.

Society is experiencing increasing diversity in wireless needs and consumption, while simultaneously facing questions about how much energy is available.

Though the specifics of his research efforts are protected by proprietary agreements, Bliss’ approach has the potential to reduce wasted power in accordance with a user’s data rate.

“Our wireless systems are confronted with both hardware and protocol design problems, and addressing these problems is essential for managing society’s increasingly diverse communication needs,” Bliss summarized.

He points out a common and growing problem that our wireless devices continuously waste a large quantity of power. For example, Wi-Fi access points needlessly consume significant power even when not being accessed by users.

“Our wireless systems wait for people to use them, but in the waiting period they are just burning power,” said Bliss.

A solution lies in improving the protocol and hardware simultaneously.

“If everyone had a wake-up protocol built into their home router that turned off the wireless consumption when inactive, we would save significant amounts of power right away,” said Bliss.

Bliss’ research doesn’t offer solely technical improvements.

“Research in improving our wireless systems can address a number of important social and practical issues,” he said.

For example, affluent high-density wireless users are well served by current LTE protocols, but much of the world’s population is not. Bliss’ research poses a solution that could dramatically improve the wireless connectivity for this underserved population, resulting in larger access to information and greater opportunity.

“This research is relevant to everyone who uses wireless technology,” said Bliss, adding that Google is interested in funding this research because of its continued emphasis on improving access to wireless information. It is also relevant to companies that design wireless devices like home networks, smart refrigerators and anyone bringing about the Internet of Things.

“As wireless technology makes more and more contact with everything we do, having wireless systems that improve our quality of life and serve all of us well will become increasingly important,” said Bliss.

Rose Gochnour Serago

Communications Program Coordinator, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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The long road ahead: Improving transportation infrastructure

November 21, 2016

ASU researchers paving the way to roads that last longer, cost less and keep safety and sustainability at the forefront

On Aug. 1, 2007, 13 people in Minnesota never made it home from their evening commute. There wasn’t a bomb, a mass shooting or a natural disaster. These 13 deaths and 145 injuries were the result of a failed system.

That system — one that we use and take for granted every day — is our transportation infrastructure. Minnesota’s I-35W Mississippi River bridge had a structural failure and abruptly crumbled to the ground, taking cars and lives down with it. It was a sobering reminder that the roads, highways and bridges millions of Americans rely on daily are not indestructible. In fact, much of our transportation system in the United States is unfit to carry the load it bears.

About 40 percent of federal highways and major roads in the U.S. are not considered to be in good condition. Nearly 70,000 of the nation’s bridges are considered structurally deficient, while more than 98,000 are functionally obsoleteStructural deficiencies are characterized by deteriorated conditions of significant bridge elements and potentially reduced load-carrying capacity, but do not necessarily imply safety concerns. Functional obsolescence is characterized by bridges not meeting current design standards, such as lane width or number of lanes, relative to the traffic volume carried by the bridge., according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Our roads are in desperate need of a revamp. Researchers at ASU are paving the way to better transportation infrastructure that lasts longer, costs less and protects the environment as well as human safety.

I-35W bridge collapse

The I-35W bridge collapsed suddenly, killing 13 people and injuring 145. Photo by Tony Webster/Flickr

Rubbery roads and sustainable cement

ASU engineering professor Kamil Kaloush tests and recommends improvements to pavement performance. His team found that materials for roads can be made better by including a special ingredient derived from cars themselves — recycled tires.

Producers process the tire scraps and grind them into a material called crumb rubber. The rubber reacts as an enhanced elastic component when mixed with asphalt cement. The mixture forms rubberized or asphalt rubber pavement. This is one of the projects Kaloush oversees as the director of the National Center of Excellence on SMART (Sustainable Materials and Renewable Technologies) Innovations at ASU.

Rubberized pavement has many benefits. Just like the egg in a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, rubber makes roads much more resistant to cracking. That translates to less maintenance over time, a smoother and safer ride for drivers.

“Reduced deformation and cracking translates into road-user benefits such as better ride quality, less fuel consumption, lower maintenance frequencies and safer roadways,” Kaloush said.

The asphalt-rubber mixture is cost-effective compared with conventional pavement and is better for the environment. Rubberized pavement is also stronger and better performing than traditional types, so it can be applied as a thinner layer, using less material. Because it uses recycled materials, rubberized pavement requires fewer natural resources to produce. Its smoother surface also reduces particle emissions from tire wear and tear, resulting in better air quality.

Because rubberized pavement is thinner than traditional types, it stores and gives off less heat. Researchers have shown this can help mitigate the urban heat-island effect, which happens when buildings and paved surfaces absorb and retain heat. That results in cooler temperatures for everyone, on and off the road.

ASU engineering professor Narayanan Neithalath is also developing new materials for infrastructure. Some of his research focuses on longer-lasting concrete and cement for roads, bridges, tunnels and dams.

