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Wednesday 27 September 2023,

Meet the staff

It’s not “all work and no play” at the Fulton Schools! In addition to your academic activities, we hope you’ll also take some time to have fun. We make sure our Freshmen get a spirited start to their Fulton Schools journey with E2, but the fun doesn’t stop there. And if you hadn’t noticed already, on Fridays we wear gold.

Faculty and staff are an integral part to making many of these traditions and spirit events and programs possible for our students. Take note of a few traditions you shouldn’t miss out on!

Kristín Olafs

Kristín Olafs

Kristín Ólafs, Special Events Manager, is a key figure in coordinating special events for the Dean’s office, including our big traditions of the Homecoming Block Party and Convocation and many more events throughout the year. She keeps it all running smoothly by making sure all the pieces fall into place from scheduling to catering with the support of her team. Since joining the Engineering Dean’s office in 2005, Kristín has planned and executed hundreds of events. These include conferences, the Grand Challenge Summit, the Intel Entrepreneurial Competition, convocations, homecomings, donor cultivation events, and more. Kristin is also a co-founder of MECA (Meeting and Events Coordinators and Associates), a group of events planners who learn about best practices for events at ASU. Kristín frequently does event-planning workshops for ASU staff and students.

Elizabeth Cross, Events Coordinator Asst, independently coordinates various events for the Engineering Dean’s Office. She collaborates with Kristín Olafs and other dean’s office staff to coordinate larger events including, but not limited to, Homecoming, Convocation, Night of the Open Door, football and basketball tailgates, and she serves as floor manager for the Fulton Schools Convocation. She is also the volunteer manager for all Dean’s Office events. Elizabeth started working at the Fulton Schools as a student worker for Engineering Technical Services in 2010, before joining the Dean’s Office events team as a special events assistant in 2012. As of May 2014, she is a full-time staff member of the Dean’s Office events team.

Along with Kristín and Elizabeth, Hope Parker and other staff make these great events and programs fun for everyone involved. We put on successful events because of our outstanding staff and their monumental efforts! Be sure to thank them if you see them during these events!


Join us for the Homecoming Block party on Saturday, October 28, 2017. Entertainment starts four hours before kickoff with a parade and block party. Student orgs and other groups can sign up to be part of the parade.

Faculty, staff and students alike can make the Block Party a success three ways — show your Fulton Schools pride as an exhibitor, help make the party great as a volunteer or be our guest for some great barbecue! Show students, alumni and all of the Sun Devil community what awesome things you’re working on with demos and hands-on fun.

Check In the Loop for how to sign up to exhibit at the Homecoming Block Party

You can also sign up to volunteer at the Homecoming Block Party. It’s the place to be to show your love for engineering and technology! You can also network with faculty, staff, students, alumni and the local community. Volunteers who work more than three hours get free BBQ at the end of their shift!

Check In the Loop for how to sign up to volunteer at the Homecoming Block Party

If you’re not ready to be an exhibitor or volunteer, we hope you’ll be our guest at the party. Everybody can join us for activities, but only ticket holders receive a free meal!

Check In the Loop for how to sign up to attend the Homecoming Block Party and get free BBQ!

Learn more about ASU’s Homecoming festivities

Kristín Olafs and Elizabeth Cross help make our Homecoming Block Party the best party.

Study Abroad

Experiencing a new culture and learning professional engineering practices from around the globe are valuable experiences that make students competitive in the job market. Students can choose from exchange and partnership programs and faculty-directed summer or semester programs. Promote study abroad opportunities to your students, and create your own! Work with the Study Abroad Office (SAO) to plan, create, and teach a study abroad program. Leading a study abroad program provides global competence for you and your students, adds experiential learning to your courses and is a great opportunity to better connect with your students. It also enhances your teaching, research and service, and provides a fully supported method to travel and conduct academic work abroad.

Find out more about study abroad and how you can get involved

Kae Sawyer is the Associate Director of Student Engagement in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. She oversees a team that promotes, supports and facilities a comprehensive portfolio of co-curricular and extracurricular offerings for Fulton students to explore their interests and develop valuable skillsets through hands-on design experiences, research opportunities, entrepreneurship and innovation, global engagement, and service learning while promoting leadership development, diversity and inclusion of all students.


At the Fulton Schools we like to share our passion for STEM education with the wider community and help young students see engineering as a path they, too, can pursue.

During Field Trip Days elementary, middle and high school students explore a day in the life of our engineers through hands-on activities with Fulton Schools students and tour our labs and facilities. These events take place throughout fall and spring semesters at the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses.

Night of the Open Door invites all of the local community to see what’s happening in our labs and other facilities, participate in hands-on activities and demos and learn about engineering, technology, aviation, construction, design and more.

Students can help inspire the next generation of engineers in these events, and outreach programs like FIRST® Robotics, which also help build valuable mentoring skills.

FIRST® Robotics and its FIRST LEGO League programs help elementary, middle and high school students ignite an enthusiasm for discovery of STEM through hands-on learning and global robotics competition. Get involved, inspire future engineers, and build your mentorship skills!

Come join the FLL Community as we kickoff our upcoming season, Hydrodynamics, at the at ASU Tempe campus.

Saturday, September 9, 2017
9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Memorial Union (MU), Tempe campus [map]

Come on out and help us celebrate the 98 teams from all of the state of Arizona that have qualified for the AZ FLL State Championship

Saturday, January 13, 2018 and Sunday, January 14, 2018
9 a.m.–4 p.m.
ASU Tempe campus — watch In the Loop for the updated location

For faculty, outreach opportunities are a great way for you to strengthen your proposals, especially National Science Foundation proposals, and your K-12 STEM education initiatives. They’re also a great volunteer opportunity for faculty, staff and students to inspire future Sun Devils and STEM professionals.

See all the outreach events and programs we put on, and look for announcements on how to get involved in In the Loop.

Tirupalavanam Ganesh, Hope Parker, Jennifer Velez

Tirupalavanam Ganesh, Hope Parker, Jennifer Velez

Assistant Dean Tirupalavanam Ganesh works with university students, P-14 populations, engineering faculty and teacher candidates/mentor teachers. As a Tooker Professor he is working on developing several outreach programs. Young Engineers Shape the World is a two-year program aimed at female high school students enrolled in advanced placement/international baccalaureate programs to enhance their interest in engineering and enroll in an engineering program. Engineering Futures a pilot for a subset of our 2016 and 2017 freshmen aimed at building a network of peers, alumni, and professionals to help the class build greater awareness of the workplace and entrepreneurship/Internet of Things skills. Engineers for Education a program for undergraduate engineers to inspire middle and high school youth to become more aware of engineering as a socially relevant profession.

Hope Parker, associate director, advocates awareness, educate, social and personal impact, and inspiration for our next generation and our future. Along with the fabulous P-14 Engineering Education and Outreach team, Hope helps to build engineering and social entrepreneurship based programs and opportunities for preschool through community college students. From summer camps to FIRST LEGO League robotics to EPICS High to Young Engineering Shape the World to SPARK App league to faculty support, the team has something for everyone!

Jennifer Velez, coordinator sr., has the awesome pleasure of managing the EPICS High program for middle school and high school students. Contact Jennifer to learn how you can support this social entrepreneurship program in your community. Jennifer also oversees the National Summer Transportation Institute, a residential program for high school students that engages participants in the various fields of engineering required to ensure safe and efficient transit across the state.

Hilary Mitchell

Hilary Mitchell

Hilary Mitchell, coordinator sr. runs the FIRST Lego League and Jr. programs — more than 430 teams across the state of Arizona! Ask her about how to incorporate robotics into your program or volunteer for one of many events!

Brittney Martin, coordinator sr., leads the team effort to design and execute key PreK-14 events throughout the year. Working from both the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses, Brittney works primarily on coordinating Field Trip Days, Fulton Summer Programs, Girl’s Make-A-Thon, SPARK App League and Night of the Open Door, to name a few. Additionally, she supports Tirupalavanam Ganesh in delivering teacher training workshops designed to build engineering into K-12 curriculums.

Lauren Preble

Lauren Preble

Coordinator Lauren Preble coordinates the Young Engineers Shape the World program (YESW), which works to provide high schools students with engineering exploration opportunities, intended to guide students in making more more informed decisions on their college and career choices. YESW is a mentorship program with the goal to increase the number of female students pursuing an engineering degree, and if you would like to get involved in the program as a mentor, please contact Lauren.


After cheering on your students at ASU Commencement on Monday, December 11, 2017, it’s time to recognize your students at the Fulton Schools Convocation ceremony on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Convocation is a high-spirited event to celebrate undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in the six Fulton Schools. All graduating students will walk across the stage to receive congratulations from the deans and program chairs. Faculty advisors will place hoods on their doctoral students, but master’s students will not be hooded on stage.

Make sure your graduating seniors, master’s students and doctoral candidates know about Grad Fair events in October. This is where they can get their caps and gowns, announcements, class rings and more.

Don’t forget your own graduation regalia — watch for announcements in In the Loop later this semester on how to rent or buy.

Kristín Olafs and Elizabeth Cross are the Convocation planning champs! Along with their many staff and student volunteers they make this event possible for our grads.

Order of the Engineer

Graduating seniors and alumni from ABET-accredited programs and professional engineers can make a lifelong commitment to the engineering ideals of integrity, pride and responsibility through the Order of the Engineer. Professor of Practice Steven Trimble was the first to organize an Order of the Engineer event for his Senior Design class graduates, and it soon grew to be an entire Fulton Schools tradition. This commitment is symbolized by a ring worn on the small finger of your working hand.

Watch In the Loop for registration and event info for the Fall 2017 event.

Kae Sawyer oversees Order of the Engineer planning and activities.

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