ASU grad passes on wisdom to the next generation, including her daughter

June 24, 2021

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

Spring 2021 master’s in social work graduate Edeline Plaisival has spent her time as a Sun Devil inspiring others to pursue education, both in her role as a management intern for Access ASU and as a proud parent to an 8-year-old daughter. ASU grad Edeline Plaisival in her cap and gown on Palm Walk smiling at her 8-year-old daughter Edeline Plaisival and her daughter Download Full Image

“She means the world to me, and I want to show her that it is possible to do anything when you put your mind to it,” Plaisival said.

Plaisival, who is from Phoenix, said she loves being a mom, but the transition to being a parent was difficult as a teenager. She got through it with the help of her own mother.

“My mother has been a major support in my life. I am grateful to have her in my life helping me along the way,” Plaisival said.

Plaisival earned her master’s in social work and focused on behavioral health with adults. She wants to work in a hospital setting to help people navigate the health care system. 

“I have a client who has a language barrier, and it has been a pleasure working with her to help her understand her medical needs and providing her with community resources,” Plaisival said.

The Early Outreach Scholarship, financial aid for transfer students and the benefits of her management internship were a huge help, Plaisival said. She called her experience working for Access ASU amazing. In her role there, she worked with the Phoenix Union High School District assisting with student outreach, college readiness presentations and day-to-day needs. 

“I was able to grow and build professional friendships. I have grown to be more confident with public speaking and advocacy with students,” she said. “I love passing on the wisdom and tips I was taught to the next generation.”

In her time at Arizona State University, Plaisival was also involved in Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., which is part of the Divine Nine historically Black organizations in the National Pan-Hellenic Council. She said her sorority experience was one of many great ways to make friends and stay engaged. 

“ASU has so many options for growth and professional growth,” she said.

Here, she reflects on her time at ASU and shares her advice for current students. 

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

Answer: The “aha” moment when I wanted to study social work was taking my first class at Mesa Community College. I was studying psychology, but yeah, it was not for me. When I spoke with a counselor she referred me to social work, and it changed my career path.

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

A: I learned that medical social workers are in need from the field. My professor was telling the class it is a good field, but you have to have a LMSW (licenced master social worker). When you have an LMSW you can have more job opportunities. I was not into medical things, but my current internship is at a primary care office. I like the medical social work.  

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: Taking my social work class at Mesa Community College, ASU was talked about highly. They talked about the social work program, which inspired me to go to ASU from hearing stories from ASU alumni.

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

A: There are so many professors, but the one who taught me the most would be Christopher Lindahl; he taught me everything about social work. He works in a medical setting, and he inspired me to go into medical social work. 

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

A: Once you get your degree, no one can take that away from you. Other advice: Keep going. It is going to be worth it. Every late night and crying night with the hard work and dedication it is going to be worth it. 

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

A: My favorite spot on campus would be the courtyard at West (campus). There were always events happening where they gave free items. Haha, ASU swag.

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: I am going to get my LMSW then change the world the way I can. 

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

A: I would want to end homelessness. Homelessness has been a major impact within Phoenix. I would want to figure out how to decrease the percentage of people who are experiencing homelessness.

Hannah Moulton Belec

Digital marketing manager, Educational Outreach and Student Services


Girls in Tech summer program bridges neighbor island students in Hawaii

Program for middle and high school students hosted in partnership with ASU center

June 24, 2021

This week, 33 middle and high school students from Oahu and the neighboring islands arrived at Hawai’i Pacific University’s (HPU) campus on Oahu to participate in the Girls in Tech Summer Program. This program is hosted by HPU in partnership with Arizona State University's Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology.

“Collaborating with HPU and implementing a STEM program for more than 30 girls from almost all of the Hawaiian islands is such an honor and was a two-year endeavor that was pushed back due to the pandemic,” said Kimberly Scott, executive director and founder of the ASU center. “These hands-on experiences that are also place-based provide opportunities for the girls to become technosocial change agents and pursue STEM careers later on.” girl in tech camp participant doing a botany experiment with algae A participant experiments with photosynthesis and algae on Botany Day at the Girls in Tech summer program. Download Full Image

The camp was designed to explore how girls and women use science, technology, engineering and math to make a positive difference in their careers, communities and their lives. Throughout the program girls in grades 8–12 are exploring various STEM disciplines from app development, robotics computer science and virtual reality to marine science, botany and space. Virtual reality was a huge hit with the girls.

One student said: “My favorite among the stations was the VR. I have done this before, but what made it so cool was that I could see the Earth from the spacecraft. Also, I got to feel what it's like to be floating around in space.”

The girls also went to the botanical gardens to learn about various aspects of botany and spent part of that day in a lab looking at algae under a microscope. One girl said this was a highlight of the day for her because “you can see them better” and “it was cool to see so many native plants, and the view was beautiful.”

group of hawaii girls during Girls in Tech summer program posing for a group photo

Participants in the Girls in Tech summer program pose for a group photo.

Led by faculty and graduate students from HPU and the ASU center, with guest experts and mentors from a variety of STEM disciplines, the program itinerary includes the following immersive, hands-on learning experiences: 

  •   Computer Science Day at HPU’s Aloha Tower Marketplace facility.
  •   Astronomy Day at the Bishop Museum.
  •   Botany Day at the Hawaii Loa campus.
  •   Marine Science Day at HPU’s Makapu`u Campus/Oceanic Institute facility.
  •   Final Day-Participant Presentations, demonstrating program-learning outcomes at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

“Hawaiʻi Pacific University is committed to serving and educating the people of Hawaii and inspiring students to pursue the subjects and causes they are passionate about,” said Brenda Jensen, dean of HPU’s College of Natural and Computational Sciences. “HPU is pleased to partner with Arizona State University and the National Science Foundation to offer this unique learning opportunity, introducing female youth to the multitude of STEM fields and ultimately to provide them the confidence to envision their unlimited potential.”

The cost of the program, including the students’ airfare to Oahu, is being fully funded by a National Science Foundation educational grant. HPU is providing student housing at its Waterfront Lofts residences at the Aloha Tower Marketplace.

Strict pandemic health and safety protocols are being instituted with all participants wearing masks, conducting daily temperature checks and social distancing.

For more information on this summer program and other STEM programs for high school girls, visit

Julianne Culey

Communications Specialist, Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology