Legacy Scholarship recipients follow in family footsteps to attend ASU

August 20, 2013

Students majoring in education, biomedical engineering, broadcast journalism and sustainability are among the latest recipients of the Arizona State University Alumni Association’s Legacy Scholarship program, which was established in 2010 to ensure that receiving an ASU education becomes a family affair.

The 11 awardees for the 2013-2014 school year will receive $1,200 each, or $600 per semester. Relatives of ASU Alumni Association members were eligible to apply for the scholarship. 2013-14 Legacy Scholarship recipients Download Full Image

The following students were selected as 2013-14 Legacy Scholars:

Annika Andersen will be a freshman at ASU and plans to major in sustainability. A graduate of McClintock High School in Tempe, Andersen was active in the National Honor Society, Young Democrats, Amnesty International, McClintock Cares and was the co-founder of the school's Eco Club. She was president of her school's French Club and ranked in the top 25 in the nation on the National French Exam from 2009 to 2011. She has volunteered for NHS, the Tempe Sister Cities program, the Mayor's Youth Town Hall and serves as a Sunday School teacher for two- and three-year-olds at her church.

Both of Andersen's parents attended ASU and she credits them with providing a "constant example" of alumni involvement for her. She hopes to join the Peace Corps after graduation and learn how to run a Non-Governmental Organization. "With my education, I can help my generation fulfill the responsibility of making the world a place for posterity," she said.

J. Gage Buness is a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering at ASU. His Sun Devil lineage includes grandfather Guido G. Weigend, dean of ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1976 to 1983 and a professor emeritus of geography. His mother, Cynthia Weigend Buness, has three degrees from the university and volunteers as an advocate for the ASU Physical Science Oncology Center.

While attending Brophy College Preparatory, where he maintained a weighted 4.25 GPA, he was a member of the lacrosse team, a quarterback on the freshman football team and an officer for the Brophy Cookie Project (a charitable activities club). He also worked as a lab assistant during the summer for Joshua LaBaer, director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics at the Biodesign Institute at ASU.

Buness intends to go to medical school after graduating from ASU and become an orthopedic surgeon.

Brett Gadberry, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering, credits his mother, alumna Teresa Gadberry, with encouraging his interest in ASU as a child by sharing her positive memories of the university with him. He currently carries a 3.69 GPA.

A graduate of Seneca Valley High School in Harmony, Penn., Gadberry posted a 4.25 GPA and was active in varsity lacrosse, National Honor Society and the school's ski club. He served his community during high school by being a Miracle League "buddy," as well as coordinating a benefit to raise funds to assist those living with Angelman Syndrome.

Olivia Green, a freshman, plans to major in either psychology or criminal justice, both of which would allow her to follow her aspirations to help others. She graduated from Alhambra High School in Martinez, Calif. earlier this year, after serving as captain of the varsity girl's lacrosse team and volunteering at the Concord (Calif.) Senior Center as a receptionist and a special recreation dance host. Her parents have always emphasized the importance of college and finding a career, she says; she hopes to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Tiffany, who is an ASU alumna.

Alexis Lupercio is a freshman who plans to major in business at ASU. She recently graduated from Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, where she was involved in Student Council, junior varsity and freshman volleyball, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She performed community service for St. Vincent de Paul, Chicanos Por La Causa, Tempe Cares and Feed My Starving Children. Part of her desire to study business has come from her job as a receptionist for the Earnhardt Ford car dealership, where she has engaged with the marketing staff to further her knowledge about the field.

Both of Lupercio's parents worked their way through ASU and she reports that she has many aunts, uncles and cousins who are Sun Devil alumni, as well.

John McCulloch is a sophomore majoring in geological sciences at ASU. Last year, he was enrolled in Barrett, the Honors College at ASU and maintained a GPA of 3.65. He has been a member of ASU Students for the Exploration and Development of Space and the ASU AstroDevils, a group that performs outreach to middle and high school students to interest them in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. He has also done volunteer work with Circle K International (Kiwanis) and the Salvation Army.

While attending BASIS Scottsdale Upper School, McColloch was active in National Honors Society and National Junior Honors Society, varsity basketball, the Tri-M (Modern Music Masters) honors society and also served as editor-in-chief of the school's yearbook.

McColloch's father, Darcy, is a two-time ASU alumnus. After graduating with his bachelor's degree, John McColloch plans to pursue graduate education and work in the energy sector.

DiAnglea Millar is a senior at ASU. She is concurrently pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in creative writing. While at the university, she has been enrolled in Barrett, the Honors College at ASU and has served as a community assistant in a residence hall floor for Barrett students. She has interned at the Arizona Republic, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Los Angeles Times.

A graduate of John B. Connally High School in Austin, Texas, where she was a section leader in the band and editor of the school's newspaper, Millar hopes to become involved in the Teach for America program after graduation from ASU. She also is pursuing jobs in book publishing and journalism.

Millar said she was inspired by the example of her sister and brother-in-law, Rachel and Travis Snell, alumni who were instrumental in forming the ASU Alumni Association chapter in Austin, and who are now active in the association's Orange County chapter in California.

Jacqueline Padilla, a sophomore at ASU, is pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism. She is a 2012 graduate of St. Michael's High School in Santa Fe, N.M., where she served as an instructor for the school's dance team for three years. At ASU, she volunteered during the November 2012 presidential election as the university's student representative for the Arizona Republic Lounge, where she was responsible for all photography. She currently works for TestMasters as a proctor.

Padilla said in her application that "my involvement with ASU is sincere and constant," and pointed to her father, uncle and aunt as her Sun Devil role models. She hopes to remain in the Valley of the Sun and serve the community through live television broadcasting after she graduates.

Allison Reynolds is a junior at ASU and is double majoring in education and psychology. She is a student in Barrett, the Honors College at ASU and is active in the Barrett Choir. During her time at ASU, Reynolds has served as a peer mentor for freshmen studying education and has served on the public relations committee of the Phi chapter of Omega Phi Alpha, a national service sorority. She currently carries a 4.0 grade point average.

While attending Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz., Reynolds was a member of the National Honors Society. She also volunteered with the Chandler Service Club Flower Girls group and participated in the Phoenix Girls Chorus.

After graduation, Reynolds hopes to encourage her students to pursue post-secondary education. She was herself inspired by her sister's ASU story and asserts, "As an ASU alumnus, I will share my story and motivate my future students to continue the legacy of ASU."

Joel Sands is a sophomore majoring in business at ASU. His father, Steven, is also a graduate of ASU. Joel is a graduate of Plano (Texas) Senior High School, where he was active in marching band. During high school, he also was a member of the Jewish teen organization BBYO, serving as chapter president and regional treasurer for the organization.

At ASU, Sands has been active in Chabad at ASU and SunDevils for Israel. His other service activities include performing 40 hours of volunteer work for Impact D.C. Jam and participating with his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu, to raise money through the Walk for Alzheimer's Research.

Amanda Tivens, a sophomore, is studying business communication at ASU. She graduated from Newbury Park High School in Thousand Oaks, Calif. in 2012.

Tivens has served her community by working at Old Meadows Special Needs Camp in the summers during high school. She credits frequent visits to Arizona throughout her childhood with helping her decide to attend ASU. Her father, Randy, is a graduate of ASU.

In order to be selected, Legacy Scholarship recipients had to demonstrate evidence of academic success, a strong commitment to community service and/or university involvement, and achievement of personal and educational goals. At least 50 percent of the scholarships were distributed based on demonstrated financial need. In addition, two scholarships were awarded to California residents (Olivia Green and Amanda Tivens) as part of the California Legacy Scholarships initiative.

For more information on the Legacy Scholarship program and other awards and scholarships offered by the Alumni Association, visit http://alumni.asu.edu/services/student-scholarships/legacy-scholarship

ASU adopts '8 Keys to Success' for student vets

August 20, 2013

Arizona State University ranks among the nation’s first higher education institutions to embrace “8 Keys to Success” – federal government guidelines for encouraging veteran students on campus and improving their employment outcomes. The U.S. Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs developed the eight-step model recently highlighted in a speech by President Obama.

In Arizona, ASU is the only four-year institution recognized as an “8 Keys to Success” site. ASU also was one of only eight institutions nationally to pilot “Vet Success on Campus,” a VA partnership placing a full-time VA vocational rehabilitation counselor and part-time outreach coordinator on site in the university’s Pat Tillman Veterans Center. Information and video of ASU veterans are available at https://veterans.asu.edu/. Download Full Image

ASU continues to be lauded for its work with veterans, having been named a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year. ASU also ranked among the top 15 schools nationally in the Best for Vets: College 2013 list published by Military Times Edge magazine.

Two of the eight keys to success suggest that schools ensure support from campus leadership, as well as centralize campus services for veterans in a designated place, such as the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, said Steven Borden, the center’s director and retired Navy Captain.

“ASU leaders demonstrated vision and understanding in creating the center as a place to welcome veterans on campus,” he said. “They foresaw a growing enrollment of vets as a result of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and anticipated their particular needs re-entering academic life.”

In fact, that enrollment has more than doubled since the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect in August 2009. Currently, ASU has more than 3,000 veterans and dependents enrolled, with 2,000 of them using the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Once on campus, veteran students encounter a whole new world, including a complete change of culture in dress, language and daily routine, Borden explained.

“The biggest challenge that vets face is the loss of military structure that encompassed almost every aspect their lives – 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “It even extended into their social lives, where they associated with people based on their rank and title.”

According to Borden, ASU’s Pat Tillman Veterans Center is the starting point for students who self-identify as veterans during the admission process. This triggers the communication flow with center staff and VSOC employees to ensure that veteran students receive academic, career and financial advice before any challenges facing them become overwhelming – another one of the federal government’s recommendations.

“We try to put things in place that help them adjust to being a college student and navigate the new culture,” he said. “For example, ASU is an original site for the ‘Vet Success on Campus’ program, a partnership with the VA that is a tremendous asset. It’s also important for us to network with other veteran organizations. All of them bring something to the table that builds a better safety net for these individuals.”

ASU not only collaborates with community organizations and government agencies, as the “8 Keys” recommend, but its veterans center also works to connect ASU veteran students with each other. Designed just for them, Student Success for Veterans (LIA 294) is an ASU course aimed at forging positive relationships among a small network of veterans. Their common goals include academic success, university integration, resource management and mutual support, as they transition to student and civilian life. Interested veteran students should contact Borden at Steven.Borden@asu.edu.

The legacy of the center’s namesake, Pat Tillman, also looms large for veterans seeking their degrees at ASU and sets an important example of what they can achieve, Borden explained.  

“The Tillman legacy is very powerful,” he said. “As a student, athlete, leader and soldier, Pat embodied all of the qualities you look for in an individual and he continues to serve as an inspiration. Our veterans may be doing things in a different order, becoming students after they serve, but they still have Pat’s benchmark of excellence to guide them.”

Borden said the same characteristics that translate into “mission accomplishment” for the military – good work ethic, strong character and trustworthiness – can also mean success for veteran students: “If we can get them to see their degree completion as a new mission, they’re halfway there.”

A list of more than 250 community colleges and universities working to implement the “8 Keys to Success” is available at http://www.ed.gov/veterans-and-military-families/8-keys-success-sites.  A fact sheet of Obama Administration programs supporting veterans, service members and their families in higher education can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/10/fact-sheet-obama-administration-s-work-honor-our-military-families-and-v.