When he was a trainer at a gym in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, Joey Green had no idea the opportunities Arizona State University would provide him.
He also had no idea how his life would change when a young boy with autism spectrum disorder walked into his gym, sparking a lifelong commitment to advocating for and helping individuals on the spectrum.
That spirit of giving clicked with the idea of innovation when Green toured ASU's Tempe campus with the Devils' Advocates as a prospective student.
He became a student and later was inspired to give back, sharing with other potential students what drew him to the university.
Green now is one of 46 out-of-state campus tour guides at ASU and one of the thousands of out-of-state students that bring unique perspectives, viewpoints and solutions to the expanding presence of the university.
Early in his undergraduate career, Green channeled his passion for autism awareness to start ASU's chapter of Autism Speaks U.
“I started my own club here and it was super easy," Green said. "I’ve been really involved on campus and I don’t feel like I could’ve done that at any other university. I had an overwhelming amount of support. I have never had such a wide variety of people saying, 'Yes, I am here for you. I want to do this.'"
The Devils' Advocates group is a volunteer organization that brings together current students to lead tours for students who are considering coming to ASU and their parents.
Lizeth Hill, who helps coordinate the program, said coming to college as an out-of-state student is an intimidating process, but having role models who have already been through it can help put students' minds at ease.
“Hearing from a current out-of-state student ... why they chose ASU, what their experience was ... and then the things that they've done while at ASU, I think kind of helps prospective students take a glance into what their potential future could be at ASU,” Hill said.
Other out-of-state students, like Cara Courtney, didn’t consider enrolling at ASU until they toured the campus.
"I was only applying to schools in-state in Texas,” said Courtney, another Devils' Advocate tour guide. “I was going to go to UT Austin and I got a letter in the mail telling me I was eligible for a scholarship in Barrett. I like the idea of Barrett because it is the No. 1 honors college in the country, so that is what made me come and tour ASU. And I just love the campus.
“Sometimes you just get a gut feeling when you tour schools, and I got that here; it’s a cool campus,” she said. “I got a lot of the aesthetic appeal of it, walking under this area with Hayden (Library) and all the flowers and the solar panels — this is neat, this is somewhere I see myself.”
Now that Courtney is here, she gets to share what makes ASU special with other prospective students.
"I’ve had people ask me on tours, ‘Isn’t it easy to get into ASU?’ As if that devalues our university. I like it. (That access) gives everyone a chance," she said.
“I think about it from an engineering perspective because so much of what we do is teamwork, and for me, being a woman in engineering we want more women because the diversity helps. It’s different ways of thinking about things — that’s why we are so successful as a research university, because not only do we make it easy to get involved but we want a lot of people to be involved. So you bring in those different perspectives to solve all kinds of problems and that’s what helps us succeed in those kinds of endeavors.”
Top photo: ASU psychology major and Devils' Advocate Joey Green leads a tour, including six prospective Sun Devils, along Cady Mall on the Tempe campus on Feb. 28, 2019. The pre-med sophomore talks with high school students and their parents to generate excitement for them to attend the country's most innovative school. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now
More Sun Devil community
Grandmother's experience in Holocaust inspires ASU alum to help others
Editor's note: Arizona State University alumni are making a difference in every corner and community of the world, positively changing the lives of those they encounter. ASU News traveled around the…
Tempe Open Door concludes monthlong series of 2024 events
Arizona State University’s Tempe campus took on an intimate and inviting atmosphere on Saturday, as it opened its physical and metaphorical doors to the public. ASU Open Door 2024 held its final…
Founders' Day: A celebration of ASU’s past, present and future
A Marine, a leader in carbon emissions technology and a disability advocate had one thing in common on Wednesday night. They were all part of an inspiring group of Arizona State University alumni,…