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Becoming the person she is today

Graduating journalism student becomes an accidental social media maven

ASU grad Karishma Sood
April 20, 2022

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

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. During her freshman year at Arizona State University she signed up for Snapchat. Sophomore year she joined Instagram.

And now she’s graduating with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and a double minor in business and digital audiences from the W. P. Carey School of Business.

She’s ready to have a career in social media.

“My mom always calls me her rebellious child,” Sood said. “And I would say that this is probably the ultimate act of rebellion to go work in social media.”

She wanted to get on Instagram when she was 13.

“Now that I know social media pretty much inside and out, I see the very damaging sides of it,” she said. “I completely understand why they didn't want me on social media. Do I think I should have been kept off social media as long as I was? No, but I understand when I was 13-, 14-years-old, why they didn't want me looking on Instagram at different models and getting the view of what life should be instead of making my own.

"I honestly think they did it right. I still love social media, but I came about it at the right age instead of too young.”

Sood started out in print journalism, but realized writing was not for her. She thought about dropping out of journalism altogether. She talked to other students who urged her toward public relations.

“I was in the PR research class with Sonia Bovio and there was like a little social media component of that,” Sood said. “And I absolutely loved it. I loved the math involved. I loved the analytics and all that. So I that's kind of how I fell into it.”

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

Answer: I came into college thinking that college was the only path. I'm Indian. There's a set of standards for my culture. I'm fine with being in college. That's not the issue, but I met a lot of people who are doing great in their lives without college. I think college is still useful, but it's definitely broadened my horizons to realize that not everybody's path is the same. Everybody is going to go through college very differently than I am. Even if we're in the same major, the same classes, all four years, everybody's life is gonna be very, very different from mine. And that really smacked me in the face freshman year.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I busted my butt off in high school and expected to go out of state. And then my mom told me that we couldn't afford it unless I got almost a full ride. So I pretty much didn't apply anywhere out of state. And I only applied to ASU. I think I applied to one school. It was like the dream school and I got in. Still couldn't afford it, but I got in. And so I came to ASU actually pretty pissed that I was coming to ASU, but I would definitely say that my mind has been changed since I've been at ASU. I would not be the person I am today if I didn't come here and if I didn't learn the things I did at Cronkite. I don't regret my decision.

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

A: I feel like I've had so many great professors. I really love Lisa Schmidtke. She's the PR lab director. I'm very much a go, go, go person. Up until the last month or so I've been working two jobs, a full class load, all this stuff. When I was in PR lab she really taught me that it's OK to slow down and not take on a hundred different things. I definitely would say that I go to her usually when I need advice. She's been my favorite professor.

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

A: To keep pushing and to keep learning. I came in so narrow minded with journalism. I wanted be a journalist and I realized journalism wasn't for me. I kept pushing and I kept pushing. And so then I stumbled upon PR and then I stumbled upon social media. I think that if you stop pushing and you stop learning, it's the death of you. Even after I graduate college, I hope that I learn something new every day.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I love the Mercado building. I didn't spend like crazy amounts of time there. I was very much an inside my apartment person, but I just think the Mercado is so beautiful. And on the Downtown Phoenix campus it's just really well built. It's usually pretty empty. I like it there.

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

A: Probably something with the environment. I feel like we don't take care of our planet enough. So something like deforestation or animals. In COVID we saw all of our environments get so much better because nobody was around. I'd probably tackle something like that and try to save the environment.

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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