Green River College transfer student's academic pursuits inspired by her Nigerian culture

Francie Igboabuchi chose ASU for its academic excellence

May 25, 2022

Arizona State University transfer student Francie Igboabuchi began her path to higher education at Green River College after learning about their 2+2 tertiary education system. As a Nigerian, this was very different from her educational experiences at the time.

“It was a great investment because it allowed me to grow in ways where I could track my progress, understand the academic, cultural and employment system in a foreign country, and prepare myself for eventually attending a larger institution while saving money,” Igboabuchi said.
Portrait of ASU student Francie Igboabuchi. Download Full Image

Inspired to pursue higher education by her parents, she recalls how education is considered to be one of the most invaluable tools that parents equip their children with.

“Growing up in a Nigerian household, my parents made certain that we received a great education," Igboabuchi said. "I grew up learning that schooling is different from education and that school teaches you to take responsibility for your own education, and learning that piece made me fall in love with academia. I feel that these four years of my undergraduate, and the many others that came before it, have prepared me not only to face the real world, but to give back to the world in a way that makes an impact, not only in the field of academia, but in other ways that we relate to each other.”

After looking into universities and researching her options, Igboabuchi knew ASU was where she wanted to spend the last two years of her undergraduate career.

“The amazing work that professors and students at the university have (done) and are still doing to move the needle of science, biopharma and biotechnology is outstanding, and if there is a school that I would rather learn from, it would be ASU.”

With an interest in science, and biology in particular, from a young age, she decided to pursue her BS degree in biological studies (biomedical sciences) in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Igboabuchi shared more about her journey from community college to ASU, as well as some advice for other transfer students.

Question: Were you involved in any clubs or organizations at your community college? If so, which one(s), and how did your participation impact your community college experience?

Answer: I was part of the Welcome Crew, a college and housing outreach team, and I was a resident assistant. I also became a campus student leader, participated in the Global Leadership Program, spoke at a Tea-Time Tuesday event and volunteered at several campus events like the talent show and C.O.R.E (Cultural Orientation and Recreation Events) for three quarters. My favorite and most fulfilling experiences were those where I got to serve first-year students, which were most of my experiences. Being able to learn in a new country myself and share that knowledge was the best. Not only was it as comforting to them as it was for me when I started college, but it allowed me to truly give back the gift of, "Hey, I see you too."

Q: Why (and when) did you choose your major?

A: I chose my major because I learned that I enjoyed biology in my last year of middle school. In middle school, I participated in science exhibitions, math competitions and spelling bees, but science always caught my mind. Over time, I learned so much more about human physiology, genetics and the research that goes into the understanding of these disciplines, and the more I learned, the more I fell in love and began to find my place in biomedical sciences.

Q: How did your ASU pathway program (MyPath2ASU) help you?

A: When I was getting ready to transfer, my awesome adviser at Green River College gave me some tips on how to prepare to transfer and how to craft my personal statement and show my true self. Not only did the program open up a new world on how to navigate academia to me, but it allowed me to explore other parts of myself as I prepared for the transition.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your ASU experience so far?

A: The past two years have been nothing short of beautiful, and most of all, I enjoyed the friendships I have built with amazing people. Moving across countries or states can pose a few challenges with building and maintaining friendships, but being able to build and nurture that whilst still exploring has been great. Second to that, the education I have been privileged to receive here at ASU. I have learned so much that sometimes I am amazed by the sheer amount of knowledge that we now have access to. Being able to not only learn but apply that in real life has been another great part of my ASU experience.

Q: Are you involved in any clubs, organizations, research or internships?

A: I currently work as a community assistant and a teaching assistant.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to a new transfer student?

A: Don't label or box yourself in, but if you must, don't do it too early. Allow yourself to explore, whether that be through taking classes you might have never thought about taking, moving to new cities, states or countries, or doing things out of the ordinary. Give yourself the permission to not be a cookie-cutter student.

Q: What are your plans after you graduate with your bachelor's degree?

A: I plan on taking a year or two off to rest, recharge, work and give back as much as I can before applying to medical school.

Melanie Pshaenich

Coordinator senior, Office of the University Provost, Academic Alliances


Modern technology vs. our stone-age brains

Psychology professor's new book taps evolutionary positive psychology to address the problems of contemporary life

May 25, 2022

If a family from a traditional hunter-gatherer society were transported into the modern urban world, they would think they’d landed in paradise.

Self-driving cars, homes with air conditioning and plush mattresses, and supermarkets stocked with fresh fruit, pre-made meals and some chocolate ice cream for dessert. Portrait of ASU President's Professor Douglas Kenrick and ASU psychology department program manager Dave Lundberg-Kenrick. ASU President's Professor Douglas Kenrick (left) and psychology department program manager Dave Lundberg-Kenrick. Download Full Image

The hunter-gatherers would probably be shocked to learn that people living amid all of these luxuries are often miserably depressed, anxious and lonely.

Arizona State University President's Professor Douglas Kenrick and co-author David Lundberg-Kenrick recently published a new book through the American Psychological Association, "Solving Modern Problems with a Stone-Age Brain," which focuses on how many of the problems we face in our daily lives stem from the fact that our brains evolved to deal with problems our ancestors faced but that are no longer major factors in our lives.

Together, the authors wanted to discover why people are so unhappy despite having such amazing technological and societal advances since the time of our ancestors.

“The book asks what are the problems that human beings have always had to solve? And which of those are the same problems we face now?” Kenrick said.

“They needed to survive, as in feed themselves and keep themselves from falling out of trees. They needed to protect themselves from the bad guys. They needed to make friends – human beings don't do very well on their own. They needed to get some respect and acquire mates. And then a special problem for human beings that other mammals don't face is they needed to hang on to those mates and care for exceptionally helpless offspring.”

In the book, the authors tap research from modern evolutionary psychology to suggest some ways to reach these fundamental human goals in more effective and fulfilling ways, and to avoid what they call “robo-parasites” — technological advancements that prey upon our previously adaptive motivations. 

The two authors approach the connection of psychology to human behavior in different ways. Lundberg-Kenrick has a background in film production and leads the Psych For Life production team with a focus on using emerging technologies to help people solve everyday problems. Lundberg-Kenrick is also the co-host of the ASU podcast "Zombified."

The senior Kenrick’s research for the last four decades has been on evolutionary social psychology, or the study of human behavior through the lens of evolutionary psychology. Some of their work modified Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which focused on fulfilling biological and social needs on the way to the ultimate goal of “self-actualization.”

In 2010, Kenrick published a new model of what motivates people, together with two ASU alums, Vladas Griskevicius and Mark Schaller, as well as Steven Neuberg, current chair and Foundation Professor of psychology. This research team suggested that kin care, or parenting, was the ultimate goal of humanity, not just a selfish need for self-actualization.

In this new model, they use a renovated pyramid of human needs as a framework to compare modern humans with our ancestors in terms of addressing seven fundamental goals:

  1. Surviving.
  2. Protecting ourselves from external threats.
  3. Making friends.
  4. Acheiving status.
  5. Finding mates.
  6. Keeping those mates.
  7. Taking care of our families.

"We wondered how we could use the lens of the seven major goals of ancestral humans to help guide problem-solving in the modern world,” Lundberg-Kenrick said. 

“Ironically, the same powerful, evolved motivations that helped our ancestors achieve those goals are often miscalibrated to the current world. Worse yet, those powerful motivational systems often open us up to being parasitized by modern technology.”

Kenrick and Lundberg-Kenrick examined the evidence about how people in small-scale societies handled similar problems of survival and family relationships. They then asked how their problems differed from the problems we confront today, and finally, they reviewed evidence to suggest a few solutions to these recurrent problems. 

The naturalistic fallacy

As evolutionary psychology has entered the mainstream dialogue, people sometimes make the mistake of thinking that everything natural is a good thing, as in natural foods and walking in the woods.

“The naturalistic fallacy is the idea that what is natural equals what is good. Our ancestors did evolve to have selfish genes. But that doesn't mean that the right thing to do is just go out and do whatever we can to get as much as possible for ourselves,” Kenrick said. 

Instead, research in positive psychology suggests that a more successful strategy for fulfilling life is to simply “be kind to others.”

In this book, Kenrick and Lundberg-Kenrick aim to show people how to fulfill their own needs by helping those around them also succeed.

“If you think about how you can help other people fulfill those seven fundamental motives, it can help your business, it can improve your relationships, and it can help you improve your own life,” Lundberg-Kenrick said.

Robert Ewing

Marketing and Communications Manager, Department of Psychology