ASU classes begin with an increased number of students from around the country, world

August 19, 2015

Walter Bonar hails from a place with a rich academic tradition.
The incoming Arizona State University freshman arrived in Tempe from North Carolina, home to well-respected state institutions and elite private schools.
And if ASU hadn’t been so attractive to him, he might have chosen to go to one.
Instead he ended up more than 2,000 miles from his home in Marvin, a town outside of Charlotte, to study aerospace engineering.
“All the programs I was interested in at ASU were better…” Bonar said. “There were more resources available [here], especially for undergraduate students.”
Bonar is among the more than 70,000 full-immersion students across ASU’s five metropolitan campuses who are packing up their laptops, gathering their books and beginning or resuming their ASU academic careers today.
And like Bonar, who now calls Barrett, The Honors College his home within ASU, those 70,000 enter the many microuniversities of learning that the university has created at the Polytechnic campus, the West campus, the Downtown Phoenix campus, the Tempe campus, and at Thunderbird School of Global Management. They're all part of ASU's educational network that's building interdisciplinary academic programs which attract students from the coast to coast and all around the globe.
One thousand more out-of-state students enrolled in ASU than last year. They total 16,000 for the 2015-2016 year.
Overall enrollment for full-immersion students jumped 3 percent over last year.
And international student enrollment increased 11.8 percent to 9,600 students compared to year ago.
Jobana Westbay is one such international student. The freshman from Yokohama, Japan, chose ASU for the opportunities available to students.
“The different organizations and other opportunities that ASU offers really drew me to this school…” she said. "ASU offers practically anything you could think of.”
In fact, there are more than 300 undergraduate academic programs and majors at the university.
ASU Online also saw a sharp increase in enrollment compared to 2014. More than 19,000 students — some six thousand more than last year — signed up for ASU’s digitally enabled degree programs, part of the University’s effort to provide accessible education to those who may not be able to attend the school in person.
Jerome Tennille, an operations management major who lives in Falls Church, Virginia, was attracted, among other things, to the flexibility of the ASU Online program.
“Being an online student has provided me every ability to continue my education,” said Tennille, who delayed college to serve in the U.S. Navy a few years after 9/11. “I would recommend it to everybody.”

Freshman crosses ocean for ASU entrepreneurship program

August 20, 2015

Editor's note: This story is part of our back-to-school spotlight on notable incoming students. The series will run during the first two weeks of the fall semester. Read our other profiles here.

Jobana Westbay has the soul of an artist. Jobana Westbay, who loves jazz music and exploring the natural world, will be studying at ASU's Polytechnic campus. Download Full Image

She takes time to appreciate the beauty in the world, whether it’s in the form of cascading waves at Monterey Bay in California — which she recently visited for the first time — or the “unusual time signatures and emotional depth” of jazz music.

She has always had a penchant for mathematics and the sciences, too, though. That’s why she was attracted to the Technological Entrepreneurship and Management Program at Arizona State University.

“I have always liked science and math, as well as the creative arts. So the interdisciplinary approach of the major seemed perfect for me,” she says.

Born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, the 18-year-old Barrett Polytechnic student hadn’t even heard of the word “entrepreneurship” until her senior year of high school when she took an introductory college business class online. But, she says, “I instantly knew that I was interested in it.”

Leaving your home country to attend a university halfway across the world might seem intimidating to some, but Westbay knew at a young age that she wanted to pursue higher education outside of Japan.

She demonstrated her commitment by opting out of the Japanese public school system, which she had been in her whole life, and entering an American virtual homeschool program to make her eventual transition to college in the U.S. easier.

Though she encountered some challenges with homeschooling, such as not being able to ask questions easily, Westbay met them head on, taking it upon herself to do the extra work.

“It forced me to go online and find other resources to improve my understanding of many subjects, which enriched my studies,” she says. “And having to rely on myself to schedule my studies improved my study and organizational skills.”

Westbay was accepted into several American universities, but she chose ASU for a number of reasons.

“The different organizations and other opportunities that ASU offers really drew me to this school. … ASU offers practically anything you could think of,” she says.

And she plans to take full advantage of that, having already looked into some of ASU’s various entrepreneurial programs, like the Grand Challenge Scholars Program.

Westbay also looks forward to joining a music ensemble (she has played clarinet since the seventh grade, and also plays some piano, guitar and the Japanese bamboo flute), playing intramural sports and participating in organizations for cultural exchange.

“After homeschooling and being limited to very few extracurricular activities, the huge number of organizations is very exciting, and I am anxious to try new things.”

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU News

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