Communication grad credits an optimistic outlook for her positive school memories

April 16, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2019 commencement.

Senior communication major in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Kaitlyn Vanklompenberg applied and was accepted to ASU's Leadership Scholarship Program, following in the footsteps of her older sister Kat. The prestigious program comes with a four-year scholarship and allowed Vanklompenberg to meet many ambitious, like-minded individuals who grew into some of her closest friends. It also allowed her to develop and craft her leadership skills, as she says, "truly becoming a better leader and human."   Kaitlyn Vanklompenberg. Download Full Image

A member of the 2016 cohort, Vanklompenberg introduced herself to the group as having a passion for music, admitting to spending all of her money on concerts. "I’ve learned how to play the violin, viola and piano and I am trying to learn the guitar." Vanklompenberg, who is half Vietnamese, also told her cohorts, "I will take you all to get phó and boba." 

It was through her experience at LSP where she discovered Changemaker Central, an ASU community of like-minded students that are leading social change in our local and global community. Inspired by her love of storytelling and spoken word, Vanklompenberg applied for and received the paid position of "Storytelling Series Chair." The position, she says, entailed planning and executing university-wide events that hosted nationally recognized speakers telling their stories. 

"While a time-consuming and at times overwhelming position, I always walked out of the office feeling productive and confident in what I was doing."

ASU Now sat down with Vanklompenberg to find out more about her ASU experience.

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

Kaitlyn Chantal Vanklompenberg with featured storyteller and Marvel comic-book writer Gabby Rivera after the spring 2018 Storytelling Series event she and her Changemaker team planned and executed.

Answer: Nearing the end of my junior year in high school, I fell into the world of poetry, spoken word and storytelling. Soon after, I began performing in talent shows, at coffee shops and in front of my close friends and family members. Through this, I was able to recognize the importance of communication. I often feel like people are uninterested in what I have to say — when I have a microphone and a stage, they can’t help but pay attention. This hobby has turned into a passion of mine!

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

A: I am currently enrolled in COM452 Communication of Happiness and you would not believe the number of people I have told about this course. I am not exaggerating when I say this class has changed my life! When entering this class, I, admittedly thought it would be an easy class discussing the mere philosophy of happiness. To my surprise, this class has challenged me like no other. I have been able to change multiple aspects of life because of this class and it has been highly impactful. While typically maintaining a positive attitude toward life, this class has given me the tools to make every day count. Through means of weekly journaling or exercising consistently, this class has taught me how to be happier. I am so lucky that ASU offers this class and would recommend it to everyone. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: ASU has been a part of my family for decades. Many of my aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings have attended and graduated from ASU. Side note: My mom is currently back in school at ASU hoping to earn her bachelor’s in 2020! Go, Mom! To keep this tradition, I always knew I would apply for this university. After initially applying, I was accepted into LSP which further solidified my choice to attend Sun Devil Nation!

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Try to have an optimistic outlook. When you get a bad grade, move on and do better next time. When you have to do a group project with people you don’t know, get to know them! Try to exit college with as many positive memories as you can — and that starts with your attitude!

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

A: My favorite spot on campus is definitely the lounge area on the first floor of the Stauffer building. Having so many communication classes there, I would always find myself in that room either before or after class. The quiet space allows me to catch up on homework, meet up with a friend or just relax. I also noticed that non-com majors don’t know about it, so it hardly ever gets crowded!

Kaitlyn Chantal Vanklompenberg performing.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am planning to continue my education at ASU within the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. I am hoping to earn a master’s degree within the same field I am currently in!

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

A: Unfortunately, I could answer this with many options, and it is difficult to choose one. I am passionate about many things — social justice, sustainability, health rights, and more. When thinking off the top of my head, I am reminded of a topic that many overlook — the period problem. Overall, the fact that companies charge women around the world for pads/tampons/etc. is a capitalistic problem that will not slow down anytime soon. On top of that, there are countless countries with outrageous limitations toward women because of their menstrual cycle (ex: Uganda, Sierra Leone). Some women are restricted from cooking food while on their period or bathing near any shared utensils. Some women are contracting bacterial infections and even die due to their lack of resources in regard to period blood collection. Underdeveloped countries lack the knowledge it takes to fully understand menstruation; therefore, periods are treated as “taboo.” In conclusion, while there are countless problems we could tackle, I would focus on the lack of knowledge and rights surrounding menstruation and the women that experience it.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication


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3D printing and vinyl cutting join needle and thread in ASU's costume shop

April 16, 2019

Makerspaces drive creativity as more people look for elaborate costumes

It used to be that people would dress up once a year at Halloween, but the world of cosplay has opened new opportunities for people to create intricate, elaborate costumes to wear year-round. Arizona State University has several resources for making extravagant costumes — including professional help.

Sarah Lankenau, clinical assistant professor of costume technology in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, is holding a workshop on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. to teach makeup techniques. The free workshop is open to anyone and will be in the Hayden Library mkrspace on the Tempe campus, where Lakenau will answer questions about using the technology there to create costumes.

“I feel like the idea of what is costume and what is performance has really expanded,” said Lankenau, who taught a workshop on costume wig styling at the space earlier this month.

“With the maker movement and the emergence of these makerspaces, it’s become such an open and collaborative community.”

Cosplay has driven interest in costuming, along with activities like the Renaissance Fair and Jane Austen societies. Next month, Phoenix Fan Fusion (formerly Phoenix Comic Con) will draw hundreds of costume-wearing attendees.

Students in ASU’s costume classes become as proficient in using vinyl-cutters and 3D printers as they do sewing machines — all of which are available in the Hayden mkrspace to anyone in the ASU community. Lankenau said that the costume shop in the Herberger Institue for Design and the Arts will get its own 3D printer next year, but it’s important for students to know about the resources available on campus.

Students used digital fabrication to create the costumes for the recent productionStudents who worked on the "Ajax" costumes were Adle Smithson, costume designer, and Niamh Murphy, Alexa Marron and Andrew Hopson, drapers. Digital fabrication was done by Marron and Smithson. of “Ajax,” a Greek tragedy.

“I emphasize to my students that they should use technology to solve a problem,” she said. For example, one student used the vinyl cutter to create an intricate “feather” design that would have taken many hours to do by hand.

“I try to impress upon the students that if you let the fact that you haven’t done something keep you from trying it, you’re really missing out on all the fun,” she said.

Besides 3D printing, the Hayden mkrspace also includes 3D scanning; a WACOM tablet, which allows digital capture of hand-drawn images; and a variety of electronics, according to Victor Surovec, program coordinator for the mkerservices, who will staff Hayden Library’s booth at Phoenix Fan Fusion.

“There was a time you did have to be in a profession to have the skill set to run some of this equipment, but now, the usability of some of this stuff has gotten to a level where I teach a 6-year-old to design and print in 3D,” he said.

Lankenau will hold a workshop on “Digital Fabrication for Costumes” from June 6 to 8 on software basics, how to access hardware, types of digital fabrication projects, how to make simple digital files for fabric printing, and 3D printing. Participants can attend for one day or all three days.

Top image: Sarah Lankenau, clinical assistant professor of costume design, shows an intricate costume that was created using a vinyl cutter. Photo by Marcus Chormicle/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News