Outstanding graduate combines art with research for social change


December 6, 2021

Editor’s Note: This story is one in a series of profiles of notable fall 2021 graduates.

For Ella Burrus, being an artist has never been just a hobby.

Ella Burrus is the outstanding graduate student of the new College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences for fall 2021.
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As the outstanding graduate student of the new Interdisciplinary College of Arts and Sciences fall 2021 prepares to take the stage in December with a Master of Arts in Social Justice and Human Rights from the School of Sciences Social and Behavioral Studies at Arizona State University, she looks forward to continuing to incorporate art into her advocacy and activism.

I’m so grateful for the ability and the opportunity to combine art with research, and to explore that in the way that I think they can make a difference, ”said Burrus.

She said she takes pride in obtaining a graduate degree from ASU and looks forward to the freedom the study program has given her to explore her interests and use them to deepen her understanding of justice. social and human rights.

Studying social justice is important because it gives us knowledge about the types of issues and problems to be solved, and it serves as a catalyst for those who want to be agents of change in society, ”said Burrus.

As she reflected on her time in the graduate program, Burrus said she was grateful for the opportunity to learn in the classroom with her peers, despite the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“(It) showed me how much I appreciate the in-person learning experience, ”she said.

Burrus uses his college experiences to implore other graduate students to be open to whatever may happen to them – both good and bad.

It is important to know that you will experience some ups and downs, but as long as you have your ‘why, ‘essentially the reason Why you entered graduate school, the things that motivate you, besides not being afraid to ask for support and mentorship, you will do it, ”she said.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Reply: In my last year of high school, I applied to Arizona State University, specifically Barrett, Honors College. I couldn’t afford to live on campus and I knew I was going to go to any school I went to, and ASU was the closest school to me. I was accepted to Barrett on all four campuses and was even offered the Dorrance Bursary for a full trip, including accommodation, to attend Barrett on the Tempe campus. However, for a number of reasons, I ended up enrolling on the ASU West campus using the Provost Merit scholarship.

Q: What did you learn from the social justice and human rights program that changed your perspective?

A: During my time in the Social Justice and Human Rights Ground Masters (SJHR) program, my perspective on my own trajectory changed. I think the majority of students, both undergraduate and graduate, start programs on the assumption that they know what they want and what they will get at the end of the program. However, while attending graduate school, particularly between semesters 2020-2021, I have learned that anything can happen, and what we think will happen, most of the time, actually turns out differently. My perspective on entering the SJDH program is definitely not the same as what I have now when I exit the program.

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

A: While money has the power to make things better, I think the most significant change comes from changing perspective. So many peopleThe problems would be solved if people were open to different ways of thinking. I feel like universities (at their best) have the power to introduce others to new ways of thinking. However, the reality is that the majority of individuals do not have access to academia. Having said that, I would use $ 40 million to try to spread this type of awareness outside the university, reaching a wider audience. This type of initiative can be achieved by funding programs in places such as low income or rural neighborhoods. In addition, programming should be delivered in a way that is relevant to the community and that community members would like to learn from.


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