Arizona State University transfer student Elizabeth Figueroa always knew that she wanted to go to college — her parents inspired her, as they both had bachelor's degrees.
As an international student, she first chose to go to Mesa Community College to save money, knowing that she would be able to transfer many of her credits to ASU. She participated in the MAPP MyPath2ASU program from Mesa Community College and is now studying neuroscience with a minor in psychology from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
But Figueroa doesn't want to stop there. She plans to eventually pursue her PhD to go into research and possibly to become a professor at a university.
Here we talk to Figueroa about her educational journey, and what research she hopes to conduct in the future.
Question: What inspired you to pursue higher education?
Answer: I always knew I wanted to go to college and pursue my PhD, eventually to go into research and maybe become a professor at a university. What it inspired me the most was my passion for understanding and helping people with brain health issues as these conditions are very stigmatized and hard to diagnose sometimes.
Q: Why did you choose your major?
A: I chose my major because I knew I wanted to do science, specifically the brain. So biosciences (neurobiology) with the School of Life Sciences was the perfect choice and I got to choose many courses that focused on neuroscience.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: Because of its research opportunities, their big international community, the fact that there are so many opportunities within the school and how they helped their students and the community as well.
A: It helped stay on track of my courses and to make sure I would be able to transfer those courses so I would not waste money and time!
Q: Were you involved in any clubs or organizations at your community college?
A: Only the International Students Club and International Student Come and Chat. I was mainly involved working as a student worker on campus; I had many jobs during my education at MCC. I worked at the Disability Resources Services as a student assistant helping students with disabilities succeed in their classes, I also worked at the Community Outreach Center where I helped many high school students enroll at a community college to start pursuing higher education. Then I worked at the New Student Welcome Room; here I had the opportunity to work even more with all different kinds of students and helped them enroll into classes, did some advising for their first year and had orientations for first time students enrolling at MCC.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs, organizations, research or internships at ASU?
A: Yes. I belong to a few, the CIS (Coalition of International Students), Women in STEM, Neurodevils, SteamUP. I am also working as a research aide with Dr. (Heewon) Kim on healthy and unhealthy habits and behaviors in the Hispanic community, and working as a Transfer Student Ambassador team lead.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to a new ASU transfer student?
A: Know the resources ASU has to offer — tutoring, SAILS, libraries, ASU Sync resources like borrowed laptops, hot spots — they pretty much have everything we need and if they don't, they'll do their best to help us. And join clubs and organizations to get involved. I found it to be extremely helpful on finding research, internship and student worker opportunities!