Sun Devils Reclaim Territorial Cup

ASU defeats Arizona 52-37

November 22, 2015

By Lucas Robbins,
Sun Devil Athletics Digital Communications Intern

TEMPE, Ariz. — Sun Devil Football became became bowl-eligible for the fifth straight season as they reclaimed the Territorial Cup with a 52-37 win against the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday afternoon. A sellout crowd of 64,855 was in attendance at Sun Devil Stadium to witness the win, sealed by two fourth-quarter interceptions returned for touchdowns. The ASU Flag Download Full Image

ASU took a 21-point lead into halftime, but Arizona responded with 13 unanswered points in the third quarter to pull within one possession heading into the final frame. After both teams traded touchdowns to open the fourth, UA regained possession on their own six-yard line with just over four minutes to play and a chance to tie...

Read the full article at the home of Sun Devil Athletics.

ASU associate professor wins award for co-editing Best Geologic Guidebook of 2015

November 20, 2015

Associate professor Steven Semken of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) is a co-editor of a geology guidebook that has been given an award for excellence in geoscience publishing by the Geoscience Information Society (GSIS) at its annual meeting in Baltimore.

The book is "Geology of Route 66 Region: Flagstaff to Grants." It is a guide to the geology, history, art and archaeology of northern Arizona and western New Mexico. Maps, road logs and a mix of scientific and popular articles add to the work's appeal for many audiences. The book was published by the New Mexico geological society in 2013. The other editors are Kate Zeigler, J. Michael Timmons and Stacy Timmons. Associate professor Steven Semken of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration is a co-editor of a geology guidebook that has been given an award for excellence in geoscience publishing by the Geoscience Information Society at its annual meeting in Baltimore. The book is "Geology of Route 66 Region: Flagstaff to Grants." Download Full Image

The award was accepted by Semken, an ethnogeologist and geoscience education researcher at SESE, a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Best Guidebook Award was established by GSIS to recognize and promote excellence in this important type of geoscience literature.

The Geoscience Information Society is an international professional organization devoted to improving the exchange of information in the earth sciences.  The membership consists of librarians, editors, cartographers, educators and information professionals. Information about the society may be found at its website

Rallying for critical languages

Restored funding to national program gives ASU students chance to study lesser-known but important languages

November 20, 2015

Since 1991, the Critical Languages Institute at Arizona State University has been providing students with the opportunity to expand their world view through the study of less commonly taught languages.

However, in the fall of 2013, the center’s role as a crucial element of a well-rounded institution was threatened when it was announced that funding for the Title VIII program — which had supported language training and research on Eastern Europe and Eurasia since 1983 — would not be appropriated for the federal fiscal year 2013. open book with map in background Download Full Image

Kathleen Evans-Romaine, director of the Critical Languages Institute who manages the Title VIII Fellowship program at ASU, was dismayed at the news.

"Without Title VIII funding, the number of students equipped to speak the languages and navigate the cultures of some of the world’s most critical regions — Russia, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the countries immediately north of Afghanistan — dropped precipitously. The capacity of the United States and American businesses to work and communicate effectively in some of the most sensitive parts of the world suffered as a result,” she explained.

And she wasn't the only one with deep concerns regarding the matter.

“It was a shock,” said Lynda Park, chair of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, which advocates for federal funding to allow universities such as ASU to offer such courses.

“Title VIII funding has been so crucial for our field since it was established in 1983. I think you could probably talk to anyone of that generation, especially in the U.S., and they will all tell you they were impacted by that funding. I certainly was; I did my research on Title VIII funding.”

In response to the funding cut, Evans-Romaine, Park and others rallied for its restoration. An advocacy committee was formed and a letter-writing campaign was organized to address both Congress and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging them to restore funding to the Title VIII program. Even ASU President Michael Crow lent his support in the form of a letter.

Their efforts paid off and in April 2015, Park announced that Title VIII funding had been restored, although at only $1.5 million, less than half of the 2012 program budget.

“Still, we were delighted to have it back,” said Park. “Once [funding] gets completely zeroed out, it’s really difficult to get it back.”

Because of the smaller-than-usual amount, only four institutions were appropriated funds for the Title VIII program — and ASU was one of them.

