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International human rights, law school is ASU graduate's future focus

Brooke Zanon

Brooke Zanon

April 24, 2023

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.

There are some ASU students who are so involved on and off-campus that it seems impossible that they fit everything into the 24 hours in a day. 

Brooke Zanon is a Barrett, The Honors College student graduating from Arizona State University this May with a Bachelor of Arts in global studies and political science, as well as a minor in French. 

Zanon grew up in Phoenix and had planned to go to college out of state, but after touring the Tempe campus during her senior year at Millennium High School in Goodyear, she decided on ASU as she immediately felt like she was at home.  

Zanon has received the Moeur Award, ASU Alumni Association Medallion Scholarship, the New American University Dean’s Award and the Hispanic Leadership Forum del Oeste Scholarship during her time with ASU. The Medallion Scholarship Program provides incoming ASU students who have received the Dean’s Scholarship with an additional scholarship, mentoring opportunities and more. The program led Zanon to her job at the Arizona Senate, where she worked during her freshman, sophomore and junior years, and to many networking opportunities. She is also a nominated student leader for the School of Politics and Global Studies and a member of Pi Sigma Alpha and Phi Beta Kappa.

She is the former policy chair for March For Our Lives ASU and the former director of external affairs for Barrett as well as being a Junior Fellow Research Assistant in the School of Politics and Global Studies for Associate Professor Tara Lennon, and a Barrett College Research Fellow for Associate Professor Keon McGuire.

She also works as the international project assistant for ASU’s Office of Global Academic Initiatives.

She discusses her college career below.

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

Answer: I knew I was interested in international relations and politics before coming to ASU. However, taking an honors class on human rights atrocities during my sophomore year with visiting scholar Simon Adams cemented my interest in international human rights. Adams’ passion and expertise as a renowned leader in his field, having led advocacy efforts at the United Nations and various governments worldwide to help prevent genocide and crimes against humanity, was infectious. That’s when I knew I wanted to pursue international human rights as my future career. After this class, I continued taking courses specific to human rights, including International Human Rights Law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, and loved every second.

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

A: While my perspectives constantly evolved each semester at ASU, one of my most significant learning experiences occurred during my junior year study abroad trip. Studying in Lyon, France, I took a class on government and politics in France, where I learned about the country’s institutional, social and political discrimination against Muslim immigrants and communities – even witnessing it myself many times. These experiences helped pique my interest in international relations and led me to the Barrett College Research Fellow program once I returned home. Here, I worked with Professor Keon McGuire on his research project titled "Black Muslim Worldmaking," which focused on how marginalized communities face microaggressions and continue to succeed in higher and post-secondary institutions.

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

A: Since I’ve had so many excellent professors at ASU, picking just one is hard. However, I would say that Professor Isaac Joslin, my thesis director, taught me countless important lessons by providing unparalleled instruction, resources and insight regarding my studies. He was also a great support system while I was writing my thesis and consistently met with me to help develop, expand and correct not just my work but also my personal worldviews. I learned so much from him and deeply appreciate all the help he’s given me throughout my time at ASU.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, I’m excited to intern for Congress during the summer and then attend Georgetown Law in the fall! I plan to work somewhere in the legal realm of public policy, international relations and advocacy.

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

A: I would use that money to build and staff state-of-the-art, no-kill facilities for homeless animals. I’ve been a huge animal lover since I was a kid, and I volunteer at the Arizona Humane Society every week, so it’s a personal issue for me. It’s really disheartening to see abused or neglected animals who never get adopted, so I’d love to create a safe and stress-free environment for them until they find a forever home.

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