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Incoming student plans to build a future — and cars — with ASU

August 4, 2023

Barrett student says she has a desire to learn, study ... and do cool stuff with car engines

Editor's note: ASU News is highlighting some of its notable incoming students for fall 2023.

Claire Gunderson boasts a multitude of passions and skills. She tinkers with cars and can weld. She’s an artist who's taken hundreds of landscape photos. She is service-oriented and often volunteers in her community. And she’s smart.

Gunderson is a National Indigenous Recognition ScholarGunderson is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Jemez and Laguna Pueblo of New Mexico. and graduated high school with a 3.81 GPA. The New Mexico native is a first-year student at Arizona State University and a Barrett, The Honors College scholar who will study mechanical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Gunderson contemplated the University of Denver, Emory University in Atlanta and Washington University in St. Louis, but chose ASU because of “the boundless opportunities” — including the hope of eventually becoming a member of Fulton’s Formula SAE program.

“ASU has so much to offer with their mechanical engineering program, automotive engineering program and Native American support services on campus, more so than other universities,” said Gunderson, who will also obtain a certificate in cross-sector leadership as a member of the Next Generation Service Corp.

“It was the perfect fit and I instantly felt ASU was the right college for me.”

ASU News spoke to Gunderson on the eve of her arrival at ASU’s Tempe campus.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: As soon as I stepped foot on the ASU campus, I knew it was the college for me. It was the perfect campus bustling with energy and life. There are so many opportunities that come with choosing a college like ASU and I am excited to explore all of it.

Q: What drew you to your major?

A: I always knew I wanted to do something that was very hands-on and engaging. Since I was a little girl I have been working on all the different projects that my dad has come up with, whether that be helping him build his trucks or helping out in the yard.

Q: What are you most excited to experience your first semester?

A: I am excited to have new experiences meeting friends and engaging in all that ASU has to offer.

Q: What do you like to brag about to friends about ASU?

A: ASU is the best, who wouldn’t want to go?! I have already received so much support with scheduling classes, housing and orientations to help adjust to ASU.

Q: What talents and skills are you bringing to the ASU community?

A: I bring new ideas and my desire to learn and thrive in the engineering world.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your college years?

A: I hope to learn and succeed in whatever I decide to study. I want to create supportive and lifetime friendships. I also plan to take every opportunity I am given.

Q: What’s one interesting fact about yourself that only your friends know?

A: One interesting fact that not many people know about me is that I enjoy taking landscape photos and took seven years of photography classes.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem in our world, what would you choose?

A: I think one problem I would solve would be homelessness. Hopefully from there, crime rates would go down and cities would be safer.

Top photo: Incoming first-year mechanical engineering student Claire Gunderson has always had a passion for working on cars. That drive brought her from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to ASU, where she’ll join the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Barrett, The Honors College. She is a National Indigenous Recognition Scholar and is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Jemez and Laguna Pueblo of New Mexico. Gunderson poses in Gilbert with a family friend’s 1965 Ford Mustang. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Reporter , ASU News


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ASU, Arizona and Utah will move to Big 12 Conference

August 4, 2023

Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and the University of Utah will join the Big 12 Conference in 2024, positioning the universities and their student-athletes for increased stability and success.

“We are excited for this new chapter, a move that is necessary to remain competitive in top-tier Division I athletics,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “We are joining a premier athletic conference and bringing with us programs on the rise, our rich traditions and history, and the metro Phoenix media market. We’re in a good spot, and we are pleased to be with UArizona and Utah in the move.”

Aligning with UArizona and Utah was a key factor for ASU leadership. The moves will help create a strong Arizona-Utah-Texas portion of the conference that will extend current rivalries, create new ones and offer regional travel for student-athletes.

The Big 12 Conference voted Friday to accept the schools as full members, effective Aug. 2, 2024.  

“The financial package is strong. The stability of the Big 12 is strong. We are ready, and the timing is right,” said Ray Anderson, vice president for university athletics at ASU. “The exposure and visibility as well as the resources from the conference will help us compete for championships. From enhancing our ability to recruit Texas for football to the Big 12’s strength in basketball, good days are ahead.”

ASU football is on the rise after the hiring of Head Coach Kenny Dillingham, from recent recruiting success to more than 90% of season tickets renewed before the new season begins.

ASU this week also announced a multi-year naming-rights partnership with Mountain America Credit Union to form one of the most dynamic naming rights deals in college athletics. The 15-year partnership with Sun Devil Athletics includes ASU’s football stadium, which will now be called Mountain America Stadium, Home of the ASU Sun Devils. 

“One of our biggest considerations in this whole process was the welfare of our student-athletes, and the Big 12 Conference is among the best for its programs and services,” Anderson said. “The conference also offers high-quality Olympic sports and an opportunity to compete with some of the finest student-athletes in some of the finest athletic facilities in the country.”

ASU has a proud history in the Pac-12 Conference, joining the conference in July 1978 along with UArizona to make the then-Pacific-10 Conference a reality. ASU twice played in the Rose Bowl and won 66 conference titles across 11 different sports.

ASU, one of the largest public universities in the country, has more than 140,000 combined students studying either on campus or via digital immersion. The university is committed to both egalitarian access and academic excellence. An R1 university, ASU recently joined the prestigious Association of American Universities, which comprises the nation’s elite research universities recognized for their academic and research strength.

“We will always have fond memories of the Pac-12 Conference, and this move will not change our appreciation of more than 40 years of experiences, rivalries, partnerships and traditions,” Crow said. “But now, it is the right time for change.”