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13 ASU students earn prestigious NAE Grand Challenge Scholar title

May 15, 2019

Engineers solve some of the world’s biggest problems, but they need more than technical skills to create meaningful solutions.

Ambitious students in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University take on more than their engineering degree requirements when they participate in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program. Through GCSP, they become transdisciplinary, collaborative and global problem-solvers. A group of students poses on the steps to the University Club building. Thirteen students from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering graduated as National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars, having completed coursework and experiential opportunities in service learning, multicultural awareness, entrepreneurship, developing an interdisciplinary perspective and conducting research or a creative project related to one of 14 Grand Challenges designated by the NAE. Pictured from top left to bottom right: Philip Mulford, Stephen Lane, Randee Huffman, Ekta Patel, Cole Brauer, Andrea Kraetz, Eduardo Luciano Huapaya, Jobana Westbay, Diana Chen, Sheena Benson and Bhavna Ramesh. Not pictured: Tyrine Jamella Pangan and Ryan McBurney. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU Download Full Image

Endorsed by the National Academy of Engineering, the program tasks students with choosing one of the NAE's 14 Grand Challenges facing society over the next century that span the broader themes of sustainability, health, security and joy of living.

Students accepted into the program must complete coursework and experiential opportunities for five components of the program: service learning, multicultural awareness, entrepreneurship, developing an interdisciplinary perspective and conducting research or a creative project related to their Grand Challenge theme.

During the 2018-19 academic year, 13 Fulton Schools students were added to the official NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Registry as they completed the program requirements and graduated with their bachelor’s degrees. This is the second-largest graduating class of Grand Challenge Scholars from ASU after the graduating class of spring 2017. They join 43 others who have completed the program since its inception at ASU in 2011.

“Through their own individual set of experiences, each of these students has explored different cultures, applied their technical skills to research or creative projects, developed an entrepreneurial mindset, learned to view problems from an interdisciplinary perspective and has already made an impact on local and global communities through service learning projects,” said Amy Trowbridge, director of the ASU Grand Challenge Scholars Program and a senior lecturer in the Fulton Schools. “These students are dedicated to creating value for communities in the world, and I can’t wait to see the positive impact they have in the future.”

The program often attracts often Fulton Schools’ most high-achieving students who take part in ambitious programs that offer well-rounded experiences. A majority of the program's students are in Barrett, The Honors College, others are Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fellows and many take on minors in other subjects in addition to their engineering studies. The program also opens up opportunities for students that are often in the realm of graduate studies. This year, at least two students co-authored research journal articles, four or more presented their work at national conferences and a few even started their own businesses.

The Grand Challenge Scholars Program encourages many students to think outside their majors as well as explore new ways their skills can be applied to developing solutions to the Grand Challenges.

Recent aerospace engineering graduate Ryan McBurney explored how to increase the efficiency of solar energy conversion for the research part of his program requirements.

“It’s a little strange that an aerospace engineering major decided to do this kind of work instead of fluid mechanics of structural stuff,” McBurney said. “But I like to change it up and learn different things.”

McBurney initially sought to complete the Grand Challenge Scholars Program requirements on the Grand Challenge theme of security to prepare for a future career in national defense. But after reaching out to Liping Wang, an associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, he became involved in an energy and heat transfer project as part of the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative.

After graduation, McBurney is starting his career with the Naval Air System Command, a department of the U.S. Navy, as an aerospace engineer in the aeromechanics and thermal analysis branch.

“I get to be in a field that my undergraduate major covered and also relates to all the things I’ve been doing outside the classroom in thermal analysis and heat transfer,” he said. “By participating in GCSP, I got involved with extracurricular programs and classes outside of the typically structured aerospace engineering academic program. I also took classes in national security and defense and a lot of other related courses which looked nice on my transcripts when applying to Department of Defense jobs.”

A student poses in front of a research poster.

Aerospace engineering student Ryan McBurney presents research at the spring 2019 Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative symposium exploring the use of metal films to increase the efficiency of solar energy conversion beyond the current limits of commercial solar panels. As an aerospace engineering major, McBurney’s research was a cross-disciplinary application of his skills. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU

The impact Grand Challenge Scholars Program students make extends well beyond U.S. borders, especially because developing innovators and leaders for the global economy is a central goal of the program's multicultural awareness component.

Through the program, McBurney got involved with Engineering Projects In Community Service, or EPICS, for his service learning requirement. He applied his energy focus to create a solar-powered refrigerator for a professor at an agricultural university in Nigeria. The refrigerator, which stores enzymes for biofuel research, was delivered to Nigeria as McBurney wrapped up his undergraduate studies in April.

“More than half of these students worked to develop solutions to fulfill the needs of local or global communities through our EPICS program for a combined total of 16 semesters,” Trowbridge said. “And that doesn’t include the time that this group has impacted the community in other ways through developing educational activities and events, providing mentorship and leading tours and school visits, to inspire future generations of engineers.”

Andrea Kraetz, a recent honors student and chemical engineering graduate who completed her degree and Grand Challenge Scholars Program requirements in three years, took on the Grand Challenge of clean water access. She developed a selective adsorbent templating process to remove harmful selenium from water, thereby providing cleaner water and combating water scarcity by making clean water more accessible.

“We can see there is a 95% removal of selenium with the templating process versus the nontemplated material that absorbs around 40% of the selenium,” Kraetz explained. “It’s all about clean water and healthier water.”

Beyond applying her chemical engineering skills to solving a Grand Challenge, she appreciated the broader education the program provides to students.

“For engineering majors, it is usually just about the STEM subjects, like thermodynamics or math,” Kraetz said. “But with GCSP they try to bring in other elements, like social factors, with courses that can help provide a broader purpose to engineering projects.”

Kraetz will go on to pursue a doctoral degree in chemical engineering at Johns Hopkins University as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, taking on new challenges in sustainable energy research.

A student stands in front of a research poster.

At the spring 2019 FURI symposium, chemical engineering student Andrea Kraetz presents sustainability research into selective adsorbents to remove selenium from water to make water treatment more efficient. Her research was sponsored by W. L. Gore & Associates. Photo by Marco-Alexis Chaira/ASU

Though the program adds extra work on top of an already packed engineering curriculum, students view it as an experience that helps them to stand out.

“GCSP has given me a lot of opportunities that I never would have imagined having otherwise because the different components really forced me or encouraged me to expand my horizons,” said Bhavna Ramesh, a biomedical engineering graduate and honors student who tackled two health-related Grand Challenges: advancing health informatics and engineering better medicines.

Ramesh studied abroad in Australia and Fiji for three weeks during her sophomore year to explore global health and sustainability as her multicultural component. She is one of five members of the 2018-19 Grand Challenge Scholars Program class who studied abroad. Between them, they studied in nine different countries. For the service learning requirement, Ramesh mentored younger engineering students as part of Engineering Futures.

The program also encouraged her to get involved in entrepreneurship through an internship as a market researcher at a wearable sensor technology startup.

Ramesh is also looking into commercialization aspects for her Grand Challenge Scholars Program research project, which she presented as part of the FURI symposium in spring 2019. She collaborated with a team to develop a pressure ulcer risk assessment device for patients confined to hospital beds. When areas of a patient’s body that don’t have much fat between bone and skin make contact with the hospital bed, the skin can break and cause pressure ulcers, which are painful and can often cause irreversible damage.

Ramesh and her team are working with their clinical mentors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital to obtain a patent on their device.

In completing the project, which also served as her biomedical engineering capstone project, Ramesh stepped well outside the biomedical engineering curriculum to take on an interdisciplinary research approach that involved studying and using machine learning techniques to develop an algorithm to classify individual patients as likely or unlikely to develop pressure ulcers.

Together, the five program requirements made for a rewarding challenge.

“GCSP has definitely made me into a more well-rounded scholar,” Ramesh said. “I have a lot of diverse experiences, I’m more aware of cultural differences whether it is in the health industry or just generally, and I think that will translate really well into being mindful of my research and what other people are pursuing.”

This experience will come in handy as Ramesh begins studies for a biomedical engineering master’s degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall. She hopes to one day pursue a research career in the mental health care field.

Two students work together on a project.

Biomedical engineering students Bhavna Ramesh (left) and Ekta Patel (right) work on their Grand Challenge Scholars Program research component. They worked as part of a team to create a device to assess the risk of developing pressure ulcers for patients in hospital beds. Photo by Marco-Alexis Chaira/ASU 

Ekta Patel, a fellow recent biomedical engineering graduate and honors student, partnered with Ramesh on the pressure ulcer device project. She took on the triple challenge of pursuing an engineering degree, participating in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program and taking on the pre-medical student track, each of which present their own program requirements, challenges and demands on her time.

Patel says pre-med students can be hesitant about also choosing an engineering major, but she was determined to do both. The program provided her a framework to complete each set of requirements — and get additional valuable opportunities.

“GCSP kept me grounded in engineering, and I was also able to do all my pre-med stuff,” Patel said. “All the experiences I had doing research and entrepreneurship just made me a better student overall. I have a lot more skills added on, and I think I’m better prepared to ultimately apply to medical school.”

The opportunities students are able to take advantage of because of the program requirements can make the challenges of such a strenuous program into an unforgettable journey.

“GCSP has been so awesome,” Patel said. “I’ve loved every second.”

Monique Clement

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Graduate’s love of languages builds multifaceted research, career

May 15, 2019

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2019 commencement.

Hailing from Sandwich, Massachusetts, a Cape Cod town of about 20,000 people, Arizona State University alumna Jennifer Byron grew up seeing languages as a way to know the world. Jennifer Byron earned her PhD in Spanish language and cultural studies this spring from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' School of International Letters and Cultures.  Jennifer Byron earned her PhD in Spanish language and cultural studies this spring from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' School of International Letters and Cultures. Download Full Image

“I always wanted to explore more, travel more, and just get to know people,” she said. “By high school, I knew I wanted to continue with languages and keep that passion alive.”

Byron began studying Spanish in middle school, took on French in high school and continued with Spanish language studies and secondary education during her undergraduate years at Marist College.

By the time she came to ASU as a graduate student, she was eyeing Polish, her third language, in honor of her own family’s lineage. Now, with three degrees under her belt, she’s engaging modern language studies from multiple angles.

Byron graduated this spring with a PhD in Spanish language and cultural studies from The College of Liberal Arts and SciencesSchool of International Letters and Cultures. She also holds a master’s degree in Spanish literature and culture from the same school and a certificate in digital humanities. 

Byron’s thesis further expanded her study by exploring how technology is shaping women’s literature and art today.

“I looked at work that was specifically digital from writers from Spain, North America and Latin America to see how women use technology to construct and deconstruct identity,” she said. “I also investigated the way social issues like the Me Too movement are being put out on the forefront by women, and how those roles continue to evolve.”

Today, Byron melds her language skills and research to build online materials for young learners all over the world as a Spanish content developer at National Geographic Learning–Cengage in Monterrey, California.

As the world becomes increasingly connected, Byron sees language as a tool to better understand each other.

“In a career sense, learning languages is certainly helpful,” she said. “But we're in a globalized society, so even from a human aspect, we also need to learn in order to communicate with others, create a dialogue, generate empathy and come to solutions.”

Byron answered a few questions about her journey at ASU, her work today and the advice she has for those still in school.

Question: What is something you learned while you were at ASU in the classroom or elsewhere that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: I've met people from so many different backgrounds and walks of life through those experiences — that was very eye-opening. I’m not only referring to the individuals who are my peers in research and teaching, but also the students I had during my two study abroad trips to Seville, Spain.

I also completed internships with the Institute for Humanities Research center and HASTACShort for Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, HASTAC is a digital and physical center co-founded in 2002 by humanities leadership at Duke University and the University of California in an effort to help humanities studies stay relevant in the digital age. ASU housed the facility between July 2017–Dec 2018. and attended graduate conferences in Chile, Argentina and Cuba.

I think my experiences in research and internships at ASU really give me a unique perspective and the ability to create materials that are culturally-sensitive and user-friendly.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: When I was looking at graduate programs, I spoke with a professor at Maris College who asked what specific Spanish track I had in mind. I told him I really liked cultural studies that explore not only literature, but also film, technology, digital identity and the performing arts. He suggested I look into ASU because it is known for its cultural studies within language programs. I was accepted for my master’s program, and found I loved it enough to stay for my doctorate.

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

A: I've learned something different from every single professor I've had. But I would still have to go back to professor Carmen Urioste-Azcorra. I was her teacher's assistant during my study abroad trips to Spain, and her teaching style taught me a great deal about how to engage my students in unique ways. She employed different digital tools and platforms that made the material super engaging and accessible.

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

A: Look at all of your options and start applying to opportunities right away to prepare yourself for what you're going to do after school. I would say, certainly to follow your passion, but also consider different things you can do with your degree.

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

A: I would use that money to make sure everybody has access to school. Whether in the way of school supplies or something else, I would use it to help make sure that every child has access to education.

Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


ASU Law students successfully endow scholarship, help future Federalist Society students

May 13, 2019

The newly endowed James Madison Scholarship is the first of its kind and will recognize and encourage outstanding ASU Law Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies student leadership.

The scholarship will support a second- or third-year student enrolled full time at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law who is also a member of the Federalist Society. The recipient will also have expressed a financial need and exhibited a desire to promote awareness of the Federalist Society’s founding principles. photo of ASU Law Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies students ASU Law Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies students. Download Full Image

The scholarship was conceived by Grant Frazier, who graduated this past week from ASU Law with a Juris Doctor degree. As a student at ASU Law, Frazier served as president of the Federalist Society ASU Law chapter and as the chair for the 2019 National Federalist Society Student Symposium, which took place in March 2019.

“ASU Law FedSoc programming, as well as the invaluable intellectual forum it facilitates, greatly augments the in-class legal education provided by ASU Law’s renowned faculty. Such efforts require a great deal of time and effort by student leaders,” Frazier said. “The James Madison Scholarship will recognize the work of these student leaders and the critical contributions they make to the ASU Law community, and the greater Phoenix legal community more generally.”

Stacy Skankey, who also graduated this past week from ASU Law with a Juris Doctor degree, has a strong desire to help her fellow students. From her time serving as vice president of the ASU Federalist Society, she learned firsthand the importance of seeking opportunities for professional development. She was also one of the first donors to the James Madison Scholarship.

“I donated because it is important to me to help students with similar fundamental values and ideals find forums for intellectual discussion. The financial aid that the scholarship provides will allow the recipient to worry less about finances and devote more time towards the attainment of his/her academic and professional goals,” Skankey said. “Student members of the Federalist Society tend to be prominent leaders on campus, who are intellectually curious, driven and devoted to the communities for which they serve. It is my hope that my donation supports student leaders who exemplify these qualities and encourage additional, future students to aspire to such leadership."

Staying ahead while giving back

photo of Grant Frazier

Grant Frazier, JD '19. As a student at ASU Law, Frazier served as president of the Federalist Society ASU Law chapter and as the chair for the 2019 National Federalist Society Student Symposium.

Currently, of the 42 donors to the James Madison Scholarship, 36 are first-time donors to Arizona State University. Furthermore, approximately half of them are current students.

“Students giving back as students shows just how important a scholarship like ours is to the student community,” said Frazier. “It is an honor to call so many of our new donors my friends, and it is encouraging to see them become philanthropists early in their legal careers.”

The original fundraising goal for the scholarship was $25,000 in order to obtain endowment status. Since the scholarship has met and exceeded that goal, students and alumni wish to see the goal increased to provide additional scholarships to students.

The first James Madison Scholarship will be awarded to a student as they start the fall 2020 semester at ASU Law. At current levels, the scholarship award will be approximately $1,000 to $1,250. The goal for the students who launched the James Madison Scholarship was to reach an endowment level around $750,000 which would provide a full-ride scholarship for a deserving student leader.

“My goal is to fundraise for this scholarship every year to continue to grow the fund and therefore increase the amount awarded every year. While we will set incremental goals, the next big goal is to reach the amount necessary to provide a full scholarship,” Frazier said. “This is going to take some heavy lifting, but I believe over time a significant number of alumni will become donors.”

Assist future law students by donating to the James Madison Scholarship.

If you would like to make a multiyear pledge commitment, please contact Terri Burkel at ASU Law at terri.burkel@asu.edu or 480-965-5329.

Nicole Almond Anderson

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


ASU Polytechnic campus political science major found his passion a few miles from home

May 13, 2019

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

While some high school students want to get far away from home to find themselves and have a certain college experience, ASU graduate Kyle Hohmann never had that mindset. He has known what he has wanted to do since early on in high school. ASU Polytechnic campus political science graduate Kyle Hohmann processes out of Wells Fargo Arena after CISA Convocation ASU Polytechnic campus political science graduate Kyle Hohmann exits Wells Fargo Arena after participating in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts convocation on May 10, 2019. Photo by Kelley Karnes/ASU Now Download Full Image

“I have been interested in politics and government since a young age,” Hohmann recalled. “I remember tracking polls and following coverage of the 2012 election as a freshman in high school and have followed every election since. What really got me interested in policy, however, was my involvement in speech and debate in high school. I participated in my first debate tournament when I was a sophomore, and while my views have evolved a lot since then, my interest in public policy has remained.”

Hohmann, who grew up in Gilbert, Arizona, knew that he didn’t need to leave home in order to pursue his dreams, and when ASU added the political science major at the Polytechnic campus the fall semester of his freshman year, that was the perfect fit for his situation.

Now, even with graduation in the rearview mirror, Hohmann still has no desire to leave his home state.

“I don’t know where I’ll end up, but hopefully I’ll end up with a job that allows me to stay in Arizona,” said Hohmann, who served a year’s term as senator in ASU Undergraduate Student Government at the Polytechnic campus. “I think local government is an area I’ll want to continue to focus on with whatever career I end up with.”

Hohmann recently shared with ASU Now more about some of his experiences while at the university and his 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: My internship at the (Arizona) Capitol taught me a lot about how local governments can solve problems and that a lot of positive change for communities comes through this process, rather than relying on the federal government to make changes.

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

A: My Sociology 101 class with Professor Joshua Kane taught me a lot about the importance of counterintuitive solutions to complex problems and not getting caught up with the assumption that a proposed solution is inherently impractical without actually examining it further. It’s a concept I’ve definitely thought a lot about and make a note of in a lot of conversations I have that deal with complex issues we face.

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

A: Some of the most interesting classes you will take with the best lessons can just as easily be electives as classes related to your major. Take electives that sound interesting to you!

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

A: I made a lot of good memories in the Polytechnic USG (Undergraduate Student Government) office. When I had downtime between classes, that’s the spot where I would usually end up.

Q: Did you do an internship related to your major?

A: Two. My first internship was with Gov. (Doug) Ducey’s reelection campaign, and in my last semester I was a legislative intern for the governor’s office. It was an interesting jump from the world of campaigning to the world of governing, especially since I ended up working with some of my bosses from the campaign in the governor’s office.

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

A: Youth homelessness.

Written by Kynan Marlin, student marketing assistant, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, and sports journalism major, ASU Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

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May 10, 2019

Get to know some of the most outstanding graduates from across the university

On May 6, thousands of ASU students will move their tassels to the left side of their mortarboards and head into the next phase of their journey. Before they do, ASU Now is taking a look at some of the most impressive graduates.

WATCH: Check out a playlist of interviews with this year's outstanding graduates

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ASU grad connects K–12 students to higher education

Andrea Garza, a senior studying psychology and justice studies with a minor in sociology, knows the importance of having someone to turn to when you’re unfamiliar with higher education. And being a first-generation college graduate, she felt strongly about being that connection for others.

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ASU grad hopes to decrease disparities in public health

Lucia Garcia used to think that a career in the health field meant being a clinician. She graduated this week from Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions with a degree in public health, a minor in Spanish and the knowledge and know-how to take full advantage of the many career paths a degree in her chosen discipline can offer.

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ASU grad finds skills, 'home' in Sun Devil Fitness Complex

For Jaclyn Leake, a senior from Chicago graduating with a degree in exercise and wellness and a minor in kinesiology from the College of Health Solutions, classes and experience at a neurological rehabilitation facility helped her find her way to doctoral school after graduation.

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Kinesiology major makes the gym his classroom as SDFC personal trainer

Working as a personal trainer is a great way to help others and gain experience in the exercise and wellness field. But for graduating senior Ryo Kataoka, the job was a way to learn outside the classroom about the science taught in his classes.

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Fulton Schools’ youngest graduate gets head start on making an impact

Emily Alcazar started taking college courses when she was 12 years old. This month she graduated magna cum laude from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the age of 17.

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Dean’s Medalist uses music, education to advocate for Native Americans in Arizona

Libraries and hip-hop might not seem the most obvious pair. But for Arizona State University alumnus Alexander Soto, both are platforms to illustrate the struggles facing Native Americans in Arizona and to forge a path forward. Soto graduated this spring with a bachelor’s degree from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ American Indian Studies program. He was recognized during convocation as a Dean’s Medalist.

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ASU grad advocates for access and sustainability

Noel von Mizener has always been passionate about sharing her love for education with others. Majoring in supply chain management and business law with a certificate in applied business data analytics, von Mizener kept busy during her time at Arizona State University doing what she could to help K–12 students and make a sustainable difference.

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Grad combined chemical engineering with Arabic studies

When you’re applying for a job after graduation, what sets you apart in a field of worthy contenders? For Yusef Sabri, it’s the minor and certificate in Arabic studies that he picked up while earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Sabri, who graduated this month, said his knowledge of Arabic has “opened up several doors.” He has already received multiple job offers.

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ASU becomes academic home for graduating transfer student

Brianne Jones is graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences (cell, genetics and developmental biology). She made ASU her home after starting her college experience at two other schools.

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Triple major first-in-family to graduate from college

Erika Flores is the oldest of four children, born into a close-knit Mexican American family. While they did not attend college, her parents encouraged all of their children to do so. And Flores said she always knew she would pursue higher education. This spring, she becomes the first in her family to graduate from college — and she earned three majors.

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A magical experience guided graduate to seek a new path

As a child, Emily Rose Nugent was always interested in how things worked. When she rode the rides at Disneyland, her dad would explain their mechanics and what made certain effects possible. Nugent, a Barrett, The Honors College student, decided to become a chemical engineering major in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. She also has a minor in business.

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Starbucks partner earns degree after developing passion in leadership and management

A resident of Lockport, Illinois, online student Jen Schmidt found her way to Arizona State University through an educational benefits program between Starbucks and ASU. Now she's graduating with a degree in organizational leadership through the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.

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Professional dancer turned electrical engineer graduates from ASU Online

Jessica Columbus realized her interest in engineering at a young age but put her degree on hold to pursue another passion — ballet. Years later, Columbus discovered Arizona State University and decided it was time to complete her degree in engineering — but this time as an online student.

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On the border, grad hopes to make a difference in immigration policy

Joanna Williams didn’t travel lightly on her purposeful journey to earning a master’s degree in public policy, and she’s leaving Arizona State University with more than a diploma. The director of education and advocacy at the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) said she now has greater means to promote policies that respect the rights and dignity of migrants.

woman posing on Downtown Phoenix campus

Criminal justice grad's research on trouble spots in policing gives her hope

Katharine Leigh Brown is the spring 2019 outstanding graduate for the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. She wants her research on fairness and police-citizen interaction to unlock mysteries of how and why the criminal justice system does what it does and how to make that system better for everyone.

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ASU graduate completes degree with hopes of creating more accessible mental health resources

ASU Online student Shauna Hughes has been hard at work achieving her lifelong dream of earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Hughes was originally an English major, but as she neared the completion of her degree, she decided to follow her passion for making therapy more accessible to all by switching to psychology.

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Receiving help led applied biological sciences graduate to help others

It was an early exposure to medical issues in William Harper’s family that sparked Harper’s interest in majoring in applied biological sciences and pursuing a career in medicine. He completed his degree in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and will be among the thousands of students graduating on May 6 looking to make the world a better place.

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Dream to become a physician coming true for microbiology graduate

Zach LeBaron felt ASU offered him a community where he could constantly evolve and grow. As it turns out, ASU was a perfect fit. LeBaron is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and has been accepted to Creighton's School of Medicine.

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Communication graduate set her sights on the entertainment industry

Imagine maintaining a perfect GPA throughout your college career and still finding time to work and perform in a band. That has been the experience of senior Alexa Graves, who is graduating summa cum laude this spring with a degree in communication from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and a minor in film and media studies.

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Student reaches graduation milestone through Starbucks College Achievement Plan

When it came time to choose her degree program, ASU online student Carrie Hough decided to major in the Business (Communication) program through the W. P. Carey School of Business, which has allowed her to grow her expertise as a manager and strengthen her communication skills within her current role at Starbucks.

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The future looks fun for outstanding grad who discovered joys of recreational therapy

Having fun is a lifelong habit of Kelly Walsh. It’s important to her as a person aspiring to remain healthy and strong in her quest to help improve the lives of others. But now having fun for Walsh, the spring 2019 outstanding graduate for the School of Community Resources and Development, is also part of a framework for rigorous thought and scientific practice.

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Driving toward a profusion of literary voices

Representation matters. It certainly did for online student Daniel Murillo. When he saw parts of his experience represented on the page, when he encountered writers who were like him, who he really was became … possible. Murillo is earning a BA in English this spring, and has secured a competitive ConversaSpain teaching assistantship postgraduation.

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Mexico Fulbright Scholar recounts ASU journey

Mexico City native Carlo Altamirano Allende is graduating from ASU with a PhD in social dimensions of science and technology. His research has taken him back to Mexico to learn about the impact of the nation’s constitutionally mandated energy reforms on indigenous communities.

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From senior master sergeant to master's degree, grad sees value of access to education

Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Loescher, who is graduating from ASU with a master’s degree in public safety leadership and administration, is the spring 2019 outstanding interdisciplinary graduate for Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

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Most fulfilling part of ASU graduate’s college experience was helping others join the university

Ethan Barlow’s parents encouraged him to venture away from the familiar surroundings of the state where he’d grown up and experience a new environment during his college years. Barlow recalls being appreciative of that advice as soon as he arrived at ASU.

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Geography student discovers passion and community at ASU

Often students arrive at college with set plans on what path they want to take over the next four years. Abigail Johnson was one of those students, but as she prepares to graduate from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences this spring, she advises others to not be afraid to change up their plans.

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Drawn to the outdoors since her childhood, ASU grad seeks career protecting the environment

Linzy Jane Voytoski had no hesitation about studying engineering at Arizona State University. She wanted to carry on the legacy of her “family of engineers” ­— especially a grandfather who graduated from ASU with a degree in electrical engineering more than 50 years ago.

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Helping peers engineer a rewarding experience at ASU

Zachary Tronstad’s most rewarding experiences at ASU have been helping people and finding inspiration to make an impact through engineering.

Gabriela Huckabee

Honors graduate's passion is in the stars

A high school class schedule snafu led Gabriela Huckabee to a scientific discipline that would become her passion. Huckabee will graduate Arizona State University on May 7 with a bachelor of science degree in astrophysics with honors from Barrett, The Honors College, and the Dean’s Medal from the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Leo Alaniz

Future doctor pursues dream via the ASU Online biochemistry program  

In the online biochemistry degree program of Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences, Leo Alaniz found two things: a program that would fit his needs and unconditional professor support.  

Jonathan Thomas Lyle

Outstanding graduate gains respect for construction industry 

Nearly 15 years ago, Jonathan Thomas Lyle dropped out of high school and didn’t know what the future had in store for him. He never thought he would spend 10 years in the Army and later be graduating with honors from Arizona State University. His future, though, turned out better than he could have expected.

Levi Louis Riley

ASU graduate wants to raise the standard of health care 

Improving the lives of others has been a lifelong goal for Levi Louis Riley. He aspires to practice medicine and raise the standard of care in his hometown. To accomplish his goal, he knew he needed the best affordable education available to him and decided to attend Arizona State University.

Brianna Chavez

ASU graduate helps fellow students find success 

Brianna Chavez has demonstrated the defining qualities of a great leader by seizing every opportunity for personal and professional growth in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “I’m eternally grateful to the university for providing me with infinite opportunities to get involved,” said Chavez.

Jennifer Harrison

Master of Social Work grad draws from history and legacy to help others

Jennifer Harrison’s master’s degree in social work bears proof she has the training and knowledge to be an effective professional. But the summa cum laude graduate of Arizona State University will put so much more than that into her career of helping people.

Aly Perkins

Change maker hopes to use public policy to live university charter long after graduation

Aly Perkins’ academic transcript bears the look of a young scholar in a hurry to get to the next level. Her success in advanced placement classes gave her a large head start in college. The Arizona State University graduate completed her bachelor’s degree in three years.

Dulce Parra-Barrera

First-gen college student grateful for diverse perspectives

Post-graduation, Dulce Parra-Barrera has secured a position with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, a teaching exchange managed by the government of Japan. It’s a dream come true for this native of Goodyear, Arizona, who had always hoped to teach English abroad.

Cinthia Garcia

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College grad doubles down on bilingual students

Cinthia Garcia found her calling as a teacher in high school, but she didn’t discover her niche until she was in college. Garcia, who will graduate from ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College next month with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (bilingual education and English as a second language), is ready to start her career and transform lives.

selfie of woman in an ASU cap

Biology grad changes career choice after taking ‘filler’ class

When transfer student Kassandra Kellenberger signed up for a science course to fill one of her future degree requirements, she thought she would just check it off her list. Instead, she ended up changing her major to biological sciences and will completed her undergraduate studies this spring with a Bachelor of Science.

woman's portrait

Urban planning graduate inspired to tackle transportation issues

One class, one subject, one professor — it can be just one thing that can spark a new interest for a student. This was the case for Monika Mlynarska when she took a transportation planning course.

woman standing in front of bush with white flowers

Communication major makes global connections, from Argentina to Spain

Connecting with people around the world and finding international internships might seem daunting for an undergraduate, but ASU communication major Abby Perez found it surprisingly simple to take her passions global.

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Master's graduate focuses on improving support for refugees and host countries

With her third master's degree, Nathalie Mokbel is showing no sign of slowing down. She has set her sights on her next adventure: becoming Dr. Nathalie Mokbel so she can support and educate the next generation of changemakers.

woman holding award

ASU student named Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor of the year

Sanford School graduating senior Hsiao-Ya (Sofia) Chen was recently named mentor of the year by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.

woman performing gymnastics routine

Gymnast makes her path at ASU, earns Pac-12 top academic honors

Anne Kuhm, who is graduating from ASU's College of Integrative Sciences and Arts with a liberal studies major, was named Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2018–2019.

woman in cap and gown posing on Palm Walk

Community health grad a ‘leader among her peers’

Leadership has been a through line of Alise Townsend’s Sun Devil experience. While pursuing her community health degree from ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, she also devoted a great deal of her time to extracurriculars focused on leadership, service and philanthropy.

woman posing in cap and gown with medal

Dual major from School of Social Transformation awarded Dean’s Medal

Emily Morris is among the outstanding students awarded a Dean’s Medal by The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the spring 2019 semester.

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ASU Prep Poly STEM Academy’s first graduating class is now graduating from ASU

Edward Meza was part of the first graduating class from ASU Prep Poly STEM Academy in Mesa, Arizona, and now he and others from the class of 2015 are preparing to graduate from Arizona State University.

woman's portrait

Psychology undergraduate receives Barrett award for outstanding research

Isabel Strouse's senior honors research thesis on IUD use and memory won the Barrett, The Honors College's award for outstanding research. The psychology and biology double major will be recognized at convocation on Saturday, May 4, at Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Tempe.

man sitting on ground leaning against wall

Art and technology meet to inspire Sun Devil grad

Hunter Wickersham literally left his mark on Arizona State University. Go into the Technology Building on the Polytechnic campus, back into the print shops and photo studios and press equipment, and there it is, 10 feet high and 40 feet long: the History of Print wall.

woman's portrait

Interior architecture student draws on theater background in design projects

Working in an ensemble theater that has a focus on civic dialogue turned out to be a useful background for Courtney Davis when she decided to pursue a master’s degree in interior architecture at ASU.

woman's portrait

ASU grad wondered what it took to be smart — now she’s headed to Harvard

Leah Nakaima grew up in Uganda witnessing inequities. Now she’s graduating from ASU and moving on to Harvard, working her way toward her dream of being Uganda’s first female president. 

woman standing in opening in old stone building

Interdisciplinary studies graduate from Hopi Nation finds passion to serve Native youth

Daniell June Albert is from the Hopi Tribe in Northern Arizona. Her Hopi name is áaqawsi, which translates to Sunflower, and she is Parrot and Kachina clans from the village of Old Oraibi, Third Mesa. Albert is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies, with concentrations in special events management and in communication. 

man holding cat

Biological sciences undergraduate first ASU Online student admitted to veterinary school

ASU online biological sciences major Cody Sorce wasn't sure how he would balance his career and school, but he completed his degree this spring and will attend veterinary school in Minnesota in the fall. 

woman's portrait

Goldwater Scholar aims to solve global health issues

Meilin Zhu, a student at Barrett, The Honors College who will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with a concentration in medicinal chemistry from the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University in May, was inspired by her father’s passion for research and her older sister’s positive experience at ASU and Barrett.

woman in grad cap giving pitchfork sign with hand in front of fountain

Graduate's passion for science and math earns a triple degree — by accident

Sierra Murphy will be graduating in May with not one bachelor’s degree in STEM, but three bachelor’s degrees from Arizona State University — a BS in biology, a BS in mathematics and a BA in chemistry. 

woman's portrait

Doctoral grad discovers importance of community

Graduating ASU English education doctoral student Katie Alford admitted that her most important lesson had nothing to do with her subject matter. Instead, it was in learning to lean on others. My colleagues have taught me so much,” Alford said, “especially how learning does not happen in isolation; it happens in community.”

Man standing in front of old main in cap and gown

Microbiology student discovers power of mind and meditation during academic journey

Isaiah Sampson has had his sights set on a career in dentistry since he was a teenager. And while many students change their direction over the years, Sampson has held his focus and made calculated decisions to achieve his goals.

woman's portrait

MasterCard Foundation Scholar, School of Molecular Sciences grad inspired to dream bigger 

Ntombizodwa Makuyana will be graduating in May from Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences with a degree medicinal biochemistry, but this is just the first degree she plans to receive as she has her sights set on pursuing her MD-PhD next.

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Alaska to Arizona: ASU grad finds his intellectual home

What college is right for you? What will you major in? These are difficult questions and choices for any 18-year-old. But when Brian Sweeney graduated from high school in Anchorage, Alaska, he had a feeling the answers to both were 3,600 miles away from home, at ASU. Sweeney is graduating in May 2019 with two bachelor’s degrees.

