‘Don’t stop me now!’: Former hockey mom ices ASU degree


December 8, 2021

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

Sharon Enck is on a roll. Courtesy photo of graduating ASU student Sharon Enck Sharon Enck completed several writing internships and a study abroad program in Germany during her time pursuing a creative writing degree at ASU. Download Full Image

An advertising professional-turned-creative-writer, Enck graduates from Arizona State University this fall with a BA in English (creative writing) and a 4.29 weighted GPA. She has also been named Dean’s Medalist for English in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Enck returned to school later in life. She rediscovered her passion for the written word while blogging as a “hockey mom.” Enck’s daughter — now also an ASU student — played goalie for 10 years on co-ed and girls’ ice hockey teams in the Valley.

“I wanted to be a good role model for my daughter,” Enck explained. “It was difficult for me to stress how important having an education is while never having continued mine.”

In addition to setting a good example, Enck said she went back to school to hone her craft and find her writing voice. Indeed, she has taken advantage of nearly every professional development and writerly opportunity that ASU has to offer.

“Sharon is super interesting,” said Mollie Connelly-MacNeill, academic success coordinator in the Department of English. “She's done, like, a billion TA-ships as an undergrad. She’s super passionate.”

Enck completed several writing internships and a study abroad program in Germany. The latter activity had an unexpectedly nerve-wracking end, as it took place during March 2020. According to Enck, the pandemic-induced travel bans “had us all alarmed that we wouldn't be able to come back home!”

Enck did make it home, and she is looking forward to completing the next chapter of her writing career. She slowed down just long enough to answer a few questions about her ASU experience.

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

Answer: As a lifelong reader and writer, it was a foregone conclusion that once I made it to college I would study English, literature and creative writing. There were really no other options for me! I value the ability to think critically and creatively, and be able to share those ideas with others. In my opinion, effective communication and collaboration is the base for all other work and needs to be fostered.

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

A: I was pleasantly surprised to find such a large community of readers and writers. With a wealth of writing clubs, student literary magazines and classes embracing diverse literature, I found myself delving into genres and work that I didn't even know existed and might never have encountered otherwise. My coursework at ASU has been particularly satisfying in that area, and I am thrilled to have collaborated with and learned from some of the most uniquely intelligent people I have ever met.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: ASU's reputation is well celebrated and I, myself, know many alumni. The transfer process from the Maricopa County Community Colleges was seamless, and my adviser, Mollie Connelly-MacNeill, has been amazing throughout my entire journey here.

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

A: My writing instructor, (School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies Lecturer) Julie Amparano Garcia, reaffirmed in me the idea that anything is possible, and it is truly never too late to achieve your goals. As a result, I have said "yes" to a lot of experiences, including embarking on a study abroad program to Germany, working as a course assistant and being part of ASU's Canyon Voices Literary Magazine and Spellbinding Shelf Book Bloggers.

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

A: Say "yes" to as many opportunities as you can! Take advantage of all that ASU, your courses and your instructors have to offer. Participate in that study abroad program, join a club and get to know your classmates and instructors because you never know where it will take you and what you might learn. And don't be afraid to not be good at something. That is where the real learning begins!

Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?

A: My favorite spot for power studying was between the Student Services Building and Memorial Union. Nestled amongst some trees, it was my go-to place for reading and inspiration.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Don't stop me now! My plans are to continue studying at ASU as I am currently enrolled in a graduate certificate program in nonfiction writing and publishing. I will be pursuing a master's degree as well.

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

A: I know that some of the biggest challenges facing our society revolve around basic necessities, so I would use the money to tackle homelessness, hunger and mental health challenges. Helping others be physically and emotionally healthy is the first step in strengthening our society.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Senior marketing and communications specialist, Department of English

480-965-7611

First-gen Mexican immigrant reflects on her journey to a PhD


December 8, 2021

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

Over 20 years ago, Arizona State University student Angélica Amezcua and her family emigrated from Jalisco, Mexico, to the U.S. so she and her siblings could continue their education. This fall, Angélica Amezcua will graduate from ASU with her PhD in Spanish ​​with a concentration in heritage language pedagogy and a certificate in computer-assisted language learning. Download Full Image

“My parents knew that education is the key to many opportunities,” Amezcua said. “Therefore, they were willing to do anything possible to make sure my siblings and I received a good education, even if it meant leaving everything behind and starting a new life in the U.S.”

As she started to learn English, her Spanish literacy began to diminish due to a lack of language resources available. This loss of her native language has been a driving force for Amezcua, leading her to ​​become a lifelong advocate for bilingualism in academia.

For six years, Amezcua has been teaching Spanish to heritage languageA minority language learned by its speakers at home as children, but never fully developed because of insufficient input from the social environment. speakers. In her role as a graduate teaching associate in the School of International Letters and Cultures, she taught Spanish to both second language learners and heritage language speakers

While at ASU she also had the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and peers on a study on critical language awareness. The study set out to explore the development of critical heritage language awareness in the classroom by measuring the students’ level of awareness of key topics that are important to understanding the sociopolitical reality of Spanish as a heritage language in the U.S.

Amezcua has continued to conduct research of this nature in her new role as an assistant professor of Spanish and the director of the Spanish heritage language program at the University of Washington.

“I am proud that I was able to obtain this position and I am able to continue my research that examines how university Spanish heritage language courses can play an important role in promoting the use of Spanish in the United States, counteracting the devaluation of minority languages and contributing to narrow the Latinx student achievement gap,” she said. “Similarly important, I am proud that in this position I have the opportunity to work with first-generation students whose parents are also farmworkers just like mine.”

This fall, Amezcua will graduate with her PhD in Spanish ​​with a concentration in heritage language pedagogy and a certificate in computer-assisted language learning. She shared advice for students as well as lessons she learned through her Sun Devil journey.

Editor's note: Some answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: At the time, the School of International Letters and Cultures had just hired Sara Beaudrie. She, along with other linguists in the department, opened the Spanish heritage language track in the PhD program. Therefore, the opportunity to work with her and complete a PhD with a focus in Spanish heritage language education is why I chose ASU.

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

A: I learned a lot about my potential, and I also learned to believe in myself. There were many times that I had let the imposter syndrome haunt me and allowed it to underestimate my potential. But throughout the years at ASU I have learned that this is a syndrome that I cannot get rid of, because it is not a syndrome, it is actually the reality of people of color like myself, particularly because the higher education system places many obstacles for people of color to overcome in their journey to achieve their academic goals. I have encountered many obstacles at ASU, but thanks to the mentorship I have received from faculty and the unconditional support of many friends and colleagues, I will be the first one in my entire family to obtain a PhD.

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

A: I reached this goal thanks to the mentorship and unconditional support of many professors at ASU. One is Sara Beaudrie — I still remember when I was in her bilingualism course my second semester at ASU, and she guided me to put together my first solo publication. Having this research published gave me the confidence to keep on going and understand that I also have insights to contribute to the field of Spanish heritage language. 

I am forever in debt with my other mentors: Katie Bernstein, Michael Gradoville, Ligia Bezerra, Alfredo Artiles, Marta Tecedor and Isabel Velazquez, for their suggestions and insightful conversations in the process of writing my dissertation. They pushed me to discover my potential as an educator and as a researcher. They always believed in me even when I doubted myself.

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

A: Never compare yourself to anyone; everyone is unique. Everyone is capable of completing anything. Everyone goes to their own rhythm. Understand that you are your own competition. Therefore, go at your own pace because only you know what steps you must take to reach your goals.

Emily Balli

Multimedia specialist, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences