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ASU graduate has 4 majors, 2 minors, 3 certificates and long list of extracurriculars


Anusha Natarajan is photographed standing in front of a tree wearing a warm jacket.

Anusha Natarajan

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April 24, 2023

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

Anusha Natarajan has made a splash at Arizona State University as a leader, diligent student and involved community member. 

She has been featured in ASU News previously for being a Killam Fellow, being selected for the Henry Clay Center College Student Congress and for winning the 2022 John Lewis Youth Leadership Award from the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. However, this barely scratches the surface of what Natarajan accomplished while at ASU. 

Natarajan is graduating this semester with four concurrent bachelor’s degrees in history, political science, sociology and applied quantitative science, along with minors in Spanish and geography and certificates in international studies, political economy and social science research methods.

“I initially started off as a business major, but I realized there was not as much flexibility in the school with all of the interests that I have, so I decided to major in sociology and history,” Natarajan said. “Eventually, I became interested in wanting to strengthen my quantitative background, so I added the applied quantitative science degree and social science research methods certificate to get more proficient in that.”

On top of her studies, she was a journalist for State Pressa research fellow for the Center on the Future of War, and a student representative on the Civic Engagement Coalition. She also worked within Changemaker Central at ASU and was elected to the Barrett Honors College Council.

Additionally, as a student she started an organization called Culture Talk, which seeks to educate the larger community about culture and she was the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Digital Humanities Journal, an online journal for ASU students to publish their research in history, philosophy and religious studies.

Outside of campus, Natarajan serves on the student advisory board at Campus Vote Project and is involved with Girl Up, a leadership development initiative focusing on equity for girls and women in spaces where they are unheard or underrepresented.

She is also the winner of 14 scholarships and awards, including the Spirit of Service Scholarship, the Lily K. Sell Global Experience Scholarship and a PULSE Scholarship.

“My time at ASU has been a great way for me to learn how I can combine different fields together, whether it be through research or my academic experience,” said Natarajan.

We caught up with her to discuss her time at ASU, her advice for current students and her plans for the future.

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

Answer: I would say close to junior year when I decided that I wanted to add on the other degrees to become more proficient in data analysis and other data collection methods. I took some statistics classes in my junior and senior year that made me realize the importance of having data in our lives and how to make that relatable to social issues, like economic inequality or misinformation. Data is needed now more than ever in the social sciences, especially in our ever-changing world. 

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

A: During my time at the State Press, I was able to learn about how ASU has been harnessing its charter to build partnerships with the State Department and other big companies to make education more accessible and open to the world. I was able to learn how ASU values the importance of universal learning through my reporting work on ASU’s partnership with Crash Course and creating the ASU for You platform during the pandemic. Universal learning is a process where we continue to learn, and I like how ASU provides opportunities for academic enrichment regardless of where one might be in life.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because of the academic opportunities, specifically Barrett, The Honors College, and extracurricular activities, like the State Press. I also liked how my college experience has gotten me ready for the professional and academic world, especially when it came to getting involved with the various research opportunities during my time here. I like the focus that ASU has with research, and I have been able to get a lot from that in my academic and extracurricular experiences.

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

A: This is kind of general, but going to my professors' office hours has been really great towards my planning for the future because I have the opportunity to get to know them one on one. All of my professors have taught me about the importance of office hours, and they are important because you take a lot of information away, especially when it comes to an assignment or your next step after undergrad.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to students?

A: I would say get involved on campus. You will be able to find a lot of opportunities for growth. You meet people from outside of your major, and you also gain a lot of professional skills that the classroom might not give you, especially leadership skills. It is also a great way to start building your networking skills because that will be important after graduation.

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

A: I really like the Hayden Library, especially the reading room on the first floor. I like it because it is quiet and also it's nice to see people moving around and about throughout the day. I also like the wide-ranging genres for books that are available for students to continue learning.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan to enroll in a data science program either at Columbia or Vanderbilt to strengthen my quantitative background en route to a PhD program to further research about comparative election misinformation. 

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

A: I would love to tackle education equality as many people around the world still don’t have access to it. I would invest resources in building scholarships for underrepresented women globally for them to get funding for their higher education and also investing resources for textbooks, paper and appropriate technologies to ensure that schools are properly equipped to teach their students and for teachers to feel confident and prepared in teaching. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious gaps in our education proficiency, and I want to ensure that future generations don’t suffer from those setbacks.

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