“ASU has a great language program, which is highly regarded by everyone in the field, as well as the people who run the [Title VIII] program in the U.S. State Department,” Park said.

For a list of languages offered by the Critical Languages Institute for the 2016 academic year, click here.

The Critical Languages Institute is a project of the Melikian Center, an instructional and research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Emma Greguska

Editor, ASU News

(480) 965-9657

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Mark Searle named ASU provost

Mark Searle has been named provost of Arizona State University.
New ASU provost served as dean of West campus and VP for academic personnel.
ASU's provost also a prof. in the School of Community Resources and Development.
November 20, 2015

Searle, currently the interim provost, has been at ASU since 1995

Mark Searle, an accomplished university administrator, distinguished scholar, and founding dean of Arizona State University’s College of Human Services, has been named as executive vice president and university provost.

ASU President Michael Crow promoted Searle to the post, which Searle has held in an interim capacity since June, and charged him with mapping out a three-year plan to raise student retention and graduation rates, increase tenure track faculty and increase access to higher education for qualified students. The Arizona Board of Regents approved Searle’s appointment today.

“Mark has served ASU with distinction for decades in increasingly complex roles,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “His experience, skill, commitment to a modernized and innovative ASU and work ethic have proven to be invaluable to ASU and all that the institution is achieving. In addition he is well regarded by faculty, students and leaders throughout and around the institution.”

While ASU already has increased access for qualified students, the success of the state and the country depends in large part on finding ways to provide more students with the opportunity to seek a quality higher education, Searle said.

“There is tremendous need in Arizona,” he said. “There are many more thousands of students graduating from high school in Arizona capable of going to college than are going to college. We need to get those students going to universities, and we need them to go to Arizona State.”

Those students need to learn from both the teaching and research faculty, requiring the university to increase the number and diversity of tenured and tenure track faculty.

“We need them to advance the intellectual product,” Searle said. “We need to have more research done, because we have opportunities and demand for the expansion of knowledge and discovery of knowledge.”

Searle said ASU must raise its student retention rate, the percentage of students who return for the next year of school. And while it’s graduation rate has more than doubled over the past two decades, the goal is to see 75 to 80 percent graduating by the year 2020

“The first and foremost measure of having successful students,” he said, “is keeping successful students.”

Searle arrived at ASU in 1995, when West Campus was in its nascent stages of development, and the vacated Williams Air Force Base only recently had been turned over to ASU, later to grow into the Poly Campus. ASU had only recently climbed into the first tier of research institutions.

Since then, enrollment has doubled and the university’s research enterprise has grown from around $100 million to nearly $450 million

Searle advanced through the ranks at ASU since joining the university as founding dean of the College of Human Services. He served as a faculty member and as provost of West campus, vice provost for academic affairs, vice president for academic personnel and deputy provost and chief of staff to the provost.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Searle’s early career centered around public service in parks and recreation planning and management, from running a “Summer in the City” day camp as an undergraduate student to serving as a senior policy analyst for the provincial Department of Recreation and Parks, in Alberta, following graduate school. Searle received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science from the University of Winnipeg and master’s in physical education from the University of North Dakota. He earned his doctorate in recreation administration from the University of Maryland.

He held a series of academic leadership positions with increasing responsibility at the University of Manitoba before moving to ASU.

Searle has served many organizations and governments in a variety of capacities over his career.  He has edited one journal, served as associate editor of four others, reviewed for national granting agencies, and served his local community through leadership roles on various boards of directors.

ASU will conduct a national search to fill the role of deputy provost and vice president for academic affairs.

When he started at ASU and would travel to academic conferences, his employer’s name drew limited attention, Searle said. Now other attendees are keen to learn more about ASU.

“They want to understand all the change, the experimentation, the speed of success — all of that coupled with an environment that’s producing research at a rate that’s phenomenal,” Searle said. “We can do things that most people don’t think they can do.”

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Three ASU faculty members appointed Regents' Professors

Petra Fromme, Billie Lee Turner, Rob Page named Regents' Professors on Friday.
November 20, 2015

ABOR votes to confirm Page, Fromme and Turner to prestigious post

Three Arizona State University faculty have been named Regents’ Professors: Petra Fromme, Robert Page and Billie Lee Turner II.

The three were nominated by ASU President Michael Crow and were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents on Friday.

Regents’ Professor is the highest faculty honor and goes to full professors from one of the three Arizona public universities whose exceptional achievements have brought them national or international distinction. With the most recent vote, ASU has a total of 83 Regents’ Professors.

The three newest honorees all came to ASU within the past 15 years, drawn by the university’s commitment to innovation.

Page, an expert in honeybees, had been at Ohio State University and University of California, Davis, before moving to ASU in 2004 as founding director of the School of Life Sciences.

“I thought, ‘Why would I want to go there?’” he said. “But I saw this can-do attitude. There was this energy of being active and being able to accomplish what you set out to do. I met Michael Crow and saw the energy he had and the vision he had for the university.

“It was an exciting thing I wanted to be part of.”

Fromme, who has pioneered the study of membrane proteins, said her colleagues were surprised when she went to ASU in 2002 from Germany, where she had two offers to become department chair of biophysics.
“I turned them down to come to ASU and they could not understand it, why I would want to go to the middle of the desert,” she said. “I was attracted to ASU because of the unique, innovative and interdisciplinary research environment, which let my research thrive beyond what would have ever been possible at any other university in Germany or the U.S.”

Turner, who studies how humans affect the environment, came to ASU in 2008 from Clark University in Massachusetts, attracted by that same innovative spirit.

“What was attractive to me was the scale it was undertaken, which transcended the modest scale of geography and became truly transdisciplinary in orientation,” Turner said.

“I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve been at ASU. It’s been a great intellectual enlightenment.”

Here is more on the three honorees.

Petra Fromme

Petra Fromme

Paul V. Galvin Professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
She is a world expert on proteins and has been a pioneer in using new technology to research their molecular structure. Her discoveries and innovative research methods, which incorporate physics and engineering, will potentially lead to new drugs to fight deadly diseases and new methods of creating clean energy.
Fromme directs the Center for Membrane Proteins in Infectious Diseases at ASU and was part of an international team of researchers who, for the first time, used X-ray Free Electron Lasers to determine the three-dimensional structure of a protein. In 2012, the journal Science cited the team's research as one of the top 10 breakthroughs of the year.
Fromme also is director of the new Center for Applied Structural Discovery at the Biodesign Institute, where 12 faculty and their students from different disciplines work together on innovative projects to understand the structure and dynamics of proteins, potentially leading to improved manmade technologies.
She has had hundreds of publications. Fromme was the senior author and leader of an international team that published a paper in the prestigious journal Nature last year about how X-ray laser technology can show images of photosynthesis as it splits water into protons, electrons and oxygen.
“Each time we work on novel ideas that have never been formulated before, other scientists say it’s impossible until we show it’s possible,” Fromme said.

Robert Page

Robert Page

Provost emeritus for the university, Foundation Chair of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Life Sciences.

He is a world expert on honeybees and has made several landmark discoveries about their complex social interactions.

Page has published hundreds of articles and in 2013 authored a book, “The Spirit of the Hive,” based on his study of bee genomics and evolution. His research identified the primary sex-determination gene, which plays a key role in honeybee behavior.

He was the founding director of ASU’s School of Life Sciences and was the vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Page is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences.

“My colleagues in the School of Life Sciences are working on things where we have common interests and there are large areas of non-overlap, and those are the most important,” Page said.

“Those are the areas that allow you to move in a new direction you wouldn’t be able to go in on your own.

“I have world-class colleagues that have lifted me on both sides – administrative as well as the research.”

Billie Lee Turner

Billie Lee Turner II

The Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a professor in ASU’s School of Sustainability.

Turner is a pioneer in the field of sustainability science.

He was among the first researchers to use data to better understand how humans affect the landscape. He chaired the international committee that established “land system science” as a program of study and was instrumental in founding ASU’s interdisciplinary School of Sustainability.

Turner’s research, which includes the discovery of how the ancient Maya peoples’ activities contributed to the collapse of their society, has changed the way communities and countries think about the environment and climate change. Currently he is working on the design of urban landscapes to reduce their environmental footprint while maintaining human well-being.

“This is a big university with a lot of talent in it, and to be selected from that kind of talent is quite an honor,” he said.

Coming to Arizona prompted Turner to shift his research emphasis from rural to urban areas.

“I spent most of my life working on questions of land change and the implications for the environment for people in the tropical world, focusing a lot on tropical deforestation,” he said.

“In coming here, I have switched my orientation from looking at land change in big, wild rural areas to the question of Phoenix. I’m very much paying attention to how one could redesign the landscape in the Phoenix metropolitan area so it would reduce the environmental problems.

“What can you do at the micro level? What does the shape of the different vegetation types in your yard mean for the microclimate of that parcel?  Can you add that up to the climate in the neighborhood? Can you add that up to the northeastern part of the Phoenix metropolitan area?

“I’ve always had a good sense of where the big problems are.”

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


ASU student success programs recognized for innovation, impact

November 19, 2015

Two ASU University College units recently received state-wide recognition for student success innovations. Honored by the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education were a program that gives first-year ASU students the VIP treatment, matching them with a personal peer-coach committed to their success; and an initiative in which ASU undergraduates train ASU Preparatory Academy junior and senior high students to become peer tutors, advance own college-readiness, and develop a habit of using academic support resources.

The First-Year Success Center, directed by Marisel Herrera, and University Academic Support Services, directed by Ivette Chavez, were among the five ASU programs that the commission chose to recognize collectively with an “Integrated Impact Award” — one of nine Pathways to Postsecondary Education Awards given out at a recognition breakfast on Nov. 13 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, as part of the 12th ACPE Higher Education Conference. Undergraduate Academic Success Program and First-Year Success Center team members, with University College dean Pictured at the Pathways to Postsecondary Education Awards event are University Academic Success Programs staff Rhonda Rumble, assistant director; Sarah Bennett, associate director; Ivette Chavez, director; Lisa Cahill, associate director; University College dean Duane Roen; and First-Year Success Center staff Marisel Herrera, director; Kristen Rund, success coach; Lindsay Romasanta, assistant director; Kevin Correa, assistant director; Hannah Leclair, coordinator senior.

The other three ASU programs receiving the Integrated Impact Award were Access ASU, the Caesar Chavez Leadership Institute, and the Joaquin Bustoz Math-Science Honors Program.

Explaining the judges’ decision to recognize the ASU programs with one combined award, ACPE executive director April Osborn wrote:  “… it was apparent that five ASU programs are supporting students across program lines in very significant ways….We were excited to see such an integrated model in action and hope through this award to encourage other integrated models.”

For more than 12 years, the Pathways to Postsecondary Education Awards have recognized and showcased innovative college access programs that are helping students prepare for, transition to, and succeed in higher education.

The 2015 awards were presented by Senator Kelli Ward, Representative Bob Thorpe, and the Education Policy Advisor to Governor Ducey, Dawn Wallace. This year’s ACPE conference was organized around the theme “Developing Arizona’s Human Capital: Innovation that Generates Postsecondary Education Success.” 

Integrated Impact Awards

About the First-Year Success Center

The leadership team in ASU’s First-Year Success Center, focused on easing the transition to college and the retention of ASU students, harnesses the power of peer mentoring to deliver a variety of coaching programs and services. Its signature VIP2 program trains a culturally diverse team of 75 highly qualified ASU juniors, seniors and graduate students to deliver free, personalized peer-coaching and other services to any full-time, first-year students at ASU’s Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic and West campuses who wish to take advantage of the program.

The center’s successes are impressive and quantifiable. Launched in 2012-2013, the center conducted 2,705 coaching appointments its first year. That number rose to 8,000 the following year and 14,900 last academic year. Freshmen who received coaching last academic year were significantly more likely to have registered this fall (an 11 percentage-point difference); for ethnic minority students, those who engaged in coaching were nearly 14 percentage points more likely to be enrolled at ASU for their sophomore year.

About the University Academic Success Program initiative “Promoting High School Students’ Future Success in College”  

For the last five years, ASU undergraduates and University Academic Success Program leadership have partnered with ASU Preparatory Academies at the Downtown Phoenix and Polytechnic campus to train Preparatory Academy students to become tutors and mentors to their peers. The impact is far-reaching and is building a sustainable “think college success” pipeline.

Preparatory students benefit from the opportunity to learn from and connect with ASU peers. They are immersed in learning about the skills and habits that translate into successful college experiences. They gain an early and first-hand appreciation for how taking advantage of tutoring and mentoring resources can positively impact their academic performance and engagement. In turn, they are reaching out to transfer core academic skills in math, science and writing and well as personal support to their own peers.

At ASU, University Academic Success Programs serves students across the university's five metropolitan Phoenix campuses with free tutoring in a wide range of subject areas.

Maureen Roen

Director of Communications, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


ASU grad combines art, construction skills to help honor fallen firefighters

November 19, 2015

A recently completed memorial dedicated to those who gave their lives fighting fires in Arizona owes some of its visually striking elegance and structural stability to the construction and artistic talents of an Arizona State University graduate.

Joshua Marriott had studied art and architecture in college before coming to ASU and earning a degree in 2012 in construction management — with a concentration in concrete industry management — in the Del E. Webb School of Construction. close-up of firefighter memorial The Arizona Fallen Firefighters & Emergency Paramedics Memorial features life-size sculptures depicting various firefighting-related professions. Photo by Nora Skrodenis/ASU

The school is part of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Marriott’s performance at the university helped him land a job with the Phoenix-based Southwest division of the McCarthy Building Companies, one of the largest building contractors in the country.

The company called on him to help with the contribution of its services to building the Arizona Fallen Firefighters & Emergency Paramedics Memorial on the Wesley Bolin Plaza on the Arizona State Capitol grounds in Phoenix.

The memorial was officially dedicated in October during an annual ceremony to honor Arizona firefighters.

Concrete artistry

Marriott helped with some of the design and cost estimating for the project, and took the lead on creating and crafting one of the key features of the memorial: a circular concrete slab about 25 feet in diameter with an engraved representation of the Maltese Cross, an international symbol of firefighters’ commitment to risk their lives to protect others from the dangers of fire.

The acid-etched engraving project gave Marriott the largest canvas he has yet had to display his expertise in both the technical and aesthetic aspects of concrete construction.

In what has become part hobby, part side-business, Marriott has for years been producing small works of “concrete art” — coasters, trophies, nameplates, award plaques and medallions.

James Ernzen, an associate professor in ASU’s construction school, “was the one who first who pushed me into doing some artistic stuff,” Marriott said.

Among things Ernzen had him produce was a three-foot concrete pitchfork representing the one carried by the ASU Sun Devil mascot, Sparky. It is now on display in the construction school’s concrete research lab.

Prize-winning ASU project

Ernzen also came up with the assignment that would prove to be valuable preparation for Marriott’s role in building the firefighters memorial.

About three years ago he had student teams compete to do concepts for the design of a decorative concrete slab to be installed on the plaza of the Engineering Center building on ASU’s Tempe campus.

The design by Marriott’s team won out — and later a mockup of the installation earned a prize in the Art of Concrete student competition at the 2012 American Concrete Institute convention.

He then led the team in producing a 200-square-foot circular concrete slab emblazoned with the ASU and Fulton Schools of Engineering logos.

Other images acid-etched into slab and stained in ASU’s school colors of maroon and gold depicted tools and technology used in construction engineering, along with an inspirational quote from the engineering schools’ namesake, Ira Fulton.

Marriott said at the time that he was especially excited to have had the opportunity to “create something beautiful that can have a long life here on the ASU campus.”

portrait of ASU alum Joshua Marriott

Joshua Marriott graduated from ASU in 2012 with a degree in construction management. He now works for McCarthy Building Companies, one of the largest building contractors in the country. Photo by Nora Skrodenis/ASU

Memorial construction a team endeavor

His involvement in the firefighter’s memorial project, he said, has been an even more exhilarating experience.

“It has taken a big group of people working together to overcome a lot of the complexities and challenges, from the planning and design and project management and construction, to lobbying the Legislature and raising corporate and private donations and coordinating events,” he said. “It’s been an education to see it all come together.”

Along with the McCarthy companies and the SmithGroupJJR architecture firm, about 30 other companies and subcontractors have contributed services.

Marriott is chairman of the Arizona Builders Alliance community service board. Through industry connections he has made in that role, he was able to help recruit some of the diverse types of construction subcontractors needed to handle various facets of the memorial project.

