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Michael Begay, English’s new main office coordinator, is originally from Crystal, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation near the Arizona-New Mexico border. Moving to Arizona in 2005, he attended ASU to double major in English (linguistics) and French: “The English department feels like home to me,” he says. “The familiarity of seeing professors with whom I have taken courses, and seeing other students who are pursuing similar interests as I did has helped ease my transition into my new job and I am grateful.”
Begay also completed his MEd in higher and postsecondary education at ASU in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
As the front office coordinator, Begay serves, in many cases, as the first point of contact for the department: “I find that my position can serve as a central starting point, so I often get requests from various staff, faculty, and students, so it requires me to have a large knowledge base to assist them. I am always learning something new and that makes my job both exciting, and at times, challenging.”
Begay is not only thoroughly familiar with ASU through his academic experience, he has also held several positions on campus. He previously worked at the School of Social Work in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions at ASU Downtown. “I handled much of what I do now, providing office coordination with the front desk, and scheduling events and conference rooms,” he says. “But my primary role was in graduate admissions. I processed over 1,000 admissions applications for the MSW programs across three campuses, including ASU Online.”
Taking advantage of the tuition benefits that ASU offers its staff and faculty, Begay enjoys taking classes for personal interest. Currently he is enrolled in online German language courses. He is very happy with his academic accomplishments but would eventually like to pursue a doctorate in educational leadership to be either a university/departmental administrator or departmental director who specializes in international education.
Begay also has a passion for movies—primarily thrillers and foreign films—and reading: “Currently, I am reading Trail of Lightning, a Native American utopian sci-fi novel that is set on the Navajo reservation, where I am from.” Begay enjoys several genres, including young adult, mystery, and poetry. “My favorite series is Harry Potter, but a book I would read over and over is The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I find new things to love every time I re-read it and it is written so beautifully,” he says. Another favorite? Memoirs: “They can be great without being too heavy, and sometimes, I just need that lightness in my life.”
A traveler, Begay also enjoys going to Texas at least once a year to visit friends: “That allows me to experience different parts of the state and, best of all, try different foods.” Begay also studied abroad in Tirana, Albania in summer 2010 (Begay studied the Albanian language for three years at ASU) and Lausanne, Switzerland later that fall, where he practiced and studied French.
Courtesy image of Michael Begay in Paris.