Last week we announced that the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected ASU for a $38.8 million award to develop a new national security tool. The Diagnostic Epigenetics of Infectious Agents and Chemical Toxicity (DEPICT) project will create a field-deployable device capable of determining in 30 minutes or less if a person has been exposed to weapons of mass destruction or their precursors. A transdisciplinary team in the new Translational Center for Molecular Diagnostics will receive the funding over four years to advance this technology, another example of ASU’s growing leadership in the field of molecular diagnostics as related to defense and human health.
In June, an Arizona community team that included members of ASU University Initiatives and Educational Outreach and Student Services won first place and a $1 million grant from Schmidt Futures as part of the Alliance for the American Dream competition. The Alliance’s challenge was to find ways to increase the net income of 10,000 local households by 10%.
Completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is linked significantly to degree attainment and subsequent social mobility. Arizona is 49th in the country for FAFSA completion, but “Project Benjamin” aims to change that by using a special chatbot to support FAFSA completion by high school students. The grant funding will help to deploy the project in 15 school districts this month, with the hope that others will follow to help bolster additional student success and community resilience.
As we work to enhance higher education access, it is great to see what can be accomplished through collaboration to move Arizona forward, and I appreciate our partners in realizing this success: College Success Arizona, Be A Leader Foundation, Achieve60AZ, Helios Education Fund, Mesa Public Schools, Maricopa Community Colleges, AzCAN, AdmitHub and the Arizona Commission on Postsecondary Education.