The edge of habitability: Tracking water in the world’s driest desert

ASU researchers investigate habitability of extreme environments to better understand Earth and Mars

November 2, 2022

Located high in the Andes Mountains in South America, the Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert in the world, averaging about 2 millimeters (0.08 inches) of rainfall per year. However, using an innovative method and instrumentation, Arizona State University School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) Graduate Research Associate Donald Glaser found that water-vapor adsorption, the adhesion of water molecules to soil grains, adds as much or more water into the Atacama’s hyper-arid soils as annual rainfall — and is likely a key contributor to the desert’s ability to support life.

This finding, detailed in the October issue of the journal Astrobiology and featured on its cover, provides insight not only into the presence and movement of water on Earth, but also on Mars, the surface of which is extremely dry, similar to the Atacama Desert. If the water-vapor adsorption process observed by Glaser also occurs on Mars, it could help to identify regions of interest in the search for evidence of life on the red planet. The rugged, flat, dirt of a desert terrain below with a bright blue sky above. View of the Atacama Desert. Photo courtesy of Donald Glaser Download Full Image

Glaser’s research was conducted in collaboration with SMS Professor Hilairy Hartnett and a highly interdisciplinary team of researchers with expertise ranging from astrophysics to chemistry and biology as part of ASU’s NASA-funded NExSS (Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science) project, utilizing ASU’s Eyring Materials Center and the METAL (Metals, Environmental and Terrestrial Analytical Laboratory) facility.

“Astrobiology as a field sits at the boundaries of biology, chemistry, physics and geology,” Hartnett said, “and there is a tremendous need for chemists to understand environments on other planets. So these sorts of chemical and physical analyses are very important for understanding what makes extreme environments habitable.”

Making the discovery

While the Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert in the world, it is also the world’s largest fog desert, meaning that some moisture supplied to the Atacama Desert comes from fog. Atmospheric water vapor, also minimal in the Atacama Desert, works its way into the soil. This soil moisture is an important source of water for microorganisms that live in the Atacama.

Using a new method and instrumentation he created, Glaser measured soil moisture and soil temperature levels in the Atacama Desert every 20 minutes for two weeks.

“It hadn’t rained in over a year when I was there doing research,” Glaser said. “So this has to be an active process; otherwise, water would have diffused out of the soil.”

Combined with computer modeling and laboratory research, this work provides field evidence for a small but daily input of water into the soils of one of Earth’s driest environments.

“The Atacama Desert is roughly 100 times drier than Phoenix, Arizona,” Glaser said. “So this input of water, although small, is likely crucial. It appears there may be more water than we thought in this extremely dry desert.”

Glaser, who will soon graduate with his PhD, was recently awarded a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship to work on exoplanet habitability modeling at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Sciences in New York.

James Klemaszewski

Science writer, School of Molecular Sciences


New ASU Leadership Institute alumni hail from range of industries

9-month program helps participants develop and understand critical leadership skills

November 2, 2022

The Arizona State University Alumni Association is proud to introduce the 26 Sun Devil alumni participating in the ASU Leadership Institute. 

Class 5 participants are a diverse group of alumni with a range of graduation dates, from 1983 to 2019, and from a wide array of industries, including construction, business management, banking, education, government, urban development and nonprofit fundraising.  ASU Leadership Institute Class 5 The nine-month immersive program enhances leadership development and prepares participants to serve on ASU boards and councils, mentor students and serve as community ambassadors. Download Full Image

Every year, the ASU Alumni Association selects a cohort of outstanding alumni for the nine-month immersive leadership program. The program aims to inspire participants as well as enhance their leadership development. They are prepared to serve on ASU boards and councils, mentor students and serve as community ambassadors.

“Within five years, the ASU Leadership Institute has grown into a thriving program that offers participants the opportunity for continued growth in leadership skills, both personal and professional, while engaging with other Sun Devils who want to make a difference in their communities,” said Christine K. Wilkinson, ASU Alumni Association president and CEO. “It is a delight to see alums who want to devote their time to learning how ASU continues to transform as the contemporary New American University.” 

For information about the ASU Leadership Instute and how to apply for Class 6, click here. 

Meet the members of the 2022–2023 ASU Leadership Institute Class 5:

Megan Cesiel, Salt River Project 

Kristina Chumpol, Fiesta Bowl 

Jana Crum, Welby Health

Wesley Despins, Sundt Construction 

Shannen Falkenrath, LinkedIn

Chrystine Geele, Sundt Construction 

Angela Gonzales, Bell Bank 

Philip Hensley, JE Dunn Construction 

Christina Hudson, Find 180, LLC 

Danita Jackson, Arizona Birth Network 

Amy Johnson, Khan World School at ASU Prep Digital 

Ryan Johnson, Salt River Project

Maureen Jorden, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center 

Abhay Khaire, Dibble 

Anne Landers, Junior Achievement of Arizona 

Thomas Maynard, Greater Phoenix Economic Council 

Adam Mims, Oak View Group 

Thomas Myzia, Kitchell 

William Nolde, DraftKings

Andrew Ostrander, Ostrander Real Estate Group 

Jared Phelps, Alliance Bank of Arizona

Jennifer Rearich, Maricopa County Assessor’s Office

Debbie Smith, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona 

Kelly Tucker, Baker Bros. Flooring 

Kaitlyn Wittig, Lauren’s Institute for Education 

Marge Zylla, City of Tempe

Laurie Merrill

Marketing Copy Writer , ASU Alumni Association

Survey of Earned Doctorates ranks ASU No. 20 in nationwide census

Visual and performing arts degrees chart at the top of the list

November 2, 2022

Arizona State University ranked No. 20 in the nation for the number of recipients of research doctorates — up from 21 last year as reported by the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED).

This annual census, conducted by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, collects data on individuals who have received doctoral degrees from accredited institutions throughout the United States. Visual Communication Design graduation exhibition at the Heard Building in Phoenix The Visual Communication Design graduation exhibition at the Heard Building in Phoenix. Download Full Image

The survey questions focused on demographics, previous educational experiences and career trajectories post-graduation. Since the late 1950s, this data collection has provided a comprehensive assessment of degree trends and characteristics of the doctoral population.

ASU has risen in the past several years from No. 42 in 2019 to the current ranking of No. 20, ahead of Yale, Johns Hopkins and Duke universities.

The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C., analyzed the survey results to find that the number of earned doctorates nationwide has been declining. Since the pandemic, there were 3,000 fewer PhDs awarded overall compared with the previous academic year. Despite those results, the outlook is not entirely negative.

When looking at the numbers across disciplines, ASU stands out among the ranks, coming in at No. 1 of 20 in visual and performing arts, ahead of UCLA, Harvard, and Yale, and No. 4 of 20 in interdisciplinary PhDs. ASU also was high-performing in non-sciences and business, ranking at Nos. 11 and 16, respectively.

“Last academic year, ASU awarded 614 doctoral degrees,'' said Elizabeth Wentz, vice provost and dean of the Graduate College. “Our improved ranking reflects what our students and faculty are doing to advance groundbreaking research and discovery. This is important because these data are often relied upon by universities and government agencies when developing new programs and allocating resources to current programs.”

Review the full rankings and the executive summary on the SED website

Marketing Content Specialist, Graduate College

ASU professor’s public health outreach to underserved borderlands communities earns APHA award for social justice

Flavio Marsiglia to be honored Nov. 8 for creation of a substance abuse prevention initiative aimed at helping Hispanic and other youth

October 31, 2022

An Arizona State University social work professor, whose research in cultural diversity and youth substance use has earned him high regard in the prevention field, will be honored next month with the American Public Health Association’s 2022 Helen Rodriguez-Trias Social Justice Award.

Regents Professor Flavio Marsiglia, director of ASU’s Global Center for Applied Health Research, will receive the award Nov. 8 for his public health prevention work with underserved communities near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an Oct. 6 statement by the association. Flavio Marsiglia, Regents Professor, School of Social Work Regents Professor Flavio Marsiglia of the ASU School of Social Work. Photo by ASU Download Full Image

“Marsiglia’s work includes the founding of (ASU’s) Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center to address health disparities in underserved communities and the creation of a substance-use prevention initiative targeted at Hispanic youth,” the statement said. The school-based model prevention program, called Keepin’it REAL, was later adapted for urban American Indian children in the Southwest.

Marsiglia is the principal investigator of a Mexico-based National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health-funded study to culturally adapt and test the efficacy of Keepin’it REAL in Mexico. He and his team are also implementing and evaluating culturally grounded interventions to prevent substance abuse in other Latin American countries and in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Helen Rodriguez-Trias Award is presented to a person who has worked toward social justice for underserved and disadvantaged populations — an individual whose work focuses on improving the health and well-being of these populations — and includes the activities of leading, advocating and mentoring (any or all three of these activities), according to the association.

The honor is named for the late Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias, a pediatrician and a past president of the American Public Health Association. Rodriguez-Trias was an inspiration and role model who strove to meet the needs of underserved and disadvantaged populations, especially women and children, according to the association. Through her work and activism, she used social justice strategies that affected change for the better.

Marsiglia noted that the award being named for Rodriguez-Trias has particular meaning for him.

“The award is named after an inspirational and transformational advocate for social justice in the public health arena. Her work promoting the rights of all women and children to live healthy lives has inspired our own work,” Marsiglia said. “This is a recognition of the community-engaged health equity research we are conducting with our community partners, faculty, staff and students in Arizona, nationally and globally. Much of this work is made possible by the steady support we receive from ASU, the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.”

Foundation Professor Elizabeth Lightfoot, director of the School of Social Work, said, “The accolades just keep coming for Dr. Flavio Marsiglia, each of them as well-deserved as the others, but this one is particularly significant as it focuses on his dedication to social justice.

“His efforts with Keepin’it REAL and many other culturally grounded interventions to stem the tide of youth substance abuse among underserved communities is highly regarded as a model program. I join my colleagues in the School of Social Work in congratulating him as he receives this great honor.”

The school is based at ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Watts College Dean Cynthia Lietz, a President’s Professor of social work, also praised Marsiglia for his accomplishments leading to the award.

“Dr. Flavio Marsiglia’s recognition by the APHA with an award focused in social justice is not just an incredible honor, but it is without a doubt deserved,” Lietz said. “Dr. Marsiglia has spent his entire career working to build a more equitable society. This prestigious award speaks to that commitment and his ability to demonstrate real-world impact.”

Mark J. Scarp

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


ASU's W. P. Carey School inducts newest Alumni Hall of Fame class

5 business leaders from diverse organizations join list of honored school alumni

October 31, 2022

A social responsibility officer, a renewable energy executive, an investment partner, a real estate executive and a logistics CEO are the newest W. P. Carey Alumni Hall of Fame inductees honored by Arizona State University. Previous inductees come from such diverse organizations as Papa John's, Cisco, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and the Big Ten Conference.

The 45th induction ceremony for the new class will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., on Nov. 17, in the McCord Hall Plaza on the Tempe campus. All W. P. Carey School alumni and friends of the school are welcome to attend the ceremony and reception. Registration is available here. Awards fashioned out of gold wire in the shape of the ASU pitchfork against a black backdrop.

"The Alumni Hall of Fame is a wonderful opportunity for the school to celebrate our accomplished alumni as examples of excellence and innovation in our community," said Ohad Kadan, dean of the W. P. Carey School.

"Our students can see these alumni’s wonderful examples of ‘doing good while doing well’ through contributions to their professions, their communities and the W. P. Carey School of Business. We are honored to celebrate their accomplishments as they are inducted into the school’s illustrious hall of fame," he said.

The 2022 W. P. Carey Alumni Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • Michelle Cirocco (MBA '08) is the chief social responsibility officer of Televerde and executive director of the Televerde Foundation. Cirocco joined Televerde in 1999, where she has held several leadership positions, including chief marketing officer. She was recently named one of the World-Changing Women in Conscious Business by Conscious Company Magazine, and Most Admired Leader by Phoenix Business Journal. Cirocco serves on the W. P. Carey School of Business Dean’s Council and is active in several areas of justice reform, which included hosting the first TEDx to look behind the curtain of incarceration and show the potential that exists in providing second chances.
  • Paul Cutler (BS finance '81) is treasurer for NextEra Energy Inc., one of America’s largest capital investors in infrastructure and the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. He is also treasurer for NextEra Energy Partners LP, which acquires, manages and owns contracted clean energy projects. In addition to his degree from ASU, Cutler has a master’s in business administration and in computer information systems from the University of Miami. He currently serves on multiple education-related boards and councils.
  • Harvey Jabara (BS accountancy '88) serves as managing member of Olive Management LLC, which provides investment allocation and portfolio management guidance related to a comprehensive range of assets, with emphasis on private equity and real estate. Jabara began his career in the Kansas City office of Arthur Young and Co. He has served on the W. P. Carey School of Business Dean’s Council, Helping Hands for the Homeless Advisory Board, and other community and higher ed organizations. In 2009, Jabara, his wife, Missy, and sons Jaxon and Jensen acquired a minority interest in the San Diego Padres Baseball Club (MLB), as well as the Lincoln City Football Club in 2021.
  • Craig Krumwiede (BS accountancy '77, juris doctor '80) is the president and CEO of Harvard Investments, a real estate development firm that specializes in master-planned residential communities, as well as office and multifamily developments. Krumwiede is a governor in the Urban Land Institute, past president of the ASU Council for Design Excellence and a former member of the Dean’s Council at the W. P. Carey School of Business and the ASU Real Estate Advisory Board. He is a founder of the Tonto Creek Camp, which annually serves 12,000 youth, and a founding member of Social Venture Partners Arizona, and is also involved in the C4 Foundation (which supports Navy SEAL families).
  • Lorron James (BS marketing '05) played football (2001–03) for ASU, and upon graduation served as community affairs coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team for three seasons. In late 2006, he moved home to learn the family business, James Group Inc. Today, as CEO, James oversees the encapsulated entities of Renaissance Global Logistics (which runs the global consolidation export operation for Ford Motor Company and logistics services for other companies), Five Crowns Trucking and Magnolia Automotive Services (which runs tire and wheel assembly for Toyota). He is a member of the Dean’s Council at W. P. Carey and involved in numerous philanthropic, sport and community-related initiatives both in Arizona and in Michigan.
Emily Beach

Communications Manager, W. P. Carey School of Business

(602) 543-3296

A 'giant' on the supply chain academic front

W. P. Carey professor receives Academic ‘Giant’ Award for lifetime impact on supply chain management

October 27, 2022

Dale Rogers describes himself as many things on his Twitter profile: an "old, slow, basketball player," a father of five, a grandfather, a husband, a professor of logistics and supply chain management at Arizona State University and an alum of both Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan, and Michigan State University.

He can now add “giant on the academic front.” Portrait of ASU Professor Dale Rogers. Dale Rogers, ON Semiconductor Professor of Business in the Department of Supply Chain Management at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business Download Full Image

Rogers was honored for his lifetime impact on supply chain management as an academic at the 2022 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Academic Research Symposium (ARS) in September. He’s the fifth to receive the Academic “Giant” Award.

“I’m very grateful to have been picked for this award,” said Rogers. “It is a real honor to receive it from my peers in supply chain academia.”

With more than 180 companies in attendance, the CSCMP symposium was where industry professionals went to meet with respected individuals working across the field and build connections designed to help their businesses come out ahead. Attendants rubbed elbows with some of the supply chain industry’s most influential leaders, including Rogers, the ON Semiconductor Professor of Business in the Department of Supply Chain Management at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business.

The CSCMP symposium uniquely focuses on education. Beyond its numerous educational sessions, spread out over the course of its three-and-a-half-day period, the academic research-focused Donald J. Bowersox Doctoral Symposium is where Rogers was presented with the Academic “Giant” Award. The symposium has been taking place since the 1990s and invites doctoral students from across the globe to submit their research on all topics related to supply chain management, logistics, transportation, marketing and much more.

AVNET Professor of Supply Chain Management Elliot Rabinovich, Professor of supply chain management and Bob Herberger Arizona Heritage Chair Scott Webster and Professor and Morrison Chair of Agribusiness Tim Richards received an award at the Donald J. Bowersox Doctoral Symposium for being on Lina Wang’s dissertation committee. Wang, who earned her PhD at W. P. Carey, won the Best Dissertation Award. She’s an assistant professor of supply chain management at the Smeal College of Business at the Pennsylvania State University.

Assistant Professor of supply chain management Mikaella Polyviou, along with former ASU PhD students Anibal Sodero and Zac Rogers, won the Journal of Business Logistics Best Reviewer Award.

“This is such a great time to be in supply chain academia,” Rogers told the doctoral students at the Academic Research Symposium. “You are coming into this field at a time when people know what it is. They know it’s hard to do and that it’s an important economic variable. That gives you a lot of opportunities to do a lot of different things.”

Significant achievements in the logistics and supply chain industry

In 2021, Rogers was the recipient of the CSCMP 2021 Distinguished Service Award, which is bestowed upon an individual for significant achievements in the logistics and supply chain management industry. Presented annually, the award was instituted in 1965 as a tribute to logistics pioneer John Drury Sheahan.

“This award means a lot to me,” Rogers said. “It was great recognition for our department and the work that is being done here. Previous award winners include leading practitioners and academics. I’m the first Sun Devil to ever win this award and I hope there are several more.”

Rogers, who came from Rutgers University as a professor of logistics and supply chain management, is the director of the Frontier Economies Logistics Lab and the co-director of the Internet Edge Supply Chain Lab at ASU’s W. P. Carey School. He is the principal investigator of the $15 million CARISCA Project — hence his @CariscaProf Twitter handle — and director of Global Projects for ILOS - Instituto de Logística e Supply Chain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2012, he became the first academic to receive the International Warehouse and Logistics Association Distinguished Service Award in its 130-year history. He is a board advisor to Flexe, Enterra Solutions and Droneventory, is a founding board member of the Global Supply Chain Resiliency Council and Reverse Logistics and Sustainability Council, and serves on the board of directors for the Organización Mundial de Ciudades y Plataformas Logísticas. 

He is published in the leading journals of the supply chain and logistics fields and has been the principal investigator on research grants from numerous organizations. He is also a senior editor at the Rutgers Business Journal, an area editor at Annals of Management Science, and an associate editor of the Journal of Business Logistics and the Journal of Supply Chain Management. 

Rogers has made more than 300 presentations to professional organizations and has been a faculty member in numerous executive education programs at universities in the United States, Africa, China, Europe and South America, as well as at major corporations and professional organizations. He has been a consultant to several companies and is the author of several books, including a new book about supply chain financing co-written with Rudi Leuschner at Rutgers Business School and Tom Choi at the W. P. Carey School.

Follow Rogers' Twitter for ASU and supply chain news, as well as the occasional basketball video.

And don’t let Rogers’ Twitter profile reference to his age and "slowness" fool you; he’s leading the creation and innovation of supply chain management and has a lot more to contribute to the industry.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


Rewarding service and entrepreneurship

Jennifer Blain Christen wins the 2022 Joseph C. Palais Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award

October 27, 2022

Jennifer Blain Christen is an associate professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, where she teaches students about circuits and oversees electrical engineering research. Along with her many ASU faculty duties, she maintains involvement in professional organizations and runs a startup venture focused on rapid, low-cost medical diagnostics.

Blain Christen’s accomplishments in teaching, research and volunteering her time to better society through engineering and technical professional groups made her a natural fit to win the Joseph C. Palais Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award for the 2022–23 academic year. Portrait of ASU Associate Professor Jennifer Blain Christen, posing with an award. Jennifer Blain Christen, an associate professor of electrical engineering, won the 2022 Joseph C. Palais Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award. Named after electrical engineering Professor Emeritus Joseph Palais, the recipient is chosen annually from among Arizona State University’s electrical engineering faculty for outstanding work in research, teaching and community service. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU Download Full Image

“I was very shocked and honored to be selected,” she says.

The Palais Award, established in 2016 by its namesake, electrical engineering Professor Emeritus Joseph Palais, celebrates School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering faculty who demonstrate all-around excellence in research, teaching and community service.

“Jennifer is an inspiration with her microelectronics research on devices that can save lives and better the health of society,” says Stephen Phillips, the school’s director. “She is a great example of how our faculty can create a brighter future for individuals around the world.”

Improving health through electrical engineering research

Blain Christen started at ASU in 2008 as an assistant professor. She directs ASU’s BioElectrical Systems and Technology Group, which conducts research in bioelectronics development to improve human health.

The group is currently working to adapt portable point-of-care diagnostic systems to detect new diseases, such as viruses, when they are discovered. Another device the team created monitors infants within their first hours of life to improve the detection of neurological disabilities such as cerebral palsy. The goal is to use this early detection to improve medical care for infants born with these neurological conditions, giving them a better quality of life.

“Having had three very different and complex births and a cousin very close to my age with cerebral palsy, I feel gifted with opportunities to work on projects that mean so much to me,” Blain Christen says.

She also co-directs both the Research Experience for Undergraduates and Research Experience for Teachers programs in ASU’s Sensor Signal and Information Processing Center, or SenSIP. The programs give students and teachers experience in cutting-edge research in machine learning as well as sensors and signal processing, which involves the processing of data like medical images and physiological measurements.

Blain Christen also volunteers her time to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE. She is an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems and serves as a chair for groups within the IEEE: Women in Circuits and Systems, which supports career development for those early in their electrical engineering careers, especially women and minorities, and the Biomedical and Life Science Circuits and Systems Technical Committee, which encourages advancements in biomedical electronics.

Engineering a better future for humanity

Michael Kozicki, a professor of electrical engineering at ASU who nominated Blain Christen for the Palais Award, says she deserves the recognition for her contributions to electrical engineering and her caring treatment of people.

