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Graduate finds a new perspective at ASU

ASU graduate stands in front of a Psyche mural.
December 01, 2022

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

Adriana (Audrey) Talamante is a problem solver, and when she arrived at ASU not knowing what degree path to follow, she created a list.

Through a set of trial and error, Talamante added to her "do not like" list until she attended her first programming class and instantly felt a click. After a few more classes and discussions with her advisor, Talamante will graduate this fall with a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Talamante chose to attend ASU because of the diverse field of opportunities in the engineering school and the possibilities for student involvement. As a first-generation student and native Arizonan, financial aid allowed her to focus on her studies, make mistakes and network without carrying a financial burden.

Talamante surrounded herself with all types of different people, cultures and passions, creating new viewpoints after attending a high school that included the same people since childhood.

“It was honestly a culture shock,” she said. “I had viewed everything through a narrow perspective, but ASU granted me the opportunity to widen that perspective. This has made me a better listener and overall person.”

Talamante has contributed in various roles through outreach projects with Psyche, a NASA space mission to visit an asteroid of the same name led by ASU. She joined the EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) team working on a Psyche project and was later hired as a Psyche outreach intern, helping to develop outreach materials and coordinate events and finally becoming the student manager for all of Psyche Student Collaborations. She is also the student lead for the senior capstone program, helping coordinate and support hundreds of students from around the country each year, and providing project management for the online course development efforts.

“Over the years, Audrey has shaped our programs in countless ways,” said Cassie Bowman, associate research professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and co-investigator on the Psyche Asteroid Mission. “Her efforts included collecting data for program improvement to creating and sourcing new materials for schools and the public, co-authoring conference abstracts and articles to working with NASA and JPL team members on planning meetings and large mission milestone events. Audrey has been a huge part of Psyche for her entire time at ASU and her creative contributions will continue to positively impact students and the public for years to come.”

“As a person who has suffered greatly from imposter syndrome, Cassie Bowman instilled in me that I am capable and that I deserve the opportunities,” Talamante said. “She has always pushed me to work at my full potential and has repeatedly told me to just go for it. All her advice has immensely changed the route my life has gone.”

After graduation, Talamante will continue to explore job opportunities preferring to stay in the aerospace industry. Here, she shares a few thoughts about her time at ASU. 

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

Answer: My favorite spot on campus is honestly anywhere outside. As a native Arizonan I prefer higher temperatures. I love being able to put on my headphones, sit under some shade and be in open spaces. 

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

A: My best advice for students is to just take a second. My most questionable decisions have been made rashly. It is so easy to feel like things are coming at you all at once and at hyper speed while in college. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing but what I have learned is that in those moments you just need to take a second, take a deep breath and make a plan. There will always be a solution and there will always be someone there to help you. 

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 invest in incorporating STEAMScience, technology, engineering, arts and math. programs into schools. I went to a high school that did not have a lot of choices or opportunities for students. It was not until my senior year that I was even introduced to engineering by my teacher Mr. Berger. I was 10 steps behind a lot of my peers when I arrived at ASU, and it was challenging and isolating to know that you were not on the same playing field. With $40 million I would add classes, clubs, equipment and of course more teachers like Mr. Berger. 

MORE: Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ fall 2022 class

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