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Arizona State University: Class of 2024

In 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, I decided to return to school to pursue new dreams.  I had been an English, Journalism and Creative Writing teacher for about 20 years, but these world events changed me deeply and I knew I needed a change.  I was inspired by the way digital tools allowed us to maintain community during long periods of mask wearing social distancing.  I enjoyed the aspect of using digital tools to meet people virtually without regard to distance or time zone and using social media to keep people informed to create a sense of community.  I was also inspired by all of the art I saw on buildings, in people’s front lawns and windows responding with positive messages of love and unity in response to the murder of George Floyd.  These experiences were the catalyst for me studying Digital Audiences and Museum Studies with an emphasis on Black arts, history, and culture.  

Four years have passed by so quickly, and I am finally a graduate of Arizona State University.  I am a Sun Devil forever, and what makes this moment of graduation so much more special is that eight years ago I taught English, Journalism, and Creative Writing at Arizona Charter Academy in Surprise, about thirty minutes north of Phoenix.  I was so determined to teach these students college prep curriculum and transform their thinking to understand that college was a very real option to them.  None of my students had ever been to Arizona State University and hadn’t even considered applying there.  That sparked something in me and I had to create a unit about going to college.  I had students writing so much about college that they began to believe that they were going!  I loved seeing them experience a growth mind-set about college being within their reach.  I knew that writing about college wasn’t going to be enough and I had to get them on the campus to feel it.  We had a campus tour in the spring of 2017 and students acted like little kids in a candy store!  They were so excited seeing diverse people on campus walking around and hearing their conversations about academics and student life.  We were even able to see a demonstration of technology and early stages of Alexa.  Students were blown away at the potential of this technology and right then and there, they all were bought in to attending ASU!  

The same way ASU inspired my students all those years ago, it has done the same for me, a seasoned professional looking to embrace my new dreams.  Back then when I was encouraging my students to go to college, I never imagined that I would someday be graduating from ASU myself!  I appreciate every moment I spent as an online student and I recommend to anyone, no matter what stage of life you are in to consider becoming a student at ASU.  It has been one of the most transformative experiences of my life.  Thank you ASU professors and classmates for an academic experience that I will never forget.  Go Sun Devils!!!!!!!!!

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