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Due to the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus and the public health recommendations that come with it, Arizona State University will be celebrating with its graduates in the 2020 Spring commencement in a virtual, online ceremony. The format may be different, but our enthusiasm for celebration has never been more inspired and we encourage you to join us in honoring ASU graduate and undergraduate students the week of May 11. Planning is underway. For more details, please check back here for updates and additional information about online activities. Commencement FAQ page
Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.
Sarah Winkelman says her passion for political science took off in her sophomore year of college.
“I started off as a political science major,” said Winkelman, a soon-to-be dual graduate of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ School of Politics and Global Studies. “I wasn’t really sure what I was interested in yet, besides my U.S. government class in high school.”
But after taking classes on national security and terrorism, Winkelman says she was hooked.
“After that, I decided to add a major in global studies and a focus on national security in the Middle East,” she said. “I haven't looked back since.”
Winkelman said she encountered challenges while pursuing her degrees, the most difficult of which was finding herself.
“It was hard moving across the country (from Illinois) and into a room with a complete stranger,” she said. “I didn't really find anything I was interested in the first semester of my freshman year, and I spent more of my time in my room studying and not having fun.”
Soon, however, Winkelman said she began to participate more actively in university life by joining clubs and attending events.
“I thought being busy would make my grades suffer, but it did the opposite,” she said. “By being busy it actually helped me improve my time management skills, which caused my academics to flourish.”
Winkelman answered some questions about her time at Arizona State University.
Question: Why was ASU and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences the right choice for you?
Answer: I cannot imagine where I would be if I didn't choose ASU. ASU has so many different opportunities to get involved, and offers so many resources. I am so thankful I was able to study abroad through ASU by going to Spain. I also had the opportunity to take three other international trips with clubs, twice to Israel and once to Poland. I found friends through my three on-campus jobs throughout the years, through both clubs and classes. Every year, more opportunities become available for students, and I cannot wait to see what comes next for the younger students here.
Q: What experiences have you gained from your time in The College that will help you achieve your future goals in life?
A: The experiences that I gained while pursuing two degrees in The College helped me with time management and confidence. Throughout my time at ASU, I grew up and became a stronger, more independent person. I am no longer afraid to ask for help when I need it, like going to professors’ office hours, taking a break from studying and having dinner with friends instead, or traveling the world alone. Every experience I had, whether big or small, made me into the young adult that I am today.
Q: What's the best piece of advice you'd like to give to those still in school?
A: Just keep chugging along, whether it takes you 4, 5, or even 10 years to graduate. Everything adds up, and in the end, it will all pay off.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: I really like studying in the Palo Verde East hub. I am a north campus person because that's where I lived for three years. I work best in busy spaces, so when I see other people working hard it drives me to buckle down and finish the assignment. I used to have coffee meetings there for my internship, too.
Q: What’s your plan for after graduation?
A: I have already committed to Teach for America, where I will be teaching secondary math in a Title I school in Phoenix for at least two years. Long term, I want to work in the government as part of a counterterrorism force, or in national security.