Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2019
Jessica Barnett isn’t your typical college student. She’s a first-generation, non-traditional transfer student who returned to school after raising four children. Her path hasn’t always been easy but she’s proud of her journey and accomplishments at Arizona State University.
When she started classes at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Barnett thought mathematics was the field for her. Though the moment she put down her calculator to focus more on coding, software engineering became her next choice. After transferring into ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, she found her true passion and graphic information technology stole her heart.
“Graphic information technology brings the best of engineering and creativity together and encourages using empathy when solving problems,” says Barnett, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree and finishing up a master’s degree in an accelerated 4+1 program offered through The Polytechnic School. “I can make a difference with the things I’ve learned.”
While she learned a lot in the classroom, Barnett absorbed more by attending extracurricular talks, participating in competitions and joining clubs. She has been a student employee, an undergraduate teaching assistant and president of AIGA Poly, a student chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. She also completed training to be a University Innovation Fellow.
Barnett’s hard work and determination have not gone unnoticed. She received a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in 2016. She also won — and was the only nominee for — the Outstanding Web Design Student award at the Graphic Information Technology Awards ceremony in fall 2018.
“I look back over the last two years in this major and see how far I’ve come,” says Barnett, “and it amazes me.”
Barnett credits her success to the supportive and encouraging lecturers in the graphic information technology program, including Christina Carrasquilla, Deborah Prewitt and Susan Squire. Squire had the most impact on Barnett as she convinced her to pursue graphic information technology.
“Susan Squire is the program chair and she is very focused on the ways that she can help students to succeed in school and in industry,” says Barnett. “She is constantly finding new tools and techniques for her classes and has answered a ridiculous number of questions for me personally.”
Barnett plans to take courses over the summer so she can graduate with a master’s degree in December. She also accepted a position as a web management intern with the technology and marketing groups at Barrett, The Honors College at ASU.