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Outstanding Graduate, Fall 2018

Michaela Starkey

Inspired by her grandmother who helped her succeed in her journey to graduation, Michaela Starkey has spent a significant portion of her undergraduate experience striving to make a difference in the lives of people inside and outside classroom.

Starkey began as an electrical engineering major, but changed to industrial engineering after working as an undergraduate teaching assistant for industrial engineering faculty members Michael Clough and Linda Chattin.

“Once I became a TA, I felt like I could really help make a difference in other students’ academic and professional lives,” Starkey says.

Outside of class, Starkey has committed more than 1,000 hours to community service during her four years at ASU.

Through the University Service Learning – Diverse Community Issues course, she traveled to Monserrat, Costa Rica, to teach English and construct two bio-digestors out of 100 percent recycled materials to help locals heat their homes, cook their food and produce fertilizer for their crops.

As an Armstrong Family Scholar, Starkey takes semi-annual trips to Agua Prieta in Sonora, Mexico, to build homes and organize food drives and distribution.

Starkey was also a webmaster for the Latinos in Science and Engineering student organization, also known as MAES. She supports its mission to help underrepresented populations grow and thrive in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

After graduation, Starkey will continue her education in the ASU graduate program in industrial engineering, focusing on industrial statistics and pursuing the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt business management program.

“In the long run, one of my dreams is to open a coffee shop and bakery,” Starkey says. “I’m definitely not an office person — I like to interact with and help people.”

She also plans to add to the 30 states and three countries she’s traveled to so far. Starkey wants to see all 50 states and visit 10 additional countries in the next several years to experience new cultures.

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