ASU online program helps Navy veteran pursue lifelong dream

After graduating from the School of Molecular Sciences, Anthony Pacheco is ready to take the next step in his education

June 8, 2021

Anthony Pacheco knew since the third grade that he wanted to be a lawyer. He enjoyed debating and he loved fighting to help others. Now, after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences online program, Pacheco is ready to take the next step in his education.

Pacheco, who grew up in California, first attended college immediately after high school. Nuclear machinist mate Anthony Pacheco Download Full Image

“After my first year of college, I realized the university I was attending wasn’t the right fit for me,” he said.

After considering his options, Pacheco decided to serve his country prior to returning to college.

“I think it’s great to give back to your country, and for me, that was joining the Navy.”

Pacheco served in the Navy for seven years as a nuclear machinist mate on the submarine USS Jacksonville. While in the Navy, Pacheco continued to work on his degree through various online universities. Making progress was a challenge because he had to withdraw from classes while being deployed for months at a time. However, Pacheco never gave up his dream of finishing his bachelor’s degree and attending law school.

Upon leaving the military in 2019, Pacheco enrolled in ASU’s online program.

“The School of Molecular Sciences has a fantastic online program,” Pacheco said. “By focusing on two classes at a time it allowed me to continue a full-time job and to be a successful full-time student. It was a great fit.”

Now that Pacheco has graduated from ASU, he is prepared to pursue a degree in law. He has been accepted and will attend Pepperdine University in the fall. Pacheco has interests in intellectual property law but also wants to advocate for prison reform.

Building upon the lessons he learned in the Navy and at ASU, Pacheco will continue to put into practice advice he shares with others: “Don’t get discouraged if things aren’t going as well as you’d like. Persevere. Keep planning and moving forward, and eventually you will reach your goal.”

See a photo album of School of Molecular Sciences students who have served in the military.

James Klemaszewski

Science writer, School of Molecular Sciences


The Difference Engine at ASU names Follett as 1st executive board member

June 8, 2021

The Difference Engine: An ASU Center for the Future of Equality has announced that Follett Corporation, a leading provider of education services, technology, and print and digital content that works with over 80,000 schools including Arizona State University, will serve as the center’s first executive board member.

Follett’s exemplary commitment to providing students from all socioeconomic backgrounds access to books that focus on diversity through programs such as ACCESS#AllBooksForAllKids and Titlewave, fits squarely within the Difference Engine’s mission to create products communities can use to end structural inequality. Photo of the ASU Campus Store at the Beus Center for Law and Society Follett Corporation, which serves ASU Sun Devil Campus Stores online and through the Tempe, Downtown Phoenix (including the Beus Center for Law and Society shown here), Polytechnic and West campuses, will serve as the Difference Engine's first executive board member. Download Full Image

“I am delighted to welcome Follett as one of our first partners,” said Ehsan Zaffar, founder and executive director of the Difference Engine. “The company’s bold vision, generous support and presence on our executive board will aggressively advance the engine’s work on a number of important products, including the Women’s Power Index — an unprecedented national project to track and rank organizations on their commitment to gender equality.”

With more than 140 years in the industry of manufacturing collegiate products, Follett is the largest campus retailer in North America and currently services 6 million students. Follett drives socially responsible messaging through its brands and products like Titlewave, a platform that curates book lists and discussion guides on topics such as diversity and representation. Follett is also a pioneer in establishing fair labor practices in its industry and maintains a strong partnership with the Fair Labor Association.

Follett serves ASU Sun Devil Campus Stores online and through the Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic and West campuses. Follett’s emphasis on equality and inclusiveness resonates through the Access Opt-Out program at ASU benefitting at least 45,000 students last year — saving those students more than 20% on the cost of course materials.

“Joining forces with the Difference Engine at ASU as an executive board member is an exciting opportunity and one that is of importance for me as a woman, as a mom and as a female business leader,” said Ashlie Singleton, who will represent Follett on the board. “I am thrilled to be a partner in shaping critical change related to equality and access to higher education.”

Over the course of a 20-year career, Singleton has worked for companies such as Follett Higher Education Group, Inc., Nebraska Book Company: Neebo and Target Stores. In 2017, Singleton relocated to Queen Creek, Arizona, as a Follett regional manager of sales and operations to support colleges and universities, including ASU and Sun Devil Campus Stores. Serving as regional manager, Singleton is proud to lead teams and drive results within the higher education and course material space, positively impacting student retention and graduation rates and helping to make education more accessible for all.  

To learn more about the Difference Engine, sign up to become a Difference Engineer and stay up to date with the center and its work.

Julie Tenney

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law