GRIC students walk at Arizona State University American Indian Convocation
Gila River Indian News
Arizona State University (ASU) hosted their annual American Indian Convocation to recognize the accomplishments of Native students who graduated this spring. The convocation was held at the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium in Tempe on Wednesday, May 8 with over 120 graduates present.
In total, there was over 300 Native students who graduated from ASU that represented over 30 tribal communities from across the country and state—256 bachelor’s, 83 master, 19 juris doctorates, and 4 doctoral degrees.
Jacob Moore, Associate Vice-President of Tribal Relations at ASU, served as the master of ceremonies for the convocation. Miss Indian ASU, Tashoni Morales, provided the invocation and Maria L. Hesse, Vice Provost for Academic Partnerships welcomed everyone.
David Martinez, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at ASU and a Community member, presented the Dean’s Medal – College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. This year’s recipient of the medal was Alex Soto, Tohono O’odham, who received his Bachelor’s in American Indian Studies.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis attended along with other tribal dignitaries, who each presented the stole of gratitude to their own tribal graduates during the graduate presentation.
Cassandra Pena, from District 6 received her bachelor’s degree in social work. Pena will be continuing her education in the masters of social work one year program at ASU and hopes to come back and work for the Community.
“That is my goal, I would love to work for the tribe and give back to the Community who has supported me through my education,” said Pena, “I would like to work with the youth, maybe doing some program development, community organizing and development.”
Darius Jackson, from District 1, wants to return and work for the Community and continue with his education as well. Jackson received his bachelor’s degree in exercise & wellness and plans to work on receiving his doctorate in physical therapy.
“I feel great! It’s amazing, I love going to ASU. It was just a good experience overall,” said Jackson.