Grad gains versatile skills, access to top industry professionals in ASU Law program

November 23, 2021

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

Janae Reeves realized during her last year as an undergrad at the University of Oklahoma that she wanted to have a career in sports. Photo of Janae Reeves, ASU Law 2021 MSLB graduate Janae Reeves will graduate this fall with an ASU Law MSLB degree. Download Full Image

So she started to look up master’s degree programs that would aid in her knowledge and understanding of how to start a career in the sports industry, and came across the Allan “Bud” Selig Sports Law and Business program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

“And once I began to look at the curriculum I knew it was the perfect fit,” said Reeves, who will be graduating this fall from ASU Law with her Master of Sports Law and Business degree.

While working toward her degree, Reeves interned with the Arizona Sports & Entertainment Commission, for former NFL player Lorenzo Alexander’s ACES Foundation and its NFL Flag League Arcadia, and as a sports agent at Divine Sports and Entertainment.

Those experiences combined with the many guest speakers and notable sports industry professionals ASU Law provides access to taught her a lot.

“I learned that having multiple specialties and being as versatile as possible when it comes to working in the sports industry can be a plus,” said Reeves, an MSLB student ambassador. “When companies and teams are hiring, they want someone who will join the team with a variety of skills to contribute to the continued success of the industry.”

Question: Why did you choose ASU Law?

Answer: I chose this program because of Selig SLB Program Director Aaron Hernandez and the benefits of learning about both sports law and sports business. I thought that it was unique that a program was able to combine two prominent focuses in sports. I knew that it would be beneficial to take courses on both of these subjects because I want to be as versatile as possible going into the industry. They also have an amazing lineup of professors alongside sports industry professionals on the program’s advisory board that come and talk to the students about their careers and what it takes to be a leader in sports.

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

A: I actually have three: Stephanie Jarvis, Dana Hooper and Sonja Robinson.

Stephanie Jarvis has been there for me since day one of enrolling in the program; she pushes me to reach my full potential and gives me some great advice both inside and outside the classroom.

Dana Hooper has taught me so much about how to be a woman of character and to always do your job with integrity.

And lastly, Sonja Robinson is an amazing professor and sports diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) professional. I have always been an advocate for improving diversity not just in everyday life, but in sports also. While taking her class she allowed me to analyze our course and topics through a DEI lens and I learned so much from her and that class. I highly recommend anyone who is a student in the program to take her course! You won’t regret it.

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

A: Always be yourself and work hard. Life gets in the way and things will get tough, but you will persevere! Authenticity is something that was preached a lot and it’s something you should take great pride in. Be yourself all the time no matter what. People see right through you when you are not.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I will continue my job search in hopes to land a player development or team development role with an NFL or NBA team.

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

A: Majority of that money would be used to tackle homelessness in Los Angeles and other largely populated areas without a doubt. Growing up in L.A., homelessness is and always has been a major problem. There are people who unfortunately did not expect to be homeless, but given the circumstances with the cost of living in the world, it has had an effect. It is a cause that is dear to my heart. I'm not rich, nor do I have a lot of money, but every week, sometimes multiple times a week, I try my best to give to the homeless – whether it be giving them a care package out of my trunk that I put together with daily necessities, giving a bottle or water or snack I might not eat, or buying a meal for those I see outside of fast-food restaurants and elsewhere.

Julie Tenney

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

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Celebrating Arizona's first Latino governor

November 23, 2021

ASU event for elementary students features performance, readings honoring the late Raúl H. Castro

It’s not easy keeping the attention of 100 third graders. But last week, a group of young students from Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School sat rapt in an auditorium on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus as playwright James Garcia told them — in character as Raúl H. Castro, Arizona’s first Latino governor — about how we went from a poor immigrant to a respected community leader.

Garcia’s performance, an excerpt from his short play, “American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Raúl H. Castro,” opened an eventThe event was co-sponsored by The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Hispanic Research Center and the School of International Letters and Cultures. hosted by the School of Politics and Global StudiesThe Center for Latina/os and American Politics Research and the School of Transborder Studies.

In addition to the third graders attending in person, 200 fourth and fifth graders joined via Zoom for “Seeing ‘Someone Like Me’ in Office: Symbolic Representation, Raúl Castro, and the Importance of a Latino Governor.”

The event featured Garcia; Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford, author of the bilingual book, “Raulito: The First Latino Governor of Arizona/El primer gobernador latino de Arizona”; and a handful of ASU professors, all of whom gathered to share their knowledge of Castro and communicate a message of empowerment to the young Latinos in attendance.

“All of you, every single one of you, could become governor,” said Alberto Ríos, director of ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate.

Ríos followed Garcia with a reading of the poem he wrote to commemorate Castro after he died in April 2015 at the age of 98, titled “The Man Who Does Not Leave Us: Raúl H. Castro.”

Born in 1916, in Cananea, Mexico, Castro crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with his family at the age of 2 and settled in Douglas, Arizona, where his father found work as a miner. As one of 11 children, life was not always easy for him. In a presentation she gave about Castro, Rivera-Ashford told the audience how Castro walked 8 miles every day, to and from school.

The author had the chance to meet Castro in person after sending him copies of two of her books, “My Nana's Remedies” and “Hip Hip Hooray, It's Monsoon Day!” She later got permission to write his life story.

Although Rivera-Ashford originally intended for “Raulito” to be a picture book, once she began writing it, she realized there was just too much information from Castro’s life to include and reworked it to be the chapter book it is now.

It recounts how Castro, a less-than-committed student until a pep talk from his sixth-grade teacher motivated him to buckle down, eventually became an attorney, then a judge, before serving as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador from 1964 to 1968, and to Bolivia from 1968 to 1969.

Finally, in 1974, he made history when he became the first Latino to be elected governor of Arizona.

Despite Castro’s inspiring life story, he is not well remembered by history, nor is he a part of schools’ curriculums.

“I’m grateful that now we have this book and it will be disseminated in a way where there will not be an Arizona resident who doesn’t know who he is,” Rivera-Ashford said. “Hopefully we can make those ‘Five C's’ into ‘six C's,’ and the sixth ‘C’ is Castro.”

The full event is available to view on the School of Politics and Global Studies' Youtube channel.

Top photo: A stack of Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford’s book “Raulito: The First Latino Governor of Arizona," which recounts the life story of Raúl H. Castro, the first Latino governor of Arizona. Photo by Samantha Chow/ASU News