Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2021 graduates.
Arianna Ruth, who hails from Tempe, Arizona, has dedicated her time and efforts to not only do well in her classes (she is graduating this month with a 4.0 GPA) but is also utilizing her communication skills outside the classroom through her job, internship, philanthropy and civic engagement.
In recognition of her work both inside and outside the classroom, Ruth has been named The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Fall 2021 Dean’s Medalist for the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. She is receiving a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in women and gender studies.
“Using the theory and skills I’ve learned as a communication major, I’ve had great success networking, building lifelong relationships with the people I have met along the way, maintaining the closeness I have with my family and navigating my way through my future career steps,” Ruth said.
In addition to her coursework, Ruth says the Hugh Downs School also provided her with career-related experience through an internship with Cable One.
“My summer internship was fun and successful,” Ruth said. “My communication skills were highly relevant in my position in human resources. I completed 376 working internship hours and walked away with new insight and excitement about HR, confidence in myself, and a mentor and company who would love to hire me on upon graduation.”
Ruth also held a position at retailer Kendra Scott for four years. This experience allowed her to exercise the three company pillars she takes pride in family, fashion and philanthropy.
“Working at Kendra Scott has not only been a job but also a passion of mine. I enjoy collaborating with a close-knit team, helping and empowering women, and partnering with outside organizations to put on events that raise money for a cause.”
Ruth has helped raise money for causes such as metastatic breast cancer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the American Heart Association, Folds of Honor and COVID-19 response. She has also volunteered at nonprofit organizations such as Jose’s Closet, Feed My Starving Children, The Boys and Girls Club, and Liberty Arts Academy.
Ruth adds that her minor in women and gender studies has made her more socially aware and helped bring issues of injustice, in a variety of contexts, to her attention.
“I have become able to understand and reflect on my standpoint more deeply as a woman of color in America. I've also become even more proud of who I am and what I believe in. For this reason, I've made it a priority to attend BLM protests and the recent women's marches, and to educate myself, and others, when I can.”
We caught up with her to talk about her time at Arizona State University.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study communication?
Answer: After taking my first communication class! I was interested in what I was learning and found that I could relate what I was learning to my own life.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you that changed your perspective?
A: I learned that I often underestimate myself and that I’m usually capable of way more than I think!
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I love Arizona and I wanted to stay close to home. ASU was the obvious choice!
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Don’t follow a path just because it is what is expected of you or what someone else wants you to do. Be bold; do what inspires you.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: Starbucks, always.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I landed a job and will be working, pursuing creative projects on the side, and living my best life!
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would tackle mental illness and mental health. As someone who took time off from school to recover from an eating disorder, these issues are very close to my heart.
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