Illinois native finds plenty of opportunities to succeed at ASU

Andrea Lichterman is named Outstanding Graduate of the School of Community Resources and Development

May 1, 2017

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2017 commencement. See more graduates here.

Andrea Lichterman came to Arizona State University to study event planning. She leaves having accomplished so much more. Lichterman is the spring 2017 outstanding graduate for the School of Community Resources and Development, part of the College of Public Service and Community Services, in downtown Phoenix. School of Community Resources and Development outstanding graduate Andrea Lichterman Andrea Lichterman is the outstanding graduate of the School of Community Resources and Community Development. Download Full Image

“I came from a small town that reeked of wheat and cows on hot summer days and was lost in how I would develop as a young professional at a school with 80,000 students,” said the Wauconda, Illinois native. “My biggest obstacle all along was myself and not giving myself the confidence that I could accomplish anything that I set my mind to.”

She proved otherwise. Lichterman made the Dean’s list every semester.  She earned a New American University Scholarship and became a Dean's Undergraduate Research Scholar. But her time at ASU was much more than a high grade point average and academic achievement.  The university provided the kinds of opportunities that sparked her passion and allowed her to excel.

One of her early achievements was being selected as the director of homecoming for the downtown campus. She planned the 2014 homecoming dance, the Sun Devil Royalty ceremony and managed a $25,000 dollar budget.

Photo of Lichterman and classmates celebrating the planning of ASU's 2014 Homecoming Dance

Lichterman and classmates with Sparky behind the scenes at 2014 ASU Homecoming Dance. From left to right: Kelsey Reade, Megan Moore, Andrea Lichterman and Grace Roberts.

“I never thought that as a sophomore I would be given such an amazing opportunity to plan a really important event,” Lichterman said. “The amount of career oriented opportunities and opportunities in general that ASU provides for its students to engage in is awesome.”

She continually proved to her peers that leadership is among many of her talents. She did such a notable job planning homecoming festivities, that she was promoted to vice president of the Programming and Activities Board, also known as PAB. And when Super Bowl XLIX was played in the valley in 2015, Lichterman supervised employees at the NFL Experience event, some of whom were three times her age. 

“Since this experience, I’ve realized that leaders do not always have to be the ones delegating ideas or tasks,” Lichterman said. “Leadership is being able to hone in on a person’s skill set, so that they can gain confidence as a professional and continue to flourish within their destined interest.”

Lichterman worked a summer as a legislative marketing and events intern for a non-profit organization in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. One of her tasks was to interact with charter school principals getting them to advocate for a school choice bill in the legislature. It sparked a passion for public policy.

“I arrived that summer thinking I was only tasked with helping my boss plan her campaigns and conferences and distribute her marketing materials,” Lichterman said. “I left that internship having a passion for social change as I networked with legislatures from all over the western states about how essential charter schools are needed in rural areas such as Wyoming.”

Lichterman is wrapping up another internship. This one at the Arizona state capitol where she served as a research intern in the State Senate.

“I’m tasked with researching legislation that applies to social change issues that helps Arizona progress as a state,” she said.

Andrea Lichterman in front of the Arizona State Senate building

Andrea Lichterman interned as a research analyst at the Arizona State Senate.

As an undergraduate student, Lichterman conducted research to measure the perception millennials have towards the use of technology in outdoor recreation. She presented her findings at a professional conference.

"Andrea sought to better understand the attitude of her peers toward the use of public lands," said Gyan Nyaupane, an associate professor in the School of Community Resources and Development. "Andrea’s curiosity to learn and her ability to understand the complex social and environmental issues made her a natural fit for this research."

Lichterman also found time to compete for the Sun Devil Water Ski team, a sport she honed growing up on a lake in rural Illinois. And she’s been able to turn her fondness for the outdoors into a career focus with a degree in sustainable tourism. She is planning on a career in sustainable leadership and development.

“Through my studies, I’ve learned that there is tremendous opportunity for stewardship,” Lichterman said. “Knowing that our home is under more pressure than ever before, I plan to dedicate my career to meditating the gap between overconsumption and environmental ethics.”

Her fear of getting lost in the crowd at a large university never materialized. Instead, Lichterman became a stand out student and her school’s outstanding graduate.

“I was extremely humbled when they told me I had been selected, I had a tear in my eye,” said Lichterman. “It is really reassuring to know that all the work I have done has been not only noticed, but appreciated. And I am very grateful for the honor of representing my school.” 

Written by Makayla Perkins, contributing author 


Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


For this ASU grad, there’s no place like home

May 1, 2017

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2017 commencement. See more graduates here. Raymond Ceo / Courtesy photo "Libraries are uniquely positioned to provide safe spaces for teens," said graduating ASU student Raymond Ceo. "However, not enough libraries have dedicated teen spaces. I want to change that by evaluating libraries and their communities and working to create equitable space for the teen populations." Download Full Image

Raymond Ceo believes in Arizona. He also believes in great cultural institutions, like marriage and public libraries. The Arizona State University student, who graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in English (Creative Writing) and who plans to become a librarian, almost left the state to pursue his degree.

“I had intended to go to another school,” he said. “I even had a dorm picked out and had accepted a scholarship.”

Ultimately, Ceo’s sense that his home state could make a place for him won out. He enrolled at ASU in 2006.

Our interview with him picks up there.

Question: What was your "aha" moment, when you realized you wanted to study in your field? 

Answer: I have always been a writer to some extent. I was the editor of my high school newspaper for three years, I have written poems and short stories, and I even won an award for writing for the State Press years ago. Simply, I have always dabbled in it. But being a writer, and this degree, is just a stepping-stone for me. My ultimate goal is to become a librarian, which requires a master’s degree. While I love to write, I like the stability that being a librarian provides. Further, I like giving back to my community and what better way to do that than working in a library, where your community gathers to learn, connect and be entertained.

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

A: I started my degree in 2006. I left ASU for a few years. And then I returned, older, somewhat wiser, and certainly more mature. The biggest thing I learned in my now 11-year journey to getting my degree is that you are never too old to pursue your dreams, and that education is in fact a journey, and everyone’s path is different. I have come to learn to embrace all of it.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: In 2006, when I started, Arizona was facing a same-sex marriage ban, and I wanted to work on the campaign to fight it. I have always believed in marriage equality because one day I wanted to be married. I am glad I went to ASU to fight that law. I was able to witness Arizona become the first state in the nation to vote down a so-called marriage amendment. Now that I am married to someone of the same sex, I think it was worth it to stay here and fight for it. Being married in my home state was important to me.

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

A: Classes will come and go; friendships will come and go. The most important thing is to focus on your educational journey. Always be willing to explore and see where it takes you.

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

A: Naturally, Hayden Library has been good to me through the many phases of my academic life.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I intend to become a librarian. I have worked in libraries for nearly a decade and am in the process of deciding which library graduate program I want to go to. I’m looking forward to taking another step in my educational journey.

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

A: Libraries are uniquely positioned to provide safe spaces for teens. However, not enough libraries have dedicated teen spaces. I want to change that by evaluating libraries and their communities and working to create equitable space for the teen populations, and that’s how I would spend $40 million.

The Department of English of an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Manager, marketing + communications, Department of English