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On most nights, it might be possible to catch a glimpse of Arizona State University student Alexander Bernard somewhere in Hayden library with his head buried in a book, working tirelessly to achieve his goals and make his family proud, just as so many other students strive to do.
Graduating in May with a Bachelor of Science in political science and a certificate in political thought and leadership, Bernard has succeeded in his academic and professional pursuits during his time in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“I chose to attend ASU because I come from a Sun Devil family,” Bernard said. “It is a growing and thriving university that offers so much opportunity for anyone, regardless of financial background or where someone comes from.”
Bernard grew up in an international household, his mother being from Cambodia and his father from France. His diverse upbringing interested Bernard in international relations, politics and policy at a young age, and he knew learning about world affairs and politics was the right area of study for him.
Going beyond his studies, Bernard has been a heavily involved student, engaging in multiple activities on campus to further his skills. His positions have included being the co-president for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Ambassadors, communication assistant for the Center for Political Thought and Leadership, and a student representative on the advisory board for the Department of Career and Professional Development.
“I am also the former president of the Political Thought and Leadership student club,” Bernard. said “From guest speakers to intellectual debates, I was fascinated with the fact that ASU provides a program where students can learn civic leadership and political debate.”
In addition, Bernard was able to join the Capital Scholars program in the School of Politics and Global Studies, which allowed him to join over a dozen other students in Washington D.C. for two months. Through the program, Bernard interned for the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think-tank.
“I met so many amazing people and made lifelong friends that I am still in contact with today,” Bernard said. “I highly enjoyed my time there, and the experience opened my eyes to a whole new world.”
His work in public policy has inspired Bernard to consider the idea of working in the public sector after graduation to gain more experience before pursuing a master’s degree in public policy or public administration.
Although the world outside of academia can be intimidating, Bernard feels as though he is equipped to take on new challenges.
“The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences prepared me for life after graduation by giving me the opportunity to pursue what I love and enhancing my communication skills to new heights,” Bernard said. “The amount of opportunity the college offers is beyond question and takes an effective holistic approach to interdisciplinary student engagement. I took classes from multiple schools and became a full learner, not just a specific-topic learner.”
Excelling in his classes and extracurricular activities, Bernard said his motivation to thrive comes from his mother. A woman who came to the United States to raise her three children on her own, she faced adversity at every turn, overcame her obstacles, and was able to earn a degree at ASU while raising Bernard and his siblings.
“My mother is my biggest inspiration,” Bernard said. “Her drive and tenacity pushed me every single day throughout my studies. Everything I do, I do for my mom.”