Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.
A family legacy brought Ashley Torres to Arizona State University, and where she goes from here will be propelled by the knowledge and passion she developed during her time as a Sun Devil.
Torres is graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Science in finance from the W. P. Carey School of Business. She also received a number of scholarships, including the New American University Scholarship, the Obama Scholarship and the Dean’s Award.
Torres said she always enjoyed learning about finance in her classes and discussing things like personal finance with her friends. When she realized she was excited about the prospect of being tested on the subject, she knew it was the right path for her.
“I remember taking my first FIN class and being excited about an exam for the first time ... it really just became a part of my everyday life,” Torres said.
Much like her professors helped break down the complexities of finance and economics, she hopes to ultimately do the same for others – to make these concepts accessible and remove any intimidation.
Soon, Torres will head to New York City to start her career in finance.
“After graduation, I’m heading to the Big Apple. I will be working at an investment firm, Goldman Sachs, where I will be understanding how various macroeconomic factors (such as interest rates and even recessions) can affect business," Torres said. “I am excited for the next chapter of my life!”
Torres shared more about her time at ASU and the people and places that shaped her experience.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
A: The biggest lesson I learned was to relax and go with the flow. I have always been a planner and when I decided to join the Sun Devil Fitness Complex as a freshman to get some extra cash, I would have never realized how much I would gain from this experience. Four years later, I cherish the lifelong friendships I have made in addition to the countless lessons I've learned from some amazing mentors. I could have never anticipated for this place and the people who are a part of it to have had such an impact on where I am today.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I chose ASU because my mom and my tia also attended ASU. We're a Sun Devil family.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: The most influential professor has been Kelvin Wong, who teaches ECN 212: Microeconomics. He taught me that large, complex and “scary” subjects can be easily digestible and actually fun to learn. His lectures often included game simulations, props during class and funny but memorable associations for economic terminology. Most people close themselves off when they don’t understand a topic, and economics can be a tough subject as it can get confusing quickly. Financial topics can also seem intimidating, so I carry this lesson with me, and I have made a personal mission to destigmatize the idea of finance being overwhelming.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to students?
A: My biggest piece of advice Is to be curious. Classes and assignments get way more interesting when you have a true curiosity. Instead of learning the material to pass an exam, ask yourself how the material can be used in the real world.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: My favorite spot on campus to study is definitely the fourth floor of Hayden Library and exploring the lower levels when I need a brain break. However, undeniably the coolest spot on campus is the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. I love it because it's much more than a gym where people lift weights. I can take a cycle class (with the best instructor ever, go Morgan!) or sit and play chess. They even hosted a World Cup watch party, which was really fun.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: This is a hard question. There are many problems and subproblems, some of which have been around for decades and others emerging recently. However, I would say fixing the education system in the United States would create a positive ripple effect. The current public school system is outdated, teachers are expected to be able to teach over 30 students in a classroom. Curriculum is dependent on individual state requirements, county, district standards and even funding. This creates a massive educational gap, leaving many students at a disadvantage. Just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it’s the best way.
Written by Courtney McCune, copywriter and editor, Educational Outreach and Student Services.
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