Winner of prestigious Pickering Fellowship determined to improve his life through education

A first-generation college student, Angel Orozco credits his accomplishment to School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

January 29, 2022

Angel Orozco is paving an outstanding path of academic success, service to the country and financial stability for his future.

“I grew up in a community of color and in a low-income area,” he said. “My mother didn't graduate high school, no one in my family had a college education and my father was in prison when I was young and I was separated from him. I knew that the only way to better my life was to get an education. My family encouraged me, but I knew that no one would help me pay for it.” Pickering fellow Angel Orozco sitting in a classroom, gesturing with his hands while speaking. Angel Orozco is the 10th Arizona State University student to ever win the prestigious Pickering Fellowship.

That is where hard work, determination and support from Arizona State University’s faculty and advisory staff come in. Orozco was recently selected as one of the 45 recipients of the competitive Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program, which will provide him with robust financial support for his graduate studies leading to a career in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. 

“This program gives me a chance to reflect greatly upon my family, provide a future for my family and serve my country,” he said, adding that being named a Pickering Fellow is a great honor.

The Pickering Fellowship Program is highly sought after, with over 1,500 applicants nationwide, and Orozco is only the 10th ASU student to ever receive the award. As a 2022 Pickering Fellow, he will receive up to $37,500 annually for tuition and expenses for a two-year master’s degree in fields related to foreign service. He will also have two summer internships — one at a domestic office of the Department of State in Washington, D.C., and one overseas at a U.S. embassy or consulate — and mentoring from a foreign service officer. 

Orozco is pursuing two degrees at ASU — civic and economic thought and leadership, as well as business with a focus on global politics. The successful journey, he says, is a result of his experience as a student in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL).

“Never would I have even known about these opportunities if it wasn’t for the close-knit culture of SCETL,” Orozco said. “The fact that the professors really care and want me to succeed has been one of the most important pieces to my success in this process and my success as a student overall.”

Video by Vanessa Reynaga

Orozco is following in the footsteps of his SCETL colleague Cameron Vega, who was awarded the fellowship in 2021. With its dedication to teaching classical liberal education, and guided by the principles of the U.S. founders and leaders, the school is able to prepare students with a solid education for public service and leadership roles in civil society. 

“SCETL teaches its students how to be leaders, not just political scientists or anything. It teaches them how to be leaders to help make a better world,” Orozco said. “That level of commitment and pursuit of truth and civic discussion has just been something that I've loved and has brought me here and kept me here. I definitely have enjoyed every day that I've been able to be a part of SCETL and what it has to offer.”

The school combines philosophy, history, economics and political science to examine great ideas and solve contemporary problems. Courses such as "Great Ideas in Politics and Ethics," "Justice and Virtue," "Politics and Literature” and "American Political Economy” prepare students for careers in business, law, public office, philanthropy, engineering and journalism, among other fields.

“Angel is the ideal Pickering Fellow,” said Carol McNamara, associate director for public programs at SCETL. “He is an excellent student and a natural leader, and we take pride in helping him earn the skills and knowledge to prepare for his successful career in the foreign service.” 

Orozco is currently applying for graduate school programs. He will graduate in this spring and begin orientation in June.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


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ASU's commitment to innovation front and center at Arizona Capitol

January 27, 2022

Local lawmakers get firsthand glimpse into faculty and student work impacting the future of state and globe

Faculty and student work may start in the classrooms at Arizona State University, but the commitment to innovation reaches far beyond brick and mortar buildings, spanning a variety of multidisciplinary fields.

Advances in medicine and engineering, space exploration, using dog DNA to solve crimes and reviving civic studies in K–12 classrooms were just some of the topics and projects on display during ASU Day at the Capitol on Jan. 25. 

The annual event gives local and state lawmakers an up-close glimpse into that innovation. Dozens of academic units, faculty and students from across ASU showcased world-class research and ingenuity in partnerships and projects that will power not only the state’s future, but the global economy and the future of learning. 

“As a two-time graduate, first-generation student and current legislator, I am filled with so much pride for everything that Arizona State University does,” said Rep. Marcelino Quiñonez. “It’s been the number one university in innovation for seven years and counting. The NewSpace exploration and this idea of how space works and what’s our relationship with it, I think is incredible,” he said.

Representative Marcelino Quiñonez chats with Alumni Association President and Senior Vice President and Secretary of the University Christine Wilkinson at ASU Day at the Capitol

Arizona Rep. Marcelino Quiñonez chats with Christine Wilkinson, ASU Alumni Association president and senior vice president and secretary of the university, outside the state Capitol near downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, Jan. 25, as part of ASU Day at the Capitol. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

The School of Earth and Space Exploration and ASU NewSpace were there representing their advances in space exploration. Last year’s Feb. 18 landing of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars is just one example of ASU’s work in space. The rover — which carries the ASU-led mast-mounted camera system "Mastcam-Z" — will help scientists learn more about water that may have once existed within Mars’ Jezero Crater. 

Back down on Earth, another area of exploration beyond borders is within ASU’s School of Transborder Studies, where faculty like Associate Professor Francisco Lara-Valencia study socio-environmental vulnerability, urban health, regional development, binational planning and the role of community networks on sustainable development at the U.S.-Mexico border (specifically along the Arizona-Nogales border) and several other borderlands in South America.

“We need to develop economically and socially, yes of course,” Lara-Valencia said. “But the issue is also environmental, on both sides. Our team is developing a system of indicators with data from both sides of the border that track how much progress has been made in the area in terms of income, poverty, education and accessibility to water,” he said.

The strategic plan Lara-Valencia and his colleagues are developing is bilingual, English and Spanish. 

Another partnership among the humanities represented at the event involved the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Center for Political Thought and Leadership. These institutions partner to bring civic debates to campus and civic education back into K–12 classrooms. 

“We are partnering with local school districts to emphasize the importance of our democracy and how it runs, as well as teach the basics of both state and federal laws,” said Marlene Rivas, events coordinator at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and an alumna of the W. P. Carey School of Business.

To foster even further dialogue, the schools will partner to launch a new podcast called "Rebuilding Arizona Civics" on Feb. 14, the anniversary of Arizona’s founding as a state. Guests will include ASU educators, Arizona teachers and lawmakers, who will discuss how local laws are affecting the education system and how they can improve their classrooms.

“We're excited to continue our mission and be able to bring that civic debate to not only K–12 students, but also our ASU community through our lecture and event series, where we discuss how to handle things like cancel culture and fake news,” Rivas said. 

Other colleges and partners represented included the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, who had several tables with demonstrations, the College of Global FuturesCollege of Health SolutionsKyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison InstituteNew College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center

While the new technology of personalized DNA testing results has grown in popularity the last decade, use cases for testing animal and canine DNA can also be useful in solving local crimes, and that’s exactly what Professor Sreetharan Kanthaswamy, from the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences in the New College, does in his labs, where he teaches genetics and forensic science. 

“Instead of getting human DNA, which is more sensitive and more difficult, we can train our students with dog DNA,” Kanthaswamy said. “It is just like 23andMe, but it's using a canine based on 18 genetic markers.” 

Kanthaswamy said his students initially worked with nationwide canine samples, mostly from the American Kennel Club, but that working with samples from a local level provides much more relevant information for criminal investigations in the greater Phoenix area and Arizona in general. He also said using animal DNA samples can assist in determining authenticity in food labeling. For example, to determine if a meatball is really beef and not from another animal. 

ASU President Michael Crow learns more on how students at the New College use dog DNA to help aid in local criminal investigations

President Michael Crow talks with a policymaker outside the state Capitol near downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, Jan. 25, as part of ASU Day at the Capitol. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

One of the biggest challenges humans face around the globe, but especially in desert climates like Arizona, is water. Rights, use and general resources are what policy analysts and researchers like Susan Craig and Sarah Porter do at ASU's Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute. 

The team at the Kyl Center created the Arizona Water Blueprint. It is an interactive, data-driven map of Arizona’s water resources and infrastructure. 

“We developed this tool so that we can have better discussions, so that we have better solutions,” said Craig, a water policy analyst at the center.

The map and website provide a tool for holistic thinking to inform policy decisions and good water stewardship.

“When you have the opportunity to walk around and talk with students and faculty, you really see how ASU never stops thinking about how the world can be better,” Rep. Quiñonez said. 

Top image: Doctoral student Alan Ehret of the STAM Center (Secure, Trusted, and Assured Microelectronics) talks about the small supercomputer, with 40 dual-core processor boards networked together, outside the state Capitol near downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, Jan. 25, as part of the ASU Day at the Capitol. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Krista Hinz

Copy Writer , ASU Media Relations

MLK Day Lecture to focus on legacy of racism in America

Lara Bazelon and Jason Riley to discuss systemic racism Jan. 18

January 11, 2022

What do we mean when we use the term “systemic racism," and how does it differ from individual prejudice and legal discrimination? Do we oversimplify societal challenges by attributing all inequities to racism? 

This will be the topic of the conversation between Lara Bazelon and Jason Riley during the 2022 annual MLK Day Lecture, co-sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and by the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. The lecture will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the Memorial Union (Ventana Room) on Arizona State University's Tempe campus. Lara Bazelon and Jason Riley will discuss systemic racism in an MLK lecture at ASU on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Download Full Image

Bazelon is a professor of law and the director of the Criminal and Juvenile Justice and the Racial Justice clinical programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Wall Street Journal opinion columnist.

This event is also the second lecture in the "Can We Talk Honestly About Race" series and part of the Civic Discourse Project (2021-2022): Renewing America’s Civic Compact.

The event is open to the public, and light refreshments will be served. Registration is available here

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


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New ASU certificate to prepare future leaders in public, private sectors

December 17, 2021

School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership launches Valley's 1st certificate in philosophy, politics and economics

Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is partnering with other ASU units to launch a certificate in philosophy, politics and economics, a multidisciplinary collaboration that will expand students’ perspectives about moral, economic and political issues.

Through the program, students will acquire conceptual tools to understand and address major problems in the world today. 

“Pressing social problems, from institutional discrimination and sweatshops to criminal justice reform and food deserts, are more complex than they seem,” said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. “Obvious solutions often create unintended consequences that compound the original problem. Environmental problems such as climate change, for example, have both a scientific and a societal aspect.

"Looking only at the physical sciences and ignoring economic and social knowledge means looking at only part of the problem. Good intentions are not enough. We have to understand how political and social systems work to more adequately address complex problems.”

By integrating the approaches of philosophy, politics and economics, this certificate offers a holistic understanding of such issues and of possible solutions. Ultimately, the certificate will prepare students for leadership in the public or private sectors.

“These courses will complement their degrees and add value to their careers in public office, law, business, philanthropy, engineering or journalism, among others,” said Ross Emmett, professor of economic thought in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and director of the school’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty.

In this program, students will develop analytical skills and concepts through a course in each of the three disciplines  of philosophy, politics and economics and will have the opportunity to integrate them through both an introductory and a capstone course.

Unlocking complex issues through a multidisciplinary approach

Students can enroll now through Jan. 16 in the gateway course for spring 2022, CEL 350 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Section C: Class #34665), taught by Professor Andrew Humphries from 3–4:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“This course gives students insight into the beautiful and often counterintuitive workings of social systems. It reveals profound practical and moral implications of these new perspectives,” Humphries said.

The certificate is a collaboration between four ASU units: the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, the School of Politics and Global Studies, the Department of Economics in the W. P. Carey School of Business, and the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. The Center for the Study of Economic Liberty offers further programming for students and faculty in the philosophy, politics and economics program.

Learn more about the certificate, enrollment requirements and courses.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications , School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


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The College recognizes academic excellence with fall 2021 Dean's Medalists

December 13, 2021

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will recognize its highest-achieving students from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities at the fall 2021 convocation.

Each semester, departments and schools within The College select outstanding students who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to academic excellence during their time at ASU. These students will be awarded a prestigious Dean’s Medal in honor of their scholastic achievements.

Meet the outstanding fall 2021 Dean’s Medalist awardees from The College.

Alma Atassi

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Dean’s Medal: School of Politics and Global Studies
Major: Global studies
Certificate: Cross-sector leadership

Atassi has a passion for global studies, public policy and social sciences. During her time at ASU, her interests in international human rights and justice led her to take on a variety of research, volunteer and internship roles.

Atassi spent over 150 hours volunteering with the International Rescue Committee, providing intake services and translation for asylum seekers. She also spent one month taking intensive Spanish language and culture classes in Madrid. She served as an intern for the Arizona House of Representatives and as a student researcher for the Decision Center for Educational Excellence.

After graduation, she plans to pursue graduate school in public policy. She aspires to start a career as a policy analyst.

Sydney Campton

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Dean’s Medal: School of International Letters and Cultures
Majors: German, management
Certificates: Cross-sector leadership, international business studies

Campton is​​ a Barrett, The Honors College student, with an interest in international business, migration and gender studies. Her interest in learning and comparing different cultures was reflected in her honors thesis about bias against women in the workplace in Germany. 

As a member of the Next Generation Service Corps, she was able to deepen her understanding of global sociopolitical and economic challenges. During her time at ASU she also served on the board of ASU German Devils and helped direct outreach efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic by creating a new platform for interactive online activities.

After graduation, Campton will be working as an account representative for CDW. In the future, she aspires to return to school to earn a master’s degree in business administration.

Anthony Child-Rinearson

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Dean’s Medal: School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Major: Philosophy (morality, politics and law)

Child-Rinearson is an ASU Online student interested in philosophy. He is a transfer student who attended community college in California, which was where he discovered his passion for philosophy.

After taking a break from school to work various jobs including in fast food and as a courier, bartender and server, he decided he was ready for a change. This led him to leave his job as an assistant restaurant manager, take a road trip across the country and enroll at ASU. He continued to balance work and school throughout his time working toward earning his degree.

After graduation, Child-Rinerson plans on looking for remote jobs as a paralegal or in sales and is considering continuing his higher education journey.

Kathryn Clark

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Dean’s Medal: School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership
Major: Civic and economic thought and leadership
Minor: Spanish

Clark is a Barrett student who is interested in the study of ideas about human nature and psychology. She has been closely involved with the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership during the program’s founding years by being an ambassador for the program at ASU and beyond. 

She served as a Senate page during the 2019 Arizona legislative session and was an intern with the Office of Mayor Kate Gallego. There, she researched and drew up plans to address public mental health issues. In addition, she completed an intensive service project in India, interned in Washington, D.C., and participated in numerous summer academic programs, including the Hertog Foundation program in political philosophy. 

Clark is currently working as an academic programs manager for the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington, D.C.

Megan Corr

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Dean’s Medal: School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Major: Global health

Corr’s passion for serving vulnerable communities has led her to an interest in maternal and child health epidemiology. During her time at ASU, she actively pursued experiential learning opportunities to enhance her understanding of global and public health. 

She worked as an intern for ASU’s COVID-19 case-investigation research team and as a communicable-disease specialist at the Wellness Council of Arizona, a nonprofit community health center in Yuma, Arizona. She also volunteered at a number of organizations including Planned Parenthood and the Aid to Women shelter.

After graduation, Corr plans to pursue a master's degree in public health. As she completes her lactation-consultant certification through ASU and pursues her master’s degree, she hopes to conduct epidemiological research on the health outcomes of breastfeeding within Latino populations.

Sharon Enck

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Dean’s Medal: Department of English
Major: English (creative writing)
Certificate: Nonfiction writing and publishing

Enck is a transfer student with a passion for creative writing. She is an active member and leader in many literary communities at ASU.

During her time at ASU, Enck served as a student editor at Superstition Review, where she edited creative nonfiction submissions and mentored other students; at Canyon Voices, where she was a poetry reader and social media manager for the magazine; and at Spellbinding Shelf, ASU's student book blog, where she has worked as a staff writer since 2019 and currently serves as editor-in-chief. She has also worked on campus, most recently at the Student Success Center, where she mentors other undergraduate students. 

After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate certificate in nonfiction writing and publishing and a master's degree in narrative studies. She aspires to one day work in the publishing field and hopes to publish her own collection of short stories.

Riley Herrmann

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Dean’s Medal: School of Social Transformation
Majors: Justice studies, political science

Herrmann is passionate about addressing inequities within the legal and criminal justice systems. She has been an active participant in campus community life, participating in ASU’s Pre-Law Society, Pi Sigma Alpha, Phi Beta Kappa and the Young Democrats of ASU. 

She served as a group leader for a qualitative research project that worked with community organizations to understand their met and unmet needs related to COVID-19. As part of the project, she organized focus-group-based data collection with members of Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health to identify core issues their constituents faced. 

After graduation, she hopes to attend law school.

Jordan Krussell

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Dean’s Medal: Department of Economics
Major: Economics
Certificate: Applied business data analytics

Krussell is passionate about economics and is part of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a partnership that creates an opportunity for Starbucks employees to earn their bachelor's degree through ASU Online.

In addition to working as a Starbucks partner, Krussell served as a research assistant for Professor Bart Hobijn, where he gathered economic data from various databases in preparation for a presentation at the 2021 Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium. He also worked as a teacher’s assistant, where he monitored an online discussion forum for introductory economics courses and helped answer student questions on modern economic topics.

Megan McGroarty

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Dean’s Medal: School of Earth and Space Exploration
Major: Earth and space exploration (astrobiology and biogeosciences)
Minor: German
Certificate: Sustainable food systems

McGroarty is a Barrett student who has been actively engaged in research at the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

She served as a research volunteer in several labs at ASU including in Associate Professor Heather Throop’s Dryland Ecosystems Research Lab, where she designed and implemented a distributed field study that assesses abiotic controls over biogeochemical processes that influence the decay of organic material in deserts in the Western U.S. She worked in other roles within the School of Earth and Space Exploration including as a docent, a teaching aide and a mentor. In the summer of 2019, she studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and France.

McGroarty was also involved with a number of student organizations including Devils Pitching In, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, ASU German Devils and Daredevils Skydiving club.

She plans to continue her studies in graduate school next fall.

Noemi Rodriguez

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Dean’s Medal: Department of Psychology
Major: Psychology
Minor: Family and human development

Rodriguez is a transfer Barrett student who is the first in her family to receive a college degree. She is passionate about promoting the mental health of children, adolescents and their families.

During her time at ASU, she served as a teaching assistant in the Learning and Development Lab, where she assisted in transcribing and coding picture books. She worked closely with graduate students on the project to develop the correct codes to conduct analyses of the transcripts. 

She was also a team member on the ASU SIBS Project, where she worked with children and their families to promote socio-emotional development, and served as a teaching assistant for a course on aging and the life course. In addition, she interned at Mesa High School, where she worked one-on-one with high school students to help them navigate the challenges they face.

After graduation, she plans on attending graduate school. She aspires to work with children in a clinical environment.

Brielle Ruscitti

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Dean’s Medal: School of Life Sciences
Major: Biological sciences (biology and society)
Minor: Global health
Certificate: Evolutionary medicine

Ruscitti is a Barrett student with an enthusiasm for research, global health and evolutionary medicine. She worked on research projects in several labs including the Neisewander Addiction Research Laboratory, where she studied the effects of receptors’ roles in substance use addiction, specifically cocaine addiction, and she based her honors thesis on this research.

She founded SOLUR Bridge, a student-led organization dedicated to helping its members build the skills and knowledge to get involved in research, gain lab experience and build a community of researchers. She presented her research at two local conferences and will be co-presenting a poster at this year’s Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago.

She also worked with several student organizations including the Barrett Leadership and Service Team, where she served as president, and Changemaker Central, where she served as a change agent lead.

After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.

Arianna Ruth

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Dean’s Medal: Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Major: Communication
Minor: Women and gender studies

Ruth is passionate about communication and women and gender studies. She shows pride for her cultural heritage by advocating for others and taking part in marches and activities across the state to support contemporary issues of inequality.

Using the skills she has learned as a communication major, she has had great success networking, building lifelong relationships, maintaining familial closeness and navigating her way through future career steps. 

She interned at a local telecommunications company, where she worked in the human resources department. She also volunteered at organizations including Jose’s Closet, Feed My Starving Children, the Boys and Girls Club and Liberty Arts Academy.

After graduation, she plans to continue working in human resources with the company that she interned with.

Michael Sauer

Dean’s Medal: School of Molecular Sciences
Majors: Biochemistry (medicinal chemistry), computational mathematical sciences

Sauer is a double major who has a passion for biochemistry and computational mathematical sciences. 

During his time at ASU, he conducted research with Professor Mark Hayes on dielectrophoretic particle capture and bolus sequestration of COVID-19 particles in a microfluidic device. For his outstanding contributions, he has won a number of awards and scholarships from the School of Molecular Sciences.

After graduation, he will continue his education at ASU by pursuing a PhD in biochemistry.

Antonella Semaan

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Dean’s Medal: Department of Physics
Major: Biophysics

Semaan is a transfer student who is interested in biophysics. 

She worked as a research assistant in the Compact X-ray Free-Electron Laser Lab, where she developed experimental setups for X-ray phase contrast imaging experiments. Her work was integral to the lab, serving as the foundation for many projects moving forward.

Semaan also served as a volunteer for the Summer STEM Academy at Moon Mountain Elementary School and with a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Joseph Simpson

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Dean’s Medal: School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Major: Actuarial science

Simpson’s passion for actuarial science is shown through his outstanding performance in both senior and graduate-level actuarial science courses as well as his campus involvement.

He was involved in a number of research efforts including in the ACT Lab, where he performed actuarial consulting work for external companies and presented results and findings of in-depth research into elements of Medicare and Medicaid risk metrics.

He served as both president and vice president of ASU Navigators, where he organized and planned weekly club meetings. He also completed internships with Nationwide and Optumas Consulting and worked as a tutor for Community and Outreach Advocacy for Refugees, where he assisted fourth and fifth grade refugee students in math.

After graduation, Simpson plans to complete his 4+1 program from ASU and earn his master’s degree in actuarial science.

Cindy Villavicencio

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Dean’s Medal: School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Major: Geography
Certificate: Geographic information science

Villavicencio is an ASU Online student who was drawn to geography for its interdisciplinarity and the ability to leverage geographic information systems (GIS) to create solutions to environmental problems. 

Having previously earned an associate degree in humanities, a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in survey research, Villavicencio came to ASU eager to strengthen her skills while learning new ones. 

During her time at ASU she interned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she used GIS to analyze crops and precipitation. She also participated in research on rain-fed agriculture.

After graduation, Villavicencio will be working in local government with the county of San Bernardino in California as a GIS technician.

Charlotte Wall

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Dean’s Medal: T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Majors: Family and human development, psychology
Minor: Criminology and criminal justice

Wall is a Barrett student who is originally from Ireland. She is passionate about understanding barriers to psychosocial support for parents and children experiencing adversity. While at ASU she assisted in three labs, participating in several aspects of research including data collection, analysis, interviewing and qualitative coding. 

She also completed an internship at a local company that works to foster and improve social functioning of children and adults, where she gained experience in student assessment. Her honors thesis involved conducting interviews with young adults on the autism spectrum about how restaurants and stores can improve their experiences. 

After graduation, Wall plans to continue her work as a research aide for an additional semester while she applies to graduate programs. She aspires to earn her PhD in clinical psychology.

Emily Balli

Manager of marketing and communications , New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Sun Devil Battalion wins regional Ranger Challenge Competition, places 5th overall

December 2, 2021

This fall, Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Battalion participated in the Ranger Challenge Competition, a two-round varsity sport where Army ROTC teams from across the country compete in events that test mental and physical toughness. The team placed first in the regional round and fifth in the overall competition.

“I am extremely proud of the way the team came together and executed. From the beginning this team had a mindset that they would go to this event and win, and they went out and did it,” said Capt. Tyler Alavekios, an assistant professor in the Department of Military Sciences. “Nearly all the members had never competed before, so no one really knew what to expect from the event. The win validated the focus and effort our team has put into not only training the team but into how we train cadets.” The Sun Devil Ranger Challenge team poses with the battalion guidon after being named winners of the regional Ranger Challenge Competition. Photo courtesy of ASU Department of Military Sciences Download Full Image

The challenges the cadets participated in included basic rifle marksmanship, an Army physical fitness test, a written navigation test, day and night orienteering and a grenade assault course. Each team that participates is awarded points based on how well they perform in each event. 

The first round of the Ranger Challenge took place at Fort Bliss in Texas from Oct. 22–23. The Sun Devil Battalion was one of eight teams competing from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In this round, the Sun Devil Battalion placed first and was one of two teams from the region to move on to the second and final round. This was the first regional competition win for the team since 2009.

The final round was held at Camp Gruber in Oklahoma from Nov. 5–7. There, the Sun Devil Battalion placed fifth among 10 teams from Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. 

The Sun Devil Battalion’s Ranger Challenge team was made up of seven students from ASU and four from Grand Canyon University.

“In less than a week, the team quickly developed trust, confidence and cohesion to excel during their competition during physical and marksmanship events,” said Lt. Col. Erich Schneider, a professor in the Department of Military Sciences for ASU and GCU Army ROTC. 

Jack Frus, a third-year student double-majoring in civic and economic thought and leadership, and political science, with minors in history and military leadership, was part of the Sun Devil Battalion’s Ranger Challenge team and has previously participated in the Ranger Challenge. 

Jack Frus (left) and Dane McCall hold the Task Force Jicarilla Ranger Challenge Competition trophy. Photo courtesy ASU Department of Military Sciences

He said this year's competition was more than just a physical and mental challenge for him.

“Participating in the Ranger Challenge allowed me more time to hone in on my skills as a soldier and put them to the test. It also allowed me to build better camaraderie and trust with my fellow cadets,” Frus said. “My favorite part of the Ranger Challenge was the shared experience between myself and the other cadets in the challenge. We built strong bonds through intense training and rigorous competitions. In stressful situations, trusting one another is the key to success when under extreme pressure.”

Frus, who hopes to serve in the Army Special Forces and eventually hold a leadership position within the government, said participating in the Ranger Challenge has helped prepare him for his future.

“The Ranger Challenge also gave me a better understanding of basic soldiering skills that will aid me in my career,” he said. “I would recommend the Ranger Challenge to anyone who wants to serve in a combat-arms role in the Army, or even for anyone who wants to challenge themselves in a new way.”

The goals of the Ranger Challenge center on developing leaders while fostering teamwork, a sentiment that is similarly at the heart of ASU’s Army ROTC program.

“By having cadets participate in the Ranger Challenge, we increase our ability to generate quality leaders of character for our university, community, state and nation,” Schneider said. “I am confident that our cadets built trust and confidence in one another that will serve as the foundation for many more competitive teams to come in the future of the Sun Devil Battalion.” 

Emily Balli

Manager of marketing and communications, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

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ASU supports veterans as they compete for prestigious fellowships

ASU veterans get support as they pursue prestigious fellowships abroad.
November 9, 2021

Many top scholarships look for military service, and ASU advisement office helps with interviews, essays

Angel Orozco is already devoted to service by being a member of the Arizona Army National Guard. He would like to continue with a career in service, and the Arizona State University student is getting support in pursuing that.

Orozco is competing for two fellowships that would pay for his graduate education and give him a head start on a career path. And ASU’s Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarship Advisement has been an enormous help in the rigorous application process.

“I joined the Arizona Army National Guard because it was something I always wanted to do and I always had an interest in service,” said Orozco, who is pursuing two degrees at ASU — business with a focus in global politics, plus civic and economic thought and leadership.

Orozco recently found out he is a finalist for the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program and the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, both of which would pay for graduate school and require a five-year commitment to the State Department.

“Being in the foreign service would be serving in a new way, and it would be exciting to travel the world and try to make a difference in people’s lives,” he said, adding that his wife is fully supportive of moving abroad.

Although the fellowships are prestigious, the practical aspect is appealing as well.

“I was poor growing up, and I know there’s really no way for me to pay for my education on my own and that’s where these prestigious scholarships come in,” he said.

“If I can put in the work and make it happen, I can go on to do cool things, but I can’t do it alone.”

That’s where the Office of National Scholarship Advisement comes in. The office not only helps any ASU student find scholarships and fellowships that are the right fit, the staff also provides workshops and personal support with interviewing and writing the application essays.

Kyle Mox, associate dean for national scholarship advisement at ASU, said that student-veterans don’t necessarily think about applying for international fellowships, but many of the awards favor applicants from the military community.

“Often they’re older, or have families, so dropping everything and going abroad for a year is not as feasible for them,” Mox said. “They may be pretty focused on, ‘I’m going to get this degree and get a job.’”

Mox hopes veterans keep an open mind about the possibilities.

“They might say 'no' before we’ve had the conversation,” he said.

Many programs have a strong preference for veterans, such as Fulbright, Gilman and the Boren scholarships for critical language studies, which is a Department of Defense program, he said.

“There’s a disconnect because a veteran might think, ‘I’m not a 4.0 student or a captain of a club. I’m not what they’re looking for.’ When in reality, a lot of fellowships are looking for that leadership.”

John Ransone had gone to college for a while before joining the Army, where he served in the intelligence field for eight years.

ASU graduate John Ransone won a fellowship to travel to Bangkok to learn Thai. He would like a career fighting human rights abuses in Southeast Asia.

“A lot of it dealt with Southeast Asia, planning and coordinating humanitarian assistance,” he said of his service time.

When he got out, he came to ASU and majored in Asia studies. In spring 2020, he won a Boren Award for International Study.

“I had no clue about Asia prior to working in the Army, and what I did know was a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions,” he said.

“Working there and meeting people was a big life change and a change in my worldview.”

Ransone said that the Office of National Scholarship Advisement did a panel interview with him to prepare him for the Boren process.

“They go over your application and help you refine and improve your essay for the national submission,” he said.

“Professors from different disciplines look at the totality of your essay and proposals and then basically grill you on it and see if you know what you’re talking about and make sure that you’re a good candidate for the program.”

Ransone won a Boren to study in Thailand, but unfortunately, it was at the beginning of the pandemic. His departure was delayed by several months, and he had to scramble to make new arrangements. He ended up spending six months in Bangkok earlier this year, when the city was emptied of tourists, and the language program wasn’t as advanced as he hoped.

“I had two years of Thai experience, and the program was at a level below where I was,” said Ransone, who graduated from ASU after he returned from Thailand. He is now pursuing a master’s degree in Asian languages and cultures at the University of Wisconsin.

“But also just working with my friends and people I met there helped me a lot with my Thai. My conversational Thai is pretty good now, and I’ve gotten better at reading.”

Army veteran Cristian Payan is applying for a Fulbright award to teach English in Mexico. After his five and a half years of service in the Army, he earned three degrees at ASU — two bachelor’s, in public policy and marketing, and a master’s of legal studies. He’s now working for a technology consulting firm in Washington, D.C., but would like to get back into public service, working for the State Department. 

Cristian Payan is pursuing a Fulbright award to teach English in Mexico and has received support from the Office of National Scholarship Advisement.

“I had heard of the Fulbright, but wasn’t sure it was for me,” Payan said. “I’ve never heard of people from my backing getting this. But Kyle said, ‘I think you can do this,’ and he’s been guiding me.”

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement gave him the confidence to pursue the award, he said.

“I joined the military because I needed a foundation to grow as a person,” he said. “In the Army, I had way more responsibility than other 18-year-olds. ONSAOffice of National Scholarship Advisement and Dr. Mox guided me to articulate those skills in a way that comes across in the application.”

Payan says that teaching as a Fulbright fellow would be another form of community service, which is his passion.

“I love helping the Latino community, and one of the best ways to do that is to go to Mexico and help those in rural areas learn English,” he said.

“It’s not only a way to empower individuals, but also the community, which will have a lasting effect.”

Payan won’t find out whether he’s gotten the Fulbright award until January.

While many of the fellowships have a preference for veterans, the awards are still extremely competitive. Orozco made it to the final round of the Truman Scholarship competition earlier this year but did not get the award.

“It was a lot of hard work, and there’s a tiny chance you get it,” he said. “But Dr. Mox has taken a strong role in ensuring that ASU students are competitive on a national scale.”

With the help of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, Orozco was able to winnow the first draft of his current fellowship application essay from 7,000 to 300 words.

“You get very invested in the process,” he said. “This will determine the next seven years of my life.”

Top image: Angel Orozco, an ASU student and member of the Arizona Army National Guard, is pursuing a prestigious scholarship to attend graduate school and begin a career path in the State Department. The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarship Advisement is supporting Orozco with his application, essays and interview process. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


Spring course to explore free speech on campus, in society

ASU Law Professor James Weinstein to teach new course in School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

November 4, 2021

In spring 2022, Arizona State University undergraduates will have an opportunity to study the First Amendment and campus free speech controversies with one of the nation’s foremost authorities on free speech.

“Freedom of Speech on Campus and in American Society” (CEL 394, class 32773), taught by ASU Law Professor James Weinstein, the Dan Cracchiolo Chair in Constitutional Law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU, is part of the list of courses offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. We talked to Weinstein about freedom of speech and the controversies vis-a-vis its application on college campuses. Students walking by ASU's Memorial Union ASU's Tempe campus. Download Full Image

Question: What subject matter will this course cover?

Answer: The course will be divided into three parts. The goal of the first part will be for students to gain a basic understanding of contemporary American free speech doctrine. We will read and discuss excerpts of the major Supreme Court free speech cases, especially those providing rigorous First Amendment protection to speech on matters of public concern in public forums, such as in a city park or street corners, and in the media.

The second part of the course will consider the history of the American university, its present-day mission and the concept of academic freedom.

The third and final part of the course will focus on campus speech. We will consider such issues as barring controversial speakers from campus; the line between appropriate and inappropriate means of protest against such speakers; sanctions on faculty and students for speech in the classroom or in open spaces on campus that some students claim interfere with their equal educational opportunities; and sanctions on faculty and students for off-campus speech, especially on the internet, allegedly impairing on-campus equal educational opportunities. In doing so, we will focus on the extent to which the general free speech principles we studied in the first part of the course should apply at public colleges and universities via the First Amendment, and at private institutions of higher learning through adoption of such measures as the Chicago Principles.

Q: When it comes to college campuses, and particularly during these times of social media and social justice protesting, for example, how is freedom of speech clashing with society’s pressure for justice?

A: This question raises a very important issue relating to the purpose of the contemporary American university. The traditional concept of the university’s purpose is the creation and transmission of knowledge. Recently, however, the traditional conception has been challenged by those who want to add the promotion of social justice as a primary purpose of the university. Which view of the purpose of the university one adopts will have a significant bearing on the propriety of suppressing speech that alienates members of minority groups, as well as the creating of safe spaces on campus and requirements of trigger warnings. For this reason, in this course, we will spend considerable time discussing and debating what the primary purpose of a university should be.

Q: Which texts will students read?

A: The primary textbook will be "First Things First: A Modern Coursebook on Free Speech Fundamentals." An online version of this text is available to students for free.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


Author Jonathan Rauch to confront conspiracy theories, fake news and more at Oct. 28 ASU event

In-person and online lecture is co-sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

October 22, 2021

Almost a year into the new administration, millions of Republicans still believe (falsely) that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election while many Democrats believe (falsely) that Republicans stole the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race. The accusations are fueled by conspiracy theories, trolling, name-calling and disinformation, contributing to the fracturing of the country. Today, Americans can’t agree on even basic facts.

This is the topic of the lecture presented by The Atlantic author and senior fellow of the Brookings Institution Jonathan Rauch at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the ASU Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. Rescuing Reality: Can Americans Have Shared Facts Again? Jonathan Rauch will discuss Americans' inability to agree on even basic facts.

Rauch joins the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership as a speaker in the Civic Discourse Project 2021–22 series “Renewing America’s Civic Compact.” The event is free and open to the public both in-person and livestreamed on YouTube.

Register here

Collective search for truth

As Rauch points out in his new book “The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth,” Americans can restore a common reality by following James Madison’s principles of pluralism, persuasion and compromise, which govern not only our politics but also our collective search for truth.

"With this lecture, we at (the school) rededicate ourselves to our mission to foster an interdisciplinary and balanced environment for debating ideas that are critical to our democracy," said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. "It is possible to find common ground, agree on facts and truths while maintaining tolerance."

Rauch’s work focuses on the pressing contemporary subjects of freedom of speech and thought, political polarization and gay marriage. He is a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and contributing writer of The Atlantic, author of eight books and many articles, and he has received two of the magazine industry’s leading prizes — the National Magazine Award (the industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) and the National Headliner Award.

About the Civic Discourse Project

The Civic Discourse Project is co-sponsored by ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, and supported by the Jack Miller Center and by the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR).

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is an academic unit inside The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. Founded in 2017, the school combines liberal arts education with outside-the-classroom learning experiences to prepare students for leadership roles in the public and private sectors. The school also hosts a robust public programming schedule in its Civic Discourse Project, which addresses the pressing issues of our times and is aired on Arizona PBS. All lectures are free, open to the public and available for viewing at and on YouTube. For more information about the school's academic offerings and events, visit

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is one of the nation’s preeminent law schools, focused on offering students a personalized legal education. Ranked No. 1 in Arizona since 2010 and No. 25 nationally by U.S. News & World Report, ASU Law offers students the opportunity to tailor their education, to match externships to their interests and to utilize career services resources to help land their ideal jobs. For more information, visit

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


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ASU research shows how deregulation could help minority businesses

ASU research finds that easing startup costs could boost minority businesses.
October 21, 2021

New 'Doing Business' report ranks 134 cities on commerce regulations

If cities tweaked their regulations to make it easier to start a business, it might lead to more minority business ownership, according to an economist who analyzed a new Arizona State University dataset.

“I wanted to see, ‘Is there something we can put our finger on when it comes to the ease of doing business, and if we relax this barrier, will we see more minority business ownership?’ ” said Alicia Plemmons, an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Plemmons examined ASU's newly released Doing Business North America 2021 report and compared it with data on minority business ownership. She found that even a small increase in the ease of doing business, measured as a one-point increase in a city’s score, correlated with a nearly 4% increase in minority-owned businesses relative to the minority population in a city.

Plemmons, who studies occupational regulation and taxation, spoke at a webinar held Tuesday by the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at ASU, which produced the Doing Business North America 2021 report. The report, in its third year, compares a wide range of business regulations among 134 cities in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The center is a joint endeavor of the W. P. Carey School of Business and the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

Doing Business North America 2021 was compiled by center researchers, including undergraduates at ASU, who analyzed publicly available datasets and websites, collecting information on regulations that affect small and medium-size businesses, such as required maternity leave, how many steps it takes to get the power turned on and how high the tax rate is.

The more regulations a city has, such as mandated paid time off or multiple steps for rezoning, the lower the score and the rank.

The analysis showed a wide range of experiences in starting a business. For example, it takes an average of one day to start a business in Colorado Springs, Colorado, compared with 12 days in Phoenix.

Among the 134 cities evaluated for the 2021 edition, Colorado Springs ranked first in overall ease of doing business, with a score of 78.04 out of 100.

The full top 10 are: Colorado Springs; Durham, North Carolina; Henderson, Nevada; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Salt Lake City; Raleigh, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Cincinnati; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Las Vegas.

Chandler, Arizona, a new addition this year, ranked 13th, with a score of 74.53.

Phoenix, which came in 59th last year, ranks 36th this year, scoring 71.58. The other two Arizona cities ranked were Mesa, 34th, and Tucson, 45th.

The cities at the bottom of the list were all in Mexico. The lowest-ranked U.S. city is Charleston, West Virginia, at No. 95.

Plemmons found that the subcategory of “ease of starting a business” had the biggest correlation to increased minority business ownership.

“Minimum wage is loosely related to a decrease. The higher the minimum wage, we start to see slightly less minority business ownership,” she said. 

“Severance or paid maternity leave or sick days didn’t have much of an effect, and neither did getting electricity,” she said.

The results can translate directly into policy decisions for cities that want to encourage minority business ownership, she said. So decreasing startup fees or streamlining licensing and permiting might prove beneficial, whereas decreasing the corporate tax rate might not.

Plemmons’ analysis found that, when considering the proportion of minorities in the population, the four Arizona cities rank fairly high among U.S. cities in the report for minority businesses: Mesa is eighth; Chandler is ninth; Tucson, 23rd; and Phoenix, 25th.

The Doing Business in North America project was led by Stephen Slivinski, who was a senior research fellow and project director at the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty until recently leaving ASU.

The primary motivation of the research is to find business migration patterns, he said.

“So we looked at the world as it existed before COVID, and now we’re looking at how it’s coping with COVID,” he said.

“People can leave and work remotely, independent of where their workplace is. There’s been a large exodus of businesses from California to several places. Phoenix is one of those places, as well as cities in Texas, Nevada and as far away as North Carolina.”

The 2021 report includes four new cities: Chandler; Durham; Fort Worth, Texas; and St. Petersburg, Florida.

“We realized that if we were only looking at the largest cities in the U.S., we were not looking at growing cities, and that’s important if you want to capture what the migration of people and businesses look like long term,” he said.

“So we added four cities that had the highest population growth.”

The new analysis found one surprising factor, Slivinski said.

The most significant reason why some cities moved up the rankings, or dropped, was the score in the category of getting electricity. That category measures the price of electricity per kilowatt hour and reliability

“When you scale it up, you realize that even a one-cent change for a small manufacturer can have a several-thousand-dollar change in the cost of doing business,” Slivinski said.

Reliability, the number of blackouts or brownouts, is based on annual data from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Salt Lake City bumped into the top 10 this year, and it was almost exclusively because the state of Utah saw a one-cent-per-kilowatt decline in electricity prices and saw a halving of the number of days that a business would be offline because of electricity blackouts,” he said.

“So we’re getting a glimpse of how states are dealing with infrastructure needs and challenges they had when lots more people were working at home and residential energy consumption went up.”

“Texas saw a migration of businesses during the pandemic but suffered severe problems with its electricity grid earlier this year. Next year’s report might show the effects of that.”

Top image of the Phoenix skyline by Deanna Dent/ASU News

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News