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Psychology grad has a heart for the homeless


ASU grad Ryan Bieniek wearing gradution regalia at the bottom of the Old Main building staircase.

Ryan Pizzo Bieniek studied psychology and Spanish on ASU’s West campus and was also a recipient of an ASU Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship. Photo courtesy Ryan Pizzo Bieniek

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November 29, 2022

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

Ryan Pizzo Bieniek, who is graduating from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and minoring in Spanish, has a heart for people who struggle to find housing and other necessities. 

When asked what project he would tackle if given $40 million, the Surprise, Arizona, native said he would tackle the homelessness crisis and provide roofs over everyone’s heads. 

“There need to be more resources and free housing made available to people left homeless and in less fortunate situations,” he said. 

Bieniek studied at the New College on ASU’s West campus and was also a recipient of an ASU Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship, which supports families of Sun Devil graduates and fosters legacies at ASU. 

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

Answer: My “aha” moment was when a teacher that I respected and often confided in told me that psychology would be a good path for me to consider. She said that I had the qualities needed for this career, and she believed that I could do well in it. 

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

A: Something that surprised me at ASU was how big all of the campuses are and that each one provides a different experience.  

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I  chose to attend ASU mostly because of the proximity and the scholarships I was offered. It also seemed to be the university with the most diverse campus life and variety of classes. 

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

A: My favorite spot on Tempe campus was visiting the POD Market, sitting at the tables outside and talking to friends. On West campus, there is a hidden couch area above the lunch building. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduating this semester, I will be continuing on at ASU with the 4+1 psychology program and entering into the master’s program.

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

A: If I were given $40 million to tackle (a problem), it would be the homelessness crisis. There need to be more resources and free housing made available to people left homeless and in less fortunate situations.

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