Grad School: Arizona State University
After graduation, Anita Hagy Ferguson strapped her daughter, Lulu Rose, into the moving van and headed to Arizona, where Lulu started kindergarten a week before Anita began grad school in a state neither had ever visited before. Sounds like the opening of a Barbara Kingsolver novel, but it’s just another chapter in the life of Anita, whose past careers include international project manager for film productions, development and production assistant for a music festival, marketing manager for a book publishing company, manager/producer for a photography studio, documentary producer, and global expansion marketing and communications coordinator for an Internet retailer—to name a few.
“Although I returned to school later in life, my education and experience here have opened doors for me I didn’t even know existed,” says the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Scholar and Ford Opportunity Grant recipient. Now pursuing her PhD studies in international environmental conflict resolution, Anita works as both a teaching assistant and research assistant. She helped the director of museum studies launch a new master’s program and conducted exhibit research, education, and marketing for the curator of the Anthropology Museum.
SOU’S 2010 Outstanding Graduate in Human Communication and AAUW Outstanding Graduating Woman Student in Communication amassed an extensive list of publications and presentations while still an undergraduate, in addition to serving as a teaching assistant for Communication Department professors.
“SOU not only gave me the opportunity to pursue higher education, but the faculty and staff encouraged me to continue to graduate school. The McNair Program was instrumental in getting me into a PhD program, and I continue to benefit from the skills and discipline I acquired through the program.”
As a student and single mother with a full-time job, Anita still found time to volunteer, serving as a board member for the Nokota Horse Conservancy and contributing her skills to Dunn House and Peace House. She continues to advocate for animals, the environment, and the international community through her scholarship, research, and community service.
Photo by Rory Finney