Joe Brunsman, a project director with McCarthy and a 1990 graduate of ASU’s Del E. Webb School of Construction, has been the memorial project’s director of operations.

“It has been exciting to watch the memorial being built. It is so unique compared to what we typically do that the construction process has been both challenging and educational,” Brunsman said. “It’s been a privilege to be a part of the team building something to honor the memories of these great men and women.”

Recognition of sacrifice

centerpiece of a new memorial to fallen Arizona firefighters

The large round decorative concrete slab featuring an engraved Maltese Cross designed and etched by Arizona State University alumnus Joshua Marriott is a centerpiece of a new memorial to fallen Arizona firefighters. Photo by Nora Skrodenis/ASU

Marriott said the project “has been an amazing leadership opportunity, and working with the firefighter groups has been awesome. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”

Along with the decorative slab he fashioned, the memorial, which covers about 2,500 square feet, features a 30-foot-high bell tower with a custom-made brass bell.

A long, tapered circular solid concrete wall clad in a black granite veneer is engraved with the names of more than 100 Arizona wildland firefighters, paramedics, volunteers and professional firefighters who have died in the line of duty, dating back to 1902.

Ten life-size bronze sculptures placed atop the wall depict various firefighting-related professions.

Trees will be planted around the memorial structure to help give the site a peaceful and relatively secluded ambiance.

“I really liked being able to combine some artistry with such a creative, high-quality construction project,” Marriott said. “But what really makes me feel good about this is being able to do something for people who are very deserving of this recognition of their sacrifice.”

Learn more about the Arizona Fallen Firefighters & Emergency Paramedics Memorial.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU education grads win prestigious national awards

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College alumnae win Milken awards for excellence in education

November 18, 2015

Nicki Derryberry, a 2009 master’s graduate of ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, and Brittany Matsushino, a 2008 bachelor’s graduate, join a prestigious group of 19 educators across the country who received 2015-2016 Milken Educator Awards this year.

The recognition, given by the Milken Family Foundation, goes to early- to mid-career education professionals for outstanding achievements and for showing promise for the future, and includes a $25,000 award. Recipients are selected based on nominations from state departments of education, each of which appoints a nominating committee assigned to review criteria and make recommendations.  man shaking woman's hand Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, congratulates STEM teacher Nicki Derryberry on becoming a Milken Educator as Red Mountain High Principal Jared Ryan looks on with pride. Photo courtesy of Milken Family Foundation Download Full Image

Nicki Derryberry

After Derryberry’s first year of teaching in Mesa, 100 percent of her students passed the Career and Technical Bioscience state exam, scoring higher than every other school in the district, and 15 percent higher than students the previous year. More than 95 percent of them passed the AIMS science assessment and 62 percent exceeded the standard.

Derryberry (pictured at right) weaves creativity and passion for science into every lesson and venture at Red Mountain High School. She captivates students with her classroom setup in which they work at stations and take responsibility for equipment and materials. Derryberry developed a “Mystery of the missing mountain lion” lesson in which students collected DNA, analyzed footprints, and drew conclusions based on evidence.

Her career began in the Chandler Unified School District where she was a student intern and teacher, then became an instructional science specialist. In Chandler, Derryberry started VEX Robotics (a curriculum providing concrete, contextualized lessons that integrate math, programming and engineering activities). She provided guidance on the district science fair, which led to their students receiving more than 25 percent of the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair awards, and many progressing to the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She co-directed a $350,000 Math and Science Partnership grant through the U.S. Department of Education that provided training and resources to science teachers in grades 6-8.

Dedicated to nurturing careers in science, Derryberry is a member of and volunteer for the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics in curriculum development and outreach. She is a member of the national and state science teachers associations   and serves as a biotechnology team leader and representative for her school’s improvement committee. 

Currently in her second year with Mesa Public Schools, she is the advanced STEM coordinator and a biotechnology teacher for grades 9-12.

