ASU digital cultural student first recipient of Ryan Matthew Duncan Memorial Scholarship

October 26, 2018

Lisette Borja, a senior studying digital cultural in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University, has been named the first recipient of the Ryan Matthew Duncan Memorial Scholarship.

This scholarship was established to provide financial support to undergraduate students in the school's digital culture program. Photo of Sha Xin Wei, Lisette Borja and Cheryl Marston From left: Sha Xin Wei, director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering; Lisette Borja, first recipient of the Ryan Matthew Duncan Scholarship; and Cheryl Marston, mother of Ryan Matthew Duncan and business operations manager in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. Download Full Image

“I was pleasantly surprised to get the Ryan Matthew Duncan scholarship,” Borja said. “It's amazing to think my time in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, although short, has really blossomed into such a wonderful experience for me. I've been really invested in my education here, and every project I take on excites me.”

The scholarship was established in the memory of the son of Cheryl Marston; she has worked as a business operations manager with what is now the School of Arts, Media and Engineering since its inception as a joint initiative of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering in 2004. 

Duncan, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2011, was a Valley resident and served in the United States Marine Corps for nearly three years. He was known to carry a $20 bill in his pocket and give it to whomever he felt was in need, and he often gave his last meal rations to fellow Marines he felt needed them more than he did. In the spirit of his giving nature, his family thought it would be fitting to create this scholarship in his name.

“Our annual gift represents our personal commitment to the digital culture undergrad program, and our hope is that the scholarship fund grows over time through raising more of our own funds as well as the generosity of our family and friends,” Marston said.

Duncan often talked about the possibility of attending college at ASU after his enlistment ended. Although he didn’t live to realize that possibility, his legacy of giving will continue through this scholarship

“I hope that over the years, my education and the experience I've gathered here leads me into bigger, greater things,” Borja said. “The dream job is to work as part of an experience design team like Walt Disney's Imagineers. I am very grateful for all the support I'm receiving, through this scholarship and more, toward reaching that dream.”

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts