Student finds pathway to college and career through Mohave Community College and ASU Online

July 25, 2023 · 3 min read · By ASU Online
Meet Adam Romano and hear about his journey from growing up in the carnival industry, to being a professional tattoo artist and fine artist, to his decision to pursue Arizona State University’s online Bachelor of Arts in art with a concentration in museum studies while also attending community college.

Adam Romano has reenvisioned his career in art more than once.

The retired tattooist, fine artist and director on the board of the Lake Havasu Museum of History grew up in the carnival industry, which first sparked his love of art and performance. When his family wasn’t working with the carnival, they traveled to different cities, eventually making Lake Havasu City, Arizona, their home.

It was in Lake Havasu City that Romano graduated high school, took on his tattoo apprenticeship, organized his first art show, met the love of his life, and took the first step towards a college degree with Mohave Community College (MCC) and ASU Online.

He graduated with honors from MCC this spring with a degree in fine art. While pursuing his associate degree, Romano was concurrently enrolled at ASU Online, earning his Bachelor of Arts in art with a concentration in museum studies.

Romano is one of more than 45,000 undergraduate students in the 2022-23 school year who took advantage of the transfer opportunities Arizona State University provides to students in Arizona and the rest of the nation.

Romano and his wife welcomed their daughter, Scarlet Rose, this past March, and taking online classes allowed the new father the flexibility to ease into life with a newborn while still maintaining his grades.

The asynchronous courses, compressed into 6- to 7.5-week sessions, allowed Romano to learn at an accelerated pace and with a schedule that fits with his work, family and volunteer time.

Thinking he would venture into art education at MCC, he poured his energy into the Havasu community, participating in student leadership and mentoring younger students.

As president of the student league, he organized virtual shows. Romano also became a Phi Theta Kappa honor society member and the vice president of scholarship for the Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Chi Chi Chapter, sharing scholarship information with other students.

He was awarded membership on the All-Arizona Academic Team for his leadership and dedication in the classroom. A scholarship he was awarded for that recognition could be applied to any university in Arizona and he chose ASU.

“ASU Online looked to be number one in innovation and they have a fantastic online program,” he said.

Romano was offered a position on the Lake Havasu Museum of History's board of directors, and through that experience he realized his true passion wasn’t just art education. 

He still wanted to explore art history and he loved working with the museum. ASU Online had the perfect degree program for museum curatorship and advocacy.

“ASU offers an online art degree in museum studies, so I enrolled in it.” he said. “I'm still doing a lot of volunteer work, and organizing art shows and lectures. But signing up and taking the museum studies classes has helped me to focus on museum education, museum history, art history and organizational leadership classes.”

The transition from community college to ASU was seamless. Romano was able to transfer 64 of his MCC credits toward the undergraduate program at ASU Online. He was also accepted into Barrett Online, which brings ASU’s honors curriculum and experience to online students.

ASU Online students have access to the same faculty and support services as on-campus students. That accessibility gave Romano the opportunity to advance his education and give back to the community he calls home.

“Community college connects you with your community in a better way,” he said. “As a rural citizen, attending it is a great way to build up and be a part of your community.”

Romano looks forward to applying his future degree toward a career as a museum curator or non-profit advocate and providing a more culturally diverse environment for his family and community.

“Keep your eyes on that future goal,” he said of his advice to others. “If you’re curious and you want to succeed, you will. You can and you will.”

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