Portland cement is the most commonly used material for these projects, but it lasts only 20 to 25 years and has an environmental footprint like a fleet of Hummers. Neithalath wants to replace Portland cement with a material that lasts twice as long and requires fewer resources to manufacture — call it the Prius of the concrete world.

Kaloush said effective transportation infrastructure is a balancing act of durability, safety and efficient mobility of people and goods. In the future, those challenges will be compounded by the clashing of two semi-trucks — climate change and a rapidly growing population.

Sensing danger

The I-35W bridge in Minnesota was originally designed to carry approximately 60,000 cars per day when it was built in 1967. By 2007 when the bridge collapsed, traffic had increased to about 160,000 cars per day. This heavier load, plus a design flaw that went overlooked for years, led to the bridge’s demise.

I-35W was a steel-truss bridge, a type known as “fracture-critical.” Like a line of dominoes, if one piece of the bridge fails, the whole structure will collapse. There are more than 12,600 bridges of the same design still in use all over the U.S., and they are growing older and weaker each day.

In 2015, the I-10 bridge to Los Angeles was toppled by a 100-year flooding event. The desert-dwelling structure was never built to withstand so much rain. But as climate change brings about more extreme weather, our roads, bridges and other infrastructure will be tested in unprecedented ways.

“A huge number of bridges are dangerous, as far as an engineer would view them. Some engineers would refuse to cross them or go underneath them, they’re that dangerous,” said ASU professor Tim James.

James is an economist who focuses on transportation infrastructure. He said there haven’t been significant improvements made to the U.S. interstate system since it was built in the 1930s. For comparison, most airplane fleets have been replaced three times over since our road system was built.

The main challenge with revamping roads is a lack of funding. Most money for the road system comes from taxes on gasoline. The federal tax is a fixed amount of 18.4 cents per gallon. That hasn’t changed in more than 20 years, aside from a 0.4 cent increase in 1993. States charge an additional tax that averages about 23.5 cents.

“The tax on gas has been the same for 25 or 30 years, and it’s miniscule,” James said. “Compared to European levels, it’s like peanuts.”

It will take a major increase in funding to repair the roads, but building more durable and less resource-intensive infrastructure can help keep costs down. We can also work to make our roads safer — a benefit that goes beyond dollar value.

Building brainy bridges

Neithalath’s team is hoping to advance a new area of infrastructure technology that borrows a technique from the medical field. Just like an electrocardiogram monitors the rhythm of a patient’s heart, Neithalath wants to develop sensors that monitor the health of our highways.

Some roads across the U.S. already use sensors. For example, the bridge that replaced Minnesota’s I-35W is self-monitoring, with 323 fiber-optic sensors embedded in the concrete.

But Neithalath’s team is working on a new, more accurate type of fiber-optic sensor. These are coated in chemicals that react with the pavement to measure markers of deterioration. Sensors detect the presence of chlorides and sulfates, then transmit their findings back to engineers.

“For example, if you’re putting a lot of salt on your bridge and it starts to go through and corrode the steel, my fiber-optic sensors will tell me how much salt is inside the concrete,” Neithalath said.

St. Anthony bridge

The new St. Anthony bridge in Minneapolis has 323 sensors embedded in the concrete. The 504-foot structure is also the only bridge in the U.S. to be illuminated by LED lights. Photo by Ruin Raider/Flickr

Before sensors, the only way to find out a road’s health was to sever it open and peer between the cracks, or wait for a catastrophic failure. This new approach is like preventative medicine. As soon as the sensors detect vulnerability, they diagnose the problem and alert engineers that repairs are needed. Engineers can then order more tests or decide on a course of treatment.

Catching corrosion early on is especially important as more people move into cities. With a growing population, it becomes difficult to shut down roads and bridges for major repairs. With this in mind, ASU researchers want to build infrastructure that puts safety and sustainability on cruise control.

“We can use less resources, we can make bridges last longer and we can make them less risky,” Neithalath said. “Sustainability is a collaboration of all these different things.”

Allie Nicodemo

Communications specialist , Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development


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Scott Pelley: Fake news, biased reporting a threat to our country

It's not legacy vs. new media, but journalism vs. junk, Pelley told ASU crowd.
Pelley: Journalism is meant to open minds; biased reporting closes them.
Cronkite School's "on fire" students lifted his spirits, Pelley said.
November 21, 2016

'CBS Evening News' anchor speaks of journalism's vital role to open minds as he accepts award from ASU's Cronkite School

Fake news stories are more than a simple annoyance — they are a genuine danger to our nation, according to Scott Pelley, award-winning managing editor and anchor of the “CBS Evening News” and correspondent of “60 Minutes.”

“Is terrorism the greatest threat to our country, or a recession?” Pelley asked. “I suggest to you today that the quickest, most direct way to ruin a democracy is to poison the information. Those are the stakes that we have to address.”

He spoke of journalism’s vital role amid changing times as he accepted the 2016 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University on Monday.

It's no longer legacy media vs. new media; now, he said, the “dividing line in the media is the difference between journalism and junk.”

ASU Provost Mark Searle presented Pelley with the 33rd award, given by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to recognize a distinguished journalist who embodies the values of the school’s namesake. Pelley received the award at a luncheon attended by approximately 1,000 media leaders, business executives, civic leaders, Cronkite School supporters and students at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix hotel.

Pelley discussed the groundswell of false information masquerading as journalism on social media and news-aggregator sites. He pointed to the recent presidential election, highlighting false reporting on each of the candidates.

“The bigger question is, for all of us going into the future — what is the responsibility of a Facebook or a Google?” he said. “Are they utilities? Are they unconscious conduits that pass along any and all information without any responsibility to use human intelligence and the standards of journalism to stop false reporting?

“What is the responsibility of the audience? Is it completely up to us to see these stories and make the decision on whether we want to give them credibility or not?”

He cited what he called a disturbing trend toward biased reporting, on both the left and the right — outfits that traffic in confirming information, telling people that what they already believe is correct — and algorithms that redistribute reports among like-minded people.

“We’re becoming a nation of information tribes,” Pelley said. “We’re in our digital citadels, unchallenged by ideas. Biased reporting closes minds. Journalism is meant to open them.”

The CBS News anchor also discussed what it takes to be a great journalist today. He told the story of Syrian citizen journalist Hadi Al Abdullah, who continued with his reporting even after being seriously injured in a bombing in Aleppo. Pelley touched on the news values embodied by Walter Cronkite, noting that Cronkite’s drive to get things right made him the best in the world.

Pelley also discussed the work being done at the Cronkite School to educate the next generation of journalists.

“The stakes are high,” Pelley said. “We need great journalists in this country, and I am so encouraged by the work that I have seen being done here (at the Cronkite School). I am enormously humbled by this honor, and I thank you, one and all from the bottom of my heart.”

As part of his two-day visit to ASU, Pelley broadcast the “CBS Evening News” from ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus on Monday.

On Sunday, he toured the Cronkite School and participated in a moderated discussion with students. The talk, moderated by Karla Liriano, a Cronkite senior, touched on a variety of topics, including the recent election, Walter Cronkite and journalism’s impact on America.

“People take it for granted that we have the best journalism in the world,” Pelley told students. “People come from around the world to study journalism at Arizona State University and other great j-schools because this is one of America’s great ideas and one of America’s great products.”

Pelley took questions from students and offered them career advice, stressing the importance of strong writing and encouraging them to be relentless in the pursuit of their dreams.

“Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” he said. “We need you.”

Cronkite presented the first award bearing his name in 1984 to CBS executives William Paley and Frank Stanton. He was a fixture at the luncheons until his death in 2009.

Pelley joins previous Cronkite Award recipients that include television journalists Tom Brokaw, Diane Sawyer and Bob Schieffer; newspaper journalists Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward; and newspaper publishers Katharine Graham and Otis Chandler. Last year’s winner was Charlie Rose, “CBS This Morning” anchor and host of the respected late-night talk show on PBS.

“We’re becoming a nation of information tribes. We’re in our digital citadels, unchallenged by ideas. Biased reporting closes minds. Journalism is meant to open them.”
— journalist Scott Pelley

This year’s Cronkite Award Luncheon was one of several initiatives that celebrated the life and legacy of the late “CBS Evening News” anchor, who would have been 100 this month.

In September, the Cronkite School, CBS News and the Newseum hosted a special event in Washington D.C., featuring Cronkite faculty and alumni as well as leading journalists that included Pelley, PBS NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill, CBS News contributor Bob Schieffer and 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl.

Cronkite students also organized a gathering on Cronkite’s birthday — Nov. 4 — which featured more than 150 students and a video greeting from Cronkite’s grandson Walter L. Cronkite IV, who works as a Capitol Hill producer at CBS News.

“We believe there is no more appropriate and deserving recipient of the 2016 Cronkite Award than Scott Pelley of CBS News,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan during Monday’s luncheon. “Scott is, in many ways, the standard-bearer of the kind of journalism that Walter Cronkite defined for so many of us — deep, fact-based, objective, accurate, honest journalism.”

Pelley encouraged his fellow journalists during his acceptance speech Monday to “examine our own flaws, our own hubris” and emphasized the importance of fair, objective media.

“We often hear the rallying cry, ‘United we stand!’ That’s not the strength of America,” Pelley said. “The miracle of America is, ‘Divided we stand.’ We are the most diverse nation on Earth, and yet we can see past those things that divide us, and all to bring on this bigger idea of a democratic republic, the bigger idea that we are all Americans and we all belong here.

“Journalism is the medium through which we have that conversation; it’s how we understand one another, it’s how we respect one another; it is how we have empathy for one another’s ideas. The alternative is a new cold war, this time a civil war.”

Top photo: Scott Pelley speaks to about 1,000 media leaders, business executives, civic leaders, Cronkite School supporters and students at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix hotel on Monday as he accepts the 2016 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from ASU. Photo by Ashley Lowery/ASU