Working mother graduates with two degrees

By

Rachel Bunning

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates.

Stephanie Brians has been a devoted and hard-working student, despite living in another state. Brians is a Sacramento, California, native who has tackled two degrees while raising her young child. She will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the School of Politics and Global Studies and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies this semester.

“Being a mom and working while earning two degrees has been challenging, but there is no better motivation for success than to have a child,” said Brians. “I am lucky to have a lot of support from family and they have made the balancing act between student-, work- and mom-life manageable.”

She plans to pursue her studies further after graduation by going to law school. She has a few applications submitted already and is just waiting to hear back from the schools.

She answered a few questions about her time at ASU.

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

Answer: I began my journey at ASU as a justice studies major but in my very first session of classes I took a course on current issues in international politics from Dr. Christina Schatzman along with an intro to justice studies from another professor, and it was Dr. Schatzman's course that completely changed my mind about what I wanted to study. I switched to a political science major and have taken many of Dr. Schatzman's courses during my time at ASU. In my second year at ASU, I enrolled in a religious studies class on Buddhism and loved it, so I took more courses on religion out of pure interest and my counselor recommended I take it on as a second major. Despite starting at ASU as a justice studies major I was lucky enough to encounter new ideas and topics that interested me and I ended up somewhere entirely different, but wonderful. 

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

Stephanie Brians photo

Stephanie Brians is graduating with two bachelor's degrees this semester.

A: My perspective on many historical events and political issues has been turned upside down since I began at ASU. I learned that we absolutely have to make an effort to understand differences, traditions and history in order to create positive change. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because it offered me the opportunity to earn my degrees in an online setting but that offered me the same education as those who are on campus. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Dr. Christina Schatzman taught me the most important lesson I learned at ASU.

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

A: Keep going. There will be classes that test your limits and dedication, but it is all so worth it in the end. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: $40 million would not solve the problem, but I would apply it to education for women and children in developing countries.