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Fall commencement 2015: Student profiles

close-up of graduation cap that says "Oh the places you'll go"
December 09, 2015

A look at some of the stand-out students from ASU's fall 2015 graduates.

ASU grad Sam Teegarden

Scientist's passion rooted in Arizona's ecology

It took time for ASU life sciences student Samuel Teegarden to find his way in school, but once he discovered a passion for ecosystems and making a difference, he was unstoppable.

ASU grad Carlos Melendez

In a crisis, a community comes through

Carlos Melendez came to ASU from Venezuela. Due in part to the political turmoil in his home country, Melendez went from having a comfortable lifestyle to barely having enough money to eat. Then the Thunderbird community stepped up to help.

ASU grad James Cornelison

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalists

During its fall 2015 convocation ceremony, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will honor their best and brightest undergraduates from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities.

ASU grad Priscilla Guadarrama

ASU grads committed to community solutions

Four women from the College of Public Service and Community Solutions are being recognized as outstanding graduates  — and exemplify a commitment to public service, innovative thinking and finding solutions for the issues in their community.

ASU grad Emma Fleming

Always striving for more

When Emma Fleming graduates on Dec. 14, she will do so summa cum laude from the W. P. Carey School, as a Dean’s Medalist for the School of International Letters and Cultures, and as a member of the classics honorary society Eta Sigma Phi.

ASU grad Justin Peterson

Urban planning graduate focuses on community

Working at Escalante Community Garden and studying urban planning as a student led Justin Peterson to the path he’s pursuing now — a career in which he can help shape a community with which he’s deeply involved.

ASU grad Jasleen Rooprai

Family inspires ASU grad to earn teaching degree

ASU graduate student Jasleen Rooprai's first teacher is the one who most inspired her to become a teacher herself: her mother. Now she's graduating with a master’s degree in secondary education and a teacher’s certificate from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

ASU grad Carolina Moreno

ASU education grad takes teacher role to heart

Carolina Moreno takes her role in the lives of students seriously. Moreno, who graduates with an secondary education degree in Spanish, grew up in Mexico where she had some very influential teachers who helped her realize the important role teachers play.

ASU grad Kaitlyn Fitzgerald

Ready to heal the world

When she was a child, Kaitlyn Fitzgerald took on the responsibility of helping to heal her family. Now the ASU grad is setting her sights on repairing the world. She will earn two degrees and give two commencement addresses before working for social justice.

ASU grad Emily Kaba

Geography student tackles earth puzzles

Emily Kaba came to ASU from Dubai, and the desert environment around campus intrigued her — especially the distinctive rock formations at Papago Park. That led her to study similar-looking rocks from three sites, including some she collected in Oman.

ASU grad Honor Soluri

Taking the scenic route

In 2010, Honor Soluri was out of a job and out of options. After serving in the U.S. Army and enduring a nine-month deployment in Kuwait, she made her way back to the States and to ASU, where she will graduate with a bachelor's degree in English.

ASU grad Eric Escoto

Going below the surface

After a break between high school and college, ASU graduate Eric Escoto dove into his studies about the earth's geology, particularly volcanoes and magma.

ASU grad Desiree Graham

Passion for working with children drives ASU education grad

Desiree Graham has always had a passion for working with younger people. This, coupled with the frequent moves her family made, which built a foundation for teaching, accepting new people, and immersing herself in new cultures and situations, helped the ASU grad decide on a teaching career.

ASU grad Ashley Peatross

Sparked by film's impact

After earning her film degree, Ashley Peatross is moving to LA but keeping her connection to ASU through Film Spark. Ultimately she'd like to one day direct and produce a major feature from a major studio that is an action/thriller.

ASU grad Curtis Gokcen

Faster than a speeding couplet

After overcoming addiction, ASU English major Curtis Gokcen sped through his online coursework at a rare rate. Since enrolling in ASU’s online program in October 2014, he has completed 22 classes. Now, Gokcen is the proud owner of a bachelor's degree.

ASU grad Sara Santos

Appreciating her parents' sacrifices

First-generation ASU grad Sara Santos reflects on how her family helped her succeed by ensuring she had a foundation for success. Santos is graduating with a nursing and health innovation degree is receiving an award at ASU’s Hispanic Convocation for her service to others in the Latino community.

portrait of ASU grad Brianna Wang

A heart for misunderstood kids

Brianna Wang has a real heart for kids. As the 22-year-old psychology major receives her undergraduate degree this month, she wants to act as an advocate for children and others with developmental disabilities who are too young to help themselves.

top ASU engineering grads at commencement

Top ASU engineering grads receive honors

Each of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering select one undergraduate student in each of its academic degree programs as its Outstanding Program Graduate. A number of other students are honored as Distinguished Graduates for their notable accomplishments beyond the classroom.

portrait of ASU graduate Natalya Borakowski

Transfer student finds a passion for skin health

No matter where one’s educational path begins, the journey is often filled with unexpected twists and turns. Natalya Borakowski’s path began in Moscow, Russia, with a master's in music education and led her to studying genetics and cell development at ASU.

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