3 Chandler woman are newly minted ASU grads The Chandler Arizonan

3 Chandler woman are newly minted ASU grads

3 Chandler woman are newly minted ASU grads
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ARIZONAN NEWS STAFF

Three Chandler women last week picked uip their diplomas virtually as part of Arizona State University’s largest spring graduating class.

Chantal VanKlompenberg, Madeliene Howell and Kenedy Schneeberger were among 16,000 ASU grads who participated in the university’s first online commencement.

Here’s a closer look at them:

CHANTAL VANKLOMPENBERG

Her five siblings and four children are all ASU grads.

“I was done raising kids and I said, ‘It’s time for Mama to return home, and home was ASU,’” said VanKlompenberg, who immigrated with her family to the U.S. with her family when she was 7.

As the eldest of her siblings, she helped raise her younger brothers and sisters.

“The focus of my life was my children,” said VanKlompenberg, who had some community college credits and was working at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in the career services department when she decided to transfer to ASU, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human communication and a certificate in leadership and ethics..

“I’m a people person,” she said. “I love to be out there and in front of people and just communicate and connect, and so it was just the perfect major for me.”

With straight A’s on her transcript, she said said, “I’m gonna be honest, I never realized that I could be that smart or that I can be that educated, that I can study, that I can learn. Who would have thought that? I’m very happy with myself.”

She said one of her most memorable moments at ASU was participating in a storyteller event.

“Even though I love talking to people, it was still scary telling 200, 300 people your personal story for the first time,” she said, adding “the experience makes you a whole different person.”

A volunteer in several Chandler nonprofits, she is glad she took stress management classes at ASU, explaining “that helped me to meditate, to be grateful and have gratitude and patience. I also think I’ve become a better writer; I used to be so afraid to write.”

While at ASU, she took two semesters of Vietnamese language – which helped when she visited her homeland last year.

Her advice to others considering returning to school?

“So many people from young to old are afraid to take that first step,” she replied. “I’ve known so many young kids who are working full time just to make a living, pay rent and everything, but they want to go back to school and I said, ‘it doesn’t hurt to ask. Pick up that phone or see that adviser; they will be able to map it out for you.’

“That’s what I did – I talked to an adviser… When they laid all that information out, I knew I could do it. So that’s what I would recommend: Take that first step; go see an adviser, go see somebody that works at the university or college so they can advise you and help.

She aims to continue her education and get a master’s in higher education.

“I’ve also always wanted to be an ESL teacher. I want to be around students; I want to help people. That’s what I want to do right now. I’m going to take a break after the last two weeks of studying and just relax. I’m thinking about cleaning the house, and after this week hopefully we can just take off on a road trip and be free before my next mission.

MADELIENE HOWELL

The Basha High School alumna was the School of Molecular Sciences Dean’s Medalist and also the University Outstanding Undergraduate student for the Natural Sciences Division in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry with minors in materials science and engineering as well as mathematics with a plethora of awards, including the national Goldwater Scholarship and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She has been a Barrett, The Honors College student and earned a 4.0 GPA while at ASU.

“I feel honored to have been selected to receive the Dean’s Medal and I am very grateful to the incredible SMS faculty who have taught and mentored me during my time at ASU,” Howell said. “Being recognized in this way has allowed me to reflect on my academic achievements and will provide a source of motivation moving forward.”

Howell’s research in one lab focused on developing novel optical feedback systems for navigating patch-clamp electrodes inside the living brain.

She also collaborated on a project on detecting circulating ovarian tumor cells, which resulted in a publication in ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

Through the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, she will now be focusing on getting her PhD in chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University.

“In high school I took honors science research and we each wrote a white paper and sent it to researchers at local universities. We partnered with a researcher at ASU and carried out what was pretty much a science fair project, which we presented at the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair. That experience in research got me really excited about it and that’s why I sought it out my freshmen year,” she said.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

“Approach school as a means of discovering what you are passionate about and to be fearless in your pursuits inside and outside of the classroom.”

KENEDY SCHNEEBERGER

A family and human development major graduating with honors from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, Schneeberger recently talked about studying family structures and the importance of opening up and being well organized.

“As a child, I always thought that I wanted to be an OB/GYN or labor and delivery nurse due to my passion of loving babies and children,” she said. “As a teenager I was always babysitting or putting in time at my childcare job, because I truly enjoyed interacting with young kids and their families.”

But at ASU, she came across the family and human development major and “I knew that it was the one for me.:

“I found great interest in studying family dynamics and the way in which people interact,” she said. “Prior to my education, I was unaware of the multitude of family structures and the diversity among them.

“Working with families is something that I will be doing throughout my career and it is important for me to be aware of these dynamics.”

She will be attending ASU’s Master of Social Work program in downtown Phoenix in the hope of “becoming a social worker within a hospital or working with grief.”

As for her best advice to younger students, she said, “Use a planner and avoid procrastinating.”

“Using a planner allowed me to keep track of my assignments and encouraged me to avoid procrastination. By working on projects early, I was able to feel much more at ease throughout the week of the due date. Organization is key.”

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