Best Sun Devil moments

July 17, 2020 · 7 min read · By ASU Online

Being a Sun Devil means a community of support, quality education and tools like ASU+ to empower you on your path to success. Everyone’s journey has its own set of twists and turns, so we asked our ASU Online community to share their best Sun Devil moments on social media. Here are some experiences that make Sun Devil Nation so special.


Mitzi Cruz

Dayton, New Jersey
BS in nursing

Why did you choose ASU Online?
It is rated highly by U.S. News & World Report among several categories, including innovation. It made me proud to go to ASU.

Can you tell us more about your Best Sun Devil moment?
My best Sun Devil moment was when I was feeling overwhelmed and thinking about postponing the completion of my degree. My professor (Dr. Vanessa Hill) and my success coach (Amy Gordon) continued to encourage me to stay and finish. I listened to their advice and then found out I was invited into Sigma Theta Tau and achieved a 4.0 cumulative GPA. When I graduated, I received an award for outstanding representative for professional leadership and involvement.


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ASU student, Derek Matchette, smiling with an ASU hoodie on.
ASU student, Derek Matchette, smiling with an ASU hoodie on.

Derek Matchette

Columbia, South Carolina
BS in biological sciences, spring 2020

Why did you choose ASU Online?
I was finishing up my associate in person and had found a great part-time job to help pay the bills, but I was worried about my schedule interfering. One day I heard a radio ad for ASU Online. It plugged more than 100 majors to choose from and I thought to myself, “Gosh if they have 100 degrees then one of them must be biology-related!” After an interview with admissions I was excited. The idea of the biology program online being new and having to go out to Arizona for an organic chemistry lab on campus sold me on the idea. I wanted to give online a try and ASU was the right fit for me.

Can you tell us more about your Best Sun Devil moment?
I was excited about going to Arizona for my organic chemistry lab from the moment I applied to ASU Online. I took organic during the first half of my second semester and as they say, it was a challenging class, but I made it through. My girlfriend and I planned a trip around the lab schedule; neither of us had ever been to the Southwest. We arrived about a week early with an Airbnb booked and a jam-packed itinerary.

As soon as we landed we headed north for the Grand Canyon, and from there we went to Monument Valley and back. We left the state for Utah, making sure to see Horseshoe Bend on the way, and stayed a few nights in a tiny town near Zion National Park. I truly love Zion ― it was the highlight of the vacation part of the trip. What made all of this even more special was that I was still taking classes for the summer, and during this timeframe I was in BIO 322, which is Conservation of Biodiversity. To see all this incredible natural beauty during the day while spending evenings reading and learning about the needs and processes of conservation was the combo that I think is truly responsible for setting my life on the trajectory it is on now. It really opened my eyes and created the passion that I had been looking for since starting my academic career. 

After my girlfriend flew back home, I spent another week in Tempe going to class and having a great time in organic chemistry, actually talking to my professors in person. They were both wonderful (Dr. Gould and Dr. Austin), as were my lab partners. I loved feeling like I was truly a Sun Devil. It is a week I really look back on fondly.

Charlene Gilbert

Valencia, California
BS in sociology, minor in human and family development

Why did you choose ASU Online?
When I decided to go back to school, it was very intimidating. I knew right off the bat I wanted to attend a school that would allow me the flexibility of being online, as well as having a reputable name. I searched and interacted with many schools, but ASU gave me a different feel from the start. The onboarding process was seamless, quick and most of all, motivating. I truly felt like these people were supporting my success rather than me feeling like a student ID number. ASU sets the bar high with its employees and faculty. 

Can you tell us more about your Best Sun Devil moment?
There are so many moments that I will remember forever. My best Sun Devil moment has to be graduation. The entire experience, from walking into the stadium, walking across the stage, to feeling that sense of accomplishment! I remember the person leading the ceremony that morning had asked all the mothers to stand for ovation. I remember standing there in my gown looking at not only my kids, but my own mom clap for me with excitement. As a first-generation college student, I become overcome with emotion and remember tears starting to pool in my eyes. I remember thinking, "I did it. I finally did it. This was all for my loved ones. I AM A SUN DEVIL!" It was such a surreal experience for me. Ones that you watch on TV and think, "Wow, that could never be me." But it can, and it was! And if I can do it, anyone can do it.


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You know ASU Online programs offer the same curriculums and are taught by the same faculty as the on-campus programs, but do you know the one major difference? Our online programs are designed specifically for online learners. The same coursework, lab opportunities and faculty expertise are carefully tailored to maximize the online student experience so you can balance your goals with your responsibilities and get the quality education you deserve.

Jesus Rubio

Kennesaw, Georgia
BS in public service and public policy (nonprofit leadership and management), spring 2020

Why did you choose ASU Online?
I chose ASU Online because of the partnership with Starbucks through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Aside from the SCAP, I loved the flexibility the online courses provided, the amount of support provided to students through success coaches and the number of degrees offered. ASU ranks as one of the top universities for online degrees because of the incredible investments it has made in the online infrastructure; the learning experience was flawless.

Can you tell us more about your Best Sun Devil moment?
My best Sun Devil moment was during the last semester of my undergraduate program. I was working in my dream internship as a legislative intern at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), while also completing the last courses of my degree. I was amazed by the ASU alumni presence in Washington, D.C., and the large presence that ASU has in our nation’s capital with an actual campus in D.C. I connected with many ASU alumni and current students and felt more supported than ever by the Sun Devil nation as I finished my degree.

Want to create your own Best Sun Devil moment? ASU will be with you every step of the way, from finding the right career path to balancing responsibilities and graduating as a Sun Devil. ASU has more than 200 highly ranked degrees, doctorate programs and graduate certificates, enabling you to advance your education by working with renowned faculty.

Stay up to date with ASU Online and other Sun Devils by following the ASU Online Instagram.

ASU student, Charlene Gilbert, kissing her son on ASU campus.
ASU student, Charlene Gilbert, kissing her son on ASU campus.
ASU student, Jesus Rubio, standing next to his son inside an ASU building.
ASU student, Jesus Rubio, standing next to his son inside an ASU building.


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