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Software engineer student finds solace in online education

Valentia Peruzzi’s journey with online education didn’t start at Arizona State University.

In fact, it started in ninth grade, when targeted bullying, anxiety and debilitating depression forced her to leave her prestigious college preparatory school.

In that moment, the passionate academic and Ivy League hopeful accepted her fate as a high school dropout.

But then, a diagnosis: Asperger's Syndrome. Peruzzi is on the autism spectrum.

With the help of a therapist, Peruzzi enrolled in an online high school and began organizing her schedule and environment to match her own strengths and weaknesses. She was finally on a path to success, not deterred by social pressures or teaching practices that just didn’t work for her.

“In a typical classroom, there’s so much stimulation going on and it was hard for me to pay attention to the lecture or class,” she said. “Being able to separate my social and academic life really worked well for me.”

In her junior year of high school, she discovered ASU.

“The prospect of ASU was like my shining beacon of hope that promised me an opportunity to obtain the education I so desperately looked forward to in a medium that worked for me,” she said.

Peruzzi knew she wanted to study software engineering, and ASU was the only school she found that offered a four-year degree for students with no prior college credits.

“It was really difficult to find an online college that provided that, and a reputable one at that,” she said.

Coming from a background of attending online high school, Peruzzi assumed ASU would be more of the same. The transition was easy for her, but she was pleasantly surprised to find that ASU offered more. She was treated just like an on-campus student.

“It’s exceeded a lot of my expectations.”

For example, she said she had one professor who would make himself available outside typical office hours for students who needed it. With online education, everyone comes from different walks of life, so the flexibility and willingness of professors to work with students exemplified ASU’s commitment to providing quality education.

“The teacher interaction is amazing,” she said.

Peruzzi expects to graduate the summer of 2021, and though she’s not exactly sure where her software engineering degree will take her, she would love to become a videogame designer. For now, she’ll continue to explore her interests in her classes as a “proud” member of the Sun Devil family.

Learn more about our Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering.

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