ASU English lit grad is ready to make her mark on the world

December 27, 2019

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

As the saying goes, you must walk before you can run, and that’s exactly what Julia Fields did. Before she set out to make her mark on the world, she first made her mark on her residence hall. Fields, who graduated this month with her degree in English literature, was a community assistant on Arizona State University's Tempe campus for most of her Sun Devil experience. ASU grad Julia Fields ASU grad Julia Fields Download Full Image

“My favorite part about the CA job was learning about all my residents’ different backgrounds and stories and what we could learn from each other,” she said.

As a member of the English department’s Committee of Altruistic Research and Experiences (CARE) not only does Fields have experience programming events for residential students but also for the larger communities that surround ASU.

Though Fields is unsure how she will further her impact now that she’s graduated, she is prepared to move in whatever direction life leads her.  

“I will write, work and figure out how I want to make my mark in this world, be it a career, through additional education or potentially working within the humanities,” she said.

As she prepared to close the chapter on her undergraduate life, Fields spoke with ASU Now about her journey to and through Arizona State University.

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

Answer: It was at my orientation to come to ASU during my senior year of high school that I had my "aha" moment. 

I had applied to ASU as a theatre major, but when it came time to make my schedule I had cold feet. I thought about the other classes that brought me joy in high school and realized I had a passion for English that I had always been apprehensive to share. 

I decided to take a leap of faith and switch my major before the first day of classes had even begun. I didn’t know then the journey that was beginning or the passion I would find for a language I thought I had known my whole life.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I was selected for the ASU Leadership Scholarship Program, and that changed everything for me. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to find a group where I felt like I belonged or was a part of something larger than myself and before I knew it, I had that before the first semester was even over.

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

A: While at ASU I learned that everything and everyone has something to teach you, but you get to decide if you are willing to listen.

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

A: I had numerous professors teach me some of the most valuable lessons, but perhaps my most impactful lesson came from Dr. Maureen Goggin. She taught me that I have a place in higher education, even when I have doubts about myself or my capabilities —  that I get to define what I am capable of.

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

A: Brene Brown said, “So be afraid, but do it anyway.” And this has completely changed my way of thinking. I would say to those still in school that it is OK to be afraid, to be fearful of the future, of your potential, of failing the test, but you can never let any of those fears be reasons not to try. 

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

A: My favorite spot on campus over the years has been McClintock Hall. I lived there my first year as well as my third year as a student staff member, and it has grown a sense of home for me. I feel like I had some of my largest periods of growth and had my views of what it means to be a part of the community as well as a leader challenged and molded.

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

A: I think there are many issues that could be tackled with $40 million, but I would start with food and water inequity around the world and other large-scale environmental issues.

Written by Alexis Young, Sun Devil Storyteller

Hannah Moulton Belec

Digital marketing manager, Educational Outreach and Student Services


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A decade in photos: Deanna Dent

December 27, 2019

ASU photographer and videographer Deanna Dent looks back at her favorite photos — and how photography has changed over 10 years

It's the end of another year, but more importantly it's the end of a decade.

It's fun to consider how much has changed in 10 years. It means something special to me because I began my professional career after graduating in 2009 so where I am today, working at ASU as a photographer and videographer, is very different than where I was in 2010, which was in Sudan.

I've had several years to develop the work I do, and I thought it would be fun to include a photograph from each year — not necessarily the "best" photo but ones that mean something to me. Also, I've included a look back at how photography is different today. 


2010 vs. now

Your go-to camera and gear:

2010: Canon 5D (photo only) with a Canon 28mm F2.8 prime and lots of 2GB and 4GB compact flash cards. My portable hard drive was maybe 256GB.

Now: Canon 5D Mark IV — with log — and the Canon 24-70mm F2.8. Several 64GB cards and always fully charged batteries.

How do you shoot? Manual, shutter priority, aperture priority or fully automatic?

2010: Manual but messed up exposures constantly.

Now: Manual but mess up only occasionally.

Types of assignments you shoot:

2010: Photojournalism — ranging from portraits and sports events to portraits. 

Now: Portraits primarily and some event photography.

Your favorite music to edit to:

2010: Probably Kanye, Black Eyed Peas, Bebe and Cabas.

Now: Here's my Spotify playlist

Where do you find interesting photo content?

2010: APAD (A Photo A Day) website and just listservs in general, Lens blog, Sports shooter. Also fellow photographers' blogs, I was totally addicted to these.

Now: Definitely sites like,, and technical blogs like PetaPixel for photo and video. For creative content I love Instagram and accounts like @everydayafrica or @everydaylatinamerica (there are so many) that allow you to find different and unique photographers from around the world. 

What instantly make you feel more relaxed?

2010: Nothing, just pure anxiety thinking I'm going to mess up a photograph, spell a name incorrectly on captions or fail to find fast-enough Wi-Fi to deliver.

Now: Instant relaxation comes from knowing I have minimum three charged batteries, 10 high-speed cards (SD and Compact Flash), a hard drive and a fully charged laptop.

What does your workflow look like?

2010: Use Mac finder window to choose my favorite JPEGs (no RAWs because of space limitations) and open in Photoshop. Color edit and write a caption and then save with names like best_07 or favoriteone_02 or Thisistheone_04. I delivered through burned CDs or sending one photo per email until they were all delivered.

Now: I use the software Photomechanic to cull my take, then batch-rename RAW files to YYYYMMDDAssignmentName_001. I apply basic captions and metada to the RAW files and import into Lightroom. I can apply filters or batch-edit a take and then export into JPEGs and finish my captions in Photomechanic before delivering through Photoshelter or Dropbox. 

Social media of choice:

2010: Facebook and Twitter.

Now: Instagram and VCSO.

Your favorite photographers (even though all photographers are awesome):

2010: Lynsey Addario, James Nachtwey, Damon Winters and pretty much every photographer because they all felt cooler than me.

Now: Love my local photographers. I've seen enough people drop in and make a quick, great photo and leave. It's a very different thing to stay in a community, do it justice and also produce compelling images. Some personal favorites locally on Instagram: @nickoza, @photochowder, @noemipossible, @ashponders, @hawthornephotos and @caitlin_oh.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

2010: Be a photographer who gets paid.

Now: Be retired and still take photos.

Deanna Dent

Photographer , ASU News