ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts honors scholastic excellence, leadership and service in inaugural Dean’s Medalists


Three people in ASU graduation gowns and caps

College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Dean's Medalists (from left) Katie Hall, Eliza Joy and Phi Hung Nguyen are spring 2024 graduates representing CISA's School of Applied Professional Studies, School of Counseling and Counseling Psychology, and School of Applied Sciences and Arts, respectively. Photo by Henry Lu/ASU

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For the first time, ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts is recognizing its highest-performing students from each of its three schools with Dean’s Medal honors. Dean’s Medalists, nominated by faculty mentors, display exemplary academic achievement, leadership and service.

It has been almost one year since the college, which is dedicated to applied and career-connected learning, adopted a new organizational structure with the establishment of three schools — making spring 2024 commencement ceremonies the ideal moment to expand student recognition to mirror the new structure.

Each school — the School of Applied Sciences and Arts, the School of Counseling and Counseling Psychology and the School of Applied Professional Studies — has its own distinctive opportunities for student learning and can now celebrate student success and achievement in their nomination of candidates for Dean’s Medals.

“I am delighted to recognize Katie Hall, Eliza Joy and Phi Hung Nguyen with Dean’s Medals, not just for their significant academic achievements, but for their ability to use their skills, leadership and platforms to make an impact in others’ lives,” said Joanna Grabski, dean of the college.

“This is a key point of distinction that enabled these students to rise to the top — and if their accomplishments thus far are an indication of what their futures hold, they are poised to make powerful contributions to society in their respective areas of commitment. Congratulations to our inaugural group of Dean’s Medalists! We are so proud to have you among our graduates.”

Katie Hall

Katie Hall

Dean’s Medal: School of Applied Professional Studies

Major: Bachelor of Arts in organizational leadership (project management)  

A full-time student, full-time professional and U.S. Navy veteran, Hall has been developing her project management skills in the military and industry since 2019, but ASU brought a new dimension to her capabilities.

Hall’s project management portfolio accounts for more than 50 projects ranging in value from $50,000 to almost $8 million, and that doesn’t include her leadership of a team of 15 junior colleagues in the U.S. Navy. Yet, she was confident she could level up her skills at ASU by pursuing an organizational leadership bachelor’s degree with a concentration in project management.

Hall’s courses opened her eyes to the significance of integrating sustainability into a project. She also learned how to manage and overcome risk and correct a project's course, among other skill sets. She says she learned these valuable lessons from Jennifer Chandler, an associate teaching professor in the college's School of Applied Professional Studies.

Hall “excelled in the classroom.” according to Sean Williams, director and professor in the School of Applied Professional Studies, who nominated her for the prestigious honor.

“Her professional experience has been valuable for class discussions, informal mentorship of other students, as well as providing a model for other students on demonstrating academic excellence,” Williams added.

With a strong portfolio of experience backing her, Hall plans to continue her education this fall at ASU in the Master of Project Management (MPM) program while continuing to work full time.

Eliza Joy

Eliza Joy

Dean’s Medal: School of Counseling and Counseling Psychology

Majors: Bachelor of Science in psychology; Bachelor of Science in neuroscience

Since high school, Joy knew that psychology was her path, but firsthand internship experience with children who endure mental health challenges shaped her decision to pursue a doctorate in school psychology following graduation.

In addition to completing two Bachelor of Science degrees — in psychology in the School of Counseling and Counseling Psychology, and neuroscience in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — she gained intensive, real-world experiences during two internships as a counseling aide and social science technician.

While interning at Desert Visions Youth Wellness Center, a Native American youth substance abuse treatment facility, Joy said she learned how factors such as poverty, generational trauma, addiction and a lack of mental health resources can significantly impact nearly every area of health and education.

“My two incredible internships were integral to my success during my undergraduate education,” Joy said.

These experiences motivated her to continue learning in this arena, and in the fall she will pursue school psychology as a doctoral student at the University of South Carolina.

Phi Hung Nguyen

Phi Hung Nguyen

Dean’s Medal: School of Applied Sciences and Arts

Majors: Bachelor of Science in applied physics; Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics

Graduating in three years with two degrees — in applied physics and applied mathematics — Nguyen said he was first inspired to pursue these subjects from a YouTube video about renowned physicist Richard Feynman: “I was hooked into the open story about nature that Feynman was conveying.”

While Nguyen completed two academically rigorous degrees during a shortened timeline, he still found time to further enrich his undergraduate experience with extracurriculars that encouraged him to impact the ASU community.

During his early years at ASU, Nguyen was elected into a position in the Undergraduate Student Government, where he contributed to many events and initiatives. He also leveraged his leadership to initiate a project with the dean of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts to remove intramural sports fees for students in the college.

As schoolwork became more challenging, Nguyen focused more on studying and family. To speed up his education, he memorized his syllabuses and major maps, a trick that he said enabled him to graduate a year early.

Something he couldn’t memorize was physics because, he said, “It’s less about memorization and more about imagination and, of course, a lot of math. During my years at ASU, I have learned to vividly visualize physical concepts at ease.”

In nominating Nguyen for the Dean’s Medal, Igor Shovkovy, a professor and faculty head in the School of Applied Sciences and Arts, said that Nguyen is one of the most remarkable undergraduate students he has had the privilege of teaching and mentoring during his 15-year tenure at ASU.

“His foundation in mathematics is robust, and he possesses an innate intuition for physics that is truly remarkable,” Shovkovy wrote. “His multifaceted talents promise a future brimming with potential and success.”

Following graduation, Nguyen looks forward to furthering his pursuits in a doctoral program in optics at the University of Arizona.

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