Santos among innovative engineering educators

November 23, 2010

Fifty-three teachers the National Academy of Engineering considers among “the most innovative young engineering educators” will gather Dec. 13 through 15 in Irvine, Calif., to take part in the Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium.

One is Veronica J. Santos, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. She’ll join colleagues to explore ideas and methods for more effective teaching. Download Full Image

The national academy is striving to ensure today’s engineering students are being more effectively taught the fundamental concepts and advanced skills needed to become leading engineers and researchers, and are being kept ahead of the curve on ever more rapidly advancing technologies.

Teachers had to be nominated by fellow engineers or a school dean and compete to attend the symposium by submitting a report about their teaching methods.

Santos describes how she teaches the “notoriously challenging” sophomore-level mechanical and aerospace engineering course on the principles of statics and dynamics.

She uses entertaining themed lectures (“Expensive Thrills,” and “Wacky Bicycles” are examples of lecture titles) and hands-on demonstrations (one involves catching water-filled balloons in bed sheets).

She uses videos from Internet websites – including “quirky, but relevant” YouTube videos – that demonstrate applications of engineering principles.

Concepts are also taught through “brain-teaser” riddles, some presented with comic-book style illustrations (one features cartoon characters Bart and Homer Simpson).

In her junior-level course on sensors and controls, students are given remote-control “clickers” they can use to anonymously submit their answers to the riddles during a lesson. Santos finds the electronic devices increase student participation.

She also assembles students into teams to encourage them to collaborate and learn to teach each other.

She gives out candy to students who win competitive exercises she conducts as part of her class lessons. Even with college students, she notes, “candy is a surprisingly good motivator.”

At the symposium, she will present a poster that displays highlights of her teaching methods.

Santos directs the Biomechatronics Lab at ASU, where she leads research in hand biomechanics, neural control of movement, robotics, prosthetics, tactile sensors and clinical applications of biomechanical modeling.

In 2005, she received the Young Investigator Poster Presentation Award from the International Society of Biomechanics, and the same year won the Exceptional Teaching Assistant Award from the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University (2005).

Earlier this year Santos received support for her robotics work through a National Science Foundation Career Award, which recognizes scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers who show potential to be leaders and innovators in their fields of expertise.

Santos was nominated to participate in the engineering education symposium by Deirdre Meldrum, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Meldrum served on the National Academy of Engineering committee that did initial planning for the Frontiers of Engineering Education program.

The academy is an independent, nonprofit institution whose members advise government leaders and the public on issues involving engineering and technology.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Dissertation fellowships awarded to 17 grad students

November 19, 2010

The Graduate College has awarded 17 Dissertation Fellowships to support outstanding doctoral students who are in the final stages of post-candidacy doctoral work.

Fellowships are awarded across five areas: arts, humanities and social sciences; natural sciences and mathematics; engineering; professional programs and education; and interdisciplinary research. Download Full Image

The fellows' research varies widely across these topics. A few of their diverse research subjects include:

• anti-reflecting coatings for high efficiency solar cells

• the psychology of intentional forgetting

• international relations and security studies in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand

• new methods for biological and environmental protein fingerprinting

• archaeology of the ancestral Zuni region of Arizona and New Mexico

• struggles for justice and reconciliation in Colombia

physiology and ecology of a Sonoran desert bird

• an assessment of aqueous environments and potential habitability of the planet Mars

Nominees must have demonstrated the ability to carry out original research at a high level, have already advanced to doctoral candidacy by February 1 of the academic year and be within one year of completion of the dissertation upon receipt of the award. For full details and eligibility, see

"These">"><... fellowships provide students who have performed outstanding research the resources to complete their dissertation,” says Andrew Webber, associate vice provost. “The selection process was very competitive, and these students represent the very best of our Ph.D. students."

