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.)

Designer behind iconic student shirts to graduate

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.  

Medallion Scholar finds network of passionate people

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.

Dean’s Medalist is an inspiration to all

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 Flores

Aaron Jafar Hernandez Flores

National security professional, Air Force veteran completes third master’s degree online

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.

ASU Online anthropology student finds her passion by traveling

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. 

Global studies major recognized as spring 2022 Dean’s Medalist

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.

ASU Global Studies Dean's Medalist Theresa (Tessa) DeConcini

Theresa DeConcini

Creative writing grad on creating connection through catharsis

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.

Technological leadership graduate customizes degree to fit goals

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.

Digging beneath the surface

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. 

Constance Sophie-Almendares

Interplanetary Initiative Lab student worker lands job at Blue Origin 

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.

Dean’s Medalist and global health graduate has a passion for health equity

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.  

Philosophy graduate to pursue career in law, human rights

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.

Photo of

Isabella Conti

Navy veteran, State Department employee earns Dean's Medal in religious 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.

Philosophy graduate discusses changing course, a future in law

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.

Graduate to earn 5 bachelor’s degrees spanning STEM, social sciences, humanities

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. 

Photo of

Langston Tillman

Student’s choice of career stemmed from when her dog was there for her during tough times

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. 

Graduating history student reflects on times as an intern, research assistant

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. 

A love for stories led this soon-to-be graduate to get involved on campus

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. 

Photo of Mackenzie King

MacKenzie King

Career quiz proves to be accurate for this sociology graduate

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. 

Graduate aims to strengthen families by helping those affected by adverse childhood effects

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.

Journalism student becomes an accidental social media maven

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.

ASU grad Karishma Sood

Karishma “Krush” Sood

Graduate's advice: Don't artificially separate who you are and what you do

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. 

Doctoral grad balances motherhood, teaching, research by prioritizing life, not work

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.

Psychology major is a 2nd generation college grad

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.

Native American female student's portrait

Danica Marshall

‘The place to be’: Literature grad grateful for opportunities off the page

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.

Digital culture graduating student embodies ASU's entrepreneurial spirit

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. 

Starbucks program graduate recognized as spring 2022 Dean's Medalist

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.

student's portrait

Amy Harvey

Film and business grad to use both passions in the animation industry

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.

Printmaking grad looks to the natural world

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.

Student ambassador reflects on full circle university experience 

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.

student's graduation portrait

Mia Spanyers

Dual major grad aims to plan sustainable cities

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.

Impactful experiences highlight grad's undergraduate experience

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.

English grad honors her heritage through creative writing

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.

Student's graduation portrait

Chael Moore

Dean's Medalist dedicates his career to preserving America's constitutional democracy

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.

ASU Local celebrates a globetrotting community advocate among its 1st graduates

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.

NFL podcast creator among first in ASU Local graduating class

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.

Randy stands smiling with arms crossed

Randy Chavez 

Fourth-generation Sun Devil finds her own path at ASU

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. 

First-generation student dedicated to community impact

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.

ASU Online student and Starbucks partner aims to design sustainable urban cities

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. 

Conor Kennett

ASU Online graduate gains perspective abroad

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.

Graduating ASU Online student makes the most of her time at ASU

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. 

Dance student finds passion, challenge in salsa classes

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.

woman's portrait in a dance pose

Xochilt Huitzil

Starbucks partner pursues passion for business leadership

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.

Sustainable business opportunity fuels Thunderbird grad’s entrepreneurial pursuits

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.

Grad who lives her passion for STEM rewarded with Fulbright Fellowship

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.

New ASU grad  poses in some of her graduation regalia in front of Old Main

Miriam Goras

Saving the sea: ASU grad aims to turn the toxic tide

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.     

High-achieving ASU grad says compassion, care were key to degree completion

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.

Art as advocacy: ASU grad builds bridges of connection through dance

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.

woman dancing on stage

Julia Chacón

Graduating ASU senior to launch sustainable fashion brand

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 has plans to attend law school at ASU

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.

Cronkite School graduate wants to find unique, overlooked stories

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.  

Samantha Chow

Samantha Chow

'No dream is too small:' PhD grad advocates for diverse student success

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.

Grad's global mindset influenced enrollment in Thunderbird program

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. 

Cronkite graduate wants to improve news anchor diversity

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.

Fatma Abid

US Navy hospital corpsman completes ASU Online degree en route to medical school

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.

Global security grad to use degree for military purposes

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.

Pandemic pushed ASU golf coach to get master's degree

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.

A golf coach smiles and clasps hands with a student-athlete on a golf course

Matt Thurmond (right)

Thunderbird grad hopes to create change at intersection of business, social impact

“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 grad helped his peers and the wider Phoenix community

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.

Double major aims high

A double major in civic and economic thought and leadership and in economics, Jonah McCoy aims at winning prestigious Leo Strauss Award.

Jonah McCoy

Thunderbird grad uses degree to propel venture of serving communities in need

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.

From planning events to doing the mascot’s laundry, Coyotes intern’s experience is all coming out in the wash

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.

MFA theatre grad receives national award in recognition of work with youth and community

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. 

Woman's portrait

Kristina Friedgen

Science and technology doctoral student sees service, research go hand-in-hand

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. 

Materials scientist and mother finds new path exploring sustainability, circular economy of plastics

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. 

New graduate marries the majors of chemistry and keyboard performance

Although chemistry and playing the organ may not immediately seem to have significant overlap, they come together for graduating senior Paul Oftedahl.

Student's portrait in graduation cap and gown

Paul Oftedahl

ASU program paves a path to law school for first-generation Sun Devil 

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.

Thunderbird grad’s passion for travel connects her to the world

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.

Graduating music educator wants to help students discover their own musical journeys   

As a music educator, graduate Shawn Schive said he wants to support students the same way his teachers supported him. 

Student in marching band uniform

Shawn Schive

Graduate envisions a future where culture and language are at the forefront

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.

Nursing grad credits family and friends for getting her to the finish line

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. 

Thunderbird 4+1 programs help graduate gain competitive advantage

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 smiles at the camera. She's wearing her maroon graduation gown and gold graduation stole and cords. Her cap is on the table next to her

Ana “Juli” Rincon

Graduate utilizes technology to connect cultures around the world

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.

Teenage ASU grad comes full circle

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. 

In the ‘untrespassed sanctity of space,’ an Air Force pilot soars at ASU

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.

Courtesy photo of ASU graduate  in Air Force uniform with a KC-46 in the background.

Kimberly Jackson

Agribusiness outstanding grad takes inspiration from ASU’s inclusivity

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.

Display of determination

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.

MBA Outstanding Grad combines law and business for maximum impact

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.

W. P. Carey's Outstanding Graduate Student, Chike Anachu, on the Tempe campus.

Chikezie “Chike” Anachu

Student brings stories to life in theater design and production

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.

Coach learns the importance of being a global citizen in sports

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.

International dance student reimagines the audience experience through creative practices

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.

Student's portrait in dance pose

Kathy Luo

From a law degree to the (basketball) court

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.

Practicing law by leading with compassion

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.

Cronkite grad set to dive headfirst into industry

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.

Student's portrait in cap and gown

Andrew Columbro

ASU grad combines creative practice with technology 

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. 

Law student finds opportunity to further her career through ASU Online

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.

Brandon Sumner took his education 'one day at a time’

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. 

 walking and carrying his backpack on ASU's Tempe campus.

Brandon Sumner

Arizona native transfers to ASU, discovers passion for dance scholarship

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. 

From Prague to Phoenix: Graduate finds community at ASU Law

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.

Master of Counseling graduate made most of clinical, research experiences

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.

ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts master of counseling graduate  outdoors in front of blossoming oleander

Lisa Gutierrez

Robotics graduate made waves for women in engineering

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.

Three degrees toward climate healing

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.

Political psychology graduate aims to improve collective action in politics

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.

Ashley Brennan

Sun Devil role model paves the path for future law graduate

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. 

Outstanding Graduate Award recipient follows passion for psychology

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.

Virtual tourism, Americans' relationship with wilderness highlight outstanding grad’s parks, recreation study

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.  

, Hainan University-Arizona State University Tourism College, spring 2022, Watts College Outstanding Graduate

Xuecong Fan

Social work outstanding grad applies advanced degrees to help him serve his hometown

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. 

Fatal shooting led outstanding grad to deepen desire to work for change in criminal justice system

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.

Global health PhD graduate focuses her career on sexual, reproductive health

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

Trip to Tanzania engaged outstanding grad to learn more about public policy, health care

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.

Tragedy did not deter outstanding grad from completing her degree

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.

Music education graduate wants to teach with compassion, empathy

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.

Woman's portrait with her violin

Isabel Verdugo

Recreation studies fascinated outstanding grad enough to change majors

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.

Film graduate salutes military discipline

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.”

Earth and space exploration major recognized as spring 2022 Dean’s Medalist

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.

Portrait of ASU grad .

Erin Alexander

ASU grad attributes success to scholarship funding

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.

Graduating student fosters community and equality through musical theater

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).

Mom of 6 went from caring for the ‘screaming masses’ to getting a bachelor’s degree in 3 years

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.

Portrait of ASU grad .

Carmen Staicer

Honors College student uses double major in theater and philosophy to help create connection out of conflict

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.

Wastewater research grad to continue career at Biodesign Institute

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.

Both dreams, practicality define path for ASU grad

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.

Courtesy photo of graduating ASU student

Andrea Yang

True to her goals, honors graduate is on her way to law school

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. 

School of Life Sciences Dean's Medalist brings together art, science, history

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. 

Music composition graduate finds her own unique voice with sonic ecosystem compositions

Laura Brackney, DMA in music composition, views composing as a form of sonic gardening, cultivating each work’s interrelationships and sounds as ecosystemic material. 

Woman's student portrait

Laura Brackney

1st-generation ASU grad gains research experience through Biodesign Institute

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.

Uber partner earns his ASU health care degree

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.

Future looks cool to fully charged grad

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. 

A man smiles while holding a phone up toward the camera

Jordan Fourcher

Astrophysics major pursues lifelong passion for astronomy 

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.

Dance student finds a home for all of her passions at ASU

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.

Desert enthusiast earns scholarship to Oxford to grow love of biophilia

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.

Portrait of Black male student in studio, smiling, wearing an Oxford sweatshirt

William Walker VI

International student's transfer journey from Cochise College to ASU

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.

Dean's Medalist has passion for statistics and sports

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.

Accomplished veteran graduate changes 'flight path' to help others

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.

ASU grad student Maria Adney and family

Maria Adney and family.

Mom of 5 balances busy life on way to degree

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.

Passion for journalism led student to awards, degree from ASU

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.

Graduate's fascination with space exploration leads to PhD in geological sciences

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). 

Scientists working in a cleanroom.

Jonathan Hill (left) with Regents Professor Phil Christensen and lead engineer Greg Mehall.

Honors grad found educational inspiration at Sprouts

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. 

Outstanding Undergraduate Award recipient inspired to address social justice issues

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.

ASU grad combines public policy, mass media for a political future

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. 

Student to graduate early with a double major, progress on a master's degree

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. 

Female student's graduation portrait

Halle Aquino

Double major defied the odds to achieve her dreams

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.

ASU Charter encourages young scholar to fight for more inclusion

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. 

Iraqi migrant sisters reflect on overcoming obstacles to achieve their dreams

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.

Two sisters in graduation caps and gowns

Juliana and Rania Jundi.

ASU grad’s gymnastics background inspired her path to physical therapy

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. 

Health solutions grad will leverage the speech challenges she overcame to help others

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.

Doctoral project leads to job opportunity for new graduate

Pulling from her own experience as a nurse, Hannah Challa focused her doctoral project on creating a solution to address gaps in care. 

 wears her white nurse practitioner coat with a stethoscope around her neck.

Hannah Challa

From ASU to AWS, 3 students share their journey from college to career

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.

ASU alumna pursues science passion to earn astrobiology, biogeosciences degree

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). 

Transforming distraction into action

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.

, a student at ASU's Barrett, The Honors College, smiling while seated at a picnic table with a laptop.

Sabrina Mehari

Drive and curiosity inspire graduating student’s high-impact research

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. 

Health solutions grad goes from Ebola crisis to improving health care

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.

Solar eclipse drew ASU Polytechnic campus graduate to applied physics

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 College of Integrative Sciences and Arts applied physics graduate  smiles while standing in front of whiteboard.

Addison Olsen

A love of computers inspires Yuma native to pursue a degree in information technology

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.

ASU grad combines 2 passions in sports and supply chain

Natalie Zarasian is combining her love of sports and economics to pursue work that inspires her.

Student realizes professor speaking to her honors gathering is from her small hometown

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.

William Terrill, Gretchen Kane, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, May 2022, graduation, Watts College

Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions Associate Dean William Terrill (left) and Gretchen Kane.

ASU graduate found his niche in speech and hearing sciences

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.

Expat in Libya earns 2nd ASU degree

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.

Research, initiative, volunteerism define ASU grad's pre-med preparations

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.

ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts applied biological sciences graduate  outdoors with palm trees in backdrop

Nandini Mishra

Grad student to prep for law school after completion of double major

Gabriela Galaz graduates this May with a double major in political science and Spanish with aspirations to become an attorney.

Grad student to use double major at the intersection of politics, planning

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.

Graduate explores the importance of music and the arts

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.

Woman holding violin

Anna Galura

Faith motivates first-generation student to succeed

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.

Astrophysics major already making new discoveries

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.

Psychology senior wins research conference honor for work on persistence in children

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. 

Alejandro Caballero

Graduate embraced leadership, service and community at ASU

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.

ASU graduate excelled in scientific research

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.

ASU graduate established a scholarship to help pre-dental students

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.

Portrait of ASU grad  on Palm Walk on the Tempe campus.

Devany Detwiller

Love of theater led grad to a degree from 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. 

Astrophysics PhD student credits others for influential support

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.

Dean’s Medalist dedicates life to naval service

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.

Portrait of ASU grad Daniel O'Hara.

Daniel O’Hara

First-gen transfer student reflects on journey from rural farming community to graduation

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.

Egyptian online grad fulfills dream of master’s degree, makes trip to Arizona to celebrate with classmates

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.

ASU grad takes center stage in London

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.

Portrait of ASU grad .

Bronwyn Elizabeth

History graduate explores interests in communication, political science

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.