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Meet the class of 2021

Meet the class of 2021

Every year during the withering heat and frenzied activity of Fall Welcome, we take the time to interview some incoming freshmen to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Read on to learn a little about the class of 2021.

REBECCA NAUGHTON

Major: Mechanical engineering

Where are you from? 
Des Moines, Iowa

Why do you want to be an engineer?
I took engineering classes in high school, and I love how it’s a mixture of math and science and it can be used to do so many different things.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
I chose ASU because of the combination of the NCAA triathlon, the engineering school and the Honors College. It was the best mix of all three and I felt like I could no better place.

Did you go to E2? If yes, what was your favorite part?
My favorite part was going to the out-of-state camp, meeting new people and just knowing I wasn’t the only out-of-state person. All the challenges were very fun too.

What other schools did you consider, get accepted to?
Iowa State, Colorado School of Mines and the University of Minnesota were my other top choices.

What do you want to do with your degree or what is your dream job?
My dream job would either with Boeing or NASA — just working with something that flies.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
To put yourself out there, color outside the lines and try something new.

What are you most anxious about?
Probably just being an out-of-state student and finding a new group of people.

What are you most excited about?
I’m most excited for classes to start. I’ve been just kind of hanging around here for a week, so I’m ready to dive in, meet everyone and my professors.

What is your favorite thing you brought from home?
My favorite thing is probably a canvas painting someone gave me as a senior — just a little reminder of home, and something other seniors from my class have as well — something that connects us.

What was the last thing your parents said to you? What did you say to them?
“Call every once and awhile!”

Maroon or Gold?
Maroon!

A young woman dressed in red smiles for a portrait.
A young lady in a gold shirt reading "Sun Devil Proud" holds up an ice cream sandwich and ASU's hand symbol, the pitchfork.

TIMARA CHRICHLOW

Major: Electrical engineering

Where are you from?
Chandler, Arizona

Why do you want to be an engineer?
I specifically got into electrical engineering because I want to build nuclear reactors and bring clean, sustainable power to underprivileged communities.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
Well, my dad went here and it keeps me close to home.

What other schools did you consider, get accepted to?
I only considered ASU.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
To get involved early, which is why I’m here (at the Student Org and Resource Fair) to get involved early.

What are you most anxious about?
I haven’t even thought of that — I’m anxious about everything! I’m probably most anxious about the course load.

What are you most excited about?
Aside from this ice cream sandwich, I’m most excited about learning what I really want to learn about.

What is your favorite thing you brought from home?
My computer.

What was the last thing your parents said to you? What did you say to them?
When they left my dorm after dropping me off, I gave them t-shirts that said “Sun Devil Mom” and “Sun Devil Dad.” They were getting emotional.

Maroon or Gold?
Definitely maroon.

WILL FIELDS

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Where are you from?
Atlanta, Georgia 

Why did you want to become an engineer?
I took an aptitude test and it said that it would be something that I’d be good at. I went in, did a little research about it and it seemed like something I might be interested in and something I’d be good at.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
It’s a great school. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I’m from Atlanta so like this is like on the entire opposite side of the country. I like it here.

Did you go to E2? If yes, what was your favorite part?
I did. My favorite part was the team-building activities and playing basketball with some of the other campers and counselors and stuff like that.

What other schools did you consider?
Ah, shoot, a bunch of schools. Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Michigan State, Ohio State. A bunch of different schools really.

What are you most excited about?
I’m just excited to explore campus more than I already have. Meet people. Get started with engineering. Learn as much as I can and make a successful career for myself.

A young man with a soul patch and curly hair smiles for a portrait.
A young man in a tie-dyed shirt with green hair smiles for a photo.

HUNTER NAKOA GERARD

Major: Aerospace engineering

Where are you from?
Maui, Hawaii

Why do you want to be an engineer?
My major is aerospace engineering with a concentration on aeronautical engineering, because space and spaceships have always interested me. I remember thinking that garbage trucks were the coolest thing because to me, as a little kid, they looked like spaceships. I would make my dad stop the car so I could watch them pick up trash with those mechanical arms.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
It was the most economical and it seems to fit my personality. When I visited here, I really liked the atmosphere. I wanted that experience of going away from home to a really different kind of place. I went to a high school that had a graduating class of 18, and I grew up on an island, so I really enjoy all the liveliness here, all the people and the diversity and the scenery. And the professors really seem to care. Other school’s orientations didn’t compare to ASU. 

What was your favorite part of E2?
Just the whole environment, meeting other students, all the activities.

Are you living in Tooker House? If so, what’s your favorite part about the new residence hall? 
It’s beautiful. I love looking at the engineering that went into it. It puts me in a state of mind where I feel like I just want to explore things.

What is your favorite thing that you brought from home?
I brought a glass jar full of seashells from Molokai. They’re just a memento from the shore where my grandma lives. I’ll make sure to return them there some day.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
Make sure you go to class. Do your work. Keep on going. Never give up.

What was the last thing your parents said to you before you left for college? What did you say to them?
They haven’t stopped saying things to me. I keep getting messages from them. When I left they probably said something like “Good luck. Best wishes. We love you.” I said, “I’ll see you soon, I love you, too.”

ALEX WYLDE

Major: Mechanical engineering

Where are you from? 
Tempe, Arizona

Why do you want to be an engineer?
I’ve always been interested in how things work, so I thought this would be a good career path for me. 

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
Both my dad and my sister studied engineering here, and it was close to home. 

Did you go to E2? If yes, what was your favorite part?
I really enjoyed the team-building activities. 

What other schools did you consider, get accepted to?
I looked at other schools, but I never seriously considered them. I was always set on ASU. 

What do you want to do with your degree or what is your dream job?
I’d like to work for some engineering firm, but then again, I’m not really set on anything yet.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
Manage my time well.

What are you most anxious about?
I’m anxious about class sizes and staying on top of all my homework.

Are you living in Tooker House? If so,what’s your favorite part about the new residence hall? 
The common areas are really nice, and overall the dorm is huge.

What is your favorite thing you brought from home?
That would have to be my TV.

Maroon or Gold?
Maroon!

A young man dressed in a bright gold shirt shows his sun devil pride.
A portrait of a smiling young man.

EDWARD APRAKU

Major: Civil engineering

Where are you from?
Queen Creek, Arizona

Why do you want to be an engineer?
I’ve always been interested in things like highway systems, and I’ve always found construction really interesting.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
I’m saving money by going to college in-state, and this is the best engineering school in the state and the Southwest.

What was your favorite part of E2?
There were a lot of good team-building activities. I also met people with the same major and made new friends.

What do you want to do with your degree or what is your dream job?
Working for ADOT (the Arizona Department of Transportation)

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
Stay on track. Meet your deadlines. I’ve had some huge problems with missing deadlines.

What are you most anxious about?
That classes will be hard, especially chemistry. I’m not the best person at chem.

Are you living in Tooker House? If so, what’s your favorite part about the new residence hall? 
It’s really modern and new and there’s a lot of space for everyone, and I like that we all get our own sinks.

What is your favorite thing that you brought from home?
I brought my yearbook from high school because it reminds me of all my friends.

What was the last thing your parents said to you before you left for college? What did you say to them?
They said “Good luck and don’t party all the time.” I said, “Sure.”

Maroon or Gold?
Gold

ALEXIA (LEXI) ROBERTS

Major: Mechanical engineering

Where are you from?
Washington, D.C.

Why do you want to be an engineer? 
My dad is an aerospace engineer, and I want to help people.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
I originally chose ASU because of lacrosse, but when I decommitted it was because they have a really good engineering program, better than a lot of schools down in Maryland.

Are you living in Tooker House? If so, what’s your favorite part about the new residence hall?
Yes. It’s beautiful, I like having four sinks. I do love my roommates, and the whole community and the community space. I met a lot of people just sitting out there, and meeting people is really nice.

What’s your dream job?
I want to become a CEO of my own business and make things like iPhones, but more based off of helping people in developing countries more than marketing towards teenagers and their need for faster technology.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
Some I got today was get involved. At the assembly they said you do the best at school when you get involved with people and meet other people and do other things, not just try to study all the time because when you meet other people and see the world from different views you do better. And I like that.

What are you most excited about?
Everything! I’m excited about football games, I’m excited about basketball — I love basketball, I’m so excited about basketball games. I’m excited about meeting people. I’m joining a lot of clubs and sports teams, I’m really excited about that. I’m excited about starting classes, because I’m really excited to start studying. Is that weird?

Is there anything you’re anxious about?
Not particularly. Because I’m the youngest of four I’ve definitely gotten a lot of practice of what to expect when I came into college. I know there’s a lot of help out there for me if I really need it, like tutoring. And I know if I really need help I can definitely ask for it and it’ll definitely be there for me.

Maroon or Gold?
Gold, 100 percent.

A young woman in green overalls and bright purple lipstick poses for a portrait.
A young woman in a gold shirt that reads "Native Sun Devil" smiles for a photo.

AMY CUMIFORE

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Where are you from?
Mesa, Arizona

Why do you want to be an engineer?
My dad was an engineer and so I’ve always know about it and I’ve always had it as an influence in my life so it was something I was always interested in. I wanted to continue on.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
Because I am next door, it is home. I’ve always been around and on campus so I decided to just decided to stay.

Has anyone in your family gone to ASU?
My mom did and my brother did. He just graduated actually.

