Two ASU campuses set to host border issues event

February 17, 2010

The 7th annual border justice series event at Arizona State University’s West campus is spreading its wings and gathering a new enthusiasm just in time for the upcoming “Families, Justice and the Border” exhibit and forum.

This year’s event is spread over three days and two ASU campuses, giving it a new prominence and greater reach. The dates are March 24 and 25 on the West campus, while the Civic Space Park by the Downtown Phoenix campus will host performances and community education activities on March 27. The event is part of classroom coursework in the Master’s in Social Justice and Human Rights degree program offered by the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Download Full Image

“The students have always been involved in the event, but this year it is a part of the coursework, which places a greater emphasis on its importance,” said graduate student Carrie Wallinger, who will graduate from the program in May. “The three days and our presence on two of the university’s campuses are the result of the hard work and dedication of 25 students and faculty in the social justice and human rights program.

“Mixing the West and Downtown campuses opens the event to more people, and will let more people know that ASU is dealing with these types of important issues.”

All events over the three days are free and open to the public. Included on the West campus schedule of events are an art exhibit, panel discussions, plenary speakers and a performance of “Tears of Lives” by the New Carpa Theatre Company under the direction of ASU faculty member James Garcia, who also wrote the play. Also scheduled is a viewing of the film “The Least of These,” a powerful documentary exploring the American immigration policy of family detention.  West campus activities will take place on the Fletcher Library lawn and in LaSala in the University Center Building (UCB).

At the Downtown Phoenix campus, activities will take place in the Civic Space Park and will include cultural performances and on-hand legal aid, tax and financial assistance, and information on community services available to families.

“Border issues are important and misunderstood in this region,” Wallinger said. “Lots of people don’t understand family unification issues; the issues involving families separated by the border. Family members can’t move freely across the border, or they do so with difficulty, at best. The families would much rather be together at home; family members don’t leave their families to stay here.

“The issues should be about the people, not laws. I’m not talking about a so-called lawless society, but you have to find a fair and compassionate way of dealing with transborder family issues.”

Wallinger has lived social justice and human rights issues since she graduated with a bachelor's degree in English and political science from Mary Washington College (now University of Mary Washington) in Fredericksburg, Va., in 2002.  She served two years in the Peace Corps in Mongolia where she taught English as a second language and also worked to improve the life and decision-making skills of her students. She has also worked as a counselor at a wilderness camp for troubled and at-risk youths. Upon her graduation from ASU’s New College, Wallinger hopes to continue her current internship with ALERT (Arizona League to End Regional Trafficking), a program of the International rescue Committee, where she works to help provide aid and support victims of trafficking.

In the meantime, her energy is focused on the “Families, Justice and the Border” event next month.

“The event is designed by students and faculty in the social justice and human rights degree program to capture people’s interest in border-related family issues,” she said. “We live in a culturally diverse area and we need to look at the options they have to enjoy that diversity. We hope to get people thinking about their commonalities, not their differences.”

For more information, contact Carrie Wallinger at

Steve Des Georges

Pioneer Award Dinner honors Rep. Cloves Campbell Jr.

February 5, 2010

Arizona Representative Cloves Campbell Jr. will be honored as the recipient of the Pioneer Award at a dinner at Arizona State University’s West campus on Feb. 27.  The Pioneer Award Dinner is the final event on a calendar of activities celebrating Black History Month at the campus and will take place at 6 p.m., in the University Center Building (UCB), La Sala ballroom.

The award recognizes individuals or families that have made a long-term commitment to the quality of lives of African Americans. Download Full Image

“Representative Campbell is a most deserving recipient of this prestigious award,” said Duku Anokye, an associate professor in the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. 

“He is an actively engaged member of a prominent African American family and has given more than 25 years of his own life in service to the community through his newspaper, The Arizona Informant, and as a representative of Arizona’s 16th District.”

Campbell Jr. is the son of the late Cloves Campbell, the state’s first black senator and founder of The Arizona Informant, the only African-American-owned weekly in Arizona. Now the board chairman and co-publisher of the paper, Campbell Jr. was elected to the Arizona State House of Representatives in 2006 and currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee, Banking and Insurance Committee and the Sub-Committee on Library and Archives.

In the community, the younger Campbell has been a dynamo. He sits on several boards, including Governor’s African American Advisory Board, Attorney General’s African American Advisory Board, Black Theater Troupe Board, Salvation Army Advisory Board, West Coast Black Publishers Board, Tanner Chapel A.M.E. Church Board of Trustees, and the 100 Black Men of Phoenix.  He is a life member of the NAACP.

“What stands out when you meet Representative Campbell is his dedication,” says Anokye, who has been an integral part of the West campus Black History Month committee for years.  “His commitment, his faith, his devotion to family and the ongoing growth and development of African American social, cultural, political and historical concerns is an incentive for all of us to do more, do better, and to give back.

“Our Pioneer Award honorees, past and present, are living examples of what it means to live a dedicated and meaningful life.”

In addition to recognition of Campbell Jr. and a documentary commemorating his service, the Pioneer Award Dinner will feature an African processional and a special performance by the Asase Yaa African American Dance Theatre, an award-winning and internationally travelled ensemble of musicians, dancers and singers with training in various disciplines.

Other upcoming West campus events on the Black History Month calendar are the Poetry Jam on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kiva Auditorium ($5 admission, students $3) and the African Master Dance Workshop on Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. in La Sala.

ASU’s West campus is located at 4701 West Thunderbird Road in Phoenix.  More information about Black History Month events is available by calling 602-543-5306. RSVP at WestEvents">">

Steve Des Georges

West Side Poetry Jam celebrates Black History Month

February 5, 2010

A Valley tradition continues at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 13, as the 6th annual West Side Poetry Jam is presented at Arizona State University’s West campus. The event is hosted by the campus’s Black History Month Committee and the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies.

The evening will feature some of the Valley’s brightest and best poets as they perform their original creations. Hosted by Divine, this annual event is one of the largest of its kind in the area and will feature DJ Dark Vader. Featured poets include issim dark, ms marche, kafiah, seven, flipside, apollo and i am poet. Download Full Image

Divine, the evening’s host, began writing poetry at the age of 12 and performed her first poem at 17. She had the privilege of performing with actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, as well as actor and poet Malcolm Jamal Warner and Uman Bin Hasan of the Last Poets.  Although the spoken and written word is her first love, she is also a teacher and actress, having recently performed in the film “Second Chance” and in a Phoenix production of “The Vagina Monologues.”

Divine has been hosting the West Side Poetry Jam since its inception, and she and kafiah were featured in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance world premiere performance of “Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration” at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.

The West Side Poetry Jam will take place on ASU’s West campus in the Sands Classroom Building, Kiva Lecture Hall.  Tickets for the event are $5 general admission and $3 for students, and will be available at the door. Parking is free. The West campus is at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix.  For more information, call 602-543-ARTS (2787).

Founder of Essence Magazine to speak at ASU Polytechnic

February 3, 2010

Pro-linebacker, entrepreneur, stockbroker and poet Russell Goings is a modern-day Renaissance man.  He was signed to the Buffalo Bills after graduating college in 1959, but soon left the world of professional sports for Wall Street.

Once there, he started First Harlem Securities, the first black-owned firm to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. He founded the Studio Museum of Harlem, serving as the founding chairman, and established Essence Magazine. Download Full Image

In the 1990s, he returned to school to study poetry and creative writing, beginning the 13-year process of writing The Children of Children Keep Coming: An Epic Griotsong.

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday and Black History Month, Goings will discuss African-American mythology, history, and his epic poem that weaves both into an allegorical and lyrical representation of three tumultuous centuries, at 6 p.m., Feb. 10, in the Aravaipa Auditorium at Arizona State University Polytechnic campus in Mesa.

“Poetry is a lifelong passion for Goings, and his epic has garnered praise for its originality, passion and power,” says Wadell Blackwell, director of Multicultural Student Services at ASU’s Polytechnic campus. “I met Russell through a mutual friend, and after reading his biography and talking to him on the phone, I knew right away he would be a great fit as we all look to share unique, engaging stories about the historical complexities that make up our country.”

His poem, The Children, was published in January 2009. With roots in African griot songs, the book-length poem traces African-American history from the Middle Passages through slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement. Blues, gospel hymns, jazz and prayer link a mythological journey with a celebration of life, heritage, and the larger-than-life heroes of the past – Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Jesse Owens, Ida B. Wells and many others.

The Feb. 10 event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing.  This signature event will be complemented by a Peace Luncheon for all ASU students, faculty and staff the same day, from 12 to 1:30 p.m., Student Union Cooley Ballrooms.

To RSVP for these events or for more information, contact Wadell Blackwell at (480) 727-1165 or wadell.blackwell">">

Kari Stallcop
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus

Media Contact:
Chris Lambrakis, lambrakis">">
(480) 727-1173
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus

ASU In the News

ASU historian urges preservation of MLK's values

<p>According to a Jan. 15 story in the <em>Arizona Republic</em>, ASU’s Matthew Whitaker urged more than 500 people attending Glendale’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Day luncheon to “choose risk, adaptability and affection over complacency or discrimination.”</p><p>"Martin Luther King reminded us all that we live in an inescapable network of mutuality, a tapestry," said Whitaker, an associate professor of history in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.</p><p>Whitaker received Glendale’s Promoting Inclusiveness Award last year.</p>

Article Source: Arizona Republic

Math professor selected as 'emerging scholar'

January 13, 2010

She expected to become a store cashier until she took algebra with legendary high-school teacher Jaime Escalante (of "Stand and Deliver" fame) in East Los Angeles. Now Arizona State University mathematician Erika Tatiana Camacho is one of 12 faculty members under age 40 from across the United States selected as 2010 Emerging Scholars by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Camacho is an assistant professor in the" target="_blank">New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences on ASU’s West campus. She joins faculty members from institutions including Dartmouth College, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Texas at Austin in being selected for this year’s Emerging Scholar recognition by the editorial staff of Diverse, based on criteria including significance of research, uniqueness and competitiveness of field of study, publishing record and teaching record. Download Full Image

“I’m humbled by this recognition,” Camacho said. “I have seen this annual issue of Diverse for several years and have been awed by the stellar scholarship records of the recognized scholars, especially given the early stage of their careers. It is truly an honor to be in the company of these amazing individuals.”

“Dr. Camacho is a superb scholar-teacher who embodies the best of New College,” said Elizabeth Langland, New College’s dean. “She is highly attuned to the needs of our students and models for them the ability to achieve their highest aspirations with hard work and dedication.”

Camacho brings real-world problems and projects into the classroom. She encouraged a student in her differential equations class to use data from his job with a golf equipment company to develop equations to model how far a golf ball will travel when struck by different clubs. Her calculus students read and analyze journal articles focusing on topics such as gender gaps in education and specifically in math achievement.

With work published in journals including Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering and The Mathematical Scientist, Camacho has displayed an ability to cross disciplines in her research. She collaborates with life sciences professors in New College’s Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences on projects that apply mathematical modeling to gene functions in cells. For the last two years, Camacho has collaborated with a George Mason University sociologist to model the dynamics of workforce migration of highly skilled scientists. They are studying various aspects of this problem including the factors that affect this migration from the perspective of both the individual and the country. This spring, Camacho and an undergraduate student will work on mathematically incorporating a multitude of political aspects into this project.

Camacho said she has been fortunate to have mentors helping to guide her. First there was Escalante, who was portrayed by Edward James Olmos in the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver." It was in 1990 that Camacho entered Escalante’s algebra classroom at Garfield High School. Then in 1996, when she was an undergraduate student at Wellesley College, Camacho was the first student admitted to the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI), a summer program established by Carlos Castillo-Chavez at Cornell University. Its goal is to increase the number of Ph.D.s from underrepresented U.S. populations in fields where mathematical, computational and modeling skills play a critical role.

In 2004 the MTBI program, and Castillo-Chavez, relocated to ASU. Castillo-Chavez is a Regents’ Professor and the Joaquin Bustoz Jr. Professor of Mathematical Biology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change on ASU’s Tempe campus. He also is director of the Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In 2003, Camacho became the first former MTBI participant to earn a Ph.D. when she completed her doctorate in applied mathematics at Cornell. She then spent a year as a postdoctoral research associate at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Camacho next held a tenure-track faculty position at Loyola Marymount University, while also co-founding and co-directing the Applied Mathematical Sciences Summer Institute, with a mission similar to the MTBI program at ASU. She joined ASU’s New College in 2007.

Castillo-Chavez, who has continued to serve as a mentor to Camacho, told Diverse that “she is playing a critical role in building applied mathematics at our West campus, where they are building a top-notch computational program with emphasis on applications to biology.”

“From fostering interdisciplinary collaborations to helping build our new program in applied mathematics, Erika has made significant contributions to the" target="_blank">Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences in a relatively short period of time,” said Roger Berger, the division’s director. Mathematical and Natural Sciences students pursue bachelor’s degrees in applied computing, applied mathematics and life sciences (with or without a pre-med option). The division also offers minors in chemistry, life sciences and mathematics, as well as a mathematics concentration for secondary education majors.

“Erika’s inspirational life story serves as a source of motivation for many of our students,” Berger said.

More information about Camacho’s life story and professional accomplishments can be found in the article about her that was published in the Jan. 7 issue of Diverse. The article is at">">

ASU campuses to host Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations

January 11, 2010

ASU will celebrate the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. with several scheduled events in January on all four campuses.

Students at the Tempe campus will kick off the celebration with a Day of Service on Jan. 18, followed by a rally of performances at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 19. The Polytechnic campus will host an MLK celebration breakfast from 7-9 a.m., Jan. 19, in the Cooley Ballroom of the Student Union. Middle-school students will re-enact King’s march on Washington, D.C., on Jan 20 at the West campus. The Downtown Phoenix campus will hold a spoken word event at 7 p.m., Jan. 21 in the Nursing Phase II Building, Room 110. Eugene Grigsby Jr. Download Full Image

The Jan. 19 breakfast will honor two community leaders who embody King’s ideal of leadership through service. The event also will recognize 24 schoolchildren from around the state who won ASU’s annual MLK poster-essay contest. The winning posters are on display in the first floor of Fletcher Library at the West campus.

Eugene Grigsby Jr. – artist, educator, author and community leader – will receive ASU’s 2010 MLK Servant-Leadership Award for his work to inspire and uplift African Americans and others with his art and his service to the community. As a high school teacher and later a professor of art at ASU, Grigsby developed a national reputation for his contributions to education, organizing exhibitions and also working with children’s organizations and human resource centers. Two years ago he received an award from the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C., for his distinguished contributions. Now 91, he still is active in the community.

Dominick Hernandez, a senior in business at the Polytechnic campus, was chosen to receive the MLK Student Servant-Leadership Award. After six years in the U.S. Army and five years in the business world, he enrolled at the Polytechnic campus almost two years ago and quickly became a leader. He organized an Artist Mic Night, helped found a student group for sustainability, co-founded a leadership and success society, and became director of Polytechnic’s Arizona Students at ASU.

Offices and classrooms on the four ASU campuses will be closed on Jan. 18 to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

To request an invitation to the breakfast, contact the ASU Office of Special Events at eventrsvp">">

For more information on the events, go to">">

ASU alum helps serve rural Mexico

December 15, 2009

Laura Libman’s pedigree is part analytical thinking, part business model-building, part upbringing. Mix them together and the result is ownership of a successful nonprofit foundation that is making a difference in health care services in rural Mexico.

A graduate of ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, she earned her bachelor’s degree in English in 2003, then went on to graduate from the Thunderbird School of Global Management with an MBA in international development just two years later. These two educational forays, plus an upbringing that included countless trips and extended stays in Mexico, have shaped her professional career, putting her in a position to reach out and help those less fortunate. Download Full Image

Today, she is president and CEO of the Tia Foundation, a small Arizona-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) dedicated to driving sustainable health solutions in rural Mexico. The foundation boasts 501(c)(3) status in the U.S. and Mexico.

“This all fell together in an odd way,” said Libman, who arrived in the Valley a decade ago with a handful of college credits from the University of Wisconsin-Madison before attending Glendale Community College and eventually New College at ASU’s West campus.

“After I graduated from Thunderbird, I spent the summer in rural villages throughout the state of Guanajuato," she said, referring to a trip to central Mexico. “I went around asking the people what they needed, and I started looking at where the downward spiral of poverty starts. In the majority of cases, it was related to health issues.” 

As an example, she points to a pregnant woman who doesn’t realize her baby is positioned incorrectly for safe delivery.

“Without medical services, there is no one there to tell her this," she said. "She dies in childbirth, her husband is left alone to care for six children.  With some education, this is completely preventable.”

Libman grew up in a multicultural family that included four adopted African American siblings. She followed her father as he travelled to Guadalajara and Mexico City working on his import-export business. She spent summers on her Mexican family’s ranch. It was during these trips that she developed a deep-rooted love for the rural setting and a keen respect for the people who worked the land and raised families, most often under harsh conditions that lacked basic health care.

Her educational mix – the analytical and critical thinking she learned through her New College coursework, and the business model-building skills she acquired in Thunderbird classrooms – rounded out her professional pursuits and helped her design a charitable foundation that provides health services to the needy. In fact, her vision for Tia is to create a sustainable model that will take lessons learned in providing health services and apply them to similar outreach and assistance in education, government and social services.

But getting to this point wasn’t as traditional as graduating from high school and immediately moving on to higher education, earning an advanced degree and entering the professional world. Libman married early, had children and eventually divorced. She became a single mom with the ability to take one, maybe two college courses per semester. She was certain she’d be “cut loose” at the West campus, where her kindergarten-age son, now 22, often attended her American literature classes taught by then-assistant professor of English Darryl Hattenhauer. To this day, a picture drawn by son Nathaniel for Hattenhauer hangs in the professor’s office.

“After that experience – Dr. Hattenhauer’s encouragement, his attention and his mentorship – I was sold on ASU and this campus,” she said. “He was one of the first of many who bent over backward to help me and to push me. I had so many at the West campus who encouraged me and insisted I go to graduate school; I thought I wasn’t smart enough or was too old.”

One of those who helped Libman get back on her educational feet was Kathy Grant, program coordinator for the Learning Enhancement Center, who today is the program manager for the Student Success Center at the West campus.

“Laura faced typical challenges as a re-entry student, which is balancing work and home” said Grant, who came to ASU in 1993 as an undergraduate student in the College of Teacher Education and Leadership. “She has special qualities that were developed growing up in a loving environment of inclusiveness. Doing service motivates Laura.

“It’s amazing what she has accomplished and the speed of her accomplishments is astounding.”

Libman says the lessons she learned in her New College studies have helped her look at the bigger picture and how things fit together, work together and affect one another.

“The New College coursework was so fascinating,” she said. “It was about critical and analytical thinking. I learned to think. It was learning to take something, take it apart and put it back together. Diversity was a focus, and the professors put the lessons into context and brought you the whole world. You learned art and politics and everything that was going on when authors were writing their great works.

“A multidimensional perspective was a natural part of teaching the subjects.”

At Thunderbird, Libman’s circle of education was completed.

“You learned how to put together a good, sustainable model of business development,” she said. “Thunderbird taught us to build models that engender self-development, like what we’re now attempting to do with Tia – taking lessons learned in one area and applying them in other areas.

In presiding over Tia and providing health services to Mexico’s rural populations, Libman’s philosophy is borrowed from the Chinese proverb, “Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.”

“We do want to teach them to fish,” she said. “At New College, I learned how to fish, too. I learned how to have the skills and confidence to shoot for something beyond myself.”

Steve Des Georges

Teachers of the Future undertake 'Cinderella' effort

December 9, 2009

In the classic folktale, “Cinderella,” the Fairy Godmother magically appears in the nick of time to help Cinderella attend the prince’s ball, turning the lady’s rags into a beautiful gown. At Arizona State University, the West campus Teachers of the Future club is attempting the same magic, relying on the generosity of others.

The club, some 25 strong, has partnered with the Phoenix branch of Fairy Godmothers, an organization dedicated to providing a special prom experience to qualified high school girls, to collect new or gently used clean gowns, jewelry, shoes, shawls and evening bags between now and Jan. 31. Donations can be dropped at the Teaching Resource Library at the West campus, located in CLCC L-1-20, Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Fri., 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The donations will be offered for as little as $5 at the Tolleson High School Prom Fair on Feb. 20. Download Full Image

“We have access to thousands of students who can donate their gently used formal wear, and we wanted to take part in a community service project that will have a significant impact,” says Irene Arguello, club president and a junior secondary education history major in the College of Teacher Education and Leadership (CTEL) and also a political science major in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. “We all have fond memories of prom and we understand that without aid, a lot of young women won’t be able to experience it on their own.”

For Fairy Godmothers founder and CEO Joyce Jesko, the chance to team with ASU and Teachers of the Future is a golden opportunity.

“The Tolleson High event will be the third fair we have done in the Phoenix area, and the help we are receiving from the university and the club is very important. There is strength in numbers, and we need to build our inventory so we can send more young ladies to the prom.  The prom season is nearing and we are grateful for the support we are receiving from Teachers of the Future; they’re a very dedicated group.”

The West campus club is no stranger to stepping in to help out. Annually, the club conducts its “Christmas Angels” event, collecting toys, clothing, canned food and more to donate to the Salvation Army and St. Mary’s Food Bank. This year’s drive starts Dec. 1 with a community rollout event scheduled Dec. 3 in the Delph Courtyard on the West campus.  Last year, the club conducted a successful school supply drive for Peoria Elementary School. More events are in the making.

“We’d like to do an event a month,” says Jennifer Gilbert, a CTEL secondary education and New College political science major who is also a Barrett, the Honors College student. She serves as promotions officer for Teachers of the Future. “This is the community we will teach in,” she says. “We should be taking care of those within the community, and there are lots of ways we can do it.

“As students, it can be difficult to fully comprehend what we will be faced with in the classroom, where many of the students may live with financial challenges that don’t allow them to participate in extracurricular activities or milestone events such as a prom. This is such a great opportunity for our club to be a part of an effort to give something back to the community and contribute to young girls’ lives and be a part of their special evening.”

Meanwhile, the Tolleson prom fair is seeking volunteers to assist with the event, serving as personal shoppers to help prom hopefuls select the perfect gown and accessories. Sponsorship opportunities are also available by contacting Stephanie Mercomes at the Tolleson Union High School District via email at stephanie.mercomes">">

Prom clothes pickup arrangements can be made via email to teachersofthefuture">">

Steve Des Georges

ASU prof to co-host PBS series 'History Detectives'

November 30, 2009

Eduardo Obregón Pagán, an associate professor of history and American studies in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University’s West campus, has been signed as a permanent co-host for the popular PBS series "History Detectives." The Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at ASU, Pagán made his debut as a guest host last summer, serving as the investigator on three stories.

Now, his name is permanently in lights. Download Full Image

“Professor Pagán is a great complement to our on-camera team," said series co-executive producer David Davis. “He brings a wealth of knowledge about the history of the American West, and the Southwest in particular.”

Pagán joins a field of veteran fact-finders who have hosted "History Detectives" for seven seasons: Wes Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; Elyse Luray, independent appraiser and expert in art history; Gwendolyn Wright, professor of history and architecture at Columbia University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. The show is produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and LION Television.

Pagán is looking forward to bringing his "History Detectives" experience to the classroom at ASU.

“Much of historical research is done in isolation, or one-on-one,” said Pagán, who recently won a coveted Glyph Award from the Arizona Book Publishing Association for his book, “Historic Photos of Phoenix.” “There have been many times when I have worked with a specialist that I wished I had a camera present so I could capture the experience and share that experience with my classes. Working with 'History Detectives' allows me to do that.

“I regularly teach the history methods class that is required of all history majors, and being able to show stories gives my students a good sense of what it is like to do historical research.”

Pagán said he also can take classroom lesson to the PBS set.

“One of the things I love about working with the show is that the producers and staff have a very keen eye for everyday stories that connect with larger historical events, and that is a lot of what I do in teaching history – showing how ordinary people often in day-to-day events have a profound influence on history.

“So, working with PBS, to me, is much the same as working with a classroom, but on a larger scale.”

The associate professor grew up, as he puts it, “in the shadows of Sun Devil Stadium,” the ASU football team’s Tempe home field. He received his bachelor’s degree from ASU and a master’s from the University of Arizona before earning his M.A and Ph.D. from Princeton University in U.S. history. Before returning to ASU, Pagán served as an assistant dean of students at Princeton, a faculty member at Williams College and as a senior program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.

As he considers the history he teaches and investigates, he has his favorite events – history he would like to have witnessed firsthand.

“If I had to pick an event, it would probably be the fall of Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Mexica (Aztec) empire,” he said. “Bernal Díaz del Castillo chronicled what it was like as a foot soldier in Cortez’s army in the conquest of New Spain, and I’ve often wondered what it was like to stand at the mountain pass gazing down on the Valley of Mexico at this previously undiscovered empire.

“At the same time, I’ve wondered what it was like for the citizens of the capital city to see these strange, bearded people from another land, wearing metal on their bodies and carrying strange weapons, riding in on strange animals.”

Locally, he also has a favorite.

“I also think about what it was like at the collapse of the ancient Pueblo (Aansazi) societies around the 1400s as changing weather patterns brought about decades of drought, political cohesion began to strain, new nomadic tribes began to compete for scarce resources, and the Southwest became a much more violent and harsh place to live in.”

At ASU’s West campus, Pagan teaches coursework in Chicano cultures of the Southwest, historical methods, the Hispanic Southwest, American politics and law, and Constitutional history of the United States.

Steve Des Georges