Communication and political science graduate says her dual degrees prepared her for law school
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Amanda Andalis was initially sad that she and her classmates were likely going to miss out on a lot of “lasts” due to COVID-19. She noted, however, that as time passed she has learned to be grateful for her experiences and found the silver lining in an otherwise negative situation.
"Doing small things like taking a walk through campus or interacting with my peers in a safe way has helped me stay connected to ASU despite most of my classes being in a virtual format," said Andalis. "I am most proud of the way my classmates have handled this situation. No matter what this year threw at us, we were able to persevere and lean on each other for support."
Andalis, who hails from El Paso, Texas, is graduating in spring 2021 with two bachelor's degrees, one in communication from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, and one in political science from the School of Politics and Global Studies.
She says she was very fortunate during her time at ASU to participate in several jobs and internships.
"The one job that I’ve had that has made the most significant impact on my ASU experience was my community assistant position with University Housing. This position not only provided me with lifelong friendships but allowed me to be a mentor to first-year students. Seeing how my residents grew personally and academically over the course of the year and then throughout their ASU experience was incredibly impactful and helped me understand the power and importance of mentorship."
We asked Andalis to share more about her experience at ASU.
Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: I picked political science as my original major when I enrolled at ASU. I always had an interest in government, law and politics. However, I didn’t realize my passion until I added communication as a second major. The critical thinking skills I gained through my communication courses helped me understand the impact that institutions such as the media and corporations have on our culture and government. Both the School of Politics and Global Studies and the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication have provided me with an educational foundation that I will carry with me as I start my career.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
A: I wouldn’t say there was one thing I learned at ASU that changed my perspective; rather, it was a multitude of things that taught me the importance of empathy and listening to others. Having conversations with friends and peers about their lives provided me with an understanding of the experiences of others. Having these conversations has given me a more diverse perspective on the world and has broadened my worldview.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I chose ASU for a number of reasons. When I toured ASU, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful campus as well as all there is to do in the Tempe/Phoenix area. I knew that this was a place that I would enjoy living and going to school at for four years. Another major reason I chose ASU was the diversity of the student body and staff. No two Sun Devils are the same. Through listening and discussing life experiences with my classmates, I have learned just as much outside of the classroom as I have inside the classroom.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to take classes with professors in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and the School of Politics and Global Studies. I actually learned one of the most important lessons of my undergraduate career during one of my first communication courses, COM 100, from Dr. Elissa Adame. During one of our first lectures, she said that we would immediately be able to implement what we learned in her class into our everyday lives. This small part of the lecture changed the way I viewed my educational experience as I began making a conscious effort to apply what I was learning in my courses to my everyday life. This helped me become more interested in all of the courses that I took in my time at ASU and made my experience more personal.
Additionally, Dr. Valerie Hoekstra with the School of Politics and Global Studies taught me the importance of following your passion and pursuing something that you genuinely care about. She was super influential in helping me decide my steps after undergrad and helped me connect my two interests in sports and law in order to discover the career path I want to pursue.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: For those that will be continuing their journey at ASU, my biggest piece of advice is to make connections with your peers and professors. Most of the opportunities I have found in my time at ASU have come as a result of the relationships I have formed with my classmates, mentors and professors. Get to know new people and form connections with peers outside of class because you never know what experiences it could lead to.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: My favorite spot on campus is the Palo Verde East Starbucks. Having lived on the north side of campus for four years now, I have spent a lot of time at this Starbucks studying and hanging out with friends. Some of my favorite memories from college are staying up late working on papers or “studying” for exams with my best friends laughing and having fun. The memories and sentimental moments I have at this location make it my favorite spot on campus!
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation, I will be staying at ASU and attending the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law as a student in the Master's of Sports Law and Business program. I hope to use my passion for law and policy combined with my love of sports to make the sports industry a more equitable space for all athletes.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would definitely use $40 million dollars to help solve the issue of education inequity in the United States and expand access to higher education. Unfortunately, a college degree is still considered a luxury in this country, and to me, the desire to learn and grow as a person is not something that should come as such a significant financial hindrance to students or families. Although $40 million is not going to completely get rid of the issue of education inequity and access to higher education, if it means that a few more people have the opportunity to go to college, then I believe that is a significant impact.