Varied, accomplished cohort of Sun Devils head out into the world

A look at some of the top fall 2023 graduates

Graduate tossing a cap into the air in front of a gold "ASU GRAD" sign.

This fall Arizona State University will confer nearly 11,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees on students during commencement Dec. 11.

These graduates come from a variety of backgrounds and have studied a diverse range of disciplines — but something that many of them have in common is their determination and desire to make a difference in the world.

Here, we take a look at just some of the many outstanding graduates who will soon make their mark on the world. (Check back as we will continue to update this page.)

Rhad Fakhoury
Rhad Fakhoury

Anthropology graduate sees a future in law

At the start of his undergraduate journey, Rhad Fakhoury was studying to go into medicine. However, he ended up finding his passion elsewhere after a failed test and a cultural anthropology course led him to major in anthropology.

ASU student-athlete finishes degree after decades out of school

Ted Friedli's path to graduation was put on hold in 1990 when, as a student-athlete, he suffered significant injuries and slipping grades. Thirty years later he was able to reenroll thanks to the “Sun Devils for Life” scholarship program and is graduating this fall with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

Young adult author graduates, aims for library science

In the groove of a successful career, established author Lily Anderson decided to go back to school to officially pursue her curiosity about humanity and its various life stages. 

Susan Kiskis
Susan Kiskis

Global health student researches intersection of food, health, climate change 

In 2020, from her Central Pennsylvania home, Susan Kiskis obtained an undergraduate degree from ASU Online, and this fall she will graduate with a Master in Science in global health from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. 

From dropping out to graduate degree, student finds purpose in global health

As a first-generation college student, Malak El-Jada said she had to work to overcome imposter syndrome. With the guidance of professors and advisors, El-Jada found her calling in global health and succeeded at ASU.

Student finds renewed passion in justice studies

Alayna Taylor did not let the struggles of freshman year hold her back, and after discussing long-term goals and passions with her advisor, she switched from a political science major to justice studies and African and African American studies within the School of Social Transformation.

ASU grad Merrill Magowan wearing his Navy uniform in front of a map and standing next to an American flag.
Merrill Magowan

Gaining altitude through education

Merrill Magowan is a search-and-rescue controller in the United States Coast Guard but is taking steps to become an aviator. He knew he was missing one important thing to get there: education. ASU is helping Magowan to realize his dream. 

Dean’s Medalist explores legal field through psychology studies

Meghna Chowdhury has a passion for shaping public policy for juvenile justice. She’s graduating this fall as the ASU Department of Psychology Dean’s Medalist and has her sights set on law school.

Graduating psychology student examines developmental pathways to healthy love

Graduating this December with a master’s degree in psychology, Olivia Maras is on a mission to understand the intricacies of romantic relationships.

Man in military uniform poses with son on ASU campus
Charles Yellow Horse

Native vet to focus on tribal health with global health master’s degree

Charles Yellow Horse served in the United States Air Force for eight years and then turned to ASU Online for his higher education. Yellow Horse obtained his Bachelor of Science in 2021, and this semester he is graduating with a Master of Science in global health.

ASU Law grad understands the language of law

Janis Palma has been immersed in the legal system for four decades as a certified English-Spanish interpreter. But the Puerto Rico native, now living in San Antonio, knew she needed to understand the law better to translate it effectively for her clients in their pursuit of justice.

Biochem grad finds true passion in synthetic biology

Bethany Kolbaba Kartchner is by all accounts a true Renaissance woman. She has a master's degree in French literature and is about to graduate from ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences with a PhD in biochemistry.

Woman posing in cap and gown on Palm Walk
Jeri Sasser

Psychology trailblazer leaves legacy of mentorship, research excellence

A force in developmental psychology at ASU, Jeri Sasser’s journey is marked by a commitment to mentorship, groundbreaking research and a unique initiative guiding underrepresented students in STEM. 

International travel, research highlights of December grad’s ASU experience

Piper Heiligenstein’s undergraduate experience at Arizona State University was a combination of academics, adventure, prestigious research opportunities and personal autonomy.

Directorial debut on the horizon for ASU grad at 67

Cindy Lee, a Master of Liberal Studies student who will graduate from ASU’s School of Applied Sciences and Arts this December, believes “it’s never too late to fulfill your dreams.” 

Portrait shot of Aidan Carson
Aidan Carson

Civil engineering student earns Outstanding Graduate recognition

Aidan Carson's venture into civil engineering stemmed from a family friend's surveying firm. Now, he aims to contribute to large-scale aviation projects.

Grad brings passion and purpose into next chapter

Ellie Smith is graduating in December from ASU with a bachelor's degree in film (film and media studies). She rounded out her analytical, critical studies with practical experience by completing an industry-focused internship, participating in two summer film institutes at UCLA and studying art and architecture abroad in Rome.

ASU was the only choice for outstanding graduate

For decades, Don Christoff was acutely aware of ASU. He had always been curious about studying here, and he watched his daughter graduate before deciding to enroll himself. After looking through the degree programs, Christoff found a perfect fit with the Bachelor of Arts in innovation in society and a minor in sustainability.

Portrait of woman with long, dark, curly hair
Domenika Turkovic

International student-athlete finds community at ASU Law

Domenika Turkovic, originally from Zagreb, Croatia, has made Tempe her home since arriving at ASU nearly four years ago to play tennis. After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology at ASU in 2022 while playing the sport she’s loved for 17 years, she decided to seek her Master of Sports Law and Business.

Student finds renewed passion in justice studies

Alayna Taylor did not let the struggles of freshman year hold her back. After discussing long-term goals and passions with an advisor, she switched from a political science major to justice studies and African and African American studies within the School of Social Transformation.

Herberger Institute grad reimagines how to play instruments following rare diagnosis

When Staçia Meconiates was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a genetic collagen disorder that affects their ligaments, tendons and heart valves, it impacted their previous experience in music performance — so for their thesis work, they focused on creating interactive multimedia that is accessible to those with disabilities.

Portrait of graduate in maroon gown in backyard
Azalea Roman

Graduating ASU student pursues passion for justice

As a daughter of an immigrant, Azalea Roman knew her calling was to create a better society for communities. This fall, she graduates with degrees in justice studies and women, gender and sexuality studies, as well as a minor in Spanish and a certificate in human rights.

PhD grad uses AI and machine learning expertise to craft more secure future

During her time at ASU, Jamie Winterton brought extensive experience in research to both her role as a PhD student and her former position as the senior director of research strategy for ASU’s Global Security Initiative.

Coast Guard service member, ASU grad ready for career transition into medical field

As a full-time gunner’s mate for the U.S. Coast Guard, Kimberly Zsuffa needed to find a degree program that fit her schedule. That’s where ASU Online came in. Zsuffa is graduating this fall with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences. 

Portrait of man in collared shirt with short brown hair and beard
Bruce Ward

Sculpture major’s obstacle becomes his path to art and service

In 2009, Bruce Ward was incarcerated and served 11 years. When he was released in 2020, he began his education at ASU only nine days later. Now, Ward is set to graduate this fall with a BFA in sculpture, a minor in architectural studies and aspirations to begin his MFA soon after.

ASU Online grad sets sights on career in computational biochemical research

It was during high school that Kevin Sinwelski became interested in medicine. But he wanted to know more than just what it does — he wanted to know how it works. This December, the Clearwater, Forida, resident will graduate with a degree in biochemistry.

MFA graduate redefines ceramic medium with light, atmosphere

Dylan Fitzgibbons, who says he chose to study ceramics for its versatility, will graduate from the School of Art with an MFA this December and plans to continue his journey of learning, teaching, traveling, exploring, questioning the art world, and, of course, making art.

Portrait of ASU grad Dawson Hendricks.
Dawson Hendricks

Outstanding graduating senior supports fight against substance abuse, food insecurity

While pursuing his business administration degree, Marine Corps veteran Dawson Hendricks juggled responsibilities as a father, husband, full-time mortgage lender and community advocate, all while maintaining over a 4.0 GPA.

ASU and Uber Eats deliver degree to Impact Award winner

Anthony Liardo chose to obtain his electrical engineering degree online through Arizona State University’s partnership with Uber Eats, which enabled him to obtain full tuition coverage. He chose to major in electrical engineering to satisfy his fascination with all aspects of electrical and electronic technology.

Sports law and business grad builds relationships through ASU Law program

One of the most memorable lessons Taylor Merwin, a soon-to-be graduate of the Master of Sports Law and Business (MSLB) program at ASU Law, learned as a student was the importance of sowing the seeds of relationships. That lesson will be important in his future career in the sports industry. Between the relationships he has built through the MLSB program and his current position as a community impact intern with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Merwin feels prepared to take the next steps in his career.

Portrait of ASU grad Fajr Ahmad.
Fajr Ahmad

ASU grad thankful for opportunities to study abroad, discover support system

New York native and Barrett, The Honors College transfer student Fajr Ahmad is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication and representing the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication as its Dean’s Medalist.

Globetrotting graduate tackles sustainability, activism

During the Global Intensive Experience in Belize, offered through the School of Sustainability, ASU Online student Kadison Willis learned she’d been offered the opportunity to work as an environmental justice intern for the White House Council on Environmental Quality in Washington, D.C. 

Graduate is answering the calls of snakes, frogs and toads, oh my!

Aspiring ecologist and College of Integrative Sciences and Arts notable graduate Margaret Huck’s research is contributing directly to protect Arizona rivers and wildlife as part of efforts led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Woman sitting cross-legged on the ground.
Jacklyn McVay

Former Navy sailor nets master’s degree

After transitioning to civilian life, McVay knew she couldn’t ignore the writing itch any longer. She enrolled in Arizona State University’s fully online Master of Arts in English program in January 2023 and is graduating this December. 

Outstanding grad plans to make positive impacts through business 

Before coming to ASU, Chitray “Ray” Eddy was considering graduate school but wasn’t interested in pursuing a degree in business. After participating in a work project supplying donated mattresses to families in need, everything changed.

Hacking club sparks cybersecurity success for ASU grad

Once Thomas Spencer decided to study computer science and focus on cybersecurity, he found a passion for learning and helping others start their own journeys.

Student posing with Sparky on ASU Gammage bridge
Colton Cagle

ASU Online graduate set sights on media production, advocacy

Colton Cagle was prepared for the financial challenges, but the mental aspect of being undecided in his major took him by surprise. All of that changed when one of his mentors sent him an article on Elaine Welteroth, the editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and one of the judges on Project Runway. Reinvigorated, Cagle turned to the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. 

Outstanding graduate launches structural engineering career

Zachary Norris cultivated his passion for fixing bicycles into a dynamic college career and a promising future. He achieved top honors at ASU while competing in engineering competitions on a national level and mentoring students in the NASA L'SPACE program.

Impacting Arizona education policy is grad’s focus

College of Integrative Sciences and Arts notable graduate Megan Armstrong’s social science research delves into the positive impacts of social emotional learning 

Nidhi Bansal, a woman with long brown hair wearing sunglasses, a black puff jacket and a light blue t-shirt, stands in front of blooming cherry blossom trees.
Nidhi Bansal

Family support helped ASU grad turn plant-based lifestyle into health coaching business

Nidhi Bansal has long harbored a desire to delve into food and nutrition. She and her family had already transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle when she decided to pursue her Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition entrepreneurship through ASU Online and the College of Health Solutions in 2018.

Passion for the environment drives School of Molecular Sciences Dean’s Medalist

Rachel Einecker is graduating in December with a Bachelor of Science in environmental chemistry and the prestigious School of Molecular Sciences Dean’s Medal in honor of her scholastic achievements.

ASU Online grad: ‘I now see myself as capable of achieving anything’

When Danyela Hinojosa graduated from high school in 2002, she embarked on a journey of self-discovery that included culinary school and a trip around the world. At the conclusion of her travels, Hinojosa returned home to Corpus Christi, Texas, and started working at a local Starbucks. She was also determined to complete a college degree — which she accomplished through the Starbucks College Achievement Program. 

