ASU student exceeds expectations to make his family proud

March 13, 2018

On most nights, it might be possible to catch a glimpse of Arizona State University student Alexander Bernard somewhere in Hayden library with his head buried in a book, working tirelessly to achieve his goals and make his family proud, just as so many other students strive to do.

Graduating in May with a Bachelor of Science in political science and a certificate in political thought and leadership, Bernard has succeeded in his academic and professional pursuits during his time in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Alexander Bernard will be graduating in May with a Bachelor of Science in political science and a certificate in political thought and leadership. Download Full Image

“I chose to attend ASU because I come from a Sun Devil family,” Bernard said. “It is a growing and thriving university that offers so much opportunity for anyone, regardless of financial background or where someone comes from.”

Bernard grew up in an international household, his mother being from Cambodia and his father from France. His diverse upbringing interested Bernard in international relations, politics and policy at a young age, and he knew learning about world affairs and politics was the right area of study for him.

Going beyond his studies, Bernard has been a heavily involved student, engaging in multiple activities on campus to further his skills. His positions have included being the co-president for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Ambassadors, communication assistant for the Center for Political Thought and Leadership, and a student representative on the advisory board for the Department of Career and Professional Development.

“I am also the former president of the Political Thought and Leadership student club,” Bernard. said “From guest speakers to intellectual debates, I was fascinated with the fact that ASU provides a program where students can learn civic leadership and political debate.”

In addition, Bernard was able to join the Capital Scholars program in the School of Politics and Global Studies, which allowed him to join over a dozen other students in Washington D.C. for two months. Through the program, Bernard interned for the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think-tank.

“I met so many amazing people and made lifelong friends that I am still in contact with today,” Bernard said. “I highly enjoyed my time there, and the experience opened my eyes to a whole new world.”

His work in public policy has inspired Bernard to consider the idea of working in the public sector after graduation to gain more experience before pursuing a master’s degree in public policy or public administration.

Although the world outside of academia can be intimidating, Bernard feels as though he is equipped to take on new challenges.

“The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences prepared me for life after graduation by giving me the opportunity to pursue what I love and enhancing my communication skills to new heights,” Bernard said. “The amount of opportunity the college offers is beyond question and takes an effective holistic approach to interdisciplinary student engagement. I took classes from multiple schools and became a full learner, not just a specific-topic learner.”

Excelling in his classes and extracurricular activities, Bernard said his motivation to thrive comes from his mother. A woman who came to the United States to raise her three children on her own, she faced adversity at every turn, overcame her obstacles, and was able to earn a degree at ASU while raising Bernard and his siblings.

“My mother is my biggest inspiration,” Bernard said. “Her drive and tenacity pushed me every single day throughout my studies. Everything I do, I do for my mom.”

Olivia Knecht

Student writer-reporter, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Building relationships through musical freedom of choice

The ASU School of Music is launching a new weekly open stage concert series, 'Tunes at Noon'

March 13, 2018

The Arizona State University School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is launching a new weekly open stage concert series, “Tunes at Noon,” for the ASU School of Music community. There will be a stage located in the interior courtyard by the water fountain with microphones and amplifications.

The school will launch the new community-building project beginning March 20. music community in courtyard Music community members playing music in courtyard. Download Full Image

“We want this project to be a place where our students can hang out and get additional performance experience,” said Samuel Peña, community engagement coordinator for the ASU School of Music. “A place for the students to have freedom of choice in the musical pieces that they are performing, and a place where they can experiment with the support of their peers.”

Peña said the weekly event is initially designed to foster a sense of community within the School of Music, but is hopeful that the event will grow to be one that includes collaborations across other disciplines at ASU.

Prior to each "Tunes at Noon," performers will sign up and list musical examples or descriptions of what they would like to play. The performers will be able to share musical works of their choice; this includes studio repertoire as well as original music and covers. The series is designed as a platform for all students, faculty and staff to have a place to perform with their peers, whether a solo performance or a collaboration, and for members of the School of Music community to engage in all genres of music.

Peña said the series also provides a great opportunity for faculty members to perform a different style of music or play a different instrument than they usually do. He said the goal of sharing a different side of themselves is to build trust, community and respect among the students and other faculty members. 

“During my time here at the School of Music, I have heard from several students that they are very familiar with their peers in their studio, but only peers in their studio,” Peña said. “They are saying that while they enjoy spending so much time with students and faculty in their specific area of study, they wish they had more opportunities to hear across the different areas of music in the school.”

Peña said he hopes the project will enhance the foundation for a supportive and more connected community, a place for music students to feel free to express themselves, to take risks and to celebrate one another.

“The school’s initial goal for the project is to create a supportive environment that encourages conversations and builds relationships — ones that are centered around and celebrate the diverse musical interests within the music community,” Peña said.

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music