ASU Pride Prom celebrates community, inclusion on campus

April 14, 2023

Acceptance, inclusion, community and fashion were the highlights of the night for the second annual Pride Prom held recently at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus. 

Students dressed their best and danced the night away at the event, hosted on March 31 by Barrett, The Honors College, Residence Hall Association, Access Coalition, Barrett Leadership and Service Team, Prism, Rainbow Coalition and the Programming and Activities Board. Photo of students dancing at ASU Pride Prom More than 300 students — several shown here dancing — attended the 2023 Pride Prom held recently at the ASU Polytechnic campus. Photo courtesy Barrett, The Honors College Download Full Image

Pride Prom was open to all Sun Devils to come together and celebrate LGBTQ+ pride at ASU. The event themes of bright, bold and glow-in-the-dark were carried throughout Cooley Ballrooms with decorations that included multi-colored balloons and lights. High-energy, positivity and music added to the party atmosphere throughout the evening.

Students enjoyed refreshments from food trucks, took pictures at photo booths, got henna tattoos courtesy of the Multicultural Communities of Excellence, had caricatures drawn by artists and more.

“Pride Prom is an event for ASU students to express themselves in a safe space and have fun,” said Joshua Albin, senior program coordinator of student engagement and recruitment in Barrett at the Polytechnic campus. “Students are able to dress, engage and dance however they identify.”

“Many students did not get a prom in high school or did not feel comfortable to attend or to attend as their true self,” Albin said. “This is a night of redemption for these students to celebrate themselves and their community.”

This year’s Pride Prom saw more than 300 students from all four ASU campuses. “My favorite part was having so many students and seeing them dress up,” Albin said. “It was very empowering to see everyone having a good time.”

Kaelyn Kueneman, a junior animation major in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, went to Pride Prom with their girlfriend.

“When I was in high school, I would not even think of going to prom with a girlfriend,” they said. “Pride Prom is nice for people who didn’t or couldn’t go to prom in high school,” they said, adding that they enjoyed dancing with their girlfriend.

Kueneman’s partner, Rachel Beard Peterson, said “events like these are few and far between. They are so people can feel comfortable and feel seen.”

Peterson said she appreciated “seeing all the people wearing whatever they want — to be visibly queer and visibly disabled.”

Tyler Knotts, a senior business technology major in the W. P. Carey School of Business, said she believes this is an important event for ASU to host.  

“It’s nice to be recognized by the ASU community. It’s good to see people who are part of the queer community as well as allies come together,” she said.

Aubrey Tuttle, a senior psychology major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Pride Prom gave students the opportunity to meet and connect with people who are like them.

“It’s important to develop a community within such a big university like ASU,” Tuttle said. “Sometimes you can feel like the only one, and it makes it hard to connect with other students. At Pride Prom, people have something in common with everyone here.”

Next year's event is already in the works and is planned to be bigger and better than previous years. “We hope to partner with more campus and ASU departments and organizations to make it more engaging and fun,” Albin said. “We are looking to create more ways to engage during and before the event.”

Story by Barrett, The Honors College student Alex Marie Solomon.

Ambassador supports prospective transfer students in MyPath2ASU program

April 11, 2023

Starting his collegiate career at Eastern Arizona College, Manuel Aparicio successfully balanced his studies with student athletics as a member of the school’s football program, in addition to serving as a wildland firefighter.

Inspired by his parents to pursue higher education, Aparicio credits them for their hard work and sacrifices that enabled him to continue with his education. Upon completing his associate degree, Aparicio decided to attend Arizona State University because of the diverse campus community and opportunities within the health care field. He now provides support for others on their transfer journeys as a transfer student ambassador. Portrait shot of Manuel Aparicio Manuel Aparicio Download Full Image

“As a first-generation community college graduate coming from a diverse background, I feel that I have the ability to connect with prospective transfer students and to help them feel encouraged, accepted and confident in their decision to become a member of the Sun Devil family.”

Seeking his bachelor's degree in medical studies in the College of Health Solutions, Aparicio plans to attend dental school and become a practicing dentist after completing his program in spring 2024. He shares more about providing support to prospective students in the MyPath2ASU program.

Question: Why did you choose your major?

Answer: I liked the opportunities that it will provide when I join the health care field.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your ASU experience so far?

A: The chance to connect with other transfer students and developing relationships within and outside of the university community.

Q: Are you involved in any clubs, organizations, research or internships?

A: I’m currently a member of the pre-dental club and work as a transfer student ambassador within Academic Alliances at ASU.

Q: Were you involved in any clubs or organizations at your community college?

A: I was a student athlete as a player on the football team.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to a new transfer student?

A: Don’t be worried about talking to others and making connections.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share?

A: I enjoy volunteering and continue to work with the Bureau of Land Management in Safford as a wildland firefighter. My current and past work and extracurricular activities have helped me develop as a team leader as well as a team player. I have learned how to be an active listener and to communicate clearly while being considerate and inclusive. I thrive when working with others and really enjoy meeting and befriending new people.

Melanie Pshaenich

Coordinator senior, Office of the University Provost, Academic Alliances


ASU workshop focuses on power, politics of public restroom design

April 11, 2023

The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication recently partnered with Arizona State University’s Project Humanities for a workshop to imagine architectural designs that acknowledge the common discomfort with the current designs of many public restrooms. 

From Bathrooms to Restrooms: When the Private Becomes Public," held March 29 in Tempe, featured discussion, storytelling and problem-solving to create inclusive and dignified public bathroom spaces for all community members at ASU and beyond.  Man standing in front of event signage giving a speech. Neal A. Lester, Project Humanities founding director, speaks during the “From Bathrooms to Restrooms" lecture on March 29. Download Full Image

“Inclusive restrooms are not just important to transgender and nonbinary people,” said Rae Macías, the program coordinator at Project Humanities. “They can benefit everyone, people with larger bodies, families, people with disabilities, caregivers, people with anxiety and the list continues. It has been far too long that architects and interior designers have not had inclusivity in mind.” 

Attendees shared personal experiences while building community and compassion for others. 

Assistant Professor Loretta LeMaster, who researches queer and trans life, said the goal of the workshop was to open larger conversations across campus and in the community on bathrooms. 

“The other reason they/we are doing this is precisely because this is a growing issue in the state and across the U.S. with very little public discussion that does not simply attack trans and gender-expansive people,” LeMaster said. 

“As of this writing, there have been 492 bills targeting trans people (largely youths) proposed across 47 states in 2023 so far. Of those, 25 have passed, 43 have failed, while 424 remain active.” 

Person speaking on stage at event

Assistant Professor Loretta LeMaster

LeMaster said the common thread across all these bills is that they restrict and bar transgender, nonbinary and other gender-expansive people from participating in public life. 

LeMaster was joined by graduate students Annika Espinoza, Blake Harms and Pablo Ramirez to lead participants through a performative dialogue that created insightful discoveries.

In their small group exercises, LeMaster invited participants to reflect on common feelings they experience when thinking about or using public restrooms. 

Participants then explored their different emotional responses as a common point of connection to engage in meaningful conversation about the collective discomfort with public restrooms.  

“While we cannot realistically restructure every restroom in the U.S., we can start by choosing to acknowledge various gender identities and sexes,” Macías said.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication


ASU marks Holi with colorful celebration of 'joy of living life'

Indian Students Association hosts Hindu tradition at new venue

April 7, 2023

Clouds of colorful powder filled the air above the Sun Devil Fitness fields at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus on March 18 as more than 2,500 students gathered to celebrate Holi, a centuries-old Hindu tradition that marks the arrival of spring and celebrates love and friendship.

While the Hindu festival of colors originated in South Asia, it has now spread worldwide, with Holi events taking place globally. Holi celebrations have also been embraced on college campuses, including ASU, where the event was presented by the Indian Students Association. A group of people covered in colorful splashes of powder pose outside. More than 2,500 students gathered March 18 on ASU's Tempe campus to celebrate Holi, a centuries-old Hindu festival of colors that marks the arrival of spring and celebrates love and friendship. Download Full Image

“We had a record attendance of 2,500-plus students at this year’s event, including students of varied backgrounds, ages and disciplines, as well as staff, faculty, family members and alumni,” said Yashaswini Karanth, association president and a graduate student studying materials science and engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “This number also includes 100 members of Team ISA (made up of the association's board members and dedicated volunteer group),” she added.

People all across the world celebrate Holi by throwing colorful powder into the air and splashing each other with it. There's significance behind every hue. Red is associated with passion and new life, and green represents growth and renewal. People also throw colorful water balloons at one another.

Karanth said Holi has long been one of India’s “fan-favorite” festivals, drawing large crowds each year, especially young people.

Poems as early as the fourth century CE describe Holi festivals in the Indian subcontinent. The celebrations herald the arrival of spring after a harsh winter, representing the eventual victory of virtue over evil. The festival is observed in the month of Phalguna in the Hindu lunar calendar, which corresponds to March. The observance of Holi began on March 8 this year.

“It marks the onset of an entire season of harvest festivals that India celebrates,” Karanth said. “I have always associated Holi with friendship, camaraderie and the innate joy in living as it celebrates these aspects through music, color play, dance, food and more,” she added.

Karanth, who grew up attending local community Holi festivals, said this year’s gathering enabled her and many other students to connect with peers from similar backgrounds while also showcasing their culture to fellow Sun Devils.

“Holi, to me, has always been about celebrating the joy of living life,” Karanth said. “As your white garment gets stained with colors fondly (and oftentimes aggressively) applied by your friends, there is no feeling to conquer the spirit of friendship, camaraderie and joy that fills the air as equally as the vibrant and rich colors of Holi. This is the moment when you can leave your worries behind and start something new," she added.

In recent years, the Holi celebration at ASU was presented on the lawn at the Palo Verde residence hall complex — also known as Palo Verde Beach. Karanth said a highlight of the 2023 event was the transition to a larger venue, which enabled event organizers to double the attendance this year.

“We have been able to bring this cultural extravaganza to 2,500-plus students as compared to 1,200 students at Holi 2022,” Karanth said. “With extensive support provided by Educational Outreach and Student Services and the International Students and Scholars Center at ASU, we hope and aim to increase our reach amongst the ASU community and continue bringing larger-scale events," she said.

Joanne Vogel, vice president of student services, said the event was not only a joyous and festive time for a large gathering of students, “it was also a great and colorful demonstration of culture at ASU.” 

 “This entirely student-led event provided Sun Devils a chance to learn about this facet of Hindu culture while making new connections with students across the university,” Vogel said.

The Indian Students Association at ASU is a nonprofit organization to promote service and leadership opportunities helping new students with the transition to the United States, including support pertaining to the educational and social issues that they may face during the transition to college life at ASU. Student-student and student-community interactions are also highly encouraged, and the members work to provide their peers a platform to express their creativity, especially in the performing arts.

Joan M. Sherwood

Executive Director, Strategic Marketing & Communication, Educational Outreach & Student Services


ASU professor seeks to battle stereotypes, inspire with new 'Latinx Actor Training' book

April 7, 2023

Micha Espinosa, professor in Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre, recently co-edited a book titled “Latinx Actor Training.” The book was developed with co-editor Cynthia Santos DeCure, an associate professor at Yale University's School of Drama.

“We are hoping that this book serves as a blueprint for all communities to work in culturally inclusive environments,” Espinosa said. “We have a motto: Change the training, change the industry." Headshot of a woman with blue eyes and long dark hair wearing a blue shirt. Micha Espinosa Download Full Image

The book is organized into 25 chapters on actor training from experts and leading voices in theater, film and television.

“There’s a range of expertise in our community and a range of ways of identifying,” Espinosa said. “When one talks of Latine or LatinxGender neutral terms for Latino/a. cultural heritage, we are really talking about a huge spectrum of cultures and heritages and hyphenated identities. We sought not only academics but also practitioners.”

Espinosa is an international teaching artist, activist and voice and performance specialist in culturally inclusive pedagogies. She is a 30-year member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, artistic director of Fitzmaurice Voicework and lead teacher trainer for the Fitzmaurice Voicework teacher certification. She is also an affiliate faculty member with ASU’s School of Transborder Studies and The Sidney Poitier New American Film School.

DeCure is a bilingual actor and voice, speech and dialect coach specializing in culturally inclusive actor training. She is also a member of SAG-AFTRA with over 30 years of experience. This is the second book they have collaborated on.

During their extensive careers, Espinosa and DeCure noticed the disparities for Spanish-speaking actors and advocated for an advancement.

“Micha and I began to compare notes and dreamed about a way forward to really help our community,” DeCure said. “Our book was born from that.”

DeCure said she wants not only students and educators but also producers and directors in the field to find the cultural and heritage practices in the book to be important, valid and useful. 

“This book just scratches the surface,” said Espinosa. “We hope it is a springboard and inspires our community. I hope that this book is just the beginning.”

“Latinx Actor Training” is published by Routledge and is available for purchase through all major bookstores.

Lacy Chaffee

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


Faculty Academy members learn to infuse 'creative placemaking and placekeeping' into their work

Studio in Watts, Herberger colleges to help new cohort devise projects that unite art, design, culture with community

April 4, 2023

Arizona State University faculty members are learning how to create and maintain places of diversity, equity and inclusion in their teaching, research and service as members of the ASU Faculty Academy.

This year, the academy, based at the university’s Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities, welcomes its third cohort of faculty from multiple disciplines. A line of people look at documents on a table. Faculty Academy members learn about the history of the Dunbar Pavilion in Tucson from Barbara Lewis, the organization’s vice president and historian, as well as a former student. Photo by Anna Alvarez-Loucks/ASU Download Full Image

Participation in the academy helps members build skills, personal reflections and insights they can use to develop effective practices and curricula at the university, said interim studio director Chandra Crudup. Crudup is associate dean for inclusive design for equity and access at the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and a clinical associate professor of social work.

The studio, a joint effort of the Watts College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, is rooted in the principles of creative placemaking and placekeeping, defined as “the strategic integration of arts, culture and community-engaged design into comprehensive community planning and development.”

Each Faculty Academy member focuses on a project of significance to their field of study and research, in an interdisciplinary peer-to-peer environment. The goal is for faculty to include themes of equitable creative placemaking and placekeeping in their teaching, research and service, Crudup said.

Crudup said the experience walks the nine cohort members through answering important questions as they build upon their existing practices. Questions include: How do we redress historical inequities? What makes a community healthy, equitable and just? What does it mean to center the culture, experience and joy of Black, Indigenous, people of color and other historically underrepresented groups in practice and pedagogy?

As senior coordinator Anna Alvarez-Loucks explains in a recent Medium post, joy and rest can be used to change systems by allowing ourselves to imagine and create new possibilities more in line with our own values.

“Instead of a luxury at odds with social justice, prioritizing joy can be an act of resistance in itself, which challenges inequity, engages community and enacts change in the oppressive systems we have inherited,” Alvarez-Loucks wrote.

While many participants are from the Watts College and the Herberger Institute, members of this year’s cohort also hail from other parts of the university. The cohort members are:

  • Melita Belgrave, associate professor, School of Music, Dance and Theatre, and associate dean of culture and access, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
  • Carla Bishop, assistant professor, The Sidney Poitier New American Film School.
  • Deepak Chhabra, associate professor, School of Community Resources and Development.
  • Robert Farid Karimi, assistant professor, School of Music, Dance and Theatre.
  • Felicia Mitchell, associate professor, School of Social Work.
  • Ijeoma Ogbonnaya, assistant professor, School of Social Work.
  • Alberto Olivas, executive director, Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service, Watts College.
  • Lauren Ruffin, associate professor, School of the Future of Innovation in Society; School of Arts, Media and Engineering.
  • Jessica Salow, assistant archivist, University Archives.

Members of this year’s cohort began their seven-month academy experience in November at the ASU Art Museum on the Tempe campus. In February, the cohort traveled to Tucson to learn from the lived experiences of community partners on a variety of creative placemaking projects.

“The Faculty Academy is a place where the importance of individual humanity and relationships are centered instead of just production, and how art, design and culture are an intrinsic part of that,” Crudup said.

“Participants engage and ask questions about their own work and practices by integrating the guiding principles of creative placemaking and placekeeping,” she said. “The core of creative placemaking and placekeeping is about process. A student with a professor who went through the Faculty Academy might see more of a process of learning shift rather than just their assignments change.”

Faculty Academy, Borderlands Theatre, Tucson, Sosa Carrillo House

Members of the ASU Faculty Academy visit the Sosa Carrillo House in Tucson as part of a Borderlands presentation. Photo by Anna Alvarez-Loucks/ASU

The previous 2020–21 cohort’s projects reflected a wide variety of interests and disciplines:

  • Meagan Ehlenz, associate professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, incorporated creative placemaking principles into two planning courses: a foundational course that contains themes of ethics, equity, social justice and community practice; and an applied community collaboration course. Ehlenz also researched the ways neighborhoods have used creativity (especially sidewalk chalk) to cope with/process the COVID pandemic.
  • Stacey Kuznetsov, assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering; and Cody Telep, associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; collaborated on “Future of Place and Belonging,” a module that explored policing and place. It was included in an interactive materials course in spring 2021. Students used design fiction methods to envision the future of place and belonging. Telep, who is also associate director of the school, expanded his approach to research for the module to consider strengths, assets and culture, as well as take a critical look at community collaborations. 
  • Benjamin Timpson, assistant professor in the School of Art, redesigned the curriculum for the Introduction to Photography I course in fall 2022 with a holistic approach that recognizes the injustices and biases of the medium.
  • Brett Petersen, lecturer in the School of Social Work, used the principles of creative placemaking to develop classroom activities that can create equitable classroom communities, dismantle dominant culture and allow students to establish collaborative spaces.
  • Chingwen Cheng, program head and associate professor in The Design School, integrated creative placemaking into a technical report for educating landscape architecture professionals about climate justice and climate actions through the American Society of Landscape Architects's Climate Action Plan and Climate Action Now: A Landscape Architect’s Guide to Climate Advocacy. The reports cover the role designers have in addressing systemic injustice in the built environment and serving as advocates for vulnerable communities. Cheng served on the DEIB Task Force at The Design School, working with students, staff and faculty to create a mission statement for the school. Currently, Cheng serves on the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) DEI Committee to promote equity cultures and DEI goals in the research community. In the capacity of landscape architecture program head, Cheng is developing a long-range plan that integrates JEDI (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) principles for recruitment, mentoring, student and faculty success and well-being, marketing and curriculum development.
  • Kelly Faye Jackson, associate professor in the School of Social Work, initiated a collaborative research project in spring 2021 using a new methodology, called Black feminist polyethnography, to examine gendered anti-Black racism within the social-work profession. This research project has resulted in the publication of two peer-reviewed articles in the journals "Affilia" (Jackson et al., 2022) and the "Journal of Social Work Education" (currently in-press) and inspired a YouTube webinar titled “Critical Feminism and Anti-Blackness: Implications for Social Work.” Jackson and her co-authors received the prestigious “Distinguished Feminist Scholarship and Practice in Social Work Award” (January 2023) for their 2022 "Affilia" article “Taking Back the Narrative: Gendered Anti-Blackness in Predominantly White Schools of Social Work.” Jackson continues to advocate for the creation of safe counterspaces for Black and mixed Black women scholars and is currently principal investigator on a research project to develop an empirical measure of gendered anti-Black racism in higher education.
  • Cody Telep and Kate Fox, professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, developed a curriculum plan for the school to assess and improve the diversity, equity and inclusivity of its curriculum, policies and practices to include facilitation of more inclusive spaces, diverse perspectives, and creative solutions to improving diversity and equity.
  • Joanna Lucio, senior associate dean and associate professor in the School of Public Affairs, created the Student Life Cycle Project, a critical analysis of interactions between students and the university, specifically in the Watts College. The project covered prospective students through alumni experiences, with focus on student co-creation of spaces and approaches to mentorships, internships and academic integrity policies. The goal of the project was to create more equitable interactions and outcomes for students throughout their time at the Watts College and to ensure that there are mechanisms for students to feel welcomed at each stage.
Mark J. Scarp

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


From 2 women in department to 35% of faculty: School of Molecular Sciences celebrates growth, impact

March 31, 2023

Regents Professor Ana Moore is the longest continuously serving female faculty member of Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences, starting in 1976.

Although initially hired as a teaching intern, Moore’s research capabilities in artificial photosynthesis were quickly recognized, and together with colleagues Devens Gust and Tom Moore, she went on to lead a team of student and postdoctoral associates that developed an international reputation in the design and construction of bio-inspired molecular systems for energy conversion and storage. A group of ASU faculty women posing for the photo. Women make up 35% of the School of Molecular Sciences' faculty. Photo courtesy School of Molecular Sciences/ASU Download Full Image

“When I came to ASU, I certainly was not the first woman in the department,” Moore recalled. “Alex Navrotsky was here before me until 1985. However, there were times I was the only woman with tenure. I didn’t notice though because that’s how it was at the time. And ASU was ahead of the curve, because there were many universities who didn’t have any female faculty.”

In the ensuing years, more female researchers were hired. Under department chair Devens Gust, Petra Fromme, Giovanna Ghirlanda and Rebekka Wachter joined the faculty. Just a few years later, Marcia Levitus and Anne Jones were hired, adding to the strength and diversity of the department.

Diversity has continued to increase since then.

“Over the last few years, the School of Molecular Sciences has hired 12 women faculty members, compared to four men," Ian Gould, associate dean of online and digital initiatives and former interim director of the School of Molecular Sciences, said. "The school currently has three women Regents Professors out of a total of six, and the current administration team consists of four women and one man.”

The school's faculty is now 35% women.

Female faculty are leading major initiatives at ASU. Navrotsky’s project FORCE and MoTU have received widespread recognition, while Fromme and Ros were part of the team that was recently awarded a $90.8 million grant from the NSF to build a free electron laser.

Jones is vice provost for undergraduate programs and Ara Austin leads the online undergraduate research (OURS) program.

Research from the school's female junior faculty is also receiving recognition: Audrey Lapinaite recently received an National Institutes of Health Innovation Award, and Christina Birkel received an National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

“I am very proud of all of the women in the School of Molecular Sciences," Director Tijana Rajh said. "They are making history here and around the world with their research, innovation and creativity. ASU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is one of its strengths that brought me here.”

Moore noted that having a diverse and strong research group makes the school more competitive.

“We need to be intentional about who we hire today, and how we support them impacts the educational and research opportunities we provide for our students, because our students become the researchers of tomorrow,” Moore said.

Check out this video featuring ASU's women in molecular science:

James Klemaszewski

Science writer, School of Molecular Sciences


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US VP Harris announces Thunderbird at ASU, Department of State partnership in support of female entrepreneurs

March 29, 2023

Harris announces five-year, public-private partnership during African trip

As recently announced by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs are launching a new five-year, public-private partnership in support of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs program.

As part of this partnership, Thunderbird is offering courses in its Francis and Dionne Najafi 100 Million Learners Global Initiative to all academy participants and alumni, at absolutely no cost to the learner.

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs program is currently implemented by 20 U.S. missions in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs expects the academy to expand to an additional four African countries: Cameroon, Eswatini, Lesotho and Somalia.

“We must be intentional to make progress in three key areas: the empowerment of women, digital inclusion, and good governance and democracy," Harris said during the announcement. “All of which are a focus of my visit to the continent and going forward, and all of which have the potential to create even more innovation.

"Innovation that will unlock new jobs, new industries and exponential growth. So let us agree, women around the world must be able to fully participate in economic, political and social life, and they must be able to participate equally, including in leadership roles. It is a key to maximizing global growth and opportunity.” 

Harris made the announcement in Africa during her recent travels to Accra, Ghana, to build on the December 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.

Through this collaboration, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Thunderbird will provide additional resources for Academy for Women Entrepreneurs participants and alumni to complete advanced entrepreneurship courses to further develop their skills.

The partnership helps Thunderbird move closer to its goal of reaching 100 million learners — 70% of who will be women and young women. It also supports the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Thunderbird’s shared priorities of promoting gender equity, economic opportunity, entrepreneurship and education.

“When you provide women entrepreneurs with the tools to start and grow small businesses and social enterprises, you invest not only in the woman, but also in her family, employees, community and country,” said Sanjeev Khagram, director general and dean at Thunderbird. 

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is a collaborative initiative between Thunderbird and the U.S. Department of State. Now operating in nearly 100 countries, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs established the academy as an exchange program in 2019 to provide women entrepreneurs the knowledge, networks and access they need to launch or scale successful businesses.

The program utilizes the DreamBuilder platform, an online training program developed by Thunderbird and the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation in 2011. To date, the academy has empowered an estimated 25,000 female entrepreneurs around the world with the skills they need to reach their full economic potential. 

“We are grateful that our partnership with the ECA and our generous supporters, Freeport-McMoRan and Francis and Dionne Najafi, allows us the opportunity to advance the future prosperity of African women," Khagram said.

This public-private partnership aligns with the United States National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality and the U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security by promoting women’s leadership and expanding education and economic development opportunities for underserved communities in the countries where the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is offered.

More information can be found at

Top photo: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in Ghana, Africa. Photo courtesy U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Dasi Styles

Senior Media Relations Officer , Thunderbird School of Global Management


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ASU student awarded Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship

March 28, 2023

Junior with health equity background will study social justice in 3 countries

Before arriving at Arizona State University, Daniel Hernandez had a goal: “I want to be that person who cares for others.” He wanted to support his community by giving them the tools and education to understand their health, especially since this is something he didn’t have while growing up.

Daniel Hernandez, ASU junior, awarded prestigious Fredrick Douglass Fellowship

ASU junior Daniel Hernandez was awarded the prestigious Fredrick Douglass Global Fellowship. Photo courtesy Daniel Hernandez

Now, the junior with two majors — business (health care) and business (business administration) — at the W. P. Carey School of Business will move closer to his goal after being awarded the prestigious Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship. He will take a three-continent journey to Washington, D.C., Cape Town and Dublin this summer for a comparative study of social-justice leadership.

“I'm very proud to be the first ASU student that has received this award,” he said. “I'm really excited, especially as someone who has done research on specifically Frederick Douglass before, this is a great way for me to learn more, especially about ways that I can come back here and apply what I've learned.” 

In addition to the fellowship, he was awarded a $1,500 Frederick Douglass Scholars Grant.

Offered by CIEE, an international study-abroad organization, the fellowship launched in 2017 to increase access to study abroad for students in underrepresented groups. It was inspired by the 1845 meeting between 27-year-old abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the great Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell in Dublin.

Hernandez is one of 12 high-achieving students of color selected for the award. According to a press release announcing the scholars, Hernandez was selected for the fellowship because of his academic excellence, communication skills and commitment to social justice.

He hopes to empower others to take control of their health through education and advocating for equitable, quality care for everyone. “My story with health care is a very personal one, and it definitely stems from my family life,” he said. “There were definitely some troubles at home during my development, but nonetheless it inspired me to keep going and to keep doing everything I can.”

James P. Pellow, president and CEO of CIEE, said: “The future leaders of this program will return home from their time abroad with an enhanced global perspective on advancing social justice and be better prepared to be agents of change in their communities and in our world.”

Krista Hinz

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Documentary spotlights plight of Indian boarding school children

March 27, 2023

ASU alumnus and Indigenous filmmaker Jim Warne previews film short at Phoenix Film Festival

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the U.S. government created and implemented more than 400 Indian boarding schools. They were often run by churches, which forcibly rounded up Indigenous children and took them to the schools in an attempt to assimilate them into American society.

In addition to being separated from their parents and their culture, thousands of children are believed to have died of abuse and neglect, many left in unmarked graves and forgotten. 

Only in recent years are historians and the federal government wrapping their heads around the enormity of the abuses and the brutality of what took place.

Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jim Warne is also contributing to this history with his award-winning short film “Remember the Children.” The 22-minute documentary was a 2023 official selection of the Phoenix Film Festival, which runs from March 23 to April 2.

Warne, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe who earned his bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University and was an All-PAC 10 tackle for the 1987 Rose Bowl Championship team, executive produced the film, which is screening under the Native American Directed Shorts category.

He spoke to ASU News to discuss the project, his film career and his time on the gridiron.

Man holding football trophy

Jim Warne

Question: What is the premise of “Remember the Children,” which has already won several awards and is directed by Arlo Iron Cloud?

Answer: It’s about the Rapid City Boarding School in Rapid City, South Dakota, which opened in 1898. There were just over 400 U.S. Indian boarding schools that the federal government initiated. Most of the Native American boarding schools were administered by churches, and back then, they would literally take Indigenous kids from families and place them into these schools. Many of these kids were forced to speak English and become Christians. It was essentially forced assimilation through violence. The initial purpose of these schools was to “take the Indian out of the child.” We had a majority Lakota film team and Arlo’s vision added to the film’s Indigenous viewpoint of “our” history. 

Q: Given your lineage, I’m assuming you knew someone who was raised in a boarding school?

A: My mom, Beverly Stabber Warne, an Oglala Lakota elder, is featured in the film. She attended the Pine Ridge boarding school on the reservation, near Rapid City. Her siblings were also forced to attend boarding schools. There are other elders and people interviewed for this film. In my first picture, “Seventh Generation,” there are more stories about boarding school experiences, including my mom’s weekly kerosene head wash that all the kids were forced to endure. It’s about 45 minutes.

Q: “Remember the Children” is a film short. How long is it?

A: This is just under 23 minutes. We’re hoping for additional funding to make this a feature length documentary so we can get more in-depth on the boarding school issue, as well as creating the children’s memorial. It will be the first memorial addressing the mistreatment and abuse of the children by the American Indian boarding schools throughout the United States. Until now, the only indicator is the large graveyards at many of the Indian boarding schools like Carlisle, Haskell and Sherman, with headstones indicating “Unknown” and date of death. 

Q: “Remember the Children” will be screened at the Phoenix Film Festival three timesSaturday, March 25; Sunday, March 26; and Tuesday, March 28. What do you like about this festival?

A: First, I can share this film with my friends and family in Arizona. The festival, like the Phoenix metropolitan area, has grown significantly over the years. The films feature grade "A" talent and production under many categories. They also feature a Native American film section, which I appreciate as an Indigenous filmmaker. It’s nice to be able to showcase some of our work in a state that is home to 22 different tribes. Being raised here in Phoenix is a bonus for me. 

Q: I’m fascinated when professional athletes make that hard left turn and become artists. Was that transition easy or hard for you?

A: I did have an artistic side growing up and was in several advanced art classes. I was very good at drawing and painting, but I let it go once I started getting more attention as an athlete. My dream was to become another Jim Brown, Fred Dryer or Alex Karas and transition from an athletic career to acting. I’m glad I’m dreaming bigger to where I’m a producer, working behind the camera and controlling the content. I have done some acting and stunt work in my younger years, but there were a lot of frustrating years because of the parts I had to play, where they tended to typecast me.

Q: What was your biggest role?

A: Undoubtedly “The Substitute” with Tom Berenger. It was released in 1996. I play “Bull,” a contract killer for a Seminole drug lord. Tom and I won “Fight Scene of the Month” on Cinemax for our first fight in the film. It was a nice month in Miami and I enjoyed myself. But it’s wonderful to be a filmmaker and an advocate for our people in my later film career.

Q: How about an ASU football story or anecdote?

A: Well, it was awesome growing up in Tempe. I remember going to ASU football games as a family during the Frank Kush era when they had great teams. My parents would take me and my brother to The Chuckbox to eat before watching a game in Sun Devil Stadium. I still have a collection of chin straps from the helmets of my favorite players that I idolized growing up — John Jefferson, Al Harris, Danny White, etc. I always made sure to give my chin straps and pads to the kids after my games.

Playing ASU football was a dream come true. Ending my career at the Rose Bowl was a bonus, then getting drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals and graduating the same year turned out to be great year for me. I have so many fond memories of ASU and am a proud alumnus. Go Devils!

Top photo: Girls’ basketball teams are seen taking part in the Tri-State Indian School basketball tournament at the former Rapid City Indian School in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1929. The boarding school is the subject of a new documentary short, "Remember the Children." The 22-minute film is executive produced by Jim Warne, an Arizona State University alumnus and member of the 1987 Rose Bowl championship football team. Photo courtesy the Office of Indian Affairs/Department of the Interior

Reporter , ASU News