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Graduating ASU student pursues passion for justice

Graduation photo of Azalea Roman
November 22, 2023

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

As a daughter of an immigrant, Azalea Roman knew her calling was to create a better society for communities. 

Initially drawn to social work, sociology and criminal justice, Roman didn’t quite see how these degrees could encapsulate everything she was looking for in her college education. She also wanted her time at ASU to be quick; that is, until she stumbled upon the School of Social Transformation and decided to stick around a little longer. 

Roman will now be graduating with degrees in justice studies and women, gender and sexuality studies, as well as a minor in Spanish and a certificate in human rights. 

“In the program, I have been able to learn so much about our institutions, history, and theories of injustice,” Roman said. “I chose ASU for (close to home) comfort but I stayed for the countless opportunities I was able to find here. I was able to find and forge a new community that I am forever grateful for.”

Roman made the most with her time at ASU, including being on the board of the Album Listening Club (similar to a book club, but for music), studying abroad in Argentina and joining the Medallion Scholarship Program during her first year.

The Medallion Scholarship Program is an annual initiative for first-years who have been awarded the Dean's Scholarship. Part of the Alumni Association, this program stretches far beyond a financial award, it fosters students to develop leadership and service. 

"I met a lot of friends (in the program) that I still have to this day," Roman said.

Looking forward, Roman will be part of ASU’s Young Alumni Council to support her transition from student to alumna. 

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

Answer: I definitely learned the importance of knowing when to rest. Even though a lot of us have so much to balance while in school — work, relationships, etc. — it can sometimes feel like a failure to admit when we need to take a break or rest. At first it was hard for me to slow down, but now I am such an advocate for resting and taking breaks. We all deserve to get through our education without burning out and breaking down. 

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

A: Dr. Cynthia Tompkins has taught me a few very important lessons. She shows by example and encouragement the importance of looking forward, working hard and putting yourself out there.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to students?

A: Get out there! Join clubs, talk to your classmates, email your professors and have fun. There are so many events to attend and people to meet, take advantage of being surrounded by so many different cultures, backgrounds and experiences. Undergrad flies by and la vida es breve, so live it! I would also say, protect your peace. As someone whose two majors deal with very real, heavy topics, I made the promise to myself early on that I would involve myself in fun extracurricular activities to balance my mental load.

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

A: I don’t think $40 million is enough for this, but I would want to tackle education. I am so lucky to be graduating and so fortunate that I was able to succeed in continuing my education, but this is not the case for everyone. It has been one of the privileges of my life to be able to attend university, and I am so glad I was able to, but higher education should not exist as a privilege, it should be a right. Ultimately, I would use that money to work towards making higher education more possible and accessible.

Griffin Fabits, marketing copywriter for the ASU Alumni Association, contributed to this story.

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