Student in cap and gown posing in front of ASU building
Samuel Watson

Triple major graduates with plans to return to Vietnam after grad school

Samuel Watson knew he wanted to double-major in chemical engineering and economics at ASU, but he couldn’t shake that feeling that something was missing — so he added a third degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Asia studies.

Tech professional levels up business skills with ASU Online

Gina Bounds already had a 20-year career in the tech industry before she came to ASU. A move to Phoenix invigorated her focus on pursuing her degree, which she did first at Paradise Valley Community College and later, with the efficient help of the MyPath2ASU transfer tool, through ASU Online.

History PhD graduate reaches ‘top of the mountain’ in studies 

Robert Fuller, who came to ASU with a master's degree in history from the University of Texas-Arlington, knew he would continue to focus his research on apocalypticism — a unique interdisciplinary field — and ASU offered him the means to do so.   

Portrait of woman with long brown hair
Sydney Tepper

History grad ‘tumbles’ her way into a future in athletics

Sydney Tepper, a New American University Scholarship recipient, is graduating three semesters early, saying she learned to advocate for herself early on in her academic journey. That self-advocacy and self-awareness, along with her humanities degree, opened up a new pathway she didn’t realize could be a viable career for her: athletics. 

History PhD’s advice for success: 'Roll with the punches'

William Holly has lived in many places, but Arizona is the place he has felt most at home. When applying to PhD programs, Holly knew he would be researching the sacred ancestral lands in the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, so getting into ASU’s history program was ideal. 

Online student completes English degree from Tokyo

This December is the culmination of six years of study for Michi Ito, who graduates from ASU Online with a BA in English. It’s no problem that English is Ito’s second language; she excelled in it to graduate with a 4.0 GPA. 

Esperanza Biggs smiles at the camera wearing her ASU graduation cap and a white shirt with red flowers on the sleeves. A mountain range can be seen in the background
Esperanza Biggs

A childhood promise fulfilled as ASU grad earns nursing degree

Esperanza Biggs knew from a young age she wanted to be a pediatric nurse and that she wanted to get her degree from ASU, inspired by two experiences from her childhood. Now the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation will be working in the hematology/oncology unit at Phoenix Children’s. 

Mastercard Foundation Scholars graduate from ASU Online

In 2012, ASU partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to provide access to quality education to high-achieving African students who face socioeconomic barriers. A final cohort of 10 scholars is underway, leveraging the degree programs offered through ASU Online. This fall, five scholars from the last cohort will graduate from the program.  

ASU’s first technological leadership Dean’s Medalist prepares for career takeoff

As technologies with unprecedented aptitude, adaptability and influence proliferate across every industry, it’s up to tomorrow’s leaders to learn how to implement those technologies responsibly. As the first technological leadership student to be awarded a Dean’s Medal at ASU, Benjamin Pan is set to step into that role.

Photo of Sunil Devaraj
Sunil Devaraj

ASU biology student discovers passion in philosophy

Sunil Devaraj came to ASU to obtain a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering or biology. Once he got to campus, however, he made a dramatic decision — he switched to a philosophy major.

Thunderbird Outstanding Graduate uses education to propel own company forward

As the founder and president of Nutritional Manufacturing Services based in Chandler, Arizona, Shannon Heying is always looking for ways to become a better leader and provide the highest-quality nutritional products and solutions to her customers. 

Grad turns passion for video games, music into career

Evan Koutsogiannis’ passion for music and video games started at a young age. Now, he will receive a Bachelor of Arts in media arts and sciences with a focus in music from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and a minor in Mandarin Chinese this fall.

Sarah Bruder sits on concrete steps, smiling at the camera with her gold graduation sash and maroon cords draped around her neck
Sarah Bruder

A change of major leads to new opportunities for ASU grad

Sometimes in the pursuit of something you’ve always wanted, you realize you don’t actually even like it. Sarah Bruder came to this conclusion during her third semester of nursing school. After talking with her advisor, she learned about Edson College’s Health Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. 