What do you want to do with your degree? What is your dream job?
I want to work in prosthetics, that way I can do art as well as engineering. I can work in sculpture as well with it.

What are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about my classes because I get to find out what I really what I am able to do and what I can do with it. I am excited to just learn more.

Maroon or gold?
I like maroon better. Gold is such a flashy color.

ETHAN PORTER

Major: Graphic information technology

Where are you from?
Mesa, Arizona

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
It has a lot of things I’m interested in, and I think I can turn my major into a good career.

Has anyone in your family gone to ASU?
Mom was an online student here. She got a degree in psychology, I believe. I’m not sure.

What was your favorite part of E2?
Sharing experiences with the guys in my crew. That was great.

What are you most anxious about?
I’m anxious about how much schoolbooks cost.

What are you most excited about?
I’m excited about meeting new people.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
To be committed, to actually put in the work and the time on your schoolwork.

What was the last thing your parents said to you before you left for college? What did you say to them?
My mother said “Have a good time.” I said, “I’ll be home tonight.” Because I’m commuting.

Maroon or Gold?
Maroon

A young man in red poses for a photo.
A young man with glasses poses for a photo in front of the new engineering dorm.

MARIO VEGA

Major: Computer systems engineering

Where are you from? 
North Phoenix

Why do you want to be an engineer?
I already took classes in high school, but I kinda thought it’d be fun.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
When I heard about this engineering program, I thought ASU would be the best choice for me.

Did you go to E2? If yes, what was your favorite part?
Meeting new people.

Has anyone in your family gone to ASU?
No, I’m the first one.

What do you want to do with your degree or what is your dream job?
I don’t know, that still up for debate.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
I guess just, focus on studying.

What are you most anxious about?
Mostly finals.

Are you living in Tooker House? If so,what’s your favorite part about the new residence hall?
That it’s still new.

What is your favorite thing you brought from home?
Probably my laptop. It’s the best thing I could have.

Maroon or Gold?
I think I like maroon better.

ALTA KHAN

MajorElectrical engineering

Where are you from?
Bangladesh, but I lived in Phoenix and Goodyear all my life.

Are you living in Tooker House? If so, what’s your favorite part about the new residence hall?
Yeah, I like the amount of space that we have.

Why do you want to be an engineer?
Freshmen year I went to a high school called Bioscience in Phoenix, and they talked about engineering. And I like programming and circuits.

What’s your dream job?
I want to be an electrical engineer. First I want to be a paleontologist excavating fossils, but also an electrical engineer.

Why did you choose ASU?
State residency gives you great discounts and I knew a lot of people, so I already have connections.

Did you go to E2? If yes, what was your favorite part?
Yeah. I went last week, and I liked how every time we did little activities the counselors would assess us and then tell what we could change about it.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
From the meeting today, to get involved freshman year, and also to get to know people the first week so you can study with them and know them for all four years maybe.

What are you most excited about?
I’m excited about the clubs, like the clubs that make you travel.

What are you most anxious about?
If I can’t catch up with my classes, and everything else.

Maroon or Gold?
Maroon.

A portrait of a young man in a baseball hat with a gold shirt tossed over his shoulder.
A young woman in yellow throws up double pitchforks — ASU's hand signal.

Demetra Salls

Major: Electrical engineering

Where are you from?
Woodbury, Minnesota

Why do you want to be an engineer?
I wanted to be an engineer partly because my dad is an electrical engineer. Seeing him work on machine vision seems really exciting to me. But my mom’s a physical therapist, so I liked the biomedical sphere as well. So I thought electrical engineering was the perfect mix of the two.

Why did you choose ASU and the Fulton Schools of Engineering?
I was looking out of state, and I wanted to go somewhere warm, so I think I got that down at ASU. ASU also offered really great financial aid for me.

Has anyone in your family gone to ASU?
Nobody else in my family has gone here, I’m actually an only child, so I’m representing.

What do you want to do with your degree or what is your dream job?
I eventually want to join a biomedical engineering company, whether it be Medtronic or 3M or any company such as those. I also want to get into the research field and understand how technology can help humans even more in health.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about going to college?
Definitely be out there, be open. Be willing to meet new people of different backgrounds and identities because that’s when you get the most out of it.

What are you most excited about?
Most excited to meet new people and learn about the world around me and where I fit into it.

What is your favorite thing you brought from home?
When I was growing up, I had this stuffed animal called ‘Snowguy’ and he’s been really helpful to me when I was homesick. So I’ve always thought it’s best to bring something that reminds you of your childhood that way you can feel at home even when you’re far away.

Maroon or Gold?
Gold, all the way.

About The Author

Fulton Schools

For media inquiries call 480-727-4058 | Terry Grant, theresa.grant@asu.edu Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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