Fall ASU graduate already working in procurement for state of Arizona


November 29, 2022
Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2022 graduates.

Julia Ladner, an Arizona State University business communication major, will apply what she learned through her honors thesis and an internship in a job with the state of Arizona.

Ladner will graduate ASU in December with a bachelor’s degree in business from the W. P. Carey School of Business, a certificate in applied business data analytics and honors from Barrett, The Honors College. Julia Ladner posing in front of greenery Julia Ladner is graduating Arizona State University with a bachelor's degree in business and a certificate in applied business data analytics with honors from Barrett, The Honors College. Download Full Image

Her thesis had three main foci: cooperative purchasing programs, the Arizona Set-Aside Program and the Department of Homeland Security's Procurement Innovation Lab.

She landed on this topic after learning about the bid proposal process in Narrating Global Development and about public procurement in SMC 494: Public and Non-Profit Procurement.

“I was able to narrow in on cooperative purchasing and the Arizona Set-Aside after I started my internship with the Arizona State Procurement Office where I really learned about the inner workings of public procurement,” Ladner said.

Ladner served as a procurement management intern for the state of Arizona from May to October. She started a full-time position as cooperative program coordinator for the Arizona State Procurement Office last month.

At the ASU Polytechnic campus, she served as a Barrett community assistant, peer mentor and Honors Devil. She was given the honors college’s 2022 Gold Standard Award in the Community Builder category and received funding to represent Barrett at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in early November.

We asked Ladner, who grew up in Morris, Minnesota, to reflect on her undergraduate experience at ASU. Here’s what she had to say:

Question: What is an interesting moment, story or accomplishment in your ASU career?

Answer: I am incredibly proud of being awarded the Community Builder Gold Standard Award last spring for my work as a community assistant, peer mentor and Honors Devil. I was so happy to have my work recognized at such a high level as someone from one of the smaller campuses.

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

A: I originally intended on majoring in communication, but when I was a junior in high school, I toured the ASU Poly campus with my mom and absolutely fell in love. Business communication was the closest option, and I knew it would give me a well-rounded education to go into a variety of fields.

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

A: I learned a lot as a community assistant that changed my perspective on how to approach a variety of situations. It really taught me how to better work with people to meet them where they are.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I really chose Poly. I loved that it offered the small town feel I grew up with while providing the resources of the largest university in the United States. My choice was really solidified when I got to attend an overnight experience with a Barrett Poly student. There I was able to meet a lot of current students, learn about their experiences and see the tight-knit community in action. I even met my now best friend!

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

A: I think the most important lesson I learned was the importance of building connections and having a strong network from Prof. Jeff Macias. In his SCM 494 class, we were able to meet current public and non-profit procurement professionals that proved to be incredibly valuable connections when I started searching for internships.

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

A: Go to class! It really does make a huge difference in what you learn, and it is a great way to get on your professor's good side, which is huge when they have opportunities to offer. I would also recommend doing something outside of your specific major/interests. I was focused on communication, so I never thought to take a special topics supply chain class until Prof. Macias told us about his class. This is directly how I ended up in the field I am now in. Taking classes outside your major is also a great way to meet people you may never interact with otherwise, which can lead to amazing friendships.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus for studying, meeting with friends or just thinking about life?

A: The main place I go on the Poly campus to study is the Barrett Suite. On the Tempe campus, I love the patio downstairs by Hayden Library. It is the perfect quiet spot if you have an hour between classes and want a nice cool spot to study.

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

A: I would want to invest in more sustainable and clean energy. Back in Morris, they are huge on reaching net-zero carbon emissions, so I would like to further invest in that goal on a larger scale by investing in solar, wind and other sustainable energy sources.

Nicole Greason

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

480-965-8415

Mother, community, service inspire 2022 grad


November 29, 2022

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

Arianna Tillman was inspired by her community and her mother to pursue a bachelor’s degree in medical studies at Arizona State University. Portrait of ASU grad Arianna Tillman. Arianna Tillman is graduating from ASU with a bachelor's degree in medical studies and plans to apply to medical schools. Photo courtesy Arianna Tillman Download Full Image

“I realized that I wanted to be pre-med when I learned about the many health care disparities that affect Black Americans,” Tillman said.

“Along with those health disparities, my other motivation to pursue pre-med was my mother. She is a nurse practitioner, and hearing her speak about her job and how she helped her patients really inspired me,” she added.

Tillman will receive a Bachelor of Science in medical studies from the ASU College of Health Solutions with honors from Barrett, The Honors College in December. After graduation, she plans on working as a medical scribe and applying to medical schools.

Tillman combined academics with service while at ASU. She served as the Downtown Phoenix campus representative on the Barrett Honors College Council for two years, as an Undergraduate Student Government senator and as public relations chair for the Black Medical Students Association.

“During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to form lifelong friendships with my classmates through classes like humanities and campus activities like Fall Fest. I was able to further help my peers by advocating for them through my involvement in undergraduate student government and the Black Medical Student Association,” she said.

Tillman, who is from Glendale, Arizona, said she decided to join Barrett Honors College because a close family friend and Barrett student highly recommended it.

“Upon further research, I became aware of the many unique opportunities that Barrett has to offer, like the Premedical Scholars program with the Mayo Clinic. Also, being in the honors college enhanced my ASU experience because, due to the small class sizes, I was able to establish strong relationships with my honors professors,” she said.

She also had the opportunity to complete honors contracts and an honors thesis, participate in interesting special topics courses – including one about gender, race and sexuality in Western films – and take the honors college’s signature course The Human Event.

“I absolutely loved The Human Event. It taught me to think more critically. I enjoyed the challenge of being an honors student. It showed me that I am more capable than I ever imagined,” she said.

For her honors thesis, Tillman conducted research on the success of Black science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students who attend a predominately white institution (PWI).

“It was my goal to analyze if race-based trauma and access to Black STEM mentors had an effect on success. I chose this topic because, as a Black STEM student, I have seen many of my peers struggle with feelings of isolation and a lack of guidance from faculty. I wanted to see if this feeling of isolation was widespread,” she said.

Tillman took time out to reflect on her undergraduate experience at ASU. Here’s what she had to say.

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

Answer: Being at ASU, I definitely learned the importance of community. I was able to become as successful as I was as an undergrad because of the many friends and professors that encouraged me. During times of struggle, it is necessary to reach out to those who know more than you.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because of the proximity to home. I’m originally from Glendale and it’s only 30 minutes from there to the Downtown Phoenix campus. 

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

A: My organic chemistry professor Dr. Jason Houtchens taught me one of the most important lessons I learned as an undergraduate. The lesson was, sometimes you have to give up temporary happiness for success. At the beginning of the semester, he mentioned to us that we needed to be studying organic chemistry every day. I thought that this was an exaggeration before the first quiz. But once I started doing deliberate practice, my quiz grades improved significantly. 

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

A: I would tell students who are still in school to take full advantage of all the resources and events that are available on campus, especially because they’re paying for them with their student fees! 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, for studying, meeting with friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus was the library in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. It is the perfect space to study. 

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

A: If I had $40 million, I would want to tackle homelessness. Living downtown, you become painfully aware of the homeless epidemic that exists in Arizona.

Nicole Greason

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

480-965-8415