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Outstanding Graduate + Impact Award, Fall 2022

Keira Plano

A part of Keira Plano always knew she wanted to be an engineer.

“Legos were my favorite toys growing up and math has been my favorite subject since I was in elementary school,” Plano says. “I even did math problems for fun at home. I loved being given a problem and then trying to figure it out on my own.” 

Plano says that once she realized she wanted to be an engineer, she never seriously considered any other college other than Arizona State University.

“I went through the process of searching and applying to other schools, but never believed that I would actually go anywhere else,” she says. “I came to ASU because I knew I wanted to be an engineer and having the opportunity to go to a nationally recognized engineering program but not have to be too far from my family was something I just could not pass up.”

While deciding to attend ASU and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering was easy for Plano, finding her major was extremely difficult.

“I felt incredibly lost because everyone around me seemed to know what they wanted to do; all I knew was that I loved math, I wanted to work with people and I did not want to sit at a desk for the rest of my life,” Plano says.

“After searching through the engineering majors for probably the 10th time, I finally decided to click on industrial engineering, and it was completely different than what I expected it to be,” she says. “I did some further research, and it was everything that I was looking for.” 

Plano has also grown through all the extracurriculars and jobs she has taken through ASU. Her experiences include working as an undergraduate teaching assistant and as a student mentor in the advising office of the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, part of the Fulton Schools. She also was a member of Fulton Ambassadors as a tour guide.

“All these experiences pushed me out of my comfort zone and into the person I am today,” she says, “someone who is willing to try new things and be uncomfortable if it means learning and growing.”

After graduation, Plano, a three-time recipient of the John A. and Helen R. Butler Scholarship and a New American University President’s Award Scholarship recipient, will be moving to Flagstaff where she will work for W. L. Gore & Associates as an industrial engineer.

“One of the things I love most about industrial engineering is that there’s always something new to learn and a new area to explore,” Plano says. “I also do not see this as the end of my college career. I hope to return soon for a master’s degree in my chosen field, whatever that may be.” 

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ Fall 2022 class here.

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