Back-to-school spotlight: Incoming ASU students

August 19, 2015

As part of our back-to-school coverage, ASU News is shining a spotlight on notable incoming students. The series will run during the first two weeks of the fall semester. Check back for more profiles.

Joey HudyJoey Hudy: So much more than a marshmallow gun Download Full Image

Joey Hudy already has a resume filled with internships at tech companies, impressive inventions and multiple trips to the White House, but he decided to attend ASU because he believed it could help him achieve even more.

Savannah CunninghamSports star aims for new heights as ROTC student at ASU

Savannah Cunningham — who has long had a passion for sports — will soon be known as Midshipman Cunningham when she begins her freshmen year in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps this fall at ASU.

Cindy WongNon-traditional student's life a lesson to others

After overcoming a lot of obstacles as a youth, Cindy Wong decided to chase her dreams of getting educated, and helping to educate others. She’s pursuing a degree from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, with the full support of her daughters and husband.

Jobana WestbayFreshman crosses ocean for ASU entrepreneurship program

Hailing from Japan, Jobana Westbay loves math and sciences, so when she found ASU's Technological Entrepreneurship and Management Program she knew she had found a school that was worth crossing the Pacific to attend.

Eric LaughlinCalifornia transfer student over the moon about space school at ASU

Eric Laughlin was looking for a place to pursue his passion for astronomy and physics, then a friend turned him onto ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration and he found his future.

Mia ArmstrongFreshman cycles from Flagstaff to ASU to start college career

When Mia Armstrong's father proposed the idea to biking from Flagstaff to the Phoenix metro area, she admits she was initially wary. But the spirited ASU freshman decided to go for it, and the sometimes emotional journey became an important life experience.

Skylar MasonCronkite student considers ASU a healing experience

Skylar Mason, who lost her father in a crushing car accident that left her with permanent injuries, is now taking her dreams of being a journalist into the school her father wanted her to attend.

Joey Ramos-MataJournalism or justice? For Ramos-Mata, they'll each get him toward his goals

Houston native Joey Ramos-Mata is enraptured by journalism and has a goal of becoming a Supreme Court justice. He believes ASU's academics and reputation will help him reach his dreams.

Walter BonarEngineering student daring to dream of a flying car

Walter Bonar might be missing his family back in North Carolina, but the incoming ASU freshman is ready to jump into his ASU education and try to realize his dream of constructing a car that could fly.

Devyn CarterNeed for speed lures ASU freshman from Lone Star State

Growing up around the Air Force introduced Devyn Carter to a fascination with speed; now the Texas native is coming to ASU so he can study aerodynamics and build faster cars. He was also drawn to the diversity of the student body and research opportunities.

Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


Students make a change on Polytechnic campus, in their lives

August 19, 2015

Editor's note: As ASU gears up for the start of classes this week, our reporters are spotlighting scenes around its campuses. To read more, click here.

ASU freshman Albert Giovanazzi woke up Wednesday morning knowing he needed an attitude adjustment. Planting a tree Brendan Leach, a freshman from Seattle, creates a berm around a tree at the Polytechnic Community Garden, as part of the Changemaker Central Day of Service, Aug. 19, 2015. The event allows students to volunteer their time and energy into campus projects before classes begin on Aug. 20. Download Full Image

The 19-year-old Pittsburgh native said his high school career was uninspired, unspectacular and filled with regret.

“I spent a lot of my time slacking off, sleeping in, watching Comedy Central or reading in bed,” Giovanazzi said. “Today I didn’t want to sleep in. I wanted to do something meaningful. Opportunity is a matter of choice and I want to change this thinking.”

Giovanazzi had the perfect chance to make a difference in his life and the lives of others Wednesday morning on ASU’s Polytechnic campus during Changemaker Central’s Day of Service. The event, organized by the campus chapter Changemaker Central, brought together 30 other like-minded students working to beautify the campus.

“Changemaker is the hub for service, leadership and entrepreneurship and is located on all ASU campuses,” said Courtney Spivak, coordinator for Student Engagement and advisor for Changemaker Central. “What we do is help connect students with different resources they might need for service and entrepreneurship.”

Additionally, Changemaker Central also helps students explore careers with the Peace Corps, Teach for America, AmeriCorps and other national service opportunities.

Zhikai Liu, an 18-year-old international student from Bejing, China, says he’s using the opportunity to introduce himself to others, become familiar with the campus and brush up on his conversational English.

“If I am to gain success on this campus, one important way is to attend every activity possible,” said Liu, a freshman studying Environmental & Resource Management in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“When two cultures can come together, everybody advances.”

The sentiment was shared by Susan Norton, a program coordinator for University Sustainability Practices. Norton oversees the Poly campus’ community garden where students performed various maintenance projects such as staining benches, clearing out weeds, adding extra guidelines on the grape arbor and adding tree wells and berms.

Each semester the 12 plots in the garden are leased to students, staff and faculty on the Poly campus. The garden is used to teach classes for biology, sustainability and horticulture. Others use the garden to give to other departments or donate to food banks.

Despite a few ant bites and a slight sunburn, Giovanazzi said the work was the perfect antidote for an attitude adjustment.

“It was totally worth it. I’m outside, it’s a beautiful day and I’m standing in the Arizona sun,” Giovanazzi said. “I’m definitely not going to regret this.”

Reporter , ASU Now