Grad aims to advance counseling for LGBTQ+ communities

College of Integrative Sciences and Arts notable graduate Jacoby Geenen pushed the boundaries of their own self-expression while supporting others facing similar challenges during their time at ASU.

Community ties inspire grad's passion for global health

Heather Varsalona’s goal of getting a college degree has been twenty years in the making. This fall, Varsalona will not only graduate with two degrees — global health and communication — she will be able to show her children the results of perseverance and achieving your goals.

Headshot of Austin Adams in front of Old Main on Tempe campus.
Austin Adams

Dean's Medalist on path to actuarial career

First-generation college student Austin Adams is graduating from ASU this fall with a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science. He will be honored as the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences 2023 Dean’s Medalist at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ convocation in December.

Thunderbird grad reflects on the diverse community that elevated his education journey

How does Gue Yong Lee describe his time at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University? “Incredibly fruitful and knowledge enriching.”

ASU Online global health graduate aims to work with HIV/AIDS, human trafficking survivors

Managing work and family, among other duties, can make pursuing a degree seem like an impossible task, but for Lynette Smith-Clay, she found that ASU Online and the Master of Science in global health program offered just what she needed to be successful.

Shanna Doucet smiles at the camera wearing her doctoral graduation cap and gown
Shanna Doucet

PhD grad overcomes COVID, cancer diagnosis while earning degree

There were many times during Shanna Doucet’s pursuit of a degree that she could have given up, but she persevered with the support of her family, faith and program advisors. Doucet will graduate this December with a PhD in nursing and healthcare innovation.

Sun Devil graduate takes on the fight against pathogens 

Yannik Haller discovered a passion for molecular biology during an undergraduate immunology class. “In this class I learned about the molecular basis of life and how everything is intertwined on a molecular level,” said Haller, who is graduating with a PhD in molecular biology.

Inspired by family, Thunderbird grad accomplishes a bucket-list achievement

After an 18-year pause, Vanessa O'Neal returned to college and earned a Bachelor of Global Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management. During her time at ASU, she was honored with the Dean’s Circle Award for exceptional leadership, as well as the prestigious Barton Kyle Yount Award for exemplifying the principles of scholarship, accomplishment and character at Thunderbird.

Photo of Audrey Schlichting on tarmac with ASU plane
Audrey Schlichting

Honors graduate Audrey Schlichting's opportunities are taking flight 

Audrey Schlichting is graduating magna cum laude with two bachelor’s degrees — one in aeronautical management technology (professional flight) and another in engineering (mechanical engineering systems). She has accepted a job as a flight deck crew operations engineer with Boeing.

Gratitude-driven grad aspires to a career in dentistry

A daughter of immigrant parents, Mariam Khan said she feels fortunate to have access to education, and this perspective empowered her to make the most of her time at ASU.

Entrepreneur, 14-year-old graduate paving the way for young STEM students

When Alena McQuarter enrolled at ASU, it didn’t take long for her to discover her true passion. This December the now-14-year-old graduates with her undergraduate degree in biological sciences (biomedical sciences) and is one of the fall 2023 recipients of the Dean’s Medal.

Rebecca Striffler standing next to a Cronkite building sign dressed in grad gown, cap and stole.
Rebecca Striffler

ASU grad discovers passion for public relations

Rebecca Striffler gained a passion for journalism when she joined her high school yearbook program. Her passion continued to grow after she visited ASU's Cronkite School during an Open Door event. Now a graduating student herself, Striffler will be able to share about her experiences at Cronkite's fall 2023 convocation ceremony, where she will serve as the student speaker.

ASU Law grad uses theater background to fuel new legal career

The practice of law and the practice of theater have one major thing in common: performance. That’s according to Zach Rufa, who is graduating from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law this fall with his Juris Doctor. Before attending ASU Law, Rufa was a playwright and artist living and working in New York.

Biotech rising star's pioneering journey

In a world where science often intertwines with the unexpected, new 2023 fall graduate Ayesha Babbrah has journeyed from a curiosity with the wooly mammoth to a career in biotechnology.

Julian Tuan Anh Nguyen playing violin.
Julian Tuan Anh Nguyen

Music doctoral student pursues dual career as professional violinist, teaching artist 

Arizona State University double-alum music student Julian Tuan Anh Nguyen will graduate in December from the School of Music, Dance and Theatre with a Doctor of Musical Arts in violin performance.

Thunderbird grad earns 2 prestigious awards and gains much more pursuing sustainability

Most people who complete their degree gain a great education, a community of friends and a more fruitful career. For Prerna Rodney, she received all of this and more, ascending to many leadership roles within the Thunderbird School of Global Management — and ended up meeting her husband Isaac through the program as well.

ASU honors graduate aspires to attend law school

First-generation college student Azucena “Suzie” Villalobos-Lopez will receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology and two certificates — one in law and human behavior and another in transformation and change.

ASU grad Courtney Robinson makes the ASU pitchfork sign on a football field.
Courtney Robinson

Grad’s love for sports leads to in-game hosting opportunity with ASU Athletics

Courtney Robinson’s passion for sports began as a child growing up in a family where athletics were often the center of conversation. She carried that love of sports through her time at Arizona State University, where she’s graduating with a master's degree in sports journalism.

College of Health Solutions grad draws motivation from her daughter

Magen Martinez, who is graduating with a master’s degree in biomedical diagnostics, is also a full-time laboratory operations manager at Tricore Reference Laboratories in New Mexico. But before those two things, she is a single parent to her daughter, which she says has helped her thrive in pursuit of her higher education.

Grad found his passion in sports nutrition

After starting to study exercise science during his undergrad, College of Health Solutions graduate Tanner Boro found his passion in sports nutrition. Now, he's graduating with a master's degree in nutrition science and using his thesis project to test a new electrolyte sports drink.

Portrait of ASU grad Lucas Woyton.
Lucas Woyton

Veteran charts new career path at ASU Law

Veteran Lucas Woyton is charting a new path as a legal paraprofessional after earning his Master of Legal Studies from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

HR executive enhances career with law degree

Being the first person in her immediate family to graduate college and earn a Master of Human Resources and Employment Law (MHREL) with an emphasis in conflict resolution while managing a full-time career was no easy task for Miranda Duffrin. But that's exactly what she will have accomplished when she graduates in December.

ASU grad finds passion for public policy through community service

Every student's journey to graduation is different. For Vianey Garcia Leal, she never would have imagined her path as a winding road that would ultimately lead to a passion in public policy and advocacy. Vianey is a senior in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions studying public service and public policy — but her pathway to ASU didn’t begin there.

Man posing in a a standing balance position in front of a sky at dusk.
Angelo “Vo Vera” Sapienza

MFA grad builds community, develops new technique during time at ASU

Angelo “Vo Vera” Sapienza is graduating in December from the School of Music, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. During his time at Arizona State University, he, along with his street arts collective, has received more than 20 grants, including funding he received as a student. These arts and culture, academic and event grants helped Vo Vera develop at least seven community events.

A love of basketball put this College of Health Solutions grad on his path

Jacob Patterson, who has earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from the College of Health Solutions, let a lifelong passion help guide his studies: basketball.

Dual passions attracted international grad to ASU

Without ASU's generosity and commitment to balancing athletics and academics, international student Juan José García Mesa might not have embarked on his transformative journey toward earning a PhD in biological design at the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Portrait of ASU grad Thea Eigo.
Thea Eigo

Women and gender studies student finds community at ASU

A Phoenix native and child of ASU Associate Professor Kathryn Nakagawa, Thea Eigo decided that they wanted to go out of state for college to experience a new area. Soon after their first semester began, they realized that ASU was calling them back. They got involved on campus through a number of student organizations, and they are graduating as the Dean’s Medalist for the School of Social Transformation.

ASU graduate ready to pursue investigative journalism career

Albert Serna Jr. wanted to be a journalist for as long as he can remember. He has now completed his Master of Arts in investigative journalism from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Investigative journalism as a focus grew out of my experience with reporting. I wanted to tell deeper stories that facilitated change,” he said.

Quadruple major, Starbucks College Achievement Scholar earns Dean's Medalist distinction

When Alexander Graf’s sister earned two bachelor’s degrees through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), he sought to follow in her footsteps. This fall, he will graduate with four bachelor’s degrees in history, philosophy, political science and religious studies through the Starbucks and ASU partnership program.

ASU grad Lieske Carleer kicking a soccer ball on a field.
Lieske Carleer

College of Health Solutions grad turned extra year of athletic eligibility into a master’s degree

Only a year after appearing on the list of notable 2022 graduates from ASU News, soccer star and classroom wizard Lieske Carleer is back on the 2023 list as she graduates with her master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology. Carleer, from Winterswijk, Netherlands, is being honored as the College of Health Solutions' Outstanding Graduate.

ASU English education doctoral graduate committed to student success

Originally from Livingston and Great Falls, Montana, Rebecca Chatham-Vazquez came to Arizona State University in 2018 to pursue a PhD in English (English education). But she wasn’t just a student. While studying, attending conferences, conducting research and writing a dissertation, she also made huge differences in the community.

Biochemistry graduate looks ahead to medical school and career helping others

Neha Yeturu, graduating from the School of Molecular Sciences, looks to help others through medical school and exploring solutions to health care access. While at ASU, Yeturu learned the value of community and that great things can be achieved when working with others. 

ASU graduate Manuel Lewis in cap and gown
Manuel Lewis

Anthropology grad to pursue law degree, continue public service for Indigenous communities

Manuel Lewis — graduating with a degree in anthropology from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change — is a full-time emergency telephone operator for the Gila River Indian Community. Lewis plans to apply for law school and continue to do work in the public service arena for Indigenous communities. “Most people think that the common experience uniting first-generation students is being the first, but, if you ask me, it’s our commitment to ensuring we’re not the last,” he said.

College of Health Solutions' Moeur Award winner fell in love with science, math early on

North Dakota native Katelyn Matter is graduating from the College of Health Solutions with a bachelor’s degree in medical studies. Matter is a recipient of the Moeur Award, an award that requires the student to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA while attending ASU. Matter’s sorority, Pi Beta Phi, and her sorority sisters were some of the biggest supporting factors in her ability to earn this award.

Passion for helping children experiencing trauma inspired criminal justice graduate

From an early age, Ciara Ruiz-Earle had firsthand, family experience with the criminology and criminal justice field. Her mother was a child abuse victim advocate. Ruiz-Earle, the ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s fall 2023 Outstanding Graduate, developed her own passion for working with children navigating the repercussions of trauma and abuse, founding a nonprofit organization that directly impacts the lives of child victims of violent crimes. 

Mutumwinka Rose, fall 2023, Outstanding Graduate, School of Social Work, Watts College
Mutumwinka Rose

Social work grad plans career offering support to new immigrants

Mutumwinka Rose, the School of Social Work’s fall 2023 Outstanding Graduate, said she wishes that the social worker who was assigned to her family when they immigrated to the U.S. from Rwanda had been less pressed for time and more culturally competent. That experience inspired her to pursue social work and help individuals who may be experiencing the things she went through.

Preveterinary medicine grad gains career-connected experiences at ASU

At age 4, Chloe Ward already knew she wanted to pursue veterinary medicine. Eighteen years later, she is making her childhood dreams come true. Ward, an applied biological sciences major concentrating in preveterinary medicine, is wrapping up a stellar undergraduate career boasting 40 credits from Barrett, The Honors College and more than 4,000 hours of preveterinary clinical experience, research projects and volunteer work.

College of Health Solutions grad has medical school in his sights

Coming from a family of doctors, Asim Osman knows he wants to be involved in medicine. From a very young age, it seemed like his destiny. “Medicine is something really prevalent in my family,” Osman said. The College of Health Solutions graduate earned a bachelor’s degree in medical studies this December.

