Sun Devils Unite in Atlanta

November 03, 2016 · 3 min read · By ASU Online

Danalee Brehman is an Academic Success Specialist for online students in the W.P. Carey School of Business. Patrick Brendel is a successful business owner in Atlanta, Georgia and an online business student at Arizona State University. Hundreds of miles separate these two, but Danalee and Patrick have formed a close bond over the past few months as they worked together to map out Patrick's course of study.


Though he is comfortable in his career, Patrick wanted to finish what he started years ago, so he enrolled at ASU Online in summer, 2016. As a child, his family followed the Sun Devil basketball team, so he had some familiarity with ASU. He has one son in college and another approaching high school graduation, and hopes his enrollment will inspire both of them.

Patrick has been a business owner since 1994. His business, Atlantic Wine Inc., is a wine import company and he communicates with many clients online. Though he is comfortable with his online needs for business, this was his first online learning experience, so there was a bit of a learning curve.

“I’d never really used Excel, so I had to take a course on that. I anticipate there will be much more learning of not only course content, but systems and software used.”

Though there have been some challenges, overall, online learning has been the perfect fit for Patrick.

“It’s been great. I have my computer and I pull up my work for a few hours a day. It hasn’t affected my professional career at all.”

A few months ago Patrick learned that his advisor, Danalee, would be travelling to Atlanta for a conference. Danalee reached out to Patrick to see if he had suggestions for a location to hold an ASU event and he immediately offered his wine bar.

ASU Academic Success Specialist poses with a online Atlanta student.
ASU Academic Success Specialist poses with a online Atlanta student.

​“Patrick has always been one of my most extroverted, open students," Danalee siad. "He is warm, outgoing and talkative, and considering the industry he works in, that’s not too surprising. When I planned my upcoming travel, I sent an email saying I was going to a conference in Atlanta, and would love to organize an event for Atlanta based Sun Devils. Patrick reached out and offered to host the event and, everyone loved the idea. It was great to meet Patrick face-to-face for the first time.”

The event was a casual was a mix and mingle, where many Sun Devils met each other for the first time. The bond between students was immediate regardless of major since they all had the common experience of being a student at Arizona State University.

These students can now use their networks to further their studies and professional networks after graduation.

Danalee loved meeting her advisees in person, and plans to reach out to Sun Devils in the area for any future travels. She and Patrick continue to talk regularly and Danalee will have the opportunity to host him when he travels to Arizona for graduation in two years!


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