ASU alumnus discovers the meaning of 'home'

By

Olivia Knecht

It is not uncommon for students to crave a sense of place while attending college, especially when traveling away from their home to start their new journey. However, alumnus Joe Casavecchia says Arizona State University taught him what “home” really feels like.

In 2017, Casavecchia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the School of Politics and Global Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in U.S. history from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies — two units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. While at ASU, he was involved in various organizations, internships and found his place in the world.   

Before his time as a Sun Devil, Casavecchia attended a small private school in his home state, Ohio, where he realized he wanted more out of his college career.

“I wanted something bigger with more resources,” Casavecchia said. “ASU fit that criteria and I couldn’t be happier about my choice to attend.”

Casavecchia was unsure how his new life would look at ASU, but he soon found his niche. He earned two congressional internships through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where he was able to work for former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz. and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. His internships helped him discover an interest in a law career.

“Without the internships, I would have entered law school with a very blurry career path,” Casavecchia said. “I could not have done the internships if the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wasn’t flexible in the way it allows students to find a path.”

In addition, Casavecchia became the co-founder of the Pre-Law Society at ASU, which provides resources and opportunities for students to ask questions and learn about the LSATs, law school and life in the law field.

Immediately following graduation, Casavecchia received the Title VIII Fellowship to attend the Critical Languages Institute at ASU’s Melikian Center. He spent seven weeks learning Albanian, a concentrated work ethic and skills to help him in his future endeavors at law school.  

“It helps to have students from places like the Critical Languages Institute,” Casavecchia said. “Not only to potentially forego the need for a translator, but more importantly to have students who can break the language barrier between them and their clients, forming the bond of trust needed to successfully represent their clients in court.”

Now pursuing law at the University of Chicago Law School, Casavecchia hopes to become a summer associate at a law firm in Des Moines, where he has recently discovered his new calling.

“The firm I am applying to likes applicants who know what home feels like,” Casavecchia said. “I’ve seen a lot of places in this country and have come to learn that sometimes home might be more than just a place, but a feeling of comfort created by those around us.”

Casavecchia made the most of his time at ASU. He became involved in multiple extracurricular activities, formed solid relationships and found his place in the world. He credits those he met at ASU for making him feel comfortable and implores current students to welcome help where they find it.

“We all have felt lost and alone,” Casavecchia said. “I hope during those times you realize there are a lot of good people in the world who would do anything to make you feel happy and welcomed. I hope you seek out those people and find strength in them.”

Many students have struggled with traveling far from friends and family to attend college. Casavecchia was unsure of what lay ahead for him when he first arrived at ASU, but soon allowed himself to open up to the many possibilities before him.

“You can ignore your emotions, or you can embrace them,” Casavecchia said. “You will never know if something feels like ‘home’ if you aren't willing to listen and understand what you're feeling in the first place.”