Hugh Downs School graduate to bring communication skills to law school


Hanna Fowl is graduating with a degree in human communication, with a minor in Spanish.

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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement

Hannah Fowl not only received an ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award, she is also a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Medalist. She says the best thing she did in school was to break out of her comfort zone, which allowed her to grow through new experiences.

The Glendale, Arizona, native is graduating with a degree in human communication, with a minor in Spanish. She took some time to answer questions about her time at Arizona State University.

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

Answer: I was sitting in a first-year course in another college and realized that I wasn’t remotely interested in any of the prospective careers being discussed because none of them were related directly to people. Human communication merged the topics that were of interest to me, with the knowledge that would prepare me for a successful career doing what I enjoyed. 

Q: What made you choose ASU? 

A: My dad is an alumnus, so I was always interested in ASU. Also, being from Arizona originally, I was aware of the prestige of the university, as well as the opportunities available to students. These factors, coupled with a generous scholarship, made my decision to attend Arizona State very easy.

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: I will be attending law school in the fall of 2018.

Hannah Fowl

Hannah Fowl receives a certificate of completion from the Federal
Correctional Institution in Phoenix.

Q: Is there a particular faculty member at ASU who was influential?  

A: Absolutely. I was incredibly lucky during my time at ASU to have some world-class professors, who care deeply about both the material and the students. Dr. Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko was both my professor and internship coordinator, and her constant encouragement and assistance were very meaningful to me.

I also had the opportunity to take a class taught by PhD student Dayna Kloeber, M.A. From this, I became a course assistant for her Communication of Happiness course last fall. Dayna’s insight, advice and support were instrumental in my success, both inside and outside the classroom. She has been an incredible role model, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her.

Also, academic adviser Jason LaBret was always so encouraging to me and had wonderful advice regarding career and course suggestions. My time spent in his office was always extremely positive and productive.

Q: What were the most useful classes you took? 

A: Honestly, every single class I took in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication has been useful in my professional and personal life. Particularly, the following classes were both interesting and enlightening: Being a Leader with Dr. Tracy, The Communication of Happiness with Dayna Kloeber, Relational Communication with Bailey Oliver, and Communication Approaches to Popular Culture with Dr. Quinlivan.

Q: How did this school help prepare you for your current career? 

A: The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication has helped me hone my communication skills, which has allowed me to feel confident in my networking abilities. These networking skills have fared well throughout various encounters with law school admissions faculty. 

Q: If you have interviewed for a job, what experiences at this school did you talk about? 

A: I have discussed group projects and the collaborative effort needed for success. I feel that the cooperation and communication skills required for a group project are extremely relatable to working with others in a professional setting as well.

Q: Were you involved in any student organizations or clubs? 

A: Yes! I was a member of Pi Beta Phi, and I was also involved in the greater Greek community by serving on the ASU Greek Conduct Board. 

Q: What advice do you have for students who may be following your path?

A: Get involved and be yourself. The best things I did for myself pushed me out of my comfort zone and subsequently led to personal growth. Professors within the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication want to help you succeed, and one of the most important things I figured out during my four years is that it isn’t a weakness to ask for help or admit you do not understand. Communicating with my professors was one of the most beneficial things I did academically, as it allowed me to enhance my learning experience, as well as build relationships with some incredible people.

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

A: Arizona State University is extremely diverse, which has exposed me to a multitude of opinions, ideas and schools of thought I never knew existed previously. One of the most important things I believe I have learned at ASU, from both my classes and my personal experience, is that we as humans are similar, even if we don’t see it ourselves. Obviously, we are individuals, and I believe it is imperative to embrace what makes us unique, but I also believe that as a society, it is important to focus on what unites us as people, rather than what divides us.

Hannah in front of the Sandra Day O'Connor Courthouse

Hannah Fowl, who has plans for law school, visits the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix.

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

A: I have always loved the little bamboo fountain, located on the south side of the Durham Literature and Language Building. It is very peaceful, and I love hearing the water, especially when I am studying.

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

A: This is such a tough question to answer because there are so many deserving causes. If given $40 million, I would work to tackle the funding issues that plague disabled veterans and their quality of care. Their service and sacrifice for this country are immense, and I would love to provide them with the top-of-the-line medical and mental health services, free of charge.

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