Christopher Weddingen, fall 2023, Outstanding Graduate, School of Public Affairs, Watts College
Christopher Weddigen

Public affairs grad learned government is people — not ‘an entity’ — serving other people

After spending his undergraduate years studying public service and public policy, Christopher Weddigen — the School of Public Affairs' fall 2023 Outstanding Graduate — said he has come to a deeper understanding about the role of government in society. One of his clearest conclusions is that it’s about people, not institutions, serving other people.

Drawing inspiration — and solutions — from nature

To find examples of adaptation, ingenuity and survival against the odds, Robin Berry turns to the outdoors. Berry, the School of Complex Adaptive Systems' fall 2023 Outstanding Graduate, is graduating with a Master of Science in biomimicry. She said that moving to the Sonoran Desert cemented her interest in replicating one of nature’s greatest skills: resilience.

Grad to apply skills to promote tourism in native Saudi Arabia

Now that she has earned a bachelor’s degree in tourism development and management, Noor Alhakeem's focus is on Expo 2030. The ASU grad plans to return to her native country of Saudi Arabia, where the expo is to be held, to put her skills to work promoting it as a tourist destination.

ASU grad Dallas Salas wearing a maroon cap and gown at a graduatino ceremony.
Dallas Salas

18-year-old neuroscience grad encourages students to preserve despite challenges

Dallas Salas stands apart from the typical 18-year-old, having faced challenges beyond the normal for someone his age. Growing up, he experienced homelessness, violence and crime in the family, as well as a battle with leukemia at a young age. Despite all that, he is graduating this fall with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience.

Dean’s Medalist reflects on her journey from language aficionado to accomplished Spanish graduate

Since she was 11 years old, Kaley Danks has loved the Spanish language. The double major in Spanish and biological sciences (biology and society) was chosen as the fall 2023 Dean’s Medalist for the School of International Letters and Cultures. Danks is currently applying to law school in hopes of using her Spanish-speaking skills to make a difference in the Arizona community.

PhD graduate celebrates a bright future in applied mathematics

With a passion for numbers and a keen eye for detail, Marina Mancuso — a PhD graduate in applied mathematics from Cleveland — has made significant contributions to applied mathematics throughout her academic career. Her research has focused on developing mathematical models that can be applied to real-world problems. 

Portrait of ASU graduate Suzzel Alberto.
Suzzel Alberto

College of Health Solutions online graduate finds way to 'literally help voices be heard'

Suzzel Alberto wants to make sure future and current ASU students know they can have a fulfilling college experience while earning their degree online. Alberto, who earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science, made an impact by being involved with university life even though she was working from her home in Ontario, California.

PhD graduate emphasizes importance of open-access publications

Hailing from Toluca, Mexico, Ivonne Lujani Vilchis graduates this fall from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College with a PhD in educational policy and evaluation. Motivated to explore the intersection of inclusion and innovation in educational research, she has accomplished a great deal in the field of education policy. 

Highly awarded PhD grad says ASU is the only place for her

"Once a Sun Devil, always a Sun Devil" is a sentiment of this fall graduate who has earned a PhD from the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Melanie Newell discusses her love for Arizona and advice for students no matter where they are in their academic journey.

More Sun Devil community


People sit at desks full of several monitors displaying footage of activity taking place around a college campus.

Real Time Analysis Center enhances protection of community, resources

It’s a nightmare scenario: A report of an active shooter at a building on a bustling university campus.But instead of panic, the reaction is a swift, mediated assessment of real-time footage within…

ASU swimmer Ilya Kharun swimming in a pool.

From the high wire to the pool

Arizona State University swimming and diving coach Herbie Behm didn’t truly know how well-known Ilya Kharun’s family is until he checked the team into a Seattle-area hotel for the Pac-12…

Sun Devils mingle around a table at the ASU Alumni Association's 2023 Young Alumni summer mixer.

ASU Alumni Association ranks as No. 1 largest Phoenix-area networking association

With more than 640,000 members, the ASU Alumni Association was recently ranked the No. 1 largest Phoenix-area networking association by the Phoenix Business Journal for the 11th consecutive year.…