Community health grad a ‘leader among her peers’

Alise Townsend

Alise Townsend will graduate in May 2019 with a degree in community health from ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. Photo by Paloma Ruelas.


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

Leadership has been a through line of Alise Townsend’s Sun Devil experience.

While pursuing her community health degree from Arizona State University's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, she also devoted a great deal of her time to extracurriculars focused on leadership, service and philanthropy.

Her involvement has included Well Devil Coalition, Black African Coalition, National Panhellenic Council and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 

She also served as a student coordinator for the Sun Devil Fitness Complex at the Downtown Phoenix campus, where she focused on wellness and health education. 

Courtney Spivak-Smith, associate director of Sun Devil Fitness, said Townsend’s commitment to the Sun Devil Fitness Complex and Educational Outreach and Student Services has been “above and beyond.”

“She is a leader among her peers and an asset to every team she is on,” Spivak-Smith said.

While working with Sun Devil Fitness, Townsend helped improve her fellow students’ lives through her passion for health and leadership.

“I have loved being able to make a difference in my community,” she said.

After graduation, she will pursue a nursing degree, fulfilling the call toward the profession she discovered during her freshman year at ASU and continuing her path of leadership in the health and wellness field.

Townsend spoke to ASU Now about why she chose ASU, what she learned here and her advice for fellow Sun Devils. 

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

Answer: My freshman year in ASU 101, I found that my call was nursing and not being a pediatrician. I am a very hands-on person and I spoke with my ASU 101 coordinator and she helped me reach my decision. I am so grateful that she helped me.

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

A. I learned that if you want something to change in your life you have to make that change and no one will do it for you.

Q. Why did you choose ASU?

A. I chose ASU because I visited my sister and I felt this was a place I could belong.

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

A. (Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation instructor) Samantha Calvin.

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

A. Keep trying, it does not matter if you change your major once or 12 times. You are here for a reason and you have a purpose.

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

A. The Sun Devil Fitness Center.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. I plan to apply to nursing school, complete my internship in the Education Programs at Planned Parenthood, and I plan to continue working at my current job.

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

A. I would solve the problem of people not having full autonomy over their bodies.

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