Serendipity and tragedy drew first-generation grad to ASU


April 21, 2021

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

It was just luck of the draw that Guadalupe Segovia happened to take a sports medicine class at her Phoenix-area high school. It was luck again — the bad kind — that left one of her loved ones with a spinal cord injury. Both events influenced Segovia's career choices and led her to the bachelor’s degree in exercise and wellness she earns this spring from ASU’s College of Health Solutions Guadalupe Segovia Guadalupe Segovia. Download Full Image

Segovia was already an athletic training intern in high school when she took the sports medicine class that made her say, “This is definitely for me” – a decision that also came with the knowledge that she would be the first person in her family to ever attend college. 

When her loved one became disabled, Segovia turned her attention toward helping others avoid debilitating harm. She knew that learning the various components of exercise science — muscular strength and conditioning, flexibility exercises, cardiovascular exercises as well as human anatomy and physiology — would empower her as a trainer to help athletes prevent and recover from injuries.

Her desire to help others, her love of sports medicine and her enthusiasm for the opportunities ASU offered all found a place for expression at the College of Health Solutions. As a participant in ASU’s President Barack Obama Scholars Program work-study initiative, she was employed in the college’s Student Success Hub, the home for student recruiting, advising and internship placements. Shanan Bouchard, the assistant manager of student success, sais Segovia was a superstar, always giving exceptional customer service at the front desk and willing to be the first to jump in and get the job done.

“Her enthusiasm for the college and for the opportunities presented to her because she is a student here is infectious,” Bouchard said. “She got other students excited about the opportunities, too, and was always serving as an ambassador for why being part of the college is awesome.” 

Segovia said working directly for the college gave her many opportunities to be a greater part of the Sun Devil family, which was important since she lived off-campus her entire college career. She volunteered for events, such as convocation ceremonies and ASU Open Door, as a way to introduce students to the school. She also helped Spanish-speaking students, noting that language should not be a barrier to getting the most out of an ASU education.

“Being able to help students and guide them to get the help they need to ensure their success has been a great part of my job here,” she said.

Her language skills and her experience as a first-generation student were invaluable for recruiting because they helped Spanish-speaking families feel comfortable sending their students to ASU.

“Her enthusiasm and confidence as she talked to the families helped them to feel more at ease,” Bouchard said. “They were able to articulate and address the questions they had not been able to ask before. She understood the questions the family was asking and their hesitations and concerns because they were many of the same ones she had heard in her own home as she transitioned to college.” 

This past year, Segovia co-founded the new College of Health Solutions College Council, a student-run organization that aims to give students a voice about courses, resources and engagement opportunities. The goal was to create a new communication channel and expand student access to volunteer opportunities, career development tools, college leadership and more. “It’s a way for people to feel more connected to campus,” Segovia said. 

Segovia discussed her ASU experience:.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: I chose ASU because it is a great university full of so many ways for students to grow personally and in our preferred professions. As a first-generation college student, I felt welcomed and excited for the endless opportunities and resources. I also love how diverse the university is. That made me feel welcomed when I toured the campus back in high school.

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

A: I realized that the exercise and wellness major here at ASU was the best fit for my career interest of athletic training because it definitely has taught me how the human body functions.

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

A: Enjoy every single second of your undergraduate experiences, the ups and the downs, because time flies. Also, make sure you plan out your days and weeks ahead of time so you are not procrastinating or forgetting to get things done.

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

A: I would invest in research for people who suffer spinal cord injuries and are paralyzed, as that hits home for me. I would try to find ways to help those people live easier lives or not be paralyzed anymore. I would also donate to spinal cord injury research organizations and help them advance a cure for paralysis, no matter the type of paralysis.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan to attend graduate school and complete my master’s degree in athletic training to become a certified and licensed athletic trainer. I also am planning on getting my doctorate degree afterwards. I hope to work in the college or professional setting of sports. My favorite sports to work with are baseball, basketball and football.