Determination is the key

ASU grad Carl Fields wins Ford Foundation and NSF fellowships


May 2, 2016

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2016 commencement. See the rest here.

Carl Fields, who will graduate this spring with dual bachelor’s degrees in physics and astrophysics, has recently been awarded both a Ford Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research fellowship. Carl Fields Carl Fields, of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, has been awarded Ford Foundation and National Science Foundation fellowships. Download Full Image

“I’ve been interested in the stars as far back as I can remember,” said Fields, who plans to pursue a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics at Michigan State University, where he will work on simulations on massive star supernovae and nuclear astrophysics. 

Field's advice to those still in school?

“Stay focused, work hard and you will be successful. Some of the most constructive times in my undergraduate career came from failures or moments where I didn't achieve my goals,” he said. 

As an undergrad, Fields won the top prize for best poster by an undergraduate, was named a Carl A. Rouse Fellow by the National Society of Black Physicists, and is an Origins Project Norm Perrill Scholarship recipient. He was also a research assistant with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, Center for Evolution of the Elements.

Fields answered some questions about his experience at ASU.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: In high school when I took my first physics class. I had always been interested in astronomy and the stars. But it wasn't until I took my first physics course that I realized that I could pursue physics as a career. I am very thankful for the experience with my high school physics class and how this shaped my decision to pursue physics. By the way, my high school physics teacher is an ASU alum.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: The faculty are here for you. It may be easy to blend into a huge lecture class of almost 500 students, but this does not change the fact that professors have your best interest in mind. I am fortunate to have come across very supportive faculty members that helped me excel during my time at ASU.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I am originally from Arizona so ASU was the natural choice for me. It allowed me to stay close to my family and have access to a huge variety of research interests.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Stay focused and work hard and you will be successful. Some of the most constructive times in my undergraduate career came from failures or moments where I didn't achieve my goals. This included rejections from summer NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates, research proposals, etc. However, I saw those as opportunities to step back and find out what I could do to better myself and my skills. Eventually, I was able to succeed in these respects but only because I persevered.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I spent a lot of time in the Physics Success Center in the first floor of PSF (Physical Science Center F-Wing on the Tempe campus). When I first started my degree program it was very challenging to find help in the courses and I struggled. Having the Physics Success Center helped me tremendously and allowed me to get the help when I needed it.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Equal access to education. I would make it possible to have access to quality education throughout the world while also looking to solve problems within our own education system that create disparities in the quality of education received. 

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration

480-965-9345

Choosing to dream big

Graduate Anique Brito found room for Hollywood dreams while studying at ASU


May 2, 2016

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2016 commencement. See the rest here.

Growing up in Buckeye, Arizona, Anique Brito dreamed of the glamour and glitz of Hollywood. Anique Brito (left) poses with fellow student Trejon Dunkley (right) and a participant at the 2016 Sedona Film Festival. Anique Brito (left) helped run a social media campaign for organizers of the Sedona International Film Festival as part of an internship this spring. Here, Brito is pictured with a festival photographer (center) and with fellow intern Trejon Dunkley, also a student in the ASU film and media studies program. Photo by Elliott Milner Download Full Image

Life took her to Tempe, but she didn’t have to give up those dreams. While an Arizona State University student, she double-majored in film and media studies and psychology, rubbed elbows with artists and movie stars as an intern at Sundance, and helped run a successful social-media campaign for an international film festival in Sedona. She graduates this spring with a 4.03 GPA.

Brito completed her two film-related internships under the direction of Kevin Sandler, an associate professor of film at ASU with professional connections in Hollywood. Sandler says that Brito always had the drive to tackle both academic and real-world challenges.

“Anique put a tremendous amount of energy into her work at the film festivals. She has a combination of talent and motivation that will help her succeed in whatever she ultimately chooses to pursue,” he said.

Brito answered a few more questions about her time at ASU and her future plans.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I have many passions (my past majors include astrophysics and French — seriously). When I was a year or so into my French degree, I changed my major to psychology. I had always been interested in psychology, particularly after I lost someone very special to me to a mental illness and experience mental illness myself. Then, after I changed my major, I went through a major life shift where I realized that my biggest passion is and always has been movies. I’ve come to realize that the two majors complement each other much more than I had ever expected!

Anique BritoQ: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: I learned to enjoy life more. This was something that came outside of the classroom. I’m still learning to enjoy life more every day, but this was a gift that ASU gave me.

My Sundance trip was an absolute blast, and it definitely put so many things into perspective for me. Here I was, amongst people who were passionate about the same things as me and were succeeding. It served as an inspiration and an invaluable learning experience, and it fueled my desire to work in movies after I graduate.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because it was the exact kind of environment and atmosphere that I wanted. I love the huge campus, and it was in the perfect location. I’m happy with the decision I made!

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Work is definitely important, but find time to have fun as well. Don’t waste a single day. Make it memorable.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: The Memorial Union, the gym, the Language and Literature building, and the Secret Garden!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan on working and saving up money to move to Los Angeles. I’m still trying to figure many things out, but I would like to start working as a production assistant or anything that will help me get a start.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would do my best with climate change. No other problems matter if there is no planet.

The Film and Media Studies program in the Department of English and the Department of Psychology are both academic units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

senior marking & communications specialist, Department of English

480-965-7611