Since participating in The College Tour, I went on to win the title of Miss Alaska! I will be traveling between Alaska and Arizona this year to fulfill the duties of Miss Alaska while completing my junior year in Barrett, The Honors College. It will be exciting to represent my home state of Alaska at Miss America 2022 this December. Participating in The College Tour was such a fun experience, and I hope viewers can see just how great Arizona State University is.
Recent Update: Emma was crowned Miss America on Dec. 16, 2021. Emma impressed the judges with her social impact initiative supporting the Special Olympics and her vulnerability and transparency during the interview. (Jessica Hill/AP) Find out more
In the spring semester of 2021, I successfully defended my thesis analyzing the future of biological big data by holding a workshop that included executives across private industry, academia and national security. A very prestigious neuroscience journal, Acta Neuropathologica, recently accepted research I have worked on since high school. This paper is my first primary author paper. Additionally, I will be spend my summer in Rome, Italy, where I will take classes and explore the country — all funded by the Flinn Scholarship. When I return, I will begin my first year in the MS in biology program, continuing the work discussed above in Alzheimer’s disease therapeutic and target discovery. Very excited for what the future holds!
I graduated in December 2020 with magna cum laude honors, was an IMPACT award recipient, and received notable graduate of 2020 recognition. After a refreshing winter break with friends, I continued working with Enfuego Technologies as product and customer success manager, now in a full-time capacity, working toward the goal of increasing by 10% the net income of 10,000 middle-class Arizonans by 2022. Having played an integral part in the pitch to Eric Schmidt, former CEO and chairman of Google/Alphabet — receiving a $500K investment — I now lead the effort to raise an additional $500K.
I also freelance as a content writer, in addition to writing poetry and other creative writing, which I enjoy as a form of solace. I also continue to enjoy other hobbies such as reading, powerlifting, following the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and various fandoms including Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Going forward, I will begin my journey at Columbia University this fall to pursue a Master of Education degree in cognitive science. You can reach me via Instagram (@_poojaah_), or LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/poojaah)
Since the start of the semester, things have gone quickly as usual! Research as a P.h.D. student has really been fun. I’ve continued to work on some of the earlier mentioned projects about cybersecurity education and automated understanding of malicious programs. We’ve had some pretty awesome engagement on the online platform pwn.college, where some of the free cybersecurity training material I’ve created is hosted.
In November, myself and four other P.h.D. students from ASU traveled to Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E. to represent Shellphish (the international CTF name of pwndevils) in a competition final. It was a hacking competition called a CTF that I’ve talked about before. We were one of the two teams from the U.S. who qualified. There were a total of 24 finalists with some from Germany, Russia, China, Korea, and a few others. It was truly a battle of teams from all over the world. We got 10th, which was not bad for a competition we had not done in a while. The competition style of this CTF was called Attack and Defense, a competition where instead of hackers attacking a single machine to score points we attack each other. You can see me riding a Camel with the co-captain of the team Wil Gibbs in the first image (attached). In the second image is the whole team, consisting of 2 students from India, 1 student from China, and of course myself and Wil from the U.S.
Traveling to Abu Dhabi was inspiring. I am constantly reminded how global my field really is and how much room I have for growth. I am also inspired to push ASU’s cybersecurity program forward and make us known for this field. It is my dream that by the time I leave this university, we will be one of the best in cybersecurity in the world.
Feel free to link my Linkedin, or my Twitter. I’m always looking forward to our next conversation.
I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science in Aeronautical Management Technology (Air Traffic Management) in December of 2021. It was an extremely exciting time for me, as I was chosen as a student speaker for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering convocation ceremony (you can watch my full speech here!) and was also chosen as an Impact Award recipient for my contributions to the ASU community. I recently accepted a position at ASU as an Air Traffic Management Aide, so I will remain active in the community and program while I continue my education. I am currently enrolled in ASU’s Aviation Management and Human Factors program, in which I will earn my Master’s of Technology in December of 2022. I am focused on conducting independent research to better support my goals of diversifying the aviation industry, and I am so excited to see where this next phase of my life will take me!
