Asu@yuma celebrates 1st graduating class asu now access, excellence, impact static electricity examples


Maria Hesse, ASU’s vice provost of academic partnerships and a former community college president, oversees the community college partnerships that span the entire state of Arizona. The path to a four-year degree has been simplified through partnerships that bring ASU’s quality education to communities like Yuma.

At the celebratory commencement ceremony at Arizona Western College (AWC) on Friday, Daniela Ayala, a graduate of the secondary education program from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, spoke on behalf of ASU’s graduating class. The program focuses on developing the skills required to successfully teach middle and high school students.

When Ayala found out that ASU was bringing a program to Yuma, she jumped at the chance to continue her teaching education and be in her hometown. Ayala’s childhood experiences in school had shaped her career path — she felt all her teachers needed to have the answers to all her questions.

Estela Marin, a first-generation student, was ecstatic to finish a four-year degree close to home. When her husband received an opportunity to be stationed in Yuma, she was excited to be back in Arizona and began to pursue her degree at AWC. Shortly after, she discovered the ASU transfer program and immediately asked what she needed to enroll.

“Obtaining a degree from Arizona State University has always been a goal, ever since I visited the campus after my high school graduation,” she said. “At that moment I promised myself one thing: No matter where the military life took us, I would return to Arizona and graduate from ASU."

Marin received her bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. The program prepares students for careers in law enforcement, probation, parole and corrections, to name a few. It provides the foundation to enable students to think critically, contribute to society and enhance public safety.

Her continued commitment to public service brings her back to ASU. Marin plans to pursue a master’s degree at ASU in emergency management with an emphasis in homeland security. Her ultimate goal: to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The partnership between ASU and AWC allows students to pursue ASU bachelor’s degree through classes delivered at AWC after successful completion of an associate degree from AWC. Currently, three degree programs are offered: criminology and criminal justice, organizational leadership, and education (secondary education).

“Receiving a bachelor’s degree has changed my life because it has exposed me to new challenges and experiences that changed my personal perspectives in life and my future contributions to society,” Marin said. “These experiences have motivated me to seek a higher education and to become a role model for my young son.”

Top photo: Vice Provost of Academic Partnerships Maria Hesse with Daniela Ayala, a graduate of the secondary education program from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College who spoke at the ceremony on behalf of ASU’s graduating class Friday. Photo courtesy of Craig Fry/Arizona Western College