Sociology grad aims to make a difference with older generations


November 30, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates.

Laura Rocha knew by the time she was in high school that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of the elderly. She has always loved the wisdom with which older generations speak and the stories they have to tell, making a career as a caregiver/rehabilitative specialist a perfect fit for her.  ASU student Laura Rocha Laura Rocha advises other students that “stress is temporary.” Rocha often found solace and a quiet place to reflect in the Music Library on campus — a place she recommends to others. Download Full Image

Rocha is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in sociology from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, and she will be pursuing this career immediately after graduation. 

Growing up in Chandler with four siblings (two of whom also attended ASU), Rocha is grateful for her supportive family and comfortable upbringing. The most surprising things she learned in her classes involved the incredibly important roles that people in service careers play for those suffering from violence, family separations and substance abuse. This has led her to become drawn to a career in which she can help others in need. 

Rocha is a risk-taker who loves to learn about new things and explore new environments. She studied abroad in China for a semester and learned a lot about the history and language of Chinese culture. This experience helped her tremendously in her personal growth and reinforced her desire to work with diverse populations. She also often participated in volunteering events through the Sanford Student Leaders Club, getting involved in helping others within the community. 

Her advice for other students is to “always make school a priority, do assignments on time and put in your best effort.” Most importantly, she would like other students to know that “stress is temporary.” Rocha often found solace and a quiet place to reflect in the Music Library on campus — a place she recommends to others.

Written by Stacie Foster

ASU coursework leads new grad to passion for marriage and family therapy


November 30, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates.

Kat Nicolopoulos originally chose to come to Arizona State University because she comes from a big Sun Devil family, with several siblings and other family members who are ASU graduates. The Scottsdale resident was also drawn to the research opportunities and the variety of student resources on campus.  ASU student Kat Nicolopolous Kat Nicolopoulos, who comes from a Sun Devil family, is graduating with a 3.9 GPA. Download Full Image

She is now graduating with a double major in family and human development from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics and psychology through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

She has known for a long time that she wants to work in the counseling field after learning about relationships and therapeutic techniques in her classes, but she wasn’t sure which specialization she wanted to pursue until her later years at ASU when she developed a growing passion for marriage and family therapy (MFT). After graduation, Nicolopoulos is applying to the Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy program through the Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics to become a trained MFT therapist. She hopes to be part of the fall 2019 cohort. 

Nicolopoulos is the perfect example of a student who understood the importance of taking advantage of opportunities in order to make the most of her time at ASU. She became very involved in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as both a community assistant and an LIA facilitator. When speaking of these experiences, Nicolopoulos said, “I’ve developed stronger critical thinking skills, enhanced my encouraging spirit and successfully gained confidence and trust from others in these roles. Overall, this has been as much of a learning experience as it’s been a humbling process in my personal and professional growth. These new and more developed skills have all contributed in encouraging me to pursue my passion of empathy for others and a future career in counseling and therapy.”

In addition to her on-campus work, Nicolopoulos also excels as a student and is graduating with a 3.9 GPA.

So, what advice does she have for students?

"Take a chance on the opportunities offered. There are so many resources that are available to you at ASU, and oftentimes they go unutilized, whether it be professors, office hours or other on-campus resources. Be confident in yourself because you are enough, and only grow with each experience.”  

Written by Stacie Foster