ASU grad found a path in Greek life and international business


May 3, 2021

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

ASU graduate Suzannah Whitlatch is finishing up her time at ASU with global ambitions.  ASU grad Suzannah Whitlatch portrait ASU grad Suzannah Whitlatch. Download Full Image

Whitlatch graduated this spring with her master’s degree in global management, through which she homed in on an interest in global equity through business development. Originally from Tucson, she was a member of Chi Omega as an undergraduate at the University of Denver and worked as a management intern for the Greek Leadership Village.

Whitlatch says she loved working in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life while in graduate school. 

“My experience in Greek Life at my undergraduate institution was so formative for me, so I loved giving back to Greek Life here at ASU.”

Whitlatch earned two Thunderbird Alumni Scholarships thanks to the support of alumni donations and also received support from the Phoenix Panhellenic Association.

“I’m really proud of myself and all of my classmates who worked hard to stay focused while taking classes virtually for the past year. In my program, second-year graduate students are paired with an international business student and serve as consultants for them,” she said. “Usually this involves travel and getting to experience new cultures, but this year it was all done over Zoom. It was not the experience that any of us signed up for, but we made it work!”

Whitlatch spoke with ASU News about her time at ASU, what she learned, what advice she’d give to current students, and what the future looks like for her. 

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

Answer: I spent much of my undergraduate time working for international nonprofits and government agencies wanting to make a difference in global human rights. After traveling, I realized that many international corporations have the resources and reach to do better and create equitable global development. That’s when I transitioned to the international business track to work with these businesses to rethink their strategies.

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

A: I learned about how many companies are trying to change their business strategies to have a more positive footprint on the world. Thunderbird’s Consulting Lab allowed me to work with a few of these companies. This gave me more hope for the future of business and international development.

Q: Why did you choose ASU? 

A: I chose Thunderbird because it is one of the best international business schools in the country and places a heavy focus on ethical, sustainable and equitable development. All of those aspects were really important to me when I was researching business schools.

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

A: Professor Rebeca Hwang taught me the importance of introspection when it comes to choosing a professional path. Take time to think about who you are at your roots and what impact you really want to have on the world. The rest will fall into place over time.

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

A: Soak in every opportunity. College is a great, safe environment to learn new things, try out wild hobbies and meet people from around the world. Say yes to as many things as you can.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? 

A: I love laying out a blanket on the lawn outside of Old Main. It’s the perfect peaceful campus spot to focus on homework or to relax for a bit.

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: I’m going on a three-month road trip across the United States to hit up national parks and visit friends and family! After that I will be moving to LA for my career.

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

A: Supporting women and Indigenous-owned businesses worldwide. There are so many amazingly talented artisans in this world, and they just need the global platform and market reach to succeed.

Written by Austin Davis, ASU Student Life

Hannah Moulton Belec

Marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services

480-965-4255

Future engineer is ready to make moves after ASU graduation


May 3, 2021

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

Maybe it was the risky contraptions he would create to make skating down his neighborhood hill easier, or maybe it was his love for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes in high school, but graduating senior Cortez Davis, 22, always knew he wanted to be an engineer. ASU grad Cortez Davis in his cap and stole ASU grad Cortez Davis said through TRIO — a set of federally funded programs designed to support low-income students, first-generation students, students with disabilities and veterans — he "has gotten a tremendous amount of financial advice and overall support from the staff at TRIO as well as attended some fun events, including community service, where we were able to create toys for service dogs." After graduation, he will go to work for Northrop Grumman in their space systems department. Download Full Image

The St. Louis native graduated in May with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a certificate in cross-sector leadership. 

He has been a mover and shaker during his time at ASU, as president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and a member of ASU TRIO, a set of federally funded programs designed to support low-income students, first-generation students, students with disabilities and veterans in pursuit of a college degree. He is also a recipient of multiple scholarships, including the New American University and Next Generation Service Corps scholarships.  

Davis is currently a research and development intern for water management firm ACO, where he is using the skills he learned in class in the real world. 

My experience here has been amazing, and I have truly been able to immerse myself in the engineering experience from conception to product evaluation. I have learned so much, and a lot of technical skills that I got at ASU that I never thought I would use were able to be put to work,” Davis said. 

Davis shares his experiences as a Sun Devil and the plans he has post-graduation. 

Question: Would you tell us about your experience being a TRIO student? 

Answer: TRIO has been an amazing experience for me. My computer crashed in the middle of the fall semester, and I was easily able to check a laptop out from TRIO and continue my studies. I have also gotten a tremendous amount of financial advice and overall support from the staff at TRIO as well as attended some fun events, including community service, where we were able to create toys for service dogs. 

Q: How has being a part of Greek life shaped your time at ASU?

A: Being a part of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity truly changed my college experience. Not only did it give me a platform to speak to my community and come up with amazing ideas, it provided me with a family away from home that supported me and pushed me to be better. I love my brothers in Phi Beta Sigma! 

Being president was tough but ultimately gave me the experience I needed to be a leader and develop my public speaking skills. 

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

A: Every experience, no matter how boring or unimportant it may seem at the time, has value in it. I’ve learned so many things from bad experiences or experiences that I thought weren't helpful that I’ve learned to treasure every moment and aspect of life. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU? 

A: I chose Arizona State University because of the beautiful campus, warm weather and the proximity of the campus from some family I had in Arizona. I also saw that ASU was No. 1 in innovation, and as an engineering major, that is something that truly stands out to a prospective student. 

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

A: Make the most out of your college experience. There is so much free time to get involved with organizations or go to different events. If you immerse yourself in ASU and its communities, it can be one of the best experiences of your life!

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? 

A: At the end of every semester, I would sit at my favorite spot on “A” Mountain. I would reflect on my previous semester and speak of my dreams and wishes for the next one. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: After graduation, I plan to travel for two months and enjoy my last, long summer vacation before I start working full time for Northrop Grumman in their space systems department.

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

A: Racism and hate.

Written by Carmen De Alba Cardenas, ASU Student Life

Hannah Moulton Belec

Marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services

480-965-4255