Grad's global mindset influenced enrollment in Thunderbird program

April 25, 2022

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

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 at Arizona State University appealed to him for that exact reason.  Jai Choi Jai Choi will graduate this spring with a Master of Global Management from The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. Download Full Image

“The global mindset that Thunderbird aspires for, drew me to the program and its people,” said Choi, a recipient of both the Thunderbird Alumni Scholarship and Dave Fisher and Mitch Kanai Scholarship. 

“I wanted to learn from others who had success in creating economic engines in different global contexts and challenges. I wanted to be a part of where Thunderbird was going.” 

Now, as Choi graduates this spring, he has some advice for students just beginning their education at Thunderbird. His recommendation? Don’t take anything for granted.

“Take the time at Thunderbird as a precious gift," he said. "It is an opportunity for relationships, paradigm shifts and amassing fundamental skills for our dynamic world.

"Consume the knowledge as life-giving nutrients and learn to digest the content thoughtfully and sift for insights towards problems you see around you. Read all the assignments that professors have thoughtfully curated for their content. And finally, enjoy the pub.”  

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

Answer: This is a difficult question because I have learned fundamentally important things from every professor and class that I have taken. I appreciated the welcome and open doors that each professor demonstrated to students. They each opened new worlds of mindset and possibilities for us. They taught us to ask good questions and think. We learned practical skills to navigate the cultures and personalities. They encouraged us to start and create rather than follow. Yet, they also taught us to learn to be good followers and to respect the ecosystem of leadership necessary in any worthwhile endeavors.

Q: What has your experience at Thunderbird been like?

A: As a mid-career person, I was probably the oldest student in my class. Yet, I only experienced inclusion and friendship from my peers. I appreciated the learning mindset of everyone and was grateful to be in a community with future leaders who will impact and influence globally. I look forward to continuing to be in a network of alumni and sharing the trajectory as lifelong learners together.  

Q: For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

A: I am grateful for the opportunity to be a learner. I have had the opportunity to learn at Thunderbird from some of the finest practitioners and thinkers in the world of international commerce, whose mission is to make the world a better place for everyone. I only wish that more people in the world have had the opportunities that I have had. It grieves me to realize the majority of the world population has yet to realize their full potential simply because of a lack of opportunities. I hope to be part of the solution to change this problem of unequally distributed opportunities.

Mary Hess

Digital Communications Manager, Thunderbird School of Global Management

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

April 25, 2022

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

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Kinzler, a hospital corpsman, completes his bachelor's degree in biochemistry in May through the School of Molecular Science’s online program. US Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class Michael Kinzler and Family US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Kinzler, a hospital corpsman, with wife, Jess, and two children. Image credit HM1 Abir Majumdar. Download Full Image

For the past decade he has served in the U.S. Navy, initially at the Naval Hospital Lemoore, in central California. As a junior corpsman he worked in a family and internal medicine clinic with a physician who mentored him, sparking his interest in medicine while providing a strong foundation of knowledge and experience.

Kinzler and his wife, Jess, transferred to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, shortly after the birth of their first son. Kinzler joined “America’s Battalion,” the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, as the USMC does not have organic medical units but relies on the Navy to provide them.

“Operating in real-world contingency missions is one of the reasons I joined the Navy, so this was a fulfilling assignment,” Kinzler said. “These experiences solidified my desire to practice medicine at the highest level and encouraged me to take action toward fulfilling this goal.”

Transferring to Nebraska and taking a special assignment to the Omaha Military Entrance Processing Station gave Kinzler a level of stability that allowed him to focus on his studies and complete his degree. After high school, Kinzler had attended a small community college after high school, but lacked direction.

“Although I started out well,” he said. “I quickly lost interest and changed my major three times in an effort to find something that fit me. Ironically, I was taking all online classes when I dropped out and joined the Navy.”

Five years later, while attached to his USMC unit, Kinzler began researching veteran and active-duty friendly schools.

“A friend told me of his positive experiences pursuing a psychology degree online through ASU, and it sounded too good to be true,” Kinzler said. “I was very apprehensive to be taking online classes again, however, once I began it all fell into place. ASU has been a great fit for me to finish my degree while being in the Navy.”

Kinzler, who will be exiting service in June, has been accepted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, as well as the Medical College of Wisconsin.

“I could not have done anything professionally without the support of my wife, Jess,” Kinzler said.

Kinzler looks forward to starting medical school in the fall with the continued support of his wife and their two sons, Jack and Jordan.

James Klemaszewski

Science writer, School of Molecular Sciences