Since filming the show, I graduated summa cum laude in December 2021 with a BA in Business (Law) and a minor in Criminology & Criminal Justice. I will be attending the ASU law school in August 2022 as an O’Connor Merit Scholar. I plan to work in Phoenix prior to starting law school.
Since interning at the State Department in D.C. and Watts College at ASU, I spent my fall semester studying abroad at Yonsei University in South Korea. I am now back in Arizona ready for the spring semester to wrap up my junior year.
My Summer in the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program
My summer in USFSIP consisted of creating marketing for the Foreign Press Center and providing opportunities to foreign journalists to cover events related to U.S. foreign policy. I was able to spend 2 weeks in D.C. and explore a career path in the Foreign Service. The summer ended on a good note as I learned a lot about what I want to do with my future. I was able to complete multiple projects, have conversations with foreign service officers, and come to terms that I am interested in a career in the Foreign Service but have realized that if I do pursue this, it will be more than a career but a lifestyle. I plan to apply to the Pickering and Rangel Fellowships my senior year. Although this summer provided me with an interest in a new career path I feel more confused as to what I want to do than ever before!
Coding for Social Good, Watts College internship
In addition to USFSIP I was also interning with Watts College. My team and I worked with UTO to create an app to help connect homeless menstruators in need of period products. Although we didn't get to kick off our app, we were able to learn the process of creating a non-profit, the process of developing an app, and continuing to learn how we could help the homeless in the Phoenix community. I plan to continue working on this project in the spring and work with my professors as I will be a TA for next semester's group of students taking the Coding for Social Good class.
Study Abroad in South Korea
Lastly, this past semester I spent my time in South Korea. As a Global Studies major one is required to have a global experience and study/intern abroad. While abroad, I was enrolled as a semester exchange student at Yonsei University in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. I spent much of my time traveling, meeting new people from all over the world, learning the language, trying new food, and ultimately immersing myself in a new culture. It was an amazing time and despite the many challenges going abroad during COVID, it was manageable and quite safe. I recommend anyone who is interested in going abroad to check out South Korea!
As next semester approaches, I will be preparing to take the Foregin Service test in February and will be preparing for my summer internship working for an embassy/consulate abroad. I will also be a TA for Coding for Social Good and serve as the brotherhood chair for Tau Psi Omega. I have a lot on my plate for the spring but I am excited to be back in Tempe with a new perspective of the world coming back from South Korea.
If you have any questions, reach out to me on my Linkedin or my Instagram!
Since the filming of The College Tour, I graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2021 with degrees in Business (Global Politics), Business (Law), and Business (Public Service & Public Policy) from the W. P. Carey School of Business and a Cross-Sector Leadership Certificate from the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. I spent the month of May wrapping up my work with Reach Higher as their UpNext Program Associate in which we successfully finished our evidence-based nudging program that served 300,000 students across the country. You can read more about UpNext and the impact of the texting initiative in this Forbes article that I co-authored.
Over the span of the month of June, I took some to travel before beginning the next chapter in my life in which I went on a road trip across the western half of the United States to visit 25 national parks in 23 days. It was such a great opportunity to reflect on the past four years of college, explore the outdoors which is something that I love to do, and prepare for my post-grad plans. After navigating several offers and opportunities I have decided to take a role with the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health as their Engagement Support Specialist. I could not be more ecstatic to join this remarkable team and support the work that is being done to continue to address health misinformation, mental health, loneliness, and overall public health in the United States.
If you want to stay connected feel free to visit my website, follow me on social media, and connect with me on LinkedIn
I began working for the Judicial Branch of Maricopa County as a content creator in July and absolutely loving it! I was very nervous to job hunt during a pandemic, but I was able to connect with the county less than two months after graduating. Being able to use my creativity in a government setting is not something I ever imagined I would do, but now, I truly cannot imagine being anywhere else. LinkedIn