Discovery Seminars

Small, engaging, 1-credit classes for first-year students in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. 

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Are you ready to start your journey?

College is a time for exploration, self-discovery and personal reflection. Start your Sun Devil journey with a Discovery Seminar - a small, engaging, 1-credit course designed exclusively for first-year students. These courses offer an array of benefits for students, including:

Explore the seminars

Session C courses, 15 weeks

DiscSem: 007 from Cold War to Brexit
Jared KlempInstructorDepartment of English

This seminar will explore James Bond from his first appearance in Ian Fleming's Casino Royale to the newest post-Brexit Bond film. As we consider 007 across media, multiplying plotlines, parodies, and rewritings, we will ask how 007 has changed and what each version does for its audience.   

Session C
Th 4:30-5:20PM, PVW163
Class #: 84289

DiscSem: Brains!: Zombies in American Pop Culture
Kerry FineInstructor Department of English

Using some fiction and a lot of film, we will look at how zombies have evolved and continue to rise and rise again in American popular culture. 

Session C
M 5:15-6:05PM, PVW163
Class #: 84292

DiscSem: Diseases without borders and why we care
Susan HolechekInstructor School of Life Sciences

Learn about diseases old and new and how they shape they world we live in. Have you ever wondered how diseases were discovered and treated in the past? How do you know how effective the flu shot will be next season? And when does an outbreak become epidemic?

Session C
M 3:05-3:55PM, PABLO105
Class #: 84279

DiscSem: Drugs, Needles, and People
Phillip ScharfAssistant Vice President Educational Outreach and Student Services

So you want to be a doctor? Have you ever thought about going into healthcare? Are you curious what medical school and careers in healthcare might look like? Come find out first-hand what you need to do as undergraduate to be prepared for a successful career in medicine and other healthcare professions. We will tour medical school facilities, interact with current healthcare professionals, acquire skills to be prepared for the MCAT (the medical school entrance exam), and learn from current ASU upperclassmen who are on the journey to medical school. Gain the insights you need to become a successful candidate for a career in medicine.

Session C
M 4:10-5:00PM, PABLO105
Class #: 84285

DiscSem: Election 2020
Patrick KenneyDean. The College of Liberal Arts and SciencesThe College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

On Tuesday, November 3, 2020 Americans will go to the polls to participate in our nation's 59th quadrennial presidential election. In addition to voting for our next president and vice president, you and your fellow citizens will have the chance to select candidates for the US Senate and House of Representatives along with a whole host of other state and local elected positions. Explore how voting works at the federal level and within the State of Arizona and discover the important role you can play in shaping the poitical process.

Session C
W 4:00-4:50PM, ARM250
Class #: 94697

DiscSem: Functional Neuroimaging of the Human Mind
Gene BrewerAssociate ProfessorDepartment of Psychology

In this course, students will begin by reading and discussing a few neuroimaging papers that use EEG to study human cognition (e.g., memory).  We will then attempt to replicate one of the scientific findings in a selected paper. This course will primarily be held in a neuroimaging laboratory. The students will get exposure to several concepts that are important for the scientific enterprise; reading literature, computer programming, data collection, statistics, and replication.

Session C
W 3:05-3:55PM, PABLO105
Class #: 84280

DiscSem: Have what it takes to be a Millionaire?
Laurence SchneiderFaculty AssociateSchool of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Want to learn what all the fuss about the stock market is?  Delve into the basics of the stock market and then given a simulated $100,000 to buy and sell stocks and other financial instruments to see if you've got what it takes to make money in today's financial markets.

Session C
W 4:10-5:00PM, PVW163
Class #: 84283

DiscSem: Sociology of Summer Camp
Paul LePoreAssociate DeanThe College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Each year, more than 11,000,000 kids (and adults) attend one of the 12,000 summer camps operating in the United States. Camps are a big business, grossing more than $2.8 billion annually and employing more than 1.5 million staffers. Lots of famous people were former campers: Bob Dylan, Julia Roberts, Mark Zuckerberg, and Denzel Washington, just to name a few! For many, summer camp provides some of the most poignant memories from childhood and adolescence. So why do camps "work" and how might you look at what happens at camp to understand and enhance how other complex organizations operate? Using a sociological lens, we will explore the history of camps in the US, watch some classic camp movies, learn key social science research skills (so we can interview people about their own camp experiences), and culminate our course with a weekend trip to a camp in the valley on October 24 & 25.

Session C
W 4:10-5:00PM, ARM147
Class #: 84286

DiscSem: The Origin of Life on Ancient Earth
James LyonsAssociate Research ProfessorSchool of Earth and Space Exploration

How did life arise on ancient Earth? We'll consider several theories for the origin of life, and their corresponding ancient Earth environments. We'll survey the chemistry of large molecules in an almost entirely painless way. And we'll finally answer the question, "What was in that bowl of prebiotic (not probiotic) soup?"

Session C
W 5:15-6:05PM, PVW163
Class #: 84293

DiscSem: The World of King Arthur
Ryan NaughtonInstructor Department of English

When he pulled the sword from the stone, King Arthur became a legend. For nearly 1,000 years, that legend has been told and retold in numerous stories, films, TV shows, and video games. In this course, we will investigate these and other sources as we seek to find out where the legend comes from and why it continues to be popular.

Session C
T 4:30-5:20PM, PVW159
Class #: 84290

DiscSem: Waste Not, Want Not: Concepts of Waste
Rhian StottsLecturerSchool of Human Evolution and Social Change

To many, waste is something to get rid of. But what if we reimagine waste? In this course, we take an anthropological approach to waste, exploring on what we can learn from waste, focusing particularly on archaeological methods, and how we can prevent waste, engaging with important issues of sustainability. 

Session C
F 9:40-10:30AM, PVW159
Class #: 94476

DiscSem: What's happening on the US Mexico Border?
Irasema CoronadoDirectorSchool of Transborder Studies

This course examines current political issues affecting the U.S.-Mexico border.   We will examine political relationships between local, state, and federal governments; analyze public policy challenges experienced and various solutions proposed in state and federal legislatures in order to address these issues; and explore the variables that lead to cross-border cooperation.

Session C
T 4:30-5:20PM, INTDSB161B
Class #: 84288

Session A: August 20, 2020 – October 9, 2020
Session B: October 12, 2020 – December 4, 2020

Session C: August 20, 2020 – December 4, 2020

Session A & B courses, 7 1/2 weeks

DiscSem: LiveWell@ASU: Introduction to Wellness
Alyssa Sanonu, - Sun Devil Fitness and Wellness

Learn about Living Well at ASU and how healthy habits can help you reach your personal and professional goals while avoiding burnout. Discuss ways to "Build Your Best You" by understanding challenges, opportunities and skillsets that can assist you on your path to success.

Session A
F 2:00-3:50PM, PVW159
Class #: 84266

DiscSem: Making a Career with a Humanities Degree
Jeffrey CohenDean of HumanitiesThe College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

This seminar is for anyone who is majoring or thinking about majoring in any Humanities subject: English, History, Philosophy, any language, anything else. We'll explore how to lay the groundwork for career success from Day One at ASU.

Session A
M 4:10-6:00 PM, PVW159
Class #: 84270

DiscSem: Math will save the world:medicine, AI etc
Iuliia InozemtsevaLecturerSchool of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Discover the beauty of mathematics in nature, biology, medicine, AI, computer science, engineering and epidemics spread. No matter which subject is your favorite, we will show you how math is changing it in 21st century: from music, medicine to machine learning. Come and blow your mind away during each class.

Session A
W 2:00-3:50PM, PVW159
Class #: 84265

DiscSem: Science & the Future:Science Behind SciFi
Kenro KusumiProfessor, Associate Dean and DirectorSchool of Life Sciences

Science fiction has played a key role in stimulating public imagination, presenting both utopian and dystopian future worlds. In this class, we will review science fiction through a scientific lens, critically examining what is supported by current scientific theory versus what verges into the realm of fantasy.

Session A
M 4:10-6:00PM, LSE232
Class #: 87862

DiscSem: The Neurobiology of Emotion
Miles OrchinikAssociate ProfessorSchool of Life Sciences

In this discussion-based seminar, you will learn neurobiology in a context that resonates for many first-year students. We'll study mechanisms through which neurons and hormones interact to link stress, depression, and affiliation (love, friendship, bonding).  How does uncontrollable stress lead to depression? How does affiliation prevent some deleterious effects of stress? Grades will be based the two discussion questions you submit before class, class participation and engagement, and short weekly reflections on what you've learned. No exams, no papers.

Session A
W 4:10-6:00PM, PVW159
Class #: 84271

DiscSem: What does it mean to be American?
Angela Gonzales & Michelle McGibbney VlahoulisAngela Gonzales, Associate Professor and Associate Director. Michelle McGibbney Vlahoulis, Faculty Lead and Senior LecturerSchool of Social Transformation

As our nation becomes increasingly more diverse (race, ethnicity, sexuality, legal status, etc.), what does it mean to be American? In this seminar, we consider this question and how nativist discourses, immigration policies and the escalation of racial violence affect our sense of identity and belonging as Americans. 

Session A
M 2:00-3:50PM, PVW159
Class #: 84264

DiscSem: Discovering Middle East
Miral MahgoubAssociate ProfessorSchool of International Letters and Cultures

Using an interdisciplinary thematic approach in this seminar, students will explore Middle East cultural differences, misunderstandings, stereotypes, and be able to explain how they contribute to Islamophobia and other misconceptions about Middle East culture. Thematic areas of emphasis will include the Arab Family, Fine Art/Music, Food, Gender identities, Religious life, Political Conflict and War, Islamic tradition and other elements.    

Session B
F 4:10-6:00PM, PSH552
Class #: 87866

DiscSem: Exploring the global learning crisis
Carlos ValienteProfessorT. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics

Join me as we use human development and sociological perspectives to explore the educational journeys of children from low- and middle-income countries. We will discuss challenges and opportunities associated with global efforts to improve children's functioning. There will be a focus on the family, education systems, and government.

Session B
W 2:00-3:50PM, PVW159
Class #: 84268

DiscSem: Risk, as seen through the eyes of Math!
Petar JevticAssistant ProfessorSchool of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

From ancient times to modern days, the idea of risk in its many forms, such as maritime, home, auto, life, medical, cyber risk, etc. has captured imaginations of many mathematicians. The future brings new landscapes of risk such as political, geopolitical, terrorism, supply chain, environmental, ecological, and pandemic risks. Mathematics is merely a language that aids systematic thinking about risk and helps predict its consequences. In this class, in an approachable manner, we will embark on a tour across amazing domains or risk landscape. We will discuss some issues of modeling risk and jointly discover new risk terrains. 

Session B
F 4:10-6:00PM, PVW159
Class #: 84274

Session A: August 20, 2020 – October 9, 2020
Session B: October 12, 2020 – December 4, 2020

Session C: August 20, 2020 – December 4, 2020