“She’s not only an accomplished researcher, a superb teacher, a leader, entrepreneur and a consummate professional who serves the community with fervor and diligence, but she also cares about people in a way that very few individuals do,” Kozicki says. “She is so generous with her time and effort, going well out of her way to help.”

Even as a child, Blain Christen wanted to help others in her career. But while public service occupations like teaching, nursing or first responders might be the first to come to mind as ways to serve society, Blain Christen was inclined toward electronics and computers. Combining her desire to help others with a passion for electronics led to her career in engineering electrical technology with a focus on improving health care.

“It was a journey to figure out how those two things could come together, but I feel like I have found that answer,” she says. “I feel very privileged to have had the opportunities that allowed me to follow my goals.”

An entrepreneurial electrical engineer

Outside of her work at ASU, Blain Christen co-founded FlexBioTech, a startup developing low-cost portable diagnostics for cancer and infectious diseases such as COVID-19 using DNA and RNA biomarkers in saliva. Blain Christen and the startup won the People’s Choice Award in the MedTech category at Washington University in St. Louis’ 2022 Equalize business pitch competition, which seeks to increase entrepreneurship among women in academia.

The goal for the diagnostic devices is to efficiently replace resource-intensive and expensive medical tests, such as polymerase chain reaction, or PCR — tests like those used to accurately diagnose COVID-19. These portable diagnostics aim to help people in communities without access to well-developed health care infrastructure.

Over the course of her career, Blain Christen’s achievements have also earned a Flinn Foundation Translational Research Seed Grants award and a Fulton Entrepreneurial Professors award.

Encouraging electrical engineering’s next generation 

In addition to Blain Christen’s awards, professional organization service and research leadership, students also enjoy learning from her. Vi Nguyen, a biomedical engineering doctoral student conducting research with Blain Christen on medical diagnostic devices, appreciates her style of teaching.

“As a mentor, Dr. Blain Christen is easygoing and listens to every student’s ideas and concerns,” Nguyen says. “She is kind, humble, caring and truly the epitome of a good professor.”

Blain Christen also enjoys mentoring and teaching students about opportunities available to them, encouraging them to do what they believe is impossible.

“One of my best moments as an educator was seeing a comment from a young Black woman stating that she had always thought that she would have to choose between a PhD and becoming a mother,” Blain Christen says. “She said that after seeing me bring my kids along to the social events for the summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and how I was able to lead a research team, she no longer felt that she had to choose.”

TJ Triolo

Communications Specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ABC News visits ASU Cronkite School to broadcast popular shows, work with students

October 26, 2022

ABC News visited Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication last week to host its popular news shows “GMA3” and “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” from the Cronkite School’s roof. 

The show flew producers in from Washington, D.C., New York and elsewhere. The network’s production team said they relished the opportunity to broadcast from Phoenix and interview politicians and public figures, especially since Arizona is considered a battleground state in the upcoming election. However, the crew’s interaction with the students served as one of the highlights of their trip. GMA3 Download Full Image

“As journalists, we always feel like it’s important to reach back,” said Catherine McKenzie, executive producer of “GMA3.”

“So if we can work with a school that has a great program like you guys have, we thought it would be great to work with you guys so your students could see how we work and so we could learn from them, and see what they’re doing and what they’re interested in,” she said.

“GMA3” broadcast Friday from the Cronkite School’s roof, and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” aired Sunday morning from the same location.

Prior to their visit, the show’s staff emailed students to request runners to help the GMA crew throughout the weekend. 

On Thursday, three students arrived at the Cronkite building before 5:30 a.m. The sun wasn’t up, but they were. 

ABC News producer Dawn Piros got students on the roof and in headsets as often as possible as the crew rehearsed. The team wired their ears and said, “You’re Amy,” referring to “GMA3” anchor Amy Robach, or “You’re the guest” and had them look into the corresponding cameras as the students modeled for the best camera angles. 

“The producers and team at Good Morning America were so encouraging and welcomed us interns with open arms,” said Cronkite School senior and student runner Roxanne De La Rosa. “It was an unbelievable experience that I will never forget. Just being able to be in the vicinity of amazing people who are dedicated to telling stories and who care about their work was truly inspiring to see.”

Perita Carpenter, a production manager at ABC News, said she was impressed with the Cronkite News set and all that is available to students at the school. 

“GMA3” continued its visit Friday morning with a Q&A session with students in the sixth-floor Cronkite News studios.

Robach and fellow anchor T.J. Holmes answered questions from students during the 30-minute session, sharing industry advice and describing how they overcame obstacles in their careers.

They discussed challenges related to their early years in the industry, work/life balance and health issues, when to say “yes” or “no” to an opportunity, encounters with racism and discrimination, and how past experiences shaped them for their current roles.

Robach said there wasn’t a big moment that led her and Holmes to “GMA3,” but rather a number of smaller opportunities that prepared her for the show.

“It’s each one of those little moments that led us to where we are,” she said. “I would never be able to point to one moment and say that was the big moment in my career.”

Holmes also said all of the opportunities he received, both positive and negative, created a path for him to reach his current position.

“The greatest opportunity was the one I wanted. It was the one I didn’t want. It’s the one I accepted. It’s the one I turned down,” he said.

Students said they gained valuable lessons from not only the Q&A but also through volunteering to work with the production crews.

“I think the biggest lesson that I learned is if you exude positivity, good things happen,” said Cronkite School first-year student Ian McKinney, who worked with other students to assist the “GMA3” production crew. “Even when they were having issues with a couple of little technical things in the broadcast, they all stayed really positive. They were like, ‘OK, we can fix this’ and weren’t overly stuck on the problem.”  

For Ashley Madrigal, a Cronkite School senior who’s expecting to graduate next spring, assisting the production crew and attending the Q&A provided insight into the possibilities that exist within the broadcast journalism industry and helped soothe her concerns about pursuing a career after graduation.

“I used my time to ask a question and asked about one of their biggest struggles that they face post-graduation,” Madrigal said. “They explained their hardest times but also emphasized that you can get through it, and that really made me feel more comfortable and content that I’m where I need to be and everything happens for a reason.”

Written by ChristyAnn Hanzuk and Jamar Younger.

Jamar Younger

Associate Editor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Math professor named 2023 M. Gweneth Humphreys Award recipient

October 26, 2022

Arizona State University Professor Erika Tatiana Camacho has been named the recipient of the 2023 M. Gweneth Humphreys Award by the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Camacho will be recognized for her impactful and multidimensional mentoring activities that have enabled the success of generations of talented scientists and mathematicians — regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic class, family educational history or gender. Erika Tatiana Camacho has been named the recipient of the 2023 M. Gweneth Humphreys Award. Download Full Image

Camacho is a full professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and a Fulbright Research Scholar at the Institut de la Vision-Sorbonne Université, where she is researching photoreceptor degeneration.

In July, she ended a three-year rotation at the National Science Foundation as co-lead of the HSI Program and program officer of ADVANCE and Racial Equity in STEM Education, where she created and contributed to impactful initiatives dedicated to equity, diversity and inclusion. She has a PhD in applied mathematics from Cornell University and is an accomplished researcher in the field of mathematical biology.

She feels honored and validated for the intentional mentoring she has received and given over the years.

“I would like to thank the mentors who have influenced my career path and the hundreds of students and mentees that I have had over the years who have allowed me to be part of their journey,” Camacho said. “It has been a true pleasure to get to know my mentees, affect their lives and see them rise to become great scientists. In the process of mentoring, I have transformed the lives of many of them, but they all have also greatly transformed my life as I have learned so much from them.”

Camacho has a long history of effective mentorship. She co-directed two undergraduate summer research programs: from 2005 to 2007, the Applied Mathematical Sciences Summer Institute, which she also co-founded, and from 2011 to 2013, the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute.

Her efforts with both institutes contributed to over 80 alumni earning their doctorates, the majority from underrepresented groups. She has refereed publications with 15 undergraduate co-authors, and spends countless hours mentoring students and faculty one-on-one. Her reach does not end at the university level, as she also finds time to speak to middle school and high school students about their education.

She has also facilitated changes to the mathematical profession to promote inclusion. As a member of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Diversity Committee, she co-founded the Workshop Celebrating Diversity that has been held at the society's annual conference each year since 2008. She has also served as a member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science Math Task Force and board of directors, as well as the Applied Mathematical Sciences council and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis advisory board. Her efforts have led to significant grant support for students, women, early career faculty and mentees to further their mathematical aspirations.

“We are incredibly proud of Dr. Camacho for being selected as a recipient of the M. Gweneth Humphreys Award,” said Kenro Kusumi, dean of natural sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “This well-deserved award will enable Dr. Camacho to continue inspiring future generations of talented scientists from all backgrounds to transform the mathematical sciences."

For Camacho, mentoring is personal. Although a benefactor, she feels she did not have good mentoring at many steps along her career path.

“There have been so many times that I was ready to walk away, and I would have done it if it wasn’t for the very few mentors and friends that encouraged me to stay," Camacho said. "I went through a prolonged period where a supposed key mentor selfishly mentored me in ways that would promote him at the expense of my success and advancement. It was over these painful years that I realized the importance of selfless mentoring and that not all mentors do this. When I started to mentor, it was because I wanted to be the mentor at critical stages of an individual’s academic path where I, myself, didn’t have a good mentor and felt lost and powerless.

“Mentoring is invisible work that often goes unnoticed. Building the scientific capacity to advance science requires developing the human capital and workforce to carry the scientific enterprise as much as the intellectual aspect. Many times, we forget the need to develop scientists to move forward theories, and instead we focus only on the science innovation part. We need a substantial number of scientists ready to undertake complex problems. Most importantly, we need to have all the different perspectives and experiences at the table to be able to tackle complex problems from every angle and arrive at optimal solutions.”

The award is named for M. Gweneth Humphreys (1911–2006), who earned her master’s degree from Smith College and her PhD at age 23 from the University of Chicago in 1935. She taught mathematics to women for her entire career, at Mount St. Scholastica College, Sophie Newcomb College, and finally for over 30 years at Randolph-Macon Woman's College. This award, funded by contributions from her former students and colleagues at Randolph-Macon Woman's College, recognizes her commitment to and her profound influence on undergraduate students of mathematics.

Camacho will be honored by the Association for Women in Mathematics at the Joint Mathematical Meetings, scheduled for Jan. 4–7, 2023, in Boston.

“I really thank the AWM for recognizing the important work of individuals that work tirelessly and selflessly to mentor,” Camacho said. “Only through efforts that recognize excellent mentoring are we going to make mentoring and the creation of scientists a key aspect of advancing science.”

Rhonda Olson

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


Celebration of Health gala caps College of Health Solutions' 10th anniversary festivities

October 25, 2022

The College of Health Solutions recognized its 10th anniversary Oct. 19 with the inaugural Celebration of Health gala.

The event took place at El Chorro in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and raised more than $60,000 for scholarships. Amy Van Dyken-Rouen speaking to an audience at the ASU College of Health Solutions Celebration of Health event. Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Celebration of Health event on Oct. 19 in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The event was part of 10th anniversary festivities for the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. Download Full Image

Celebration of Health recognized health leaders from across the Valley for their impact in the community. The inaugural Celebration of Health Awards honorees were:

  • Community Impact Award: Circle the City.
  • Health Equity Award: Arizona Burn Center - Valleywise Health.
  • Health Innovation Award: Terros Health Cafe 27 Youth Center.
  • Outstanding Alumnus Award: Denee Bex, Tumbleweed Nutrition.

The event included an interactive showcase with exhibitions of College of Health Solutions research in addition to entertainment from the Devil Clefs acapella singers.

Inspiring words from Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen

Perhaps the highlight of the evening was an inspiring keynote speech from six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen. In Atlanta in 1996, Van Dyken-Rouen became the first American female athlete to earn four gold medals in a single instance of Olympic Games.

She spoke of the challenges she encountered leading up to her Olympic success, but also of the life-changing obstacles she faced after being paralyzed in an ATV accident in 2014.

On June 6 of that year, on her way home from dinner in Show Low, Arizona, Van Dyken-Rouen’s ATV hit a curb. She fell over a six-foot dropoff and broke her back. At the hospital, the surgeon told her he wasn’t confident she would survive the operation and that she should say goodbye to her husband.

“I came out of that operation and I was so happy,” Van Dyken-Rouen said. “I died several times in that incident. I’m not supposed to be here.”

That experience changed her. She decided she was going to be a better person and “live every moment for what it is.”

Since then, she has competed in CrossFit and rock climbing and has tried skydiving.

“I love everything that I am doing, but there are those days when you wake up and the nerve pain is out of control,” she said. “The nerve pain tells me I’m alive.”

College of Health Solutions Dean Deborah Helitzer presented Van Dyken-Rouen with a certificate naming her an honorary alumna of the college.

In addition to Van Dyken Rouen’s speech, the event featured remarks from students Christian Leo and Renuka Vemuri, alumna Kayla Koren and Helitzer.

Weldon B. Johnson

Communications Specialist, College of Health Solutions