ASU graduate finds success through hard work and making the most out of the college experience

By

Ashley Richards

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2020 graduates.

College life has been busy for Francesca Lascala, but she isn’t one to shy away from hard work or a challenge. She’s president of Advocates for Education, a member of the Next Generation Service Corps and a curriculum designer in the Center for Games and Impact.  

“I've taken advantage of as much as I could while here at ASU,” said Lascala. “I’ve been in leadership roles in various clubs since my freshman year while maintaining at least one on-campus job and a full class load. I am also very grateful that ASU made studying abroad my junior year accessible and affordable.”  

Her drive and determination have led to her success at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Lascala is earning a Bachelor of Arts in Innovation in Society and a minor in media analysis. She’s in the Accelerated Master's Degree Program for a Master of Science and Technology Policy degree, and a part of Barrett, The Honors College. She’s also received several awards and scholarships, including the Obama Scholarship, the Graduate College Fellowship and the Public Service Academy Commitment Award.

The people at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society drew her to the school — people with unique mindsets, who think about problems differently and are open to new ideas.

“The faculty and students are just so amazing. The professors are doing powerful things. They really care, are easy to talk to and have great insights.”

After she finishes her education, she will join Teach for America, where she can continue to make a difference in the classroom. 

“I care a lot about education. I want to spend two years in a classroom to understand what it's like to be a teacher. After that, I can then find solutions for problems in the classroom through technology. At the Center for Games and Impact, I’m doing things with the ThriveCast platform, which provides opportunities to learn in ways that you don't necessarily get in the classroom. I want to continue doing work like that.”

Her never-give-up mentality also extends outside the classroom. Even with her busy schedule, she still finds time to bake and try new recipes. She considers baking a good stress reliever.  And although there’s a macaron recipe she hasn’t quite mastered yet, she keeps trying. It’s just part of the persistence and dedication that drives her to succeed in all things she does.

Question: Why did you choose ASU? 

Answer: When I was starting to get serious about choosing a school, I noticed ASU had the most options out of anywhere else. I was able to combine my major with my minor, get certificates and be a part of (Barrett). I think if I went anywhere else, I wouldn't have been able to create the path that I'm creating for myself right now. I'm very grateful that I was able to come to ASU and pursue all that together.

Q: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

A: I chose my major on a whim. There was a paragraph description about Innovation in Society that said students would match STEM with ethics. That really interested me because I always wanted to do something in STEM, but I had a liberal arts background and was more focused on ethics than actual science. I thought this would be a good chance for me to explore that more.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: All the classes have definitely changed my perspective. Before this, I didn't know much about STEM and hadn’t thought about policy before. The FIS 308 class — Politics, Markets and Innovation — introduced me to new and interesting concepts, including economics, policy and innovation in technology. Being able to see all those things together was fascinating. I had never thought about policy in that way before, especially involving science, and it had never occurred to me that that was something important. 

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

A: Take advantage of the ASU campus. Right now, I miss studying there. The campus has always been the best place to get my work done, whether using campus computers or taking advantage of the nice study spaces with pretty views in Hayden Library. I've always been more successful when I spend more time on campus.