Asia studies student chases her passion in Seoul


April 22, 2020

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2020 graduates.

Katherine Barone, a graduating senior in Asia studies with a concentration in East Asia, always wanted to pursue higher education. The importance of college was always stressed to her from teachers as she grew up, but when she applied for college she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study. Katherine Barone Katherine Barone is a graduating senior in Asia studies with a concentration in East Asia. Photo Courtesy of Katherine Barone. Download Full Image

She had always been interested in other cultures, geography and travelling, and as she got older, she became interested in anime and Chinese and Korean dramas.

“Through pop culture, I learned more about these cultures and their history,” said Barone. “I knew I wanted to take Korean as my foreign language and study Asian history. Once I found out that East Asian studies was a major, it was a no-brainer.”

Barone was able to study abroad in Seoul, South Korea, while completing her degree. At Yonsei University, she learned about Korean history and improved her Korean speaking skills.

“I know it sounds cliche, but if you have the opportunity to study abroad, you should definitely take it,” said Barone. “I also made a few lifelong friends while studying there.”

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.

“Neither of my parents graduated from college as well, so getting the chance to not only attend, but graduate has meant a lot to my family,” said Barone.

ASU Now caught up with her to ask about her time at ASU.

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

Answer: While at ASU I learned how to focus and set deadlines for myself. A lot of the courses I had to take as an East Asia studies major were only offered online. In order to keep from falling behind and still working hard on all my coursework, I’ve learned how to keep myself to a strict schedule in order to get everything completed on time between my in-person and online classes, while also allotting time for myself to relax and have fun with friends.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because I was born and raised in Tempe. As a local, ASU is the goal for a lot of students, I think.

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

A: Professor Sookja Cho from the School of International Letters and Cultures was one of my favorite professors I had while at ASU. Her “Women of Korea” class has been the most interesting class I’ve taken at ASU and the class I’ve learned the most from. I remember in one meeting we had in her office she told me that I had a lot of potential if I worked a little harder. She knew I was invested in the class and absorbing the information, but that same level of dedication wasn’t coming through in my paper. That was when I decided to buckle down and keep a schedule for myself.

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

A: My best piece of advice would be to try taking an online class. Do it in your first year if you can. A lot of people find out that they don’t do well with online learning, because they have trouble with time management or they just learn better in a physical classroom. That preference isn’t a bad thing, but it is better to learn that lesson before you need to take a rigorous eight-week 400-level course. Though after this pandemic, I feel like a lot of people will be pretty well-versed with online learning.

Q: Where was your favorite spot on campus?

A: My favorite place to study on campus was definitely Hayden Library. I didn’t get much opportunity to enjoy the new renovations they completed unfortunately.

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

A: If I received $40 million dollars to solve one problem on our planet I think I would donate to different women’s foundations around the world. The push for gender equality needs to be supported not only here in the U.S., but around the world. Being able to give girls the chance to get an education that they would not have been able to afford otherwise is something I would love to do. But I would also be sure to donate to organizations like the Butterfly Fund in Seoul that financially helps former comfort women. I would want women of all ages and all backgrounds to benefit from this $40 million.

Rachel Bunning

Communications program coordinator, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Online graduate student hopes to help future students by teaching online


April 22, 2020

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2020 graduates.

Lauryl Jensen has always loved teaching. After receiving her undergraduate degree in secondary education from Brigham Young University-Idaho, she taught junior high for a few years before starting her family.  Lauryl Jensen Lauryl Jensen will be graduating with her master’s degree in history. Photo courtesy of Lauryl Jensen. Download Full Image

“It is the most rewarding thing for me to participate in moments that broaden someone else’s understanding and in turn broaden my own,” said Jensen.

Ten years and four children later, Jensen decided to take the next step in achieving her dream of teaching online courses for her alma mater. She wants to work for BYU Pathway and help them in their efforts to make higher education more accessible to people. 

“A master’s degree was an essential step in that process,” said Jensen. “Specifically earning my master’s degree online has given me valuable insight into the experience that my own future students will have.”

She will be graduating with her master’s degree in history from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. The school caught up with her to ask her about her time at Arizona State University.

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

Answer: I toyed with the idea of several different master’s degrees before settling on history. I was looking into education first, but in counseling with several mentors and exploring the options at ASU, history felt right. I started looking into class possibilities and got excited to learn rather than just get a degree.

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

A: While training to be a historian, I had my perspective enhanced in a wide variety of ways. The one that has stuck with me the most has been the conversation that surrounds the idea of bias. We all have our own perspective that we truly can not get outside of. This is not necessarily bad, but it is definitely something that we need to acknowledge and address as we form opinions about the world around us. It also makes a huge difference when we try to see the perspective of others.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: While I was researching online programs, ASU kept coming up as No. 1 for innovation and accessibility. The online program had a fabulous reputation and it has not disappointed.

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

A: Dr. Matthew Casey has been an invaluable mentor for me. Not only did he help to guide me while taking classes at ASU, his example as a professor who truly wants his students to succeed is one that I will take with me into my own teaching career.

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

A: Aside from the common "You can do it!" — which you can — I would also add to make a schedule for schoolwork. Plan it out and commit it to paper. That will help in taking charge of your studies and not feeling flustered cramming things in at the last minute.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am applying for online teaching positions with BYU-Idaho. However, I am open to other opportunities to teach online. I will also continue to support my children and husband in their numerous adventures. I am so grateful for the opportunities we have.

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

A: I believe that the answer to many of the problems that face our world lies in the opportunity for further education. I would use that money to fund creative opportunities for making all forms of higher education available to a broader population. Degrees, certificates, training, education needs to be more accessible to allow success for more people.

Rachel Bunning

Communications program coordinator, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies