First grad of new ASU math degree gets her own classroom

Program offers alternative to traditional path of becoming a teacher

January 15, 2016

Like hundreds of other teachers, Krystal Yeager is returning to her high school math classroom after winter break.

Last fall while still attending at Arizona State University, Yeager was doing her student teaching under the watchful eye of a more experienced teacher at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale. Then in October when another teacher suddenly left, Yeager was asked to take over that classroom — by herself. Both excited and anxious, Yeager agreed.  Krystal Yeager Krystal Yeager teaching Algebra II at Chaparral High School. Download Full Image

“I figure I do it now, or I do it in two months (after graduation). And everyone here is really supportive and knows the kind of situation I got put in,” said Yeager.

Yeager obtained her emergency substitute certification and started contracted student teaching five classes of high school juniors per day, while she was still enrolled as an undergraduate mathematics major at ASU. 

“She’s been thrown into the toughest situation that she could have been placed in,” said Sam Messina, a veteran math teacher who acts as her mentor and occupies the classroom next door to Yeager’s. “Teaching those Algebra II classes is tough — not only because of the challenging curriculum, but the nature of it being difficult for students.”

“I was very nervous at first about teaching,” said Yeager, “but it’s like anything that you start that's new and big. You’re anxious about it, and once you get more practice and have those little successes you become more confident.”

Yeager credits her education at ASU with helping her to be a successful high school math teacher. In December Yeager was the first graduate to earn a bachelor of science in mathematics with a concentration in secondary education through the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. The program offers an alternative to the traditional path of majoring in education to become a teacher.

Krystal Yeager at ASU fall convocation

In December, Krystal Yeager (far right) was the first graduate to earn a bachelor of science in mathematics with a concentration in secondary education through the ASU School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.

“This is one of a handful of programs in the nation in which students graduate with a BS in mathematics and a certificate to teach high school mathematics,” said Pat Thompson, professor of mathematics. “The program is especially unique in that it is designed by math education researchers to familiarize students with current insights into problems of learning and teaching mathematics. We have high expectations that our graduates will become leaders within the mathematics teaching communities as well as attain advanced degrees in math education.”

Yeager liked that the mathematics degree went beyond traditional education classes.

“With this new degree, you focus more in the methods of teaching and upper-division mathematics courses,” she said. “The technology and methods courses have really helped me dig into the conceptual topics that I’ll need to know as a teacher.

“Part of the reason this degree is needed is to train teachers to do better at teaching mathematics. To be more aware of the conceptual understanding of mathematics rather than just the procedures and skills needed to get the job done. More of the understanding of why things work, how students learn — and developing ways to do things rather than just being given a formula and told to do it a certain way,” explained Yeager.

“Her math understanding is top-notch,” said Messina. “Her long-term success is going to be dependent upon her enjoying her time in the classroom, but most importantly enjoying her time around the kids.

“Because the best part of your day for a teacher should be when the kids are entering the door, not when they’re leaving.”

Yeager also likes that the new degree is a bachelor of science in mathematics.

“Having a BS in math means you can do other things with it if teaching is not right for you, or if you just want a break. It offers more flexibility than other degrees that are available,” said Yeager.

Chaparral High School signAt Chaparral (pictured left) and the other high schools in the Scottsdale Unified School District, teachers use the Pathways method to teach Algebra II, which was developed by ASU mathematics professor Marilyn Carlson.

“Knowing Pathways has given me an advantage, especially coming here,” Yeager said. “The Pathways program is different. I think it is better. If the students were using some other textbook, they wouldn’t understand it so meaningfully — it wouldn’t stick for later on when they have to use it again. And I think it’s working because we had some of the best Arizona Merit scores in Algebra II.

“If you just tell someone how to do something, and they have no idea where that came from, it’s going to be hard for them to remember. It’s going to be hard for them to apply that in a new context of a problem. There’s no thinking involved in that — just mimicking and going through the motions.

“What we need are individuals who can think about things and solve problems. Not only mathematically, but in a general sense — because we have all this technology and a changing world. We need people to be able to solve problems and think about things abstractly and reason instead of just being told what to do.

“In real life, you have to figure out the problem. You have to make assumptions, and your assumptions affect your solutions. Not all the information is given to you all the time. You’re not always told, 'You’re supposed to use this formula.' That’s why it’s important for kids to be thinking instead of just being shown how to do things.

Yeager said she originally wanted to be a teacher because she liked helping people to understand.

“I like sharing ideas and helping kids be better thinkers and presenting questions they might not have thought of before,” she said.

She has some advice for other students thinking of pursuing a career in teaching.

“If you pursue math, it is difficult. But as long as you keep trying and keep working hard, that’s what makes you good at math, and that’s what makes you better,” she said.

“If you want to teach, it’s really fun. It’s hard, but it’s rewarding. And you feel like you’re actually doing something important every day. Go for it.

“I love coming here every day because it’s always something new and different. Every day some kid says something that makes you laugh, and the relationships that you build with the students and the other teachers are just fun, so I like that aspect of it. I like teaching. It’s so cliché, but I like it when the lightbulb comes on for a student. It’s a worthy endeavor.

“If you love learning and you love helping others learn, then you should do it.”

Rhonda Olson

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


ASU political science student selected as American Airlines Scholar

January 15, 2016

Alexander Bernard, a political science major in Arizona State University's School of Politics and Global Studies has recently been selected as an American Airlines Scholar by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

This scholarship consists of a $1,625 monetary award and was created through the generosity of American Airlines in order to support outstanding students who are seeking degrees in areas that are related to the diverse needs of the airline industry. There are only six American Airlines Scholars in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Alexander Bernard, American Airlines Scholar Download Full Image

Bernard, a sophomore, enjoys the personal touch the School of Politics and Global Studies provides.

“What I like most about being in the School of Politics and Global Studies is that I feel like the faculty really cares about their students and want them to achieve the most in their four years at Arizona State and beyond,” Bernard said.

Now that Bernard has been selected as an American Airlines Scholar, he sets his sights to one of the programs offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies.

“Although I have not participated in many of the school’s programs, I am a College of Liberal Arts & Science Ambassador and I really want to participate in the Capital Scholars Program and other internships the school has to offer.”

Those interested in applying to a scholarship offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies, can visit the school's website. Each year the school awards over $10,000 worth of scholarships to deserving students.

Matt Oxford

Assistant Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, College of Global Futures


ASU history professor to appear on C-SPAN 3

January 14, 2016

A discussion led by Arizona State University faculty member Brooks Simpson titled "Presidents and War Powers" will air on C-SPAN 3 at 6 and 10 p.m. MT on Jan. 16. 

The discussion, focusing on the American commander-in-chief and going to war, was taped last October during a session of “Power & Politics: The American Presidency,” a course Simpson teaches at ASU's Barrett, the Honors College. A camera crew from C-SPAN’s American History TV taped the class for C-SPAN's "Lectures in History" program. A preview is available here. Brooks Simpson Brooks Simpson, ASU Foundation Professor of History in the College of Letters and Sciences and honors faculty member at Barrett, the Honors College. His area of expertise is 19th-century U.S. history, especially the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction, as well as the American presidency. Download Full Image

The "Power & Politics" course focuses on the powers of the office of the president of the United States and the performance of the individuals who have occupied it. The class follows a lecture, discussion and question-and-answer format. 

"Lectures in History" is part of C-SPAN's American History TV programming, which runs every weekend on C-SPAN 3 from 8 a.m. ET Saturday to 8 a.m. ET Monday. American History TV also airs at 8 p.m. weeknights during most Congressional holidays. "Lectures in History" also is available via podcast.

Simpson is also a ASU Foundation Professor of History in the College of Letters and Sciences. His area of expertise is 19th-century U.S. history, especially the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction, as well as the American presidency.

Simpson has appeared on C-SPAN 15 times.

Setting the stage for academic conversation

ASU theater experts help bridge gulf between theory, practice

January 14, 2016

Academic writing gets a bad rap.

The journals, books and periodicals of colleges and universities are often viewed as divorced from the real world; there is a large gulf separating theory from practice and academic research from everyday life. The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other Photo by Tim Trumble, courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

But that gulf is slowly diminishing as academic discourse opens up to a larger audience, thanks to the Internet. Websites and blogging platforms are helping to bring both theoretical and practical discussions to a larger community, creating a space for discovery and innovation.