Brittany Matsushino

Milken Educator Award winner Brittany Matsushino with Cienega High School Principal Nemer Hassey

Milken Educator Award winner Brittany Matsushino with Cienega High School Principal Nemer Hassey. Photo courtesy of Milken Family Foundation

On the 2014 AIMS reading test, 89 percent of Matsushino’s students passed, compared to the state average of 28 percent. On the writing test that same year, 76percent of her students passed, compared to the state average of 39 percent. Matsushino is a tenth-grade English teacher with high expectations and clear goals in her classroom at Cienega High School in Vail, Arizona.

She inspires students to achieve using higher-order questioning techniques, and engaging content. She coordinates a HALAMA (Historical/Literary/Movie Analysis) project in which students apply reading, research, analysis and presentation skills as they study a real-life hero of their choice and analyze that person’s life.

One of her talents is the ability to identify students’ strengths and areas of need. She makes time after school to help them academically, and her connection extends to extra-curricular activities. Matsushino has a leadership position with the student council for the second year. She coordinates events and takes enthusiasm and morale to new levels. Student council members put their trust in her to apply real-life solutions to council problems and teach them to make business decisions.

Matsushino is a cognitive coach and mentor to her peers, providing crucial guidance to new teachers as they acclimate to the school culture. Consistently seeking opportunities to improve the campus, she is the voice of teachers on the school’s site council, which shapes school rules and policies.

Her commitment to excellence extends beyond the district through her role as a coordinator for the district’s Beyond Textbooks (BT) instructional program. She provides professional development on teaching and learning frameworks in this program. The district’s BT partners include more than 100 school districts and charter schools across Arizona, California, Idaho and Wyoming.

Reynolds Center president named Fulbright Specialist to Uganda

ASU's Andrew Leckey to lecture on business journalism

November 18, 2015

Andrew Leckey, president of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been named a Fulbright Specialist to Uganda.

Leckey, who also is chair in business journalism at the Cronkite School, will travel to Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, in March 2016, where for two weeks he will lecture on business journalism, consult on starting a business journalism major and meet with local media to discuss economic coverage. Andrew Leckey, Reynolds Center Andrew Leckey, president of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at ASU, has been named a Fulbright Specialist to Uganda. Download Full Image

Fulbright Specialist is a program of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

“The main objective of the project is to nurture a generation of Ugandan journalists with an acute sense for business journalism,” William Tayeeba of Makerere University, wrote in his proposal to host Leckey that ultimately led to the grant. “Professor Leckey will be instrumental in sharing experience of creating and maintaining a chair in business journalism at Makerere University.”

Leckey was a Fulbright Scholar at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, in 2014 and is a member of the board of directors of the Arizona Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

He has a track record with outstanding Ugandan journalists at the Cronkite School. His former business journalism student Elvina Nawaguna in the Cronkite Master of Mass Communication degree received first place in the “Best in Business” student reporting competition of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Serving as a mentor in the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program for visiting foreign journalists at the Cronkite School, Leckey last year met fellow Tabu Butagira, chief news reporter for Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper. Butagira was instrumental in helping to bring Leckey to Makerere University, the country’s largest university, from which both he and Nawaguna graduated.

“I’m grateful to both the Fulbright Scholar Program and Makerere University for this opportunity,” said Leckey. “Uganda’s agriculture, mining and petroleum industries, as well as its citizens’ ongoing concerns about investment and inflation, make it an outstanding center for quality growth in business journalism.”

The grant states that Leckey will present lectures at graduate and undergraduate levels; take part in specialized academic programs and conferences; consult with administrators and instructors on faculty development; and advise on initiating a chair in business journalism. The grant also encourages a longer-term relationship between Markerere University and ASU's Cronkite School.

Other Cronkite School faculty members who have participated in the program include Steve Doig, Cronkite’s Knight Chair in Journalism, who spent four months in Portugal as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair; and Bill Silcock, a two-time Fulbright Scholar who has conducted research in Sweden and Ireland.

Looking to the future by examining the past

ASU archaeologist receives NSF grant to study humans' relationships with the environment

November 17, 2015

Christopher Morehart, an assistant professor at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, is studying how changes in climate and in political structure affect how local people interact with the environment — now with the support of the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF).

The research under the NSF grant focuses specifically on the indigenous Mexican population from the Epiclassic to the Early Postclassic periods, or roughly 650-1200 CE. But this research is also part of a longer-term project, the Historical Ecology Project of the Northern Basin of Mexico, with an even broader scope. This larger study examines societies and landscapes both further into the past and up to the present. Students surveying ASU and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México students surface collecting. Download Full Image

Morehart and his team survey, map and excavate various kinds of archaeological sites, including villages and political centers.

Their discoveries give them insight into how people responded to the political and ecological landscape. For example, they have documented fortified settlements on hilltops and human sacrificial offerings in a lake shrine, which might indicate regional conflict and competition over environmental resources. Morehart explained that figuring out how and why people made these decisions not only presents a fascinating challenge, but also gives their work importance.

The project’s territory is massive, covering over 200 square kilometers. To determine how the people living in this area adapted their land use to political and climatological change, Morehart’s project examines data at both a regional level and at the local level of communities and households.

“Understanding what affects people more, shifts in the natural or in the political environment, is critical to understanding how we adapt and respond to change,” Morehart said. “To study these questions requires a long-term perspective and a large study area. We are working in the lands of four municipalities in the Basin of Mexico, making this project the largest regional survey and excavation project in this area in decades.”

The project is large in more than just its physical scope — the research team also uses a sizeable number of different methodologies. In addition to archaeological survey and excavation, this project incorporates methods such as aerial photography, satellite imaging, geological and chemical soil characterization, analysis of artifact chemistry and a host of other specialized approaches (e.g. paleobotany, paleoethnobotany, zooarchaeology and bioarchaeology).

This project is also collaborative; researchers and students from the US and Mexico work together, combining their resources and knowledge. Throughout the research process, the involvement of and cooperation with community members, organizations, museums and local initiatives (such as community-directed ecological protection projects) are highly encouraged.

Morehart argues that though his research studies the past, it has significance for the present.

“This project is specifically trying to understand the different roles climate change and political transformations have on people and the landscapes they create. This is a pressing concern today since the stability of political and institutional relationships directly impacts the sustainability of social and ecological relationships and human livelihoods,” he stated.

Morehart has worked with ASU students on this project in the past and looks forward to including more students in his research in the future.

“This project offers excellent research opportunities for students to examine different aspects of this region’s landscapes, settlements and history, as well as to collaborate with scientists and students from Mexico. ASU students have been involved with survey, mapping and analysis. The project has the space and resources to support engaged students interested in conducting research for theses and dissertations,” he said.

Mechell Frazier, a graduate archaeology student at ASU, enjoyed her experience participating in Morehart’s project. She and the team of researchers with her did systematic surveys of Epiclassic sites and spent most of their time mapping the site Los Mogotes, which had last been surveyed in the '70s.

ASU students mapping ancient water reservoir

ASU students mapping ancient water reservoir.

Frazier described how the team mapped each individual structure and feature at Los Mogotes (for example, a temple, trash pit or wall) by recording the topographic information of that structure into a high-tech computer called a total station.

“In all, we recorded over 600 [topographical] points, which is quite a bit considering how spread out the site was,” Frazier said.

The team then uploaded those points into software called ArcMap, which helped them create a 3-D map of the site.

“Additionally, we conducted systematic surface collections to get an idea of the different types of activities taking place at the site, such as the manufacture of goods like obsidian or pottery,” she said. 

Frazier stated that one of the most meaningful aspects of the trip was forming friendships with her fellow researchers, both from ASU and Mexico. In addition, she believes that her time spent working on the project gave her new insight into this area of study and offered her valuable career experience.

“The knowledge I gained from visiting and interacting with the sites is immeasurable. It also introduced me to the idea of political ecology, and how these concepts and frameworks structure society, both in the past and present,” she said.

Morehart encourages prospective and current graduate students who are interested in studying the historical ecology of Mexico to contact him.

Morehart is an environmental anthropologist, an ethnobotanist, a paleoethnobotanist and an archaeologist. His diverse academic background and interests allow him to tackle social questions, such as what affects a population’s relationship with the environment over time, by using a varied approach that incorporates multiple viewpoints. He was recently given the honor of writing the annual archaeology review that summarized the state of the field and current research for the flagship journal of anthropology, American Anthropologist. 

Learn more about Morehart’s research project.

Written by Mikala Kass, School of Human Evolution and Social Change