ASU graduate's interests, activities included research, coaching and more

College of Health Solutions graduate Sophia DeOrio

College of Health Solutions graduate Sophia DeOrio is a recipient of the Moeur Award given to students who maintain a 4.0 GPA.

By Aidan Hansen

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Completing two research projects, an honors thesis and earning a perfect GPA are just a few of Sophia DeOrio’s notable accomplishments.

DeOrio is graduating with a bachelor's degree in speech and hearing science from the College of Health Solutions with a minor in family and human development. She is going into the communication disorders master’s degree program at ASU.

DeOrio is a recipient of the Moeur Award, an award that requires the student to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA while attending ASU. To qualify, graduating students are required to earn all of their courses at ASU within eight consecutive fall and spring semesters with no transfer hours.

She became interested in research while working as a teaching assistant for Clinical Professor Juliet Weinhold. Weinhold was researching orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) and DeOrio asked if she could take part.

DeOrio went on to have two abstracts published on the subject as an undergrad. 

“ASU gave me awesome opportunities for research,” DeOrio said.

Research wasn't the only thing DeOrio did while at ASU, she is also a student success coach, vice president of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association and an active member of the Next Generation Service Corps.

“Sophia is the kind of student that comes along only once every few years, and truly deserves all the accolades we can offer her,” Weinhold said.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I always had a passion for volunteering with children, and also volunteering for people with disabilities. I realized that this job was a good mix of health care as well as working with people in a more direct approach. It felt like something that I was just going to be good at personally.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I wanted to come to ASU because it has a really good speech and hearing program. I also think ASU is just so big and so diverse, and I knew I wanted to push out of my shell and push myself a little and get to know all kinds of different people.

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

A: How much you lean on your support system for something like college because it's the first time for a lot of people out in the world by themselves. Having friends around you, having your family, just having that support system is something that I never realized how much you need it.

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

A: Dr. Juliet Weinhold, because she showed me that I can push myself and achieve way more than I thought I ever could have. I would also say Dr. Tamiko Azuma, she was so supportive of me and made me trust and believe in myself.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: The secret garden. I love the secret garden. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: The best advice is just to give yourself a break sometimes. And don't push yourself too hard. Always work hard, but sometimes a break is what you need.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I've decided to stay at ASU for the master's program, so I'm super excited for that. After my master's, I think I'll probably want to work as a clinician for a while and try out different settings and different populations of people and just see what I enjoy working with the most.

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

A: I'd probably put that towards helping the disabled population in our country. Fighting discrimination that they've been facing and a lot of the inaccessible policies that have been put around people with disabilities.

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