The 17 dissertation fellowships were awarded to:

• Adam M. R. de Graff, Department of Physics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Haralambos “Bobby” Fokidis, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Nestor Bravo Goldsmith, School of Theatre and Film (Performance Studies and Theatre), Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

• Gabriel Ignacio Gomez, School of Social Transformation (Justice & Social Inquiry), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Erica Nicole Griffin, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

• Whitney A. Hansen, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Judy M. Holiday, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Mily M. Kao, School of Politics and Global Studies (Political Science), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Andrew C. Khoury, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (Philosophy), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Marcela R. Naciff, School of International Letters and Cultures (Spanish), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Xiaotun Qiu, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering (Electrical Engineering), Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

• Nura Patani, School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Matthew A. Peeples, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Elizabeth B. Rampe, School of Earth and Space Exploration, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Robin C. Scott, School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy (Materials Science and Engineering Program), Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

• Sarah J. R. Staton, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Adam J. Tompkins, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (History), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Editor Associate, University Provost

Forum explores family stress in faltering economy

November 17, 2010

A panel of five social work experts met Wednesday at Manning House for a public forum that explored the impacts – often hidden – of the struggling economy on families across Arizona. Each panelist agreed that the stressors exacerbated by the current recession are negatively impacting families and social work programs and services, and that the effects could extend to future generations.

“The toll is serious,” said Craig LeCroy, professor of social work in Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs. Download Full Image

“We have some good evidence that with economic difficulties there are increases in all the major social problems such as domestic violence, child maltreatment, substance abuse and mental health.”

The panel was moderated by Arizona PBS affiliate KAET 8 producer Mike Sauceda and featured LeCroy, Cynthia Lietz, an assistant professor of social work at ASU; Arizona State Representative (Dist. 15) Krysten Sinema; Pete Hershberger, executive director of the Arizona Center for the Study of Children and Families; and Neal Young, director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

The forum, “Life on the Edge: The Hidden Social Impact of the Recession,” was hosted by the Tucson">">Tucson Component of ASU’s School of Social Work and organized by ASU Public Affairs. It featured a free-flowing discussion of topics from family stressors to social service limitations, and from those people most at risk during the economic recession to how high-risk groups will be impacted in the future.

“A lot of the hidden impact of this recession is the result it may have on our children and future generations,” said LeCroy, who has been a professor at ASU’s Tucson Component of the School of Social Work since 1994. “If parents are not able to do as much for their children – for example, providing reading material, buying equipment for sports, provide adequate meals – this can impact achievement. If parents can’t do as good as a job in their parenting, children may be more vulnerable to other influences.”

Rep. Sinema focused on the state’s governance and funding of public programs during the current economic downturn.

“This current recession is actually worse for Arizona than was the Great Depression,” she said. “Social service programs are offering less in the way of assistance than it has in the past; we are offering fewer services. The changes in governance that we are seeing are having a direct and significant impact on today’s families and also on the way we engage in governance and service to families in the future."

“We have seen many deep cuts; the situation is quite dire for people living on the edge,” she noted. “The Legislature isn’t just curtailing programs or not funding them, but eliminating them. What we have to do now is protect against the long-term impact of our ability to serve and assist in the future; not enough is being done currently to address this.”
Hershberger added that many services are funded by the state and on a local level, but that more and more the state is asking the cities and counties to foot a larger portion of the funding, which further stresses the system.

The panelists discussed a long list of social services that have been negatively impacted during the recession as more people seek relief, including childcare, health services, economic services, education, family services, shelters, transportation services, school reading and after-class programs, faith services and more.

“This crisis has led to severe stress on our social service workforce,” said Lietz. “Our ability to respond now and in the future is affected by having a workforce that is very stretched, carrying high caseloads, working extra hours, and having to do more with much less, and these are people with their own challenges. The system is stressed to capacity, which impacts our ability to help those in need.”

Young, who has announced he will be leaving DES in January, said the department is seeing more first-time applicants than ever before and noted that one in six Arizonans are receiving nutritional assistance, while more than 142,000 without jobs are receiving unemployment insurance.

Professor LeCroy noted that many people don’t appreciate the impact of job loss on a family.

“On the surface, there is a likely increase in family stress, and this stress is compounded by other difficulties,” he said.

“In some research, unemployment was the best predictor of domestic violence.

“A recent study found that unemployment and low wages can lead to increases in the crime rate. Because these may be families that did not face such difficulties in the past, they may be reluctant to seek help.”

The panelists encouraged forum attendees to reach out to elected leaders.

“Now is the time to get in touch with your local elected officials,” said Young.  “It’s important to let legislators know what’s important to you, whether it is lower taxes or childcare services; whatever it is. It’s a good way to be heard, and legislators are interested in the voices of their constituents.”

For Leitz, as services see funding and donations dwindle, altruism is a win-win opportunity.

“It is important to get involved,” said the ASU assistant professor. “There is research available, and I have done studies, that demonstrate the positive impacts of altruism on those on the receiving end of assistance and support and those who are offering a hand. Families in need become stronger and those who are reaching out become stronger and even become more involved, often becoming agents of change.”

Steve Des Georges

Arizona school psychologists honor ASU faculty member

November 17, 2010

The Arizona Association of School Psychologists (AASP) has selected Arizona State University’s Linda Caterino as the 2010 recipient of its Keith Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award. Caterino is coordinator of clinical placements and a clinical associate professor in the doctoral program in school psychology in ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Criteria for the Keith Perkins Award include a demonstrated record of service to students, teachers, administrators, parents, community agencies, and the profession of school psychology. Download Full Image

“Receiving this award is one of the highlights of my professional career,” Caterino said. “It validates the faith that my students and community professionals have in my competence as a school psychologist.”

Caterino’s association with ASU dates to 1973, when she began work on her doctorate in school psychology. After completing her degree, she became the first school psychologist in the Tempe-based Kyrene School District. “At the time it was a very small rural district with only four schools. Due to its small size, we were able to develop innovative programs to help children,” she said.

Through the years Caterino has worked as a proponent of school psychology in various capacities, from school districts to hospitals and from private practice to university training programs. She began working at ASU as the training director in the school psychology program in 2005 and received Teachers College’s Service Award in 2007.

“Linda has committed her career to serving the needs of children and the community through service as a school psychologist, a licensed psychologist in private practice, and a trainer of school psychologists,” said Gailyn Garcia, chairwoman of AASP’s research subcommittee, who nominated Caterino for the Keith Perkins Award. “She is a respected, down-to-earth human being who genuinely cares for her fellow man and seeks to support those who come to her for help.

“Linda also was one of the first bilingual school psychologists in Arizona and served as a model for the practice of bilingual school psychology. She has written book chapters dedicated to the assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse students and continues to be an advocate for multicultural students and their families.”

Caterino currently serves as a consultant to a grant-funded project addressing mental health counseling in the schools. Among her duties are assisting in the development of a social skills program for children with autism, developing cognitive behavior therapy counseling programs for anxious children with a focus on Latinos, coordinating student participation, and developing evaluation procedures.

“Linda’s recognition from AASP is well-deserved and highlights one of the strengths of the faculty in Teachers College – the ability to bridge theory and practice for the benefit of our students,” said Mari Koerner, dean of Teachers College. “Students benefit not only from Linda’s caring attitude but from her years of experience and numerous professional affiliations.”

Caterino’s research interests include genetics and dyslexia, sleep disorders, autism, and bullying. She recently presented a paper comparing cyberbullying practices in the U. S. and Japan. Caterino has published numerous articles and book chapters and has made more than 80 professional presentations at national and state conferences. She has also served on the editorial boards of many professional journals, including School Psychology Review, Journal of School Psychology, Autism and Developmental Disorders, and PsychCritiques.

A few of Caterino’s many professional activities are serving as president and secretary of the American Academy of School Psychology, vice president of Division 16 of the American Psychological Association, executive board member of the Trainers of School Psychology, academic affairs representative for the Arizona Psychological Association, board member of the Arizona Training Consortium and founding  member of the Arizona Association of Play Therapy.

Information about ASU’s doctoral degree in school psychology may be found on the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College web site,">">

Attorney to lead colloquium on transgender migrants and asylum

November 8, 2010

Attorney Regina Jefferies will be the featured presenter in the next Justice and Social Inquiry Colloquium, to be held Nov. 10, in the Memorial Union, Ventana C, on ASU's Tempe campus. The focus of the colloquium is "Transgender Migrants, Asylum and Immigration Law."  Jefferies successfully argued two asylum cases in Federal Immigration Court recently and will share a hands-on perspective on this important area of human rights, organizing and litigation. She will be joined in the discussion by representatives of the Tucson-based organization Colibrí. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with light refreshments, followed by the discussion at 6 p.m. 

Jefferies is partner in the firm of Thomas & Jefferies and practices solely in the field of immigration and nationality law. She has extensive experience in family-based immigration, Federal court litigation and deportation defense. The firm works with individuals and families throughout the United States and abroad to find innovative solutions to complex immigration and nationality issues. Download Full Image

Previously, Jefferies was manager of the Immigration Services Program at Friendly House Inc., a non-profit, social services agency in Phoenix. Before joining Friendly House, Jefferies worked for the international firm of Littler Mendelson Global, focusing exclusively on employment-based immigration.

For additional information about Regina Jefferies’ visit, contact Alan Gomez, assistant professor in Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation, aeg">"> 

Maureen Roen

Director of Communications, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


Conversation, film, art to focus on death penalty

November 5, 2010

“No Human Way to Kill: Critical Conversations on the Death Penalty” is the focus of a student-produced event that will bring death penalty experts to Arizona State University’s West campus on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The event, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University Center Building’s La Sala Ballroom at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road, is free and open to the public.

“In presenting this event, we are working in conjunction with the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and with universities across the United States and North America,” said Laura Adviento, a student in the master of arts in social justice and human rights (MASJHR) degree program. MASJHR is offered by ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Download Full Image

“‘No Human Way to Kill’ is designed to create a space for thought and discussion regarding the political and controversial issues surrounding the death penalty,” Adviento said. “With a local panel discussion, a film screening and a multimedia gallery, the event combines human rights with conversation and art.”

The day’s schedule is:

• 10 a.m. – Welcome by William Simmons, New College associate professor and MASJHR program director.

• 10:30 a.m. – Panel conversation on capital punishment. Panelists include Inge Casey from the Arizona Death Penalty Forum, Bill Hart from ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, and Katie Puzauskas and Lindsay Herf from The Arizona Justice Project.

• Noon – Conversation and refreshments.

• 1 p.m. – Documentary film screening. “No Tomorrow,” by Roger Weisberg and Vanessa Roth, takes viewers inside a suspenseful death penalty trial and challenges their beliefs about capital punishment. The film has been presented at venues including the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. It recently received the Victor Rabinowitz and Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Art gallery exhibition. Displays that will be available for viewing throughout the day’s activities include “The McCarty Project,” an exhibit of photography by Jane Lindsay, an ASU student pursuing a master of fine arts (MFA) degree; “American Execution,” oil paintings by Robert Priseman, a British artist and Essex Human Rights Centre fellow; and “No Human Way to Kill,” a panel from White Box Gallery in New York.

For more information about the day’s program, contact Lisa.Dannen">">

Business analytics program gives job seekers boost

November 4, 2010

Seasoned professionals benefit from advanced training programs customized by Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering extended education team

The nation’s deep recession brought a big wave of job losses for those Mary Wolf-Francis calls “the unlikely unemployed.” Download Full Image

“These are people with decades of high-level work experience who have advanced degrees,” says Wolf-Francis, business liaison for Workforce Division of the city of Phoenix Community and Economic Development Department. “They are not the people you expect to see squeezed out of the work force so rapidly in such large numbers, but they have been.”

Earlier this year city administrators decided to use a portion of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds to help put out-of-work professionals back into the employment pipeline.

Phoenix officials turned to the Global Outreach and Extended Education (GOEE) office of Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Assistant dean Jeff Goss, who directs GOEE, and Amy Sever, the manager of professional and executive programs, helped the city organize two intensive education programs designed to arm students with valuable skills that would give them an edge with potential employers.

They recruited ASU faculty and outside business consultants to teach two sessions of a two-week Lean Six Sigma Green Belt program and one session of the more advanced four-week Lean Six Sigma Black Belt program.

Intense immersion in business analyses

The programs focus on methods of analyzing business systems, services and operations with the aim of organizing and managing companies more effectively and instituting cost-efficiency practices.

This past summer more than 50 adult students participated in one or more of the Green belt and Black belt sessions.

The instructors were industrial engineering professors Douglas Montgomery, John Fowler and Dan Shunk, along with Gary Waissi, a professor in the College of Technology and Innovation’s Department of Technology Management, Connie Borror, a professor in the Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences in the College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, and business consultants James Strickland and Russell Elias, both of whom also teach at ASU.

Their students were schooled in sophisticated decision-making and problem-solving processes, formulas for measuring productivity and customer-service effectiveness, and statistical analysis techniques.

In addition, they learned ways to identify the sources of fiscal and operational waste and how to eliminate it, and how to make fundamental changes in business management and organization take hold.

The program earned the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and its extended education office an award from the Phoenix Workforce Connection for its contribution to the city’s job-training and economic-recovery efforts.

Key to career opportunities

The more poignant recognition came from the students, and from the companies and organizations that benefitted from the service projects students performed as part of their Lean Six Sigma Program training.

"Completing 240 hours of classroom instruction for the Green Belt and then the Black Belt programs was intense.” says Joseph Behrens. “But the teachers' expertise and superb instruction allowed me to learn the practical applications of advanced methodologies, and the coordination and support from the city and university staff provided a strong platform for these classes to be a success." 

Behrens already has a bachelor’s degree in business management and human resources, and a master’s degree in higher education administration.  Still, the Lean Six Sigma program “strengthened my previous education in operations, training and leadership by providing me the tools and capabilities for many career opportunities.”

For out-of-class projects designed to apply classroom lessons, Behrens worked with a small team of fellow students on strategies to reduce costs while improving patient services at two large hospitals.

As a result, he’s now pursuing an entrepreneurial venture, attempting to organize a network of consultants to provide services to the health care industry.

Powerful skill set

Cindy Beck completed both the Green Belt and Black Belt programs, and joined student teams that did business analyses of two distinctly different types of organizations –Avnet, a distributor of electronics components, and Native American Connections, a behavioral health services organization.

“These experiences showed me that all businesses have room for improvement,” she says. “The skills I learned are always going to be valuable because I know that they can be applied in almost any job and for any type of company.”

Paul Albrecht says “I knew I couldn’t lose by having this [training program] on my resume. I would have taken this even if I’d had a job.”

For his outside class project he worked with a student team that evaluated a software development company. “We were able to bring some structure to the operation,” he says. “I think we gave [the company] some certainty about its longevity.”

Albrecht has a master’s of business administration and degrees in biology and physics. He’s a seasoned professional in the high-tech industry. Still, his business education “took a quantum leap” in the Black Belt program, he says.

“We all came out wiser about how the business world really is today. You have to understand the global economic game,” he adds. “The ASU people did a superb job. The skill set we learned is so powerful that it gives you hope.”

Something of real value

Albrecht has since started a job with an aerospace company as a quality engineer. He says his newly acquired skills will be put to work.

“They told me they were hiring me not just as another worker, but as someone who has the ability to change their business culture for the better,” he says.

ASU professor Borror mentored student project teams. “You could see their confidence growing” as they applied what they learned in the classroom to actual businesses, she says.

“In the end, I think they got a high quality of training that would have cost much more had it been provided anywhere else,” Borror adds, “and the companies whose operations they evaluated got something of real value.”

One student team did an operational assessment for A New Leaf, a human services agency with facilities 25 facilities throughout the greater Phoenix area.

“They went beyond simply defining our systems and processes. They gave us concrete recommendations for improving efficiency that we could wrap our arms around,” says Torrie Taj, A New Leaf’s executive vice president for resource development.

“Now we have a flow chart to follow for handling all our work processing contracts [with service providers], and we’re getting better bang for the buck,” she says.

Getting a professional edge

City of Phoenix business liaison Wolf-Francis credits the ASU Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering  extended education administrators for customizing the Lean Six Sigma Program training so that its scope covered skills applicable to everything from manufacturing and service industries, to health care, financial and accounting companies and more.

“Companies today are specifically looking for people with this training,” she says. “Earning [Lean Six Sigma certification] certification will set these students apart and bring their resumes to the top of the pile.”

More than 15 percent of the students landed jobs not long after participating in the program.

“This has been one of the most successful job-training programs the city of has ever done,” Wolf-Francis says.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Exhibit celebrates extraordinary Southwest women

October 29, 2010

ASU’s Museum of Anthropology has a new exhibit, "Return of the Corn Mothers" that focuses on women who have earned accolades for community activism and creative endeavors. Each featured woman also recounts, in story form, her memories of the women who influenced her in her life journey.  

"This show is about women from 29 to 89 who tell stories that help shape and nurture our country. They represent the circle of life and the continuation of a never-ending story about love and perseverance," said curator Renee Fajardo. Download Full Image

Todd Pierson, master photographer, traveled the American Southwest to capture these unique women in their home environments. They include world-renowned Isleta Pueblo potter Stella Teller; painter Evelyn Valdez-Martinez, who works with the Tarahumara Indians; Concha Allen, a curandera (healer) from Mexico; Rita Wallace, a famed embroidery artist; and Ami Duncan, a third-generation midwife living in Arizona's remote Gila Mountains. Pierson's portraits embody the essence of these women, who are often overlooked by today's fast-paced world.

Local artists have created nine Day of the Dead altars inspired by women, corn and iconic figures of the Latino celebration, like La Catrina. Visitors may write a message to the dead or make a cornhusk doll in remembrance of the important women in their lives.

Over the next few months, the museum will offer four free storytelling workshops, led by master storytellers from the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute. Visitors may sign up for workshops at the opening or by sending an e-mail to">"> The free workshops are made possible by the Arizona Humanities Council. 

The ASU Museum of Anthropology is part of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. It is located at the corner of Tyler and Cady Malls on the ASU Tempe campus. Visitor parking is available in the nearby Fulton Center garage on College Avenue, or in metered parking spaces near the campus.

For more information, visit:"> class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0pt;">Catherine Nichols, catherine.nichols">">


ASU Museum of Anthropology

Rebecca Howe

Communications Specialist, School of Human Evolution and Social Change


Critical perspective: Human trafficking discussed at Nov. 4 event

October 26, 2010

Michael Stancliff rattles off the myths of human trafficking: slavery is a thing of the past, slavery and human trafficking are not problems in this country, human trafficking and human smuggling are the same thing, all human trafficking is sex trafficking.

How to begin to dispel the myths and address the issue is a much larger exercise. Download Full Image

A step in that direction takes place at Arizona State University’s West campus on Nov. 4 when Grace Chang, associate professor in the Department of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, presents “This is What Human Trafficking Looks Like: Sex Work, Immigration and Transnational Feminist Perspectives,” at 7 p.m. in the La Sala Ballroom in the University Center Building.

The event is free to the community; parking at the West campus is $2 per hour.

“This lecture is important because it brings a critical perspective to an issue that has quickly become a pressing matter of human rights and social justice in this country and globally,” said Stancliff, an assistant professor in the Division of Humanity Arts and Cultural Studies in ASU's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. “Professor Chang will challenge the dominant paradigm that structures both national and international approaches to human trafficking; that these approaches risk mis-identifying and criminalizing trafficked people and misconstruing their actual needs.”

Chang, who received her master's and doctorate degrees in ethnic studies from the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of “Disposable Domestics: Immigrant Women Workers in the Global Economy” (South End Press, 2000). The book is a study of how the feminization of poverty is being globalized; poor women of the Third World don’t immigrate voluntarily, but do so from necessity, following the flow of resources out of their countries to the First World, where they become exploitable commodities, disposed of when they are no longer needed.

“There is a complacency surrounding human trafficking outside of sex and child trafficking that is disappointing," Chang said. “Other forms, such as trafficking in the agricultural industry, domestic work, elder care – there’s a disconnect that isn’t just tied to awareness, but, sadly, it doesn’t seem to spark the same moral outrage.

“But anyone can be a part of the solution,” she said. “The beauty of education is that you can become educated about the issue of human trafficking and then spread the awareness about these social justice and human rights aspects among your friends and co-workers. I always say issues that at the core are complex are not ungraspable, that people can get their minds around them.”

Chang said she first developed an interest in human rights as a young mother of two pursuing her doctoral degree at Cal.

“I was dealing with raising a family and working on my Ph.D., and my own mother said to me that I could find an ‘old Chinese lady’ – and I’m Chinese! – to do the housework and that I wouldn’t have to pay much.

“I looked around and I saw, just like I saw in New York earlier in my life, an entire slave force made up of mostly poor women of color. That sparked my interest. In terms of my specific focus, I initially avoided the question of human trafficking because it was such a big mess in feminist circles. But I saw what was being done by some in feminist scholarship and politics wasn’t working, was unhelpful, to say the least, so I jumped into the fray.”

Chang sounds a cautionary note to those prepared to take the same jump.

“Anti-trafficking has many components,” she said. “Oftentimes, those who carry the anti-trafficking banner miss the mark when it comes to actually helping the survivors; they further the misguided rhetoric without helping the actual victims.

“Be careful what you put your money, your time or your energy into," she said. "Dig deeper and know that the majority of the human trafficking abuses that exist are in industries where most people don’t even realize it is going on.”

Stancliff, who teaches courses on slavery and human trafficking in the New College MA">">MA program in social justice and human rights graduate degree program, said the human trafficking discussion is particularly relevant based on the Valley’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexican border.

“The Phoenix area is said to be a human trafficking hotspot,” he said. “While the data is still being gathered, it is certain that being positioned on a national border, and with one of the nation’s largest refugee communities, all of us in Phoenix should be thinking carefully about human trafficking and efforts to stop it. The fear for many is that in our diligent efforts to address trafficking, we tend to forget larger issues of vulnerability that put people at risk in the first place, beginning with issues of economic justice and immigration.

