Helping others love the smile they were born with


December 11, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

For Arizona State University College of Integrative Sciences and Arts outstanding graduate Jennifer Gutierrez, dreams of a career in dentistry began in childhood. College of Integrative Sciences and Arts graduate Jennifer Gutierrez at ASU Polytechnic campus ASU Polytechnic campus applied biological sciences major Jennifer Gutierrez, an outstanding graduate of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, will be applying to dental schools in June. Her decorated mortar board expresses gratitude for the sacrifices her parents made for her future. Download Full Image

“From an early age I had a gap between my teeth and was self-conscious. I always loved going to the dentist, and I knew that I wanted to help others embrace the smile they were born with,” said Gutierrez, who is from Queen Creek, Arizona.

She chose the applied biological sciences major at ASU Polytechnic campus and a minor in organizational leadership to help her complete the prerequisites for dental school and her future career. She was a member of the Pre-Dental Club, active in International Service Devils (serving a year as president) and also served as a College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Ambassador and worked part time as a student assistant in the dean’s office.

“Jen has been a bright light in our office the past three years and will be greatly missed when she graduates!” said College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Assistant Director of Academic Services Jamie Eggerling. “I have worked with countless bright students with pre-health aspirations over the years. However, it is very rare that I have come across a student as dedicated, hardworking, bright, goal-oriented and compassionate as Jennifer. She has a deep-seated passion to serve the underserved and a vision to make a difference in the community.”

Eggerling noted that Gutierrez, though working multiple jobs and being very active on campus, has been on the Dean’s List every year at ASU and has won several awards for all that she does for others, including a Poly Award, an award for her track volunteer experience and an Outstanding Student Service Award for her time in International Service Devils.

The determination to make the most of her ASU experience, Gutierrez said, was deeply influenced by her parents, who came to the United States as immigrants and always emphasized the importance of education. When she participates in commencement and convocation ceremonies this week at ASU, her mortar board decorations will acknowledge their sacrifice and support: In script atop a tricolor background of green, white and red representing the Mexican flag, Gutierrez proclaims, “They migrated so I graduated.”   

“ASU allowed me to grow a deeper appreciation for my parents and all the sacrifices they made to get me to where I am today,” she reflected. “I am proud to have attended a university that encouraged diversity and never failed to make me feel welcomed. The past 3 1/2 years, I have been able to embrace who I am more than ever. I’ve made countless personal and professional relationships and with the support of faculty and staff I have managed to gain so much more than just knowledge. I will forever be grateful for the experiences ASU has given me.” 

Gutierrez shared some additional reflections with ASU Now about her undergraduate journey and plans for the future.

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

Answer: Participating in International Service Devils allowed me to travel abroad while doing service. It made me come to the realization that health care is a universal language and that by pursing dentistry, I will be able to connect to others despite any language barriers. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?  

A:  My older sister was the first to graduate from our family and she attended ASU, which encouraged me to keep the tradition alive.

Q:  Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?  

A:  Oya Yazgan taught me that no matter how unknowledgeable one may feel in a subject, with hard work one can achieve greatness. She taught me that no one is a master at everything and that as long as I give my best efforts, then my goals will be surpassed. Her positive attitude gave me the boost I needed, and due to her influence, I have been able to stay on the path of becoming a dentist.  

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

A:  Take it a day at a time and search for your purpose by getting involved in the various clubs offered within ASU.

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

A:  My favorite spot was on the third floor of Santan Hall on the Polytechnic campus. Before exams, I would go up there to clear my mind and review, all while looking at the Arizona skies.

Q:  What are your plans after graduation? 

A:  I will apply to dental school in June and while waiting for acceptance I plan to work full time and volunteer at dental clinics.

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

A:  I would donate the money to the Ocean Conservancy foundation. I find it important to care for our oceans and figure out ways to make our resources last for future generations.  

Maureen Roen

Manager, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

602-496-1454

Finding electricity in life as an English major


December 11, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

In 2014, Marshal Meador was working as an electrician but feeling a little unsettled. ASU Polytechnic campus English graduate Marshal Meador outdoors in the Sonoran desert ASU English major Marshal Meador, of Mesa, Arizona, completed his degree at ASU Polytechnic campus and looks forward to teaching and living overseas. Download Full Image

“Each night I would come home and think about where my life was headed,” recalled Meador, who has lived in Mesa, Arizona, since he was young. “After months of contemplating, it hit me that I enjoyed people, and I wanted to teach. Not just that, but I wanted to travel and explore. I realized I needed to go back to college.”

After doing a little research, he decided on majoring in English, and along the way added a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Meador has completed his degree in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, at ASU's Polytechnic campus, after making a smooth transfer to ASU from Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

“My plan after graduation is to go overseas for a while and teach,” said Meador, who has interest in pursuing work in Japan and Hong Kong. “I want to experience new cultures and live my life wherever my journey takes me.”   

Meador recently shared some thoughts on his undergraduate journey with ASU Now.

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

Answer: Something that surprised me was seeing how different college could be for everyone. I couldn't help but notice that the people who became active in the ASU community ended up having a more positive experience. A lot of their fears collapsed and the days they felt troubled often came to a swift end when they were approached by their friends and colleagues. As for others, the ones who shied away or saw college more as just a job or task to be completed, they struggled more. I say all of this to remind people that there is help out there. There are like-minded people, no matter the belief, waiting to meet you. When college gets hard, try to find someone that makes it easier. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I have had several great professors at ASU. I have also had a handful of fantastic professors. One of the most important lessons I have been given by multiple educators at ASU is that you should never consider yourself an expert. The people who think they have learned everything stopped growing years ago. I have been told that we as teachers will always be bad at our profession. There is so much out there in the world and we have barely scraped the surface. So, I would like to thank all my teachers who got that message across to me. 

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

A: Stick in there, and do not give up. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and upset. Those feelings will fade. Take each day at a time and before you know it, you will be walking in your cap and gown.  

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

A: For the vast majority of my schooling at ASU, I was located at the Tempe campus. To me, the best building was the Memorial Union: Whether on the first floor with the crazy foot traffic; in the basement with its dim lights and long tables; or up on the third floor, with the cozy café always ready to serve me. 

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

A: Things have become so complicated in the world. It can be hard to even think where you would begin. I would focus, though, on stopping government corruption. I believe this would stop a plethora of other issues. If society is to reflect good morals, then we need honest people in power.  

Maureen Roen

Manager, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

602-496-1454