In the realm of theater, HowlRound is that space. The online journal and blogging platform was established four years ago as “a place for artists to provide feedback, learning, expertise, frustration, and vision — in an effort to enliven the fields of theater and performance to the aspiring and established artist alike.”

Just this year, Arizona State University was named No. 1 in innovation by U.S. News and World Report 2016 college rankings. It comes as no surprise, then, that the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre is at the cutting edge of innovative discussions, both in the classroom and online. Since HowlRound’s founding, nearly a dozen ASU-affiliated students, alumni and faculty have contributed to the site on topics ranging from stage combat to immersive theater.

"ASU faculty and students are bringing artists, scholars and theatermakers of all kinds into conversation with one another,” said Jamie Gahlon, senior creative producer of HowlRound. “Their contributions to HowlRound are helping to bridge the gulf between theory and practice for the advancement of theatrical form and discourse."

Julie Rada, an alumna of the MFA in Theatre (concentration in performance) program at ASU, who now works at the University of Utah as a Raymond C. Morales Fellow, has written for the blog on three separate occasions, covering such topics as casting practices in devised theater. She said she writes for HowlRound both because it is speedier than writing for an academic journal and because of the ethics of the site (it’s free to users, unlike journals, which are only free to people with academic institutional affiliations). 

“It really is a kind of ‘melting pot’ of academic, scholarly, interrogative publishing, practical how-to’s and idealistic musings from emerging artists,” Rada said. “There’s space for everyone at the table, particularly with the three possibilities for submission (blog, article or series). There are some heavy-hitters in the field who contribute: heads of academic departments, founders of seminal theater companies and ensembles, published playwrights, etc. There’s always the possibility that someone you admire and respect will read and comment on your writing. That’s very exciting.”

Dan Fine is an alumnus of the MFA in Theatre (concentration in interdisciplinary digital media) program, a joint degree of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. He’s teaching a graduate class on performance technology in the theater department at ASU. He was encouraged to write by Lance Gharavi, assistant director of theater in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, and he ultimately decided to share that writing (a series of instructives on media design) on HowlRound because he felt it would reach a larger audience. 

“What I find with a lot of practitioners is that we are just too busy to write about what we’re doing — because we are constantly doing things,” said Fine. “So there tends to be a lot of information that’s not shared because of that.” 

Fine said the online format of HowlRound seemed like the best way to get that information out to people, especially in a field like media design, which is digitally based to begin with.

“It’s something that feels less physically tangible, because you can’t pick it up and touch it, like a book or a journal,” he said of online writing. “But in a different way it feels more tangible because it’s active, it feels like it has more life.”

"HowlRound and similar outlets are opening up new ground for discourse in the theater profession,” said Jacob Pinholster, director of ASU’s School of Film, Dance and Theatre. “Where previously we had a ‘never the twain shall meet’ gulf between popular websites and academic journals, we now have an amazing new field for true interplay between ideas and practice. It is an eloquent statement about both HowlRound's and ASU's relevance to emerging practices and trends in theater that so many of our students, faculty and alumni are consistent contributors."

And the dialogue can only expand further. HowlRound is always open to pitches for essays, blog posts, series and criticism.

“Better thinking makes better art,” Rada said. “The ability to organize your thoughts can make the ephemeral and often evocative work of the theater more tangible and communicative to a wider audience. This requires agile, flexible thinking. And thinking is made better by writing.”

Communications Program Coordinator, ASU Art Museum


ASU wins Digital Edge 25 award for work on Starbucks College Achievement Plan

January 13, 2016

Arizona State University’s technological support for the ASU-Starbucks College Achievement Plan has been recognized as one of the 25 best digital initiatives in the nation by IDG Enterprise in its Digital Edge 25 awards.

IDG Enterprise is a leading enterprise technology media company whose publications include Infoworld, Computerworld and CIO. Download Full Image

IDG honored ASU’s extensive technical work to ensure a tailored, supportive environment for Starbucks employees, known within Starbucks as partners, who take advantage of the program. ASU’s efforts grew out of a team effort among the University Technology Office, EdPlus, the Provost’s Office, the Marketing Hub and others.

The Starbucks College Achievement Plan (CAP) is a partnership that provides tuition reimbursement for benefits-eligible Starbucks partners — and, for partners who are veterans, a spouse or child — who work toward earning their undergraduate degrees through the ASU online campus.

“The award places emphasis not only on the digital innovation, but on how it furthered the strategic goals of the organization,” said Gordon Wishon, chief information officer for ASU. “Making quality education accessible is a critical part of ASU’s strategic goals, and digital and technological innovation are just a piece of that puzzle.”

Wishon described the project as leveraging technology to support innovative solutions and said this project was unique because of the partnerships involved.

“We are now the main provider of college education to a growing global company’s partners, providing them with an opportunity to pursue higher education. That’s a model we’d like to build on,” Wishon said. “The award also highlights the hard work and truly collaborative effort among an array of university teams.”

Success wasn’t just completing the technical part of the project and moving on to the next task.

“When we graduated the first student in the CAP,” Wishon said, “that was success.”

ASU’s teams worked on multiple fronts, said Leah Lommel, chief operating officer for EdPlus.

“While many of the educational services were already offered to ASU Online students, it was important that we work together across the university to continue to streamline the process, policies, services and technologies to create a seamless integration with Starbucks,” Lommel said. "Going to college is as much an emotional decision as it is a financial decision, and we need to ensure we surround our students with the tools and services to be successful."

This was a critical element to success, both she and Wishon said.

“It’s important that we make this process as easy and painless as possible, or else people won’t take advantage of the program,” Lommel said. “We want people to succeed.”

This award places ASU’s innovations at the same level as other winners, such as the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kaiser Permanente and Verizon. Entries were evaluated on complexity, scale, outcomes and innovation, and winners spanned over a dozen industries.

ASU Newman Center ranked 13th best in country

January 13, 2016

Arizona State University’s Newman Center has been ranked 13th best College Newman Center, according to Best College Reviews.

The All Saints Catholic Newman Center currently serves a population of more than 18,000 Catholic students at Arizona State University. The ASU Newman Club was first formed in 1932, and with community growth in the 1960s, the construction of the Old St. Mary’s Church helped the ASU Newman club expand, making the church a hub for the community. ASU Newman Center students The All Saints Catholic Newman Center serves a population of more than 18,000 Catholic students at Arizona State University. It has been 13th best College Newman Center, according to Best College Reviews. Photo courtesy: Best College Reviews Download Full Image

According to Best College Review, the Newman Centers were chosen based on the following criteria:

• The center offers regular Mass times during the week.
• The center regularly offers Eucharistic Adoration, Confession and other opportunities for spiritual growth.
• The center offers regular community-building events.
• The college must have a Catholic population of greater than 100 students.
• Percentage of Catholic students, relationship with the local parish and specific site amenities were also taken into account.

The ASU Newman Center, on the Tempe campus, offers discernment groups, retreats, Bible studies, Newman Nights and many other opportunities for students.

ASU names LaBaer interim executive director of Biodesign Institute

January 13, 2016

Joshua L. LaBaer, a leading researcher in cancer and personalized medicine, has been named interim executive director for the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

“LaBaer’s leadership will ensure that we continue our progress toward establishing the Biodesign Institute as a world-class research institute focused on solving key societal challenges in health, sustainability and national security,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “Since coming to ASU, Josh has blazed a trail both in terms of his research — creating early diagnostics for breast and ovarian cancer — and in his zeal for crossing boundaries and creating new scientific partnerships.” A man in a suit poses for a photo. Dr. Joshua L. LaBaer. Download Full Image

As the former director of the Harvard Institute of Proteomics, LaBaer is considered one of the nation’s foremost investigators in the rapidly expanding field of personalized medicine. His efforts involve the discovery and validation of biomarkers — unique molecular fingerprints of disease — which can provide early warning for those at risk of major illnesses, including cancer and diabetes. LaBaer is currently a member of the Biodesign executive directorate and has been a key part of the institute leadership team since his arrival.