“Dr. Chang’s presentation is an opportunity to consider the crimes and complexities of human trafficking; she is particularly interested in advocating for the rights of immigrants and sex workers whose lives are impacted by trafficking and anti-trafficking policy.”

According to the Arizona League to End Human Trafficking, more than 17,000 people are trafficked into the United States annually and enslaved in conditions that are abusive, exploitative, inhumane and illegal. They are mostly economically disadvantaged men, women and children from around the world.

“This is What Human Trafficking Looks Like” is presented by New College and its Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies; the master's degree program in social justice and human rights, and the New College Center">">Center for Critical Inquiry and Cultural Studies. The center, launched earlier this year, supports faculty members as they cross disciplinary boundaries and engage in socially relevant research. It features five research clusters: Oral History; Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Literature; Sexuality in Practice and Theory; Public Art Challenge; and Law and Governance, Practice and Discipline. More clusters are expected to be added as the center grows in the coming years.

For more information, contact Michael Stancliff via email at michael.stancliff">"> or call 602-543-5105.

ASU’s West campus is located at 4701 West Thunderbird Road in northwest Phoenix.

Steve Des Georges

Nurturing next generations of solution finders

October 25, 2010

Engineers have been given a list of “Grand Challenges” by the National Academy of Engineering – 14 challenges to achieve technological breakthroughs the academy says are necessary if the quality of life is to be improved around the planet in the 21st century.

They are wide-ranging goals, from providing energy from fusion and making solar-power generation economical, to providing access to clean water in every corner of the world, making cyberspace secure and preventing nuclear terror. Download Full Image

Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering are using the Grand Challenges as a guide in forging the missions of their research and education endeavors.

Many of the challenges are so daunting that it will require “a new kind of engineer,” says B.L. Ramakrishna, an ASU materials science and engineering professor.

“Success will depend on how we as educators are able to instill innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, a global perspective and learning through community service in the next generations of engineers,” he says.

So as part of the commitment to the Grand Challenges, ASU’s engineering schools are reaching out to K-12 educators to help strengthen the pipeline of future engineers and provide a pathway for development of a new engineering workforce.

They have joined colleagues at Duke University and North Carolina State University who are establishing the Grand Challenges K-12 Partners Program.

On Nov. 5, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering will present a regional conference to begin exploring how engineering education can best be introduced to high school, middle school and elementary school students in Arizona.

As many as 50 teachers from K-12 schools in towns and cities throughout the greater Phoenix area are expected to attend.

“We want to show them how they can collaborate with the university and its industry partners to bring engineering lessons into their classrooms,” says ASU engineering graduate student Katie Muto.

Muto is a the project manager for ASU’s GK-12 Program, which sends ASU graduate students into K-12 schools in the Phoenix area to help teachers include Grand Challenge-themed science and engineering instruction in their courses.

The program is led by professor Ramakrishna with support from the National Science Foundation. He and the GK-12 student leaders are coordinating the Nov. 5 conference.

K-12 teachers will hear from Paul Johnson, executive dean of ASU’s schools of engineering, about using the Grand Challenges effort as a springboard for teaching science, technology, engineering and math to young students.

Industry representatives will discuss how companies are aligning their efforts with the goals of the Grand Challenges and are also interested in aiding K-12 educators.

A representative from Intel will be at ASU conference. Others from Honeywell, Raytheon and General Dynamics technology corporations, as well as the Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service utility companies, have been invited to participate.

Among speakers will be Laura Bottomley, director of Women in Engineering and K-12 Outreach for North Carolina State University’s College of Engineering.

Conference participants will also hear about progress in cutting-edge, Grand Challenge-oriented research from ASU civil and environmental engineering professor Paul Westerhoff.

“We hope to build strong and sustained connections with Arizona’s K-12 schools, and to partner with industry in supporting these schools,” Ramakrishna says.

“We will create a template to help the schools integrate engineering into students’ educational experience,” he says, “and provide professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers to help them incorporate the Grand Challenge into their curriculum.”

The conference will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Convergence Room (#150) SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, at Scottsdale Road and McDowell Road in Scottsdale.

B.L. Ramakrishna, bramakrishna">">
associate professor
School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy
(480) 965-6560

Joe Kullman, joe.kullman">">
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
(480) 965-8122 direct line
(480) 773-1364 mobile

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering