SFIS Newsletter – March 2021

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Teacher and students working together
Photo courtesy NISE Network.

ASU is becoming a NASA STEM hub

NASA has announced funding for the next phase of its Science Activation (SciAct) program, a community based approach to connect NASA science with learners of all ages. Arizona State University has received funding for four of the 30 projects in the program, making it a leader in NASA’s SciAct program. Two of the ASU projects are based at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the SciAct STEM Ecosystems project and the Space and Earth Informal STEM Education (SEISE) project.

Vaccine seringes

A dose of facts: Answering your questions abou the COVID-19 vaccines

With two COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States and more in development, vaccination efforts are well underway worldwide. The speed with which Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech developed their vaccines, coupled with the internet’s ability to spread rumors more quickly than the coronavirus itself, means many people have questions about how the vaccines work and how safe and effective they are. Clinical Assistant Professor Heather Ross and PhD student Anna Muldoon answered some common questions about the vaccines. 

Movie poster
Photos courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox, A24 andTriStar Pictures

Why seeing robots in pop culture is important

What was the first robot you ever encountered? Whatever it was, you most likely encountered it in popular culture. Stories about robots tap into our anxieties about what it means to be intelligent or what it means to be a human. Ed Finn, founding director of ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination, and Professor Katina Michael take a closer look at humans’ fascination with stories about robots and what we can learn from them.

Event poster

ASU virtually hosts world’s largest scientific meeting

Arizona State University hosted the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, the world’s largest general scientific gathering. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Understanding Dynamic Ecosystems.” ASU and SFIS were well represented at AAAS 2021, which featured a showcase of more than 50 virtual tours, live chats, scientific sessions, student presentations and poster sessions, and special plenary sessions by world scientific leaders.

SFIS sessions:

Sundevil giving day banner

Sun Devil Giving Day

ASU invites you to consider the causes you care about and support them with a gift in honor of Sun Devil Giving Day. When you rally around the ASU community, you’re doing more than investing in higher education. You’re creating positive societal impact and meaningful change in our communities. Every gift makes a difference. Join us March 18, 2021, and align your values with your giving.


student headshot

Number of National Science Foundation graduate research fellows at ASU growing

How science can better serve society is the focus of JP Nelson’s work as a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow at Arizona State University. With support from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), Nelson is pursuing a doctoral degree in the human and social dimensions of science and technology. Nelson is among a growing number of NSF-GRFP participants at ASU. In 2020, the number of new participants in the NSF-GRFP at the university jumped to 11, marking a significant increase from past years when there were seven annually.

group having a discussion at a table
In May 2019, ASU researchers organized a public forum in Boston to discuss driverless cars. Participants gathered at tables to share their perspectives. Photo by Eric Workman/Museum of Science

Science policy: For the public, by the public

For more than 10 years, researchers at Arizona State University have been studying different ways to engage the public in science policy and the decision-making process. Clinical Associate Professor and CSPO Associate Director Mahmud Farooque and Postdoctoral Research Associate Nicholas Weller recently submitted their Day One Project proposal to the Biden administration suggesting that the Office of Science and Technology Policy create a special unit to gather information on the public’s values and concerns surrounding new and emerging science and technology. 

lighting striking a mountain

Looking for trouble in all the right places

There is a pandemic. State and federal authorities clash over the timing, policies and efforts to check its spread. Hot spots arise in cities and states with lesser restrictions. Casualties rise to levels so shocking they are culturally unacceptable. Hit a little too close to home? That was the point of this scenario, lifted from a new report by Arizona State University’s Threatcasting Lab. The lab’s mission is to imagine future problems and solutions so plans can be prepared for them. Brian David Johnson, professor of practice and Threatcasting Lab director, explains threatcasting and the lab’s new report on digital weapons of mass destabilization.

Max Gabriel headshot

HSD PhD student Max Gabriele published the essay “A Lament for Game Over” in Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery. Gabriele researched persuasive design in video games and how it has changed.

Professor Clark Miller’s National Academies committee report “Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States: Technology, Policy, and Societal Dimensions” was released. The report identifies key technological and socio-economic goals that must be achieved to put the United States on the path to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Postdoc Jean Boucher published “From the suites to the streets: Examining the range of behaviors and attitudes of international climate activists” in Energy Research & Social Science. Boucher researched the demographics, behaviors and attitudes of climate activists across the globe.  


Student headshot

PIT graduate student Shalin Jyotishi was named senior policy analyst in the Center on Education and Labor at the think-tank New America. He also represented the World Economic Forum Global Shapers at the “Coalitions of Youth: Insights for a Fair and Equitable Future of Work” webinar, co-wrote the op-ed “Universities Play a Vital Role in the U.S. Economy” for RealClearEducation, and organized the webinar series “Science the Endless Frontier: Shaping the Future Of Science Policy” with the Journal of Science Policy and Governance (JSPG) and AAAS. The webinar featured contributions from SFIS, including Professor of Practice Elisabeth Graffy, Clinical Associate Professor Mahmud Farooque and Professor Robert Cook-Deegan.

Student headshot

Innovation in Society student Nikhil Dave was interviewed, along with other members of Arizona State University’s Luminosity Lab, in a segment on the Morning Scoop with Arizona Capitol Times, “How today’s students are solving tomorrow’s problems.” The Luminosity Lab team recently won the million-dollar XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge to redesign the face masks used to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Student headshot

MSTP student Jacob Robertson worked on the documentary “2021 APS Medal & Society Prizes Documentary” for his job at the American Physical Society. Robertson served as the point person between the prize recipients and the production company to help translate the details of their science into more accessible stories. He also advised the editors on the creation of the motion graphics. 

Student headshot

HSD PhD student Gabrielle Lout gave the presentation “Human and Labor Rights in the Global Seafood Industry” at the ASU Sustainability Solutions Festival “Chain Breakers: Shared Responsibility for Ethical Supply Chains” event. Chain Breakers empowers individuals and companies to act against forced labor by benchmarking industries, sharing transparent supply chain strategies, and introducing a myriad of tools and technology to overcome modern day labor injustices in various forms. 

Professor Katina Michael organized the workshop “AI in Cybersecurity: Socio-Technical & Environmental Considerations” on the Social Implications of National Security (SINS 21). ASU faculty and students participated in the workshop, including HSD students Elma Hajric and Josh Massad, IGD student Salah Hamdoun, PIT students Paul Millea and Toby Shulruff, Systems Engineering student Edgard Musafiri Mimo, and Deputy Director and Professor Kathleen Vogel. Michael also co-organized a workshop on cyber, artificial intelligence and society with assistance from MSTP student Diana Madril, PIT students Lyric Peate, Dina Carpenter-Graffy and Paul Millea, and Software Engineering student Rahul Suresh. Michael has also given several talks and presentations recently, including “The Problems and Perils of Uberveillance: Misinformation, Misinterpretation, and Information Manipulation,” “Misdirected Dreams? Trusting in AI: the hopes, the needs, and the challenges,” and participated in the “International Conference on Cloud Computing, Data Science & Engineering.”

Professor of Practice Brian David Johnson has a new book out, “The Future You: Break Through the Fear and Build the Life You Want,” which gives readers the tools they need to envision and create the future they want.

Assistant Professor Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty participated in the eBriefing “Our Lunar Future” at the New York Academy of Science panel “A Closer Look at the Next Moon landing.” She also published the article “Innovative Instruments for Space Governance” and participated in the multimedia video “Space Law Explained” for the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Assistant Professor Christy Spackman presented at the UC Davis “Rising Stars in Food Science” series during the session “Flavor Stories: A Playful Approach to Thinking–And Talking About–Critical Issues Through Food Science.”  

Professor of Practice and ASU-Leonardo Initiative Executive Director Diana Ayton-Shenker spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected creative practice and transdisciplinary experimentation during the talk “Unleashing Creative Superpowers,” part of ASU’s Digital Culture Speaker Series. Ayton-Shenker also participated in the “Conversations on Religion, Ethics, and Science (CORES)” conference, “LASER Saint Petersburg, Perceive Chaos / Explore Cosmos,” “The Lumen Prize Presented by Leonardo,” and the Learning Planet Festival sessions “Sound of Care” and “The Pioneers: Celebrating exemplary learning communities.”


College of Global Futures – Alumni Interest Surveyt

Help us better support and engage our alumni. Please fill out this survey and let us know what opportunities and events you’re interested in. We appreciate your feedback.


March 1: ASU Open Door begins

March 9-11: IASC 2021 Conference: Fisheries and Aquaculture Commons

March 10: Digital Brown Bag: The Invisibilization of Female Fisheries Workers and a Call for Equity with Gabrielle Lout

March 17:  Development Reimagined: Future of Energy, Environment, and Sustainability in Transitional Economies

March 18: Sun Devil Giving Day

March 19: FRANKx Lecture Series: Bounded Infinities, Quantum Tunneling, and the Future of Education

March 25: IHR Distinguished Lecturer Adrienne Maree Brown


Brian David Johnson
The Future You: Break Through the Fear and Build the Life You Want
January 5, 2021

Jeremy Babendure 
This festival unlocks the mystery of science and technology. It may boost our economy, too
January 7, 2021

Mahmud Farooque
Categorizing Professionals’ Perspectives on Environmental Communication with Implications for Graduate Education
Environmental Communication
January 8, 2021

Shalin Jyotishi 
Universities Play a Vital Role in the U.S. Economy
January 15, 2021

Clark Miller, Joey Eschrich
The Biden Administration Should Spend $5 Billion to Bring Solar Energy to Low-Income Communities
January 22, 2021

Robert Cook-Deegan
Simone: A giant of clinical oncology research and a really good guy
The Cancer Letter
January 29, 2021

Clark Miller
Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States: Technology, Policy, and Societal Dimensions
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
February 2, 2021

Andrew Maynard
How to Succeed as an Academic on YouTube
Frontiers in Communication
February 4, 2021

Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty
Innovative Instruments for Space Governance
Centre for International Governance Innovation
February 8, 2021

Jean Boucher 
From the suites to the streets: Examining the range of behaviors and attitudes of international climate activists
Energy Research & Social Science
February 2021

Clark Miller, Jennifer Richter, Mary Jane Parmentier, Nalini Chhetri, Netra Chhetri, Stacia Dreyer, Saurabh Biswas
Eradicating Poverty through Energy Innovation: Co-Producing People Centered Energy Transitions Through Praxis at the Grassroots
International Sustainable Development Research Society conference
February 2021

Max Gabriele
A Lament for Game Over
Video Game Art Gallery
February 2021

Mahmud Farooque, Nicholas Weller
Supporting Federal Decision Making through Participatory Technology Assessment
Day One Project

In the Media

Laura Hosman
What A Solar-Powered, Portable Library Looks Like
December 30, 2020

Shalin Jyotishi
Approaching Demographic Cliff, Liberal Arts Colleges Turn To Career And Tech Education For Adults
GBH News
January 5, 2021

Brian David Johnson 
Cybersecurity in 10 years: How to protect against all the possibilities
Mastercard Newsroom
January 5, 2021

Andrew Maynard
Conversations: Andrew Maynard, “Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow
Kansas Public Radio
January 11, 2021

Faheem Hussain
After You Die, Microsoft Wants to Resurrect You as a Chatbot
Popular Mechanics
January 13, 2021

Nikhil Dave
Ahwatukee student leads $1M-winning project team
Ahwatukee Foothills News
January 14, 2021

Daniel Sarewitz
Pandemic science advice comes under scrutiny
January 14, 2021

Laura Hosman
Catalyst: Solar Spell
Arizona Horizon
January 15, 2021

Robert Cook-Deegan
Here Are The Many Controversies Surrounding Biden’s Pick For Science Adviser
BuzzFeed News
January 19, 2021

Faheem Hussain
Microsoft Wants To Resurrect The Dead And Let Them Talk To Their Loved Ones
January 19, 2021

Darlene Cavalier
How One Million Volunteers Could One Day Revolutionize Medicine
Discover Magazine 
January 19, 2021

Heather Ross
Episode 53 with guest Heather Ross
City of Phoenix Podcast
January 20, 2021

Andrew Maynard
Reinventing the Wheel: Are Self-Driving Cars Empowering or Endangering Those Who Can’t Drive?
Phoenix Magazine
January 21, 2021

Heather Ross
Phoenix-area Jewish leaders anticipate changes in Biden administration
Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
January 22, 2021

Daniel Sarewitz
Will public trust in science survive the pandemic?
Chemical & Engineering News 
January 25, 2021

Bob Cook-Deegan
Eric Lander is brilliant, connected, and controversial. Now Joe Biden wants him to ‘reinvigorate’ American science
February 1, 2021

Diana Ayton-Shenker
Opinion: A few bad apples ruin the bunch
The State Press
February 3, 2021

Ed Finn
How To Maintain A Sense Of Humanity As Robots Progress In Appearance, Intelligence
February 4, 2021

Anna Muldoon
Most Americans are doing pods wrong
February 8, 2021

Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins
Researching ways to improve sustainability and reduce waste in the seafood industry
February 9, 2021

Katina Michael
Design and deployment of COVID-19 technology responses and finding ways to make things better
February 9, 2021

Erik Fisher
Become a Better Decision Maker with STIR
Future Up Close
February 9, 2021

Nikhil Dave

Morning Scoop: How today’s students are solving tomorrow’s problems
Morning Scoop with Arizona Capitol Times
February 11, 2021

Jennifer Brian, Diana Ayton-Shenker
New courses use lessons from pandemic to address problems facing community
The State Press
February 13, 2021

Faheem Hussain
The digital afterlife industry is here to help you plan your death
Rest of World
February 14, 2021

Andrew Maynard
Get a first-person tour of Waymo’s fully driverless service
12 News
February 15, 2021

Andrew Maynard
From butterfly wings to shrimp claws: Mimicking nature on the nanoscale
Environmental Health News
February 15, 2021

Heather Ross
Innovating “In the Here and Now”
Issues in Science and Technology
Winter 2021

Clark Miller
Current Revolution: Nation in Transition
American Resilience Project