“For me, ASU and Biodesign continue to fulfill their promise of being a new kind of research institute at the New American University,” said LaBaer. “Our staff and researchers aggressively take on the challenges of the world around us and have gained an international reputation for changing the pace and impact of scientific research.”

The real-world impact of ASU’s Biodesign Institute has been dramatically underscored by contributions from Charles Arntzen, an ASU Regents' Professor and founding director of the Biodesign Institute, who had a hand in the recent development of the first experimental treatment of the Ebola virus in people. An international team, led by Regents’ Professor Petra Fromme, has made several breakthrough discoveries using X-ray lasers to study the inner workings of proteins.

“I look forward to working with our highly creative and committed group of research leaders, staff and students during this time when answers to global threats can’t come fast enough,” said LaBaer.

To catalyze clinical research discoveries, ASU and Banner Health recently formed a strategic neuroscience research alliance to advance the scientific study, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. The partnership includes the launch of a new ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center at Biodesign. 

Since its inception in 2003, Biodesign has attracted nearly $500 million in external funding from competitive grant awards as well as support from philanthropic and industry sources. The Biodesign Institute has made an economic impact of $1.5 billion and supported 1,600 jobs in its first decade of operation, according to a study by the Seidman Research Institute at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business. 

Working in an entrepreneurial culture, its researchers have generated 50 annual invention disclosures and patents and fostered more than a dozen spinout companies. ASU Biodesign Institute spinout HealthTell landed on the San Francisco Business Times’ list of top five start-ups to potentially "win big."

LaBaer succeeds Executive Director Raymond N. DuBois on March 1. DuBois will become the dean of the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. A national search will help to identify the future leader of the Biodesign Institute.

LaBaer will maintain his current role as director of Biodesign’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics, a role in which he leads a staff of nearly 100 faculty and biologists, microbiologists, engineers, informaticists and students who combine their expertise to find ways to decrease the impact of human disease. He holds the university’s first Piper Chair in Personalized Medicine.

LaBaer is a founding member and the current president of the U.S. Human Proteome Organization and spearheaded ASU efforts to host its annual national meeting in 2015. He also serves on a number of government and industry scientific advisory boards. LaBaer earned his medical degree and a doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco. He is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and medical oncology and an adjunct professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

From tribal law to concussion conference: ASU Law highlights achievements

Graduates dominate bar exam results; faculty receive international attention

January 13, 2016

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has highlighted the achievements of its students, faculty and alumni over the past three months, including providing assistance to tribes, being named among the brightest law graduates of 2016, and being asked to speak on climate change, solar energy, Islamic State funding and the concussion epidemic.

Students Professor Robert Miller ASU Law Robert Miller is a professor of law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He is also the faculty director of the Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program at ASU Law. Download Full Image

Simon Gertler (JD Candidate) will clerk for the Indian Law Resource Center in Montana. The center provides legal assistance to indigenous peoples of the Americas to combat racism and oppression, to protect their lands and environment, to protect their cultures and ways of life, to achieve sustainable economic development and genuine self-government, and to realize their other human rights.

Simon Goldenberg (JD Candidate) was selected as a law clerk for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). The fund has provided legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide who may have otherwise gone without adequate representation. NARF has successfully asserted and defended the most important rights of Indians and tribes in hundreds of major cases, and has achieved significant results in such critical areas as tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, and Indian education. Goldenberg will be clerking in NARF’s Colorado office.

Eun Hyung “Thomas” Kim (JD Candidate) was profiled on his undergraduate school’s website. Pacific Lutheran University asked Kim about meeting Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and life at ASU Law. 

Chase Milea (JD Candidate) has been named among "The Best-and-Brightest Law School Graduates of 2016" by Tipping the Scales, a website founded by John Byrne, former editor-in-chief of Fast Company and, that focuses on helping prospective students get into law school.

Racheal White Hawk (JD Candidate) has been named among "The Best-and-Brightest Law School Graduates of 2016" by Tipping the Scales, a website founded by John Byrne, former editor-in-chief of Fast Company and, that focuses on helping prospective students get into law school.  


Professor Kenneth Abbott contributed a piece to the November 2015 issue of Global Policy, "Reinvigorating International Climate Policy: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Nonstate Action." Free access to the article is available through February. 

Professor Dan Bodansky was quoted in a USA Today article highlighting Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change. On Nov. 17, he also took part in a panel at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The panel discussed the climate talks in Paris.

Professor Laura Napoli Coordes was quoted in the Arizona Republic regarding the financial situation of Arizona's Solana Generating Station’s parent company.  The Spanish company, Abengoa, is facing a possible liquidation of its assets through bankruptcy in its home country.

Professor Adam Chodorow was quoted in Le Monde about the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous vote for a binding resolution aimed at drying up funding sources of the Islamic State. The article is in French, but Google Translate will help you read. Professor Chodorow also brought his perspective to an article in Foreign Policy Magazine looking at how long the Islamic State can continue to govern based on the people they are taxing. In addition, he analyzed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's tax plan based in an article in Slate.

Professor Emeritus Dale Furnish published an article comparing two different judicial doctrines, forum non conveniens and lis alibi pendens, in the journal XIV-XV ANUARIO ESPANOL DE DERECHO INTERNACIONAL PRIVADO 321-358 (2015). He presented the article at conference at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid in May 2015. He also published a book chapter, “Globalization and Crisis: How is International Insolvency Managed?,” for Cursos de Derecho Internacional y Relaciones Internacionales de Vitoria-Gasteiz 231-304 (Universidad del País Vasco, 2014).  

Professors Betsy Grey and Gary Marchant co-wrote the op-ed, "Facing Concussion Epidemic Head-On," for the Arizona Republic as part of ASU Law’s conference, Safeguarding Brains: The Law, Science & Ethics of the Concussive Injury Epidemic.

Professor Erik Luna discussed the need to reform criminal sentencing laws at a panel at the justice summit hosted by the Charles Koch Institute. The summit was called “Advancing Justice: An Agenda for Human Dignity and Public Safety.”

Regents’ Law Professor Gary Marchant gave the prestigious 2015 Dr. Leroy Burney Lecture at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in November. His presentation was called, "Who Wants Your Genetic Information and Why?" His video presentation is available here.

Professor Robert Miller was the keynote speaker at the annual Collins Lecture conference, “The Gospel of Conquest," put on by the Ecumenical Council of Oregon on Nov. 19. He spoke about American Indians and the international law called the Doctrine of Discovery, which was used to legally claim North America for Europeans and then the United Sates. Professor Miller also had two papers in the 2015 Top Social Sciences Research Network Papers in American Indian Law. "Consultation or Consent: The United States Duty to Confer with American Indian Governments" and "The Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, and American Indians" were ranked Nos. 4 and 12, respectively. You can read both selections here. Professor Miller also discussed the Dollar General case on Native America Calling.

Professor Troy Rule was quoted in Scientific American, where he helped outline the laws (and lack thereof) for drone activity.

Professor James Weinstein helped define the difference between protected speech and hate speech in this Associated Press article looking at the rise of incendiary language.



Judge Elizabeth Finn (JD ’70), who presides over Glendale City Court, was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association’s Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. She has been a judge for 36 years and is Arizona’s most senior judge. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen for their contributions and impact on the history of the county bar and legal profession, their community involvement, and their tenure in the industry.

Van O’Steen (JD ’72), a founding partner of O'Steen & Harrison, PLC, was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association’s Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. He has had a general civil practice, emphasizing personal injury, defective products, and nursing-home abuse and neglect. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen for their contributions and impact on the history of the county bar and legal profession, their community involvement, and their tenure in the industry.

Joe Sims (JD ’70) has stepped down as a partner at Jones Day after 45 years. He is now formally of counsel at the firm. Sims took part in many high-profile antitrust cases, including AOL-Time Warner in 2000, Sirius-XM in 2008, and AMR Corp.-US Airways in 2013. In honoring Sims, The National Law Journal described him as an M&A and antitrust “trailblazer” and noted that, “no lawyer in modern times has had more impact on the antitrust agencies’ relationship with the modern bar.” After graduating from ASU Law, Sims started in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, witnessing the breakup of AT&T and ultimately becoming deputy assistant attorney general within the division before joining Jones Day in 1978.


