Barrett student Patrick DeNero planning for military service when he graduates in May

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April 29, 2021

Community involvement, academics and public service were hallmarks of Patrick DeNero’s student experience at Arizona State University. 

DeNero, whose hometown in Queen Creek, Ariz., is set to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in finance with honors from Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. 

While a student, DeNero was very busy serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves, participating in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corp, extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities, and holding down jobs at a bakery, a restaurant and a movie theater.

Since 2015, he has volunteered with Feed My Starving Children preparing food packages for distribution to needy children. His volunteer work dates back to high school when he went to Mexico to help out at a men’s homeless rehabilitation center and assist with constructing a church. He also volunteered in China where he taught English, science and American culture to more than 500 youth in four different cities. In 2016 he was given the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for contributions to worldwide community service. 

We asked DeNero to reflect on his time as a student at ASU. Here’s what he had to say. 

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 

In my second semester at ASU, I was able to balance two full-time jobs, take 18 credits (6 classes), participate in ASU's Army ROTC program, as well as participate in extra-curricular activities such as the ASU Fencing club and a social fraternity.

Barrett, The Honors College requires students to complete a thesis or creative project. What was your thesis/creative project about? 

My thesis title is “An Analysis on Multiple Economic and Social Changes that Occurred within the United States from 1985 to 2019, and How Those Changes Affected the Average College Graduate's (from 1985 versus 2019) Ability to Prepare for Retirement.”

It discusses the major economic and social changes in America as they pertain to the attainability of retirement and whether or not these changes have made it harder or easier for individuals today to retire compared to 35 years ago. 

What was your “aha” moment when you realized what you wanted to do?

While a senior in high school, in my economics class, I fell in love with the field of economics and finance, and through my first finance/business classes at ASU, I knew that finance was the major for me.

Why did you choose ASU?

I chose ASU (in no particular order) due to its locality to my hometown, having both one of the top-rated business schools and one of the top-rated honors programs, as well as having an excellent veteran's center and outreach program. 

What is an important lesson you learned at ASU?

I learned this lesson in my ENG302 class with Professor Alex Comeaux: No matter what, no matter how many things you have to do, and have going on, there is always a path to success that is paved with hard work and dedication. 

What is the best advice you have for students still in school? 

My best advice to those who are still in school, especially to the underclassmen: Take it easy, but take it. Meaning don't overwork yourself, but work hard on what you can. 

What was your favorite spot on campus to read, study or just hang out? 

The top of ‘A’ mountain is by far the most relaxing, peaceful, and beautiful spot on campus. 

What are your plans for after you graduate?

After graduation, I plan on going into the active-duty component of the U.S Army, as I have been in the reserve component for nearly five years.

If you were given $40 million to invest however you wanted, what would you do with it?

If I was given $40 million, I would put it towards helping solve homelessness and helping the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs. 

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