The future is bright for spring 2019 grads

Saturday, April 13, 2019

On May 6, thousands of ASU students will move their tassels to the left side of their mortarboards and head into the next phase of their journey. Before they do, ASU Now is taking a look at some of the most impressive graduates.

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Art and technology meet to inspire Sun Devil grad

Hunter Wickersham literally left his mark on Arizona State University. Go into the Technology Building on the Polytechnic campus, back into the print shops and photo studios and press equipment, and there it is, 10 feet high and 40 feet long: the History of Print wall.

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Interior architecture student draws on theater background in design projects

Working in an ensemble theater that has a focus on civic dialogue turned out to be a useful background for Courtney Davis when she decided to pursue a master’s degree in interior architecture at ASU.

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ASU grad wondered what it took to be smart — now she’s headed to Harvard

Leah Nakaima grew up in Uganda witnessing inequities. Now she’s graduating from ASU and moving on to Harvard, working her way toward her dream of being Uganda’s first female president. 

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Interdisciplinary studies graduate from Hopi Nation finds passion to serve Native youth

Daniell June Albert is from the Hopi Tribe in Northern Arizona. Her Hopi name is áaqawsi, which translates to Sunflower, and she is Parrot and Kachina clans from the village of Old Oraibi, Third Mesa. Albert is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies, with concentrations in special events management and in communication. 

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Biological sciences undergraduate first ASU Online student admitted to veterinary school

ASU online biological sciences major Cody Sorce wasn't sure how he would balance his career and school, but he completed his degree this spring and will attend veterinary school in Minnesota in the fall. 

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Goldwater Scholar aims to solve global health issues

Meilin Zhu, a student at Barrett, The Honors College who will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with a concentration in medicinal chemistry from the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University in May, was inspired by her father’s passion for research and her older sister’s positive experience at ASU and Barrett.

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Graduate's passion for science and math earns a triple degree — by accident

Sierra Murphy will be graduating in May with not one bachelor’s degree in STEM, but three bachelor’s degrees from Arizona State University — a BS in biology, a BS in mathematics and a BA in chemistry. 


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Doctoral grad discovers importance of community

Graduating ASU English education doctoral student Katie Alford admitted that her most important lesson had nothing to do with her subject matter. Instead, it was in learning to lean on others. My colleagues have taught me so much,” Alford said, “especially how learning does not happen in isolation; it happens in community.”

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Microbiology student discovers power of mind and meditation during academic journey

Isaiah Sampson has had his sights set on a career in dentistry since he was a teenager. And while many students change their direction over the years, Sampson has held his focus and made calculated decisions to achieve his goals.

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MasterCard Foundation Scholar, School of Molecular Sciences grad inspired to dream bigger 

Ntombizodwa Makuyana will be graduating in May from Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences with a degree medicinal biochemistry, but this is just the first degree she plans to receive as she has her sights set on pursuing her MD-PhD next.

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Alaska to Arizona: ASU grad finds his intellectual home

What college is right for you? What will you major in? These are difficult questions and choices for any 18-year-old. But when Brian Sweeney graduated from high school in Anchorage, Alaska, he had a feeling the answers to both were 3,600 miles away from home, at ASU. Sweeney is graduating in May 2019 with two bachelor’s degrees.

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School of Molecular Sciences grad fulfills both her passions as a STEM major and athlete

Vanessa Davis chose to attend Arizona State University because it fulfilled both of her passions — to pursue a degree as a STEM major and compete at the collegiate level in track and field. Davis will graduate this May with a degree in chemistry.

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ASU grad’s campus composting program inspired future career in sustainability

ASU grad Taylor Bakeman followed her sustainability passion at ASU, launching a first-of-its-kind composting program in her residence hall.

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Musician finds her university groove in integrative health program

Health issues sidelined Carol Mas’s music career, then opened the door for another adventure, college. Now, at 63, Mas is preparing to graduate with her bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

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Music graduate’s passion for music and Holocaust studies leads her to new path: jurisprudence

In her four years at Arizona State University's School of Music, Caitlin Kierum accomplished a lot, exploring her passions and finding new ones. She is graduating in May with two degrees, a minor and two certificates.

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Music graduate hopes to have positive impact on students

It took losing music for Aliyah Qualls to realize how much making music meant to her. Music had been a part of Qualls’s life since she was young, but in middle school, she quit the band program. “I did not realize how much music making meant to me and that it was what I truly wanted to do until I was unable to play,” said Qualls, who is graduating in May with a Bachelor of Music in music education and a minor in criminology and criminal justice.

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Gamer and clarinetist shows commitment to service and sisterhood

The term “sisterhood” holds special meaning to School of Music and Barrett, The Honors College graduate Charlotte Burton, who graduates in May with a Bachelor of Music Education, a Bachelor of Music in clarinet performance and a PreK-12 music education teaching certificate.

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From leading campus tours to joining a medical brigade, biology senior pursued array of opportunities at ASU

Cheyenne Piepmeyer is a self-proclaimed go-getter, and her resume supports that claim. “I’m one of those people who wants to take advantage of every opportunity that’s given to me,” said Piepmeyer, who is graduating this May with her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the School of Life Sciences and a minor in Spanish from the School of International Letters and Cultures.

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Aviation graduate reaching for the sky

Carlee Cramer went on a "discovery flight" as a young girl and got the flying "bug." She earned her private pilot’s license her senior year in high school and now she’s graduating from ASU with a BS in aeronautical management technology (professional flight) from the Polytechnic School.

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Graduate discovers the personal in the political

As someone who lives with systemic lupus, Jordan Garcia often felt dismissed by doctors, because you can’t see a headache or feel someone’s exhaustion. Then the ASU political science graduate took a course called “Everyday Forms of Political Resistance." With the powerful newfound realization that the personal is political, she dove headfirst into exploring the topic further in her thesis.

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Fleischer Scholars camp convinced first-generation student to pursue ASU

When Mickey Glover was student at Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix, he was not thinking of going to college. In the summer before his senior year, he was invited to attend the free, weeklong Fleischer Scholars camp at ASU and it changed everything.

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Physician earns executive MBA at ASU to work on a better health care system

Chizoba Ngwube has spent years helping patients, but over time, she realized that she could help heal the health care system as well. Ngwube, a family physician and hospitalist for Banner Health, just completed an executive master's degree in business administration at ASU.

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‘Winning the game’: ASU language grad confronts challenges with creativity

Mary “Katie” Kennedy is a model of undergraduate achievement. The ASU student is finishing two Bachelor of Arts degrees this spring, in English (linguistics) and Asian languages (Chinese), and will begin a master’s program in linguistics and applied linguistics at ASU this fall.


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ASU Army vet, father of four follows passion for rangeland management, conservation 

ASU applied biological sciences graduate Keaton Davis has always loved the outdoors. He's accepted a position with the U.S. Forest Service, working on the Tonto National Forest.

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Speech and hearing graduate hopes to give future patients a voice

Inbal Donenfeld-Peled was doing the mandatory two-year military service her native Israel requires when she met Uri, who was born with bilateral congenital deafness. As she got to know him, he told her about his speech therapist and audiologist and all they had done to improve his life. Donenfeld-Peled graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from the College of Health Solutions.

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Fascination with disease leads to a career solving health challenges with data

Growing up in Nairobi’s Kibera slums, Joan Kwamboka’s daily life was routinely interrupted by communicable disease outbreaks. While many in her community reacted with fear of these periodic epidemics, Kwamboka was fascinated.

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Academic achievement times three: Moen triplets set to graduate from ASU with honors

Triplets Claire, Grant and Anders Moen will graduate from Arizona State University with honors from Barrett, The Honors College in May. They thrived in the smaller community of the ASU West campus, where they found opportunities for research, work and service to fellow students.

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Graduate uses biochemistry opportunities at ASU to forge a path to medical school

For Connor Vuong, a senior in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a soccer injury in high school left him with a broken finger that needed surgery and a newfound appreciation for what it really means to be a doctor.

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Flexibility of online classes allows soon-to-be graduate to balance work, home and school

Juggling work and a toddler is a daunting task. When you add the desire to earn a degree, it might seem impossible. For Alexandria Smille, earning a Bachelor of Science in urban planning through ASU Online meant that she could utilize the flexible nature of the courses to fit them into her life, all while learning the skills she needed to positively impact our communities.

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Philosophy student graduates with degree she's passionate about

Keziah Ampadu-Siaw struggled to find a degree that was right for her. She changed her major several times during her time at Arizona State University, but after taking her first philosophy class with Cynthia Bolton, she began to think about pursuing a degree in that direction. She will be graduating this spring with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a minor in women and gender studies.

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Computer information systems grad inspired to build tech that makes a difference

The moment that computer information sciences major Thomas Haver saw the Apple Watch, he knew he wanted to work on technology that makes an impact on society. Driven by this will to make a difference and his love of tech, Haver decided to attend ASU.

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Graduating art student gets inspiration from ancestors

When artist Edgar Fernandez transferred to Arizona State University, he was looking for new inspiration. “I discovered the inspiration I was looking for was within me all along, from my skin color to my ancestors and grandparents,” said Fernandez, a 28-year-old Chicano student who graduates this May with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting.

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Aspiring to greatness in giving

Not only is Jackson Kellogg graduating from Barrett, The Honors College with a perfect GPA, he’s already garnered an endowed linguistics fellowship typically reserved for advanced graduate students.

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Family and human development graduate works to impact education gap

As a first-generation student, Abigail Duarte had to figure out of the intricacies of college by herself, but that didn’t stop her from experiencing all that she could as she pursued her bachelor’s degree from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics.

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Film student started own company while still in school

At 19 years old, Krystina Owens started her own production studio while attending ASU. Now the 21-year-old, who is a student at Barrett, The Honors College, manages 11 employees, is expanding her company into two divisions and is graduating this May with a bachelor’s degree in film and media production from the School of Film, Dance and Theatre.

student holding sign that says "I am an innovative Sun Devil because of the the support of my peers and W. P. Carey faculty and staff!"

W. P. Carey School graduate comes full circle with Business Ambassadors

Eli Schifman, who is graduating with degrees in finance and economics, was named the W. P. Carey Outstanding Undergraduate for the spring semester.

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First graduate of a growing school sets the bar high

This May, Elana Quint will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in civic and economic leadership, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, a minor in business, and as a graduate of Barrett, The Honors College. Quint is also being recognized by The College as a Dean’s Medalist.

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Graduating ASU linguist-lawyer works to improve, clarify speech rights

Amanda Weaver, a Phoenix attorney with Snell & Wilmer, is completing her PhD in applied linguistics at ASU this spring. She is a specialist in the linguistic considerations of the First Amendment entitlement, and she has analyzed provisions affording free speech in constitutional documents — not just in the U.S. but also in another geopolitical hotspot: Russia.

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