‘Don’t stop me now!’: Former hockey mom ices ASU degree

By

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2021 graduates.

Sharon Enck is on a roll.

An advertising professional-turned-creative-writer, Enck graduates from Arizona State University this fall with a BA in English (creative writing) and a 4.29 weighted GPA. She has also been named Dean’s Medalist for English in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Enck returned to school later in life. She rediscovered her passion for the written word while blogging as a “hockey mom.” Enck’s daughter — now also an ASU student — played goalie for 10 years on co-ed and girls’ ice hockey teams in the Valley.

“I wanted to be a good role model for my daughter,” Enck explained. “It was difficult for me to stress how important having an education is while never having continued mine.”

In addition to setting a good example, Enck said she went back to school to hone her craft and find her writing voice. Indeed, she has taken advantage of nearly every professional development and writerly opportunity that ASU has to offer.

“Sharon is super interesting,” said Mollie Connelly-MacNeill, academic success coordinator in the Department of English. “She's done, like, a billion TA-ships as an undergrad. She’s super passionate.”

Enck completed several writing internships and a study abroad program in Germany. The latter activity had an unexpectedly nerve-wracking end, as it took place during March 2020. According to Enck, the pandemic-induced travel bans “had us all alarmed that we wouldn't be able to come back home!”

Enck did make it home, and she is looking forward to completing the next chapter of her writing career. She slowed down just long enough to answer a few questions about her ASU experience.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study in your field?

Answer: As a lifelong reader and writer, it was a foregone conclusion that once I made it to college I would study English, literature and creative writing. There were really no other options for me! I value the ability to think critically and creatively, and be able to share those ideas with others. In my opinion, effective communication and collaboration is the base for all other work and needs to be fostered.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I was pleasantly surprised to find such a large community of readers and writers. With a wealth of writing clubs, student literary magazines and classes embracing diverse literature, I found myself delving into genres and work that I didn't even know existed and might never have encountered otherwise. My coursework at ASU has been particularly satisfying in that area, and I am thrilled to have collaborated with and learned from some of the most uniquely intelligent people I have ever met.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: ASU's reputation is well celebrated and I, myself, know many alumni. The transfer process from the Maricopa County Community Colleges was seamless, and my adviser, Mollie Connelly-MacNeill, has been amazing throughout my entire journey here.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: My writing instructor, (School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies Lecturer) Julie Amparano Garcia, reaffirmed in me the idea that anything is possible, and it is truly never too late to achieve your goals. As a result, I have said "yes" to a lot of experiences, including embarking on a study abroad program to Germany, working as a course assistant and being part of ASU's Canyon Voices Literary Magazine and Spellbinding Shelf Book Bloggers.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Say "yes" to as many opportunities as you can! Take advantage of all that ASU, your courses and your instructors have to offer. Participate in that study abroad program, join a club and get to know your classmates and instructors because you never know where it will take you and what you might learn. And don't be afraid to not be good at something. That is where the real learning begins!

Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?

A: My favorite spot for power studying was between the Student Services Building and Memorial Union. Nestled amongst some trees, it was my go-to place for reading and inspiration.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Don't stop me now! My plans are to continue studying at ASU as I am currently enrolled in a graduate certificate program in nonfiction writing and publishing. I will be pursuing a master's degree as well.

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

A: I know that some of the biggest challenges facing our society revolve around basic necessities, so I would use the money to tackle homelessness, hunger and mental health challenges. Helping others be physically and emotionally healthy is the first step in strengthening our society.

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