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Every moment of journey led to California grad’s success


ASU Local grad Kiana Tovar poses in graduation cap and gown

ASU Local student Kiana Tovar graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and media studies from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Courtesy photo

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December 18, 2023

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

If you stick with them, long and winding journeys can lead to destinations that propel you even further ahead than you imagined.

That has been the case for Kiana Tovar, a Carson, California, resident and ASU Local student who graduated this fall. Her in-person sessions took place at the ASU California Center Broadway.

Proud of her Peruvian heritage and having moved to the United States with her family from Costa Rica in 2012, Tovar’s education after high school became a journey of fits and starts in community college — all complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was an advertisement on Instagram about ASU Local that got her attention. Days later, she was admitted and began her classes in fall 2021.

Two years later, Tovar has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and media studies from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She even gave a speech at the Los Angeles graduation ceremony.

“I feel accomplished,” said Tovar, 28. “I didn’t go through all of this for nothing. My parents didn’t sacrifice everything for nothing. It took me a while but everything happens for a reason.”

ASU Local is a hybrid college program that pairs in-person coaching and mentorship as part of a tightly knit community with the flexibility of accessing all coursework online, 24/7, through ASU Online.

Tovar credits the personal approach of ASU Local coaches with helping her finish in two years, especially Academic Success Advisor Marleigh Hurlburt, who helped Tovar and her cohort extensively.

Always a sports fanatic, Tovar is now working for the LA Clippers, where she is dedicated to her role in community relations. It’s an area of passion for her, and she wants to use her future career to make an impact on the lives of young people.

“There’s no stopping me now,” she said.

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