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Arizona Board of Regents celebrates President Crow's first 20 years at ASU

August 29, 2022

Event fetes president with accolades, testimonials and a new title

A special celebration Thursday night honored the 20th anniversary of Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow’s leadership with touching moments, humor — and a new title.

The Arizona Board of Regents recognized Crow’s contributions and service to the university, honoring him with the distinction of Regents Distinguished President.

The distinction, conferred for the first time, was presented along with a unique medallion that can be worn as part of his official university regalia. 

Lyndel Manson, chair of the Board of Regents, said the medallion made of turquoise, silver and petrified wood represents the legacy, prosperity and transformation of Arizona, as well as Crow’s commitment and leadership in the continued success of the university and the state.

“These materials are symbolic of your leadership,” she said. “Turquoise brings good fortune and represents the good you have brought to the university. Silver symbolizes your success and impact on the university. Silver has a long history in Arizona as a catalyst for exploration, growth and prosperity. Petrified wood is a stone of transformation and represents the transformative impact you have had on the university and its students.”

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU News

Crow became the 16th president of ASU in 2002 and dedicated the last two decades to advancing its redesign as the New American University. ASU has achieved historic levels of inclusion, research, advancement and student success.

Thursday night, a clearly touched Crow reflected on the 20-year journey.

“This has been the most fantastic job, the most fantastic place that I could have possibly imagined,” Crow said. “... I am deeply humbled to be here, deeply honored to be able to hold this position, thankful to the Regents, and thankful to those of you who have been part of helping to make this work.”

The evening, hosted by the Board of Regents in ASU’s Carson Ballroom in Old Main, brought together Crow’s family, friends, mentors and colleagues past and present to reflect on the last 20 years.

In video remarks, two of Crow’s close colleagues and mentors paid tribute to his extraordinary career. Jonathan Cole, provost and dean of faculties, emeritus at Columbia University, recounted his decades-long relationship with him — first with Crow as his student, then as his colleague and today, as his mentor. Sir Malcolm Grant, chair of the National Health Service of England, delivered insightful, powerful and entertaining remarks about Crow’s leadership of the ASU “ecosystem.” 

Another video energetically recapped many of the accomplishments achieved during the last two decades. Alberto Ríos, Arizona's inaugural poet laureate, penned a special poem for the occasion.

The University of Arizona gave Crow a basket of assorted gifts and a framed photo of a certain billboard down in Tucson — one that commemorated ASU’s 70-7 football victory in 2020. On behalf of Northern Arizona University, President José Luis Cruz Rivera shared “tastes” of Flagstaff to recognize Crow’s favorite food and coffee locations in the high country — and a rare first edition of the seminal 1910 book “The Idea of a University” by John Henry Newman.

Video by VisComm/MRSC

The evening forced Crow, seemingly always in forward motion, to stop and look back.

“When I heard there was going to be an event related to my job anniversary, I think my heart went into my stomach. It’s kind of against my nature,” Crow said. Indeed, he shared a text from his wife, Sybil Francis, from earlier in the day that reminded him, “I know it’s hard for you to take praise and appreciation.”

“It is,” Crow continued. “So I just want to say thank you to everyone, and thank you to the Regents. It really is more than an honor to be here and to be in this job, this role. ...

“Thank you for the recognition, thank you for this medallion, thank you for allowing me to be here in Arizona.”  

And while focused on the past, the evening had an inspiring tone: There’s more still to come.

Top photo: President Michael Crow smiles during Thursday's celebratory dinner at Old Main. Photo by Caroline Huey 

Assistant vice president , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

New ASU center aims to showcase Muslim contributions, accomplishments in US

The Center of Muslim Experience in the United States draws on ASU's charter of inclusivity, public values and community impact

August 29, 2022

The recent launch of the Center of Muslim Experience in the United States (CME-US) at Arizona State Univerity reflects a pioneering endeavor to advance research and deepen public knowledge on the understudied history of Muslims in the United States and their many contributions to American society and culture.

With a student-centered approach, CME-US will facilitate belonging for Muslim students at ASU and work to build mutually beneficial partnerships between Muslim communities across the country and university. The center will be housed in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and is part of the humanities division in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Portrait of Yasmin Saikia and Chad Haines, co-directors of the Center of Muslim Experience at ASU. Yasmin Saikia and Chad Haines, co-directors of the Center of Muslim Experience in the United States. Download Full Image

​​“In creating the vision of CME-US, we were inspired by ASU’s mission of being ‘measured not by whom we exclude, but rather by whom we include and how they succeed,’ and by its commitment to research defined by public value,” says Chad Haines, associate professor of religious studies at the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studes and co-director of CME-US. “These values connect with Islamic ethics of acceptance and working for the social good that is evident in Muslim American communities and their experiences, providing CME-US a unique opportunity to bridge diverse worlds and advance ASU’s mission.” 

In the first three years, Haines and co-director Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and professor of history in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, will work to develop a faculty- and student-led academic project and write a report on “Global Phoenix and Muslim Lives and Contributions.” The study will document the long history of Muslims in the Valley and their richly diverse cultures, along with their many contributions to making Phoenix a uniquely global city.

In addition, they plan to conduct a “Connections” seminar bringing together faculty, graduate students and journalists to work on writing about Muslims from a new perspective for wider public dissemination. All of this work will lead to the creation of a digital virtual museum on Muslim experiences in the United States.

“The Muslim contribution to world history and culture would be difficult to overstate – and the Muslim experience in the United States has helped to shape the nation,” says Jeffrey Cohen, dean of humanities. “ASU has a population of over 8,000 Muslim faculty, staff and students. They deserve to have their stories, histories and rich cultures valued and shared. Under the leadership of Dr. Haines and Dr. Saikia, CME-US will change the narrative, both locally and nationally, to ensure that the Muslim experience in the U.S. receives the attention it deserves.”

“By creating a space for students to share their own stories, both Muslim and non-Muslim students will benefit from knowing one another and learning to appreciate that socio-cultural differences can benefit improved community-building locally,” Haines ssays.

The CME-US will also highlight the diversity and creativity of Muslim Americans and their contributions to American culture by organizing events and performances. The center plans to host poetry readings and musical performances, curate exhibits documenting Muslim lives and invite Muslim stand-up comics, actors, inspirational speakers and writers to ASU for public events.

Haines and Saikia have coedited three books: “Women and Peace in the Islamic World,” “People’s Peace” and their forthcoming book, “On Othering.”

“The focus of our books is on sustainable peace forged by everyday lived ethics between people rather than the Band-Aid solutions of conflict management by international organizations that dominate the field of peace studies. We decided to focus our work on the most misrepresented group in the United States – the Muslims – and tell their story from their perspective to transform the relationship between Muslims and the wider American public,” Saikia says.

Saikia, who is Muslim by birth and a naturalized American citizen, says “at the heart of the many misconceptions of Islam are Muslim women. This needs addressing and discussing so we can transform the skewed image and show the reality of how Muslim women in America are contributing to multiple facets of American community life and well-being.”

The center will develop workshops, public lectures and community outreach to schools and local organizations to educate and advance scholarship of ASU faculty and graduate students on Amercian Muslim women.

Combining ASU’s power as the largest university in the country, the support of ASU’s administration and Arizona’s vibrant and fastest-growing local Muslim community, Saikia and Haines look forward to the work ahead.

They said their aim is to show how Muslim experiences can contribute to making the United States a more dynamic and inclusive country.

Andrea Chatwood

Communications Specialist, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

ASU researcher wins coveted fellowship from Howard Hughes Medical Institute

August 29, 2022

Jessica Warren has just received a prestigious Hanna H. Gray Fellowship, awarded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 

Warren is currently a postdoctoral researcher with the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution in the laboratory of John McCutcheon at Arizona State University. The lab’s current research includes exploration of the peculiar living arrangements of endosymbionts — organisms that reside inside other organisms, generally in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Portrait of ASU researcher Jessica Warren. Jessica Warren is a postdoctoral researcher in the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution. Download Full Image

Along with Warren, McCutcheon was also recently recognized for research excellence and selected as one of just 33 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators in 2021.

“This is an incredible opportunity from HHMI,” Warren says. “This fellowship gives me the freedom to pursue the scientific questions that I’m so passionate about, and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of this exceptional community of Hanna Gray Fellows.”

Warren studies essential features of plant cells, including chloroplasts — central components in the machinery of photosynthesis. Such structures appear to have begun as endosymbionts following the capture of a cyanobacterium approximately a billion years ago. Her research seeks to understand how the chloroplast’s bacterial structures and genetic features have been integrated into modern plant cells and how this incorporation controls plant development and physiology.

