Skip to main content

Mother, student, designer — now graduate

ASU Online student Rebecca Sjorup

Rebecca Sjorup

December 17, 2019

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

Rebecca Sjorup will be graduating this December with a bachelor’s degree in graphic information technology, but the technical skills didn’t always come second nature to her. Once Photoshop finally clicked, Sjorup knew she was on the right track for a fulfilling and creative career.

Born and raised in Düsseldorf, Germany, Sjorup has called Richmond, Virginia, home since the age of 25 and believes that earning her degree with ASU has provided her and her twin girls the opportunity to live out their own American Dream.

Sjorup was initially drawn to Arizona State University after making the tough decision to switch careers entirely. She realized that being a social worker, while rewarding, was not the long-term path she wanted to pursue. After four years of working, mothering and being a student, after graduation, Sjorup has plans to open her own business. Read more about Rebecca’s experience as an online student and her unique journey to graduation below.

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

Answer: My "aha" moment occurred when Photoshop finally made sense to me. I have always loved photography, but editing photos was never enjoyable because I couldn’t wrap my head around most editing software and would get frustrated. Then one day in class it all made sense and all of a sudden, Photoshop felt like second nature.

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 quitting isn’t for me. For the longest time, I used to give up whenever things got hard, uncomfortable or inconvenient. ASU taught me that persistence and discipline can take you far and even with the countless all-nighters it is so worth it. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: Being able to earn my degree online has been an absolute blessing for me and my family.

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

A: Although it is really hard to name just one, Zachary Shaffer taught me that kindness goes a long way. When my group (from an unrelated class) and I were in desperate need of a professor to interview last minute, Shaffer came to the rescue and answered all our questions.

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

A: Fight for that extra point every single time because they add up. Make sure you reach out to professors, ask for an extra credit opportunity. It took me way too long to understand that your professors aren’t the enemy, they truly want to see you succeed.

Q: As an online student, what was your favorite spot to study or to just think about life?

A: My backyard — I can’t think of a place that is more peaceful and inspiring than the bright blue picnic bench under a big tree in the yard.

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

A: I would ban all plastic because having kids has made me more aware of the bad and potentially dangerous things that we consume and come in contact with every day. Microplastics are high up on my list of things I want to live without.

More Science and technology


Graphic depiction of a membrane ion channel.

Chilling discovery: Cold-sensing protein may pave the way for safer pain relief

For millions of people worldwide who live with chronic pain, the only treatments currently available often rely on opioids, which…

June 21, 2024
Person in a white lab coat and blue gloves handling lab equipment to research stem cell technology.

Harnessing benefits of stem cells for heart regeneration

Mehdi Nikkhah, an associate professor of biomedical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State…

June 21, 2024
Students seated at desks in a classroom listen to an unseen speaker.

Newly accredited ASU summer program opens up STEM opportunities for underrepresented students

It was Monday afternoon. Spotify was playing pop music in the background and the instructor stood behind a lectern wearing a…

June 20, 2024