April 20, 2022
From T-shirt designers to chemistry students, this year's graduating class has students from all backgrounds, who have excelled during a global pandemic to shine next to their peers.
Meet some of these outstanding spring 2022 grads.
(Check back on this page as we add more throughout the month.)
Each year during Beat University of Arizona week, ASU Sun Devils can trade in a red article of clothing for a gold “No Pity for the Kitty” T-shirt. For the past four years, the designer behind these iconic shirts has been Arizona native and spring graduate William Simmons.
As a member of the Medallion Scholars Program and Student Alumni Association, Alyssa Duran could often be found planning, volunteering and attending events in ASU's Old Main building.
Chemistry major Aaron Jafar Hernandez Flores is the spring 2022 School of Molecular Sciences Dean’s Medalist. "I think one of the most important things I learned at ASU is that I am capable of great things," Flores said.
Aaron Jafar Hernandez Flores
This spring, Jennifer Counter will graduate with her third master’s degree. She's earning a degree in political psychology from the School of Politics and Global Studies at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Kelly Erickson always enjoyed traveling and history but wasn’t aware of her options with anthropology until she enrolled in ASU's online program. She will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
Theresa DeConcini has been named The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences spring 2022 Dean’s Medalist for the School of Politics and Global Studies and will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Arts in global studies and a minor in Spanish.
Whether reading the work of some of his favorite authors or writing his own poems, Austin Davis has always used words as a way to process his feelings, connect with others and understand the world around him. He graduates with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing this spring.
Miles English will walk at graduation this May as he prepares to receive his BS in technological leadership this August with an eye toward a career in project management.
Growing up in Granada Hills, Los Angeles, with a brother and sister who were much older, Constance-Sophie Almendares was always the mediator in household conflicts. Now graduating from ASU with a master’s degree in mass communication, she realized the perfect industry for her skill set was public relations.
When Interplanetary Initiative Lab student worker Matthew Adkins graduates with his master's in mechanical engineering this semester, he’s moving on to an engineer’s dream job — as a thermal analysis and management engineer for the Advanced Development Program at aerospace company Blue Origin.
Ellianna Lederman was selected as this semester’s Dean’s Medalist by The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a prestigious award that recognizes outstanding academic achievement, and is graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in global health from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
Isabella Conti is part of a close-knit Italian family from the East Coast and grew up knowing the value of education. She will be graduating this semester with concurrent degrees in philosophy and justice studies, as well as certificates in human rights and socio-legal studies.
Joshua Herald is graduating this semester with his bachelor's in religious studies and was chosen as the Dean's Medalist for the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies.
Colleen Price always enjoyed learning, so earning a degree was always part of her plan. She will earn her bachelor’s in philosophy with a concentration in morality, politics and law from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies this spring.
When Langston Tillman started out as a first-year student, the thought of pursuing three degrees at once seemed like an impossible task, but he is graduating this semester with five concurrent degrees.
After working as a part-time animal care technician for dogs at the Arizona Animal Welfare League, Kari Barber decided she wanted to study nonprofit leadership and management to learn more about running a shelter. Now, Barber is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in that field, with a minor in criminology and criminal justice.
Leah Arambula Terry enrolled at ASU to pursue a bachelor’s in history from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and felt like it was the “right decision” from the first day of orientation. Along with her degree, she decided to minor in transborder studies.
After attending the Barrett Summer Scholars program at Arizona State University for three summers, Mackenzie King felt like she would be happy at ASU and enrolled. She chose to double major in history and English with a concentration in linguistics and added a minor in German.
Jennifer Rivera started her journey to higher education by attending a community college to focus on her general studies. She wasn’t always sure what degree she would pursue, but after taking a career quiz, she found out she’d be a perfect fit for sociology.
While working at Starbucks, Jennifer Nakagawa would often encourage her younger coworkers to take advantage of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Many took her advice and later encouraged Nakagawa to also go to college through the program. With the support of her family and husband, she decided to pursue her dream of earning a college degree.
When Karishma “Krush” Sood grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, social media was forbidden by her parents out of protective caution. In her senior year of high school they relented and she joined Facebook and Twitter. Now she’s graduating with a BA in journalism and mass communication and she's ready to have a career in social media.
Karishma “Krush” Sood
Mikko Hallikainen, who is graduating this spring with dual degrees in sociology and geography, a minor in sustainability and a certificate in geographic information science, advises incoming students to find ways to intersect your interests with your studies to really have a meaningful college experience.
In 2021, Michelle Glerum received the Department of English Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for her excellence in teaching and contributions to students in the writing programs and English education. Glerum will graduate with a PhD in English this May.
ASU student Danica Marshall has options. After ASU’s May 9 commencement, the psychology major is considering a law degree, a real estate career or opening a business with her mother.
Thomas Bate is a deep thinker. The Scottsdale, Arizona, resident is graduating from Arizona State University in Barrett, The Honors College this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a handful of accolades for his intellectual gifts.
Hayley Steiner has already created one business and is now laying the groundwork for another company. “I have so many business ideas already thought out,” said Steiner, who graduates this spring with a master’s degree in digital culture from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.
First-generation student Amy Harvey started at Arizona State University through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Although she was unsure of what she wanted to major in at the beginning of her journey, she soon discovered a passion for anthropology.
Valeria Valdes Cosillion’s first recollection of falling in love with the arts was at age 3 when she attended her uncle’s performance in “Cats” for his local university in Guadalajara, Mexico. Her long term goal is to work in production management for animated features.
Daniella Napolitano compares her creative practice to that of a natural historian informed by ecology, biology and natural history research. She graduates this spring with an MFA in printmaking.
During one of her visits to ASU, Mia Spanyers had the opportunity to hear from a panel of student ambassadors in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Now, four years later and nearing graduation, Spanyers is on the other side of the panel, serving as the president of The College Ambassadors.
Equipped with degrees in sustainability and urban planning, Emily Harding looks to apply lessons from both her education and the real world to creating more equitable and sustainable urban environments for us all.
Ananay Arora has known that he wanted to pursue a career in computer science since he started coding at age 11. In his years as a computer science major at ASU, many of his successes have been about his time outside of the classroom — like founding of the Google Developers Student Club.
Chael Moore, a citizen of the Navajo Nation and a Barrett, The Honors College at ASU student, said through writing about her lived experiences as a Diné woman, she strives to honor her family while highlighting a perspective seldom shared in mainstream literature.
Gregory Abbott started ASU with a much different perspective than the one he has today. His original major was was biological science, but once he checked out a course in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership he was hooked.
For psychology major Nikki Leon, life was designed for good friends and great adventures. After graduation, she plans to take a short vacation with a group of close friends, touring different places in East Asia.
Randy Chavez is one of the first two students to graduate from ASU Local. During his journey, Chavez initially pursued his physical therapy degree at a local community college and then took a leap to transition into a creative career, transferring to ASU to obtain his bachelor’s in communications.
As a fourth-generation graduate and the 22nd member of her family to attend Arizona State University, Legacy Scholar Anya Pressendo has considered herself a Sun Devil since the day she was born.
Margarito Hernandez Fuentes is fascinated by biomedical engineering because it’s virtually everywhere — from the patient monitors used at hospitals to the contact lenses worn by countless people every day.
Imagine a future sustainable city with modular buildings, vertical farming and local production of important goods all nearby. This is the future graduate Conor Kennett hopes to build in his career.
Although he hails from Liberty, Kentucky, Jeffery Pendleton spent three-and-a-half years in France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and other parts of Europe. He accomplished what he calls a “self-designed long-term ethnographic experience” while obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
ASU's partnership with the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education for the Opening Learning Scholars Program made it possible for Rehab Meckawy and hundreds of other students from the MENA region to receive a graduate education.
When Xochilt Huitzil started at ASU, she took a salsa dance class where she found out that "what I thought was salsa my whole life was not." But now, four years later, Huitzil is graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance education with a certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Like all students in the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, Darton Nguyen received 100% tuition coverage to earn his bachelor’s degree online at ASU. But even beyond that, it was in his job as a shift supervisor that he uncovered the natural leadership skills that would later shape his degree choice.
Juily Sawant came to the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University to earn a Master of Global Management for a specific reason. “(Thunderbird) was one of the very few schools that integrated sustainability in business at its core,” the Mumbai, India, native said.
Miriam Goras has always been fascinated by simple, fundamental questions relating to how nature works, and during her first semester as a sophomore at ASU she began a research regime investigating the underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease.
An avid traveler and adventurer, Hawaii native Daniel Kinzer earned an ASU master’s degree in biomimicry this spring in pursuit of his passions to protect marine ecology and tackle ocean-related challenges.
Shelly Smith-Phillips is a mom, wife, health care worker and full-time student. The Tolleson, Arizona, resident is graduating from Barrett, The Honors College this spring with two undergraduate degrees.
Julia Chacón is graduating from with an MFA in dance and an MA in creative enterprise and cultural leadership, and beginning her requirements as a doctoral candidate in the Theatre and Performance of the Americas program. It’s a lot to balance, but Chacón said she always tries to take advantage of all the opportunities that come her way.
Her study abroad session may have been cut short due to the pandemic, but Macey Sierka will never forget the four weeks she spent in Paris and how it further fueled her passion to start her own clothing business upon graduation.
Communication graduate Valentino Mejia has not let any grass grow under his feet while at Arizona State University. Beginning his freshman year, Mejia has held several student worker jobs across campus to pay for his meals, transportation and books.
With parents who are both photojournalists for the Arizona Republic and the classes and clubs she participated in dating back to elementary school, it was always clear for Samantha Chow that she wanted to be a journalist in some capacity.
This spring, ASU student Anjanette Griego will cross the commencement stage to achieve her dream: a PhD in English. Hailing from the small rural town of Dixon, New Mexico, this first-generation college student overcame many obstacles on the journey, and she did it with perseverance, confidence and faith.
Korean by birth and American by citizenship, Jai Choi has always looked at the world from multiple perspectives. The Master of Global Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management appealed to him for that exact reason.
Fatma Abid never thought she’d study journalism, let alone be honored as an Outstanding Graduate Student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s spring 2022 convocation ceremony.
For the past decade, Michael Kinzler has served in the U.S. Navy. The hospital corpsman 1st Class completes his bachelor's degree in biochemistry in May through the School of Molecular Science’s online program.
With a background in the military and an interest to expand her knowledge of current events and emerging threats, Haley Hollimon decided to pursue a Master of Arts in global security from Arizona State University.
When men’s golf head coach Matt Thurmond realized the Sun Devils’ fall 2020 season likely would be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to take the time to pursue his master’s degree.
Matt Thurmond (right)
“I knew I was home when I chose to enroll.” Those are the words Pedro Gorozpe Aguilar used to describe his time at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU. Now, as he graduates this spring with a Master of Global Management, Gorozpe Aguilar reflects on what drove him to a place like Thunderbird.
Computer science and engineering have made many things possible for Yasser Mountasir Dbeis. He has also used his skills to help his peers and refugees in Phoenix.
A double major in civic and economic thought and leadership and in economics, Jonah McCoy aims at winning prestigious Leo Strauss Award.
Ashraf A. Ismail began his Master of Global Management degree at the Thunderbird School of Global Management the way many did — online during the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he still found himself connected to — and inspired by — his classmates from around the world.
Payton Padilla, who is earning a Bachelor of Science in community sports management with a certificate in special events management, is working with several team departments on the Coyotes’ plan to temporarily move into ASU’s new multipurpose arena in fall 2022.
During her time at Arizona State University, MFA theatre graduating student Kristina Friedgen was awarded the Don and Elizabeth Doyle Fellowship in affiliation with American Alliance for Theatre and Education in recognition of her efforts in youth theater.
Nicole K. Mayberry is a three-time graduate of Arizona State University. An Arizona native, she received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in political science and now her doctorate in human and social dimension in science and technology from the School for the Future of Innovation in Society in the College of Global Futures.
Growing up in Pakistan, Fatima Hafsa worked hard to be considered for the engineering program. But as a young child dreaming of her future, she would have never imagined her journey would lead to a doctorate in sustainability, focusing on the sustainable circular economics of plastics.
Although chemistry and playing the organ may not immediately seem to have significant overlap, they come together for graduating senior Paul Oftedahl.
As a first-generation college student at ASU, Janessa Doyle navigated the law school application process on her own. Though Doyle didn’t know what to expect, she was certain of one thing: From a young age, she wanted to be an attorney and nothing was going to deter her from her goal.
A small-town girl from Parker, Arizona, Jurni Anderson has always wanted to explore the world. Naturally, she fit right in at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, from where she will graduate with a Master of Global Management this May.
As a music educator, graduate Shawn Schive said he wants to support students the same way his teachers supported him.
Grace Guerrero spent much of her childhood traveling to and from Central America to visit her family in Guatemala. Prior to enrolling in the Thunderbird School of Global Management, she knew that she needed a program that welcomed and understood her culture while supporting her academic success.
At just 12 years old, Ana “Juli” Rincon got her first glimpse of what a future in health care could look like when she volunteered at a nonprofit organization that specialized in integrative care for children living with chronic illnesses. This spring, she will graduate with a degree in nursing and a minor in integrative health.
Global Management undergraduate Frederick Rauner holds many passions; being a part of the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU and improving society are two major ones.
Ana “Juli” Rincon
Ashley Hernandez grew up in San Luis, Arizona, and Mexicali, Mexico. She chose to attend Arizona State University because of the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Samantha “Sammie” Harker does some things really, really well — like, for instance, memorize numbers. This spring, the Starbucks partner from Anaheim, California, is graduating with a degree in English at age 18 and has already been accepted into ASU’s neuroscience program, where she’ll begin work on a doctorate this fall.
Capt. Kimberly “Kimber” Jackson, a KC-46A instructor pilot, is graduating from Arizona State University with a Master of Arts in English through ASU Online while maintaining her active-duty career in the U.S. Air Force.
Adison McIntosh realized her love and appreciation for animal agriculture early during visits to a dairy goat farm in Strawberry, Arizona, with her grandparents. More than 15 years later, McIntosh is graduating from the Morrison School of Agribusiness with a 4.0 GPA.
Kristen Jaskie’s research to advance machine learning and deep learning applications is contributing to boosting the potential for these evolving fields to benefit medical, scientific and commercial pursuits.
W. P. Carey School of Business Outstanding Graduate Student Chikezie “Chike” Anachu was also named one of Poets & Quants' "Best & Brightest MBA" students this year.
Chikezie “Chike” Anachu
Hailing from the border town of Rio Rico, Arizona, April Maytorena, a first-generation college student, is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre with a concentration in design and production from the School of Music, Dance and Theatre.
During her senior year in college, Yousra Manar realized she had a passion for the sports industry. Looking for a way to further her education and pursue a career in sports, she found both in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU.
Kathy Luo started her dance journey at the age of 4. As she got older, her parents continued to support her pursuit of dance as a profession. Luo came to ASU from Beijing looking for cultural experiences and opportunities to expand her creative practice. She graduates this May with an MFA in dance.
Rahnee Jackson is passionate about sports. Wanting to experience life outside of Wyoming, Jackson made the move to Arizona to pursue her undergraduate degree, and two years after graduating, she joined ASU as a program coordinator for Intramural Sports & Sport Clubs at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex.
Born and raised in Arizona, Ashlyn Saenz-Ochoa was naturally drawn to ASU when she decided to pursue her undergraduate degrees. After a few years working for the Department of Defense, her Sun Devil roots brought her back to Arizona where she enrolled at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law to pursue her Juris Doctor.
During his time as an undergrad, New American University Scholar Andrew Columbro learned valuable lessons – in and out of the classroom – about the importance of reputation and the value of storytelling.
When Olivia Hernandez discovered the MFA in theatre with a concentration in interdisciplinary digital media and performance at the Herberger Institute for Design and Arts, she knew Arizona State University was the next step in expanding her creative practice.
Shannon Taylor was looking for a leg-up in her conflict resolution career. Taylor, who works for the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP) Dispute Resolution Center in Michigan, says she found her way to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law just six months into her job.
According to the American Institute of Physics, about nine African Americans receive a PhD in physics in the U.S. each year. This year, Brandon Sumner is one of them.
Coming into college, Audi Miller had her heart set on being a performer. But she said a dance history class with faculty member Naomi Jackson completely changed her perspective.
Roman Buss knew as a child growing up in the Czech Republic he wanted to be a lawyer. "I do have a letter from fourth grade where I wrote that I would either become a lawyer or a professional soccer player." While he didn’t become a professional athlete, he did eventually find his dream of pursuing a legal career at ASU.
Lisa Gutierrez, who was actively involved in clinical and research experiences in the Master of Counseling program and held a leadership role in the Master of Counseling Student Organization, will be honored as the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts' Outstanding Graduate Student.
Jessica Dirks’ interests in art, mathematics, physics and psychology fueled her decision to double major in robotics and autonomous systems and human systems engineering at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.
Graduating this spring from Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, Zane Encinas is earning three bachelor’s degrees: in English, in philosophy and in sustainability.
Ashley Brennan, a 2016 psychology and human rights graduate from Arizona State University is graduating with a master's degree in political psychology and is currently the Organizing Director of the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
Inspired by her aunt, Shawn Uphoff, a Sun Devil alum who is still very much a part of her life, Elizabeth Watters realized at Uphoff’s commencement that ASU would be the place where she too would one day walk across the stage.
First-generation student Karla Caldera was initially drawn to the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University for the psychology program and the beauty of the West campus.
As a Chinese student attending the Hainan University-Arizona State University International Tourism College, Xuecong Fan discovered something fascinating about Americans: They deeply appreciate the wilderness that at one time comprised all of this country.
First-generation graduate student Albert Murrieta grew up in southwest Tucson, where wants to serve his community as a social worker. The spring 2022 Outstanding Graduate from the School of Social Work had spent 10 years at a local nonprofit that provides Head Start and Early Head Start services to local children.
Growing up, Natasha Davis had a passion for understanding criminal justice investigations and she knew that she wanted to somehow combine activism with knowledge of the criminal justice system.
Janet Nalubega Ross has spent her life drawn to health care and sexual health. She says the journey started for her growing up in post-war Uganda.
Janet Nalubega Ross
Much of Nikhil Dholaria’s youth involved stories his parents and grandparents told of the world they lived in as farmers. The tales shaped his desire to serve others.
Just as Sandra Perez started her studies toward a master’s degree in program evaluation and data analytics, her husband, Moises, became ill. He passed away of non-COVID-related causes a short time later, in November 2020.
Isabel Verdugo, who graduates this May from the School of Music, Dance and Theatre with a Bachelor of Music in music learning and teaching, said she will foster a community of compassion and empathy in her future classrooms.
Tanner Smith said she often fields questions about her degree program in parks and recreation from people who mistakenly believe it’s literally all fun and games. The spring graduate said after learning about her field, people appreciate it as a serious study of essential elements for healthy living.
Cameron Filas is graduating this spring with a Master of Advanced Study in film and media studies, an online degree. Although an intended career in the army was cut-short, what he learned there prepared him for what came next: “The discipline I gained helped me maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout my undergraduate and graduate programs.”
This spring, Erin Alexander will be graduating from ASU with a bachelor of science degree in earth and space exploration — geological sciences, a minor in biochemistry and a certificate in field geology. She is also the School of Earth and Space Exploration Dean’s Medalist for 2022.
Alexander Almeida will graduate summa cum laude this spring from Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University with degrees in economics and mathematics. As an outstanding member of the Sun Devil community, he has had many opportunities to learn, grow and serve those in need.
Jonice Bernard fell in love with music theater when they were asked to be part of the chorus in her high school production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Bernard will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Music in performance (music theater).
While Carmen Staicer began raising what became a total of six children, she created a blog. “Two were special needs. It was perpetually loud all the time.” So she named her blog, “Momtothescreamingmasses,” all one word.
Chandler, Arizona, native Cory Drozdowski is a Barrett, The Honors College student at Arizona State University with a double major in theater and philosophy who is passionate about helping people better understand each other.
Being successful and learning how to tackle new ideas in research is often like playing sports, according to graduating Arizona State University student Devin Bowes.
Andrea Yang is a student in Barrett, The Honors College, from which she is graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in English (literature) and a minor in Asian languages (Chinese). She said that choosing a humanities focus has opened doors to many possibilities.
A devastating event a few years ago put Hayley Lanae Worrell on the path to Arizona State University, where she will graduate with honors this spring.
A biological sciences major in the School of Life Sciences focusing on neurobiology, physiology and behavior, Ariana Afshari also minored in civic and economic thought leadership. Then, during the height of the pandemic, she decided to push her boundaries even further and explore an entirely new discipline — painting.
Laura Brackney, DMA in music composition, views composing as a form of sonic gardening, cultivating each work’s interrelationships and sounds as ecosystemic material.
If someone gave Jasmine Nguyen $40 million to solve one problem, she would invest the money to create a scholarship fund that supports learning for generations to come.
In his 15 years working as a care tech at the Nebraska Medical Center, Zachary Schweiss came to understand that patients and staff need an advocate looking out for them. He knew a health care degree could help him reach his professional goals, but the cost was prohibitive — until he learned about Uber's partnership with ASU.
You hear it all the time at Arizona State University. Be the change you want to see. Create the job you want. Innovate. In that case, Jordan Fourcher’s story means the university really knocked one out of the park. Fourcher created two inventions while in school and started his own company.
Liam Nolan has known pretty much his whole life the most interesting thing he could think of to study has been stars and space. As a freshman at Camp SESE he knew the moment in his gut he’d made the right choice of what to do with his life.
Lauren Jimenez says her desire to pursue a certificate in homeland security came after visiting the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York as a child. She said seeing the rubble and the drawings of children who had lost their parents really impacted her.
Connecting people to nature fuels William Walker VI. Growing exploring the nation’s largest municipal park — South Mountain Park and Preserve — which is also one of the largest in the world, created a love for nature and the environment which he now plans to make his life’s mission.
William Walker VI
Transfer student Paulette Iniguez Erunez is the first in her family to not only study outside of her home country of Mexico, but also the first to continue her studies in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree.
During his early years of high school, Trent Lindstrom decided to study statistics. “I have loved math for as long as I can remember," he said. Now, Lindstrom is the Dean’s Medalist for the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.
Student veteran Maria Adney has served in the Air Force and the Coast Guard, and earned her wings to become a helicopter pilot. In recognition of her talents, she was selected to be the student keynote speaker for the spring 2022 Veterans Honor Stole Ceremony.
Maria Adney and family.
Every college student juggles coursework with life’s responsibilities as they navigate their way to graduation. Some happen to juggle with a few more balls in the air, as was the case with Nicole Blossey of Gilbert, Arizona.
As a young journalist working on her high school newspaper, Kiera Riley felt trepidation about conducting interviews. Instead of letting fear get the best of her, she overcame that feeling by focusing on her interviewing and writing skills and in the process found a love of journalism.
This spring, ASU alumnus Jonathan Hill will graduate from the School of Earth and Space Exploration with a PhD in geological sciences. He graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in aerospace engineering (2005), geological sciences (2016) and Russian (2005).
Jonathan Hill (left) with Regents Professor Phil Christensen and lead engineer Greg Mehall.
For Amanda Hinkle, Sprouts Farmers Market is more than a place to get natural and organic foods. While she worked there as a teenager, she found inspiration for a path of study at ASU.
This spring, Alexis Rodriguez will graduate from the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in social justice and human rights, with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in translation.
Graduating this May from Arizona State University with a double major in communications and political science, Maggie Sullivan plans to combine both degrees in order to succeed in her future endeavors as a politician.
Halle Aquino, a student at Arizona State University, plans to graduate this May with a double major in public service and public policy and political science while also studying to receive her master’s degree in public administration next spring.
Spring 2022 graduate Yishu Li came to the U.S. in 2017 with limited English-language competency. She worked hard to complete English as a second language classes, an associate degree at Phoenix College and now two bachelor's degrees at ASU.
Experiencing first-hand the inaccessibility that higher education systems often yield, Zuzana Skvarkova sought a new and more inclusive experience in a community that embraced her.
In December 2014, sisters Rania and Juliana Jundi emigrated with their family from northern Iraq to Arizona amidst the fall of Mosul. At the time they emigrated, Rania and Juliana were teenagers and spoke only Kurdish and Arabic. Less than 10 years later, they will both graduate with bachelor’s degrees this spring.
Juliana and Rania Jundi.
ASU grad Joyce Yen describes herself as self-doubting before she started sharing her passion for nutrition and movement as a student worker for Sun Devil Fitness.
Kaley Matthews remembers how self-conscious she felt when reading aloud in class during elementary school. It is those memories, along with a shared understanding and a great deal of compassion, that Matthews will bring to the people she’ll be helping now that she is graduating with a degree in speech and hearing science.
Pulling from her own experience as a nurse, Hannah Challa focused her doctoral project on creating a solution to address gaps in care.
ASU partnerships fuel innovation and provide learners with future workforce experience while creating new value across industry. Learn how three interns at the ASU Smart City Innovation Center, powered by AWS, landed full-time AWS jobs after graduation.
Adrianna Matthews, a 2017 W. P. Carey School of Business graduate, is graduating from the School of Earth and Space Exploration with a Bachelor of Science degree in earth and space exploration (astrobiology and biogeosciences).
An ocean away from a conflict weighing heavy on her mind, Sabrina Mehari, a Barrett, The Honors College student, took a detour from her studies in science and biochemistry to transform her distraction into an academic call to action for the international community to address the turmoil in Tigray.
Rohit Nandakumar, a 2022 biomedical informatics graduate of the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University, couldn’t wait to get into a lab and start conducting his own research. In fact, he started pursuing research opportunities with an ASU professor while only a junior in high school.
When George Karway first came to ASU in 2014 as a Mastercard Scholar, he planned to study education. The Ebola outbreak in his home nation of Liberia made him reconsider that plan. He instead completed both a bachelor's and master's degree in biomedical informatics. Interested in becoming a university professor, he continued on at the College of Health Solutions to earn his PhD this spring.
ASU applied physics major Addison Olsen says that having a relationship with nature has always been a significant piece of who she is: “It's a part of why I decided to study physics in the first place."
ASU Poly grad Israel Delgado is proud of how far he has come at ASU, and he’s also proud to give back to his family now that he’s graduating.
Natalie Zarasian is combining her love of sports and economics to pursue work that inspires her.
Online student Gretchen Kane sat at home in her small Pennsylvania community, and participated via Zoom in a ceremony honoring ASU’s latest inductees into the Tau Sigma National Honor Society. She felt a connection with the stories the keynote speaker was telling, and later realized they were from the same hometown.
Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions Associate Dean William Terrill (left) and Gretchen Kane.
George Ramos started out at ASU as an aerospace engineering major, but realized it just wasn’t for him. Now he's graduating with a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences and plans to stay on at ASU to pursue a master’s degree in communication disorders.
Asmaa Khalifa, who earned a bachelor's degree in liberal studies in ASU's College of Integrative Sciences and Arts in 2017, has now completed the Master of Science in organizational leadership. Khalifa hopes to eventually complete a doctorate.
Knowing early in life that becoming a physician was her calling, Nandini Mishra began volunteering in hospitals as a sophomore in high school to immerse herself in medicine — a field that she said fulfills her desire to give back to the community.
Gabriela Galaz graduates this May with a double major in political science and Spanish with aspirations to become an attorney.
Arizona State University student Johnathan Gates said he was inspired to pursue a degree in political science because he has always had an interest in politics. This May, he will receive his bachelor’s degree in political science on top of his completed degree in urban planning.
Anna Galura is an experienced and accomplished performer and an educator who is not only concerned with how to train musicians but also how to serve a community through the arts.
Alaa Amjad Khalaf is a first-generation college student who is proud to be a Palestinian Muslim woman. She credits her faith and family for inspiring her on her journey to earn two bachelor's degrees from ASU while also being a part of Barrett, The Honors College.
As a pre-teen, Emma Softich recalls watching an IMAX movie with her dad about the wonders of the Hubble Space Telescope, and knowing this was the field she would study. She moved from her hometown of Missoula, Montana, to attend ASU specifically for its unique astrophysics program.
Alejandro Caballero is a graduating senior from the Arizona State Department of Psychology and the recent winner of the best poster at the AZPURC research conference hosted by the Psi Chi Psychology honors society.
Leadership, service and community-building were the hallmarks of Stephanie Gerhart’s undergraduate career at Arizona State University. She was chosen by the honors college as a spring 2022 Outstanding Graduate for Leadership and Service.
As an undergraduate, Michael Esposito partook of high-level research opportunities. Esposito graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with a concentration in genetics, cell and developmental biology and honors from Barrett, The Honors College.
As an ASU honors student majoring in biological sciences on the pre-dental track, Devany Detwiller found out how expensive it is to pursue dental school. So, as her thesis project for Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, she established a scholarship to help cover these expenses for pre-dental students at ASU.
Maxwell Plata’s love of theater started in high school and it carries on through this day. That passion led him to Arizona State University, where he recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theater from the School of Music, Dance and Theater, with honors from Barrett, The Honors College.
Ed Buie II has always had a passion for math and physics, and this interest was fostered at a young age when his dad gave him a copy of Steven Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time.” This spring, Buie will graduate with a PhD in astrophysics from the School of Earth and Space Exploration.
Daniel O’Hara is ready to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Asian languages (Chinese). During his studies, he served as a midshipman in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program. After graduation, O’Hara plans to take up a commission and serve in the Navy as a surface warfare officer.
after graduating from high school, Jose Pelagio-Ayala knew he wanted to continue his education journey and pursue college. In 2020 he earned his associate degree at Glendale Community College. From there, he applied to ASU and was interested in gaining a deeper understanding of human communication.
Ahmed Radwan is one of 190 online master’s degree students who graduated from Arizona State University this week whose education was generously supported by the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education.
Fueled by her passion for Shakespeare and prepared with a classical liberal education, ASU graduate Bronwyn Elizabeth combines a stellar acting career and rigorous academic studies in England.
Alejandro Hernandez’s passion for history goes as far back as his childhood, when he watched the Indiana Jones movies and the History Channel. His interest in history was further explored and encouraged in high school.
When the Pappas family — mom Maria of San Jose, California, and daughter Katianna of Scottsdale, Arizona – began their educational journeys at Arizona State University, it wasn’t their grand plan to earn their diplomas at the same time. But the timing worked out just so and they both received their ASU diploma this spring.
Long-time Starbucks employee Jess Tilk graduated from ASU's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in psychology this spring.
This spring, Savannah Prida graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in social justice and human rights with certificates in cross-sector leadership and Peace Corps prep.
When Yasmina Fayed graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in biology and medicine and society, she knew there was more she wanted to explore when it came to these disciplines. Upon finding the interdisciplinary studies program at ASU, Fayed said it seemed like the perfect fit for her.
For many people, public speaking is something that often elicits a slew of negative emotions. But not for Trinity Winton — a recent second-time ASU graduate. After completing her bachelor’s degree in communication in 2019, Winton continued to hone her public speaking skills at the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences in the communication studies master’s degree program.
Although Lauren Hardy was almost always the top math student growing up, it wasn't the first subject she considered to major in during college. At ASU, she stumbled upon cryptography and was hooked.