Prior to her arrival at ASU, Warren received her PhD in biological sciences from Colorado State University in 2021. Her fascination with topics in evolution dates from her high school days. Today, she uses methods in algebra, statistics and computational analysis to better understand the molecular basis for organismic change over time. Her concentration is on endosymbionts like chloroplasts as well as the mitochondrial components of eukaryotic cells.

Portrait of ASU professor John McCutcheon.

John McCutcheon was recently recognized for research excellence and selected as one of just 33 HHMI investigators in 2021.

The Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program seeks to encourage talented early career scientists who have the potential to become leaders in academic research. In particular, this program aims to recruit and retain emerging scientists who are from gender, racial, ethnic and other groups underrepresented in the life sciences, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Each fellow may receive up to $1.4 million in funding over eight years, with mentoring and active involvement within the Howard Hughes Medical Institute community.

In this two-phase program, fellows will be supported from early postdoctoral training through several years of a tenure-track faculty position. 

“I am thrilled that Jess was selected for this very prestigious award, and I look forward to our continued collaboration on all things organelles,” McCutcheon says.

The institute announced the selection of the 25 new Hanna Gray Fellows and their faculty mentors on Aug. 24.

Richard Harth

Science writer, Biodesign Institute at ASU


ASU's Michael Lynch honored with 2022 Arizona Bioscience Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement

August 29, 2022

Michael Lynch, director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution at Arizona State University, has been awarded the 2022 Arizona Bioscience Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The award is the highest honor given by Arizona’s bioscience community and is extended to an Arizonan whose body of work has made life better for people at home and around the world. Michael Lynch, director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution at Arizona State University, leans against a counter in a laboratory. For his pioneering work in the field of mechanisms of evolution at the gene, genomic, cellular and phenotypic levels, Michael Lynch is being honored with the 2022 Arizona Bioscience Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement. Download Full Image

Lynch will receive the award from the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) at the 2022 AZBio Awards ceremony Sept. 28, held at the Phoenix Convention Center. AZBio is the only statewide organization focused exclusively on growing Arizona’s bioscience industry.  

The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year, the organization honors bioindustry leaders from across the state of Arizona who represent the depth, breadth and expertise of the bioscience industry.

Lynch uncovers mechanisms of evolution at the gene, genomic, cellular and phenotypic levels, paying special attention to how mutation, random genetic drift and recombination affect evolution, using methods ranging from molecular to mathematical approaches. In addition to serving as director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution, he is also a professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences.

Lynch's pioneering research has many practical applications. These include investigations of the mechanisms influencing mutation rates and other intracellular error rates, the emergence of antibiotic resistance, organismal responses to climate change, and the development of new methods of biomass production.

He leads the world on research involving the foundational issues in evolutionary theory and explores the intricacies of cell structure and function. One of Lynch's primary objectives is to integrate evolutionary theory with cell biology, using principles from population genetics and biophysics. He is a major force in the development of neutral theories in which varying population sizes of different lineages influence mutation rates and guide the way in which genome architectures are ultimately structured.

Such research has helped expand the discipline beyond the purely adaptive explanations of genes and evolution that have dominated the field since Charles Darwin. Lynch's quantitative and theoretical insights on the mechanisms of evolution are illuminated by laboratory investigations of a range of organisms, including the microcrustacean Daphnia, the ciliate Paramecium and many diverse microbial species. To advance the emergent field of evolutionary cell biology, with major support from the National Science Foundation, Lynch and ASU colleagues Wayne Frasch, Kerry Geiler-Samerotte, Ke Hu and Jeremy Wideman recently formed the Biological Integration Institute on Mechanisms of Cellular Evolution,.

“I’m especially grateful to ASU and the Biodesign Institute in providing an optimal setting for our work and that of my colleagues. Without their generous support, this award would not have been possible,” Lynch says.

Lynch won the 2022 Genetics Society of America Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for his far-reaching and influential contributions to science. The award, one of the most prestigious in the field of genetics, is granted in honor of an individual member’s exceptional lifetime accomplishments as well as history of dedicated mentorship to fellow geneticists. The Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal is only the most recent in a string of prestigious awards earned by Lynch, which includes the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, bestowed in 2021.

Lynch is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has also served as president of the Genetics Society of America; the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution; the Society for the Study of Evolution; and the American Genetics Association. Previously, he has held faculty positions at the University of Illinois, University of Oregon and Indiana University.

In addition to over 300 publications, including many highly acclaimed papers, Lynch has written a two-volume treatise on quantitative genetics with Bruce Walsh, a professor of genetics at the University of Arizona. The first volume (1998) focuses on the genetics and analysis of quantitative traits, and the second (2018) on the evolution of quantitative traits. He presented his views on the evolution of genome structure and sequences comprehensively in his 2007 book “The Origins of Genome Architecture.” He is currently extending these ideas to the cellular level in “Evolutionary Cell Biology,” expected to be published in late 2022.

Past recipients of the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement include: 

Gordon Steere for his legacy in developing the Medtronic Tempe Campus; Roy Curtiss III, of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University for pioneering work in the fields of immunology and vaccine development; David S. Alberts, director emeritus at the Arizona Cancer Center; Raymond L. Woosley, chairman emeritus of the Critical Path Institute; George Poste, industry pioneer and founding director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University; Jeffrey Trent, head of extramural research on the Human Genome Project, founding president and director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen); Daniel D. Von Hoff, of TGen and the HonorHealth Research and Innovation Institute, a pioneer and world leader in translational medicine and in accelerating novel drug discoveries from the laboratory to cancer treatments in clinical trials; Gholam Peyman, the inventor of LASIK surgery; Marvin Slepian, medical device innovator and founding director of the Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation, University of Arizona; Thomas M. Grogan, pioneer in the field of digital pathology and founder of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.; and The Honorable Jane Dee Hull, the Arizona governor whose vision and commitment were instrumental in setting Arizona on the path to become a leader in health innovation.

Richard Harth

Science writer, Biodesign Institute at ASU


New ASU theater technical director seeks to build relationships, mentor students

August 26, 2022

Heather “Digger” Feeney will be joining the faculty of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University as clinical associate professor of technical direction. Feeney has been working with students over the past year as a lecturer at ASU. 

“We are thrilled to have attracted Digger Feeney to this position,” said Heather Landes, director of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “She brings 18 years of professional industry and creative experience, as well as 12 years of college teaching experience to the program, and we know she will positively impact our students.” Portrait of ASU Clinical Associate Professor Digger Feeney. “I like being a part of the storytelling in this tangible, environmental and magical way,” Heather “Digger” Feeney said of being a technical director and scene designer. Download Full Image

Feeney said students in technical theater get experience not only in building, but also in organization, communication and budgeting. 

“I was always drawn to the fact that all of this is really useful knowledge,” Feeney said. “It makes you a really well-rounded person.”

Prior to coming to Arizona, Feeney was the technical director and educator at DeSales University. She received an MFA from the University of North Carolina and was an assistant technical director at the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. She was also the lead welder and rigger for eight years at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. 

Most recently, Feeney served as the scenic designer and technical director of a yearlong immersive theater experience at TheaterWorks in Peoria, Arizona. She won a 2021 BroadwayWorld Phoenix Award for her work. 

Technical directors help bring to life the scenic design within production time and budget constraints. It’s a hands-on job that requires attention to detail, good communication skills and creativity. 

“I like being a part of the storytelling in this tangible, environmental and magical way,” Feeney said. “When the playwright presents a problem that I need to solve, I get really excited.” 

In an academic setting, her approach will continue to be hands-on as she mentors students.  

“This is very solidly a mentorship role,” Feeney said. “I like to work side by side with students and then give them free rein to make mistakes and recover from them.”

Feeney said she loves watching how her students grow in confidence and ability. Often students come in with little or no experience. 

“When they build something for the first time and it works or it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be, the satisfaction and pride on their faces is so fulfilling,” she said. “I just really like going on that journey with them.”

Feeney credits her parents for always supporting her passion for theater and said she enjoys sharing that passion with students.  

“I want students to know that we are here to support them on their journey toward a career,” she said. “I want them to know this is a relationship for a lifetime. I’m going to be as invested as they are.”

Lacy Chaffee

Media and communications coordinator, School of Music, Dance and Theatre


Thunderbird School welcomes record-breaking cohort of students

This year's Master of Global Management cohort hails from nearly 30 countries

August 26, 2022

This fall, the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University welcomes the next generation of future global leaders and managers and marks the start of the semester with a record-breaking cohort.

From Aug. 14–17, students in the Master of Global Management program, Thunderbird's flagship degree, arrived at the newly opened, state-of-the-art 110,000 square-foot F. Francis and Dionne Najafi Thunderbird Global Headquarters in downtown Phoenix. Group of students pose for a photo at Thunderbird School of Global Management during Foundations, Thunderbird's new student orientation. Students celebrate their first week at Thunderbird School of Global Management during Foundations, Thunderbird's new student orientation. Download Full Image

Students participated in Thunderbird's new student orientation, Foundations, where they met faculty, staff and other students before classes started. This year's Master of Global Management cohort hails from nearly 30 countries, including India, China, Mexico, Taiwan, Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia. 

Over the last few years, Thunderbird students have fostered a sense of community through Foundations, and are encouraged to network and collaborate throughout the week's events. Some of the more anticipated events and sessions included ThunderOlympics and learning about the Thunderbird Mystique, which are both part of Thunderbird's time-honored traditions.

Thunderbird's excellence and impact have also been accelerated by its increasingly diverse community of students, where varied experiences and perspectives help prepare students for successful careers in a globally-connected world. 

Tallin Speek, a Barrett, The Honors College student, is currently enrolled in Thunderbird’s accelerated master's program, earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical systems engineering from ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering while concurrently pursuing a Master of Global Management degree.

"I enrolled in Thunderbird's (Master of Global Management) program to gain the business and communication skills needed to operate internationally and, more importantly, expand my global perspective and network," he says. "Being immersed in a program with an international cohort and faculty offers me the invaluable skills to work globally and the social connections to travel anywhere in the world with colleagues I met from class."

Incoming students also participated in the Opening Flag Ceremony, Thunderbird's most unique and cherished tradition. Students, representing different countries from around the world, present their flags and provide a short statement about their country.

The fall 2022 Master of Global Management cohort is the most diverse and international cohort in Thunderbird's recent history, with 69% of the class coming from a country outside of the United States. Last year, the fall 2021 cohort consisted of 43% international, resulting in an increase in international enrollment by 26%. 

From fall 2018 — which was Director General and Dean Sanjeev Khagram's first semester at Thunderbird — to fall 2021, overall student enrollment at Thunderbird increased by 63%. Within the last year, overall enrollment has increased by an additional 32%.

"I am deeply humbled and proud of the incredible work of our faculty and staff in attracting and captivating the world's brightest minds, all while embracing our global mindset and delivering programs that prepare our students for successful careers around the world," Khagram says. "Our history and evolution over the last 75 years is nothing short of extraordinary. As we welcome our incoming and returning students, we have never been more excited and hopeful about where we will go, what we will do and whom we will impact for generations to come."

As one of the world's most diverse and truly global business and management schools, both incoming and current students are part of a very unique ecosystem, the Thunderbird Family, and are encouraged to find their niche and forge a path to enact positive change in their local and global communities.

A recent Master of Global Management graduate, Diana Salas Díaz, described the value of the diversity in Thunderbird's cohorts.

"I learned how to solve problems using different perspectives," Salas Díaz says. "This was powerful for me because when you come from a different background, you have some concepts and some theories that might not be the same on other continents. In our classes, we share and exchange ideas, which is the most important learning experience anyone can have." 

Thunderbird has over 45,000 alumni in 140-plus countries around the world and regional Centers of Excellence in 15 countries, including Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Japan, China, the U.K., the Netherlands and, most recently, Colombia.

"We are honored to welcome our students back for the start of another academic year," says Sophal Ear, senior associate dean of student success and an associate professor. "We look forward to witnessing first-hand the incredible success our students will achieve here at Thunderbird and long after graduating."

Dasi Danzig

Senior Media Relations Officer, Thunderbird School of Global Management


Aaron Mallory joins ASU's growing African and African American studies department

New assistant professor teaches at the School of Social Transformation

August 26, 2022

The School of Social Tranformation at Arizona State University has welcomed Aaron Mallory as an assistant professor of African and African American studies.

The former Florida State University professor specializes in the Black experience, LBGTQ communities, and how racism, sexism and gender are foundational to the production of space.
 Portrait of Aaron Mallory, ASU assistant professor of African and African American studies Aaron Mallory, assistant professor of African and African American studies at ASU's School of Social Transformation Download Full Image

The school sat down with Mallory to discuss suprising lessons in his professional journey and what he intends to bring to school.

Question: Please introduce yourself; where are you from?

Answer: My name is Dr. Aaron Mallory, I'm from Houston, Texas, and spent most of my 20s on the West Coast.

Q: Can you tell us about your professional and academic background?

A: I have a Bachelor of Arts in political economy from the Evergreen State College in Washington, and I got my PhD in geography with a minor in feminist studies from the University of Minnesota. Previously, I was an assistant professor of geography and African American studies at Florida State University. 

Q: What’s something you learned during your professional or academic journey that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I’ve learned that being a welcoming person goes a long way in professional settings. There is something about holding everyone to the same standards with mutual respect that allows for great professional environments to develop. What this means is holding space for rejection and loss, while also celebrating all the wins, however small they may be.

Q: What types of social problems do you work on? Why do you think they are important? 

A: My work is concerned with how society comes to know and understand Black queer communities in the South. I am interested in how geography functions to limit or expand how Black queer communities are understood. This is important given that under systems of oppression, marginalized communities are both the subject of harassment but are also the key to societal change. It’s amazing to see how social change comes from marginalized communities, which benefits everyone.

Q: Why do you think these problems exist?

A: I believe marginalization exists due to our inability to deal with the historical legacies of slavery, heteropatriarchy and settler colonialism in society.

Q: How did you become involved in this type of work? What inspired you to continue working for social change?

A: My parents were autoworkers from Detroit, Michigan. As young adults, during the rise of the Black Power movement, they were instilled with a sense of pride in being Black and helping others. I took this to heart as I worked with autonomous groups in Los Angeles during my 20s and did youth organizing work alongside providing workshops on toxic masculinity. It was from these experiences where I really wanted to pursue being a professor to help college students meet their career goals and instill the same sense of purpose my parents gave me growing up.

Q: What are some of the approaches and methods you use in your work and teaching?

A: I am a humanities-centered social scientist that uses archival research alongside geographic information systems, critical theory and ethnography to answer questions around Black queer communities’ relationships to spaces, places and landscapes. In the classroom, I am very big on popular education and Black feminist pedagogies where we use our lived experiences as a tools to understand class material.

Q: What are some of the challenges you face in your work?

A: Some challenges I face are around missing data or missing information in my work. I do a lot of archive and data collection around Black queer life in the United States South, and it’s hard to track everything down to fill in gaps.

Q: What organizations or individuals outside of ASU do you interact with?

A: I work with harm reduction, 2SLGBTQIAAn expansion of the LGBTQ acronym that includes two-spirit, intersex and asexual. and other similarly aligned social justice groups. 

Q: Do you consider yourself an activist? Why or why not?

A: I do not! I feel that activists are on the front lines trying to bring folks together for campaign goals or other efforts. As an academic, to paraphrase the great Dr. Joy James, I am more of a protector of knowledge who is a resource for activists doing the critical work.

Q: What are ways that people can take effective action for change in the community?

A: Believe that things are terrible but that things can change! Find people you want to change things with. Be accountable to those people!

Q: What are you most excited to bring to SST?

A: I am really excited about digital humanities work around mapping missing or unknown places. I am excited to learn from students and all the great scholars in SST.  

Q: What advice do you have for students?

A: Find your people. Work to find joy in all the good and bad that higher education offers.

Marketing Content Specialist, Graduate College

Public affairs professor to learn about academic leadership from the inside as Watts College's 1st Dean's Fellow

Angel Molina will spend 9 months working with current leaders, conducting projects to advance college's mission

August 26, 2022

College deans are administrators by definition, but they are educators first, who earlier in their careers decided to pivot into academic leadership.

While many knew what they were getting into, other potential leaders may not be aware of the opportunities and the challenges associated with such a path, says Dean Cynthia Lietz of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Lietz established the Dean’s Fellowship program this fall to “create a stronger pipeline to leadership positions for faculty members who seek to know more about service in college administration. Portrait of Angel Molina, ASU School of Public Affairs assistant professor. Associate Professor Angel Molina of ASU's School of Public Affairs is the first Dean's Fellow in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Photo courtesy ASU Download Full Image

Faculty members chosen for the fellowship will exhibit a commitment to the college’s mission as well as have an interest in leadership, Lietz says.

“They do not have to have demonstrated experience. This is for those who have had little to no exposure already,” she says.

For the inaugural fellow, Lietz said she selected a mid-career Watts College professor who will spend the next nine months becoming better oriented and informed about “what leadership looks like from a day-to-day perspective.”

During the fall semester, Assistant Professor Angel Molina of the School of Public Affairs will shadow the college’s executive leadership team and learn about many leadership roles and responsibilities, Lietz says. In the spring semester, Molina will manage two to three projects to help further the college’s mission to build more vibrant, healthy, equitable communities.

“Dr. Molina is a talented faculty member who aspires to move into leadership as he progresses in his career. He is interested and open to learning more about leadership, committed to the mission of the college and passionate about equity and inclusion,” Lietz says. “All of these things would be expected of future fellows. I am excited to work in collaboration with him this year as we develop the program together.”

Lietz says that while Molina serves in the fellowship, she will learn ways to best structure the pilot program in the future, when other mid-career faculty from across the college will have the opportunity to apply for the fellowship.

Molina said administration in higher education is something he has always wanted to learn more about.

“It’s always fascinated me, not from a research perspective, but from a practical perspective,” he says. “I’ve always thought about how I might want to contribute in that way.”

Molina said while at ASU he has had several opportunities to interact with the college leadership, primarily in service opportunities in areas such as inclusion.

To transition from faculty to administrator is a foundation-building experience, Molina says.

“Ideally it’s a chance to develop a soft foundation, so that when the opportunity comes up in my career to enter administration, I’ll be better positioned to hit the ground running,” he says. “I’ll have more perspective. To me, that’s the beauty of the opportunity.”

Molina said that for him, being a leader means having the chance to more deeply fulfill his mission of public service.

“If I’m ever given the opportunity to take on a leadership position, it will be for me to have some sort of positive impact on our college, ASU and the broader community the university serves,” he says.

Mark J. Scarp

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


Arizona PBS, Cronkite School collectively nominated for 36 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards

August 26, 2022

The Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy Awards recently announced nominations for its 45th annual ceremony. Arizona PBS and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University collectively received 36 Emmy and Student Production Award nominations.

“It’s inspiring to see Cronkite and Arizona PBS be recognized with so many nominations,” Cronkite School Dean Battinto Batts Jr. says. “This is a great honor and serves as another indication that Cronkite is one of the best places in the world to study journalism and mass communication. I congratulate all students and members of the Arizona PBS team who contributed to the nominated projects.” People seated in front of several TV monitors in a control room. Download Full Image

In total, 28 Cronkite students received 25 Student Production Award nominations in 11 categories. Arizona PBS pulled in 11 nominations, with five going to “Check, Please! Arizona,” the station’s local restaurant review series, and four going to Central Sound, the station’s audio production team that records Arizona’s music for the world to hear.

“Although we don’t do what we do for awards and accolades, I’m thrilled to see the Arizona PBS team recognized for their hard work,” says Adrienne Fairwell, general manager of Arizona PBS. “A year ago, this team was in the early stages of restarting production activities that had been previously halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I couldn’t be prouder of how far they’ve come, nor could I be more excited for the direction we’re headed and the future that lies ahead for this station.”

The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honors the art and science of individuals working in television with Emmy Awards, and covers the regions of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and southeastern California. The awards ceremony will take place in Phoenix on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Arizona PBS and Cronkite nominations are listed below. To view a complete list of all nominees, visit

Arizona PBS nominations:

  • Interview/Discussion Content: “Check, Please! Arizona: BBQ, Burritos and Bread.”
  • Interview/Discussion Content: “Check, Please! Arizona: Breakfast, Brunch and Dinner.”
  • Interview/Discussion Content: “Check, Please! Arizona: PBS Picks.”
  • Interview/Discussion Content: “Check, Please! Arizona: The (College) Kids’ Table.”
  • Public Service Announcement Campaign: “Delta Dental Kids Campaign.”
  • Program Promotion Single Spot / Image: “Check, Please! Arizona.”
  • Editor Short Form Content: Timothy Larsen.
  • Audio Live or Post Produced: “Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana,” Central Sound.
  • Audio Live or Post Produced: “From Edge to Hope,” Central Sound.
  • Musical Composition / Arrangement: “What I Miss the Most,” Central Sound.
  • Musical Composition / Arrangement: “From Edge to Hope,” Central Sound.

Cronkite School student nominations:

  • College Newscast: “Cronkite News,” produced by Sarah Oven, Kelly Donohue and Tyler Wegleitner.
  • College News Report – Serious or Light: “Eating Disorders Increase,” by Faith Abercrombie.
  • College News Report – Serious or Light: “Rodeo Returns After Wrangling with COVID,” by Zachary Larsen.
  • College Multimedia Journalist: “Joe Jackson,” by Emily Bernstein.
  • College Multimedia Journalist: “Bee Theft,” by Karen Marroquin.
  • College Multimedia Journalist: “Randolph Wins,” by Faith Abercrombie.
  • College Multimedia Journalist: “Chaparral Swimmer Heroics,” by Zachary Larsen.
  • College Multimedia Journalist: “Rez Ball Returns,” by Amna Subhan.
  • College Video Essay: “Cemetery Preservation,” by Samantha Chow.
  • College Video Essay: “Hope Coach Drivers,” by Miles Green.
  • College Non-Fiction Short Form: “The Last Remaining Jaguar,” by Filip Raketic, Andrea Polanco, Elena Kortmann and Anna Gniwotta.
  • College Non-Fiction Long Form: “Red Light District: Adam Stewart Story,” by Michayla Lopez and Mike McQuade.
  • College Public Affairs / Community Service: “Case By Case,” by Kamilah Williams.
  • College Public Affairs / Community Service: “Point in Time,” by Raven Payne.
  • College Sports Story or Segment: “Supercross Course Construction,” by Andrew Kurland.
  • College Sports Story or Segment: “Xavier Prep Softball Dedication,” by Benjamin Garcia.
  • College Sports Story or Segment: “Boxing to Beat Parkinson’s,” by Ryan Blank.
  • College Sports Story or Segment: “Basketball in a Non-Hearing World,” by Talia Massi.
  • College Sports Story or Segment: “Athletes in Conflict,” by Conor McGill, Zach Larson, Ryan Blank, Ike Everard and Austin Ford.
  • College Sports Program: “Cronkite Sports Report,” produced by Ike Everard.
  • College Talent – News or Sports: Andrew Kurland, anchor/reporter.
  • College Talent – News or Sports: Evan Lis, weather and sustainability reporter.
  • College Talent – News or Sports: Payton Major, weather.
  • College Writer: “Corbin’s Legacy,” by Kamilah Williams.
  • College Writer: “Spaces of Opportunity,” by Andrea Villalobos.

Forbes names ASU as top employer in Arizona

August 25, 2022

Arizona State University has been named one of America’s Best Employers By State for 2022 by Forbes. 

In partnership with Statista, a global provider of rankings and large-scale polling, Forbes surveyed 70,000 U.S. employees across 25 industry sectors and considered employee experiences such as working conditions, salary, potential for growth and diversity. ASU charter sign on the Tempe campus Download Full Image

Audrey Dumouchel-Jones, ASU’s interim vice president and chief human resources officer, said the award showcases ASU’s reputation as a company that provides excellent employment opportunities at the local and national level. 

"Our employees drive ASU’s standard of excellence. This award reflects our talented workforce supporting our ASU Charter and striving to build an inclusive and supportive culture for our students and community," she said. "We are proud to offer all Arizonans exciting development opportunities and a chance to grow their careers." 

In addition to the career advancement opportunities at ASU, other benefits include 12 weeks of paid parental leave (expanded from six in July 2019), adoption and fertility subsidies, paid time off for volunteer service and an emergency child and elder care program.

Of the thousands of companies eligible for this recognition, only a select few are awarded in each state. The award may also reflect Arizona’s rapid growth in the last several years. According to 2020 census data, Phoenix grew in population at a rate of 11.2% (1.45 million people in 2010 to about 1.6 million in 2020), while Arizona has five of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the U.S., including Queen Creek, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Maricopa and Goodyear. 

Forbes and Statista collected direct recommendations from employees as well as indirect recommendations from workers in the industry. Since the employee experience can vary greatly depending on an organization’s size and the individual worker, the rankings look at large and midsize employers. Beginning in 2015 with America’s Best Employers, Forbes and Statista have since expanded the coverage to include those employers considered best for diversity, women and new graduates. 

Krista Hinz

Copy Writer, ASU Media Relations