ASU Lodestar graduates new Public Allies Arizona class – ASU News Now

The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation graduated its eighth Public Allies Arizona class on June 27 at the AE England Building on the Downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.
Public Allies Arizona, about to begin its ninth year at ASU, is an AmeriCorps national youth leadership organization that recruits, places and develops leadership skills in dedicated, service-minded individuals who engage in paid, 10-month apprenticeships placed throughout local nonprofit partner organizations. Allies are diverse and passionate individuals interested in social change and making a positive impact in their community. ASU Lodestar Center logo Download Full Image
Completing its eighth year in Arizona, Public Allies recognized 31 first-year allies, six second-year allies and 20 partner organization nonprofits where the allies completed their apprenticeships:
Graduating first-year allies:
• Brandon Alkire, People of Color Network
• Annie Bello, Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun, Inc.
• Rose Blackshire, Arizona Neighborhood Transformation
• Paul Collier, Scottsdale Training & Rehabilitation Services
• Kendall Crever, Local First Arizona Foundation
• Asia Dasher, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development
• Bradley Dixon, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development
• Franchesca Felix Garza, Central Arizona Shelter Services(CASS)
• Andriana Francini, People of Color Network
• Jon Hajek, Central Arizona Shelter Services(CASS)
• Leeane Hamilton, New Pathways for Youth
• Jaffir Kahn, Society of St. Vincent de Paul
• Cody Klaus, Native American Connections
• Lisa Kramer, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development
• Nancy Linh Nguyen Le, Women’s Business Enterprise Council – West
• Jessica Mann, A New Leaf, Inc.
• Luis Marquez Jr., People of Color Network
• Sally McCollum, Valley of the Sun United Way
• Erica Meza, Women’s Business Enterprise Council – West
• Genna Mulvey, People of Color Network
• Carlos Nava, Valley of the Sun United Way
• Michelle Petraitis, Human Services Campus
• Steven Russell, Local First Arizona Foundation
• Emily Sawyer, People of Color Network
• Stephanie Sia, New Pathways for Youth
• Siuaki Tuipulotu, Society of St. Vincent de Paul
• Alejandra Verdin, Chandler Christian Community Center
• Reema Verma, People of Color Network
• Olivia Warner, Human Services Campus
• Taylor White, Chandler Christian Community Center
• Elizabeth Williams, Women’s Business Enterprise Council – West
Graduating second-year allies:
• LaNella Bolds, Arizona State Parks
• Patrice Cervantes, Be A Leader Foundation
• Claudia Lopez, People of Color Network
• Annalise Parady, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development
• Kassey Stotler, Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter
• Mandy Watkins, Phoenix Center Arts Association
The ceremony included remarks from Jonathan Koppell, dean of ASU’s College of Public Programs; Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center; and Irma Q. Leyendecker, director of leadership programs and Public Allies Arizona for the ASU Lodestar Center. Other speakers included Annie Bello (Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun), a graduating first-year ally; Claudia Lopez (People of Color Network), a graduating second-year ally; and Chrisal Valencia (Local First Arizona Foundation), a Public Allies Arizona alumna. Additionally, an Honorary Ally Award was presented to Brian Cresson, artist and founder of Free Ego Clothing, and the Partner Organization Supervisor of the Year Award was presented to Joseph Benesh, director of Phoenix Center for the Arts.
“The success of this year’s Public Allies Arizona cohort is a testimony to the character and drive of our allies who are part of a proven pipeline of leadership for the social sector and region,” says Ashcraft, professor of nonprofit studies in ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development. “This year’s success is also evidence of the power of successful partnerships as we work with and through vital nonprofits who provide essential services, often to our most vulnerable citizens.”
Additional information about the 2013-2014 year includes:
• Collectively, allies have served over 62,200 hours this past year.
• Allies created 280 new collaborations, and developed formal partnerships on behalf of their partner organizations, representing new opportunities for information sharing, partnerships and collaborative projects.
• Allies have implemented 11 community service projects, impacting hundreds of individuals.
• Allies have earned $205,350 in Eli Segal Education Awards to be used to offset the cost of attending college.
Over $4.2 million in external grant dollars have been awarded to the ASU Lodestar Center in support of Public Allies Arizona since the program's launch in 2006. When accounting for in-kind support, as well as the funds contributed by the nonprofits to have an ally placed within their agencies, the total economic value of the program is over $1 million this year, and more than $7.4 million over the past eight years.
Written by: Nicole Almond Anderson,
director marketing and communications, College of Public Service and Community Solutions

An international team, led by ASU scientists, has published a first-of-its-kind study that shows the first glimpse of the action in photosynthesis that has produced all the oxygen on our planet.
An international team, led by Arizona State University scientists, has published today in Nature a groundbreaking study that shows the first snapshots of photosynthesis in action as it splits water into protons, electrons and oxygen – the process that maintains Earth’s oxygen atmosphere.
“This study is the first step towards our ultimate goal of unraveling the secrets of water splitting and obtaining molecular movies of biomolecules,” said Petra Fromme, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at ASU. Fromme is the senior author and leader of the international team, which reported their work in “Serial time-resolved crystallography of photosystem II using a femtosecond X-ray laser,” in the July 9 online issue of Nature. Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II Download Full Image
Photosynthesis is one of the fundamental processes of life on Earth. The early Earth contained no oxygen and was converted to the oxygen-rich atmosphere we have today 2.5 billion years ago by the “invention” of the water splitting process in Photosystem II (PSII). All higher life on Earth depends on this process for its energy needs, and PSII produces the oxygen we breathe, which ultimately keeps us alive.
The revealing of the mechanism of this water splitting process is essential for the development of artificial systems that mimic and surpass the efficiency of natural systems. The development of an “artificial leaf” is one of the major goals of the ASU Center for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production, which was the main supporter of this study.
“A crucial problem facing our Center for Bio-Inspired Fuel Production (Bisfuel) at ASU and similar research groups around the world is discovering an efficient, inexpensive catalyst for oxidizing water to oxygen gas, hydrogen ions and electrons,” said ASU Regents’ Professor Devens Gust, the center's director. “Photosynthetic organisms already know how to do this, and we need to know the details of how photosynthesis carries out the process using abundant manganese and calcium.
“The research by Fromme and coworkers gives us, for the very first time, a look at how the catalyst changes its structure while it is working,” Gust added. “Once the mechanism of photosynthetic water oxidation is understood, chemists can begin to design artificial photosynthetic catalysts that will allow them to produce useful fuels using sunlight.”
In photosynthesis, oxygen is produced at a special metal site containing four manganese atoms and one calcium atom, connected together as a metal cluster. This oxygen-evolving cluster is bound to the protein PSII that catalyzes the light-driven process of water splitting. It requires four light flashes to extract one molecule of oxygen from two water molecules bound to the metal cluster.
Fromme states that there are two major drawbacks to obtaining structural and dynamical information on this process by traditional X-ray crystallography. First, the pictures one can obtain with standard structural determination methods are static. Second, the quality of the structural information is adversely affected by X ray damage.
“The trick is to use the world’s most powerful X-ray laser, named LCLS, located at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory,” said Fromme. “Extremely fast femtosecond (10 -15 second) laser pulses record snapshots of the PSII crystals before they explode in the X-ray beam, a principle called ‘diffraction before destruction.’”
In this way, snapshots of the process of water splitting are obtained damage-free. The ultimate goal of the work is to record molecular movies of water splitting.
The team performed the time-resolved femtosecond crystallography experiments on Photosystem II nanocrystals, which are so small that you can hardly see them, even under a microscope. The crystals are hit with two green laser flashes before the structural changes are elucidated by the femtosecond X-ray pulses.
The researchers discovered large structural changes of the protein and the metal cluster that catalyzes the reaction. The cluster significantly elongates, thereby making room for a water molecule to move in.
“This is a major step toward the goal of making a movie of the molecular machine responsible for photosynthesis, the process by which plants make the oxygen we breathe, from sunlight and water,” explained John Spence, ASU Regents’ Professor of physics, team member and scientific leader of the National Science Foundation-funded BioXFEL Science and Technology Center, which develops methods for biology with free electron lasers.
ASU recently made a large commitment to the groundbreaking work of the femtosecond crystallography team by planning to establish a new Center for Applied Structural Discovery at the Biodesign Institute at ASU. The center will be led by Petra Fromme.
Student role in research
An interdisciplinary team of eight ASU faculty members from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (Petra Fromme, Alexandra Ros, Tom Moore and Anna Moore) and the Department of Physics (John Spence, Uwe Weierstall, Kevin Schmidt and Bruce Doak) worked together with national and international collaborators on this project. The results were made possible by the excellent work of current ASU graduate students Christopher Kupitz, Shibom Basu, Daniel James, Dingjie Wang, Chelsie Conrad, Shatabdi Roy Chowdhury and Jay-How Yang, as well as ASU doctoral graduates and post-docs Kimberley Rendek, Mark Hunter, Jesse Bergkamp, Tzu-Chiao Chao and Richard Kirian.
Two undergraduate students, Danielle Cobb and Brenda Reeder, supported the team and gained extensive research experience by working hand-in-hand with graduate students, researchers and faculty at the free electron laser at Stanford. Four ASU senior scientists and postdoctoral researchers (Ingo Grotjohann, Nadia Zatsepin, Haiguang Liu and Raimund Fromme) supported the faculty in the design, planning and execution of the experiments, and were also instrumental in evaluation of the data.
The first authorship of the paper is jointly held by ASU graduate students Christopher Kupitz and Shibom Basu. Kupitz's dissertation is based on the development of new techniques for the growth and biophysical characterization of nanocrystals, and Basu devoted three years of his doctoral work to the development of the data evaluation methods.
“It is so exciting to be a part of this groundbreaking research and to have the opportunity to participate in this incredible international collaboration,” said Kupitz, who will graduate this summer with a doctorate in biochemistry. “I joined the project because it fascinates me to work at the LCLS accelerator on this important biological project.”
“The most exciting aspect of the work on Photosystem II is the prospect of making molecular movies to witness the water splitting process through time-resolved crystallography,” added Basu.
National and international collaborators on the project include the team of Henry Chapman at DESY in Hamburg, Germany, who, with the ASU team and researchers at the MPI in Heidelberg, pioneered the new method of serial femtosecond crystallography. Other collaborators included a team led by Matthias Frank, an expert on laser spectroscopy and time-resolved studies with FELs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the team of Yulia Pushkar at Purdue University, who supported the work with characterization of the crystals by electron paramagnetic resonance. 
“We’re tantalizingly close,” said Chapman of the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science at DESY and a pioneer in X-ray-free laser studies of crystallized proteins. “I think this shows that we really are on the right track and it will work.”
Additional collaborators include scientists from SLAC, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the Stanford PULSE Institute; Max Planck Institutes for medical research and nuclear physics; the University of Hamburg; the European X-ray Free-Electron Laser and the Center for Ultrafast Imaging; the University of Melbourne in Australia; Uppsala University in Sweden; and University of Regina in Canada.
The work was supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, German Research Foundation (DFG), the Max Planck Society, the SLAC and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Directed Research and Development programs, and the BioXFEL Science and Technology Center, among others.
Petra Fromme, (480) 965-9028
Media contact:
Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications
Contact us


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: