The Devil's Dish

2014 Cronkite High School Summer Journalism Institute

ASU home to summer students

By Thomas Oide

When summer sizzles, freedom follows American students.  However, at Arizona State University, many choose to remain at their university homes.

Rachel McKay goes through a spreadsheet while working at the Barrett Honors College office in the University Center. Photo by Thomas Oide

Rachel McKay goes through a spreadsheet while working at the Barrett Honors College office in the University Center.
Photo by Thomas Oide

Russell Harris grew up in the foster care system in Tucson, which means that he doesn’t have a “home” to return to when school ends in the summer. Harris, a social work major, chose to stay at Taylor Place to maintain a school environment over the summer.

“I kinda wanted to be closer to school, I wanted to be in more of a school environment,” Harris said. “I’ve had other apartments in the area, but I don’t know, I like the school environment more than an apartment complex.”

Harris is also taking two courses while he is at ASU this summer, and both professors are on the Downtown Phoenix campus if he has any questions about the material. He says it is easy to stay on campus with the ease of taking the courses and the close proximity of the instructors.

“[Both courses] are online but the instructors are physically here at this campus,” Harris said. “It’s easy for me to live here, do my online courses, and get help if I need it.”

Some students also stay on campus and work, such as Mitch Quesada and Rachel McKay. At Taylor Place, the dorm complex on the Downtown campus, students who sign up to live there for the fall semester can live there for free over the summer.

Quesada works at the career services center at the Downtown Phoenix ASU and writes for, a Seattle Seahawks site, and, a site for the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’ve found that I enjoy the atmosphere of the downtown campus so much that a lot of times I’d rather be here than at home,” Quesada said. “I work extra hours so that I can gain some financial momentum to pay for my next semester of school.”

McKay works at the Barrett Honors College office in the University Center at the Downtown campus. She will also be a Residential College Student Leader, so her work this summer will serve as a bridge between the two positions.

“I’m going to be working for Barrett two ways, I’m going to be a RCSL leader living in Taylor Place helping out incoming freshman,” McKay said. “Staying here over the summer helps me keep in touch with what’s happening with the office, with the faculty, and all that.”

However, neither McKay or Quesada is taking summer classes. Quesada isn’t taking classes to give himself an academic break.

“I’ve considered [taking classes] many times and I’ve gone back and forth, but instead I give myself an educational break so I can focus on work more,” Quesada said. “As long as I’m on pace to graduate in four years, personally, I don’t want to graduate a year early.”


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