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

May 6, 2022

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

Growing up in Yuma, Arizona, it’s hard to imagine a life beyond the lush green acres of produce that many families depend upon for income. Generations of farmworkers here help provide more than 90% of the nation’s winter vegetables. It’s a life Arizona State University Polytechnic graduating senior Israel Delgado was expected to pursue. Portrait of ASU grad Israel Delgado. ASU grad Israel Delgado Download Full Image

But Delgado had different plans. As a child, he dreamt of playing baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That changed while attending Cibola High School, where an “aha” moment cemented his life trajectory and decision to attend ASU and major in information technology on the Poly campus.

“I had an IT class, and my teacher, Mr. Felix, introduced me to the wonderful world of IT and all the cool things that can be done in this field,” Delgado said. “I love computers and I also love helping people and being able to combine both is amazing.”

Navigating the college experience alone as a first-generation student was scary and challenging, Delgado said. His parents, Rosa and Eusebio Delgado, are profoundly proud of their son and have supported him in any way possible. But for Israel, it was his participation in the President Barack Obama Scholars Program that made his attendance at ASU a reality.  

“My family are my biggest supporters and come from the agricultural industry, so it seemed weird that I did not want to pursue that. But they have always had my back in my decisions for picking a school and career. Without them, I don’t think I would have had the motivation to pursue a higher education. And without the scholarship, I would not have been able to afford an education,” he said.

As the first person to attend college in his family, it was easy for Delgado to get caught up in the excitement of university life. Meeting new friends, expanding horizons and spending days studying and hanging out at the ASU Polytechnic campus student union cemented his feelings that ASU was the right fit for him. Delgado also helped create a great student experience for other Sun Devils as the supervisor of the Poly student union, coordinating with student organizations and helping host events. Becoming a Sun Devil taught Delgado an important life lesson about balancing school, life and activities.

“Something I have learned at ASU is to have realistic expectations,” he said. “I learned that the hard way during my sophomore year, when I was really overwhelmed with my course load and, as a result, did poorly that year.”

Many students are influenced in the course of their college career by professors who challenge and inspire them, and Delgado is no different. Looking back at the teachers who helped mold him into the successful graduating senior he is today, it was undergraduate program chair Damien Doheny’s sage advice in Delgado’s ASU 101 course that he took to heart.

“Professor Doheny’s networking classes gave me a realistic view to how it is in the (IT) industry, and he is for sure a tough teacher, but man do you learn a ton in his classes,” Delgado said. 

Moving back to his hometown after graduation, Delgado will pursue a career first as an IT technician, and then will work on becoming a network engineer. He will also continue indulging in his love of cars, football, computers and video games. And now that it’s time to put on his maroon and gold cap and gown, Delgado is grateful for the experiences he has had as a Sun Devil and the ability to return home and support his parents as they have supported him.

“The most rewarding part of my college career would definitely be crossing that finish line in May,” Delgado reflected. “Going home and knowing that I am going to be able to support my family and pay them back for all the sacrifices they have made over the years to get me where I am today is so rewarding.”

 Written by Christine Wolfe, EOSS marketing

ASU grad combines 2 passions in sports and supply chain

May 6, 2022

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

The thought of seeing someone bleed makes many people queasy, and spring 2022 ASU graduate Natalie Zarasian is no different. But this epiphany came at the cost of her dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon with either the Phoenix Suns or the Arizona Diamondbacks. Portrait of ASU grad Natalie Zarasian. ASU grad Natalie Zarasian. Download Full Image

So Zarasian pivoted and used her love of sports and an interest in economics to focus on pursuing a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management and sports business. 

A recipient of the Leadership Scholarship Program and student at ASU's Barrett, The Honors College, she also quickly became a student leader on campus. In her first year at Arizona State University, Zarasian was the Changemaker Central service team coordinator on the Tempe campus and later became the director for Changemaker on the Tempe campus. Changemaker Central @ ASU hosts spaces and programs on all four ASU campuses to support students in serving their communities.  

Zarasian said being involved with Changemaker provided the opportunity to grow and make new friends. She describes her time with Changemaker as “one of my favorite experiences of college life” and the Changemaker Tempe space as “without a doubt” one of her favorite spaces to hang out on campus.

The senior is now celebrating her accomplishments with an eye to the future and attending the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law with a focus on sports law and business this fall.

“Growing up, I always wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. ... That definitely changed when I realized how squeamish I get at the thought of working with blood,” Zarasian said. “Through my numerous internships in government and industry, I realized my interests, education and experiences would tie well with law school. The law field is continuously relevant and can be applied to many industries, providing options for me to grow and adjust as I need to.”

As she begins a new chapter of her college career, she reflects on her time as an undergrad and offers insight into the college experience for her fellow Sun Devils.

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

Answer: While at ASU, I’ve learned the importance of believing yourself. In classes and clubs, you’re going to see what amazing work your peers are doing, and it always motivated me to be better. 

Sometimes, I found myself feeling like a bit of an imposter and thinking, “How did I get into this program?” or “Am I truly the right person for this position?” 

I learned you can’t let those thoughts get to you, and you’re truly where you are for a reason. It’s important to surround yourself with a community who pushes you to be better every day, and you will find that at ASU. While being at ASU, I saw the importance of trying new things, challenging myself and always meeting new people. 

Q: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

A: For supply chain, one of my “aha” moments was learning that a lot of what it entails is solving problems. I like the fast-paced environment that comes with supply chain and being able to learn how a product is made all the way until it is in the consumer’s hands. For sports business, I honestly didn’t even know that ASU offered that until the CFO of the Diamondbacks came and spoke to one of my accounting classes. He began speaking about what he does on a day-to-day basis, and I think it was a huge “aha” moment that I can combine both of my passions in some way.

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

A: As a part of the Leadership Scholarship Program, you must take a leadership class your freshman year taught by our amazing adviser, Lara Klinkner. My favorite lesson that she taught our cohorts was the importance of finding our “why.” It has inspired me to always find purpose in everything that I do and has truly helped me prioritize my academic, professional and personal goals.

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

A: As an avid reader, one focus area that I would tackle is childhood literacy. Literacy is essential to developing a strong sense of well-being and citizenship. Children who have developed strong reading skills perform better in school and have a healthier self-image. I think especially from a young age, literacy helps you learn about self-expression, expands your mind and shows the importance of creativity.

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

A: I think everyone in school hears this cliché all the time, so I apologize if I’m being repetitive, but truly enjoy it; it’ll be over before you know it. 

My friends and I have been reflecting on where we were four years ago to now, and it truly seems like yesterday that I was sitting in freshman orientation, attending my first Human Event class or volunteering at my first Changemaker Day of Service. Time flies, so make sure you’re making the most of your college experience.

Written by Christine Wolfe, EOSS marketing

Hannah Moulton Belec

Digital marketing manager, Educational Outreach and Student Services