Graduate student wins MLK award for work with homeless youth

November 28, 2011

Timothy Huffman, a graduate student in the Hugh Downs School of Communication, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been chosen to receive the 2012 MLK Student Servant-Leadership award for his work with homeless and at-risk teens.

The cause is particularly close to his heart, as Huffman chose to be homeless for six months of his life to gain a greater understanding of the world and himself. Tim Huffman Download Full Image

Upon moving to Arizona to attend ASU, Huffman decided to get involved with StandUp for Kids, a national outreach nonprofit that works to rescue at-risk and homeless youth.

After volunteering his time with StandUp for Kids Phoenix, he decided to create StandUp for ASU to spread awareness among college students and impact the surrounding community.

“There are a lot of students here and it created the opportunity to connect the ASU community with homeless youth in the area that needed a lot of help,” Huffman said.

As an organization, StandUp for ASU actively works with Stand Up for Kids Phoenix to provide food, water, clothing and hygiene products to those living on the streets and in homeless shelters. On the weekends, those in need also may take advantage of two safe houses in downtown Phoenix where they can do laundry, eat a hot meal, shower and conduct job searches on the Web.

However, Huffman’s personal goal for the club is to foster relationships with those who otherwise would go unnoticed.

“Everybody tries to make the homeless population invisible, so we reach across that barrier and engage in conversation with them,” Huffman said. “We also use this conversation to find out their needs and connect them with other organizations that may be able to help them find a job, for example.”

Although he does not know where and what he will be doing in the future, Huffman states positively that he will continue to seek solutions to the greatest challenges his community faces.  

“I care about people and I’m driven to help them,” he said. “My goal in life is to achieve the greatest possible good within the community I’m living in.”

The annual MLK celebration breakfast – scheduled to take place at 7 a.m., Jan. 23, in the La Sala ballroom, at the West campus – will honor Huffman’s achievements. He also will speak at an MLK Student Rally at 11:30 a.m.

Bob Ramsey and Jenny Norton, members of the community, will receive an MLK Servant-Leadership award at the breakfast as well.

Third-generation Sun Devil overcomes financial hurdle

November 28, 2011

Growing up, Anika Hutchinson always had the dream of attending college, but the financial expense seemed to make it a distant wish.

Upon graduating from high school, Hutchinson enrolled and graduated from cosmetology school to earn a living working as a hairstylist to pay for college on her own. When the time came, she enrolled in Mesa Community College (MCC), taking one class at a time since that was all her budget could accommodate. Anika Hutchinson Download Full Image

“Paying for college was very difficult," Hutchinson says. "I attended community college because the classes were more affordable. I’m really appreciative of grants I received when I transferred to Arizona State University because I wouldn't have been able to finish my degree without them.”

As a third-generation Sun Devil, she says that ASU was the obvious choice for her college education.

“My grandmother received her master's degree from ASU, and my mother received both her bachelor's and master's degrees here,” she says. “My grandfather also worked at ASU as a department dean during the 1970s and 1980s. He was rewarded for his work with African-American students by having a tree commemorated in his honor in the school's arboretum.”

Hutchinson will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in general studies from the School of Letters and Sciences.

“The general studies program allowed me to take courses in a variety of areas within a structured program to allow me to customize my degree to fit my interests while staying within university guidelines,” Hutchinson says.

She recently was admitted to the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College to pursue a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education.

“I want to work with colleges and universities in the area of adult education," she says. "I hope to bring awareness to the fact that many working adults and professionals desire to attend college, but they require more flexibility than the average student.”