Moeur Award recipient selected for Clinton Global Initiative

May 18, 2022

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

Recent Arizona State University graduate Savannah Prida comes from a long line of college-educated women. However, she’s the first woman in her family to graduate with her bachelor’s degree debt-free. Portrait of ASU grad Savannah Prida. This spring, Savannah Prida graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in social justice and human rights with certificates in cross-sector leadership and Peace Corps prep. Download Full Image

“To be able to say that I have received a bachelor's degree debt-free is something that is genuinely life-changing,” Prida said. “I am so proud to say that I have gotten my degree from Arizona State University.”

Prida’s lifelong passion for serving others was what initially drew her to the social justice and human rights program offered by the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

From the start of her ASU journey, she participated in the Next Generation Service Corps (NGSC), a four-year leadership development program where students engage in practical elements of leadership, learn cross-sector collaboration and participate in internships in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Through the NGSC, she was awarded the Public Service Academy Commitment Award, which enabled her to push herself to the next level.

“The Public Service Academy Commitment Award and the Next Generation Service Corps pushed me to really believe in myself and believe in my capabilities,” she said. “As a freshman, I never thought that I would be capable of doing an internship and that a company would take me seriously as just an 18-year-old kid, but I realized that I had to believe in myself before other people were going to believe in me.”

Through the NGSC, she spent four months in Cape Town, South Africa, where she worked on policy development and research on human rights issues as a summer intern. Her time there inspired her to complete her honors thesis for Barrett, The Honors College on mass incarceration in South Phoenix and how voter disenfranchisement impacts community ties.

“The work that I did there has truly influenced the rest of my life in the ways that it allowed me to connect real people's stories with the academic curriculum that I have learned,” she said.

This spring, Prida graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in social justice and human rights with certificates in cross-sector leadership and Peace Corps prep. For her high academic standing, she was recognized as a Moeur Award recipient. Here, she shares more about her experiences at ASU and what’s next for her.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study social justice and human rights?

A: I can't say I really had an “aha” moment — I think it was a series of little moments throughout my life that led me to this degree. I was always passionate about service to others, and I think that social justice and human rights just fit really well into my passions.

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

A: I think the biggest thing that I've gotten out of the program in social justice and human rights is quite a simple lesson but a reminder that is always necessary for us all: There is humanity within us all, and digging into that and going into that further is a worthwhile pursuit. 

Getting an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree is the reason that I was forced to go out of my comfort zone to engage in math, science, English, humanities and philosophy courses that I would never have taken otherwise. I feel like I have come out as a more well-rounded individual who is able to thrive in multiple environments and not just one key area that I’m passionate about.

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

A: In Dr. Jennifer Keahey’s course, she really took a slow learning approach, which is the idea that you take time to digest the material and that you converse with your colleagues and your peers. You allow it to sink in without trying to force something to perform on a test. She applied that lesson to life, and that's something that's really stuck with me. You can apply slow learning to your every day. The only moment we have is the present, and she taught me to lean in to that by truly being in the moment.

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

A: Pursue what you're passionate about. If you don't know what you're passionate about, pursue what you like, because going to school is only really worth it if you're going for something that is truly meaningful to you. When times got hard or when I felt like I wanted to give up, I was able to continue because I am truly passionate about what I'm going to school for and the work that I do I find meaningful.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After I graduate, I will pursue my master's degree in social justice and human rights at ASU. I have also recently been selected for the Clinton Global Initiative, and I will be working with the Clinton Foundation to implement a social change project to address high recidivism rates in South Phoenix.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years or more?

A: In 10 years, I hope to have a job that I’m passionate about, that I love the work that I do and that I'm able to travel and be with friends and family. That might look like me being a human rights attorney or being a nonprofit professional or working in the public sector. I'm really not quite sure yet, but ideally, the work would be fulfilling and I'd be passionate about it. 

Emily Balli

Manager of marketing and communications, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Communication interns prove invaluable to their companies

May 18, 2022

Communication majors are highly sought-after job candidates across many professional fields due to their ability to communicate effectively across varied situations. 

So it’s only natural that communication interns are also in high demand. Portrait of ASU student Madelaine Beitzel. Communication major Madelaine Beitzel turned her internship into a full-time job. Download Full Image

"All fields consistently look for capable communication-focused college students to help and hire,” said Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko, internship director at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. 

“For our students, internship opportunities facilitate wide exploration of the communication field, since there are so many factors to consider, process and understand.”

Dybvig-Pawelko tells her students that internships provide unique skills and opportunities that they would not receive otherwise.

In the best-case scenario, an internship may lead to a full-time job upon (or even before) graduation.

This is how communication major Madelaine Beitzel got the job she’s in now.

Beitzel interned in the summer of 2018 as a marketing coordinator for Kimley-Horn, a planning and design consulting firm. By the end of the year, the company offered her a full-time position upon her spring graduation.

Kimley-Horn's post on LinkedIn about hiring Madelaine Beitzel.

“Initially, I only had an internship for the summer, but asked if I could extend it,” said Beitzel. "I was promptly told ‘no’ because it wasn’t in their business plan. However, I think they quickly saw how the support I was able to provide helped the team. They offered to extend my internship on a part-time basis and were very accommodating to match my class schedule. That helped them understand my potential as a team member post-graduation.”

Beitzel earned six course credits in Dybvig-Pawelko’s COM 484 Internship course by working at Kimley-Horn. All of those hours counted toward her communication degree.

Not only do interns gain technical knowledge in the industry of their choice, but they also learn how to interact with professionals in a workplace setting. In addition, they develop essential skills like time management, organization, adaptability, problem-solving and teamwork, many of the same skills they learned in their communication coursework.

Beitzel says she remembers being surprised by the amount of responsibility she was given so quickly in her internship. 

"I was trained, briefed on the task, then given the freedom to drive the process and get it done," she said.

When asked which communication courses were helpful for this internship, she noted Interpersonal Communication, Advanced Research Methods in Communication and Public Speaking.

"Those courses helped build my critical thinking abilities, improve my research and writing skills, and become more comfortable working and presenting in large teams full of people with different personalities,” Beitzel said.

Zach Rangel

Communication major Zach Rangel

Communication major Zach Rangel is working as a marketing intern with Versant Capital Management Inc., a wealth management and investment firm.

Rangel, who hails from Austin, Texas, says he has always been interested in marketing, sales and public relations. 

“For me, studying communication provides a great foundation for a career in these areas,” he said.

Rangel found this paid summer internship by applying to every communication-related internship he found, both through ASU and on the internet. 

Rangel said the internship interested him because he wanted to be able to focus on marketing and grow his social media marketing experience.

"Versant has given me the opportunity to reach those goals," he said. “When I interviewed with Versant Capital, it just seemed like the perfect fit. My boss and mentor, Lisa Greve, has a degree in communication and was looking for an intern in a communication degree program. I felt like I could learn a lot from her. 

"I was asked to stay on after my summer internship and have been interning part time all year.”

Greve, a marketing and administration manager at Versant, says they had many interns from ASU, some of whom have gone on to full-time jobs with the firm after graduation.

“Because Versant is a wealth management and investment firm, we typically have a finance or econ major apply for internships. Zach thought outside of the box and asked if he could do a marketing internship to get hands-on business experience,” Greve said.

She says Rangel is thoughtful and hard-working and is involved in many areas of their marketing activities. 

A posting from Versant on LinkedIn about Zach's work

A posting by Versant Capital on LinkedIn about Zach Rangel's work as an intern.

“He recently helped to create a series of 16 short videos around the topic ‘Financial Tips for Young Adults.’ The project required multiple skills, such as strategic planning, researching, writing, graphic design and video editing. Once the videos launched, he helped to track and interpret data and analytics,” Greve said.

In terms of advice for current students who are considering an internship, Beitzel says: “Before you even start applying, my advice is to really think about what you want out of an internship.”

She adds, “Identifying your must-haves will help you narrow your search and land an internship that provides you with real value, not just a job you can put on your resume. You should ask yourself questions like ‘What skills do you want to grow or add?’ ‘What industries interest you?’ ‘Do you have specific values that your future company must align with?’ ‘What kind of people do you enjoy working with?’ It’s also helpful to think about what you don’t want. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions in your interviews to get clarity on what you might enjoy doing long-term.”

Manager, Marketing and Communication, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication