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Conferences, catacombs and camping trips: ASU students have big spring break plans


Student doing 'forks up' gesture.

Gregory Chase.

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March 02, 2020

For students in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, spring break is an opportunity to get ahead both in academics and in their personal lives.

Gregory Chase, a senior majoring in psychology, said he’ll be using spring break 2020 for research and preparation. 

Chase said he plans on using the free time to continue his research project in the Department of Psychology’s @Heart lab, in order to prepare for the biennial Society for Research on Adolescence conference that will take place the following week.

“Ever since joining the @Heart lab, I’ve been interested in researching the development and maintenance of romantic relationships in adolescence,” he said. “Spring break provides the perfect opportunity to continue working within the lab without distractions of class.” 

Also attending a prestigious conference is Edurne Beltran de Heredia Carmona, a fourth-year Spanish PhD student. 

“As a recipient of the Antonio Cao award from the Northeast Modern Language Association conference, I’ll be receiving the recognition during an event in the conference,” she said. “The award is a recognition for an outstanding dissertation project in Spanish peninsular literature. The biggest challenge I faced to earning it was submitting an application that would reflect my unique perspective and approach to the scholarship.”

Carmona said she hopes this conference will connect her with other scholars in her field, and that new projects or collaborations may come up as a result of attending. 

For those remaining in Arizona for spring break, exploring the great outdoors is an adventure unto itself. 

The students of SES 494 - Topic: Wilderness Astronomy will be going on a seven-day backpacking trip near Sedona in order to take in the beauty of Arizona and learn about astronomy in the process. 

“As a student in the astronomy program, I've been searching for ways to learn about my field while also being able to get hands-on experience,” said Shivam Sadachar, an engineering major in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and an astronomy minor. “This travel program allows me to learn about the night sky in a novel way, beyond the normal classroom setting I’m accustomed to.”

Though Sadachar said he was nervous about managing the workload of a seven day trip –– he’s never been camping before –– the instructors and the other students taking the class quickly put his mind at ease.

“I felt reassured that this was an opportunity for me to grow and rely on their help when I needed it,” he said.

For other students, however, spring break is about leisure and personal development. 

“I’m spending five days in Paris, where I plan on seeing the sights and enjoying the culture,” said Ciara Harding, a sophomore and microbiology major. “I’m going to see staples of French society, like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, as well as things like the catacombs.”

Harding said her trip to Paris helps support her life goals by giving her a break from the rigorous schedule of a full-time student and by allowing her the chance to become more comfortable traveling abroad.

“I'm most excited to experience Europe for the first time and to get to do it with one of my friends,” she said. “I'm also very excited to practice my French, and to enjoy lots of crepes.”

To learn more about the 250-plus other study-abroad programs in more than 65 different countries offered at ASU, see the Study Abroad Office website

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