Every year, Arizona State University invites families of K–12 students from schools all over the state to participate in Future Sun Devil Family Day. These events provide workshops and informational sessions for families to help get their students college ready, no matter where they are in the journey.
Parent feedback from these events is effusive: “Thank you for all the valuable information” writes Raquel Munoz, a parent from Tolleson High School. “Awesome information!” writes counselor Brenda Smith from Yuma High School. “I feel more confident” writes Mafalix Esquivel Roman, a parent from ASU Prep.
The normally in-person events have pivoted online this fall, and this semester, future Sun Devils and their families have the opportunity to experience and learn more flexibly than ever before thanks to the new virtual format. The new approach has allowed for Future Sun Devil Family Day events to be held safely and with more flexibility to give families additional opportunities to access resources such as Q&As with current students, financial aid advice and ideas for how to pick a major.
On Sept. 19, a virtual event was hosted by Access ASU and the American Dream Academy; it gave families a taste of what to expect from the Future Sun Devil Family Week being held Nov. 16–20. The event lasted two hours and was livestreamed on Facebook in English and Spanish. Participating families had the choice of attending a number of brief breakout sessions, as well as presentations from current ASU students.
Co-host of the Spanish language event and ASU Executive Director of Outreach Marcela Lopez said the new format makes the content more accessible for families for whom work or transportation may have previously been a barrier.
“The virtual Future Sun Devil Family Day allowed families and community members to learn and get excited about ASU. Hosting a virtual event means access to more families in the comfort of their homes,” she said.
To kick off the September English language event, junior Alicia Vozza, who is studying mechanical engineering, gave a presentation about the Ira. A Fulton Schools of Engineering, and discussed her own experience as a Sun Devil. The presentation encouraged students to consider a path in engineering and provided insight on how to prepare for a future in science, technology, engineering and math while still in middle or high school.
The Surprise, Arizona, native advised the prospective college students to look at major maps ahead of time and know that they can keep their options open. She mentioned she added a business minor and that keeping your options open for majors will help you figure out what you want to do in your career.
“It’s about growing,” said Vozza, who said she also enjoys being involved with the Fulton Ambassadors, the Society of Women Engineers and Greek life at ASU.
Vozza said she loves ASU because of how many fun things there are to do within and near the Valley of the Sun and also because of the great resources available to students for academics and also for job-seeking.
“We have so many great things going for us. … We’ve got a huge network of people, and that’s really what drew me to ASU. You can always make connections,” she said.
Toward the end of the event, families also got to hear from members of SPARKS, a team of ASU students working to encourage K–12 students to attend college. In addition to hearing testimonies from current Sun Devils, families had the option to attend sessions about topics such as how to pay for college, filling out the FAFSA and preparing for college. Many of these sessions were also made relevant for the families of younger students, such as those in K–8, not just those preparing for their child to enter college within the next year or so.
The event ended with families getting to experience a virtual tour of the ASU Tempe campus.
“This year’s FSDF Day represented a new virtual opportunity to support families during the pandemic,” said Christian Rosario, the host of the English-language Access ASU session. “Over 5,000 people (were) reached with both events as an effort to help families access information to help their children create pathways to college.”
November’s weeklong event will have similar activities for families to participate in. Instead of focusing on the Tempe campus, however, the event will be focused on the Polytechnic campus and will also feature information about the new College of Global Futures, which was just established earlier this year. Additionally, other sessions will help students design a college path and choose a career to pursue.
With only one or two events being held per day, families will have access to more college-readiness resources and important information, including the DREAMzone workshop, which helps support families of DACA students in navigating the college process. This event will take place on Nov. 18.
Families can still register for Future Sun Devil Family Day (registrants could win a free T-shirt) in November as well as find the schedule of events on the event registration page and below. Access the events in English and Spanish on Zoom after registration or on Facebook live on the Access ASU page.
Future Sun Devil Family Week
Nov. 16, 6 p.m.: Welcome and Resource Fair
Nov. 17, 6 p.m.: ASU Polytechnic Campus Spotlight!
Nov. 18, Navigating Your College Journey and DREAMzone Workshop
Session 1: College pathways, 3 p.m.
Session 2: Creando Caminos Universitarios (Spanish), 4 p.m.
Session 3: DREAMzone: Undocu-DACAmented College Pathways, 6 p.m.
Nov. 19, Career Exploration and ASU College of Global Futures
Session 1: Career Exploration, 4 p.m.
Session 2: ASU College of Global Futures, 6 p.m.
Nov. 20, 3 p.m.: Senior Timeline
Written by Marisol Ortega, Sun Devil Storyteller, and Hannah Moulton Belec, EOSS Marketing
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