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ASU names 2012 'Spirit of Service Scholars'

October 19, 2012

Candace French, a second year master’s student studying criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University, dreams of a professional life devoted to serving tribal communities. She will advocate for victims of violent crime and one day plans to lead the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes as president.

Tania Cohen, a sophomore political science and Italian major at ASU’s Barrett, the Honors College aspires to combine her interests in special education and the law. She plans to serve as a compassionate ally for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

And, when ASU doctoral candidate Jaro Arero graduates with his degree in organic chemistry, he looks forward to working as a science policy advisor. He aims to apply his research on clean energy to create environmental and climate change mitigation policies that lead to a more sustainable future.

French, Cohen and Arero are among the 18 dynamic student leaders selected as Spirit of Service Scholars in recognition of their dedication to public service and for embracing the challenge of creating and preserving public goods. ASU’s College of Public Programs celebrated the achievements of the 2012 cohort at the third annual Spirit of Service Scholars luncheon, which took place Oct. 16 in downtown Phoenix.

More than 150 local corporate leaders, elected officials and public sector partners attended the luncheon honoring the 2012 scholars including U.S. Congressman Ed Pastor (D – AZ), former U.S. Congressman Harry Mitchell, members of the Arizona State Legislature and Phoenix City Council, and ASU President-Emeritus Lattie F. Coor who delivered remarks at the event.  

The Spirit of Service Scholars program supports exceptional students from diverse backgrounds who wish to pursue careers in public service, providing scholarships, real-world learning, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

“What has motivated my fellow Spirit of Service Scholars and me is not the promise of a handsome paycheck but that we can make a meaningful difference within our communities,” French shared with the luncheon attendees during her keynote address.

“The scholars in this cohort are some of the most inspiring and dedicated individuals I have ever met,” French said. “Their courage and enthusiasm to combat American and global social ills should serve as a promise that the future is in good hands.”

Initiatives to attract and prepare young, talented and dedicated leaders to move into key positions in the public and nonprofit sectors have become increasingly necessary and urgent as current leaders of the Baby Boomer generation prepare for and enter retirement.

“With 61 percent of the federal workforce and 35 percent of state and local government employees expected to retire in the next 10 years, helping to prepare professionals to take leadership positions in the public and nonprofit sectors is a need of great urgency,”  said Jonathan Koppell, dean of ASU’s College of Public Programs.

 “The Spirit of Service exemplifies ASU's commitment to civic engagement and to providing solutions to help ensure the continued vitality and well-being of the community,” Koppell said.

This is why former Arizona Attorney General and Phoenix Mayor Terry Goddard has joined Spirit of Service Leadership Council Chairman Rick DeGraw and other Arizona public and private sector leaders in supporting ASU’s Spirit of Service initiative.

“We all need to encourage extraordinary individuals to embrace public service and dedicate their passions to improving our world for all people,” Goddard said. “The Spirit of Service Scholars program at ASU was created to do just that. To give individuals an opportunity to discover and experience the joy of public service and answer a critical community need.”

Members of the current cohort represent five colleges and schools across the university including: Liberal Arts and Sciences, Public Programs, W. P. Carey School of Business, Sustainability and the Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law. These students aspire to serve the community as engineers, attorneys, social workers, economists and in other professions.

Additionally, the program includes 20 Junior Scholars, representing five Phoenix area high schools including: Betty H. Fairfax, Central, Dobson, North and University. The high school participants, selected for the program as a result of their expressed interest in public service, will be mentored by their university counterparts in the program.

“With the support of businesses, corporations and numerous public servants, the Spirit of Service Scholars is entering its third year of support for some of the university’s finest emerging professionals,” said DeGraw, well known for his corporate leadership as executive vice president and chief administrative officer of SCF Arizona.
“These student cohorts represent many professions, many backgrounds and many differing political and spiritual beliefs,” DeGraw said. “But, they all recognize the need for future leadership to address continuing and growing societal problems, and possess a deep commitment to serve.”

The 2012-2013 Sprit of Service Scholars include:

Jaro Arero, fourth year doctoral candidate in Organic Chemistry
Tania Cohen, sophomore political science and Italian
Carolina Coronel, senior, interdisciplinary studies in nonprofit administration and communication
Kristin D’Souza, senior, gender studies and justice studies
Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, sophomore global studies and nonprofit leadership and management
Candace French, second year, master’s in criminal justice
Saman Golestan, second year, law
Michael Rome Hall, senior public service and public policy
Shela Hidalgo, senior nonprofit management and leadership
Ashlee Hoffmann, second year, law
Julia Koestner, second year, law
Christina Martin, senior economics
Nivedita Rengarajan, second year master’s, sustainability
Madeline Sands, senior, anthropology
Michael Thrall, second year, law
Julienne Williams, first year, master’s in social work
Kim Davidson, first year, dual-degree master’s in social work/public administration
Thera Wolven, second year, master’s in social work/public adminis¬tration