ASU exercise and wellness grad grows with on-campus positions

April 24, 2019

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

Alereese Gonzalez has worn many hats during her time at ASU. Aside from earning her degree in exercise and wellness, Gonzalez held three different student worker positions. She says she loved each of them, but her time as a community assistant at the Taylor Place residence hall was her favorite. ASU spring 2019 graduate Alereese Gonzalez on the Tempe campus Alereese Gonzalez. Photo by Bryan Pietsch Download Full Image

“Though it was a tough job, I appreciated every second of socializing with residents in Taylor Place and making sure the students I talked to felt at home and accepted in our community,” Gonzalez said.

She also worked as a wellness supervisor at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on the Downtown Phoenix campus and currently works as a graphic design assistant for Access ASU. Gonzalez said that networking at ASU allowed her to get each of her positions and that her jobs gave her valuable professional skills.

“These positions taught me professional communication with outside organizations, how to network with others, how to manage my time well and how to deal with challenging situations appropriately and in a professional manner,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez spoke with ASU Now about what brought her to ASU and what she’s learned from her time here.

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

Answer: I was a junior in high school, and I played competitive soccer on a club team and on my high school’s varsity team. I went into a physical therapy session at the beginning of the season due to an ankle injury and finally realized I wanted to major in something with health care.

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

A: Through ASU’s Charter, I learned how the large university is measured not by whom it excludes but by whom it includes. This changed my perspective on academics and life in general because ASU has given individuals the opportunity to accomplish their dreams, regardless of their financial status, where they are from, who they know or what they want to do.

Some students I have met are busy with obstacles in life such as providing for an entire family, are veterans from different military branches or are working full time. ASU has an incredible amount of opportunities to offer individuals who are motivated and determined to follow their dreams.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because of the EXW (exercise and wellness) program. I am a visual and hands-on learner and this major offered everything I was looking for. I visited the Downtown Phoenix campus my senior year before I chose a university and immediately felt at home.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Dr. Jack Chisum, one of my EXW professors and my thesis director, taught me that there are many paths you can take in life that will get you to the same destination. Life is a journey that you should spend time loving and enjoying rather than stressing about, because you will still end up where you need to be.

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

A: Make the most of your college career by trying things you have never thought about doing before. Go out of your way to do the unexpected, because only then will you make the most memories. There are times where you need to put your head down and focus just on academics, but always find time to do what makes your soul happy.

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

A: I loved going to the BCLS (Beus Center for Law and Society) building with a group of friends to study. We would have extreme study sessions and take a short break to grab Starbucks across the street, then get right back to academics.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am planning on going back home to California. I am still debating what I am more passionate about: occupational therapy or physical therapy. I do have a position at an orthopedic rehabilitation clinic lined up, but I still want to take a year off to volunteer at different OT (occupational therapy) and PT (physical therapy) clinics to further understand what each of those occupations entail in various settings.

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

A: I would love to tackle ocean pollution. Marine life is extremely important to our planet, and creatures are suffering from plastics, oil spills, fish nets, toxic chemicals, solid wastes, trash, et cetera. There are many organizations that have taken action in an attempt to prevent ocean pollution at its source.

Written by Sun Devil Storyteller Bryan Pietsch, EOSS Marketing

Hannah Moulton Belec

Digital marketing manager, Educational Outreach and Student Services


ASU poet’s new collection a ‘love story for the desert’

April 24, 2019

Reflecting on her life’s journey as a writer — from having her mother create story books for her at a young age to being on the threshold of having her second book of poems published — Arizona State University’s Patricia Colleen Murphy sees one vital thread: bookworms.

“I have always been surrounded by bookworms and came from a very bookie family,” Murphy said. “From a very early age I was encouraged to be creative and write.” ASU principal lecturer, founder of Superstition Review Patricia Colleen Murphy outside her home in Ahwatukee ASU College of Integrative Sciences principal lecturer Patricia Colleen Murphy outside her home in Ahwatukee. Murphy's newly published poetry collection, "Bully Love," was shaped by her love and concern for the desert. Photo by Kynan Marlin/ASU Download Full Image

Recently, all the time she’s invested in her craft has paid off. Murphy won the 2016 May Swenson Poetry Award. Winning this award resulted in the publication of her first poetry collection, “Hemming Flames.”

This year she won the 2019 Press 53 Award for Poetry, resulting in the publication of her second collection, “Bully Love.”

“'Bully Love' is really a love story for the desert,” Murphy said.

As an Ohio girl, Murphy didn’t always love the desert. When she moved to Arizona, everything at first seemed different and dangerous to her.

“It took me a while, but I started to learn to love the desert,” she said.

At the same time, she was also falling in love with something else.

“My partner is someone who always loved the outdoors,” Murphy said. “From a very young age he had loved hiking and being outside. And that relationship really took me into the desert, it took me into wilderness areas. I fell in love with him as I fell in love with the landscape.”

As Murphy spent more time in the desert, she started to pay more attention to how it was being treated. Her contradicting title, “Bully Love,” is rooted in how people are using the desert resources without thinking about them.

“The poem that carries the title ‘Bully Love’ is really about the commodification of the desert and the tourist industry in Arizona,” she said. “Because as I started to visit wilderness areas and understand more about the precious ecosystem that we live in, I became a lot more critical of the ways that people are using the desert.”

Murphy spent plenty of time observing and reflecting on her thoughts, as she spent more than 20 years composing the poems that have made up her most recent collection. Along the way, she published her writing in many of the top national literary magazines (28 of the poems in “Bully Love” first appeared in 24 different publications). She was also funded for working stints at several artist retreats.

While she doesn’t think her two published books will lead to fame and fortune, she does get a satisfaction out of the accomplishment.

“It’s not necessarily that we think we’re going to get immediate notoriety or people will be knocking down our door to publish more work,” Murphy said, “But I think it’s a way to know that you’re doing something right and that your work is being appreciated.”

Video by Kynan Marlin and Sophia Molinar, ASU

When Murphy isn’t writing her own poems or trying to get her work published, she’s helping her own students do the same.

Since earning her MFA at ASU, Murphy has been teaching and passing down her wisdom for 26 years at the university, where she’s a principal lecturer in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at ASU’s Polytechnic campus and also founder of ASU’s student-produced literary journal, Superstition Review.

“I’m kind of a perpetual student,” Murphy said, laughing. “And being a professor is a way to be in the classroom for the rest of your life really. I also just really enjoy working with students, and my students bring me such great joy.”

Below is the final of the 67 poems featured in “Bully Love”:


is already unraveling like the loose
thread the cat bats. I thought I could
plan the next forty years based on my
forty years’ experience. Why is living
still so problematic? The days slip
away as quickly as memories
of a person who was like me.
Now I am stuck re-learning
that all pain is public. I want to listen
to it over the phone so it sounds skinny.
I want it to be the dentist whose sleeve
brushes the curve of my cheekbone.
I don’t want to hate it as much as I do.
I need to tell you that last thing I said
was insincere.

Written by Kynan Marlin, student marketing assistant, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, and sports journalism major, ASU Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication