Meet excellent graduates from across the university's schools and colleges
On Monday, May 11, the Arizona State University community will join together online to celebrate this semester's graduates in a virtual ceremony, due to the continued spread of COVID-19 and the public health recommendations that come with it. While the ceremony may be nontraditional, the caliber of the students earning degrees is anything but. ASU Now has collected stories of some of the most impressive students who soon will be joining the ranks of Sun Devil alumni.
Brielle Januszewski says that she never understood what an engineer was or what an engineer could do, so she never considered engineering as a possibility for her. “Now that I am in an engineering program, I know that it is the perfect major for me and I do not want to do anything else.”
ASU graduate student Stephanie Sadownik, DMA in voice performance, started suffering from undiagnosed vocal health issues soon after she auditioned for the voice program at the School of Music in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. So, she created new opportunities and carved out new artistic pathways for herself – all while refusing to give up on her dream of performing.
Primrose Dzenga knows that combatting food insecurity and poverty is key to building resilient communities, and she spent much of her time as an undergraduate at ASU working on a project aimed at this endeavor. She founded and has directed for the last four years the Machikichori Citrus Reforestation Project in her birthplace of rural Wedza, Zimbabwe. The project is a 12,000-tree community orange orchard run by women.
An award-winning and published student, Department of Physics graduate Tanner Wolfram is part of the third generation in his family to graduate from ASU.
Fernando Guillen, a first-generation law student from Las Cruces, New Mexico, graduated this week with a Juris Doctorate and a certificate in trial advocacy from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He recently was recognized with a Dean’s Award for academic performance and outstanding character.
Kate Howe’s path to becoming an ASU alumna has been somewhat unconventional, but that’s what makes the destination even more rewarding for this Colorado-based visual artist.
Pratik Nyaupane graduated ASU this week with a bachelor's degree in informatics and a minor in political science with honors from Barrett, the Honors College. He wants to use his technical knowledge is ways that will promote social justice.
Enahoro Iboi was recently honored as a recipient of the 2020 Graduate Research Award from the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. He is graduating this week with his PhD in Applied Mathematics from ASU.
Coaches often demand their teams to “finish the game strong,” and that is exactly what a former high school star athlete and military veteran from North Carolina did this semester as he achieved a lifelong goal — finishing graduate school.
Rohini Nott, a newly minted ASU graduate, aspires to be a physician and she already has ample hands-on health care experience. Throughout her undergraduate career, she volunteered with the Student Health Outreach for Wellness (SHOW) Community Initiative, which provides free health care services to vulnerable populations in Maricopa County.
The grandson of an ASU alumnus and a Sun Devil from birth, Justin Sanchez is fulfilling his destiny this May as he graduates with his Bachelor of Science in emergency management and homeland security from the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
ASU Online student Christie Moore proves that every turn in life can still lead us to our goals. Her perseverance and determination to overcome any challenges motivated her to push the limits of her own accomplishments to create a better future for herself and her family.
Spring 2020 ASU graduate Alexander Sojourney discovered his passion for politics at ASU, and he hopes to continue that passion in the nation’s capital.
During her time with ASU Law, Cristy Salanga worked full-time as the patent manager for Northern Arizona University, where she worked alongside faculty to draft patent applications and to license the university’s intellectual property portfolio.
When Charles Gentry started working for adidas on the Reebok Finance team three years ago and learned about the educational partnership between adidas and ASU, he decided to take a leap of faith.
Originally from Huntington Beach, California, Allan Bach, graduated this week with a JD degree with a concentration in sports law and business from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Recently, he was voted by his classmates to be the JD Class of 2020 speaker at the annual awards dinner.
Rachel Fletcher, a soon-to-be dual graduate studying political science and anthropology in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, believes that, if you have privilege, you have an obligation to use it to help others.
Physics graduate Holly Johnson is an award-winning student and researcher who has received the NASA Space Grant for multiple years, presented at numerous conferences and co-authored three published papers.
Like many first-year college students, Justin Heywood wasn’t sure what he wanted to major in. After scrolling through the hundreds of majors offered on ASU’s website, he chose the first one that really drew him in: political science.
Graduating from ASU through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, Heather Oldenborg did something most students don’t during their senior year: She added a second major.
Morgan Goodin was chosen by ASU Law faculty to receive the highest honor, the John S. Armstrong Award, based on academic performance and contributions to the college.
The popular television show "Grey’s Anatomy" piqued Kaitlin Masterson’s interest in a career in medicine. She will graduate ASU this month with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with a minor in mathematics and honors from Barrett, The Honors College.
Marvin Leal started the Master of Arts in Global Security as a way to make advancements his lifelong career in the military, as well as in his education.
Allison Bretzman is graduating in the spring of 2020 with a BS in communication. She is currently at her "dream internship" working with the Local and Global Outreach Department of Scottsdale Bible Church.
Cormac Doebbeling always knew he was going to study political science. He was drawn to ASU because of Barrett, The Honors College.
Nneoma Njoku’s interest in human nature was born when she was young after watching the movie “A Beautiful Mind.” Njoku graduates with her degree in psychology this May from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Chantal VanKlompenberg has lived a life supporting and caring for Sun Devils. Her five siblings are Sun Devil alumni, as are her four children. And now, decades after graduating from McClintock High School, VanKlompenberg is joining the Sun Devil club herself.
Starbucks College Achievement Plan graduate Jason Irlanda, who previously served as a foster parent, decided to major in family and human development with a minor in sociology in order to achieve his ultimate goal of working with the opportunity youth population.
Asha Ramakumar is receiving a bachelor’s degree in global politics with a minor in women and gender studies and a certificate in health care policy and delivery, with honors from Barrett, The Honors College at ASU.
Annie Villalobos Vincent has been waiting 20 years to achieve her dream and receive her college degree.
Anna Salas believes her life experiences led her to public service. Her passion led to her becoming the spring 2020 Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions overall outstanding undergraduate student.
The road to a PhD was not a paved one for Robert Lively. That's appropriate, as Lively is a scholar of medieval studies. Indeed, this ASU student’s academic journey was rather an arduous quest, complete with adventures, ordeals, tests, allies and rewards.
Rose Lopez is the recipient of the 2020 Charles Wexler Mathematics Prize, the highest honor a mathematics undergraduate can receive, and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, a certificate in cryptology, and minors in physics and music performance (piano).
Kristen Eckman is completing four degrees in five years and plans to work as a propulsion test engineer in support of spacecraft development.
Micah McCreary transferred to ASU after his freshman year looking for a personal and academic reset. McCreary found the reset as well as the motivating environment he sought, and this spring will graduate with not one, but three degrees.
Graduate student Lawrence Fung came to ASU from Hong Kong, China, to study at the W. P. Carey School of Business and then stayed to pursue his passion for dance at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
Melanie Roemer completed the BA in organizational leadership with a concentration in project management online while working full time at PayPal in Chandler, Arizona.
It’s important to Beth Freelander that the future of planning is inclusive, and she plans to use her voice and education to ensure that it happens.
Graduating veteran Marisa Von Holten begins her emergency management career with an agency managing the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to her many accomplishments, Lily Whitler also founded the Society for Women in the Physical Sciences, a student- and faculty-led organization that aims to increase diversity and inclusion within higher education in the sciences.
Karina Dominguez was able to find all her passions in the sustainability major and urban planning minor of the School of Sustainability.
Tempe Undergraduate Student Government President Hanna Salem’s biggest takeaway from ASU was not only learning to live her own life but learning to celebrate diversity as well.
Arizona native Emily Fann, who graduated this week with a JD degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, wants to help advance the role of women in the legal profession.
Jacob West made the most of his time at ASU, earning a field geology certificate, working at the School of Earth and Space Exploration's Mars Space Flight Facility as a spectrometer lab technician, and participating in a study abroad program in Sicily, where he studied how geologic environments interact with people and could create hazards.
Spring 2020 ASU grad Hari Meyyappan is an international student from India who is passionate about learning, for himself and for the machines he works on.
After a formative experience seeing the horrors of human trafficking firsthand on a service trip to Cambodia, Barrett, The Honors College student and W. P. Carey School of Business Turken Family Outstanding Undergraduate Student Nathan Consalvo had his “aha” moment.
Sunayna Goel’s decision to pursue a master’s degree in program evaluation and data analytics gained new relevance for her after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is the the spring 2020 outstanding graduate in interdisciplinary programs for Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
After completing her Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and psychology and having taught private violin and piano lessons since high school, ASU School of Music graduate student Danielle Pivonka knew that she loved teaching. Pivonka also knew she had a strong interest in the way a person’s brain understands, perceives, learns and creates music.
For ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson, this May will be his fifth time in cap and gown. And he hadn't even been expected to do so once: In high school, he was counseled to pick a trade when he graduated.
Cece Ngyuen found her groove when she made the decision to become proactive about her passion in finding the middle ground between software development and the creative arts at ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
For their honors thesis project, ASU senior Molly Bishop chose to give voice to students with mental illness using ethnographic research methods and performance at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.
Robert Nguyen, who majored in applied biological sciences at ASU Polytechnic campus, is the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Outstanding Graduate among bachelor's degree graduates in spring 2020. He looks forward to a career in medicine.
Rikki Nunley, a first-generation college student, is proud of herself for accomplishing what she once thought was unattainable — earning her bachelor’s degree.
Cassandra Peña’s search for a career didn’t end with her finding social work. “Social work found me,” she said. She had started college seeking to work in medicine, taking a few classes along those lines. But the School of Social Work’s spring 2020 outstanding graduate student said she learned it just was not for her.
Denise Napolitano was introduced to the concept of ikigai, “a reason for being.” She knew W. P. Carey would be a great next step for finding her ikigai.
Claire Mulholand discovered how she can work with people in her community with her psychology degree.
Early in her college experience, Kaylee Antill was advised that it would be difficult to undertake a time-consuming major like landscape architecture, especially as a student in Barrett, The Honors College, and also achieve success in intercollegiate athletics. Instead of backing down, Antill doubled down, demonstrating excellence both in her academic work and on the Sun Devil track and field team.
Heather Rae Monk graduates in May with the distinction of being the first person at ASU and in the United States to have earned a Master of Arts in narrative studies. She is also being recognized at ASU virtual commencement ceremonies as ASU’s outstanding graduate among master’s degree and doctoral students in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.
Jasmin Figueroa has always been a storyteller. She first dreamed of becoming an attorney and applied to ASU in political science. But she soon realized that the kinds of stories she wanted to tell did not necessarily involve plaintiffs and defendants. Now she's graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in in film and media studies, and couldn’t be happier about her choice.
Graduating ASU student Ashai Thomas seems to embody the advice to, “bloom where you’re planted.” After graduation, Thomas will join the selective ranks of Peace Corps volunteers with an assignment in Panama.
Tatum James, who is graduating this May with degrees in global studies and Spanish from ASU, always knew she wanted higher education.
Joel Farias was inspired to pursue a degree by those who look up to him. While volunteering at an after-school program, he had the opportunity to work with middle school students, many of whom came from a similar Mexican-American background. Now, he's graduating from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Spring 2020 ASU graduate Mason Ford’s central goal is to change the world in some way. And during his time as a Sun Devil, his path as a talented high-jump competitor led him to effecting change on campus and beyond.
Rachel Dora-Ann Fisher, a first-generation college student, is the spring 2020 outstanding graduate of the School of Community Resources and Development and is earning her degree in recreational therapy this month.
The summer before her third year of college, Hannah Rose felt out of place. She decided to apply to ASU, majoring in a new program: civic and economic thought and leadership. She would describe that application as the "best impulse decision of my life."
Anna Ciza Deogratias, who came to ASU from the Phoenix Union High School District, found her passion for communication close to home, at ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus.
According to Chadlin Ostrander, who is graduating this spring with a PhD in geological sciences from the School of Earth and Space Exploration, mastering his field has been a process motivated not by a natural aptitude for science, but rather a drive to continue learning.
Savannah Troha’s work on the Gombe Chimpanzee Research Project led her to a degree from ASU's School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
From British literature to African American gospel music, Bridget Buckley’s academic career has taken some unexpected but welcome turns. This May, the wife and mother of two will graduate with a master’s degree in English from ASU Online — and a newfound passion.
It’s clear that graduating ASU doctoral student Anthony Celaya loves his profession as well as his alma mater (he's a second-generation Sun Devil). He cares deeply about his students — past, present and future — and sees great potential in them as agents of positive change.
When Daniel Pasco stepped onto an airliner for his school's eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C., he was thrilled. Now graduating from ASU with a degree in professional flight, he still gets the same feeling every time he steps onto a plane.
Genevieve McKenzie remembers the spring of her freshman year, when she questioned whether she made the right decision to major in criminology and criminal justice. But even more vivid in her memory is the day those doubts disappeared. It was the day she sat face-to-face in an Arizona prison with an incarcerated man dressed in an orange jumpsuit.
School of Social Transformation graduate Nick Matula has been recently named lead of the Corporate Responsibility Team at the Verizon Foundation. Matula has graduated in the Social and Cultural Pedagogy Master's Degree at the School of Social Transformation.
Studying culture and human development sparked Alyssa Lindsey’s passion to make a difference in the public health system.
When applying for college, Shane Bechtel said he chose ASU specifically for the School of Earth and Space Exploration because of the faculty and resources available to students.
Miguel Bahena is a first-generation student at ASU. He is currently one of the prestigious Obama Scholars and is proud to be graduating as a biochemistry major from the School of Molecular Sciences, this 2020 spring semester.
After spending several years with ASU's School of Arts, Media and Engineering, Jennifer Weiler is graduating with a PhD in media arts and sciences.
Genesis Navarro is a junior and first-generation student in the School of Molecular Sciences who will be graduating a year early this spring 2020 semester as a biochemistry major.
Aleisha Johnson is curious. She’s especially curious about the Great Oxidation Event, when Earth first developed an oxygenated atmosphere. It is one of the primary reasons she came to ASU to do her research.
Senior Jessica Maschino, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in exploration systems design from the School of Earth and Space Exploration, will be putting her knowledge to use this summer when she heads to California for an internship working on the Mars Rover.
About five years ago Karalee Brugman, Meghan Guild and Hannah Shamloo chose the School of Earth and Space Exploration for graduate school. This May, all three will be graduating with their PhDs in geological sciences.
ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration and Center for Meteorite Studies graduate student Emilie Dunham will be receiving her PhD in geological sciences this May.
ASU student Justin Wright has lived a lot. Hence, Wright has a lot of life lessons to impart. Also a rock guitarist and former minor league hockey player, he is earning a Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages degree this May.
Jessica Antonio’s journey to graduation from ASU is “one for the books,” as she says. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life, Antonio had a remarkable story, taking 15 years and overcoming a spinal cord injury to get to graduation.
After trying to escape the desert by moving to Scotland, Celina Osuna surrendered to its draw and wound up studying it. She is earning a PhD in English (literature) and a certificate in critical theory here at ASU this May.
Pianist Gavin Laur, who is earning his Bachelor of Music in keyboard performance with a concentration in piano, has performed across the world. He credits his experiences at ASU for helping him cultivate an appreciation of the depth and nuance of a craft like piano.
When she arrived at ASU, Chaidez Ramos struggled to find a major. In high school she was passionate about environmentalism and entrepenuriship, but couldn’t zero in on a career path in college — until she discovered the technological entrepreneurship and management degree program in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
Julia Lopez has kept a close connection to her heritage, which has inspired in her design work. Lopez, who is earning a BSD in interior design, has been named the Outstanding Undergraduate by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
When Thomas Prior was an eighth-grader, his class took a career exploration quiz that had a lasting impact on his life. “Although it may sound crazy, basing your career path on a 20-minute online assessment, that is essentially what I did. While other classmates received results like teacher, artist and police officer, my top result was city manager,” said Prior, the spring 2020 outstanding graduate in the School of Public Affairs.
After graduating with her degree in broadcast journalism in spring 2020, ASU student Karina Espinoza wants to cover subjects relevant to Spanish-speaking communities in Arizona.
Delaney Bucker started her journey at ASU as an athlete — swimming, biking and running her way to two NCAA National Championships on the women’s triathlon team. After accomplishing this impressive feat, she was ready to reach new heights on her academic path.
Molly Corr will continue studying archaeology after earning her BA from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
Emily Eavenson knew she wanted to work in health care but didn’t know where to start. A passion for helping others brought her to ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
Oumou Bah was able to combine her passion for health care with her love of law at ASU. She is the first BS in Health Care Compliance and Regulations graduate to complete a Barrett, The Honors College thesis.
Odds often define people. But ASU senior Tristan Bartels has managed to defy the odds of his trajectory. On May 11, he will receive a bachelor’s degree in political science in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. He is now headed to law school.
Angélica César spent the last three years at ASU seizing opportunities and advocating for the Latino community and undocumented immigrants. César will graduate from the School of Transborder Studies and the School of Politics and Global Studies this May.
Graduating ASU linguist Chenay Gladstone lauds her professors, friends and ASU at-large for their support. And for teaching her that it’s OK to be imperfect.
College life has been busy for Francesca Lascala, but she isn’t one to shy away from hard work or a challenge.
Rebecca Monteleone has always looked out for others by making sure they felt included. That led her to pursue disability studies. So she came to the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at ASU for her PhD in Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology.
Tammy Nguyen's passion for making a difference was sparked by a sustainability guest speaker at her high school. This May, Nguyen graduates from Barrett, The Honors College with a bachelor's degree in sustainability and big plans for the future.
John Butler, a first-generation college student, husband, and father, is graduating with a BS in biological science (biomedical sciences). his goal is to become a physician's assistant.
Adam Thompson has a long list of interests that, when first starting out at ASU, made it somewhat difficult for him to choose a major. It was this diverse set of interests that led him to pursue dual majors from the university.
In her time at ASU, when opportunities presented themselves –– Victoria Barbosa took them. “Ever since my freshman year, I tried to get involved in different programs that The College offered,” said Barbosa, a double-major studying psychology and family and human development in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Lauryl Jensen wants to work for BYU Pathway and help them in their efforts to make higher education more accessible to people.
Katherine Barone, a graduating senior in Asia studies with a concentration in East Asia, always wanted to pursue higher education. Now she is graduating, the first in her family to do so, from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies with a degree connected to her passions.
ASU graduate Marcella Baietto is a bilingual multimedia journalist with a singular purpose: Report stories that matter.
Nathan Callahan is graduating this semester with his bachelor's degree in history and a certificate in political history and leadership.
Native Arizonan and graduate of Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, Madeleine Howell is the spring 2020 School of Molecular Sciences Dean’s Medalist, and also the University Outstanding Undergraduate student for the Natural Sciences Division in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Juan Laguna is one of the first graduating members of ASU’s College Assistance Migrant Program, which provides academic and financial support to students like Laguna who are from migrant and seasonal farm worker families.
Senior Derek Duba, who will be graduating with a BA in political science this May, aims to find meaning in all of his efforts no matter how challenging or mundane.
Maricela Diaz is a sociology major graduating with honors. She traveled extensively during her time in college and learned, among many things, that she wishes to help others in need. She plans to work with children in foster care and facilitate the adoption process.
Bronwyn Younger-Howard will be graduating with her bachelor’s in Asia studies with a concentration in Southeast Asia and a certificate in Islamic studies.
Paul Turack is graduating with a degree in biochemistry from the School of Molecular Sciences. This year he was awarded the Distinguished Biochemistry Merit Award, which is presented to a graduating senior in recognition of an outstanding academic record in a biochemistry degree.
Madeline Stull will be graduating this spring with her bachelor’s and master’s in history and minors in Arabic studies and civic and economic thought and leadership.
Kenedy Schneeberger is a family and human development major graduating with honors. She has been accepted into ASU's Master of Social Work program and will begin that program in the fall.
Amy Berry is an avid learner. Entering ASU as a freshman with 50-plus college credits, Berry utilized her academic flexibility to explore different courses and majors until she found the right fit for her: geography.
Fernando Lopez is a sociology major graduating with honors. He talked about cherishing life one day at a time and setting his sights on a future serving people with disabilities.
In May, Mackenzie Saunders, an Ahwatukee native, will graduate summa cum laude with Bachelor of Science degrees in justice studies and politics and the economy and a certificate in socio-legal studies.
As Hannah Trostle prepares for graduation this May, she looks forward to helping communities similar to those in which she grew up.
Like many of his fellow Sun Devils, Connor Tummond’s journey to graduation wasn’t a direct path, but a road with twists and turns that adjusted to fit his needs.
The road to receiving a degree is different for everyone, and for the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Dean’s Medalist, Morgan Leland, it’s been a winding one.