Impactful experiences highlight grad's undergraduate experience

April 25, 2022

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

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 in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, many of his successes have been about his time outside of the classroom. Ananay Arora Download Full Image

One of those activities that Arora feels is the most important was his founding of the Google Developers Student Club at ASU. The club serves as an additional resource to teach software engineering skills to students.

“Software engineering is a constantly changing industry, and I felt that there is a lot more to be learned outside the classroom,” Arora says. “It took two years of determination and passion to create and grow the club to more than 600 members, and through hands-on workshops every Friday, I accomplished my goal of sharing my knowledge with everyone.”

Arora also has completed two internships with Apple and additionally worked as a researcher in ASU’s Luminosity Lab and in the Laboratory of Security Engineering for Future Computing, known as SEFCOM.

“I’m grateful to have worked as a software engineer and learned from the best engineers in the industry,” says Arora, who hails from New Delhi, India. “Whatever I’ve learned, I’ve made it a personal goal to share it with the community while delivering the best learning experience.”

In the uncertainty of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, Arora and some of his friends created a website, called, that tracked internships that had been canceled due to COVID and the companies that were hiring for remote positions.

“My friends and I created the website for fun, but when we took it seriously to fight fake news around company cancellations, we made a real impact,” Arora says. “We had a bunch of interviews from Bloomberg, NPR, The Atlantic, State Press, and more, but most importantly the CEO of Cloudflare doubled their internship class after seeing our website.”

Arora will be returning as an intern at Apple this summer before coming back to ASU and the Luminosity Lab in the fall to complete his master’s degree in computer science as part of ASU’s accelerated 4+1 program and continue work as a researcher in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, one of the seven Fulton Schools.

“Going forward, I aim to build and ship great products to customers,” Arora says. “I'm already grateful to Apple and Luminosity for giving me those engineering and management skills in order to facilitate that. I aspire to work at a big tech company and also pursue entrepreneurship in the future.”

Erik Wirtanen

Web content comm administrator, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


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

Gregory Abbott follows his passion for US history and civic education

April 25, 2022

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

A Phoenix native, Gregory Abbott entered Arizona State University in 2018 after graduating from Brophy College Preparatory with a much different perspective than the one he has today. Gregory Abbott Dean’s Medalist Gregory Abbott Download Full Image

“I always had an interest in the U.S. Constitution and political thought, but my original major was biological science,” he said.

One night, though, his father mentioned he had heard about a new ASU program, one focused on civic and economic thought and leadership.

“We checked out the (School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership) website that evening and I decided to take a course,” Abbott said.

His first course at the school was CEL 100 with Professor Karen Taliaferro. 

“I was intimidated at first, but I fell in love with the Socratic seminars and with the opportunity to share my ideas. Slowly, I became more confident and pushed myself. It was a growth process,” he said.

The following semester, he took CEL 200 Great Debates in American Politics with Professor Zachary German.

“I was hooked. I switched to a major in civic and economic thought and leadership and never looked back,” he says.

Abbott graduates in spring 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in civic and economic thought and leadership and brings home the 2022 Dean’s Medal, but his journey has just begun.

In May, he moves to the University of Notre Dame campus in Indiana to begin his graduate studies in education. We talked to him about his experience at ASU, his career goals and about receiving the Dean’s Medal.

Question: How has the School of Economic Thought and Leadership impacted you?

Answer: I came in very cynical about our country, but by learning about our government, its institutions, the fragile equilibrium between the different powers, the compromises and the genius of our constitutional democracy, I gained a deep respect for it. I learned that it all relies on compromises and civil disagreement. And this made me want to help preserve it. It is our task to make it last.

Q: What is your ultimate goal?

A: My goal is to remain dedicated to being a part of the conversations to find common ground to solve the civics crisis in America. I plan on becoming an American history and civics teacher at the high school level.

Q: What do the next two years look like for you?

A: The program I’m entering at the University of Notre Dame has a teaching component. I will teach in Florida for two years during my master’s, then I intend to apply for the doctorate program in constitutional studies at the same university. 

Q: What makes the school special?

A: It feels like family. My favorite part is the (school's) community, something I never expected to find in such a large university. It is much more than I had expected. The tight community gave me the confidence to apply for fellowships, courses and opportunities.

Q: What would you say to an incoming School of Economic Thought and Leadership student?

A: The (school's) education is more than studying history. It’s more than studying political science. And it’s more than studying philosophy. It’s learning about those subject matters to find ways to make our country stronger. In essence, it combines critical thinking and analytical skills for the purpose of improving society.

Q: Your career path shows your passion for civic education. How did your professors impact you?

A: I feel immense gratitude for (the school) for making me a student, who loves to learn and grow, and receiving the Dean’s Medal is a symbolic representation of the (school) community’s faith in me.

Marcia Paterman Brookey

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership