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Starbucks College Achievement Plan scholar ready for her next challenge


ASU Online student and 2020 Graduate Annika Carlson

Annika Carlson.

December 14, 2020

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2020 graduates.

After her shift as a Starbucks barista, Annika Carlson would take off her apron, sit down in the lobby and start her studies. In fact, work was her favorite place to do homework. With a desire to learn and seek better career opportunities, Carlson enrolled with ASU Online through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP).

As Carlson worked her way toward a bachelor’s degree, she was able to find a solid support system and helpful resources all around her. She was able to work closely with academic advisers provided through The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for help with her professional goals and relied on her store’s fellow SCAP Scholars for support, inspiration and encouragement. “My friends who were also enrolled in SCAP truly gave me a sense of community in Sun Devil Nation.”

Originally from Holland, Michigan, a small town 30 minutes south of Grand Rapids, Carlson was always interested in the field of anthropology. “At some point after taking my first anthropology class, I declared it as my major because I liked how the field intersected with physical and social sciences.” Carlson is now graduating from ASU with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and a minor in global health. 

As she nears graduation, Carlson is already thinking about her next challenge, “In March, I am moving to Vicksburg, Mississippi, to serve as a team leader for the FEMA Corps.”   

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

Answer: I was surprised to learn that I like statistics, because I always thought I hated math. It was actually my social statistics professor, Ryan Field, who taught me this. In fact, it turns out I really like statistics.

Q: Why did you choose ASU? 

A: In addition to the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, I also really liked what I saw about ASU’s anthropology program and their faculty. I enjoyed the flexibility of being an online student. The ability to work ahead if needed or study at odd hours helped her succeed.

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

A: I learned a lot from many different professors. The most important lessons I learned were to do with what types of careers I could see myself pursuing. After taking Daniel Hruschka’s medical anthropology class, I realized I was interested in how society impacts health care. 

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

A: Seek tutoring before your grades start dropping, if you are struggling in a class ask for help. 

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

A: Help strengthen mental health services globally, particularly mental health services in primary care settings.

Written by Tuesday Mahrle, earned media specialist for EdPlus at Arizona State University

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