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Creative force: GIT Awards motivate students to make an impact with messaging, design

June 27, 2022

Visual communicators almost always work in the background as they employ a variety of technologies to generate awareness and interest, evoke emotion and inspire change or action. But while we see the results of their efforts almost everywhere, all the skills and labor that go into the work are rarely apparent.

Tech-savvy students in the Graphic Information Technology (GIT) program at The Polytechnic School, one of the seven Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, hone their creativity in conveying messages in impactful ways through various mediums such as photography, videography, graphic and web design, illustration, animation and user experience, to name a few. Close-up of a GIT Award, featuring an illustration of the ASU water tower and mountain scenery in the background. GIT Awards are designed by students and manufactured by Christina Carrasquilla, senior lecturer in the graphic information technology program, at the Innovation Hub on the ASU Polytechnic campus. In recent years, awards have been laser engraved, screen printed and 3D printed. Photo courtesy Christina Carrasquilla Download Full Image

Each semester, about 1,000 of those students — of whom a quarter study on campus and three quarters online — major in or take courses in the program. GIT majors choose two focus areas. One must be within the GIT program, which includes photo and video, print and digital design, motion graphics, front-end web development and user experience. The second focus area can be in any other ASU degree program. Recent graduates, for example, have chosen a second focus area in engineering, business and fashion.

The GIT program offers various opportunities that enable students to become competitive in the field and ready for industry. Peers, faculty and local design leaders recognize student excellence in design with GIT Awards.

7 years of celebrating GIT creativity

With the intention of celebrating student creativity at a culmination-style event, the GIT Creative Awards were launched in 2015 by Principal Lecturer Laurie Ralston, who is now the program chair. Since then, it has evolved into the GIT Awards, an event that has been growing in scale and quality every semester. It is sponsored by ASU’s student chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design. Known as AIGA Poly, the group is made up of dozens of on-campus and online students studying in various design disciplines.

“This event is a great example of students supporting students and industry supporting students,” says Christina Carrasquilla, a senior lecturer in the GIT program. “AIGA Poly coordinates the entire event, and the local and national AIGA chapters made up of educators and industry members from around the country are highly involved in voting and honoring our talented students.”

The event is livestreamed, allowing on-campus and online students to participate in the festivities.

“Online students are able to join us live, regardless of time zone or location,” says Lecturer ​​Prescott Perez-Fox. “It’s great to be able to open up the event to them as well as on-campus students.”

Amy Hector recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in GIT and will pursue a graduate degree in the GIT 4+1 accelerated master’s degree program at ASU this fall. She was recognized at the spring 2022 GIT Awards and says the ceremony “allowed me to share my work and see the work of my peers. It’s a great way to celebrate the diverse creativity and ingenuity within our community.”

Faculty members encourage GIT majors and all students taking GIT courses to submit exceptional academic, professional or personal projects for the opportunity to win a GIT Award. Each semester, projects that get the highest number of votes from among faculty members, educators and industry members are awarded.

“Everyone is heads down during the last two weeks of the semester. No one really gets to see each other’s finished projects until the ceremony,” Perez-Fox says. “It’s refreshing to know the hard work was all pointing somewhere.”

Using design to reinforce a message

Submissions to the GIT Awards range from print, digital composition and branding projects to motion graphics visual effects, illustrations and composites works, among many others.

Mya Scott, a fourth-year GIT student, won the Outstanding Photo and Video Award and was an industry favorite in the video category at the spring 2022 GIT Awards for her mini-documentary titled “Our Foundation.” The video is a window into Scott’s Navajo culture and its emphasis on family and tradition. She also incorporated footage of a teepee assembly, mirroring the stability of family.

“The weekend the project was assigned to us, a lot of my family members were coming together to celebrate my aunt’s birthday, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share a little about how life is on ‘the rez,’” Scott says. “I am happy I got to share a little about my Navajo culture and the importance of family. I am truly appreciative for the feedback and recognition it has received.”

Screenshot of ASU students working together in a virtual meeting space on a video project.

August Johnson (top), a graphic information technology graduate student; Kayla Gardner (middle), a graphic information technology alum; and Cameron Tompkins (bottom), a fourth-year graphic information technology student, collaborate remotely on a video project to support the i.d.e.a. Museum in Mesa, Arizona. Their final product was presented at the spring 2022 GIT Awards. Screenshot courtesy GIT Creative Agency

Hector, a spring 2022 Fulton Schools Outstanding Graduate, was recognized on multiple occasions for her photography, branding and print design work during her time in the program. At the GIT Awards, she was awarded Outstanding GIT Graduating Senior and was an industry favorite in the branding systems and campaigns category and the photography category, especially for her Zenith Wines & Spirits project.

“My photo series was my senior project, so it did fulfill an academic purpose, but it was inspired by my drive to work on larger-scale photography projects and develop my commercial photography portfolio,” Hector says.

Many other students were recognized at the event for their creative storytelling: Khai Nguyen, a spring 2022 GIT graduate, for a 2D motion graphic video on his immigration from Vietnam; Marissa Turnage, a spring 2022 GIT graduate, for a website design for a group of Kenyan acrobats; Andrea D’Souza, a user experience graduate student, for her mental wellness print booklet; and many more.

For the full list of awardees visit the GIT Awards website.

Community impact

During the fall 2021 semester, a group of graphic information technology students worked with a local nonprofit organization to amplify its web presence. The project was for the GIT Creative Agency — a course led by lecturers Perez-Fox and Kassidy Breaux in which students take on real projects for real clients with the goal of serving the community.

It was one example of the hands-on GIT experiences provided for industry-bound students.

“A team of students is selected through an application process to run a fully operational design agency,” Perez-Fox says. “From client brief and scope to design and delivery, students gain real-world experience designing for cross-media solutions in an academic setting. Together, we aim to model the best practices of the design profession and emulate the work of our counterparts in industry.”

Hector, GIT graduate student John Blair, third-year GIT student Lauryn Armstrong and GIT alum Sarah Huffman were selected for the fall 2021 Creative Agency course and were tasked with re-strategizing branding for the Si Se Puede Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that provides STEM education in underserved communities.

Along with designing a new concept for the foundation’s website, the students developed a cohesive branding strategy for the community partner, including a new logo system, icon system, social media strategy and print design elements.

“It was, by far, the largest scope of project we’ve taken on within the GIT Creative Agency,” Perez-Fox says.

The foundation’s leaders saw value in the design concepts that the team produced and were eager to see the new site built and launched. Hector took on the development of the redesigned site while the other students focused on the brand and print aspects of the project.

“This was the first time I got to take on a large-scale web design project and see it develop from start to finish,” Hector says. “Being able to design with the user in mind, take client feedback into consideration and iterate on my designs in an efficient manner gave me a huge appreciation for the design process. It helped me feel prepared for the possibility of taking on more large-scale projects in the future.”

Sona Patel Srinarayana

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU nurse practitioner alumna brings grad school dream to life

June 24, 2022

Opening her own medical clinic was something that Tanya Carroccio thought about for years. The type of care and services she wanted to provide really started to take shape during her time at Arizona State University.

“While in grad school, I had a dream of opening a wellness center as a nurse practitioner and knew one day I would come back to this vision,” she said. Tanya Carroccio wears a white nurse practitioner coat and stethoscope with her arms raised in the air underneath a sign that says Benehealth in cursive Tanya Carroccio says her time in the DNP program helped prepare her to open her own practice. Download Full Image

Carroccio graduated from ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation in 2018 with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP). After graduating, she immediately took a job as a chief quality officer and corporate compliance officer for a rural county health care system. At the time, the role was familiar and fulfilling, but after a couple of years, things started to shift for Carroccio. In the summer of 2020, she returned to her dream and decided it was time to make it a reality.

“It wasn’t just because of the pandemic and stress in the acute care setting, but also because I recognized that health is the most important thing we have and have control over,” she said.

In January, Carroccio officially opened Benehealth — a functional medicine, wellness and regenerative aesthetics center — with her DNP colleague Lauren Bachman and her clinical residency mentor, Dr. Michael Castro. Carroccio serves as both the CEO of the clinic and medical director of the regenerative aesthetics program at Benehealth.

“We feature a person-centered approach that identifies and balances the root cause of unwanted symptoms or conditions, using science-backed tools to enhance our client's health from the inside-out and from the outside-in,” she said.  

Carroccio credits the DNP program for preparing her to be able to pursue her dream. Below she shares more about her experience at ASU and offers advice on how to make the most of your time in graduate school.

Question: How did your degree program help you in achieving and maintaining the position you have now? 

A: Completing the comprehensive DNP program at Edson College provided me with the clinical tools and degree to be a doctorally prepared nurse practitioner. The courses and faculty were instrumental in laying the foundation for opening an independent practice. Innovation has always been something I have exhibited in my previous roles, so going through a program that exemplifies innovation, systems and evidence-based practice lifted my foundation to another level for success. 

Q: What is a favorite memory from your time in your program? 

A: I absolutely loved working with the principals at ASU Biodesign and Mayo Clinic on my dissertation. I was a research assistant at Mayo while studying the effects of wearable devices in a wellness program at ASU Biodesign Department of Sustainable Health. Not only did I meet and interact with some of the most intelligent people in these programs, but I was also able to create a meaningful, applicable and replicable project. We have included the project as part of our core programs at Benehealth through health coaching, telehealth monitoring and wearable devices.

Q: What advice would you give to students who are currently enrolled in the program? 

A: You made it this far, embrace the experience. Tap into your professors and faculty often, they are a wealth of knowledge and are there to support you through your doctorate program. Manage your time wisely. Make innovative opportunities, they don't seek you out. For instance, I asked my DNP colleagues if they wanted to do a two-week Spanish immersion in Guatemala and do medical volunteer work while we were there. Once I knew we had interest, I asked if we could get credit for the hours and it was approved. So not only did several of us have an amazing experience, we were able to apply that experience to our degree program.

Q: What were some unique challenges, if any, you had to overcome while pursuing this degree?

A: I am the primary breadwinner, so I could not stop working. When I started the program, I was flying out every week to my work, which I loved, but knew I could not continue once clinical residency started. I also had aging parents that required more of my time who lived out of state. It seemed at times impossible to juggle all of the responsibilities, but I just kept telling myself to push on. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a doctorate degree, and being the only member of my family to have a university education, I knew I needed to press on. It paid off.

To learn more about Edson College alumni activities, events and programming visit the alumni section of the college's website.

Amanda Goodman

Senior communications specialist, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation


Honoring the LGBTQ+ community in science

ASU Assistant Professor Katelyn Cooper bridges the gap for LGTBQ+ individuals in STEM

June 24, 2022

June is LGTBQ+ Pride Month — a time to celebrate the contributions that the LGTBQ+ community have made to society and throughout history.

At Arizona State University, one faculty member is supporting LGTBQ+ students in STEM and sharing what she does to provide support to these students to ensure success in the field of science. ASU Assistant Professor Katelyn Cooper sits at the head of a conference table while talking with some of her lab members. Katelyn Cooper and members of her lab. Photo courtesy Katelyn Cooper Download Full Image

Katelyn Cooper is an assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences, an expert in undergraduate biology education, and was recently named one of NBC’s Pride 30: The New Generation. She also developed a course-based research experience for ASU Online students to create publishable research, and is passionate about inclusivity and studies the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in academia.

Here, Cooper talks about her own experience within the LGBTQ+ community, and how she makes her students feel welcomed and valued.

Question: What does Pride Month mean to you?

Answer: Pride Month is a reminder of the importance of advocating for our rights and our privileges as LGBTQ+ individuals. It’s also a time to feel exceptionally proud of this identity and the progress that we, and especially the people who came before us, have made. I also think it’s a time to reflect on how far we’ve come, and the progress we stand to make in the years to come.  

Q: Can you tell us how and why you strive for more inclusive learning environments for students? 

A: It’s important to consider that our students enter our classrooms with different backgrounds that are going to influence their experiences in science courses. Therefore, we want to be intentional to maximize the experiences of all students in our courses and not just those in majority groups. Striving for more inclusive learning environments means first taking into account that our classes include women, gender nonbinary individuals, students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students and students struggling with mental health. Additionally, some students are financially unstable, some commute over an hour to get to ASU, and some are the first in their families to attend college. Each of these identities and characteristics may affect how that student experiences a science class.

I start trying to create inclusive science learning environments by surveying my students to see who is in my classes and what challenges they may expect to encounter. Then I’m able to draw from my own research, and the research of others who study how to create inclusive science learning environments, to make decisions to try to maximize inclusion. For example, we know women report higher value in group discussions when they have a friend in their group and we know that LGBTQ+ students feel safer when they can choose their groups. Therefore, if I want to maximize the comfort and performance of women and LGBTQ+ students, I may intentionally let students choose with whom they want to work throughout the semester.

Q: Tell us about the courses you teach and the importance of representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in your line of research. 

A: I teach course-based undergraduate research experiences, or CUREs, where students engage in a real biology education research project with the intent to publish their data. We know that LGBTQ+ students leave the sciences at higher rates than their straight and cis peers, but we also know that more diverse scientific collaborations lead to better and more objective science. Therefore, it is important to increase the percentage of LGBTQ+ individuals who are doing science. Each CURE that I’ve taught has led to at least one peer-reviewed scientific publication co-authored by students. Of the 63 CURE students, the LGBTQ+ community is well-represented, and because of that diversity, we are able to be more confident that the different inherent biases we unintentionally bring to our research are counteracted.

Q: How did you first feel being in a science class or lab?

A: In college, I fell in love with science during my first chemistry class. Each additional chem class, I became more excited about science. But, as an LGBTQ+ person, I didn’t have any role models to look to. I didn’t know very many LGBTQ+ people at all, let alone LGBTQ+ scientists. So, despite feeling like I found what I wanted to study, I was always looking for an example that LGBTQ+ people could be successful in academic science. It can feel very lonely when you don’t see yourself reflected by a field that you want to join.

Q: How can different people from different backgrounds bring better study to the science field?

A: People from different backgrounds will bring different perspectives to the table, which allows teams of scientists to think about problems more holistically and also helps counteract biases present in our thinking.

Q: Who mentored or inspired you to come out and explore this group of students?

A: My former doctoral adviser and now colleague, Sara Brownell, was the first openly LGBTQ+ mentor that I knew in the science field. I was very lucky that the person who was studying exactly what I wanted to study in graduate school also happened to be a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. Sara helped me realize the importance of not checking your identities at the door as a scientist. 

Sara and I began to systematically study the experiences of LGBTQ+ people in academic biology. Throughout this process, I became increasingly more comfortable with my own identity, especially as I learned how similar my experiences had been to other students’ experiences.  

Throughout the years, we have grown this line of research, and now it is one of the primary areas of focus of ASU’s Research for Inclusive STEM Education Center; most recently, we received an NSF grant to study the impact of LGBTQ+ instructors coming out to their students in less than three seconds in class. We are finding that it can have a very positive impact, and disproportionately so for women and LGBTQ+ students.

Q: Do you have any advice for LGTBQ+ women wanting to enter the field of science?

A: For women: Research shows that scientists are more likely to hire men, pay them more and mentor them more, which brings to the forefront how important it is for women to find mentors who will support them, advocate for them and promote their accomplishments. If you’re a woman wanting to enter the sciences, I often recommend finding a mentor as early as possible. For example, this can be someone in your local community who has a career in science, a teaching assistant, an instructor or a professor. As you encounter new and challenging experiences, it is helpful to know that others have navigated similar challenges and been successful. Mentors can provide advice for how to navigate uncertain situations, help with identifying what opportunities to pursue and which ones to say no to, support you when you’re struggling, and celebrate you when things are going well.

For LGBTQ+ students: I think the scientific field as a whole is actually making some great strides toward being inclusive of LGBTQ+ people. So my biggest piece of advice would be to start connecting with people who will help you navigate the field. There are now fantastic resources like 500 Queer Scientists, a website featuring over 1,500 LGBTQ+ people in the scientific community. Our science organizations and societies have also become increasingly thoughtful about making their respective communities more inclusive. For example, the American Society of Cell Biology formed the ASCB LGBTQ+ Committee to assess, promote and ensure the inclusion of LGBTQ+ members, with an explicit goal to provide career advice for LGBTQ+ people. There are many other scientific societies that have formed similar committees. So I suggest leveraging the resources that have been created to find a network that is doing really amazing science and who you feel accepted by.

Story by Stephanie Rodriguez, senior media relations coordinator, EdPlus at Arizona State University.

Triple major ASU alumna uses interdisciplinary skills to research causality

June 23, 2022

Rachael Kha grew up in a STEM-oriented environment. Both of her parents earned their degrees from Arizona State University, one with a degree in electrical engineering and the other in chemical engineering. They encouraged her to go to college.

She decided to enroll as a chemical engineering major at ASU, as well as an honors student in Barrett, The Honors College. She looked at it as a practical decision. Portrait of ASU alum Rachael Kha Rachael Kha graduated with her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, economics and philosophy in 2021. Download Full Image

“I don’t think I was ever really sure about chemical engineering,” Kha said. “I liked chemistry in high school, and both my parents were engineers, so it just kind of made sense.”

Before taking The Human Event, a yearlong honors course that focuses on key social and intellectual currents in the multicultural history of human thought from the earliest written texts to the present, Kha had never considered studying philosophy. But after she finished those courses, she enrolled in a few philosophy classes and decided to add the topic as a second major.

“Looking back, I was definitely interested in philosophy before college,” Kha said. “In high school, I wrote my common application essay about philosophy and religion, and I liked reading philosophical literature. But I just never really thought about formally studying philosophy until later on.”

Kha continued on her double major track for three years, and during her junior year decided to start working on her honors thesis. She chose to write her thesis on a philosophical topic, quantifying philosopher David Lewis’ idea of causation and causal influence.

Lecturer of philosophy Jeffrey Watson was her thesis director. His mentorship helped guide her through the process.

“Rachael is brilliant and she took her ability to think abstractly and analytically about traditional questions in metaphysics about the nature of causation and then applied this to practical, present-day social problems in a way that can make a difference to how we understand and try to solve these problems together,” Watson said.

Kha already had a substantial background in math from her engineering degree, but she struggled with translating the ideas within Lewis’s conception of causality into quantitative measures and looked to economics for inspiration.

“(Economics) studies complex dynamics among individuals and social systems in a quantitative way, and it actually helped a lot more than I expected,” she said. “I ended up really enjoying my economics classes, so I decided to spend my fourth year finishing the degree.

Since Kha finished all her requirements for the chemical engineering degree, during her final year as an undergraduate, she was able to focus on only taking philosophy and economics classes. 

“Finishing three degrees was definitely difficult at times,” Kha said. “I actually never took more than 22 credits per semester; most semesters were at 18 or 21 credits. But I also took a lot of summer courses while either interning or doing research in a lab, which helped me not overwhelm myself during the fall and spring semesters.”

At some points during her last year, she thought about taking a minor in economics or philosophy instead of a bachelor’s degree, especially since she could have left at any time with a degree in chemical engineering. But Kha felt that earning a degree in chemical engineering was a necessity, while studying philosophy and economics was a choice. 

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with just an engineering degree, because I still wasn’t really sure if I wanted to be an engineer at all,” Kha said. “So when I’d feel overwhelmed, I’d just remind myself that I chose to be here and that I’m doing it for myself.

“In choosing to study concurrent degrees, I enjoyed the opportunity to explore and make the most of the many resources of higher education, beyond the value of a degree itself, which I didn’t really consider when I first started college.”

Despite feeling overwhelmed at times, Kha graduated in 2021 with her three bachelor’s degrees and moved into a master’s program for chemical engineering at ASU the following semester. 

She decided on completing a thesis for her master’s rather than an applied project, which has given her more time to conduct research and explore opportunities.

“In June, I presented a paper at the 2022 American Control Conference, which was my first out-of-state conference and my first, first-authored paper,” Kha said. “I’ve also gotten to work with a lot of amazing people from different fields and universities, which helped me decide that I want to continue in research after my master’s degree.”

Although her master’s program is in chemical engineering, Kha found herself pulling skills from her other two degrees to help her through the degree. 

“From philosophy, thinking about paradigms has come up quite a few times,” Kha said. “I’m studying behavioral medicine with respect to physical activity and walking. But one part of what makes this research interesting is that we take a ‘small-data’ perspective to study how we can develop models of individuals’ walking behavior to then design interventions that are tailored specifically to them. 

“So a part of our research involves engaging in the discussion of small-data versus big-data paradigms, which is related to how we understand and validate claims of causality broadly, as well as how our assumptions about what causality is, is reflected in our methods to derive knowledge about causal phenomena from data.”

Kha will be wrapping up her master’s degree this summer and will be starting her PhD in social and engineering systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall.

Rachel Bunning

Communications program coordinator, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Honors College seeks applicants for Barrett Mentoring Program

Program helps students become engaged on campus, improve their social-emotional support through meaningful relationships with peers

June 22, 2022

Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University takes pride in the close-knit feeling fostered by its unique residential community, but also recognizes that sometimes a little more help is needed to feel at home in new and unfamiliar surroundings.

“Relationships shape the experience and outcomes of a student’s journey through higher education,” said Ashley Brand, Barrett Honors College director of student services. “Some students will find these relationships among faculty and advisers; however, many more will struggle to forge the long-lasting relationships that drive student success and open doors. Life-changing relationships should be a feature of every student’s college experience.” Exterior of Barrett Honors College dorms and courtyard on ASU's Tempe campus. Through the Barrett Mentoring Program, honors upperclassmen mentor first-year students in Barrett, The Honors College. Download Full Image

One of the many student resources offered at Barrett on the Tempe campus, the Barrett Mentoring Program helps students become engaged on campus and improve their social-emotional support through meaningful relationships with their peers, said Brand, who is not only an adviser for the program but a proud Barrett alumna herself.

The mentoring program, in which upperclassmen serve as mentors for first-year students, gives students the opportunity to serve the honors community, gain leadership experience and help their fellow students.

Applications for Barrett mentors are now being accepted. Information about the program and the application can be found on the program website. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 1.

Once selected, mentors will enroll in a one-credit HON 294 course and be assigned to a small group of incoming first-year Barrett students in fall 2022. First-year students do not have to apply for the program.

Brand said Barrett first-year students will get a lot of benefits from the mentorship program, which will help ease their transition from high school to university.

“This program benefits new students as they have an immediate network of support when they enter Barrett and ASU,” she said.

The main goals for mentors in the mentoring program include assisting first-year students in their transition to college, providing them meaningful connection and support, and helping them network with fellow students and staff at Barrett.

Mentees can get advice from their mentors for anything, ranging from questions about the honors college’s signature first-year course The Human Event to recommendations about what food to get at the dining hall.

The program also helps connect first-year students with each other so they can form friend groups with whom they can study, socialize, attend events and travel, easing the sense of isolation new students sometimes feel, Brand said.

Barrett mentees are not the only ones benefiting from this program, as mentors gain benefits as well, including building leadership skills.

“Mentors are learning about leadership, communication, mentorship, motivation and more, as well as building their own connections and relationships with other mentors and expanding their own community,” Brand said.

“It is extremely rewarding, as students mentor other students and help build this amazing honors community,” she added. “I love seeing the connections blossom and students learning more about their own leadership style.”

Students interested in applying may direct questions about the program to Brand at ashleybrand@asu.edu or Ellyse Crow, Barrett assistant director of student engagement, at Ellyse.Crow@asu.edu.

Story by Barrett Honors College student Alex Marie Solomon.

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Title IX at 50: Sun Devils level up for access, equity in academics, athletics

June 21, 2022

ASU advocates champion landmark legislation for women, civil rights

Fifty years ago on June 23, 1972, then-President Richard Nixon signed into law 37 words that would crystallize gender equity in education as a civil right.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 has removed many barriers that once prevented people, on the basis of sex, from participating in educational programs that rely on federal assistance. It impacts college admissions, financial aid, research and, perhaps most notably, women’s sports.

“Culturally, Title IX’s greatest influence on college campuses since 1972 has been its creation in women of an expectation of equality,” said Victoria Jackson, a sports historian and clinical assistant professor in Arizona State University's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. “We see this best embodied by women athletes, who find their power through sport, and so often use that power and voice to create transformational societal change.”

Jackson, a former college athlete herself, is among a number of scholars, students and administrators who have been working tirelessly over the past several years to educate the ASU community about the importance and benefits of Title IX.

In 2017, Jackson and Deana Garner Smith, a senior associate athletic director for Sun Devil Athletics, collaborated with others to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Title IX with a yearlong project, and have kept the momentum going with programming, presentations and partnerships designed to elevate awareness about the rights to equity in academics and athletics.

“The impact of learning about Title IX for staff, coaches and student-athletes has been profound,” Garner Smith said. “In my short tenure, we have had several student-athletes use some aspect of Title IX as the foundation for their educational coursework — from Barrett Honors theses, to classroom assignments, to creating peer-peer educational training programs. All of these benefits of Title IX make it one of the most important laws for women and girls since women obtained the right to vote under the Nineteenth Amendment.”

In their advocacy of Title IX, Garner Smith and Jackson also carry forward the work of ASU women’s athletics pioneers who were doing the work of Title IX long before its passage. Garner Smith and Jackson recently took a time-out from their Title IX projects-in-progress to reflect on the work of their Sun Devil predecessors, Title IX wins, and the importance and impact of the landmark legislation.

Editor's note: Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Question: Tell us about the research and projects you have been working on around Title IX here at ASU in recent years, and why these activities have been so important to you?

Victoria Jackson: Our efforts fall within a broader culture at ASU to build academic and athletic bridges, create community network, and grow relationships and partnerships with women’s sports organizations. From events honoring the Murphy’s Girls (the women who played elite, competitive sports under Nina Murphy’s leadership in the decades before the passage of Title IX) to educational and leadership programming for women athletes, a major motivation of our work is to create a culture in Sun Devil Athletics in which women athletes are provided with information to help them understand the generations of work behind building and sustaining women’s sporting opportunities.

A very fun example of the work we have done together was during a 2019 ASU women’s soccer team trip to Mexico, we helped organize, in collaboration with the Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, a public event on how sport helps girls and women find their power alongside a girls’ soccer clinic. But the project that has been most fulfilling has been our efforts with our respective teams in (the) history (department) and Sun Devil Athletics to capture and share the stories of ASU’s women’s sports history. It is a rich history!

With the help of Jordan Igo, an undergraduate research assistant who uncovered countless gems in the archives, we launched #TitleIXTuesday on social media for the 45th anniversary of Title IX in 2017. And now, this year for the 50th anniversary, students Camryn Williams in Sun Devil Athletics and Adam Gottner and Jacqueline Rowe in history have continued the work Jordan had started. You can follow along on all Sun Devil Athletics social media channels and look for the hashtag #TitleIX50.

Deana Garner Smith: Each project we have collaborated on has enriched the lives of our Sun Devil Athletics staff, community and our student-athletes. The impact of the Murphy’s Girls and other living legends who have been ardent advocates for women’s participation in not only sports but obtaining an education has been very significant. Providing an annual platform for our coaches, staff and student-athletes to interface with these trailblazers continues to inspire them to strive for academic and athletic excellence.

Q: What have been the important eras or time periods in the history of Title IX, both at ASU and nationwide?

Jackson: ASU was a national leader in women’s team sports before the passage of Title IX. Women’s physical education instructors Nina Murphy, Anne Pittman, Mary Littlewood and Mona Plummer hustled to create competitive, elite sporting opportunities for college women who craved elite competition. This meant working 12- or 15-hour days for little additional pay; coaching or refereeing after a full day’s work of teaching and advising; holding bake sales; sewing uniforms; pooling resources to pay for one hotel room for the whole team; and piling everyone into a student’s station wagon to drive to California for a competition. Once the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women commenced women’s championships — a decade before the NCAA did, by the way — ASU softball and volleyball teams, both led by Coach Mary Littlewood, won back-to-back national championships in 1972 and 1973, and 1973 and 1974, respectively. In addition to that period of ASU success in the 1970s, Sun Devil women have been enjoying much success in many sports from the 1990s onward.

When I arrived at ASU as a graduate student athlete in the mid-2000s, I had the good fortune to arrive in a moment when our women’s teams had started winning individual and team national titles left and right. Golf, softball, and track and field have enjoyed the most national championship success. Golf has won eight NCAA titles since 1990. Continuing the tradition of success started by the 1970s squads, softball made seven consecutive appearances in the Women’s College World Series from 2006 to 2013, winning twice in 2008 and 2011.

Track and field earned three NCAA team titles in 2007 and 2008 — two indoors and one outdoors — thanks in large part to the dominance and overall vibe of who I call ASU’s greatest athlete of all time, Jackie Johnson. I tease that Jackie was so excellent that even the men won a team national title (in 2007) thanks to her presence and influence, too. Deana and I have been on a mission to convey the message to our Sun Devil Community that Jackie is ASU’s GOATGreatest Of All Time. We think that all Sun Devil fans should know her name and sporting accolades.

Q: What has changed about the lives of college students since the passage of Title IX in 1972, and how would you say Title IX affected or impacted the lives of women on ASU’s campus?

Jackson: Title IX is not a sports law, though we certainly can see most dramatically the massive impact of Title IX in women’s college sports. But Title IX also revolutionized higher education for women. Title IX is the reason we see majority-women undergraduate student bodies. Title IX is the reason graduate schools, professional schools and STEM fields no longer can hold strict quotas severely restricting access for women. Title IX is why we see more women faculty. One document Jordan and I found in the archives that captures the transformation of higher education that Title IX stimulated was a spatial survey of the Tempe campus noting the location of all the women’s restrooms and identifying the many locations where more women’s restrooms would need to be constructed.

Garner Smith: Additionally, the other benefits Title IX affords beyond gender equality is it covers all aspects of the educational and or employment experience and requires that these opportunities occur and are free from sex discrimination. Title IX requires schools who receive federal funds to prevent and remedy sexual harassment and sexual assault. ASU’s own Sexual Violence Policy “is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination, harassment or retaliation for the entire university community, including all students, faculty members, staff employees and guests.”

Q: What are the hopeful outcomes of the work you have been doing around Title IX here at ASU?

Jackson: A major motivation of our work is to create a culture in Sun Devil Athletics in which women athletes are provided with information to help them understand the generations of work behind building and sustaining women’s sporting opportunities. We hope athletes come away with the understanding that this work is a project, an ongoing one requiring ever-present work, and one in which athletes can opt in to contribute to that work, to make sure future generations of girls and women get to continue to enjoy the right to play sports and to enjoy equitable sporting experiences. I am so proud to be at a university that operates with a culture and purpose that sees the civil rights functions of higher education and college sports in our mission and daily work.

Garner Smith: Since joining Sun Devil Athletics staff, I have been honored to work with my collaborators to coordinate annual sexual violence prevention educational trainings. My hope is to create a student-athlete, peer-led educational program so they can learn from each other about not only gender equity but sexual harassment and discrimination prevention. We have started this already and are hopeful that more like minded student-athletes will come forward to lead. This would be a pivotal moment that can hopefully shift the mindset around sexual harassment and discrimination in the collegiate sports arena.

Sr. Media Relations Officer , Media Relations & Strategic Communications


ASU alum testifies before US Senate Judiciary Committee on DACA, her American dream

June 20, 2022

Last week, Arizona State University alumna Dalia Larios testified before the United States Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety about her personal experience as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipent.

Sen. Alex Padilla of California called the hearing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and more than 20 years that have passed since the first introduction of the DREAM Act. Screenshot of former ASU student Dalia Larios during her testimony before the United States Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety. Former Arizona State University student Dalia Larios testified before the United States Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety on June 14. Download Full Image

The testimonials were designed to reinforce the need for a permanent solution for young, undocumented immigrants and increase international STEM-focused talent needed to drive innovation and demand in the United States.

“We urgently need to expand DACA and codify permanent protections for dreamers into federal law," Padilla said. "In order to maintain a healthy and competitive workforce, we must vote, foster the talents of young Americans and do more to attract and retain the best and brightest minds from around the world, and that begins with us addressing immigration policy.”

The hearing, which featured testimony from Larios and two other experts, took place June 14 at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Larios testified virtually about her personal story as an undocumented immigrant and the impact of DACA on her life. She first came to the United States at the age of 10 and embarked on her resilient journey to pursue a career in medicine. She also reflected on the daily reality of countless immigrants who experience fear and family separation.

“The thought of deportation is exceptionally painful to bear. Most days, I don’t allow myself to think about it; it would mean losing everything and everyone I know,” Larios said in her testimony. She received a degree in biological sciences from ASU in 2012.

Larios, who is currently a resident doctor treating cancer patients at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Harvard Radiation Oncology Program, commented on how she grew up seeing her mother, a housekeeper, and father, a construction worker, struggle — and, ultimately, how they motivated her to strive for success.

While Larios graduated summa cum laude from ASU, she too felt the need to work just as hard due to the high costs of her desired medical career and her legal status as an undocumented worker.

Then, when DACA was created in 2012, Larios was able to take a gap year to work and earn money to pay for the medical school application process. By 2019, she became the first DACA recipient to graduate Harvard Medical School with honors.

“Although I'm proud that the program continues to stand today,” she said, “I'm disappointed that even after a decade, our future is still uncertain, and our anxieties around deportation have not been abated.”

When asked by committee member Sen. John Cornyn of Texas whether providing stability for DACA recipients or providing employment-based green cards for people with advanced degrees should be a priority, Larios emphasized how important it is for all immigrants to have the same opportunities.

“I personally don't consider myself more deserving than anyone else,” she said. “I think that Congress should approach this in a comprehensive manner, thinking about the fact that lives are at stake here. This is a topic that extends beyond just a piece of paper, that it's somebody's livelihood that we're talking about.”

Larios pointed to a June 2020 report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to make the case for the essential role that immigrants have played during the global pandemic in the health care field — a time that also projects a shortage of 124,000 physicians within the next 12 years. As a physician, she added, she worries about the impact that shortage will have on patients she and her colleagues care for.

“There’s nearly 30,000 DACA recipients in health care and about 200 medical students and residents who again have (been impacted by) DACA,” Larios said. “If you look at those nearly 200 medical students and residents, they will touch the lives of 1.7 to 5.1 million patients.”

Larios was asked by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota for her opinion on a viable, long-term pathway to awarding permanent status to DACA students.

“Something to emphasize about a lot of these issues is, at least for DACA (recipients) … we live two years at a time. We apply, we cross our fingers, hold our breath and hope that there's an acceptance on the other side, but living like this is not a life,” Larios said.

Watch the full testimony on the Senate Judiciary Committee website and read her written statement here.

ASU School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences staff earn top honors

Graduate program coordinators Joelle Park, Jennie Burel recognized for outstanding service

June 17, 2022

Joelle Park and Jennie Burel, both graduate program coordinators in ASU's School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, were recently recognized with notable awards.

Park was honored with the Michelle Howe Staff Award for Outstanding Service, the top award for staff within the school. Burel was named Outstanding New Staff Member by the Graduate College. Two women seated side by side, holding up awards. Graduate program coordinators Joelle Park (left) and Jennie Burel were recently recognized with notable awards. Park was honored with the Michelle Howe Staff Award for Outstanding Service and Burel was named Outstanding New Staff Member by the Graduate College. Download Full Image

“Jennie and Joelle go above and beyond to make sure that our students are supported throughout their journey in graduate school. Their dedication and hard work contribute in a crucial way to their academic success and overall experience at ASU,” said Donatella Danielli, director of the school and professor of mathematics.

The Michelle Howe Staff Award for Outstanding Service is based on nominations by faculty and staff in the school. Sharon Crook, associate director for graduate programs and professor of mathematics, nominated Park because of her outstanding service to graduate students.

“Joelle is knowledgeable about the program and always able to answer any question efficiently. She also provides a warm and welcoming environment for our students — this is so important. She makes the graduate office a better place every day. She always has a smile on her face and is quick to give every effort to helping our students,” Crook said.

Select faculty nominations included these positive comments about Park:

“I am so impressed with the grad program office these days. Joelle has made a real difference; she is warm to the students, but manages to make sure everything gets done. Also, as a faculty member, it does not matter what I ask her, she always finds the answer. I can't imagine anyone more worthy. She has been a major bonus for the grad program, which is so important for (its) vitality."

“Joelle was incredibly efficient in bridging the transition in the graduate office happening in summer 2021. We had a change in graduate directors simultaneously with a change in the office staff. This was happening at the same time as we were all dealing with the continued COVID disruptions. As a result, while usually the summer months June and July are time to take a breather in the graduate office, they were very busy. Joelle was putting in many extra hours, on weekends and evenings, to deal with all the resulting issues. It is largely to her credit that the graduate program and the graduate office came through the summer of 2021 with flying colors and that TA teaching in fall 2021 started without any significant problems.”

Park grew up in the village of Poland, Ohio, an idyllic town of 2,336 residents. She attended Bethany College, a small liberal arts college in West Virginia, which provided each student a memorable, personalized experience.

“It was meaningful to be in such a trusting and supportive environment. It was with that trust that you were able to focus on developing yourself and your academic success,” Park said. “It has always been my goal to model my student advising after that experience and provide each student an interaction that leaves them knowing they are respected, valued and supported.”

Park joined ASU in October 2017. During her job interview, it was emphasized that the school was student-focused and she would be challenged to prioritize students’ changing needs in her role. In her second year at ASU, a graduate student she was advising called her “Coach Park” because the guidance Park provided helped the student keep a positive outlook and stay on track.

“At that moment, I knew that I had achieved in delivering that experience. From what I have learned about Michelle Howe, this was her standard of excellence as well. It means a lot to me that I am able to live her legacy by delivering that level of service to students,” Park said.

Joe Davis, assistant director for Academic Services in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, supervises both honorees and believes their recognition is well-deserved.

“Joelle and Jennie both work with a student first mindset," he said. "Their primary mission is to support the students of SoMSS is achieving their academic goals. They do this through utilizing empathy, creativity and dedication.

“It is not uncommon to see them both putting in extra effort, and sometimes extra hours, to ensure that the students get the support that they need. In times of crisis, they have both been available to help students resolve issues with a personal touch. The grad students have often commented that they have gone the extra mile in the support that they offer."

The Graduate College Staff Awards for Excellence were established to recognize the prodigious role Arizona State University staff members play in the success of graduate students at the university, and to shine a spotlight on the tireless work of ASU staff members who play a critical role in the college's mission.

“Jennie Burel is highly deserving of the Graduate College Award for Outstanding New Staff Member. She is very organized and is quick to respond to every request for data. We call her the ‘spreadsheet queen.’ She also brings so much energy and knowledge about how things work at ASU to our graduate office. She is a joy to work with every day, with a great sense of humor and always a warm but professional attitude,” Crook said.

“Jennie’s attention to detail and her connections across the university give her a unique insight into student processes and experiences. She has saved the day on numerous occasions with her knowledge and understanding,” Davis said.

He applauds how Park and Burel have worked hard to make the graduate office into a community for the students in the school.

“Through hosting smaller events, the graduate coordinators strove to bring together graduate students. This community supports the retention efforts of the university by forming connections between faculty, staff and students,” Davis said. “From a graduate student’s beginnings with the graduate recruitment weekend, to being on the field during graduation to greet and mingle with the graduating students, they are involved with supporting our students.”

Burel was born in New Jersey but grew up in Florida. She moved to Arizona in 2018 when her husband took a faculty position with the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at the Polytechnic campus. She joined ASU in 2019 in the Office of the Registrar, and moved to the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences in July 2021.

While working in records and enrollment, she became interested in working closely with students and driving their success on a more personal level.

“I love working with graduate students because of their passion for what they do. As a former graduate student myself, I understand many of their struggles and issues. I believe that (the school) especially has a very high quality of positive and highly motivated students, and I do my very best to provide them with everything they need to be successful,” Burel said.

Crook feels lucky to work with Park and Burel as the school's graduate coordinators.

“I know I can count on them and that the students will receive the help that they need. It's so important that our students feel comfortable in the graduate office and that they are welcome to ask any question. I know they feel that Joelle and Jennie will give them the time and help that they need,” Crook said.

We asked both award recipients to answer a few questions about their experiences working at ASU.

Joelle Park

Question: What do you like most about working in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences?

Answer: (The school) has such a friendly, open and accepting culture. Everyone is approachable and willing to contribute in some fashion. Communication is encouraged and driven to be constructive. Also, mathematicians are so wonderfully logical and such skilled problem solvers! This community-driven culture is one of the most attractive things about our school and something that visiting PhD students always comment on during the recruitment process. It is a true asset and it makes coming to work  — or class — here a pleasant experience. I love that I get to start and end my day with a smile on my face and contentment in my heart.

Q: What do you like most about working at a large public research university like ASU?

A: As a child, one of my favorite places to spend the day was at the local library. I often spent my whole summer there, eagerly turning musty yellowed pages and learning about the world from inside those cool, quiet, walls.

Later, this thirst for knowledge was translated in my career as a need to be in an environment where there are constant opportunities for learning. I discovered that by working at a research university, there are daily opportunities to learn from colleagues, students and faculty. I am constantly learning new software or academic policy updates and the theory behind those changes. I’m a self-proclaimed ASU News addict and attend lectures and events online and on campus. I also enjoy reading about faculty and student research, and am always eager to discover what ASU is working on universitywide. Being a part of a place where discoveries are made is evocative of my desire to support knowledge and learning. I also love the multicultural aspect of our campus. The students and faculty at ASU have kindly shown me the world through their own travels and personal experiences.

Q: What do you like most about working with graduate students?

A: (The) students are exceptional. I feel priviledged to work with them. They are so intelligent and driven, yet so kind, humble and personable. They have so much responsibility, yet are always willing to give their time and energy to help build the school and the programs.

Q: What are some of the challenges graduate students currently face?

A: Currently we are seeing an affordable student housing crisis. We are very concerned about our current and incoming graduate students, especially our international students, being able to secure affordable housing. We have brought this concern forward to the Graduate College and The College Dean’s Office. In the interim, we have launched a private online forum that our students can join to seek out opportunities for shared housing with their classmates. It has received a lot of responses!

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus, and why?

A: This is a tough one. I have so many places I enjoy visiting on campus and I’m always finding new ones. I commute to campus on my bike every day, so I enjoy making the most of my ride and stopping when I find something that intrigues me. I love the ASU Art Museum. Their Warhol exhibit nursed my occasional homesickness for Pittsburgh — I used to host weekly events at the Andy Warhol Museum when I lived there and wrote for a local newspaper. I also like visiting James Turrell’s “Skyspace: Air Apparent” exhibit over by Rural Road. My favorite type of ride is when I stay a little late, then pedal home through the lengthening shadows at sunset while the Old Main carillons play. It’s incredibly charming and makes me thankful for the academic atmosphere I am immersed in at ASU Tempe campus.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time for fun?

A: I’m a Phoenix foodie. I love checking out the latest restaurant openings and additions to the cocktail culture scene. If you ever need a tip on where to go, I’ll give you a listical that will knock your socks off. I also enjoy watching indie films; the weirder the better. And I am the proud mother of two very spoiled Shiba Inus.

Q: What do you think is most misunderstood about math by the general public?

A: People assume it’s boring and that mathematicians are boring people. This is quite the contrary! Some of the most fascinating people and personalities are within Wexler, Goldwater and ECAEngineering Center A. Also, mathematicians have a very quick wit. The famed image of Einstein sticking his tongue out should have clued me in that there are a lot of closet comedians in math.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I’m pretty passionate about resolving the student loan debt issue in the U.S. I see how it affects our students, faculty and staff. Why are we burdening those who have dedicated themselves to their education, and often the education of others, with soul-crushing and life-hindering debt from unconscionable interest rates?

Jennie Burel

Question: What do you like most about working in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences?

Answer: I love how everyone who works here, from the staff to the faculty, is student-focused. We are all truly here to support them and drive their success. I also love the sense of community in (the school). Everyone is truly kind and easy to work with!

Q: What do you like most about working at a large public research university like ASU?

A: I love the innovation that is such a big part of ASU. Seeing ASU’s recognition on a global scale makes me proud to be a ASU employee.

Q: What are some of the challenges graduate students currently face?

A: Graduate students face many unique challenges, especially with a lot of the changes going on worldwide in recent years. Many students are not only supporting themselves, but are often supporting families and dealing with stressful issues. The (school's) graduate office not only tries to make sure that they do not have any problems while navigating their graduate programs, but also seeks to provide what emotional and practical support that we can. We do our best to make sure students know they can come to us with any issue they are having, big or small!

Q: What is something you learned while at ASU that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: I love the part of the ASU creed that mentions we are measured not by whom we exclude, but whom we include and how they succeed. I try to bring this belief to my work with my students.

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus, and why?

A: Not sure if I have a favorite spot, but I love walking by the orange trees when they are blooming. It smells amazing!

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time for fun?

A: I am currently working on running more than four miles at a time. I love to spend time with my family and my two Siberian huskies while exploring my beautiful new home state of Arizona!

Rhonda Olson

Manager of Marketing and Communication, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences


Transfer student shares encouraging words for nontraditional students

Shari Burnett's journey from Eastern Arizona College to ASU at The Gila Valley

June 15, 2022

Returning to school at the age of 46, nontraditional transfer student Shari Burnett encourages anyone who is interested in continuing their academic journey to find the courage and “go for it.”

First returning to school to complete her associate of arts degree in 2020 at Eastern Arizona College, Burnett continued pursuing her bachelor's degree at Eastern Arizona College through Arizona State University’s ASU at The Gila Valley’s off-site location. Portrait of Eastern Arizona College transfer student Shari Burnett. Download Full Image

Studying organizational leadership in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Burnett relays her initial feelings of trepidation and fear, which turned into an absolutely positive and enjoyable experience.

“Let me tell you, I was scared to death to go back to school! In fact, I was terrified that I couldn't learn anymore and that I would fail. But it has turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life,” she said.

Here, Burnett shares some tips and advice that made her transition to ASU easier, and offers advice as a recent graduate with her bachelor’s degree.

Question: What are some insights you have for transfer students transitioning into ASU?

Answer: One thing that really helped, because I'm on a satellite campus, was getting very familiar with the online resources that ASU offers. They have wonderful access to an incredible library that works for any classes that you are taking. Getting comfortable with using that library, searching it and getting it all set up to use really has helped my experience.

Also, following the path that is outlined for my degree was very helpful, especially in college. Starting early to find out what courses were needed, and having that mapped out pretty precisely for my degree, meant that I spent time doing courses that mattered and would transfer, and I didn't waste money on things that didn't apply to my degree.

I would also encourage you to get familiar with your academic adviser, emailing and using the advising services, and the job-seeking services online are wonderful. I've created my job-seeking account and am enjoying getting interesting updates on internships and positions that are available as I look forward to starting my career.

Q: Any advice for someone who might be thinking about returning to college to complete a degree?

A: I would encourage anybody that is thinking about going back to school or is nervous about transferring to a university from a small college to go for it. You do not know what you can do until you try, and the teachers are there to help you, and the counselors are there to help you, and you will find that it is a highlight of your life.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Ultimately, I would love to work in human resources, where my interest lies. I have a passion for helping people and organizations reach their potential and goals. I currently work full time at Big 5 Sporting Goods as the assistant store manager and also interned at Eastern Arizona College in the research department.

Melanie Pshaenich

Coordinator senior, Office of the University Provost, Academic Alliances


4 ASU Next Generation Service Corps members receive cash awards from Volcker Alliance

Funds will help students meet expenses at summer public service internships

June 14, 2022

Students who accept internships do so primarily for the experience, even when the job pays little, or sometimes, nothing. Still, the students need to eat, pay rent and cover other costs while interning.

Summer public service internships for four Arizona State University students, members of the Next Generation Service Corps, will be supported by grants from an award presented by the Volcker Alliance, which is scaling NGSC initiatives across the nation and using ASU’s program as its flagship model. Exterior of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo by Wenhan Chang/Pixabay Download Full Image

Today, the service corps has 13 member universities, including ASU, on campuses across the country, from Seattle to New York City.

The ASU students, recipients of the Paul A. Volcker Government Internship Award, will each receive $3,000 to help meet expenses associated with their otherwise unpaid or low-paying summer internships. Internships must last at least eight weeks with at least 30 hours of work per week.

The award’s objective is to help acquaint students with careers in public service by allowing them, as Next Generation Service Corps members, to gain abilities to improve how they serve the public locally and nationally.

“We are incredibly proud and supportive of our NGSC students receiving this inaugural award. Those selected are representative of extensive and extraordinary contributions to public service,” said Cindy Parnell, chief of public service for ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. 

Portrait of Cindy Parnell, chief of public service at ASU's Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Cindy Parnell, chief of public service at ASU's Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Photo courtesy Cindy Parnell

“Each embodies serving the greater good, and acts for causes they are most passionate about. At ASU and in the NGSC program, we are producing clear examples of young talent entering public service careers.”

The award and the alliance are named for Volcker, who worked in the federal government for almost 30 years, culminating in two terms as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979 to 1987. In the early 1970s, Volcker served as undersecretary of the treasury for monetary affairs.

In 2013, he founded the Volcker Alliance, a nonprofit with a mission to empower the public sector workforce to solve the challenges facing the nation. Volcker passed away in December 2019.

Meet the 2022 recipients and learn about where they plan to be working as summer interns:

• Morgan Beaven just finished his freshman year, expecting to graduate in May 2025 with a bachelor’s degree in public service and public policy with a certificate in nonprofit leadership and management from the School of Public Affairs. His internship is with the Office of the 7th Council District, city of Phoenix.

• Tyler Haggerty just completed his junior year, expecting to graduate in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in public service and public policy from the School of Public Affairs. His internship is with the office of U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn.

• Nathan Jayanthan just completed his sophomore year, expecting to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science (software engineering) from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. His internship is with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

• Brianna Stinsman graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in global studies from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her internship is with the Congressional Research Service’s (CRS) USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship. She will be working in the CRS’ Asia section of the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defense division.

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions