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

ASU meteorology grad finds community in Sun Devil Weather and Climate Club


May 3, 2021

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

Julia Marturano believes in “good accidents.” Originally having entered Arizona State University to become a broadcast journalist, Marturanoo was enrolled in the university’s joint journalism and meteorology program but quickly realized that broadcast journalism wasn’t for her. Instead, serendipitously, she found her love for weather.  Julia Marturano is a founding member of ASU’s Sun Devil Weather and Climate Club — a student-run organization created in the spring 2020 to connect like-minded weather and climate undergraduate and graduate students. Download Full Image

“It was definitely an accident. I realized I just did not like journalism at all but I really loved all the meteorology stuff, and it was a great fit for me,” said Marturano, who graduated this May from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning with a Bachelor of Science in geography (meteorology-climatology) and certificates in atmospheric sciences and geographic information science. “It was kind of an accident, but it was a good accident.” 

Marturano, who also is a Barrett, The Honors College student, changed her major shortly after, and in the years to follow she became a founding member of ASU’s Sun Devil Weather and Climate Club a student-run organization created in the spring 2020 to connect like-minded weather and climate undergraduate and graduate students. 

“I really love the community aspect of our weather club; it's really fun to bond with people who have similar interests as you,” Marturano said, who served on the organization's leadership team in charge of community outreach. “It gave us a chance to take what we've learned in class, apply it on our own outside of our studies, and meet a lot of really cool people. It's a really great community.” 

The organization held weekly meetings and routinely brought in guest speakers — such as local and national weather experts — hosted movie nights and held socials. Marturano, alongside the organization's full student board, volunteered her time to create a space for her peers both educational and enriching. 

“Julia attended every Sun Devil Weather and Climate club leadership meeting, and our club greatly benefited from her creativity and professionalism,” said Erin Saffell, lecturer in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and faculty adviser for the Sun Devil Weather and Climate Club. “As one of the initial members of the club, she designed, built and maintained our website. Our site has so much useful information for our members or anyone interested in weather and climate.”

After graduation, Marturano will be attending the University of Miami to pursue a Master of Science degree in climate and health. 

Marturano’s advice for students interested in weather: “Get involved.” 

“It’s a really great community, you can meet a lot of really cool people, and we learn a lot too,” Marturano said. “I think some of the coolest connections are with the people that are learning the same things in school.” 

We asked Marturano a few questions about her time at ASU:

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

Answer: I think the world is so fascinating. I like to learn about it. When I talk about climate change or anything in that regard, it's never from a political standpoint, it's very science-based.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: The weather is beautiful. Ever since I was little, my parents always talked about Phoenix and we would come up here for vacation. I thought it would be a really cool place to spend four years and see what it was like, and I wanted something different than western Pennsylvania.

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

A: I've had six classes with Dr. Randy Cerveny; his biggest lesson was to not kill people. If you're going to be a meteorologist, you have to be quick and fast and do everything to the best of your ability, but you have to be quick about it. 

Also, I took a class with Dr. Jenni Vanos. It was a climate and health class, and I learned that there's so many different avenues for climate to impact human health. 

Q: What is the best piece of advice you would give to those still in school?

A: Keep trying different things, and then if you find something you like, expand upon that and get involved. I think that the coolest things that I've learned have been outside the classroom.

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

A: I used to go to the underground part of Hayden Library all the time and sit outside where the tables are. It was a really good spot.

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

A: There are so many problems to tackle. I would love to solve problems with climate and health, and there are so many avenues to do that. I want to help vulnerable populations against climate’s impact and make sure that everyone has access to the things that they need. 

David Rozul

Communications Specialist, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

480-727-8627