ASU Commencement

Outstanding ASU graduates ready to embark on next journey

By

Kylie Digges

Approximately 7,700 students are headed out into the world after graduating from Arizona State University at fall commencement Dec. 11. Here's a look at some of those exceptional grads.

ariana ruof

ASU psychology dean's medalist works to eliminate stigma around mental health

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recognized psychology graduate Ariana Ruof for academic performance and for being a great example of what you can accomplish when you find your true passion and go all in. 

 

Antonio joan

ASU graduate combines his passions for policy and energy

A student of both political science and industrial engineering, Antonio Joan has been utilizing his studies and the many opportunities provided at ASU, such as the Capital Scholars program, to wed his two interests.

 

Brigitte lim

ASU engineering grad plans to use solar energy to better the Philippines, her home country

Brigitte Lim took her applied project for the Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization professional science master's degree program to a global platform that may help make her idea a reality in the Philippines. 

 

Javier Baez

ASU applied mathematics doctoral grad found inspiration in high school summer math program

At an early age, Arizona State University graduate Javier Baez liked math but did not think about studying mathematics. Then a high school applied mathematics class set him on the path to his doctorate.

 

Brittany Nez

ASU engineering graduate looks to the sky, reaches for the stars

A field trip in middle school led Brittany Nez to look to the sky. Since arriving at ASU, she has continued to reach for the stars, working on a project through the NASA Space Grant and leading ASU’s Next Level Devils. 

 

Chelsea Raulsome

ASU social work graduate finds calling in well-being of seniors  

Chelsea Raulsome originally was interested in nursing, but her mother suggested she look into a social work degree. Once she saw the class list for ASU's program, she knew she had found her path.

 

Jesus Lopez

First-generation ASU graduate blazes a trail for higher education

Jesús López is the first in his family to earn a college degree. He pursued his bachelor’s in Spanish literature and culture and a minor in criminology and criminal justice, while helping others through Access ASU’s me3 program.

 

Tierra McDonald

ASU public affairs graduate committed to public service

Tierra McDonald grew up in a family immersed in public service. So it wasn’t a surprise that she chose the same career path, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public service and public policy from ASU.

 

Pam Golden

After a career in medicine, ASU grad fosters connections through the lens of a camera

When Pam Golden left her longtime career in medicine to pursue her passion for photography with a Master of Arts degree, she knew she wanted to use her art to continue doing “something humanly useful.” 

 

tee tong tang

Herberger doctoral grad fine-tuned her method of teaching violin

Tee Tong Tang first earned a degree in engineering but discovered her passion was in teaching the violin. She developed a method of teaching that combines aural, visual and kinesthetic learning.

 

brett hansen

ASU triple-major graduate found love of math in economics

Brett Hansen decided to add math as a major while taking advanced courses in economics: “I finally realized the part I really loved was the mathematics." 

  

Michael Elliott

ASU grad continues path to success with master's degree 

When Michael Elliott served in the U.S. Army, his job was to launch Patriot air defense missiles; today, he aims for the sky through higher education. 

 

Arizona Baskin

ASU Future of Innovation grad found right path after major switch

Arizona Baskin realized that he wanted something different out of his undergraduate education at ASU. While he was intrigued by technological innovation, he wanted to see how his work could affect the human side of the equation.

 

Tia Anderson

ASU interdisciplinary studies grad finds success with 'deeper commitment to grow'

Interdisciplinary studies graduate Tia Anderson took on a directed study project that allowed her to contribute to an upcoming research article on leadership.

 

Madisyn Forst

ASU grad aims to improve lives, community through health education

During her time at ASU, Madisyn Forst helped support students in recovery from addiction through the Recovery Rising program. Now she plans to make a career of helping others improve their lives. 

 

Graciela Alvarez

ASU therapeutic recreation grad found calling to help others

Graciela Alvarez has known she wanted to earn a degree in therapeutic recreation since she was a community college student. But she didn’t realize she would impact the lives of so many people before she graduated.

 

Quin Patterson

Policing research guides ASU criminal justice graduate

Quin Patterson aspires to a career in federal law enforcement. His professors believe he's well on his way. Patterson was selected by the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice as the fall 2017 outstanding graduate.

 

Robert Rowley

ASU emergency management graduate helps develop next generation of leaders

Maricopa County emergency management director Rob Rowley is the fall 2017 outstanding graduate of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

 

ASU grad, Army vet eager to move the needle on complex social, global issues  

For Steven Henderson, a top political science graduate from ASU’s Polytechnic campus, service to country in the U.S. Army was followed by a desire to have a lasting impact on the community. 

 

Emily Carney

New perspectives, sorority connections shape ASU graduate’s experience

For psychology graduate Emily Carney, connecting with the ASU community through the Panhellenic Association and the Sexual Violence Prevention Program opened her eyes to new perspectives and opened doors to her future.

 

Alexandra Birch

ASU School of Music graduate uses language to interpret music

Alexandra Birch is a violinist. This Dec. 11, she earns her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Arizona State University. She is also a musician who understands the importance of historically informed music performances.

  

Martine Garcia

ASU dual master's degree grad found a calling at Changemaker Central

A dual master’s degree graduate in management and legal studies, Martine Garcia has spent the past year and a half applying his passion for people by mentoring and advising student leaders at ASU’s Changemaker Central.

 

Mayra Causor

Graduating ASU student hopes to inspire teenagers through dance

Mayra Causor discovered her love of dance in high school, and after she earns her degree in dance education from Arizona State University this month, she wants to return to high school to share that passion with her students.

 

Sarah Harris

ASU student leaves her mark in history and graduates early

Bachelor of Arts in history graduate Sarah Harris has always had a passion for history and an interest in religion. The Ahwatukee, Arizona native will graduate a semester early with honors.

 

Tiffany Spicer

ASU Online religious studies student wins the Dean’s Medal

Tiffany Spicer spent most of her childhood exploring the woods in rural Maryland, unaware of the impact she would make in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies from over 2,000 miles away.

 

Marc Sepulveda

ASU student powers through working as a firefighter to graduate with honors

Marc Sepulveda's journey to graduation has been a long one, filled with challenges and accomplishments. Sepulveda served in the Navy in both Iraq and Afghanistan and currently works as a firefighter for the city of Chandler.

 

Sarah Knapp

Starbucks partner and ASU student becomes first in family to graduate college

The only person in her family to attend college, ASU Online and Starbucks College Achievement Plan participant Sarah Knapp will visit ASU's Tempe campus for the first time in December, for her graduation.

 

Scott Brazelton

ASU student finishes degree from over 7,000 miles away

Scott Brazelton began pursuing his degree at Arizona State University in 2007 and has now completed his program from more than 7,000 miles away in Australia through the university’s online history program.

 

Chris Gisriel

Army veteran unlocks secrets of photosynthesis as ASU graduate

Army veteran Christopher Gisriel, who graduated with a bachelor’s (’13) and is now graduating with a doctorate (’17) in biochemistry from ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences, really excels in research. 

 

Victoria Baugh

ASU literature scholar starts new conversations about old books

Some might argue that the close study of literature — especially older, English literature — is an outmoded undertaking. However, graduating ASU student Victoria Baugh is roundly proving that argument false.

 

Shaun Collins

ASU microbiology major takes fascination with small things to med school

Shaun Collins was sitting in an intro to biology class when it hit him. Small things that cause problems in the larger world fascinated him. He switched to a microbiology major, and now he is headed to medical school. 

 

Meng Wei

ASU linguistics grad discovers desire to teach through his own learning

ASU international student Meng Wei is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English linguistics this December and is already admitted into the ASU global affairs and management graduate program. 

 

Alina Thomas

Integrative health grad finds calling through ASU's unique degree offering

Alina Thomas will be pursuing a career in holistic health when she graduates from ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She said it her mission is to “spread light to others” as a personal development or wellness coach.

 

Christian Hansen

ASU Online grad gratified that he could care for his mom while studying

Christian Hansen would visit his mother in the hospital while she was undergoing treatment for cancer. When she rested, he would crawl into the window cubby in her room, pull out his laptop and work on his ASU Online degree. 

 

Naji Obaid

Veteran translates military service into a career of teaching

Naji Obaid graduates from ASU this December with a master’s degree in teaching English as a second or other language (MTESOL). He plans to continue serving others, as well as bettering himself, through teaching. 

 

Jasmine Spearing-Bowen

Cronkite graduate investigates career in journalism

Jasmine Spearing-Bowen was recently named the 2017 ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she has earned a master's degree.

 

Brittany Panzer

ASU Online casts working actress in new role as film studies graduate

As a working actress, hectic shooting schedules are Brittany Panzer’s reality. The Miami native relishes the flexibility of ASU Online, and she is graduating with a bachelor's degree in film and media studies.

 

Kyle Mohr

ASU geology grad maps out Mars and his career path

When Kyle Mohr was growing up, he always liked geology. Now he is graduating from Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration with his Master of Science in geology and starting a PhD in geology.

 

Louis Schoettle

Graduate from microbiology PhD program launches career in immunology

Microbiology PhD program graduate Louis Schoettle embarks on a career in immunology research after learning to balance all of the aspects of being a graduate student. 

 

Sarina Guerra

ASU interdisciplinary major aims to make positive impact through art

When Sarina Guerra saw people with tears in their eyes while observing her capstone art project, it told her she’s on the right track — the interdisciplinary arts double major wants to change the world for the better with her art. 

 

Caite Buntin

ASU Online student perseveres through difficult pregnancy to earn degree

Battling pregnancy complications, Caite Buntin switched to ASU Online in hopes of easing her physical stresses. She persevered through myriad difficulties and graduates this December with her bachelor’s degree in English.

 

Andres Chagolla III

ASU Law graduate will continue history of nonprofit work

ASU Law student Andres Chagolla's resume is loaded with academic achievements, awards, internships and scholarships, but it contains another achievement that truly stands out: his dedication to others.

 

Lenora Ott

Lenora Ott: Dancer, innovator

It started with a dance. A belly dancing class to be exact, where Lenora Ott first learned about the School for the Future of Innovation in Society’s Global Technology and Development Master’s program. For Ott, it has been a most inspiring experience.

 

Megan Drazek

Policy analysis leads to professional opportunity

After graduating with master’s degree in public policy, Megan Drazek begins work as an auditor at the Arizona Office of the Auditor General in January. As a graduate student, Drazek interned with the Arizona Governor’s Office working on a joint project with the Arizona Department of Corrections.  ...