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Gila River ASU grad found her place after transferring

ASU grad Priscilla Terry in her ASU cap and gown in a desert landscape

ASU grad Priscilla Terry.

May 03, 2021

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

For Sun Devil Priscilla Terry, the path to her BA in marketing wasn’t necessarily quick or easy. But now that she’s graduating cum laude during spring 2021 commencement, the accomplishment is all the more rewarding.

A graduate of Westwood High School in Mesa, Arizona, Terry began her college journey at Mesa Community College in 2015 and faced some delays because of switching majors and just transitioning to college life. 

“Transitioning into college was a bit difficult, and my grades reflected that. I failed a few classes or just stopped going because I was uninterested, which is crazy because I would never do that now,” she said. 

She earned her associate degree in general business after four years and transferred to ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business for her last two years. She was a little worried about transitioning to such a big campus but was surprised at the connections she made. 

“I was worried that I wasn’t going to fit in because I had already done an extra two years of college and wasn’t involved in any clubs or teams,” she said. “But I was surprised by my peers and never felt left out, and in fact I related to my classmates and was able to communicate great with others!”

Terry, who is a member of the Gila River Indian Community, credits the Gila River Indian Community Tribal Education Department for being her lifeline, for inspiring her to get good grades and for allowing her to afford higher education and graduate without debt. 

“Getting my degree is such an accomplishment, and I cannot believe I did it!” Terry said. “Knowing that I have a degree opens so many doors, and I’m looking forward to what opportunities come my way.”

As she prepared to graduate, Terry reflected on her time at ASU and shared advice for current Sun Devils.

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

Answer: During my visual merchandising class at MCC! I was assigned to make a window display with another classmate, and that was when I realized that I’m not great at creating products from scratch but am good at putting things together, like styling.

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

A: John Dietrich. I actually just took his course this semester; I felt like he had the most impact during my time at ASU. He has vast experience and gave lessons on topics that will be used in our professional careers.

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

A: To not give up and to always do your assignments even if it isn’t your best work. During the times that I was burnt out and wanted to just skip an assignment I always had to remind myself that it is better to turn something in than nothing at all.

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

A: My favorite spot was the MU! Unfortunately most of my life at ASU was spent online due to COVID-19, but during my in-person courses, I would love to study there and be around other students. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan on going full time at my current job! I am currently a marketing assistant at a local interior design firm with two lifestyle shops in the Valley and an e-commerce site. I am very excited to dedicate my time toward the company and create content for our consumers and social media followers.

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

A: If I had $40 million to solve one problem, it would go toward organizations that intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and government and support the Black community. While it may take more than $40 million, I would like to educate others on systemic racism and how the value of life can be altered based on your racial background.

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