An ‘existential crisis’ put Outstanding Graduating Senior on new path

Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Natalie Jenq.


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

Natalie Jenq was in her second year at ASU as a business management major when COVID-19 threw a curveball at her plans.

“During the lockdown, I experienced an existential crisis that made me question what I was doing and if the path I was on would be fulfilling in the end,” Jenq says. “All the losses during the pandemic brought to light what I truly valued and how life is too short not to try for the things you love.”

The Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior added a degree in marketing and a minor in film and media production, helping her forge a new path. She spent her final year at ASU editing bays and soundstages and will soon work as an actor and producer.

“Life is all about learning and growing, and we do that by taking risks and saying yes to new opportunities,” she says. “Meeting new people who encouraged and supported me helped me build up the courage to shift courses and focus my career on the entertainment business.”

Jenq shares more of the lessons she learned while at ASU.

Question: Why did you choose ASU? 

Answer: I chose ASU due to the generous scholarship I received from the university. Beyond that, I wanted to study at a strong business school that provides students ample opportunities. Unlike other business schools, W. P. Carey provides direct admission, which allowed me to be enrolled in my major program from day one, saving me a lot of stress.

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

A: Michael Mokwa (professor and Pat Tillman Foundation Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Marketing) was my professor as a Tillman Scholar. His guidance and passion for his students helped me rediscover who I am. Through a series of self-reflection exercises highlighting who I am at my core, I learned what leadership style best suits me. Professor Mokwa also brought me my best friends through the T-16 cohort, who have shown me so much support and taught me something valuable with their perspectives on the world. Professor Mokwa and my cohort gave me the courage to chase after my dreams and helped me unlock a new point of view on what it means to lead and inspire those around me, just as Pat Tillman did.

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

A: Be open to new experiences. There is no set path in life; college is a time to explore new ideas, cultures and experiences. By trying new things and challenging your comfort zones, you might discover new passions, make lifelong friendships and gain a new perspective on the world. Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way, both physically and mentally. Self-care is not selfish but essential for your overall well-being and success in college and beyond.

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

A: Dean’s Patio is the place to be. Located at the heart of the business school, I love how it brings us all together, from students to faculty members. Not to mention, the W. P. Carey Starbucks is there, making it super convenient to get my daily coffee fix (I’ve spent way too much money there). I’ve also loved the new ASU Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center in Mesa. It is a stunning building with an insane amount of production and editing resources. Although it just opened last year, I've spent a large chunk of my senior year in the editing bays and soundstages, and every single moment has been a blast.

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: After graduation, I will take a much-needed break by returning to Taiwan for a few weeks. When I return, I will work as an actor and producer in the Arizona commercial industry for approximately eight months. In 2024, I will work on a couple of independent projects and a feature film that I’m super excited about! Once shooting has wrapped, I will transition to Los Angeles to take on more opportunities and reconnect with industry professionals I met at NBCUniversal. A master’s degree is also something I have planned for the next few years.

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

A: It’s a difficult question because there is so much to choose from. I would put it toward accelerating the transition to renewable/clean energy. The current process for energy production revolves heavily around burning fossil fuels, which is a huge factor in the greenhouse gases that pollute the Earth’s atmosphere and trap the sun’s heat. Many companies have made enormous strides to increase renewable energy sources and decrease greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. I want to do what I can to help ensure future generations can enjoy a healthy and livable planet.

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