Shawn K. Aiken (JD ’83), a shareholder at Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi in Phoenix, has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. His practice focuses in complex commercial litigation, mediation and arbitration.

Booker T. Evans Jr. (JD ’89), a white-collar criminal defense attorney and commercial litigator at Ballard Spahr in Phoenix, has been honored by the Arizona Diversity Council as one of the 2015 DiversityFIRST individual award winners. The DiversityFIRST Award honors individuals, community groups, nonprofits, and businesses within the legal, academic, corporate, or health community that have demonstrated outstanding achievements and sustained commitment to the pursuit of cultural diversity and inclusion in the community and workplace.

Kevin O'Malley (JD ’80), a shareholder with Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix, was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association's Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. O'Malley is a member of the Gallagher & Kennedy board of directors and head of the firm’s litigation and public bidding and procurement departments. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen for their contributions and impact on the history of the county bar and legal profession, their community involvement and their tenure in the industry.


Kelly Kral (JD ’98) of Dyer & Ferris LLC, was honored as member of the year by the Maricopa County Bar Association. Her areas of practice include family law, wills, trusts, conservatorships, guardianships, elder law, mental-health law, and other areas of law pertinent to such cases and special matters.


Christopher R. Houk (JD ’00) has joined the Law Firm of Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb to lead the firm’s Employment Law group. Prior to joining the firm, Houk served for more than six years as a federal trial attorney for the EEOC, preceded by four years as assistant Attorney General for the Arizona Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division.

Andrea “Andy” Landeen (JD ’06) has joined Quarles & Brady’s Phoenix office. She focuses primarily on the representation of lenders and other creditors in pre- and post-judgment litigation. Her practice emphasizes litigation including commercial contracts, deeds of trust, enforcement of promissory notes, and security agreements.

Lindsay A.M. Olivarez (JD ’09), a family-law attorney at Udall Shumway in Phoenix, joined the board of directors of the Association of Supportive Child Care, a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing quality of care for children in Arizona. She has represented clients in an array of family-law issues including divorce, custody, relocation and modification actions.

K Royal (JD ’04) was honored with the Association of Corporate Counsel's Robert I. Townsend Jr. Member of the Year Award. She was selected from more than 40,000 fellow members of the association worldwide for her contributions to the Association of Corporate Counsel. She is vice president, assistant general counsel and privacy officer at CellTrust Corp. in Scottsdale.


Blake Atkinson (JD ’13) joined Fennemore Craig in Phoenix as an associate. He practices intellectual property, including patent prosecution and litigation, trademark registration and litigation, and copyrights. He concurrently earned his MBA while earning his JD.

Chase A. Bales (JD ’12) joined Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix as an associate in commercial litigation. He is experienced in the representation of managed-care plans and providers in complex litigation involving health-law issues. Prior to joining Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, Bales worked at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as an associate, focusing his practice on health care and political law litigation.

Philip Brailsford (JD ’14) joined Fennemore Craig in Phoenix. Brailsford focuses in business litigation. Before practicing law, he served in the Mesa Police Department for more than 19 years.

Mike Bercovici (MSLB ’15) was named the 2015 Pac-12 football Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The former ASU Football redshirt senior quarterback was also the recipient of the Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award, which recognizes athletes who go above the call of a student, amateur or professional athlete by demonstrating a deep care for others and their community. 

Robert Clarke (JD ’15) tied for the second-highest score on the July 2015 Arizona Uniform Bar Exam. He tied with another ASU Law graduate, with the top scorer also hailing from ASU Law. According to data from the Committee on Examinations in Arizona, ASU Law is the only law school in the state to have taken the top three spots on the bar exam since 1991.

Mark DeLuca (JD ’15) joined Foster Swift Collins & Smith in Michigan as an associate. He is part of the firms Trusts & Estates practice group. DeLuca is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Kyle Orne (JD ’15) had the highest score on the July 2015 Arizona Uniform Bar Exam. A passing score is 273. The average score in July was 279.23, and Orne earned 360. Two other ASU Law graduates tied for second-highest. According to data from the Committee on Examinations in Arizona, ASU Law is the only law school in the state to have taken the top three spots on the bar exam since 1991.

Christopher Waznik (JD ’15) tied for the second-highest score on the July 2015 Arizona Uniform Bar Exam. He tied with another ASU Law graduate, with the top scorer also hailing from ASU Law. According to data from the Committee on Examinations in Arizona, ASU Law is the only law school in the state to have taken the top three spots on the bar exam since 1991.

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


Obesity Solutions announces winners of seed funding competition

Mayo Clinic-ASU program supports obesity-related pilot studies

January 13, 2016

Mayo Clinic-ASU Obesity Solutions has announced the 2016 winners of its seed funding competition. The seed funding program supports obesity-related pilot studies that will develop new collaborative teams or push forward highly innovative ideas with potential to receive significant external funding in the future.

“The array of innovative proposals we received speaks to the breadth and depth of obesity research happening across ASU,” said Alexandra Brewis Slade, Obesity Solutions co-director. “We had a very strong pool to choose from, and are excited to see where these pilot projects go.” Students write the word "solutions" on a whiteboard in different colored markers. Download Full Image

Applicants were asked to propose projects related to obesity risk and suffering, health and health disparities in vulnerable populations, the patient experience, and technology and behavior change.

The winners, listed below, include ASU faculty and graduate students. Postdoctoral fellows were also eligible for funding.

Next-generation sequencing approach to the interaction of DNA methylation and alternative splicing in lean and obese participants
Samantha Day, PhD candidate, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Association of infant feeding, maternal and infant microbiota, and obesity
Elizabeth Reifsnider, associate dean for research, College of Nursing and Health Innovation

Nuanced perceptions of fat: Implications for stigma, valuation, and long-term health
Steven Neuberg, professor, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Removing barriers to women’s physical activity in Latino barrios through rapid community assessment of neighborhood environments: A pilot study
Francisco Lara-Valencia, associate professor, School of Transborder Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Combining mobile and isotopic analyses for determining metabolic change during exercise
Gwyneth Gordon, research scientist, School of Earth and Space Exploration, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The lived experience of male bariatric patients
Cindi SturtzSreetharan, associate professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Aesthetics: An innovative approach to obesity prevention
Cori Lorts, PhD candidate, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, College of Health Solutions

Establishing new definitions of sarcopenia using muscle quality index
Chong Lee, Associate Professor, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, College of Health Solutions

Insulin sensitivity and high/low muscle contractions in sedentary obese adults
Catherine Jarrett, PhD candidate, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, College of Health Solutions

New regional transit service and marginalization of vulnerable segments of the population
Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, associate professor, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, College of Health Solutions

Yellowstone supervolcano talk kicks off 2016 New Discoveries Lecture Series

ASU geologist to discuss "When Will the Yellowstone Supervolcano Erupt Again?"

January 13, 2016

A talk on the Yellowstone supervolcano by Christy Till, a geologist and assistant professor with Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), will kick off the Spring 2016 New Discoveries Lecture Series. Till’s talk, “When Will the Yellowstone Supervolcano Erupt Again?” is at 7:30 p.m., Jan 21 in the ISTB4 building on the Tempe campus.

Till will explore the history of the Yellowstone supervolcano, the new tools scientists use to uncover events leading to past eruptions, how much magma resides below the volcano today and its likely future behavior. ASU geologist and assistant professor Christy Till. Photo credit: Abigail Weibel Download Full Image

“Thousands of years ago, the continental U.S. was blanketed by a layer of ash from the eruption of a supervolcano that now lies dormant beneath Yellowstone National Park. A logical question is, when will it erupt again?” Till said

The SESE New Discoveries Lecture Series brings exciting scientific work to the general public in a series of informative evening lectures, which are free and open to the public and each given by a member of the SESE faculty once a month throughout the spring.

Additional lectures in this spring series will be presented on Feb. 18, by Laurence Garvie, research professor and curator for the Center for Meteorite Studies; on March 17, by Hilairy Hartnett, associate professor and biochemist; and on April 28 by Ariel Anbar, President’s Professor and astrobiologist.

Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Marston Exploration Theater, located on the first floor of ASU's Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB4) on the Tempe campus. RSVP to reserve a seat. Parking is available at the Rural Road parking structure just east of ISTB 4.

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration