Lincoln Scholar spotlight: On family, leadership and being a woman in tech


September 26, 2022

Arizona State University senior Alexis DeVries has had a passion for leadership and technology since her freshman year.

“I fell in love with working in teams to create projects from scratch that create change in the community,” said DeVries, a student at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Portrait of ASU student Alexis DeVries. Alexis DeVries is a senior in the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. Download Full Image

Now, DeVries is putting that passion to work as one of the newest Lincoln Scholars at ASU's Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. The scholar program engages students in ethics discussions and activities with faculty and community members.

An advocate for gender and racial equality in STEM fields, DeVries has defined her time at ASU and beyond through service and leadership, participating in Greek life, the Hispanic Business Students Association, the Department of Information Systems Club (DISC) and much more.

DeVries spoke with ASU News about the passions that drive her, how the Lincoln Scholars program has helped her pursue those passions and what’s on the horizon after graduation.

Editor’s note: The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Question: Tell us about your experience as a student at ASU.

Answer: I am a double major in computer information systems and management at Arizona State University, and I will be graduating with honors in May of 2023. In addition to maintaining a 3.7 GPA in a challenging academic program, I have completed several computing internship projects. For example, my experience as a Microsoft Ambassador required me to have excellent skills in the Microsoft Office suite, gather/analyze/groom user requirements, and utilize various coding techniques to create solutions to business problems. I also gained experience as a software developer for the Social Impact Project with the Phoenix Ivy Council.  Using my knowledge of Java Scripting, HTML/CSS, P5, Visual Studio and GitHub, I designed immersive video game experiences targeted to the needs of the special education and adult disability community.

Q: What are you most passionate about in your studies?

A: Being a woman in tech has come with its own challenges. I have been placed in group projects with all male students, who often silence me in meetings when I try to share my ideas or who edit out my work in research essays. I knew I had every right to contribute as much as they did, and I wouldn't let them determine the value of my work. I am focused and determined to succeed despite everyone's doubts. I've been on the Dean's List every semester of my college career while holding leadership positions in multiple organizations and becoming a National Hispanic Scholar. I recently competed in the 2022 national Nike hacking competition, which took a lot of courage, and my first-place finish boosted my confidence in my chosen career path. As a result, I secured a job as a research fellow intern at ASU’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology. I get to advocate for female students of color in STEM and offer a setting that emphasizes empowerment. I’ve always made it a personal goal to defy the odds, and nothing will stop me now.

Q: How did you come upon the Lincoln Scholars Program, and what inspired you to join?

A: I found the Lincoln Scholars Program on the ASU scholarships page. My family was going through a rough time, and I was determined to find a way through it. The program gave me the opportunity to continue my education when I thought all hope was lost. I will forever be thankful for the day I found the Lincoln Scholars Program, and all that it has given me.

As a computer information systems major, I believe our lessons about the applied ethics of technology in today’s modern world will greatly benefit my decision-making throughout my career. I enjoy the diversity in the class and its openness to hearing statements from all sides of the debate.

Q: You have had various leadership experiences and are very active outside your school studies. What skills have you gained from that, and do you have any advice for other students looking to get more involved in their communities?

A: I have learned that being a leader is a quality that is earned, not given. During my freshman year, I joined my first club, which has changed who I am as a person in ways I couldn't have imagined. I have created so many memories and friendships due to this community of leaders. Every organization truly is impressive in its own way, and each club contains hardworking and kind-hearted students. I consider myself lucky to work with them. It has been an honor to have the opportunity to serve them as a member of the executive boards.

Good leadership is the key to achieving great things and executing new, creative ideas. It is important to set an example of what a leader should be like, and be an essential resource in case members come to me for help.

Q: What do you look forward to most about graduating in the spring?

A: I am looking forward to this next phase of my life, when I hopefully will get to be closer to my family again. Family is very important to me, but so is my education, so these past four years, I have had to live far away from those closest to me. My goal is to get a software development role that is either remote, based in Yuma, Arizona, or San Diego.

Karina Fitzgerald

Communications program coordinator , Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics

602-543-1225

Double ASU graduate wins prestigious award for work in Africa

Shantel Marekera to receive $19,500 to support an education project she founded in home country of Zimbabwe


September 26, 2022

Shantel Marekera, a double graduate of Arizona State University, recently was awarded the Äänit Prize from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is Nelson Mandela’s official organization for leadership development. The Äänit Prize funds social-impact projects in Africa. Marekera will receive $19,500 to support an education project she founded in her native country of Zimbabwe. Portrait of ASU grad Shantel Marekera. She has long dark hair and wears a black blazer over a blue shirt with her arms crossed while smiling at the camera. ASU alum and Rhodes Scholar Shantel Marekera is the founder of the Little Dreamers Foundation, which runs an affordable preschool in Zimbabwe. She also founded the Female Dreamers Foundation, which focuses on job creation and financial sufficiency for the parents of students being educated through the Little Dreamers Foundation. Download Full Image

Marekera, who was an ASU Mastercard Scholar, received a bachelor’s degree in justice studies with honors from Barrett, The Honors College in 2018 and a master’s degree in justice studies in 2019, both from the School of Social Transformation. As a Rhodes Scholar, she completed a degree in jurisprudence and law at the University of Oxford in 2022. She also has served as a Global Peace Ambassador in Zimbabwe for Global Peace Chain.

She is the founder of the Little Dreamers Foundation, which runs an affordable preschool in the underserviced neighborhoods of Budiriro Cabs, Zimbabwe. She also founded the Female Dreamers Foundation, which focuses on job creation and financial sufficiency for the parents of students being educated through the Little Dreamers Foundation.

MORE: The dream maker — how Marekera is helping preschoolers in Zimbabwe

“I am filled with gratitude to my Rhodes community, my team at Little Dreamers Foundation, the Budiriro Cabs and Glenview community, and all the organizations that have partnered with Little Dreamers. I didn’t do this alone,” Marekera said.

Marekera plans to use her prize money to purchase land to build a school for students from preschool to primary school in Zimbabwe.

Read more about the Äänit Prize.

Nicole Greason

Director of Marketing and Public Relations , Barrett, The Honors College

480-965-8415