Commencement marks milestone for outstanding students

<p><a href="#students">Take a look at some of the outstanding graduates</a></p><separator></separator><p>More than 10,000 students graduated from Arizona State University May 12 and 13, a record number that reflects the increasing demand for higher education.</p><separator></separator><p>The number of spring graduates jumped by 1,000 a year over the past five years, as ASU’s enrollment has increased and the demand for an educated work force persists.</p><separator></separator><p>The main commencement ceremony for about 7,500 undergraduates took place May 13 in Wells Fargo Arena. Graduate students received their degrees in a separate commencement ceremony May 12.</p><separator></separator><p>Graduates include about 750 engineers, 160 lawyers, 150 nurses, 1,100 teachers, 170 journalists, 1,400 business undergraduates and almost 600 MBAs.</p><separator></separator><p>The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences boasts more than 3,000 graduates, with the most popular majors being communication, psychology and political science. The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts graduated 800, including 160 artists, 150 architects and landscape architects, 140 musicians and 80 theatre and film grads.</p><separator></separator><p>About 650 graduated from the College of Public Programs, 600 from the School of Letters and Sciences, 250 from the College of Technology and Innovation and 400 from the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.</p><separator></separator><p>ASU President Michael Crow was the commencement speaker at each ceremony.&nbsp;</p><separator></separator><p>Convocations for individual colleges will be held throughout the ASU campuses through May 15. A schedule is available at <a href="">… Auffret, <a href=""></a><br />480-965-6991<br />ASU Media Relations<span style="color: #cccccc;"><br />----------------------------------------<br /><br /></span></p><separator></separator><p><a name="students"></a></p><separator></separator><h2>Students exemplify excellence amongst their peers</h2><p><em><strong>EDITOR'S NOTE:</strong> Below is a collection of this year's outstanding ASU graduates. <br /></em></p><separator></separator><p><br />• Former Master Sergeant <a href="">Anne Cook</a> decided to go back to school so she could do more for her community; now, less than two years later, she's graduating with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies and 4.0 GPA.</p><separator></separator><p>• Before joining ASU, <a href="">Robert Brecht</a> was unsure of his academic path or where he was going to work, but he had one clear interest – to experience first-hand the disparities in quality of life around the world.</p><separator></separator><p>• Scholarship support and mentoring during her four years at ASU have made all the difference for <a href="">Stacey Shomenta</a> Esham, who is graduating with a desire to pay it forward. The odds were stacked against her at the start.</p><separator></separator><p>• Resourcefulness, determination and a resilient spirit have helped <a href="">Catrina Boppart</a> arrive at her goal, a bachelor’s degree in sociology with cum laude honors. No one would have predicted she'd get this far.</p><separator></separator><p>• After 30 years in the health care industry, <a href="">Blair Moses</a> decided to take on a new challenge: law school. Not only did she keep pace with her younger classmates, she graduates this spring with a job lined up at a big law firm.</p><separator></separator><p>• At home in the Philippines, <a href="">Sheila Besario</a> prosecutes defendants in rape and domestic violence cases. But at ASU, Besario has earned an LL.M. in biotechnology and genomics at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.</p><separator></separator><p>• After visiting Uganda last spring, <a href="">Heidi TenPas</a> decided to learn ways in which she could make food accessible, yet sustainable. She will be graduating this spring, but her journey will not stop.</p><separator></separator><p>• At a young age, <a href="">Courtney Cross</a> knew she loved helping children with disabilities. This May she will receive her bachelor’s degree in special education and launch a career that will enable her to do what she loves on a daily basis.</p><separator></separator><p>• Confronted with the possibility of having to drop out of school and leave the United States, <a href="">Helme Castro</a> worked harder than ever to keep his college education on track.</p><separator></separator><p>• A full course load, internships, intramurals, student clubs, mentoring and being involved in research programs has kept engineering student <a href="">Christine Parsons</a> very busy for the past four years.</p><separator></separator><p>• When <a href="">Margaret Dunn</a> decided to return to ASU two years ago, she was fulfilling a 25-year-old promise. What she found was a life's passion.</p><separator></separator><p>• When <a href="">Angela Ortiz-Nieves</a> graduates with her doctorate in applied mathematics, she will receive a degree that takes the average student seven years to complete, and she will have done it in six – as a wife and a mother to three young children, including twins who were born prematurely, one with a congenital disorder.</p><separator></separator><p>• With a perfect 4.0 grade point average and plans to focus on analog circuitry design in wireless communications, <a href="">Aram Akhavan</a> is well on his way to where he wants to go.</p><separator></separator><p>• Growing up in Southern California, <a href="">Chelsey Spicer</a> was a foster child for part of the time, and by the time she reached 18 years old, had lived in 58 different houses and experienced some abuse along the way – but she was determined to graduate.</p><separator></separator><p>• Oh, the places you’ll go! More than just words of encouragement from that famous riddler of words, Dr. Seuss, it’s a reality for global studies graduate <a href="">David Berger</a>.</p><separator></separator><p>• Thirty years after she was compelled to drop out of high school, <a href="">Andrea Garfinkel-Castro</a> walked through the doors of a community college, a single mother of three school-aged children, uncertain but determined to create a future for herself and her family.</p><separator></separator><p>• Born in Bangladesh, <a href="">Rumana Islam</a> dreamed of pursuing higher education as key to her success in life, but visions of her future were abruptly ambushed when her family was in a head-on car collision.</p><separator></separator><p>• She has had plenty of support along the way, but ultimately <a href="">Hae Rim Jin’s</a> success is a result of her own hard work, intellectual curiosity and commitment to making a positive impact on society, especially the criminal justice system.</p><separator></separator><p>• The courage and dreams of <a href="">Semere Kesete</a>, born in the African state of Eritrea, launched him from a harsh desert prison to a master’s degree in social justice and human rights at Arizona State University.</p><separator></separator><p>• As a walk-on athlete on the ASU women’s track and field team, <a href="">Lissa Regets</a> set a javelin record in her sophomore year, and as a business student she has maintained a high GPA and has been named W. P. Carey’s spring 2010 Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior.</p><separator></separator><p>• <a href="">Xanthia Walker</a>, who is receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree in youth theatre from the Herberger Institute School of Theatre and Film, has distinguished herself not only academically, but by her commitment to meeting the needs of the community.</p><separator></separator><p>• From learning Chinese to playing semi-professional baseball to singing in the Newman Center choir to civil rights activism, <a href="">Mario Zamora</a> is earning a degree in biomedical engineering, but will go down whatever path his passion takes him.</p><separator></separator><p>• When <a href="">Victoria Villalba</a> graduates this spring she will collect two diplomas and a special achievement award: the the Spring 2010 Jose Ronstadt Outstanding Undergraduate Award.</p><separator></separator><p>• When <a href="">Alice Ling</a>, a mechanical engineering major, started to get more involved in campus activities, she discovered she had a real passion for helping people.</p><separator></separator><p>• History major <a href="">Ali Rund</a> thought she knew everything about Tempe, the city where she has lived all her life. Yet, when Rund took on an internship at a local museum, she found a wealth of new historical information – and the reason why her history degree is so important today.</p>