Scripted for the role of English major

May 2, 2017

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

As a kid growing up in Gilbert, Arizona, ASU English major Nathan Askins loved to read and write. ASU English grad (Poly campus) Nathan Askins and family Nathan Askins, an English graduate in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at ASU's Polytechnic campus, said the birth of his sons was the most rewarding part of his undergraduate years. Download Full Image

“I would write little ‘fan fiction’ stories for shows I watched or for action figures I would play with. By the time I got to high school, I knew that my degree would be in English,” said Askins, who completed the ASU course English 101 as a high school senior.

“It was amazing to see a huge piece of my life come into the picture,” he said, reflecting on his decision. “Realizing English was my path seemed more like a lifelong affirmation than a choice.”

Askins completed his English major in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus, where he especially enjoyed the course Literature for Young Adults, focused on books in different genres within Young Adult Literature, and the course Literature to Film: “We read different books and watched the movies made about them and then analyzed and wrote about why filmmakers change certain things when adapting to film.”

He’s also completed two minors: one in sustainability and one in family and human development.

After graduation, Askins will be attending law school in Idaho. 

“While I’m not sure which type of law I will practice,” he observed, “I’m interested in learning about environmental law and seeing if this might be something I would like to pursue.”

Askins answered some questions about his ASU experience.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: Honestly, I originally choose ASU because it was so close to home. Until starting at ASU, I had no clue just how great a school ASU is.

Q: When you think of your time studying with ASU, is there an interesting moment, experience, or accomplishment that stands out for you?

A: My greatest accomplishments were my two sons being born while I was at Arizona State University. It was hard to balance life between school, work, and raising two young boys, but it was the most rewarding experience.

Q: What’s something you learned while studying at ASU that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: My views on just about everything changed while at ASU. On a slim recommendation from my advisor, I decided to minor in sustainability. This completely changed my mind about climate change and motivated me to change my life.

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

A: I would work to help promote the research and use of alternative energies.

Q: Did you have any favorite campus spots where you especially liked to study or hang out?

A: I completed my degree at the Polytechnic campus. I'm a nerd and loved being in the library. When it cools down, I love to sit in Neely Plaza.

Maureen Roen

Director, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


ASU graduate motivated by desire to help people in need

May 2, 2017

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

Matthew Hernandez faced some challenges before heading to college, but he didn’t let it hinder his progress. He chose to attend Arizona State University because it was the best fit for his needs. Matthew Hernandez Matt Hernandez will graduate this May with a bachelor's degree in family and human development from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Download Full Image

“There are so many experiences that we, as college students, go through that seem challenging,” he said, “but after every drawback we are propelled forward. My college experience is best described as a time of personal, professional and intellectual growth.”

Hernandez is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in family and human development. He began his college career as a nursing major before deciding to pursue his main interest in human development.

Planning to attend law school, Hernandez thinks the switch was the right decision for his future. He also decided to pursue a human rights certificate after witnessing the immigration crisis firsthand in Europe. He plans on studying international law or human rights law after completing his undergraduate degree.

Hernandez answered questions about his future as well as his time spent at ASU.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study family and human development?

Answer: It wasn’t necessarily an “aha” moment. It was more so that I wanted to pursue my interests. [But] another thing that led me to adding on my human rights certificate — because I didn’t do that until I came back from studying abroad — was witnessing the influx of immigrants going into different countries.

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

A: Pursue your interests. There’s not many times you’ll be able to do things here; I feel like we’d regret it later. So, if you’re like, “Oh, I should have studied that in college rather than do this” — I think the one lesson I’ve learned here primarily is that you can relate anything you study to any career, any experience you’ll have later in life.

Q: What was an important event or experience you had in college?

A: Particularly, I had this one experience in Spain where my friends and I went to the capitol and you could see a bunch of immigrants camping outside in a stadium that’s full of them already and there [was] a banner welcoming them. And I thought that was so profound because here it’s kind of foreign to acknowledge an open-door policy.

Q: What skills have you learned in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that will help you conquer challenges in life?

A: I feel that my coursework fostered a sense of fearlessness. I should not be afraid to ask questions, seek help, offer critique, substantiate my claims and engage in discourse. This newfound sense of fearlessness has definitely amplified my critical thinking skills.

Q: What do you plan on doing after you graduate?

A: I plan on either attending Georgetown University or the University of Washington studying international law or human rights law. It would be under the human rights umbrella, focusing on indigenous rights, women’s rights [or] immigration rights.

Parker Shea

Student Writer and Reporter, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences