Q&A with ASU alum Ruben Gonzales

Ruben Gonzales graduated the School of International Letters and Cultures with a perfect GPA — now he plans to go into international law

Ruben Gonzales.


Ruben Gonzales is an alumni of Arizona State University's School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC), after graduating in May this year with a degree in Jewish studies.

Here he provides some insight on his future plans. 

Question: Tell us about yourself.

Answer: I am a former electrician who decided that my life needed to be adjusted, so I devised an exit strategy. Within that strategy, attending college was part of the path. I began this journey four years ago at Mesa Community College. As I began to realize my potential, my thoughts shifted towards a four-year degree and the prominent colleges in Arizona. I chose Arizona State primarily because they offered both biblical Hebrew and Arabic.  

[My major was] in the Jewish studies BA program. I looked to add a different vibe to my journey by adding both a philosophy and an Arabic studies minor. Also, I decided to complete [an] Islamic studies certificate. I [graduated] with a 4.0 this May. Between Jewish studies and School of International Letters and Cultures, I am well prepared to take on any graduate level program.

Q: Why did you come to SILC or more broadly, ASU?

A: I searched all the primary schools in the state and Arizona State University was the best fit. Prior to arriving at ASU, I met with Barbara Fleming from SILC to discuss my goals. From that meeting, I knew that ASU was the correct place for me.  

Q: Tell us about your future plans. What do you hope for?

A: I have three major goals as of today. First, I would love to go to law school and major in international law. International law would be a perfect way to use my knowledge I have gained between Jewish studies and Arabic studies. Second, I would like to earn a PhD in ancient (Middle) Eastern languages and literature. I have already learned two Semitic languages, so I think I could handle a few more. Third, I love storytelling and film. At some point, I think film school is in my future. I do understand that my goals are more than one person's lifetime, but I have set the bar high and at the least I will strive to reach all of those goals.

Q: Do you plan to study law at ASU? 

A: I have a short list of where I would love to study law. Many schools on my list offer a dual program where I can earn a master's degree simultaneously as my law degree. My list as of now is Arizona State, USC, Texas, UCLA and Stanford. I’m a West Coast guy, so no snow for me.

Q: Do you plan on merging law and Middle Eastern studies into a career?

A: I do plan on using my language, culture and religious studies knowledge within my career. The principal idea is to be able to provide exceptional care and respect to my clients while maintaining solid professionalism between the two cultures.

Q: Any advice to those want to major in Middle Eastern languages and perhaps go to law school?

A: The most significant advice I can give is this: The road I'm on is my path, and there are many paths to the same success — find yours!