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When a door of opportunity opened a crack, this ASU marketing grad kicked it open all the way

May 01, 2023

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

Spring graduate Ariah Montoya is talented in art and enjoys striking up conversations with complete strangers, a practice that she says opens up the world in innumerable ways. 

Montoya had an “aha” moment when she realized that marketing was an ideal combination of both these passions. She is receiving her Bachelor of Science in digital and integrated marketing communications from the W. P. Carey School of Business. 

Ariah portrait
Ariah Montoya

“As I learned more about marketing, I realized that without art creating an emotional connection from the brand to the consumer, it’s just bad business,” said Montoya, who is from Chandler. 

A high point for Montoya was receiving the ASU Alumni Association Medallion Scholarship. Before even walking onto Arizona State University campus, she knew she was part of a supportive community.

Medallion Scholars are chosen from incoming Arizona high school students who have received the New American University Scholar-Dean’s Award (which recognizes academic achievement) and who apply for the Medallion Scholarship Program selection process. More than 200 students apply to the program each year, and final recipients receive a four-year, renewable financial award of $4,000.

To renew the award, the scholar must actively participate in regular meetings and activities, community service and maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 30 ASU credit hours for the academic year.

Another unforgettable ASU experience was the day she was accepted as a full-time undergraduate intern with Intel. After getting turned down for nine internships, she applied for an Intel internship. She gave the opportunity the full force of her attention.  

“All I needed was the door to be cracked open, and I would be sure to kick it open,” she said. “That’s exactly what I did!” 

She landed herself a full-time position on Intel’s Global Events team as a marketing specialist.

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

A: I learned that I’m lucky. Yes, I have worked hard to graduate and to get my job, but I was also provided opportunities throughout my life that not everyone gets. I think it is so important to realize how much people are impacted by access to resources for education, health care, housing, etc., so that we can participate in building a better world for the next generation.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because out of the three in-state colleges, it was the best-ranked business school. And if that wasn’t enough, getting the Medallion Scholarship certainly sealed the deal!

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

A: Professor Elise Riker (W. P. Carey School of Business clinical assistant professor). After getting into a car accident this January, I was struggling to keep up in my courses and reached out to her. She showed me nothing but compassion. She said that my well-being should come first, and then provided me information about ASU resources that could help. A great professor is someone who cares about their students beyond the classroom. 

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

A: Life is your garden. Each day you have to make the decision to water your seeds. Sometimes they won’t grow as fast as you expect and sometimes you’ll probably want to give up on your garden, but I sincerely hope you never do. Someday, that garden will grow into something beautiful, and you can thank your hard work, your successes and, most importantly, your failures for everything it has become.

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

A: Makerspace (in Hayden Library) is hands down one of my favorite places on campus. From the 3D modeling lab to the seed library, I always find inspiration for my next big project there. Not only are there a ton of mediums to work with, but the people I’ve met there are some of the most creative and innovative people I’ve had the chance to meet!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A:After graduation, I will be celebrating with a trip around Italy before beginning my new job. Then, I will join Intel’s Global Events team as a marketing specialist.

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

A: Education! I believe education is critical to creating a better world. In fact, in one of my classes I learned that when considering ways to reverse climate change, scientists ranked educating women to be the ninth most plausible solution. I would like to help in making education more accessible by creating a program to provide educational resources to underfunded communities.

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