Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2021
As an information technology professional, Alan Thomas was looking to pivot his career and finish his undergraduate degree. The Polytechnic School, one of the six schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, provided him with an opportunity to complete his education in an area that could broaden the future of his career.
As a technological entrepreneurship and management graduate, Thomas will be able to tap into his experience in IT while exploring new interests in social innovation and entrepreneurship to serve the community.
“The most surprising aspect of the program was its balance between technical and creative learning opportunities,” Thomas says. “The curriculum provided a platform to develop an understanding of applied technical knowledge and innovation.”
During his time in the technological entrepreneurship and management program, Thomas took part in the Social Innovation Startup Lab, in which he was mentored by Lecturer Andrea Cherman and Intel professional and ASU technological entrepreneurship and management alumnus Christopher Ross for his capstone project that addressed the needs of underserved populations.
“Both have been instrumental in helping me apply new skills and leverage my prior skills,” Thomas says. “I appreciated their positive approach in creating a challenging learning environment for this project.”
One of Thomas’ most memorable experiences while at ASU was his Design Methodology class taught by Lecturer Chad Kennedy.
“As a team, we identified a problem, researched solutions, used software to build prototype concepts, created a physical prototype using a 3D printer and presented the final product,” Thomas says. “I will take these skills and apply them throughout the rest of my career.”
After graduating, Thomas is considering pursuing graduate school and eventually starting his own company in Tucson, Arizona, where he currently resides.
Thomas looks forward to his future in innovation and creating tangible solutions for those in need.
He says, “I believe that my degree and skill set can help make a positive contribution to underserved populations and the community at large.”