National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant to Fund Research of Urban Waterways

asu-beth-polidoroBeth Polidoro has received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help monitor, restore and promote community stewardship from more than 85 acres of urban ponds / lakes, 3 canals and 2 river systems in the Phoenix metro area.  Beth and her students will develop educational materials for students and the general public. Surveying and removal of invasive crayfish and mussels from 8 aquatic lakes and ponds will be part of the team’s efforts to help provide hand-on experience in conservation to students.

Department of State Helps Fund American Experience to Chinese

asu-william-brashearsWilliam Brashears, Director of Global Education Services at New College has been awarded this grant as part of a group of grants through which the U.S. Mission to China (Embassy Beijing and Consulates General Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Wuhan) seeks to build a network of programs, located in dedicated American Centers through existing partnerships between eligible U.S. institutions and their Chinese counterparts. This network of American Centers and program partnerships will seek to help promote greater understanding of the United States among the Chinese public and youth by providing access to a broad variety of Americans who can introduce the American experience and provide popular and academic background for public perceptions. Such programming will enhance and broaden the cultural and academic outreach of the U.S. Mission in China. All of the American Centers and program partnerships will work closely with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and/or the relevant consulates, as appropriate, to ensure that programming is representative of the depth and breadth of U.S. culture, values, polices, and history.

Preparing the Future STEM Workforce – Pam Marshall

pam-marshall-asu-facultyCourse-Based Undergraduate Research for All: Preparing the Future STEM Workforce a ~300,000 / three year grant was just funded for PI Marshall, and co – PIs Broach, Sweat, Foltz Sweat and Cahill. This grant will covering developing interdisciplinary CURES, or course based undergraduate research experiences. Opportunities to conduct authentic research improve students’ understanding of science and promote their self-identification as scientists. Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) allow many more students to be exposed to authentic research than the traditional mentor-mentee, apprenticeship-style approach to undergraduate research. The investigators will develop CUREs in which all STEM majors in the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences at the West campus of Arizona State University (ASU) will enroll. The courses will focus on research questions, and in them the students will become scientists — generating hypotheses, developing protocols, performing experiments, generating data, and analyzing the results. By designing interdisciplinary CURE modules, testing them at ASU West, and disseminating them widely, the project will enhance an evidence-based pedagogical approach that will improve the education of the future STEM workforce. stem-cures-marshall-asuThe CUREs to be developed will focus on topics in food science, remediation, cell biology, and population dynamics. Tentative module titles include “Native Bees of Arizona: Bee Species Diversity and Relative Abundance,” “Phytotoxicity and Phytoremediation of Mine Site Soils,” and “Analysis of Ethanol Production and Flocculation in Brewer’s Yeast.” All of the modules will be geared toward data generation, analysis, and publication and will advance the understanding of their research topics. The investigators will develop pedagogical methodology that integrates all aspects of the scientific method — namely, hypothesis generation, experimental execution, and data analysis — and will analyze the ability of the CUREs to increase students’ interest, abilities, and retention in science. The methodology will incorporate a “common course outline,” which will standardize the teaching of common components of scientific inquiry and will be flexible enough to be applied to diverse research topics. To encourage the use of CUREs by faculty at other institutions, the investigators will sponsor workshops on the nature of CUREs in general, their particular CURE model and modules, and assessment techniques.

Mental Health Week is October 12-15 – Join the Conversation

The PSI CHI/Psychology club at the ASU West campus will be holding a series of events raising awareness to mental health and college students.  The following statistics are staggering:
  • 1 in 3 students reported prolonged periods of depression.Mental Health Awareness week
  • 43.8 million adults experience a mental illness in a given year.
  • 8-10 years is the average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention.
  • 50% did not receive education on mental health issues prior to college.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among ages 18-24.
Follow the cause online Twitter @MHW_2016 and Instagram @endstigma
Download the flyer (PDF):  2016-mental-health-awareness-week-schedule-revamp
The following is a list of events for the 2016 Mental Health Awareness Week:
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016. 9:00 – 2:00 p.m. Resource Fair – 30 clubs and organizations will be out tabling during the event.  Providing various resources to those in attendance.
  • Thursday, October 13, 2016. 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. (Devil’s Lair) and 2:00-7:00 p.m. (La Sala C)
  • Knowledge is Power, Seize the Day Several guest speakers from Prisoners and Mental Health, Gloria sharing on family struggles with mental illness and Truths / Myths / Misconceptions Presentation
  • Friday, October 14, 2016. 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Continue the Fight, end the stigma in UCB 255/256 NAMI presentation. Ice cream social from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 8:00 – 12:00 p.m. Help end the stigma and join the cause #dignityandrespect. Join the 12th annual NAMI Valley Walk. Location will be at 1700 W. Washington Street.

CALL Lab Receives Grant from OneAZ Foundation

The New College of ASU's West campus focuses on liberal arts and science college degree programs.
Bonnie Wentzel receiving the OneAZ Foundation grant reward.
The $2,500 dollar contribution from OneAZ Foundation will act as an initial investment to our new program that helps middle schoolers speak about the Sciences. Sparky’s STEM Speakers will allow local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) clubs to visit the Communication Assessment and Learning Lab, and receive public speaking mentoring from our CALL mentors. It is as a win-win situation. Our undergraduate CALL mentors are engaging in service learning, while at the same time some of the brightest 7th and 8th graders in our community are learning how to talk about their important work, now, and in the future.” – Bonnie Wentzel, CALL Director        
asu call grant students
ASU CALL lab students and Director Bonnie Wentzel.

New College screening film about Japanese internment camps during WWII

Minori Yasui film screeningOn October 21, 2016, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) will be showing two screenings for the film, “Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice.” The screenings will take place at ASU’s West campus, with the first beginning at 3:00 p.m. in Lecture Hall 110, and the second beginning at 7:00 p.m. in KIVA Lecture Hall.
The film, “Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice” is based on the life of an American hero and first Japanese American attorney, Minoru (Min) Yasui. The film follows his life, particularly during World War II and the U.S. War Relocation Authority concentration camps. Yasui played a key role in winning reparations and an apology from the government for the injustices faced by Japanese-Americans for the incarceration of more than 120,000 individuals. The film features the injustices Yasui faced including his own arrest, where he spent nine months in solitary confinement. However, this did not stop him as Yasui continued to fight hard to defend the human and civil rights of for all ethnic minorities as well, including religious minorities, children and the elderly, among other minority groups. Yasui went on to implement and oversee numerous programs and organizations to serve their communities.
The screening of this film is free and open to the public. For more information on the film, click here.

Pre-health program at New College gives ASU grads leg up in med school applications

Unique research on bees conducted by ASU graduate students at West campus has opened new doors for their future.
Adam Lowe, a recent ASU alumni and new scholar at University of Queensland-Ochsner, and Zackary St. Peter, an ASU biology graduate and a current graduate scholar at Georgetown University’s College of Medicine, had the opportunity to research and document the various types of native bees in Phoenix and their preferred floral host relationships. The research was conducted under the supervision of New College faculty member, Dr. Jennifer Foltz-Sweat, research that is set for publication, and helped Lowe and St. Peter stand out from their peers while applying for medical school.
President Obama’s Pollinator Initiative Act was a key inspiration in their research. This initiative focused on increasing crops to alleviate world hunger by restoring pollinator life and interaction. Dr. Foltz-Sweat and her team had set the goal of the project to evaluate the dynamics of pollinator interactions within urban landscapes present in southwest Phoenix. Prior to the research, Dr. Foltz-Sweat and Zackary collected data from a manuscript based on pollinator networks from a previous study in order to build the baseline data for the bee species community. From this information, the team was able to construct a representation of plant-pollinator networks.
Next, the research team focused primarily on the native bees and compared them based on the biodiversity, urbanization, and sustainability present in four particular locations: two at the dense urban landscape the ASU West campus, and the other two at the semi-natural landscape at Piestewa Peak. The team strategically used a protocol of pan trapping and aerial netting by placing traps in an “X” formation and created a plant list. They would net native bees and note its flower, then used their findings to compare the bees in the two communities and see how the variation of the landscape affected the community composition.
Bee Ecology graph from New CollegeIt was discovered that the dense urban landscape surrounding Arizona State University at the West campus had greater bee species diversity compared to the semi-natural landscape at Piestewa Peak. The graph below shows the impact the local flowers have on bee inhabitants. It was evident that the diversification of flowers is key in maintaining a stable and desired pollinator network. Furthermore, it was noted that when an environment is interrupted or urbanized, there is a negative impact to the community. In conclusion, the native bee community is able to maintain its diversity in the face of the growing urbanization as long as there are adequate floral resources available. A potential solution to sustaining the pollinator network would be to increase the variety of floral resources in the areas that are constantly being interrupted or urbanized.
St. Peter and Lowe agree that the Life Science program was a resourceful and amazing opportunity. Adam states this project is a great way to connect with your field, believing that undergraduate programs shouldn’t just be about meeting the requirements to get a degree, but it is a time to take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as possible. He continues on to say that New College’s Life Science program (now the Biology B.S. degree program) allows students to choose from a wide range of electives anywhere from animal behavior to the human environment. These are the electives that blossomed the desire for him to take part in this research with Dr. Foltz-Sweat. Adam strongly believes “this kind of opportunity can only be achieved with a program like the one offered at New College.” As for Zach, the West campus was not only convenient in location, but the students and overall environment influenced him to take as many classes as possible on this particular campus. Additionally, he was able to sit down with Sue. LaFond, Pre-Health Advisor at New College, who provided the assistance he needed to begin his medical application process. LaFond played a key role in his application timeline, giving him the necessary support from beginning to end.
“I can honestly say that I would not be in medical school without the help of Ms. LaFond…[she] should be contacted by any ASU student interested in medicine.”
For more information on the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU’s West campus, or the numerous research opportunities available to pre-health students, click here.

Erika Camacho Featured by the American Mathematical Society (AMS)

ASU New College associate professor Erika Camacho.
ASU New College associate professor Erika Camacho.
This year the American Mathematical Society (AMS) is showcasing the contribution of 31 Hispanic and Latino Mathematicians for Hispanic Heritage Month with the “Lathisms (Latin@s and Hispanic in the Mathematical Sciences)” project. Dr. Camacho is honored to be featured in this project for October 18th.  Many of the other mathematicians featured in this project are also active members of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS) . See . Every day at midnight, the mathematician of the day is revealed and paragraph describing this mathematician’s research, a short bio and a statement made by the featured mathematician about Latin@s and Hispanics in science is also revealed.

Exploring Opposing Sides of the Abortion Ethics Issue

Author Bertha Manninen's bookDr. Bertha Alvarez Manninen, Associate Professor, School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies examines ethics, applied ethics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy and film. Her most recent journal publications include articles in: Journal of Religion and Film, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Hypatia, and Journal of Medical Ethics. Her 2014 book Pro-Life, Pro-Choice: Shared Values in the Abortion Debate (Vanderbilt University Press) explores ways in which individuals on the opposing sides of the abortion ethics issue can come together and build upon some commonly shared values.