ASU grad finds their identity in informatics and digital culture

November 29, 2021

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

When Elizabeth Harris made the 18-hour drive for the first time to attend Arizona State University, they were unsure of themself, but sure of wanting to make a big change.  Elizabeth Harris Arizona State University informatics and digital culture graduate Elizabeth Harris came to the university to make a big change, and ended up finding that and more through their major, the communities they joined and in helping others. Download Full Image

“I went from a graduating class of 181 to a university with more than 70,000 people,” says Harris, who uses gender-neutral pronouns. “Coming to ASU helped me to find myself, separate from the things I’d held onto as an identity for the previous 17 years of my life.”

Harris found a new identity in part through the informatics major in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU and a certificate in digital culture from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

“It felt as though everything I was learning was second nature, just stored in a part of my brain that I didn’t know was there,” Harris says. “The opportunity to have a digital culture concentration and truly be at the crossroads between art, technology and humanity opened my eyes to so many career paths.”

Harris enjoyed the community of eager new students and the many learning opportunities at Tooker House, the Fulton Schools residential community. In their first year, Harris also played the role of ASU mascot Sparky for the Downtown Phoenix campus and appeared as themself on the jumbotron at football games.

Through informatics, Harris discovered that failure was fun and fixing bugs was like solving an escape room. And by participating in hackathons — even winning a second-place prize in an Action.ML hackathon — Harris had the opportunity to solve challenges and determine their niche in the field of informatics.

Harris also helped others through work as a grader and undergraduate teaching assistant. They found being a teaching assistant rewarding as they could guide students to the right answers and provide a sense of pride and accomplishment.

This opportunity came from one of Harris’ most impactful professors, Principal Lecturer ​​Farideh Tadayon-Navabi. Through Tadayon-Navabi’s classes, Harris transformed from feeling terrified to learn to code to confidently teaching concepts to others.

The experience also contributed to Harris securing an internship at IBM and earning two Grace Hopper scholarships. 

Throughout the last three-and-a-half years, Harris has gained the confidence to make space for themself in the diversifying field of engineering, where “it’s important to listen to all the voices in the room.”

After graduation, Harris will begin a junior associate project manager position with digital consulting company Publicis Sapient in Denver. Long term, Harris wants to work in artificial intelligence.

“With the birth of a new field, it’s important to have diversity in its creation,” Harris says. “Things like darker skin tones and disabilities are often forgotten with large-scale projects, and there needs to be a voice for them within the development room. I want to be in the room where it happens.”

Monique Clement

Lead communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU Law grad has 'aha' moment surfing in Mexico

Now looks forward to pursuing business development career

November 29, 2021

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

While on a surfing trip in Mexico, it struck Sarah Rosenwinkel that her next endeavor was law school. Photo of Sarah Rosenwinkel, ASU Law fall 2021 MLS graduate Sarah Rosenwinkel says the pursuit of her MLS degree from ASU Law has enlightened her. “I understand how the world functions in a way I hadn't before.” Download Full Image

“It's funny how things happen when you don't feel stressed and have the headspace to allow ideas to manifest,” Rosenwinkel said. “I knew a legal education would round out my experiences in business and technology really well. Once I started doing research, I was pleased to find that ASU had a master's program in law since my end game isn't to be an attorney.”

Rosenwinkel will graduate this fall with a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) with emphases in business law, and entrepreneurship law and strategy from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

She says there were a few reasons she chose ASU Law.

“Number one: I wanted to attend a school where I knew I would get a top-tier education and ASU is in the top 25. Number two: The Master of Legal Studies program is accredited. And number three: No other university had the same number of concentrations to choose from. I was happy with the number of international law, business law and entrepreneurship courses available,” said Rosenwinkel, who refers to herself as a nomad – born in Oak Park, Illinois, and also having resided in Philadelphia, various areas of the Washington, D.C. metro area, Silicon Valley and now Phoenix.

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

Answer: What surprised me was how little I actually knew about the law before entering school. I feel enlightened – I understand how the world functions in a way I hadn't before. I also process information differently. The work stretched my mind in unexpected ways.

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

A: Speaking about something I learned from a legal perspective would be remiss because all subjects are collectively important. I liked all of my professors, but Professor (Orde) Kittrie was pretty special. He customized our course from day one based on all of his students’ different interests in international law. He also taught me about patience and fortitude. I wasn't sure I was ready for his class in international business transactions because it was my first semester, and I had to waive two courses to get in. I spoke to him about it, and he encouraged and helped me when I needed it. I credit him for my success in my subsequent courses.

I also appreciate Professor (Michael) Hool and Professor (John) Lorenz, who teach "Financing Early Stage Ventures" together. They not only care about the learning experience they provide in class, but they also care about the students' success after graduation. Professor Hool provided a recommendation for me at a venture firm he does legal work for and might become personally responsible for my future success in a new field. They've also hired students who have taken their course.

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

A: Push through. You can do it!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am pursuing opportunities in corporate development and venture capital/debt financing. They are different, but I'm equally interested in both paths.

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

A: $40 million might not tackle this problem, but I would choose to fund infrastructure to help build more smart, sustainable cities to slow down climate change.

Julie Tenney

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