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School of Molecular Sciences grad fulfills both her passions as a STEM major and athlete

Vanessa Davis chose to attend Arizona State University because it fulfilled both of her passions — to pursue a degree as a STEM major and compete at the collegiate level in track and field. Davis will graduate this May with a degree in chemistry.

woman in cap and gown sitting on fountain

ASU grad’s campus composting program inspired future career in sustainability

ASU grad Taylor Bakeman followed her sustainability passion at ASU, launching a first-of-its-kind composting program in her residence hall.

woman's portrait

Musician finds her university groove in integrative health program

Health issues sidelined Carol Mas’s music career, then opened the door for another adventure, college. Now, at 63, Mas is preparing to graduate with her bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

woman posing in graduation gown

Music graduate’s passion for music and Holocaust studies leads her to new path: jurisprudence

In her four years at Arizona State University's School of Music, Caitlin Kierum accomplished a lot, exploring her passions and finding new ones. She is graduating in May with two degrees, a minor and two certificates.

woman holding tuba

Music graduate hopes to have positive impact on students

It took losing music for Aliyah Qualls to realize how much making music meant to her. Music had been a part of Qualls’s life since she was young, but in middle school, she quit the band program. “I did not realize how much music making meant to me and that it was what I truly wanted to do until I was unable to play,” said Qualls, who is graduating in May with a Bachelor of Music in music education and a minor in criminology and criminal justice.

woman's portrait

Gamer and clarinetist shows commitment to service and sisterhood

The term “sisterhood” holds special meaning to School of Music and Barrett, The Honors College graduate Charlotte Burton, who graduates in May with a Bachelor of Music Education, a Bachelor of Music in clarinet performance and a PreK-12 music education teaching certificate.

woman smiling

From leading campus tours to joining a medical brigade, biology senior pursued array of opportunities at ASU

Cheyenne Piepmeyer is a self-proclaimed go-getter, and her resume supports that claim. “I’m one of those people who wants to take advantage of every opportunity that’s given to me,” said Piepmeyer, who is graduating this May with her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the School of Life Sciences and a minor in Spanish from the School of International Letters and Cultures.

woman sitting next to small plane

Aviation graduate reaching for the sky

Carlee Cramer went on a "discovery flight" as a young girl and got the flying "bug." She earned her private pilot’s license her senior year in high school and now she’s graduating from ASU with a BS in aeronautical management technology (professional flight) from the Polytechnic School.

woman's portrait

Graduate discovers the personal in the political

As someone who lives with systemic lupus, Jordan Garcia often felt dismissed by doctors, because you can’t see a headache or feel someone’s exhaustion. Then the ASU political science graduate took a course called “Everyday Forms of Political Resistance." With the powerful newfound realization that the personal is political, she dove headfirst into exploring the topic further in her thesis.

man in graduation cap and gown sitting on steps in front of Old Main

Fleischer Scholars camp convinced first-generation student to pursue ASU

When Mickey Glover was student at Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix, he was not thinking of going to college. In the summer before his senior year, he was invited to attend the free, weeklong Fleischer Scholars camp at ASU and it changed everything.

woman's portrait

Physician earns executive MBA at ASU to work on a better health care system

Chizoba Ngwube has spent years helping patients, but over time, she realized that she could help heal the health care system as well. Ngwube, a family physician and hospitalist for Banner Health, just completed an executive master's degree in business administration at ASU.

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‘Winning the game’: ASU language grad confronts challenges with creativity

Mary “Katie” Kennedy is a model of undergraduate achievement. The ASU student is finishing two Bachelor of Arts degrees this spring, in English (linguistics) and Asian languages (Chinese), and will begin a master’s program in linguistics and applied linguistics at ASU this fall.

man holding lizard

ASU Army vet, father of four follows passion for rangeland management, conservation 

ASU applied biological sciences graduate Keaton Davis has always loved the outdoors. He's accepted a position with the U.S. Forest Service, working on the Tonto National Forest.

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Speech and hearing graduate hopes to give future patients a voice

Inbal Donenfeld-Peled was doing the mandatory two-year military service her native Israel requires when she met Uri, who was born with bilateral congenital deafness. As she got to know him, he told her about his speech therapist and audiologist and all they had done to improve his life. Donenfeld-Peled graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from the College of Health Solutions.

woman's portrait

Fascination with disease leads to a career solving health challenges with data

Growing up in Nairobi’s Kibera slums, Joan Kwamboka’s daily life was routinely interrupted by communicable disease outbreaks. While many in her community reacted with fear of these periodic epidemics, Kwamboka was fascinated.

group family photo

Academic achievement times three: Moen triplets set to graduate from ASU with honors

Triplets Claire, Grant and Anders Moen will graduate from Arizona State University with honors from Barrett, The Honors College in May. They thrived in the smaller community of the ASU West campus, where they found opportunities for research, work and service to fellow students.

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Graduate uses biochemistry opportunities at ASU to forge a path to medical school

For Connor Vuong, a senior in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a soccer injury in high school left him with a broken finger that needed surgery and a newfound appreciation for what it really means to be a doctor.

woman holding small child in park

Flexibility of online classes allows soon-to-be graduate to balance work, home and school

Juggling work and a toddler is a daunting task. When you add the desire to earn a degree, it might seem impossible. For Alexandria Smille, earning a Bachelor of Science in urban planning through ASU Online meant that she could utilize the flexible nature of the courses to fit them into her life, all while learning the skills she needed to positively impact our communities.

woman's portrait

Philosophy student graduates with degree she's passionate about

Keziah Ampadu-Siaw struggled to find a degree that was right for her. She changed her major several times during her time at Arizona State University, but after taking her first philosophy class with Cynthia Bolton, she began to think about pursuing a degree in that direction. She will be graduating this spring with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a minor in women and gender studies.

man's portrait in front of a cinder brick wall with pink flowers

Computer information systems grad inspired to build tech that makes a difference

The moment that computer information sciences major Thomas Haver saw the Apple Watch, he knew he wanted to work on technology that makes an impact on society. Driven by this will to make a difference and his love of tech, Haver decided to attend ASU.

man posing in front of cactus

Graduating art student gets inspiration from ancestors

When artist Edgar Fernandez transferred to Arizona State University, he was looking for new inspiration. “I discovered the inspiration I was looking for was within me all along, from my skin color to my ancestors and grandparents,” said Fernandez, a 28-year-old Chicano student who graduates this May with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting.

man posing in front of bookshelf

Aspiring to greatness in giving

Not only is Jackson Kellogg graduating from Barrett, The Honors College with a perfect GPA, he’s already garnered an endowed linguistics fellowship typically reserved for advanced graduate students.

woman in cap and gown posing in front of water fountain

Family and human development graduate works to impact education gap

As a first-generation student, Abigail Duarte had to figure out of the intricacies of college by herself, but that didn’t stop her from experiencing all that she could as she pursued her bachelor’s degree from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics.

woman posing on balcony at sunset

Film student started own company while still in school

At 19 years old, Krystina Owens started her own production studio while attending ASU. Now the 21-year-old, who is a student at Barrett, The Honors College, manages 11 employees, is expanding her company into two divisions and is graduating this May with a bachelor’s degree in film and media production from the School of Film, Dance and Theatre.

student holding sign that says "I am an innovative Sun Devil because of the the support of my peers and W. P. Carey faculty and staff!"

W. P. Carey School graduate comes full circle with Business Ambassadors

Eli Schifman, who is graduating with degrees in finance and economics, was named the W. P. Carey Outstanding Undergraduate for the spring semester.

woman posing for portrait on lawn

First graduate of a growing school sets the bar high

This May, Elana Quint will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in civic and economic leadership, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, a minor in business, and as a graduate of Barrett, The Honors College. Quint is also being recognized by The College as a Dean’s Medalist.

woman holding reins of a horse

Graduating ASU linguist-lawyer works to improve, clarify speech rights

Amanda Weaver, a Phoenix attorney with Snell & Wilmer, is completing her PhD in applied linguistics at ASU this spring. She is a specialist in the linguistic considerations of the First Amendment entitlement, and she has analyzed provisions affording free speech in constitutional documents — not just in the U.S. but also in another geopolitical hotspot: Russia.

man's portrait

Risks pay off for digital culture student

Erick Fowler made a big decision when he chose to go to college 1,000 miles away from his hometown in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fowler graduates this May with a bachelor’s degree in digital culture with a concentration in film and with a minor in design studies.

woman's portrait

ASU exercise and wellness grad grows with on-campus positions

Alereese Gonzalez has worn many hats during her time at ASU. Aside from earning her degree in exercise and wellness, Gonzalez held three different student worker positions. She says she loved each of them, but her time as a community assistant at the Taylor Place residence hall was her favorite.

Sarah Dillon

Grad learned to value herself as a researcher, student and person while at ASU

Sarah Dillon, who will be receiving her master’s degree in geological sciences this May from ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, jumped at the opportunity to work on an analytical instrument in the SIMS lab, which had been a goal of hers.

David Ackerman

Dean's Medalist combines love of math, programming and astronomy

David Ackerman chose to attend Arizona State University not only because it was affordable and close to home, but because it offered the opportunity to get involved in research right from the start. His combination of research, contributions to the university and impressive academic record earned him the honor of Dean’s Medalist for the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences this semester.

Emily bobel

Psychology graduate researches link between childhood trauma and impaired control over drinking

Depression and anxiety disorders affect almost 20% of the American population, including 25% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Emily Bobel, a psychology major, wanted to find out if depression could be a missing link connecting childhood trauma and problems with alcohol consumption.

Nathanael Pierce

Philosophy major leaves legacy of opportunity for undergrads

A history and philosophy double major, Nathanael Pierce is an ardent proponent of involvement in academic pursuits beyond the minimum requirements and wanted to bring that opportunity to students at ASU.

Cami Mcintire

Personal Growth in Human Relationships class helps graduate find her field of study

Cami Mcintire, a family and human development major in the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, talks about the importance of taking classes you love, getting to know your faculty and following your passion. 

Aira Valera

Sanford School grad follows her passion for helping families

Aira Valera resisted outside pressures and found a major she was passionate about: family and human development. Here, she shares practical advice on finding yourself — and finding the best restrooms on campus. 

Bailey Reynolds

Life lessons propel conservation biology graduate toward environmental law 

Bailey Reynolds chose to attend Arizona State University for three reasons. First, it’s close to home. Second, its dedicated to inclusivity. And third, she figured with a school as large as ASU, she would have a lot of opportunities to find her calling. And find it, she did.

Emily smith

Psychology undergraduate strives to help families and kids in need

Have you ever wondered how infants convert a bunch of different sounds into language?  Emily Smith, who will graduate with a double major in psychology and human development, completed an honor’s research thesis on that questions.

Alex Miller

An early love of space exploration led ASU grad to a career in the stratosphere

Early trips to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum instilled in Alex Miller a dream of human space exploration which later developed into a keen interest in robotic space exploration and astronomy. This May, Miller will be graduating with a PhD in Exploration Systems Design.

Clive Matsika

Analyzing data brings opportunity for mechanical engineering student

May graduate Clive Matsika, a mechanical engineering major in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, was one of five students globally to be awarded a Facebook National Society of Black Engineers Analytics Scholarship to attend NSBE’s 45th annual convention in Detroit.

Chiara Hommel

Dual history and biology undergrad puts her thesis under lights 

Chiara Hommel wanted to work with animals and began her career at ASU as a biology major, but after taking a history class her sophomore year, she decided to add on another degree.

Kimberly Terasaki

ASU creative writing graduate is a wizard with words

Graduating Arizona State University student Kimberly Terasaki has known since she was a child that she wanted to be a writer. That a book series about a boy wizard was “birthed” the same year as she was may have helped to inspire her career choice; in essence, Terasaki and Harry Potter grew up together. Terasaki is completing a Bachelor of Arts in English (creative writing) this spring, with a minor in sustainability. 

Paula Kibuka Musoke

Global health student finds passion, mentors and more at ASU

For Paula Kibuka Musoke, college has been about pushing herself out of her comfort zone. As a native of Norway, it’s hard to imagine a more drastic climate difference than the deserts of Arizona, and yet that is exactly where she chose to make her academic home.

Alexa Drew

A proud Sun Devil ready to launch into a scientific career

Alexa Drew had always planned on attending ASU, but it wasn’t until her time at Mesa Community College that she realized that her interests were specifically geared towards both astronomy and biology; and that ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration had the bachelor’s degree she was looking for. 

Brandon Favre

Science’s 'cool' factor inspires molecular biology master’s degree graduate

School of Life Sciences graduate Brandon Favre tackled both genetic engineering and graduate student mental health while getting his Master of Science at ASU. And it all began with a bacteria modified to glow under a black light.

Lena Bonds

Graduate aims to set example for son with social work career

“I think it’s really important that anyone that has gone through any kind of adversity, to use that as a fuel to go and help others,” said Lena Bonds, an online student in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Bonds is graduating with her bachelor’s degree from the T. Denny Sanford School for Social and Family Dynamics in May.

Colin Redman

Computer science student develops software for gathering evidence for speech and debate 

Graduate Colin Redman has spent the past eight years competing in speech and debate — four years at his high school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and four years as a member of ASU’s Forensics Team housed in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

Rosemary Huck

Student athlete pursues interest in geography 

Water and earth are two driving forces in Rosemary Huck's life. The Manchester, England, native, who came to ASU to play on the water polo team, used her time here to learn more about geomorphology, the study of the physical features of the surface of the earth and their relation to its geological structures.

George Brusch

First-gen student defeats ‘imposter syndrome’ to earn PhD

George Brusch, who will graduate with his PhD in biology this spring, fought to build a community for underrepresented students after struggling to find his place in a university setting.

Bryce Newberry

Cronkite student said no to all roadblocks

Bryce Newberry is a "yes man" in the best sense. He's always up for a challenge and never shies away from a new opportunity. This has served him well as a student and as a journalist. “I’m of the belief that when a student is in college, you should say yes to as many things as possible. You never know what might lead to something else,” he said.

Anna Wanless

Lifelong Sun Devil turns longtime interest in weather into degree

When Anna Wanless was growing up, her Sun Devil parents brought her to campus and football games. At the same time, she became interested in meteorology. That passion brought her to the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, where she studied geography, with a concentration on meteorology and climatology.

Avery Underwood

Open doors help biology master’s degree grad find niche

Born and raised in Tempe, School of Life Sciences graduate student Avery Underwood always wanted to attend Arizona State University. She found a perfect research fit in assistant professor Melissa Wilson's lab after seeing a guest lecture by Wilson talking about her background in mathematics and her research on sex differences.

Paris Masek

ASU doctoral grad transforms communities with food knowledge

Paris Masek is graduating from ASU this spring with a PhD in English literature. That seems straightforward; however, like most of Masek does, it’s not. That this Phoenix resident is earning his doctorate represents a circular, holistic journey, a repurposing of experiences and knowledge into something transformational.

Brittany-Rose Tribulski

ASU Online grad uses her education in humanity

Brittany-Rose Tribulski had been teaching English for some time already — even spending a year and a half in Thailand with the MediaKids organization. But the Riverside, California, resident recognized that to meet her goals as an English teacher she needed more: more expertise, more research, more knowledge.

Erin Bottino

Mangiamo! ASU grad blends study and sustenance

Graduating ASU student Erin Bottino has managed to combine two very different areas of study — a BA in writing, rhetorics and literacies in the Department of English and a food system sustainability certificate in the School of Sustainability — into one, logical focus: food literacy.

Ellie Millon

It's all business for 2019 W. P. Carey School graduate

Henrielle “Ellie” Millon has had an interest in business since she was in high school. That interest led her to ASU where she will graduate with two bachelor of science degrees — one in finance and the other in marketing — from the W. P. Carey School of Business in May. She also will receive honors from Barrett, The Honors College. 

Fargo Tbakhi

Theater grad finds a second home at the Hugh Downs School

Fargo Tbakhi first learned about the Hugh Downs School and its performance studies program from friends his freshman year who encouraged him to take a class with Jennifer Linde, artistic director of the Empty Space Theater. The decision, Tbakhi said, “basically altered the course of the rest of my college career.”  

Alexandria Paterson

East Asia studies student hopes to have international political impact

Alexandria Paterson’s desire to have a positive impact on the world goes back to when she was a young child and has continued to push her forward into becoming the Dean’s Medalist for the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies this semester.

Walker McCrae

Sparky is more than a mascot to 2019 Barrett graduate

Walker McCrae, an ASU student set to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in business data analytics and sports business with honors from Barrett, The Honors College, had an alter ego during his undergraduate years: Sparky.

Maryam Abdul Rashid

Sustainability grad brings international perspective

Maryam Abdul Rashid took a big risk enrolling in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Coming from Malaysia, she said sustainability was a foreign concept and people back home questioned what her future might be. But she took the leap anyway — with a big payoff.

Kaitlyn Vanklompenberg

Communication grad credits an optimistic outlook

Senior communication major in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Kaitlyn Vanklompenberg applied and was accepted to ASU's Leadership Scholarship Program, following in the footsteps of her older sister Kat. It also allowed her to develop and craft her leadership skills, as she says, "truly becoming a better leader and human."

Rachel Hill

Spanish lit grad named Dean’s Medal recipient

Rachel Hill, a mother of three enrolled in a 4+1 degree program for Spanish literature and culture, was recently named a Dean's Medalist for the School of International Letters and Cultures.

Maedeh Moayyednia

After fleeing persecution, film student eager to tell stories like hers 

Maedeh Moayyednia’s journey as a refugee has inspired her to become a storyteller through the art of film. Moayyednia, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in film and media production at ASU, has been named the outstanding undergraduate in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Top photo: Kristin Fanara (left) laughs with Avvi Valdez at the spring 2018 ASU commencement at Chase Field. Photo by Arizona Board of Regents

A family affair: Mother-son duo pursue English degrees at ASU

May 10, 2019

Stacey McCreary first enrolled at Arizona State University in 1993 as a self-described “very young” 18-year-old. And while she said she had a lot of fun, by the end of her first year she was leaving ASU to return to her parents’ home with advice from the university to pursue classes at a community college and then return.

With national averages of about 6 out of 10 students who start college never reaching graduation, her story was like many others. Or at least it was for two decades, until Stacey made the decision to face what she had left behind and return to ASU — this time alongside her eldest son, Micah McCreary. Stacey and Micah are both students in the Department of English at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Micah and Stacey McCreary Micah (left) and Stacey McCreary. Download Full Image

“It's been quite a journey,” Stacey said. “I did some community college for a while (after leaving ASU) and then I met my husband and got married and we got pregnant right away and then I was mom (to four children) for a long time.”

In the early 2000s, Stacey began taking online courses through Rio Salado Community College, slowly working her way to an associate degree, which she received in 2015. After deciding to return to ASU to pursue her bachelor’s degree, she said she met with Admission Services who shared that she could apply for an academic renewal which would allow her to start fresh.

“It was amazing to not be held accountable for who I was when I was 18 as much anymore. (The grades) are always there and I know that I failed, but it proved to me that I wasn't a failure, that I could do this and that I belong here, even though I'm oftentimes the oldest in the classroom,” she said.

Micah said he considered the initial possibility of sharing a class with his mom interesting and has been proud of Stacey’s return to academia.

“There's no age limit on this school,” Micah said. “I feel like a lot of people assume that there might be some sort of a stigma, but I don't think that there is. I think that it's an excellent opportunity for anyone at any stage to come back and get a higher education. And I think that my mom has exemplified that.”

Seizing opportunities

Micah’s journey at ASU has been quite different from his mother’s, yet both demonstrate the opportunities that can be seized upon at the university.

He enrolled at a private university but he said about halfway through his freshman year he missed the rigor he had become accustomed to at his high school charter.

“I decided to make a switch and get into Barrett, The Honors College at ASU and started to study English literature instead of political science, which I was studying at the time,” he said. Shortly after the switch, Micah began adding additional study areas, some by accident.

“My English adviser at the time told me I could take intensive language classes for two years worth of language study in one year. I took French 110 and 210 and finished them intensively and accidentally fell head over heels in love with French.”

He decided to add French as a major, then a Chinese minor — but he still didn’t stop there.

Because of his love of international affairs and his aspiration to pursue a law degree, Micah also added an international studies certificate and a political science degree.

“This school offers opportunities to anyone. There is something out there for everyone here, whether that be a STEM field, whether that be a liberal arts field or whatever you want to move into,” he said. “I think that there are so many resources and there's so much desire on the part of the staff and the teachers to really help students, whether that be financially, academically or all of the above.”

Connected through The College

While Micah and Stacey are able to share Department of English-focused recommendations together, the experience of studying at The College extends to additional members of the McCreary family: Stacey’s other son, Liam, is a freshman studying biochemistry, and Micah’s wife, Julianna, studies French.

Being able to set an example and path for others in their family was important to both Micah and Stacey. Micah said their shared experience helps to show his younger sisters that there is nothing holding them back, even in the face of criticisms or the opinions of others.  

“I think that my mom going out and — I  think that me as well, but to a much lesser extent — pursuing something devotedly and achieving a lot has shown them that nothing is limiting them. There is nothing real that limits them other than other people’s constructed opinions,” he said. “I think that those hold a lot less weight in their minds now that they've seen my mom go out and conquer the world.”

Beyond showing her children that you should never give up, Stacey said returning to school to earn her bachelor’s degree (and in a year, master’s degree through The College’s 4+1 program), was a milestone she needed to accomplish for herself.

“My knee-jerk response is it was for the kids, but really I think it was for me to get my confidence back and to feel like I have really worked for that piece of paper, that degree, and that I deserve it because I've worked for it,” she said. “And prove to myself that just because you fail once doesn't mean you don't get back up and try again.”

Kirsten Kraklio

Content Strategist and Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


ASU global studies student attends Model United Nations of the Far West

May 10, 2019

Logan Johnson is a senior at Arizona State University majoring in global studies and Russian within The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. With the assistance of the SPGS Travel Support award offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies, Johnson was able to attend theModel United Nations of the Far West (MUNFW) conference in San Francisco in April.

The Model United Nations offers students a chance to role-play as delegates in different U.N. committees. The theme for the 69th annual session of the MUNFW was “A Common Humanity: Back to the Principles of the U.N. Charter.” John Logan Johnson global studies major at ASU Logan Johnson. Download Full Image

Johnson shared some of his experiences with ASU Now:

Question: What was it like to attend this conference?

Answer: This was my second year attending the MUNFW conference, and I absolutely loved it. The energy of the conference is electrifying. The students who attend the conference are from a host of universities around the country, and the zeal they all have for the conference is infectious.

Q: What were some of your takeaways from this experience?

A: This year, as someone who has been to multiple Model United Nations conferences, as well as being in the leadership of the Model United Nations club on campus, I spent a lot of time at the conference assisting and mentoring newer club members who were going to a conference for the first time. I really enjoyed being able to help these newer members acclimate to the rigors of a Model U.N. conference. One of the students in our group was representing his country on the Security Council simulation at the conference, and I was also able to assist him with his research on the workings of the U.N. Security Council, which was a new experience for me.

Q: What advice would you give those who are interested in a similar experience?

A: Join the Model United Nations club! We will be going to the conference again next year and are always looking for new members. To join, you do not need any prior experience with Model United Nations; our club will teach you all that you need to know before the conference next year. We have a great core group of people who are willing to share their past conference experiences with new members and will mentor them so that they can have an exciting and fulfilling time at the MUNFW conference.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, I intend on going to graduate school to attain a master’s degree in Russian and Eastern European studies. My eventual goal is to be able to work in a position that allows me to impact real-world policy in relation to Russia and the other former Soviet republics.

Q: How do you think this trip will help you attain your career aspirations?

A: This trip helped me to develop my public speaking and leadership skills, which will definitely help me to secure a spot in a graduate program as well as the job I want. The most valuable thing that I developed at this conference, however, would have to be the ability to research the policies of nations on the fly and extrapolate what their position would be on a similar matter. This kind of extrapolation based on research and data is exactly the type of thing I aspire to do as a career. Model United Nations conferences provide ample opportunities for students to build their research skills and then craft a realistic policy for the country they are representing, which is quite honestly not an opportunity provided elsewhere.

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies


Fulton Schools’ youngest graduate gets head start on making an impact

Emily Alcazar earns bachelor's degree in civil engineering at age 17

May 9, 2019

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

Emily Alcazar started taking college courses when she was 12 years old. This month she graduated magna cum laude from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the age of 17. She is the youngest graduate out of more than 2,600 students in the Fulton Schools’ spring 2019 graduating class. Emily Alcazar, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering at 17 years old, wants her legacy to be more than just earning a degree at a young age. She wants her work to be inspirational and contribute to society. Photo courtesy of Emily Alcazar Download Full Image

“Starting college so young made my academic accomplishments impressive merely because of my age,” said Alcazar. “Because of this, I knew I wanted my legacy to be more than earning a degree at a young age. I wanted my work to be inspirational and contribute to society. Civil engineering allowed me to do that through emphasizing topics such as environmental issues, water treatment processes, transportation, structural analysis and more.”

The Gilbert, Arizona, native received a Maricopa County Community Colleges All-Arizona Academic Team Scholarship in 2015 while a student at South Mountain Community College.

“The scholarship provided me with a full ride to any public university in Arizona,” said Alcazar. “ASU has the strongest engineering program and I’m very glad I chose to join the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.”

Alcazar, who was homeschooled for high school, has been a very active member of the ASU community during her undergraduate years. She participated in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative, better known as FURI, for two semesters in the lab of Professor Narayanan Neithalath studying 3D printing of concrete.

“The various applications of this technology, such as providing affordable housing to developing countries, innovative architecture and implementing sustainable materials, gave me immense motivation to join (Dr. Neithalath’s) research group,” said Alcazar. “During my time in this lab, I gathered 3D point cloud imaging data and conducted pressure cell tests on various concrete mixes.”

Alcazar was also involved in Fulton Ambassadors, served as a teaching assistant, was a member of the AZLoop Hyperloop Team and was a member of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honors society.

In addition to her various roles within the Fulton Schools, Alcazar is also an example to her two younger siblings who are following in her footsteps. One sister is currently enrolled at ASU as a molecular biosciences and biotechnology major in ASU’s School of Life Sciences at age 16, while her youngest sister has already been accepted to ASU at age 13, though she won’t enroll for another two years.

portrait of Emily Alcazar

Emily Alcazar worked with Professor Narayanan Neithalath to advance the current state of 3D-printed concrete for its industrial use in the future as a means of faster, cheaper and cleaner construction. Photographer: Jessica Hochreiter/ASU

“(My siblings) have been able to see that ASU has many opportunities that allow you to individualize your undergraduate career,” said Alcazar. “This experience helps you to figure out what you want to pursue in your field and be a competitive applicant for future endeavors.”

The future has a lot in store for this high-achieving graduate. Alcazar will continue her education in the fall when she begins studies toward a doctoral degree at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, where she’ll work under Professor Glaucio Paulino on structural topology optimization with the implementation of machine learning.

“After stressing and doubting myself during the graduate school application process,” said Alcazar, “the most rewarding outcomes of my undergraduate experience was getting accepted into Stanford, Berkeley, Georgia Tech and other noteworthy institutions for graduate school.”

Alcazar's favorites:

  • Hobbies: Playing the cello and piano.
  • Performer: Rex Orange County.
  • TV Show: "Blacklist."
  • Activity: Yoga
  • Last Book Read: "The Immoralists" by Chloe Benjamin.
  • Geeky Possession: Plan sets from my work.
Erik Wirtanen

Web content comm administrator, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU grad connects K–12 students to higher education

May 9, 2019

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

Andrea Garza, a senior studying psychology and justice studies with a minor in sociology, knows the importance of having someone to turn to when you’re unfamiliar with higher education. And being a first-generation college graduate, she felt strongly about being that connection for others. ASU grad Andrea Garza Andrea Garza Download Full Image

Garza, who graduated this week from ASU, did just that in her work for the ASU Early Outreach Scholarship Ambassador Program for the past four years.

Garza has impacted countless students by being their connection to higher education. Garza knew firsthand how important it was to have someone to turn to when you have questions about a new environment.  

“During my time at ASU, I have tried to make my mark by being involved with the educational outreach of K–12th graders,” she said.

“I found it extremely important to share my knowledge with these individuals because when I was in high school I did not have a person to discuss higher education with. If I had a college student to ask questions about in high school I would have felt more prepared when I eventually attended ASU.”

Garza credits her success and personal growth in part to all she has learned working with the program.

“Being a part of EOS has been an eye-opening experience because you come in contact with so many individuals and provide information that they may not have received before. This program really assisted in my personal as well as professional development for the better. The person I was before the program is definitely not the same person who came out of the program due to the growth I have experienced over the past four years.”

Garza discussed with ASU Now how her time at ASU has impacted her and where she will be going from here.

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

Answer: I initially had an “aha” moment in middle school to be a psychologist because I thought the work my guidance course did was really helpful for the students. This idea stuck with me all throughout high school, and I eventually majored in psychology at ASU.

As my undergrad progressed, I started to notice an interest in the intersection between psychology and law because of a couple of classes that I had taken. I talked to an adviser about the other options I had, and she mentioned justice studies as a possible major route. After taking a few classes geared toward justice studies, specifically my death-penalty course, I added it as my second major. Both of my majors analyze very different things but at the same time cross over in various ways.

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

A: Throughout all of my classes at ASU I have consistently learned that being objective on a topic is extremely important. There are so many sides to research, stories, articles and people that remaining objective allows an individual to critically analyze all resources. This changed my outlook on media because you may only hear one thing consistently; however, the facts are what make the story.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I originally applied to four different schools and was accepted into all but one. When it came down to choosing one of the three, I really had to think about who offered the most financial assistance.

I come from a low-income home and I was a first-generation student, so money played a significant role in my education. After reviewing all the monetary offerings, ASU offered me the most money to pursue my education.

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

A: The professor who taught me the most important lesson while at ASU was Susan Corey. Professor Corey is actually a capital defense attorney, and ultimately she consistently told the class to know our most basic rights, be aware of the injustices that the justice system is guilty of, as well as thinking critically and logically about different situations.

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

A: Get involved. When I was in high school I played two sports, participated in orchestra and volunteered for the school as well as out in my community. Being involved helps to develop character, social skills, as well as work ethic, which are all important qualities to carry into the workplace and higher education.

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

A: My favorite spot on campus would have to be the Design Library due to its large silent-study area. I am the type of person who needs to have limited distractions when it comes to studying, so this library, in particular, was the best place to go.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, I am continuing my education at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law to complete my master’s in legal studies. After that, I may either apply to law school or apply to a few PhD programs focusing on behavioral health.

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

A: The one problem I would solve would be climate change, because all creatures and people on this Earth share the same planet. If we don't address climate change, the planet will cease to be and all living creatures will lose the one thing we have in common, which is a home.

Written by Sun Devil Storyteller Austin Davis, EOSS Marketing

Hannah Moulton Belec

Marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services


ASU grad hopes to decrease disparities in public health

May 9, 2019

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

Lucia Garcia used to think that a career in the health field meant being a clinician. She graduated this week from Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions with a degree in public health, a minor in Spanish and the knowledge and know-how to take full advantage of the many career paths a degree in her chosen discipline can offer. ASU grad Lucia Garcia on Palm Walk at ASU's Tempe campus Lucia Garcia Download Full Image

Garcia has been involved and connected in public health outside of class, including as a student manager for the Sun Devil Fitness Complex at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, where she concentrated on sports and adaptive programming.

“I have always been interested in fitness and wellness, and I wanted to work in an environment that had those same values as well,” she said.

“I love my coworkers, the working environment, the events we put on at the gym and the culture that the work environment encompasses. The facility is beautiful, but more so, the professional staff and my co-workers are all so supportive of one another, which I love and will miss the most!”

Garcia said she now has a direction for her career thanks to attending ASU and said she eventually wants to work in either hospital administration, a government entity or a nonprofit agency to help decrease health disparities between populations.

She spoke with ASU Now about where her public health journey is taking her next and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

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

Answer: When I was in my ASU 101 class during my freshman year, we discussed at large what public health was. A large component of the field revolves around looking at prevention efforts to deter the onset of health problems, but it also focuses on taking a holistic/big-picture approach when thinking about solutions to health disparities.

It led me to the realization that this method of thinking would allow me to create the most long-term solutions for all in the health care field. Through this class I realized that I wanted to dedicate my time to studying public health.

Q: What extracurricular activities were you involved with while at ASU?

A: I was involved in a variety of organizations throughout my four years at ASU!

I was the president and one of the co-founders of the Public Health Student Association. I worked at New Student Orientation to welcome incoming freshmen to the university for four years. I am a member of the leadership program of the Next Generation Service Corps. I worked on a research project with a doctoral student, which is pending publishing currently, and I worked at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex for three years. Additionally, I completed internships at the Phoenix Symphony, WIC, Nutrition Alliance and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

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

A: I was surprised to learn all the avenues a health care degree could lead someone to. I used to think that the only route for someone in the health care field was to receive clinical training and become a doctor or a nurse.

But all my classes emphasized that there was such a vast array of opportunities out there to become involved in the health care system. It helped me discover that I want to work in either hospital administration or for a government entity or nonprofit agency to help decrease health disparities between populations.

I now have a direction for my career, and the College of Health Solutions really helped cultivate that, as I am sure it did for many other students!

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I wanted to stay in state for my undergraduate degree, and I knew ASU had the innovative College of Health Solutions that I wanted to join.

In addition to the educational aspect, I knew I wanted to attend football and basketball games and become a Sun Devil!

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

A: Professor Lauren Savaglio taught me to always stay curious and to always step up and ask for help, whether in classes or in life.

She taught me to also take advantage of all opportunities and to really go out of my comfort zone and try new things and experiences. I also learned from her different study habits, and she always emphasized that I should stay calm and take time to relax when I am stressed. She has been my mentor throughout my time at ASU, and I am eternally grateful for her guidance!

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

A: Work hard and play hard! Studying and striving for a high GPA is important, but more than that, it is important to stay involved and take advantage of all the experiences ASU has to offer.

I wish I would have attended more sporting events and fun events put on by my college and school, so make sure to continue to stay involved!

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

A: My favorite spot on campus is the top of Sun Devil Fitness Complex Downtown at the rooftop pool. It is a very relaxing spot to overlook the city, and I always feel calmer when I am up there!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I will be attending UCLA in the fall to pursue my master’s in public health with a concentration in policy and management. I am so excited to become a Bruin but will always be a Sun Devil at heart!

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

A: I would use the $40 million to reduce health disparities globally and within the United States. I would try to create new prevention and education initiatives for some of the top and most deadly health problems, such as the chronic diseases of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

I would also work on efforts to provide everyone, especially those who are in a disadvantaged position, the opportunity to receive necessary health care services at an affordable cost.

Written by Sun Devil Storyteller Holly Bernstein, EOSS Marketing