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Incoming students bring talent to the table, are ready for success at ASU

August 4, 2023

A look at some notable new Sun Devils for fall 2023

From mechanics to fashionistas, there's a wide pool of talent joining the Sun Devil community this fall as incoming students.

Get to know some of them, as they share their backgrounds and hopes for the future as they pursue their education at ASU. 

Young woman sitting in front of classic car

Claire Gunderson

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

Claire Gunderson, a National Indigenous Recognition Scholar who graduated high school with a 3.81 GPA, has come to ASU this fall to study mechanical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

She said she 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," Gunderson said. 

High school student playing beach volleyball

Rylen Bourguet

Student follows in family's footsteps to become next Sun Devil athlete

The name Bourguet is not unfamiliar at ASU for Sun Devil Football fans. Trenton Bourguet is a redshirt senior quarterback for ASU, and younger brother, Coben, is a redshirt sophomore wide receiver.

Now you can add a third Bourguet to the mix: accomplished athlete and 4.0 student Rylen Bourguet, who will major in business and play for ASU's beach volleyball team.

"My brothers and my parents kind of set the tone early on," Rylen said. "I had no other choice but to continue that after them. I have my own journey for course, but I hold myself to high expectations just like they do."

Student in graduation cap

Katie Bell

16-year-old ready to tackle career goals at ASU Local – Lake Havasu

Taking online classes is nothing new for Katie Bell, who was able to get her diploma early because she earned credits from an online high school starting in eighth grade. Now she's a first-year student at ASU Local – Lake Havasu majoring in preveterinary medicine.

“I took all my junior classes my sophomore year, and I decided to graduate early because I had all the credits,” Bell said. 

ASU Local is an innovative hybrid college program that pairs in-person coaching and mentorship with the flexibility of accessing all coursework online, 24/7, through ASU Online.

“I can get tutored if I need to, and I can bring my classes with me anywhere,” Bell said.

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Farhan Babur

First-year student has a passion for global health

Incoming Sun Devil Farhan Babur brings a lot to ASU. He founded a tutoring organization that has raised thousands of dollars for the International Rescue Committee, and is now interning at the Harvard Undergraduate Foreign Policy Initiative.

At ASU, he hopes to explore a career in health care and get involved with global health equity.

"I want to work in a lab, ideally working in microbiology or neurobiology," Babur said.

But his student goals don't end there.

"Additionally, I want to be a part of volunteering initiatives where I can make a direct impact, like hospice care for example. I am also hoping to get involved in student government."

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Ysenia Mora

Dreams of becoming a Sun Devil finally come true for adult learner

At 47, Ysenia Mora will be attending her first semester at Arizona State University this fall — and to her, the timing is perfect.

After suffering in an abusive marriage for 25 years, Mora is now is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with plans to become a licensed professional counselor to support other women facing similar struggles.

"I can help others because I have the empathy and the understanding,” Mora said. "My goal is to serve and inspire women."

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Jared Wall

Fashion aficionado ready to expand horizons at ASU FIDM in downtown LA

Jared Wall had been taking general education and art classes in his hometown of Rocklin, California, when he heard about ASU's expansion with the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles.

Wall ended up being the first student to be registered in the new ASU FIDM program. He starts this fall, majoring in fashion design.

“I knew ASU was a credible school and I know some people who go there. But I didn’t even know ASU had a fashion program and I looked it up and didn’t know it’s a huge thing. That was really cool,” he said.

Through ASU FIDM, Wall will be able to connect with some of the world’s most recognizable brands and companies in the fashion industries.

Young woman sitting in an oversized red wooden chair

Genevieve Hook

First-time Sun Devil finds resilience, purpose in writing

It was originally Genevieve Hook's dream to pursue a career in music, but in high school, Hook was diagnosed with hyperacusis, a hearing condition that reduces tolerance to sound, which resulted in moderate hearing loss.

Hook buried herself in writing poems, songs and journaling. Now, in literature, she has found a new way to connect with people.

This fall, through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, Hook will be pursuing an English degree through ASU Online that will allow her to expand on that connection through her writing.

 “Learn about yourself and who you are and take a deep look at what you love," she said. "There is always an outlet for your fun hobbies that can turn into a career.”

Top photo: Students flash the fork during the annual Sun Devil Welcome event, which recognizes incoming students for the fall semester. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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Dreams of becoming a Sun Devil finally come true for adult learner

August 4, 2023

Life experience benefits Ysenia Palma and the people she plans to help

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

At 47, Ysenia Palma will be attending her first semester at Arizona State University this fall — and to her, the timing is perfect.

PalmaA previously published version of this story referred to Palma by her former name, Ysenia Mora. endured an abusive marriage for 25 years, staying in shelters with her son, and finally healed enough to break free.

Now, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in pyschology, with plans to become a licensed professional counselor to support other women facing similar struggles. 

"I can help others because I have the empathy and the understanding,” Palma said. "My goal is to serve and inspire women."

Palma is transferring from Estrella Mountain Community College to study psychology in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. The third-year student will commute from Youngtown, Arizona, to Barrett, The Honors College at ASU's West campus

Here, she talks about her decision to come to ASU.

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Question: When did you first start thinking about going to ASU? 

Answer: It’s been a dream of mine since I was very young. Of course, there was so much going on in my home life, but it was an idea that I was thinking about for many years. 

It was something I had put in the back of my mind — stuffed way down in the bottom of my heart, and now it is happening. Receiving scholarships is making it possible to pursue my dream and earn my degree at ASU.

Q: Speaking of scholarships, you were a part of the ASU Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program. What did that mean to you? 

A: I felt like, well, people really see the potential in me; and they want to help me. They believe in me, they believe in my dream and they believe in what I want to do.

It's an amazing feeling to have the backing of others.

Q: Why ASU?

A: That was the goal. I've always had a love for Arizona, honestly, even as hot as it is right now. I would never even think about moving. Arizona is my home. So of course I would be going to ASU. It just felt right. I didn't know when I would go, but that was what was in my heart. 

Q: How did you feel when you learned you were going to ASU? 

A: This gets me emotional. I thought, "My dream of actually going to ASU is possible."

I was pretty much like I am right now — speechless. It was something that was really going to happen in my life — it was actually coming to pass.

Q: When you graduate, how will you use your ASU degree?

A: Specifically, I want to work with women who are survivors of domestic violence, domestic abuse. I recently had an internship at the New Life Center, which is a domestic violence shelter.

That experience confirmed that I want to work with this population of people — women and children that are coming out of these situations.

Q: What are you excited about experiencing during your first semester at ASU?

A: Oh, the first word that popped into my mind right now is community. I'm really excited about being a part of Barrett. And I feel like that's a community within the larger community.

I'm excited about the whole experience — making connections with other students and learning. I'm excited about just being there. I think I'm going to cry when I walk into class on the first day of school.

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Dolores Tropiano

Reporter , ASU News