ASU Law grad continues legal journey at the place where it started

November 29, 2021

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

Emily Gale Tooher is no stranger to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. As she graduates this fall with a Master of Laws with an emphasis in human resources and employment law, Tooher reflects on when she earned her Juris Doctor from ASU Law in 2019. Emily Tooher Emily Tooher will graduate this fall from ASU Law with a Master of Laws with an emphasis in Human Resources and Employment Law. Download Full Image

“I knew from the moment I applied to take the LSAT that I would do anything and everything it took to get my law degree from ASU. And I did just that,” said Tooher, also a graduate of the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. 

A sixth generation native of Arizona and owner of Tooher Law in her hometown of Chandler, Arizona, Tooher is passionate about building on her legal education to best serve her community – and she has no plans of slowing down.

“ASU Law’s curriculum, the professors, faculty and the programs are what brought me back to the school for my LLM,” she said. “And I am not done yet ... I am just getting started.”

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

Answer: We all have a story of why we went to law school and what got us here. Never forget the reason why you started. Never forget that there are people out there who need help and who need our services. Give back. Volunteer. Reduce your prices for those in need. The world is unfair enough as it is, and our profession has the luxury of being able to help with truly only a minimal inconvenience. Don't withhold that gift from the world. 

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

A: It's not about what you know, it's about who you know. It still amazes me when I have a question that a mentor doesn't know the answer to. It happens all the time. That's what is so great about our profession. It doesn't matter how much you study or how much you think you know, you can never know it all. That's why it is so important to network and have mentors in our profession. Even my mentors have their own mentors, and that is such a beautiful thing to be a part of.  

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I own a law firm in my hometown of Chandler, Arizona. I plan on continuing to expand the services we offer so we can better serve our community. We're in the process of creating a formal modest means department to allow us to serve low income and indigent demographics in my hometown of Chandler, Arizona. My hope is to have a fully operational modest means department by the beginning of 2024, ensuring that legal services are readily available to all residents of Chandler, Arizona, that are in need.

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

A: Forty million wouldn't be enough, but if I had endless money to solve a problem on our planet, I would aim to end poverty. I would work toward developing an infrastructure to completely eradicate poverty as well as create perpetual sustainability.   

Mary Hess

Digital communications specialist, Thunderbird School of Global Management

ASU international ceramics graduate turns dream into reality

November 29, 2021

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

When Miru Kim made the decision to leave her home country of the Republic of Korea to study ceramics at Arizona State University, she didn’t realize how challenging the language barrier would be.  Miru Kim stands in front of a ceramics installation. Download Full Image

“During the first year, I couldn't ask any questions I had,” she said. “There were things I wanted to say, but I couldn't talk deeply. So, I worked alone and that has become part of my work. It was difficult to make friends, but some of them came to me without prejudice. I think that enduring loneliness made me grow even more.”  

She said during the difficult times, she considered leaving Arizona. 

“I really wanted to go back to Korea,” she said, “however, I could not overturn that choice because it was my decision to study in the United States.”

She chose ASU because of the award-winning ceramics faculty — Susan Beiner, Kurt Weiser and Sam Chung. She wanted to learn from and work with them.

“So, I decided to stay and complete the course, and I persevered to the end even though it was difficult,” she said. 

In July, she was one of 11 students from around the world to be awarded the prestigious International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award for 2021.

She also won an MFA thesis award for her thesis exhibition, "Touching the Present.” "Touching the Present" was a body of work that expressed her emotions with clay and articulated the relationship between herself and the outside world. 

This December, she will graduate with her MFA in ceramics from the School of Art in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. 

After graduation she said she plans to apply for a residency program and to travel to other regions, experience their culture, and collaborate with local artists and local lands.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study ceramics? 

Answer: When I went to the Korea National Museum there were ancient celadon and porcelain. I thought that's incredibly beautiful, and it inspired me to think that I wanted to make something like that. I was a science major when I was in undergrad. Then I did a double major in ceramics. 

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

A: In Korea's academic system, professors are powerful. It is very difficult not to follow the professor's opinion. You can have a discussion, but it's not an equal discussion. (At ASU) professors and students are not in a vertical relationship and can communicate on an equal footing. This is a big cultural difference for me, growing up in Korea. In that respect, being able to freely discuss and learn from them was a big challenge that changed me. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU and what was it? 

A: Susan Beiner taught me directly and realistically how work can be realized, not just an idea. She is honest and shows me a lens of her life. How to become a real and good artist. I learned a lot from her, and she is my role model and mentor.

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

A: If there is something you want or want to study, actively seek out suitable professors or researchers, get in touch with them, and work with them. The experience can only be smoothly achieved while at ASU in the academic period. If you hesitate, it will take a long time for your idea to come true.

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

 A: The music building. There is a small pond, and you can hear the music students practicing. It inspires me.

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

A: I'd like to use that money to develop and research fishnets that are environmentally friendly. I want the net to be an eco-friendly material, not plastic, and will be designed so that large fish and whales can easily escape without creating microplastics. I want to use that money to save the ocean.

Laurel Streed

Office and Communications Specialist, School of Art