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Starbucks program graduate recognized as spring 2022 Dean's Medalist

This spring, Amy Harvey will graduate from The College with dual bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and geographic information science, with a minor in art history.

April 22, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

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.

“I had a vague idea that I might like to work in a library or museum so I took an anthropology course my first semester,” Harvey said. “That course — Bones, Stones and Human Evolution — rekindled a long-lost fascination with ancient civilizations and human origins, and was the first of many courses in both anthropology and art history that led me to studying archaeology.”

Her interests in anthropology, archaeology and geographic information science have continued to serve as her driving force, leading her to pursue a research apprenticeship through the School of Evolution and Social Change. Through the apprenticeship, she assisted with archaeological research on ceramics, digitizing profiles of ceramic vessels from archival materials and cross-referencing data from multiple excavation sites to create a user-friendly ceramics database.

“It taught me so much about the research process,” she said. “I never expected to be able to have those types of interactions as an online student, and I’m incredibly grateful for the experience.”

In recognition of her steadfast commitment to academic excellence, Harvey was selected as The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences spring 2022 Dean’s Medalist for the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.

This spring, she will graduate from The College with dual bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and geographic information science, with a minor in art history. Here, she shares more about her experiences at ASU and what’s next for her.

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

Answer: I’m incredibly thankful to all of my professors because every one of them had an impact on where I am today. But perhaps the most important lesson was taught to me by Andrew Trgovac in my GISgeographic information science Pro-Seminar class, where I learned that sometimes your research isn’t going to go exactly as planned, and that’s okay as long as you take something away from the experience and learn how to approach things differently the next time. When you’re just plugging away at coursework sometimes you can feel like the only goal is to produce the correct answer, but there’s so much more involved in the process and you’ll learn even more by taking chances and being curious.

Q: Did you encounter any challenges? If so, how have you overcome them?

A: I’m fortunate to have not faced any major challenges during my time at ASU. In the beginning I sometimes found it challenging to manage my time between school and working full time as a shift supervisor at Starbucks, but eventually I found a schedule that worked best for me by working early opening shifts and dedicating my afternoons to school. 

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

A: Take advantage of opportunities to engage with faculty and other students outside of class, especially as an online student. Joining a club, attending lectures and events hosted by various colleges, which are often accessible virtually now, or even just attending office hours will go a long way to helping you feel more connected. I know it’s not always easy; I would often feel anxious about attending events or speaking with professors, but if you’re able to safely go a little outside your comfort zone the experiences are almost always worth the effort.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation I plan to take a year to gain some work experience in GIS and cultural resource management before pursuing a master’s degree in digital archaeology.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in 10 years?

A: I’m not a traditional student, having taken an extended break from college, so at one point just finishing this degree would have felt like accomplishment enough. But now that I’m actually done, I’m excited about what comes next. In 10 years, I hope to have my master’s degree and to have carved out a place for myself in the field of archaeology where I can support research efforts with my GIS skillset. I also hope to become involved in digital archiving and preservation efforts, because the most important part about uncovering the history of our species is ensuring that the knowledge survives for future generations as well.

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