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The following students were named Outstanding Graduating Undergraduate Scholars of English for spring 2016. Honorees were selected based on academic success and overall accomplishments; they represent the "cream of the crop" of our graduating seniors.
Lauren Bacon graduates with the Moeur Award from Barrett, The Honors College with her BA in English Linguistics, minors in Philosophy and Italian, a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and a concentration in Pre-Law. During her college career, Lauren has had the privilege of serving as the Director of Changemaker Central, during which she advised ten teams surrounding entrepreneurship/innovation and service initiatives, personal growth, and the cultivation of partnerships, propelling forward the larger initiative to inspire, catalyze, and sustain student-driven social change. Her passion for public service was acknowledged by her being awarded the Spirit of Service Scholarship, providing her with the opportunities both to mentor high school students surrounding college preparedness and to explore public service sector issues with her cohort and leading experts. This led to her serving as an ambassador to Harvard's Institute of Politics, to her assisting with the facilitation of the Public Service Leadership Academy, and to her focusing upon the process behind designing community solutions. In discovering her profound love for sociolinguistics and TESOL, Lauren's focus has been upon the crafting of language curriculum that is both culturally appropriate and pedagogically sound, lacing it with elements of leadership development/solution creation, identity formation, and peace studies. In addition to teaching in both West Africa and South America, Lauren has had the opportunity both to work with and to learn from refugee communities over the past few years while teaching with the Somali-American United Council and volunteering with the Refugee Women's Health Clinic, greatly influencing her trajectory. She will be teaching in Beijing for the next year prior to gaining global development experience with the UNHCR. Lauren plans to pursue both her JD and her doctorate in clinical psychology, specializing in trauma intervention for refugee populations, so that she may attempt to create systemic change within the realm of refugee mental healthcare.
Beth writes: "Life is full of ironies and complexity, and mine has been no exception. I grew up in the idyllic 50s in suburban Chicago, seemingly immune to human vulnerabilities and societal problems. Twenty years later, my husband and I raised two curious boys in the country—surroundings, demographics, and adventures a world apart from that of my own childhood. In the late 60s, life got in the way of my first college experience as a French major when my husband received orders for Germany during the height of the Vietnam war. It was nothing short of a miracle, really—and the chance of a lifetime! We spent the next eighteen months exploring Europe on five-dollars-a-day. Upon his discharge, my husband’s education was our priority, so I became involved in my father’s family business. That I had no college preparation for a career in transformer engineering was not unusual in the industry then, but a woman transformer engineer with a foundation in French definitely was! Fast forward to 2008 . . . After supporting my husband and sons financially and emotionally through their bachelor’s and advanced degrees, critiquing papers, and learning along with them, I felt like I’d earned at least one degree. Yet for almost forty years, completing the education I had put on hold was no more than a wish, until one day I realized it was finally my turn. Although over time the French dream had faded, my interest in language and literature as an art of human expression had only grown deeper. Now, more than seven years hence, my graduation truly is the culmination of a dream deferred. My kids think it’s 'the coolest thing ever.' And to the pressure-packed 'What are you going to do with THAT?' question the English major often faces, I say, 'Doesn’t matter! This one’s for me!' I’ve already had a rewarding career. For my next adventure, maybe I’ll become the proverbial 'professional student!'"
Anique writes: "Hi! My name is Anique Brito. I’m originally from Buckeye, Arizona. I’m graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies. My dream is to become a screenwriter and director. I hope to move to Los Angeles soon. My passions include film, science, art, food, animals, and much more! I look forward to what the future has to offer me."
Michael Cohen was born and raised in Mesa, AZ before attending Barrett, the Honors College. He graduates with a degree in Creative Writing, having defended an Honors Thesis in the form of a short story collection entitled "Playing the Changes." Over the course of his college career, he has worked on three separate literary magazines, reviewing ASU undergraduate submissions at Marooned and Lux (where he currently holds the position of Assistant Editor-in-Chief) and international contributions as an intern for Hayden's Ferry Review. Though an English student in name, his reading and writing draw on various influences, including studies in history, religious studies, and folklore. In the summer of 2015, he even travelled to the United Kingdom with ASU's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences for a five-week study abroad course on the intersection of England's landscape and British literature. Also in 2015, he received a Nilsen Humor Award Scholarship for his presentation "Name of Thrones" on historical bathroom euphemisms in English. He plans to keep his sense of humor intact as he seriously pursues graduate school and a writing career.
Lucas says: "I’ve always loved to write. Unfortunately I let my dreams of being a writer slip by the wayside on my way through high school in Springfield, OH and at the University of Toledo. When I left Toledo, I decided that I would rekindle my love of writing and finish my education at the same time. I picked ASU because they seemed to be totally on board when it came to online education. This was a must as I was working full time at a local retailer (at the time) and now as a contractor for the United States Air Force. As my time at ASU winds down, I can’t help but to feel a bit worried. This has been a driving force in my life for the better part of three years. I’ll need to relight the fire that drove me to the challenge of continued education and point it at something new. It’ll be an interesting phase-shift! My time with Arizona State University will always be a defining moment in my life’s story. I’m incredibly proud to be a Sun Devil!"
Neither Amy Medeiros nor her mother can remember a time when she wasn't reading. A lifetime (so far) of reading has led her to graduate with a bachelor of arts in English literature with a minor in business. With this degree, Amy will continue to pursue a career in book publishing. She was an editorial intern for the Feminist Press at CUNY during the summer of 2015, and in June, she will start an internship with W.W. Norton's trade editorial department. At ASU, Amy helped found Normal Noise, a student arts and features magazine published by Barrett, the Honors College, in 2013 and has served as design editor for the magazine ever since. She has edited the work of many different kinds of people, from student reporters at the State Press to maximum security inmates through the ASU Pen Project. Amy also interned with the staff of Hayden's Ferry Review. She is a student in Barrett, the Honors College, and her honors thesis examines the role of tragedy in mid-twentieth century American literature. Her two greatest mentors at ASU are Christine Holbo and Mina Suk, and she is continually grateful for their support of her academic pursuits. Amy is the first person from her mother's side of the family to graduate from a university, and she will graduate summa cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.