Our Team

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Luke Tate

Managing Director, Office of Applied Innovation


Luke Tate serves as Managing Director of the Office of Applied Innovation in Arizona State University’s Office of the President.  His team leverages emerging scientific, technological, design, and policy innovations to expand access to educational and economic opportunity.  He is also Professor of Practice in ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society and a non-resident fellow at the Urban Institute. 

Prior to joining ASU, Luke most recently served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility on President Obama’s White House Domestic Policy Council, where he ran a team working on economic mobility, urban policy, poverty, technology and access to opportunity, open data, housing, homelessness, and long-term disaster recovery. He previously served at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as senior advisor for urban policy, and as special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Luke was a member of the Presidential Transition team. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, he did community development and educational work in Nicaragua, and worked on community policy in the Office of the Governor of Arizona. He grew up in central Phoenix, Arizona and is a graduate of Harvard University.


Andrew Nelson

Andrew Nelson

Sr. Director, Shared Prosperity


Andrew is the Senior Director for Shared Prosperity in the Office of Applied Innovation at Arizona State University. In this role, he initiates, manages, and advances projects to support the economic health and vitality of the communities ASU serves. Among his projects is the Alliance for the American Dream, an initiative of Schmidt Futures aimed at sourcing solutions to increase by 10% the net income of 10,000 local middle-class households.

Andrew previously served as a Program Manager and University Innovation Fellow, where he managed a diverse project portfolio primarily supporting the conceptualization, growth, and management of collaborative networks to facilitate university impact at scale.

Before joining ASU, Andrew consulted with more than 100 public schools in the American Southwest, supporting the implementation of evidence-based approaches to improve schools’ performance on academic, operational, and financial frameworks. As a 2010 Teach For America corps member, Andrew taught middle school science, leading his students to the largest year-over-year improvement on the state test of any grade or subject in Arizona. Andrew earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University; his research focuses on improving educators’ capacity for the efficacious use of data to inform their decision-making.


Michelle Govani Sullivan ASU

Michelle Sullivan Govani

Sr. Director, Strategy and Partnerships


As Sr. Director of Strategy and Partnerships in ASU's Office of Applied Innovation, Michelle works across Arizona State University and with our communities to advance projects and partnerships that expand educational and economic opportunity. She also supports the Office's team of Student Innovation Analysts in research, analysis, and pursuit of independent projects. Michelle maintains an active scholarly portfolio at the intersection of science, politics, and policy, and she teaches graduate courses in ASU's School for the Future of Innovation in Society. 

Prior to this role, Michelle was a 2019-2020 University Innovation Fellow, serving as a researcher, analyst, project manager, and relationship builder. Michelle holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Biology (with a concentration in Biology and Society) from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Iowa. 



Madison Sutton

Program Coordinator, Student Design Studio


Madison is the Program Coordinator in the Office of Applied Innovation at Arizona State University. In this role, she advises students on mentored projects, provides general team support to refine and refresh communication and collaboration, and develops and documents office processes to ensure the continued success of the Office, its staff, and its projects.

Madison's passion for building stronger, healthier communities has guided all of her various past and present roles. She has previously served as a Graduate Research Assistant in the ASU Center for Correctional Solutions where she collaborated on a number of different projects supporting the Center's mission of improving the lives of those who live and work in our correctional facilities. Additionally, she worked as a Junior Project Manager at EdPlus on the Earned Admissions program dedicated to reducing barriers to higher education.

In 2018, Madison co-founded Home Base Initiative with the goal of combatting teen suicide rates. Her team of undergraduate consultants partners with local high schools to develop, implement, and scale tailored social and emotional well-being solutions based on the latest mental health research. Madison continues to guide this team as they refine their approach and expand their partnerships with schools across the state.

Innovation Fellows

Marielle Abalo

Social Innovation Fellow


Marielle Abalo is an interdisciplinary scientist who prioritizes innovation for efficient, practical and adaptive approaches to solution-design.  She graduated from Davidson College with an official degree of B.S. in Biology, and an unofficial degree in human-environment relations stemming from an assemblage of Anthropology, Spanish, and Sociology coursework, research experiences, and internships in the US and abroad. As an undergraduate, she served as a Bonner scholar, through a program dedicated to community service and social justice. Collaborating with different non-profits and grassroots initiatives strongly influenced her choice to balance policy awareness with her scientific research. 

While in graduate school for a Biology PhD at Arizona State, she found footing as a human navigating the relationships between human experiences and animal behavior.  Through the guidance of mentors, fellowships, and grants, Marielle has worked on the topic of integrative conservation focusing on coastal environments, apex marine mammals, and prioritizing protected and underacknowledged human communities.  

As a Southern-raised woman of West African roots currently residing in the Sonoran Desert, she is passionate about local, national, multi-stakeholder policy, and using her experiences to contribute towards Arizona’s best future. She strongly values the arts and creative expression as an affirmation of culture, holistic solution-design, and well-rounded policy work.


Breanna Carpenter

Social Innovation Fellow


Breanna Carpenter joins the Office of Applied Innovation having spent her career conducting research around former foster youth and their transition to a higher education institution. Prior to coming to the Office of Applied Innovation, Breanna was an Events Coordinator for the Watts College at ASU for the past 5 years. Additionally, Breanna spent the last year and a half working with ASU and the Department of Health on ASU’s response to the pandemic to make public saliva testing and vaccinations accessible and available to the general public. 

Breanna holds a Masters of Social Work and a Masters of Public Administration from ASU. Having personal experience in the foster care system, Breanna holds a strong passion for Child Welfare practice and keeping families safe and healthy. As a social worker and someone who believes in capacity for change, Breanna is excited to join the team and to advance change at ASU and in the community.


Maddie Mercer

Social Innovation Fellow


Maddie Mercer is a community-driven researcher with a passion for crafting collaborative solutions to complex social problems. Prior to joining the Office of Applied Innovation as a Social Innovation Fellow, Maddie worked to benefit the Greater Phoenix community through projects related to food access, farmland conservation, and sustainable entrepreneurship. In her previous role in ASU’s Sustainable Food Economies Lab, she utilized her skills in systems analysis and stakeholder engagement to craft recommendations for private, public, and non-profit organizations seeking to improve their sustainability performance and community impact. In her previous research positions in the Rob and Melani Walton Solutions Service and the Sustainability and Happiness Lab at Arizona State University, Maddie honed her project management skills and developed programs for school gardens and nutrition education, community-supported agriculture initiatives, and cooperative business development.

Maddie recently graduated from the College of Global Futures at Arizona State University with a master’s in Sustainability Solutions. She also completed her bachelor’s degrees in Sustainability and Psychology at ASU, where she was a member of Barrett, the Honors College. As an advocate of educational and economic empowerment, Maddie is excited to collaborate with her new team to help build healthier, happier, and more equitable communities.


Student Team

You can learn more about our student team and Student Design Studio by visiting our Student Innovation Analyst and Graduate Immersion Program webpages.