‘Hearts and Scholars’ celebrates ASU student scholarship, philanthropy

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences event gathers donors and students

Nikki Hinshaw pictured at her internship with The McCain Institute's Policy Design Studio program in Washington D.C.

ASU junior Nikki Hinshaw during her internship with the McCain Institute's Policy Design Studio program in Washington, D.C., an opportunity she says the Craig and Barbara Barrett Political Science Scholarship helped fund. Photo courtesy of Nikki Hinshaw


Each year at Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, alumni, community members and other supporters contribute to the future by investing in student success. And whether it’s extra money for class supplies, or providing the means to complete a career-shaping internship, the scholarships they fund have the power to transform lives.

One of the many donors giving back to ASU is Judy Smith, an alumna who earned both her Bachelor of Science and a doctorate from the college’s Department of Psychology.

Growing up in the tiny Navajo County town of Holbrook in northeastern Arizona, she says campus offered what felt like endless potential to grow. That journey was possible thanks to the scholarships she received herself, particularly during graduate school. Now, through the Smith-Marshall Scholarship established with her husband, Jeff Marshall, in 2014, she’s helping other psychology students do the same.  

"Going to ASU was the thrill of my life as a student,” Smith said. “I would like to help other students from small and isolated Arizona towns to broaden their experiences, meet new people and visit new places to expand their personal horizons.”

She is not alone. Home to 19 departments and schools, the college garners thousands of dollars in scholarships each year dedicated to supporting specific fields of study, bolstering first-generation students and financing study abroad and research opportunities.

Launched in 2004, the Hearts and Scholars event gives philanthropists the chance to hear from recipients themselves about how they’ve been affected.

Annmarie Barton, a dual major in biochemistry and anthropology who received the Deborah Oldfield Reich and John Reich Maroon and Gold Leaders Scholarship, says it’s an opportunity to catch her donors up on a year of changes.

“I want to update them on how I’m doing, that I’ve added a major, and just let them know how appreciative I am that they decided to change their world which, in turn, changed mine,” she said.

For as long as she can remember, Barton has wanted to be a teacher. Coming to ASU, and having the means to focus on studying, has helped that goal materialize.

“A lot of it is about taking the stress off of paying for school,” she said. “Being able to come to university and learn so much gets me one step closer to ultimately helping others learn as well.”

A meaningful experience in college isn’t just about attending classes, it’s also about leaving campus to pursue career-advancing opportunities elsewhere. That was the case for Nikki Hinshaw, a junior dual-majoring in political science and communication in the School of Politics and Global Studies and Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. Receiving the Craig and Barbara Barrett Political Science Scholarship helped her study abroad and complete internships in Washington, D.C.

“Without scholarships, I would not have been able to engage in these unpaid and often costly opportunities,” she said. “I hope that (with the experiences), I’m able to make a bigger impact on my community and give back to others someday as well.”

For many students, finances aren’t the only thing boosted by the funds. Benjamin Mesnik remembers being shy as an incoming freshman in the School of Life Sciences last fall. The support he received from the Dean’s Circle Scholarship made him feel more prepared.

“It allows you to be confident that someone believes in you, someone or some organization is investing in you and letting you know we want you to succeed here, we want you to become academically excellent,’” he said. “I would want to say thank you, thank you countless times.”

The annual Hearts and Scholars Scholarship Dinner will take place Feb. 5 on the Tempe campus for invited guests.