ASU’s West campus celebrates 20 years of Astronomy Open House

Telescope viewing of the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter will be the main attractions as Astronomy Open House returns to Arizona State University’s West campus, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road, on Thursday, March 30th. Hosted by New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences faculty member Paul Schmidtke, celestial sightseeing will run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The popular event is held east of the Young Scholars Academy (FABNX building) on the east side of campus. Visitor parking is available in nearby pay-by-space lots.

“This semester’s event is special. We’ve been hosting Astronomy Open House at the West campus at least once each semester since 1997. This is our 20th year,” said Schmidtke, an astronomer with professional interests in the areas of double-star and X-ray astronomy. “For many who join us, it is the first chance to explore the night sky with a telescope. In addition to the Moon and planets, visitors will have the opportunity to see many of the star clusters and nebulae of the spring sky.”

The event is free. Several types of telescopes will be available, including some provided by members of the Phoenix Astronomical Society, which is once again supporting the activities.

ASU Professor Recognized with the John Lachs Award for Public Philosophy

Betha Manninen, ASU New College, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics faculty, has received the prestigious 2017 John Lachs Award for Public Philosophy.

During the decade Manninen has taught at the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies at the ASU West campus, her research in reproductive rights, applied ethics, biomedical ethics such as abortion has been published in several journals and has helped create dialogue for these issues.  Her book, “Pro-Life, Pro-Choice: Shared Values in the Abortion Debate,” is praised to be an approach to the abortion controversy with a “philosophical investigation,” that both students and faculy should real to further engage the ethical argument says Christine Overall, Professor of Philosophy and University Research Chair, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.

Along the way, she has also become a favorite professor, due in particular to her commitment to presenting interesting lectures, thinking of material in new ways, and treating students – and their ideas – with respect.

Congratulations to Dr. Manninen on her continuing efforts to engage the public in the discussion of philosophy and applied ethics.

Jacob Meders presents “Window Dressing – Indians Behind Glass” through April 13

Jacob Meders, IAP faculty member, has created an installation titled “Window Dressing – Indians Behind Glass” currently on exhibit in ArtSpace West at ASU’s West campus.

This installation is rooted in the history of museum-based dioramas of Indigenous Peoples with the infusion of undertones of retail display windows, or “window dressing.” The use of “window dressing” alludes to the idea of presenting something in a better light or manipulating the viewpoint to create a better impression. Using current commercial printing processes, video and ready-mades, this installation presents a dialogue that questions the historical conditioning and perspective built into the American framework with the labeling of the Indigenous People of this land.

ArtSpace West is located in the University Center Building near the 47th Avenue campus entrance. The opening reception begins this evening, March 28, 2017, at 6:00 p.m., and the exhibition runs through April 13th (Mondays-Thursdays) from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Visitor parking ($3 per hour) is available in the north lot across from the gallery.

The School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies offers a BA in interdisciplinary arts and performance in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU’s West campus.

West Valley Symphony Returns for an Evening at the Movies

Photo by Doug Tolf

If you love the symphony and movies, then don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy both at the same time at ASU’s West campus this weekend. It’s not too late to reserve your seat for the West Valley Symphony performance on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 7 p.m. in the La Sala Ballroom.

Cal Stewart Kellogg Photo by Robert Strava

Conducted by Cal Stewart Kellogg, the Symphony returns in its 48th season for an “Evening at the Movies.” Enjoy great music themes from “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “E.T.,” “Star Trek,” “The Magnificent 7,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” and “Laura’s Theme” from “Doctor Zhivago.” “The Pink Panther” and scores from “Oklahoma,” “The Music Man” and “My Fair Lady” are guaranteed to send everyone home whistling!

Introduce children to the symphony with a fun theme this year, as this performance is perfect for all ages to enjoy.

Tickets are $15 (general); $10 (seniors); $5 (students, faculty and staff). Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at

For more information, visit or call 602-543-6450.

Religion and Reason in the Public Square

On Thursday, March 23, 2017, Dr. Daniel Mark, guest speaker from Villanova University, will present at ASU’s West campus as part of the Philosophy Out West Discussion Series. Dr. Mark’s topic titled “Religion and Reason in the Public Square” will focus on refugees, U.S. policy, and the state of international religious freedom. The talk will take place from 4-5:30 p.m. in University Center Building – UCB 265.

Dr. Mark serves as assistant professor of political science at Villanova University and received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. As Vice Chairman for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, he monitors the universal right to freedom of religion and makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress.

Funding for the project is provided by the Institute for Humane Studies through a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. For more information, contact Dr. Owen Anderson, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

Cybersecurity Challenge Winners Announced

Talented minds from local high schools, colleges and Arizona State University gathered on ASU’s West campus on February 25, 2017 for the Fourth Annual Cybersecurity Challenge. Sponsored by Terra Verde and Charles Schwab, the event offered participants the opportunity to solve challenging, real-world problems that face today’s cyber professionals, digital forensic scientists, and network/security/system engineers.

After hearing from a career panel, participants were engaged in a 4-hour challenge to identify and patch vulnerabilities, as well as analyze behaviors and damage from potential viruses. Teams were awarded points, as each level was successfully reached. The top winning teams receiving prizes were:

  • “Putin on the Ritz” (2300 pts.): Robert Logan, Ryan Hermens, and Devon Bautista
  • “pwndevils” (2300 pts.): Tejas Khairnar, Emanuel Boderash, and Will Gibbs
  • “ROPchain” (1900 pts.): Paul Wagenseller, Ricky Mooroian, and Alaura Symons
  • “SyntaxError” (1800 pts.): Andrew Stanton and Jackie Fazekas
  • “Door Handlers” (1650 pts.): Rudolph Ponce, Brandon O’Rahilly, and Benjamin Hatch

Mark your calendar for next year’s event, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, January 27, 2018.

With the demand for cybersecurity growing rapidly, ASU’s Cybersecurity Education Consortium was established.  More information can be found here.

Refugee resettlement forum coming to ASU’s West campus

Students and faculty members from the New College Social Justice and Human Rights, M.A. program have organized a public forum to discuss the refugee crisis facing the world today. Their mission is to educate students and community members on the process of refugee resettlement through a discussion on the vetting process, what the local resettlement agencies do, and to what capacity they work to accomplish the same goal. In addition, they want to educate students and the community as to how the recent executive order has effected operations and the lives of refugees in Arizona and abroad.

Speakers will include:

  • Dr. Julie Erfani, Associate Professor, Director, Social Justice & Human Rights Master’s Program
  • Bandak Lul, SJHR Graduate student
  • Honore Callingham, Training and Interpretation Services Coordinator
  • Jessalynne Howard, Volunteer Coordinator, IRC in Phoenix
  • Daniel Kelly, Catholic Charities, Program Manager
  • Abdul Manfoukh, President & CEO of US United
  • Karina Ruiz, Board President, Arizona Dream Act Coalition

The event takes place on March 16, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 in the La Sala Ballroom on ASU’s West campus. A Q&A session will follow the speakers. To RSVP, please click here.

Social Justice and Human Rights Alumni Making a Difference

Spaces of Opportunity is a project SHJR New College Alumni Nicolas de la Fuente has been working on to help build an on-site ASU Alumni Nicolas de la Fuentefarmer’s market and neighborhood food subscriptions in South Phoenix.  The program will also include the Roosevelt Elementary School District by the way of STEAM based curriculum.  The goal of transforming a food desert to a food oasis has been inspired by Nicolas de la Fuente experience in travels to poverty stricken countries and seeing first hand the abject poverty faced by many families.

To read more about the Spaces of Opportunity project and how you can help visit their website and watch their video explaining more on how you can help make this vision a reality for Nicolas and his team.

To read more about the Social Justice and Human Right’s master degree program that Nicolas received at the West campus visit and speak with an advisor.

Black History Month celebrated at ArtSpace West

Artist, Kris Rhymes
Artist, Kris Rhymes

“The Collection:  Artworks by African-American Artists from the Valley of the Sun,” currently features an installation of unique paintings, sculptures and visual art works on display at ArtSpace West.  Celebrate Black History Month by visiting Arizona State University’s West campus and appreciating the work of artists from the greater Metro Phoenix area, including Valerie Fair, Kris Rhymes, Jackie Muhammad, and Lowaunz Farrow.  The exhibition is open now and runs through February 23 (Mondays-Thursdays only) from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

The gallery of ArtSpace West is coordinated by faculty, staff and students of the IAP program within the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies.  Students who major in interdisciplinary arts and performance receive extensive preparation for careers as artists, performers and creative professionals, and develop critical backgrounds useful for becoming future teachers and scholars.

MLK March at West 2017

Charles St. Clair, a Technical DirectorMLK Reenactment in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies will be performing the annual speech reenactment of the “I have a dream” speech, Wednesday, January 18 at 11 a.m.  Join local 6th, 7th and 8th grade students and their teachers as they visit the West campus for the traditional “I Have a Dream” speech and historical March on Washington reenactment.

Interactive educational presentations before and after the March on West will help students understand the significance of Martin Luther King’s impact on our nation’s history and in our lives. For more information on all the events for the Martin Luther King, Jr. 2017 Celebration visit