ASU Alumni Association displays high-tech research projects at State Capitol

Sparky poses with an attendee of the Arizona State University Alumni Association’s 27th Annual Day at the Capitol, during which ASU groups can showcase projects they are working on. (Windsor Smith/DD)

The Arizona State University Alumni Association showcased the university’s research projects at the 27th Annual Day at the Capitol event at the State Capitol Tuesday morning.

ASU President Michael Crow said in an interview that the event “benefits students immensely as we get state policy makers more aware of the breadth of our program and the way in which our university works.”

The event showcased all the different groups that are making a difference at the university, including the ARPA-E Cyano project from the School of Life Sciences, displays from the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and mini-Baja cars built by students in ASU’s Automotive Engineering Program. Members of the Student Alumni Association praised elected officials who made their higher education projects possible.

President Crow walked among the crowd of students, faculty and elected officials, encouraging students to use their energy to showcase the projects and achievements ASU has already accomplished.

Martha Byrd, Executive Director of Operations for the ASU Alumni Association, explained the importance of having President Crow go around the event to make personal, one-on-one connections and push the message of what the Association is doing.

“We’re providing the opportunity to showcase all of the great things that are happening at ASU,” Byrd said.

The W.P. Carey School of Business showcased its specialized master’s degrees such as business analytics and supply chain management engineering, and their online MBA program ranked number two in the country, Rebecca Mallen said, Graduate Program Student Recruiter at the Carey School.

“For our full-time MBA program, it’s definitely the year to apply,” Mallen said. “There’s a lot of scholarships that are available.”

She added that there is a large scholarship fund left by the school’s namesake who passed away last year.

ASU LightWorks displayed its project on a national level with low-cost, high-efficiency solar panel technologies, renewable biofuel production and flexible display technology.

The algae biofuel, which uses algae as a natural source of fuel, is receiving the most funding, and according to Sydney Lines, management intern at ASU LightWorks, making “the biggest ripple in the water nationally” at the moment.

The ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration is involved in new geological studies and research of the formations of the moon and how it came to be.

Anthony Zippay, manager of Distant Learning Programs Mars Space Flight Facility and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, said that ASU is, “one of the only universities in the country to have a moon rock on exhibit.”

The moon rock is from the Apollo 17 site and was loaned after submitting a proposal to NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Zippay said ASU is very impressive when it comes to NASA research and that it is, “the foremost place that’s bringing data from the moon and Mars, from a geological perspective.”

“The institution is not simple,” Crow said. “If you have a better understanding of all the programs that we have and all the students and all their learning, then you’ll be a better policy maker.”

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Correction: Feb. 14, 2013

This article originally stated the ASU LightWorks program is funded by a $15 million grant. Only the algae biofuel program received that grant.