Tag Archives: ASU

college student

ASU freshman class breaks records for enrollment

Arizona State University is welcoming an academically strong and remarkably diverse freshman class that includes many students who have distinguished themselves both inside and outside the classroom.

The new class of Sun Devils rises from the largest pool of freshman applicants in the university’s history, and among its ranks are a 16-year-old with four associate’s degrees, a retired Marine Corps sergeant, a first-generation college student from the top of her high school class, and twin sisters who perform with the Thailand Youth Orchestra.

“The more than 46,000 applications we received from aspiring freshman is a testament to ASU’s reputation as a premier university, and the quality of the students who are joining our community of higher learning signals great things for ASU’s future,” said Provost Robert Page.

The number of students applying for admission as first-time freshmen represented a 25 percent increase over the previous academic year. The Fall 2014 freshman class is an academically strong group, with an average high school GPA 3.4 and average SAT score of 1113. More than half, 54 percent, are New American University Scholars at the Dean, Provost and President Scholarship levels, the most prestigious scholarships for first-time freshmen.

Kevin Davies, from Kingman, is a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Scholar. A sergeant in the Marine Corp infantry who served in the Middle East and Asia, he is a psychology major who has his sights set on being a doctor.

Davies said he is looking forward to “being around people again and challenging myself in a different way.”

Among this year’s class are 6,236 Arizona residents – some 450 students more than last year’s in-state freshman class. 62 percent of these students graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school class.

Barrett, the Honors College celebrates a new record of 1,647 high-achieving first-time freshmen. The majority, 1,206, are Arizona residents. Among these honors students is 16-year-old Alexander (AJ) Gilman from Paradise Valley. A business and legal studies major in W. P. Carey School of Business, he enters ASU with 111 college credits and associate’s degrees in business, arts, science and general studies.

Gilman comes from a Sun Devil family and his mom has an accounting degree from W. P. Carey and a law degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Hoping to follow in his mother’s foot steps, with his eyes set on law school, he chose Barrett “because it offered an individualized experience and a feeling of community,” which is important to him.

ASU continues to honor its longstanding commitment to socioeconomic diversity and access to education with more than 42 percent of enrolled Arizona residents reporting they will be the first in their family to go to a four-year college, and 39 percent coming from low-income families.

Sarah Rutkowski, from Chandler, is a first-generation college student who was awarded an APS scholarship. Also a first-generation immigrant whose parents came from Poland, Rutkowski overcame a challenging childhood and graduated in the top 4 percent of her class from Corona High School.

A record number of non-resident students also have made ASU their school of choice. 4,399 students representing all 50 states and 63 countries are members of this year’s class with the largest number – 1,173 – coming from California. ASU has increasingly becoming a school of choice for students from the Golden State.

Collectively, this year’s freshmen make up ASU’s most diverse class to date, in terms of their racial and ethnic backgrounds – 39.4 percent of the class.

Xochil Rina Goretsky, a Yaqui-Chicano-Jewish American from Mendocino, Calif., is a Barrett Honors student majoring in public health at the College of Health Solutions on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Her path to college has been a personal challenge after suffering a severe concussion in junior high school. She had to re-learn how to read, among other things, and said what kept her going was a desire to change the world.

After being accepted to ASU, the University of Arizona and Drexel University she chose ASU. “I felt ASU said, ‘We believe in you and are willing to invest in you because we know you are going to put in 110 percent,” said Goretsky. “I want to explore and I think this is the place to do it.”

More than 900 new international students will call ASU and the Phoenix-area home. Twin sisters Rittika and Ruchika Gambhir made a long journey from Bangkok, Thailand to attend ASU, and it was their only choice due to the “dedicated faculty,” “diversity of culture,” and “amazing atmosphere.”

Both students in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, Ruchika is a double major in oboe performance and music education and Rittika is a double major in bassoon and music education. Their goal is to become professional musicians working in a symphony orchestra in the U.S.

Many incoming freshmen have selected ASU due to the variety of academic environments it provides students across its five Arizona locations. Students choose from more than 300 academic majors and select the campus environment that is best fit for their academic, social and cultural needs. Students seeking a small campus experience with big university are part of the West campus environment with 385 new freshmen, the Polytechnic Campus with 579 new freshmen, or the ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City with 33 new freshmen.

In addition, the Downtown Phoenix campus will welcome 1,318 new freshmen and Tempe Campus will be home for 8,320 first-time freshmen.

“No other university in the United States offers students these types of educational and campus environment experiences under one university name,” said Kent Hopkins, vice provost for enrollment services. “There is no place quite like Arizona State.”

ASU

More than 13,500 students moving into ASU

A strong demand for quality academic programs and the student experience at Arizona State University has led to a record number of students choosing to live on campus this year. More than 13,500 first-year and returning students move into residence halls this weekend.

Approximately 8,300 first-year students – an all-time record – will live in ASU’s residential colleges, while approximately 5,500 upper class students have chosen to live at Tempe, Downtown, Polytechnic and West campus residential locations.

First-year students at the Tempe, West and Downtown Phoenix campuses move in over the weekend on Saturday, Aug. 16, and Sunday, Aug. 17. First-year students at the Polytechnic campus move in on Monday, Aug. 18.

Cruise-ship or assisted move-in will be available on all four campuses. Student volunteers will be on-hand to answer questions and help ease the transition to living on campus.

Classes begin at all campuses on Aug. 21.

All first-year students will live in the university’s residential college housing model, which places students in specific halls based on their academic college enrollment. These residential facilities boast classrooms and multi-use rooms that offer space for tutoring, supplemental instruction, study groups, workshops and events. Residential colleges are essential to academic success and also help students quickly form social connections and build a community of peers and mentors.

“Living on campus supports student success,” said Jennifer Hightower, deputy vice president of student services. “Students have a greater sense of connection and involvement with their professors and peers and benefit from a more personalized experience at the university.”

Students representing all 50 states and more than 30 countries will enjoy assisted move-in and in-person help from a team of student volunteers.

carey school - graduate

T.W. Lewis Foundation awards scholarships

The T.W. Lewis Foundation and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University have established a partnership to help honors students develop strong leadership skills. Together they are creating specialized classes to enhance the honors curriculum and better prepare students for their chosen careers. The focused classes are under development and will be available beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year. The T.W. Lewis Foundation began supporting Barrett through its scholarship program, which awards academic scholarships to Maricopa County high school seniors who are planning to attend Barrett. The Honors College currently has 25 T.W. Lewis Foundation Scholars within its program.

T.W. Lewis Foundation is the only partnership of its kind within Barrett. The importance the foundation places on leadership, career development and community involvement complement the vision of the Honors College. The financial support provided by T.W. Lewis Foundation is also essential for most students within the program, as up to 95 percent of Barrett students receive merit-based aid while 40 percent have need-based financial support in addition to their merit-based assistance.

The T.W. Lewis Foundation Scholarship Program began in 2002 and, to-date, has committed more than $2.6 million helping 130 Maricopa County high school seniors. Each of those scholars has received a $20,000 four year academic scholarship. Focused specifically to help the local students, the program has narrowed its efforts since it began 13 years ago, and is now solely supporting students that are attending Barrett. By having all the students at one school, it allows the scholarship to offer more things to students like special classes, conferences and career counseling.

“The purpose of the T.W. Lewis Foundation Scholarship Program is to provide high potential student leaders with self-awareness tools, career counseling, learning opportunities and financial aid so they can reach their potential and have a positive impact on the Valley and beyond,” says Tom Lewis, owner and CEO of T.W. Lewis Company and founder, with his wife Jan, of the T.W. Lewis Foundation. “Through the scholarship program and our partnership with Barrett, we are identifying tomorrow’s leaders now, then helping to prepare them for a life of achievement and service.”

The class of 2014 T.W. Lewis Scholars are from all areas of the Valley, reaching from Gilbert to Peoria. Applications are accepted each spring with recipients selected based upon leadership qualities, entrepreneurial potential, strong personal character, academic achievement and financial need. The 2014 recipients are:

• Ruth Hicks, Higley High School
• Carolina Loera, Marcos de Niza High School
• Crystal Loza, Metro Tech High School
• Thomas Murphy, Mesquite High School
• Malachi Payne, Marcos de Niza High School
• Troy Penny, Centennial High School
• Audrie Pirkl, Bourgade Catholic High School
• Kaitlyn Selman, Desert Vista High School
• Shimoli Shah, Corona Del Sol High School
• Spencer Wilhelm, Perry High School

Barrett is a unique experience for 5,000 students at ASU. While the university has an enrollment of more than 75,000 students, Barrett delivers a small, intellectual environment by providing its own housing, as well as a place to dine and study. In addition, it offers its students enriched academic courses and events. The new honors courses developed through the partnership will explore and enhance personal and professional development and include themed topics like: Life Lessons; Values, Character and Leadership; Decision Making and Risk Taking; and Success.

“It is meaningful for us to work with an organization like the T.W. Lewis Foundation that shares a common goal of cultivating young leaders to positively impact the community,” says Lexi Killoren, Director of Development at Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. “At Barrett, we often say this is where ability meets opportunity. Because of the time and financial resources Tom and Jan Lewis have invested in our program, our gifted students are able to garner much more than academic discipline during their time with us. They gain a deeper appreciation by interacting with corporate and
community leaders, delving into career opportunities and giving back to the community.”

Nicole Stanton

Stanton named ‘Woman Worth Watching’

The law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced that Phoenix Office Managing Partner Nicole Stanton has been selected by Profiles in Diversity Journal to be honored at its 13th Annual Women Worth Watching® Awards. Stanton will join trailblazing female leaders from across the country in this honor and will be featured in the September/October issue of the magazine.

“Women Worth Watching award winners are role models to young women beginning their careers, and an inspiration to women in the pipeline,” says Profiles in Diversity Journal editor, Kathie Sandlin. “We are proud to tell their stories on lessons learned and obstacles overcome.”

In addition to her position as office manager partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, Stanton is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Group. Her experience includes defense of local and national law firms in legal malpractice actions and other business litigation disputes.

In the Phoenix community, Stanton serves as a founding board member and past president of the Women’s Metropolitan Arts Council of the Phoenix Art Museum as well as a member of Chart 100 Women. She also is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, teaching professional responsibility. A graduate of Valley Leadership Class XXIX, Stanton was the YWCA of Maricopa County’s 2011 Tribute to Women honoree, in the Business Leader category. She also was honored as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Business” by AZ Business Magazine.

Stanton recently has been appointed to serve as a member of the Business Court Advisory Committee, newly established by order of Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, which is examining current processes for resolving business cases in the Superior Court of Arizona as well as reviewing business court models, processes, rules and procedures in other jurisdictions.

Stanton received her law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Arizona and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah.

housing

Phoenix Housing Market in a Slump

The Phoenix-area housing market is officially in a slump. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which reveals the latest details on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of June:

* Though the median single-family home price went up 11 percent from last June, the forward price movement has dramatically slowed down from last year.
* Activity in the market remains sluggish, with single-family home sales down 11 percent from last June.
* A few slightly encouraging signs were for builders, who saw an uptick in new-home sales in June and their highest monthly total of new single-family construction permits in more than two years.

Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little earlier this year. Then, this June – after three months of almost stagnant prices – the median single-family-home price finally rose to $211,000. That’s up 11 percent from $190,000 last June. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up about 10 percent. However, the report’s author says we’re not likely to see much more forward movement for a while.

“We’re in an 11-month slump in demand; sales were very low in the spring,” says Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “There are a few positive signs that demand may gradually start to recover during the second half of this year, but we are unlikely to see much help for pricing until 2015 because there is always a long delay – typically nine to 15 months — between any change in the market and the resulting change in pricing. Meantime, we may see a little downward correction, not a bubble bursting, as some have predicted.”

While sales of luxury homes continue to do OK in this market, demand for other categories remains weak. Sales of single-family homes and condos were down 11 percent from last June to this June.

Fewer investors are focusing their attention on the Phoenix area, now that better bargains can be found elsewhere. The percentage of Phoenix-area residential properties purchased by investors dropped all the way from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012 to 14.4 percent this June. That’s down around the historic norm for the Phoenix area. However, something is changing a little to create a different type of demand.

“We are finally seeing a change in the trend of low household formation,” explains Orr. “The nation saw some improvement in the second quarter of 2014. This means more people may be moving out and renting or buying their own homes.”

Perhaps in response to increased household formation, new-home sales had a pretty good month in June. For the first month all year, new-home sales topped the same time last year. In fact, new-home sales went up 5 percent just from May to June alone. New single-family construction permits also hit their highest monthly total since May 2012. Multi-family construction permits and rents continue on a strong upward trend, too.

Still, the supply of homes available for sale, especially at the lower end of the market, remains slim. Active listings (excluding homes already under contract) fell 5 percent during June. Also, new foreclosures aren’t broadly becoming available to create new supply. Completed foreclosures went down 35 percent from last June to this June.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr will also be available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

AZBio Pioneer Honoree Roy Curtiss, III, Ph.D. of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Photo Courtesy of ASU.

AZBio honors ASU scientist Curtiss

Roy Curtiss, III, Ph.D., of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Arizona Bioindustry Association.

“During his career, Roy Curtiss has had a profound impact on microbiology research and been a true pioneer in developing salmonella-based vaccines that are effective against a range of infectious diseases, which are still the leading cause of worldwide death,” said Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of AZBio. “His contributions since being recruited to Arizona a decade ago have continued unabated, and he is now on the cusp of bringing his remarkable discoveries to the marketplace.”

“Roy’s lifelong dedication and achievements in bioscience research, education and innovation are really quite remarkable, and his efforts have inspired countless life science careers,” said Biodesign Institute Executive Director Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D. “His passion and commitment in taking on the challenges of combating infectious diseases and the impact he is having on urgent societal problems make him a stellar example of the translational research spirit of the Biodesign Institute.”

Curtiss was drawn to ASU President Michael Crow’s vision of a New American University and a new state-of-the-art research enterprise, the Biodesign Institute, which opened in 2004. Shortly after arriving at ASU, Curtiss received the largest support of his career, more than $15.4 million from the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has also received generous and continued support from the National Institutes of Health throughout his career.

Curtiss’ primary focus is alleviating worldwide suffering and death from infectious diseases, particularly in the developing world. At Biodesign, he directs the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, where he oversees a 130-member research team working on more than a dozen projects. He is also a professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

One of his major projects is development of a next-generation vaccine against bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia kills more children around the world each year than any other infectious disease, and the rising costs of vaccines has spurred researchers to develop new solutions. Curtiss and his global team are trying to perfect a safe, yet potent vaccine to fight pneumonia and can be tolerated even by newborn babies — and orally administered as a single-dose, low-cost solution. If successful, the new vaccine against bacterial pneumonia promises to outperform existing injectable vaccine in terms of safety, affordability, ease of distribution and effectiveness.

Preliminary studies have been successful, and the vaccine technology has moved forward to human clinical trials. In addition, his team is also targeting vaccine development for a host of other diseases, and to protect poultry and livestock against a broad range of bacterial marauders.

Before coming to ASU in 2004, Curtiss was the George William and Irene Keochig Freiberg professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, where he chaired the Department of Biology for ten years. His body of published work includes more than 250 reviewed articles. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a doctorate from the University of Chicago.

A ceremony honoring Curtiss will take place at the AZBio Awards on September 17, 2014 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year, AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across the state of Arizona who are illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of our bioscience industry.

Past recipients of the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement include: David S. Alberts, M.D., Director Emeritus at the Arizona Cancer Center, Raymond L. Woosley, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman Emeritus of the Critical Path Institute, and Thomas M. Grogan, M.D., founder of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.

For registration and more information, go to www.azbio.awards.com.

mars

NASA chooses ASU for Mars 2020 mission

Arizona State University has been selected by NASA to design, deliver and oversee the Mastcam-Z imaging investigation, a pair of color panoramic zoom cameras, on the next rover mission to be launched to the surface of Mars in 2020. Jim Bell, a professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, will be the principal investigator overseeing the investigation.

NASA has selected the instruments that will be carried aboard the Mars 2020 mission, a roving laboratory based on the highly successful Curiosity rover. The instruments were competitively selected from 58 proposals submitted, two times the average number of proposals submitted for instrument competitions in the recent past and an indicator of the extraordinary interest in exploration of the Red Planet.

The Mars 2020 rover will be designed to seek signs of past life on Mars, to collect and store samples that could be returned to Earth in the future, and to test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars. The instruments onboard will help to build upon the many discoveries from the Curiosity Mars rover and the two Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) and will be the critical next step in NASA’s strategic program of exploring the Red Planet.

Bell will oversee an international science team responsible for creating and operating the cameras on NASA’s next, yet-to-be-named, Mars rover. Bell has been responsible for the science imaging systems onboard the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and is the deputy P.I. of the color cameras on the Curiosity rover.

“These cameras will be the main eyes of NASA’s next rover,” says Bell.

The imaging system ASU will deliver is a pair of multispectral, stereoscopic cameras that will be an enhanced descendant of Curiosity’s successful imaging instrument called Mastcam. Mastcam-Z will be comprised of two zoom camera heads to be mounted on the rover’s remote sensing mast. This matched pair of zoom cameras will each provide broad-band red/green/blue (RGB) color imaging, as well as narrow-band visible to short-wave near-infrared multispectral capability.

Mastcam-Z will have all of the capabilities of Curiosity’s imaging instrument, but is augmented by a 3.6:1 zoom feature capable of resolving features about 1 millimeter in size in the near field and about 3-4 centimeters in size at 100 meter distance.

“The cameras that we will build and use on Mars are based on Curiosity’s cameras but with enhanced capabilities,” explains Bell. “Specifically we will be able to use our zoom capability to allow us to play a much more significant role in rover driving and target selection.”

Mastcam-Z’s imaging will permit the science team to piece together the geologic history of the site—the stratigraphy of rock outcrops and the regolith, as well as to constrain the types of rocks present. The cameras will also document dynamic processes and events via video (such as dust devils, cloud motions, and astronomical phenomena, as well as activities related to driving, sampling, and caching), observe the atmosphere, and contribute to rover navigation and target selection for investigations by the coring/caching system, as well as other instruments.

Bell’s large international science team will include Mark Robinson, School of Earth and Space Exploration professor and principal investigator for the imaging system on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. Robinson brings significant experience in planetary geology and spacecraft imaging and will be responsible for characterizing the regolith from Mastcam‐Z images and assisting with camera calibration and mission operations.

In addition, Bell intends to involve a significant number of staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students in the mission. For example, SESE Research Scientist Craig Hardgrove and Technology Support Analyst Austin Godber are slated to play leading roles in the design, testing, and operations of the Mastcam-Z investigation.

Mastcam-Z remote instrument operations will be directed from the ASU Science Operations Center (SOC), housed in the Mission Operations Center located in the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV on the ASU campus. ASU faculty, staff, and students will work closely with mission engineering leads at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

“We are very excited about playing such a critical role in NASA’s next Mars rover. And we are especially excited because this rover will be the first step in NASA’s Mars rover sample return mission,” says Bell. “We are eager are to play a role in the selection of the first Martian samples for eventual return to Earth.”

first solar - new ceo

Study: Humble CEOs Good for Business

Forget the stereotypes of arrogant, macho leaders who don’t care about anyone else’s opinion. A new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows humble CEOs significantly benefit a company and its management — likely more than the blowhards who think it’s their way or the highway.

“Humble CEOs are more open to making joint decisions and empowering others,” says Professor Angelo Kinicki of the W. P. Carey School of Business, one of the study authors. “Their behavior positively affects both top and middle managers, who then exhibit higher commitment, work engagement, job satisfaction and job performance. We see a trickle-down effect that seems to influence the company overall.”

The new research published in Administrative Science Quarterly comes from Kinicki, Anne Tsui and David Waldman of the W. P. Carey School of Business, as well Amy Ou of the National University of Singapore, Zhixing Xiao of George Washington University, and Lynda Jiwen Song of the Renmin University of China.

They interviewed the CEOs of 63 private companies in China. They also created and administered surveys measuring humility and its effects to about 1,000 top- and middle-level managers who work with those CEOs. The researchers specifically chose China because they needed a context in which CEOs would display a wide variety of humility levels. However, they believe the findings will generalize to many companies in the United States.

“Our study suggests the ‘secret sauce’ of great, humble managers,” explains Kinicki. “They are more willing to seek feedback about themselves, more empathetic and appreciative of others’ strengths and weaknesses, and more focused on the greater good and others’ welfare than on themselves.”

Kinicki says leadership behavior normally cascades downward, so it’s likely humility at the top effects just about everyone at a company. He points out a few examples of humble CEOs making news:

* Tony Hsieh of Zappos is a Harvard graduate, who helped boost his company to more than $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. He also helped drive Zappos onto Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, with innovative customer- and employee-pleasing policies, such as “The Offer,” where new employees are offered one-month’s salary to leave the company if they’re not dedicated and happy.

* John Mackey of Whole Foods has shown concern for the greater good through his advocacy of organic food and spearheading his company’s move to become the first grocery-store chain to set standards for humane animal treatment. He also announced in 2006 that he was chopping his salary to $1, putting caps on executive pay, and setting up a $100,000 emergency fund for staff facing personal problems.

* Mary Barra of General Motors has faced severe criticism for problems created at the company before she took the helm in January. However, she has been quick to apologize and maintain that she’s moving from a “cost culture” to a “customer culture” at GM. She has promised to do “the right thing” for those affected by recent recalls and the problems that led to them.

Kinicki knows some people may be surprised by the study results, but he summarizes, “It’s time we understood that humility isn’t a sign of weakness or lacking confidence, but rather, a good thing that can benefit us all.”

The full study is available at http://asq.sagepub.com/content/59/1/34.full.pdf+html.

ASU

ASU ranks among ‘best buy’ public colleges

Arizona State University has been named a “best buy” among public colleges and universities for 2015, according to Fiske Guide to Colleges.

ASU is among 22 public colleges in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom selected for their demonstrated commitment to quality academics and affordability.

According to Fiske, ASU is a place “where massive innovation is the norm and where an interdisciplinary culture is seen as the best means of developing world-changing ideas.” The research enterprise is growing in size and impact and the university is retaining and graduating more of its students.

In addition to highlighting the university’s top-rated academic programs in engineering, journalism, business, education, sciences, social sciences, sustainability, nursing, and health solutions, Fiske also offers an insight into the collaborative culture at ASU that is focused on student success.

According to an ASU kinesiology major quoted in the guide, “despite the challenging nature of the classes, professors are always willing to go above and beyond to ensure that the student is successful.” Another student quoted in Fiske said, “the courses are difficult, but the group aspect of most project work makes the hard work much less overwhelming.”

Fiske cites as an example of ASU’s world-class facilities the nine-acre Barrett, The Honors College residential community that was designed by students, faculty and staff members working together with renowned architects. Other residence halls on campus are quoted as having larger than average rooms that are well furnished, and a diverse menu of food items.

School spirit receives high marks at ASU, thanks to highly ranked Division 1 athletics. The countless opportunities available to students, to get involved in student organizations, research or internships; study abroad in more than 300 programs in nearly 60 countries; or interact with other students socially add to a Sun Devil’s college experience.

Representative of Arizona’s socioeconomic, racial and ethnic make up, 19 percent of ASU’s student population is Hispanic, five percent of all students are African American, six percent are Asian Americans, and nearly two percent are Native Americans. ASU offers merit-based scholarships to qualified students and is also home to the Pat Tillman Veterans Center that provides a number of academic and student support services to more than 2,300 veterans and their dependents, enrolled as undergraduate and graduate students.

ASU has been consistently ranked among the top universities in the United States and the world. The Center for World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, both rank ASU as one of the top 100 universities in the world. The U.S. News and World Report list ASU as second on the roster of schools that are making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty and student life. The Princeton Review has also named the university one of “The Best 378 Colleges” in a 2014 list.

trojan_colors_revealed_artists_concept

Asteroids named for 2 ASU faculty members

Two Arizona State University professors can add an unusual honor to the long list of accolades they have received: An asteroid has been named after each of them. This “out-of-this-world” honor has been conferred on professors Phil Christensen and Dave Williams. The two planetary geologists, both faculty members in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, now have even more reason to be gazing at the night sky.

You know the names of our solar system’s planets, but you might not have realized that thousands of asteroids and minor planets revolving around the sun also have names.

Asteroid (10461) Dawilliams was discovered on December 6, 1978, by E. Bowell and A. Warnock at Palomar Observatory. It orbits about 2.42 astronomical units from the Earth in the Main Belt, the vast asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Despite Hollywood’s love of Earth-smashing asteroid blockbusters, Williams has no worries that “his” asteroid will make doomsday headlines.

“It’s very unlikely that it will hit Earth, as it is in a stable orbit in the Main Belt,” explains Williams.
Also honored with an asteroid named for his work is Christensen, the instrument scientist for the OSIRIS-Rex Thermal Emission Spectrometer, a mineral-scouting instrument on the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu. He was also the principal investigator for the infrared spectrometers and imagers on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and Mars Exploration Rovers.

The asteroid is named (90388) Philchristensen and, like Williams’, it too is a Main Belt asteroid that is relatively small – approximately 4.6 kilometers (2.8 miles) across. It was discovered November 24, 2003 by the Catalina Sky Survey. It also poses no risk of collision with Earth.

“My research has long focused on Mars,” says Christensen. “But my broader interests involve all solar system bodies, and I’ve spent the last several years working on an asteroid mission. I really appreciate this honor.”

What’s in a name?
Having a namesake in the sky is no small honor. Unlike the selling of star names over the Internet, the naming of asteroids is serious business, presided over by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), an organization of professional astronomers.

Upon its discovery, an asteroid is assigned a provisional designation by the Minor Planet Center of the IAU that involves the year of discovery, two letters and, if need be, further digits. When its orbit can be reliably predicted, the asteroid receives a permanent number and becomes eligible for naming. Proposed names must be approved by the IAU’s Committee on Small Body Nomenclature.

Although many objects end up being named after astronomers and other scientists, some discoverers have named the object after celebrities. All four Beatles have their names on asteroids, for example, and there is even one named after James Bond – Asteroid (9007) James Bond.

“I was very surprised to receive this honor from the astronomical community. Only a select few of the Dawn at Vesta participating scientists, who did exemplary work during the mission, were so honored,” said Williams, whose expertise in mapping of volcanic surfaces has been key to developing geologic maps of planetary bodies that include Mars, Io and Vesta.

Christensen and Williams share this honor with several colleagues in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. The following all have namesakes in the sky:

• Erik Asphaug, professor – Asteroid (7939) Asphaug
• Jim Bell, professor – Asteroid (8146) Jimbell
• Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Foundation Professor and School of Earth and Space Exploration director – Asteroid (8252) Elkins-Tanton
• Ronald Greeley, professor emeritus – Asteroid (30785) Greeley, and Greeley’s Haven (on Mars)
• Sumner Starrfield, Regents’ Professor – Asteroid (19208) Starrfield
• Meenakshi Wadhwa, professor – Asteroid (8356) Wadhwa

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Arizona MPI honors excellence with awards

The Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI) recently recognized its members who went above and beyond to volunteer for the chapter. Winners include: Rising Star Award presented to Troy Peters with Video West; James A. Fausel Student of the Year Award presented to Shelby Wray, ASU; Committee of the Year Award presented to Sponsorship Committee; Host Property/Venue of the Year Award presented to TPC Scottsdale; Sponsorship of the Year Award given to kool Party Rentals; Member of the Year Award presented to Jacqi Marth, Destinations & Details; The Edward E. Scannell Award presented to Christina Tzavellas, CMP with CTZ and Associates; Supplier of the Year Award presented to Chip Headman, Williams & Associates; Planner of the Year Award presented to Susan Molinich, CMP, SMMC, American Express Meetings & Events; Presidents Achievement Awards were given to Jamie Cook, CMP, CMM, Strategic Meetings & Events and to Joanne Winter, AzMPI.

“We strive to promote excellence within the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business-to-business networking opportunities for our members,” said 2013-2014 AzMPI President Jill Longfellow. “Anyone who plans or supports meetings in any capacity, whether an administrative assistant or a caterer, can benefit from what AzMPI offers.”

The 375-member Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International was established in 1979. Meeting Professionals International is the meeting and event industry’s largest association for the $102.3 billion meetings and events industry. AZMPI offers monthly events providing education, and networking opportunities. MPI membership is comprised of more than 24,000 members belonging to 80 chapters and clubs worldwide. To learn more about AZMPI visit www.AZMPI.org or call 602-277-1494.

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Phoenix Housing Shortage Coming?

The Phoenix area could soon see another shortage of homes for sale, like the one it endured from 2012 to 2013. According to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, very weak demand is masking the fact that relatively few homes are coming onto the market for sale. The area only recently emerged from another shortage, when buyers had to battle each other for relatively few home options.

Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of May:

* The median single-family-home sales price was $205,000, almost unchanged for three months in a row.
* Activity in the market is extremely slow, with demand down around 20 percent from last May.
* This quietness is covering up the fact that the market’s supply of homes for sale has stabilized at about 10 percent below normal, which could lead to another shortage, if demand eventually picks up.

Phoenix-area home prices quickly rose from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and even dropping a little earlier this year. The median single-family-home sales price was $205,000 in May, about the same as it was in April and March. However, that’s still up about 11 percent from the median of $185,000 last May. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 6 percent year-over-year. The median townhouse/condo price went up 4 percent.

The market has now become extremely quiet, and further price increases are unlikely this year without some growth in demand. The amount of single-family-home sales went down 19 percent from last May to this May. Sales of townhomes and condos dropped 20 percent.

“Demand has been much weaker since July 2013,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The slight recovery in demand that had been developing over the last two months dissipated again in May. While move-up homeowners and second-home buyers are starting to compensate for the departure of investors who went to other areas of the country for better bargains, activity by first-time home buyers is still unusually slow.”

Orr says some home sellers even appear to be canceling their listings and waiting for another time when buyers have a greater sense of urgency. These families are: 1.) choosing to stay in their homes longer than they did 10 to 15 years ago; 2.) possibly stuck with negative or little equity in their homes, discouraging buying or selling; and/or 3.) wanting to stay in their current homes to preserve their very low mortgage interest rates.

That means the market’s short supply of homes isn’t expected to get much bigger in the near future. Though the supply of active listings went up 69 percent from June 1, 2013 to this June 1, it basically stabilized at about 10 percent below normal. Completed Phoenix-area foreclosures were down 50 percent from last May to this May, eliminating another possible significant source of supply. This could lead to another shortage like the recent one when we saw 95 offers on a single home.

“Between 2012 and 2013, we experienced a chronic housing shortage in Greater Phoenix,” explains Orr. “This shortage has just been temporarily masked by unusually low demand, but that could change at any time. The market has plenty of pent-up demand.”

Orr points out that population and job growth have recovered faster in the Phoenix area than home construction has. The level of single-family-home construction permitting remains very small by historic standards, and single-family new-home construction and sales remain about 65 percent below normal. One bright spot is Pinal County, where new-home sales went up 22 percent from last May to this May.

Meantime, multi-family construction permits and rental-home demand remain strong in the Phoenix area. Unemployment, falling birth rates and greater home-sharing are helping to drive this demand. The supply of single-family homes available for rent was down to 32 days on June 1. The fast turnover and low vacancy rates have already pushed rent up in the most popular locations.

Orr adds, “In Maricopa County, the percentage of properties purchased without financing in May was still at 25 percent. The normal range for cash buyers is only 7 to 12 percent, so mortgage lending still has a long way to go toward recovery.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr will also be available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

SkySong 3 Progress, WEB

Theranos leases 20KSF at SkySong 3

A major consumer healthcare innovator shaping the future of lab testing will plant a significant flag at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center.

Theranos, based in Palo Alto, Calif., has leased a 20,000-square-foot wing at SkySong 3, making it one of the largest tenants in the entire SkySong project. Beating all expectations, SkySong 3 is now over 80% leased as it nears its opening later this summer.

The move by Theranos means hundreds of jobs will be created at SkySong in the short term, with that figure increasing significantly as the company continues to grow.

Founded in 2003 by Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos is working to shape the future of lab testing and the way health information is collected, analyzed, and communicated. Theranos, in the words of one media outlet, “could turn the diagnostics industry upside down” and has the potential to save Arizona taxpayers $1.3 billion dollars over the next decade. Their service provides Phoenix-area consumers with convenient access to less invasive and more affordable clinician-directed lab testing from blood samples as small as a few drops collected from a tiny finger stick. Theranos has a national partnership with Walgreens and has been rolling out its Wellness Centers inside Walgreens stores across the U.S., including 25 locations and counting in central Arizona.

With its SkySong agreement, Theranos is expanding its footprint in the Valley. The company currently has an office in Kierland, and its signature presence at SkySong is the perfect fit for its rapidly growing entrepreneurial endeavor. CBRE acted as the company’s commercial real estate agent.

Sunny Balwani, President & COO of Theranos, said the company was drawn to SkySong because of its growing reputation as a center of innovation and technology.

“The Phoenix-area community’s reception to our company has been excellent,” Balwani said. “Our commitment to innovation will create hundreds of new jobs and positively impact Arizona over the coming months and years. The SkySong center is an ideal fit for our company, and we are excited to be a part of the project.”

Sharon Harper, President & CEO of Plaza Companies, the master developer of the project, said that Theranos is exactly the kind of company that will not only grow and thrive at SkySong, but will further the project’s mission as a home to innovation and entrepreneurship.

“You really could not ask for a better match in terms of innovative culture,” Harper said. “Elizabeth Holmes is the epitome of the word “entrepreneur”. She has a true passion to change the way laboratory testing is done and could change the way we detect and treat disease. We are thrilled to have Theranos become part of the SkySong family and we know that they will feel right at home in our innovative setting.”

With SkySong 3 approaching full occupancy, leasing is now well underway for SkySong 4.  The four-story, 150,000 SF building which will front Scottsdale Road south of SkySong Boulevard, is scheduled to break ground in late 2014.  Along with SkySong 3 and 4, the SkySong development team is now leasing a planned 10,500 square foot retail building to be built on the northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and SkySong Boulevard. It’s part of the overall mixed-use vision for SkySong, which will include 1.2 million square feet of development when completed.

SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center is a home to a global business community that links technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and education to position ASU and Greater Phoenix as global leaders of the knowledge economy.

SkySong is a 42-acre mixed use development designed to:

• Create an ecology of collaboration and innovation among high-profile technology enterprises and related researchers;
• Advance global business objectives of on-site enterprises;
• Raise Arizona’s profile as a global center of innovation through co-location of ASU’s strategic global partners; and
• Create a unique regional economic and social asset.

Companies located at SkySong enjoy a special relationship with Arizona State University, which has more than 73,000 students at four metropolitan Phoenix campuses. Its campus in Tempe is the single largest campus in the U.S., and is located less than three miles from SkySong.

In addition to locating its own innovative research units at the center, ASU provides tenants with direct access to relevant research, educational opportunities and cultural events on its campuses. Through ASU’s on-site operations, tenant companies have a single point of contact for introductions to researchers, faculty and programs to address their specific needs.

thunderbird

Thunderbird School signs letter of intent to join ASU

The Thunderbird School of Global Management has signed a letter of intent to join Arizona State University.

The two schools released a statement Thursday that said both sides are working on a possible integration.

“This merger offers significant advantages to both institutions,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Through the integration of Thunderbird with ASU, the Thunderbird historic global education vision will be sustained and extended, students at ASU and Thunderbird will have access to more courses and programs, ASU’s executive education programs can be broadened and expanded, and financial efficiencies will be created.”

A deal would provide broad educational cooperation, make Thunderbird staff part of ASU and put the Glendale-based school under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Board of Regents.

ASU and Thunderbird officials say they’re working diligently toward a final agreement by the end of this month.

Financial details of the deal haven’t been disclosed.

The statement says staff reductions are possible, but officials say the nature and the scale of the reductions still are being studied.

Ariel Anbar and ASU graduate student Yun Duan inspect a sample of 2.5 billion-year-old seafloor.

ASU biogeochemist among 15 top scientist-educators

Biogeochemist Ariel Anbar has been selected as Arizona State University’s first Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professor. This distinguished honor recognizes Anbar’s pioneering research and teaching.

He is one of 15 professors from 13 universities whose appointments were announced by the Maryland-based biomedical research institute on June 30. The appointment includes a five-year $1 million grant to support Anbar’s research and educational activities.

Since the inception of the HHMI Professor program in 2002, and including the new group of 2014 professors, only 55 scientists have been appointed HHMI professors. These professors are accomplished research scientists who are working to change undergraduate science education in the United States.

“Exceptional teachers have a lasting impact on students,” said HHMI President Robert Tjian. “These scientists are at the top of their respective fields and they bring the same creativity and rigor to science education that they bring to their research.”

Anbar, a professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Liberal Art and Sciences, as well as a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability, was named an ASU President’s Professor in 2013 in recognition of his pioneering online education efforts. He is deeply involved in using the medium to its fullest to help educate and encourage a generation that has grown up with the Internet.

A leading geoscientist with more than 100 peer-reviewed papers to his name, Anbar’s research focuses on Earth’s past and future as a habitable planet. This expertise feeds directly into his teaching in the highly successful class Habitable Worlds, developed through ASU Online. In Habitable Worlds, Anbar and course designer Lev Horodyskyj combine the power of the Internet, game-inspired elements, and the sensibilities of a tech savvy generation to teach what makes planets habitable and engage students in a simulated hunt for other habitable worlds in the cosmos. This innovative online course kindles student interest and learning. Beginning in fall 2014, it will be available outside of ASU as HabWorlds Beyond (www.habworlds.org), via a partnership with education technology company Smart Sparrow. Habitable Worlds has been taken by more than 1,500 ASU students and consistently receives outstanding student reviews.

The HHMI grant will enable Anbar to develop a suite of online virtual field trips (VFTs) that teach the story of Earth’s evolution as an inhabited world. The virtual field trips will be based on nearly 4 billion years of Earth’s geological record. These immersive, interactive VFTs will take students to locations that teach key insights into Earth’s evolution, fundamental principles of geology, and practices of scientific inquiry.

Anbar helped lead a multi-institutional team that developed a number of such VFTs for use in Habitable Worlds and elsewhere (vft.asu.edu), supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the National Science Foundation. Now, working with ASU education technologist and doctoral student Geoffrey Bruce, ASU professor and geoscience education specialist Steven Semken, and partners at other institutions, Anbar will build virtual field trips covering the sweep of Earth history. He and his team will take students to some of the most important places on Earth to explore how the planet came to be what it is today.

“The goal is to develop powerful and engaging new tools to teach about Earth’s evolution,” explains Anbar. “In the near term, we will create VFT-based lessons that can be incorporated into existing introductory geoscience courses. Right away, that can impact the roughly 2,000 majors and non-majors who take such courses each year at ASU, as well as thousands of students elsewhere. In the long run we aim to create a fully online course like Habitable Worlds – I’m calling it Evolving World for now – that covers the content of one of the most important introductory geoscience courses, historical geology.”

Anbar’s plan could re-invigorate instruction in historical geology, which is taught in nearly every geoscience program. In addition to being fundamental to the field of geology, it provides vital context for the search for life beyond Earth, and for the changes that humans are causing to the planet. However, historical geology is best taught through field experiences, which are logistically challenging at large universities. Even when they are possible, it is impossible to expose students to all the most scientifically important sites because they are scattered around the globe. While VFTs cannot rival physical field trips, they are a big advance over teaching this material only through lectures.

“Most science classes teach science as facts and answers,” says Anbar. “With VFTs, as with Habitable Worlds, we are trying to teach that science is really a process – a process of exploration that helps us first organize our ignorance about questions to which we don’t have answers, and then helps us narrow the uncertainties so that we can replace ignorance with understanding.”

FBP Team Picture (Left to Right) - Lloyd Jones, Kim Sanderhoff, Scott Ferreira, Johan Bender

Free Bike Project rolls out new campus programs

Usually when someone is offering something for free, there is always a catch. With the Free Bike Project, the only catch is that for every free bike rented by a college student for an academic year, its founders donate a bike to someone in need overseas. The Free Bike Project was started by two students at the University of Southern California (USC) in 2011 and has now spread to 21 different campuses across the country. Last year, Free Bike Project started at Arizona State University (ASU) with 10 bikes and is looking to grow the program to the ASU’s downtown campus in Phoenix and to the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson, Ariz. This fall, Free Bike Project is hoping to expand to 40 to 50 bikes on each campus with the additional 400 bikes it has just received from its sponsors.

The one “catch” is the $149 security deposit, which is for the bike and its lock. Once the academic year is over and if the bike is in good condition, users receive a full refund of the deposit. It is an easy online sign-up process. There is no monthly fee for having the bike, all the students have to do is take at least one picture of himself or herself with the bike, once a month and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The more pictures that the students post to his or her social media sites, the more perks he or she will receive from the Free Bike Project. For example, the last couple of perks that were given out to Free Bike Riders were Kanye West concert tickets and 20 to 30 percent off North West Clothing merchandise for a year.

The Free Bike Project is partners with an organization called Bikes for the World. Its mission is to provide better transportation to people living in secluded villages overseas. These programs help children get to and from school easier and quicker than walking and is also making it safer for them. In May 2013, Free Bike Project and Bikes for the World donated 100 bikes to the Philippines. This year, Free Bike Project is hoping to get more riders across the country to be able to donate more bikes to remote villages in Africa.  

Currently, the Free Bike Project is only available for students and faculty of college campuses. It is working with sponsors and others to start additional programs for student and staff cyclists who already own bikes. One is a bike valet. The other, is called “Tool Time,” which offers free bike tune ups for students.

“We hope that eventually we can reach out into the community and branch out of college campuses, to be able to include everyone in this program,” says Scott Ferreira, CEO of Free Bike Project. Until then, Free Bike Project wants to encourage as many people as possible to continue riding bikes to live a happy green, healthy lifestyle. 

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Pride Group, Salt River Fields strike deal

Locally-based Pride Group is taking over the Valley one venue at a time. The full-service event company aims to be the Single Simple Solution™ for their clients. As of May 1, 2014, Pride Group will be the exclusive event services provider for Salt River Fields. Among the many services Pride Group will offer, they will supply the venue with tables and chairs, mobile restroom suites, fencing, crowd control equipment, premium portable toilets, power generators, light towers, furniture and décor.

“Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is excited to have added Pride Group to its team,” says Salt River Fields at Talking Stick General Manager, Dave Dunne. “They are a tremendous partner and Salt River Fields is looking forward to working with them on all of our festivals, concerts and special events. Pride Group brings a professionalism that is unmatched in the industry and will only make our events that much better,” he adds.

Pride Group’s current client roster includes the Arizona Cardinals Football Club, University of Phoenix Stadium, Fiesta Bowl, Super Bowl XLIX, P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Desert Mountain Club, City of Tempe Special Events, Arizona State University, the Senior & PGA Tours and now Salt River Fields.

“We are truly excited to partner long term with one of the most elite venues in Arizona,” says Pride Group CEO, Robb M. Corwin. “Their stellar customer service philosophies, desire to be the very best at what they do and attention to detail, put us in perfect harmony with one another.”

The two companies will work together to provide the best possible experience for those in attendance at any of the venue’s various events.

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Obama appoints ASU leader to National Science Board

Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, Arizona State University’s senior vice president of the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and a key member of ASU’s research and innovation efforts, has been appointed to the U.S. National Science Board by President Barack Obama.

Panchanathan is the first American of Indian origin to be appointed to this preeminent board, which focuses on national science and technology policy.

In making the announcement of Panchanathan’s and others appointments, President Obama said: “Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

In addition to being an advisory body to the U.S. President and Congress on science and engineering issues, members of the 25-member board establish the policies of the National Science Foundation (NSF) within the framework set forth by the President and Congress. The NSF is a major science-funding agency with an annual budget of $7.2 billion (FY 2014) and the goal of promoting the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.

“Panch has worked tirelessly in advancing Arizona State and its rapidly growing research enterprise, promoting our unique capabilities and what we offer businesses and government agencies, and leading the way to a greater public understanding of the benefits that scientific research and technology development have to offer,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Panch exemplifies the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and social responsibility that ASU aims to cultivate. It is fitting that he be on this important board so that his influence can extend to the benefit of the nation.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to help our nation be in the vanguard of global competitiveness through the rapid advancement of science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation,” Panchanathan said. “It is truly an honor to serve our nation in this capacity.”

Drawn from industry and universities and representing a variety of science and engineering disciplines and geographic areas, NSB members are selected for their eminence in research, education or public service, and records of distinguished service. NSB members are appointed for six-year terms.

In addition to his work with OKED, Panchanathan is a professor in ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. He is also director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC).

Panchanathan recently was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He led a team that received two Microsoft Imagine Cup awards, he has been chosen for the Governor’s Innovator of the Year for Academia award and the ASU Leadership Award.

Panchanathan has published or presented more than 400 papers in refereed journals and conferences, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Society for Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

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ASU clears degree path for Starbucks baristas

Arizona State University is helping Starbucks give its baristas a bargain on an online college degree.

The company is partnering with ASU to make an undergraduate education available at a steep discount to 135,000 U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week. Workers will be able to choose from 40 educational programs, and they won’t be required to stay at Starbucks after earning the degree.

For freshman and sophomore years, students would pay a greatly reduced tuition after factoring in a scholarship from Starbucks, ASU and financial aid, such as Pell grants. For the junior and senior years, Starbucks would reimburse any money that workers pay out of pocket.

That means employees who already have two years of college under their belts would be able to finish school at no cost.

CEO Howard Schultz plans to make the announcement Monday at the Times Center in New York City, where Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be in attendance, along with 340 Starbucks employees and their families.

Tuition reimbursement is a rare benefit for low-wage workers in the retail industry. In 2010, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. started offering partial tuition grants for workers at American Public University, a for-profit, online school.

Starbucks already has program that reimburses workers for up to $1,000 a year at City University of Seattle or at Strayer University. Starbucks says that will be phased out by 2015 in favor of the new program, which is far more generous.

The Seattle company doesn’t know how many of its workers will apply, and it isn’t saying how much the program might cost it. Tuition for an online degree at ASU is about $10,000 a year, although it can vary depending on the program. Many Starbucks workers would likely qualify for a Pell grant, which can be worth as much as $5,730.

Michael Bojorquez Echeverria, a 23-year-old Starbucks worker from Los Angeles, was flown to New York City by the company for the event Monday. He said that he works 60 to 75 hours a week, including a second job, and also attends community college.

He hopes the program will allow him to reduce those hours and focus on school, where he does not pay tuition because of wavers. But he is applying for the Arizona State University program because he feels there will be greater certainty about financial assistance.

He says he will miss the socialization that occurs on campus.

“But hey, if they’re going to be paying my fees, I can manage,” he said.

Cliff Burrows, head of the Americas for Starbucks, said he hopes the program will encourage other companies to offer similar benefits. He added that Starbucks plans to look at expanding the educational perks to workers overseas.

The financial terms of Starbucks’ agreement with Arizona State are not being disclosed.

Starbucks workers would have to meet the same admission standards as other students at ASU. Only workers at Starbucks’ 8,200 company-operated stores would be eligible. Another 4,500 Starbucks locations are operated by franchisees.

The program is also available to Starbucks’ other chains, including Teavana tea shops and Seattle’s Best.

The "Class of 2014" advocates visit DMB Associates' masterplanned community Eastmark.

It takes two

Valley principals host young professionals in inaugural advocates program

A look around the room at a Valley Partnership Friday Morning Breakfast (FMB) reveals a who’s who of Arizona’s commercial real estate industry. You’ll see seasoned professionals sitting next to up-and-comers, and though these are an effective networking tool, Valley Partnership took the concept to the next level.

It created the Valley Partnership Advocates Program for young professionals. The program is a nine-month-long course for a “class” of 20 people under the age of 35 to meet with a new industry leader every month.

The inaugural program began last August and has included sessions hosted by prominent figures from DMB Associates, Inc., Vestar, Arizona State Land Department, Ryan Companies, Sunbelt Holdings, Evergreen Development, ASU and Macerich/WDP Partners. Many of the sessions were hosted by board members, including one held during a board meeting. “I did not understand the power of Valley Partnership and the people behind it until I attended that board meeting,” says advocate Nicole Mass, 35, Kitchell’s director of marketing.

The feeling is mutual. Bruce Pomeroy, founding principal at Evergreen Devco, has worked in the industry for 40 years. During that time, he has trained many young hires and has taught classes for the International Council of Shopping Centers. Pomeroy says of the session he hosted at Centerpointe in Goodyear that “the ‘students’ were very engaged and asked good questions.”

“I believe the most important issue was that the advocates wanted to spend more time with the developers during each monthly event,” says Vice President and General Counsel to Maven Universal Brett Hopper, who helped design the program. “We want to provide the advocates a greater opportunity to interact with senior executives and create long-lasting relationships.”

Stephanie Stephens, 27, marketing and project coordinator at Buesing, says the mentors emphasized the importance of getting involved in the real estate community. That typically starts with something as simple as the monthly Valley Partnership breakfasts, where Stephens heard about the program. Easton Mullen, 37, started his general contracting company Mullen Construction and Development in 2006 and has since built capital with the goal of becoming a developer. The advocates program, he says, created a foundation of contacts to use while his company evolves. “You can’t call these people up on the phone,” he says, “but if you’re part of the program, you can.”

The mentors encouraged community involvement and engagement within Valley Partnership’s committees and leadership roles. CBRE Sales Assistant Chris Marchildon, 28, was approached by board members at the suggestion of CBRE Executive Vice President Barry Gabel, about joining Valley Partnership’s Advocates Program.

sidebar“One of the first things I was told in this business was to ‘be a sponge,’” he says. “The second was to develop as many good relationships as you can along the way. Through the program, I was certainly provided the opportunity to learn success stories from the ground up as well as the chance to ‘soak up’ as much information as I could.”

Recent Denver transplant Kelly Kaminskas, 34, senior vice president at FirstBank, used the advocates program as an introduction to the industry. “It would have taken me years to piece together the information I received by being part of this group,” she says.

Tuition is $150. Applications are available on Valley Partnership’s website through July.

housing.prices

Big Increases Unlikely for Phoenix Housing Market

The Phoenix-area housing market has officially rebounded from artificially low recession levels, and we’re unlikely to see any more big price increases this year. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of April:

* The median single-family-home sales price stabilized at just under $205,000.
* Demand and sales activity were low for the normally strong spring selling season.
* Rental homes continue to be extremely popular, since many people are ineligible for home loans and/or uninterested in home ownership.

Phoenix-area home prices rose fast from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little bit earlier this year. This April, for the second month in a row, the median single-family-home price was just under $205,000. That’s up 13 percent – from $181,399 last April to $204,900 this April. Realtors will note the average price per square foot was up 12 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 4 percent.

Low demand is largely putting the brakes on more significant upward price movement. The amount of single-family-home sales activity was down 16 percent this April from last April. Sales of homes in the range below $150,000 alone fell 37 percent. New-home sales went down 12 percent. All of this, even though the period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand.

“The market has completed its rebound from the artificially low prices that prevailed between 2009 and 2011, and further significant increases are unlikely without some growth in demand,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “It’s also likely that the recent advance in pricing will fade during the summer months, when the luxury, snowbird and active-adult markets go relatively quiet.”

Investors continue to show disinterest in the Phoenix housing market now that better bargains can be found in other areas of the country with more foreclosures. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors was down to just 16.3 percent in April from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and condos were down 54 percent from April 2013 to April 2014.

In contrast, the supply of homes available for sale is way up, with 73 percent more active listings on May 1 of this year than May 1 of last year. As a result, buyers have far more choices. However, Orr believes that may change, if demand and prices don’t pick up. Potential home sellers may stay out of the market, deciding to wait for better times.

“The underlying key problem for entry-level and mid-range housing demand is a lack of household formation due to many factors, including unemployment, falling birth rates, lower net migration and greater home-sharing, especially among millennials,” explains Orr. “However, if household creation were to return to the normal long-term average, we would quickly have a housing shortage here in Greater Phoenix.”

Meantime, the demand for rental homes is very high, and Orr says the availability of those homes is dropping to unusually low levels. He estimates there’s only a 29-day supply of single-family rentals, and therefore, rent is starting to rise in the most popular locations. As a result of this demand, the Phoenix area is seeing a strong upward trend in multi-family construction permits.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

hubble

Hubble unveils its most colorful view of the universe

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have assembled a very comprehensive picture of the evolving universe – and the most colorful. This study, called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UVUDF) project, provides the missing link in star formation, say researchers.

Prior to this survey, astronomers were in a curious position. They had knowledge of star formation in nearby galaxies from missions such as NASA’s GALEX observatory. And, thanks to Hubble’s near-infrared capability, they also studied star birth in the most distant galaxies, which appear to us in their most primitive stages thanks to the vast light travel time involved. But for the period in between — a range extending from about 5 billion to 10 billion light-years away — they just didn’t have enough data. This is the time when most of the stars in the universe were born.

Ultraviolet light comes from the hottest, most massive, and youngest stars. By observing at these wavelengths, researchers get a direct look at which galaxies are forming stars and, just as importantly, where within those galaxies the stars are forming.

Astronomers have previously studied the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in visible and near infrared light, in a series of exposures taken from 2004 to 2009. Now, with the addition of ultraviolet light, they have combined the full range of colors available to Hubble, stretching all the way from ultraviolet to near-infrared light. The resulting image — made from 841 orbits of telescope viewing time — contains approximately 10,000 galaxies, extending back in time to within a few hundred million years of the big bang.

Studying the ultraviolet images of galaxies in this intermediate time period enables astronomers to understand how galaxies like our Milky Way grew in size from small collections of very hot stars. Because Earth’s atmosphere filters most ultraviolet light, this work can only be accomplished with a space-based telescope.

“It’s the deepest panchromatic image of the sky ever made. It reaches the faintness of one firefly as seen from the distance of the Moon,” says Rogier Windhorst, professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration in Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Ultraviolet surveys like this one, using the unique capability of Hubble, are incredibly important in planning for the James Webb Space Telescope,” explained Windhorst, a team member. “Hubble provides an invaluable ultraviolet light dataset that researchers will need to combine with infrared data from Webb. This is the first really deep ultraviolet image to show the power of that combination.”

When better reductions of these ultraviolet images became available earlier this year, Windhorst made properly weighted stacks of the 13-filter images, and put them together in a final color mosaic. This then was perfected by Zolt Levay at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

ASU students will use images like these to analyze in detail the cosmic star-formation during the last 10 billion years. Such studies have become possible thanks to the unique ultraviolet imaging capability of Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, the last camera installed into Hubble in May 2009. ASU has had major science involvement in WFC3, since the designing and building of it started in 1998.

Small Business Leadership Academy: Lauri Leadley

ASU and SRP Help Small Businesses

Small businesses play a key role in our economy, creating jobs and helping our community. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is offering a program to help small business owners and executives learn how to improve efficiency, streamline operations and raise profits. The seventh annual Small Business Leadership Academy is available to the leaders of small and diverse local businesses.

“Small businesses play a crucial role in our economy, and the W. P. Carey School of Business is very interested in helping local business owners to succeed through added education in subjects like strategy, branding and teamwork,” said Dean Amy Hillman of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We designed the Small Business Leadership Academy to fit into the busy schedules of executives from growing businesses.”

Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding co-sponsor, is offering a number of scholarships to its current suppliers and small business customers.

“The partnership we have with ASU, coupled with the sponsorship and scholarships we offer to the academy, is a natural fit for SRP in supporting economic development within our own community,” said Carrie Young, senior director of SRP Corporate Operations Services.

The eight-week academy and its graduation will run on Wednesday nights from Sept. 3 to Oct. 29. The curriculum will cover business strategy, branding, competing through services, negotiations, management and teamwork, among other areas. Program applications are due July 18.

Participants must:

> Have been in business for at least three years,
> Have annual revenues between $1 million and $10 million,
> Have fewer than 100 employees,
> Be the owner or principal of the business.

Applicants must be able to attend all scheduled classes and related activities. Those who complete the program will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Arizona State University. These units are widely used as a measure of participation in non-credit, professional development courses.

For more information about sponsoring a scholarship or applying to the program offered through the nationally ranked W. P. Carey School of Business, call (480) 965-7579, e-mail or visit http://wpcarey.asu.edu/executive-education/small-business-academy. Current SRP suppliers can also contact SRP’s Supplier Diversity Department for information about this year’s nominating process at SupplierDiversity@srpnet.com.

asu_study_abroad

ASU commits to increasing study abroad students

Arizona State University is joining Generation Study Abroad, an Institute of International Education program that aims to double the number of United States college students studying in different countries by the end of the decade.

Less than 10 percent of U.S. students currently study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education. ASU is committing to increasing study abroad students by 20 percent between the fall of 2014 and fall of 2019.

“ASU is committed to graduating global citizens and study abroad is one distinct way to encourage intercultural growth and  development, throughout the world and in the local community,” said Robert E. Page, Jr., Arizona State University Provost. “Studying abroad enhances students’ educational experiences and their understanding of different cultures and countries.”

More than 300 colleges and universities across the country have committed to increasing study abroad student numbers through the program as have study abroad organizations, foreign governments and associations. The Institute of International Education is also focusing on increasing the diversity of the students who study abroad to ensure everyone has an equal chance to participate.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” said Allan Goodman, President of the Institute of International Education. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”

More than 800 students are departing this summer to take part in faculty directed study abroad programs. ASU’s goal for academic year 2018-19 is to send more than 2,000 students abroad. During the 2011-12 academic year, 1,699 ASU students studied in other countries. Achieving this goal will be met through initiatives such as identifying potential study abroad programs; connecting courses on students’ major maps with specific destinations where the classes are offered; and including information about approved destinations and programs for each ASU major through the university’s online academic catalog.

In addition, ASU has formed a faculty advisory committee featuring leadership from all four campuses that will integrate study abroad in all of the colleges and schools at the university as well as provide advisement and develop international leaders. The university is also committing to exploring study abroad scholarships that will allow students to plan for their future and enhancing training for academic advisors and faculty directors in areas such as intercultural competency development.

According to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange released last November, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011/12 in credit- and non-credit programs. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad to 600,000 students per year by the end of the decade.

Generation Study Abroad will engage educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to work to increase the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences. The Institute for International Education has committed $2 million in funding for the initiative during the next 5 years.

Students at ASU have the opportunity to take advantage of over 250 summer, semester and academic year programs in more than 55 different countries.  For more information about study abroad at ASU, go to https://studyabroad.asu.edu/. For more information about Generation Study Abroad, go to: www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad.