ASU Online student James Costanza

ASU Online student first to graduate through partnership with Uber Eats

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2020 graduates.

ASU Online student James Costanza was delivering for Uber Eats when he first learned about Uber’s partnership with Arizona State University. Originally launched as a pilot program for Uber drivers in November 2018, the partnership expanded a year later to include those eligible through Uber Eats. Costanza is now the first student to graduate from ASU through this partnership expansion.

After learning about the Uber and ASU Education Partnership, Costanza reached out to the ASU Online enrollment team to discuss the various degree options and what his time frame would be for graduation. “I wanted to be able to weigh the pros and cons of transferring to ASU, the degree programs made available and how it aligned with my passions and future goals.”

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he still resides, Costanza found complex topics like U.S.-Mexico transborder issues as well as Latino culture and language timely and relevant to his surroundings. With this in mind, he decided to make these topics a key theme of his studies and will be graduating from ASU with a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with a concentration in Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies. 

In addition to looking forward to graduation, Costanza is already planning for what comes next. He has been admitted into ASU’s online Master of Liberal Arts program, which he will start in spring 2021 with a focus on nonfiction creative writing.

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

Answer: An awakened passion for writing. I never thought of myself as much of a writer, until my professor left me a comment that I had, “some of the best writing he’s seen for an undergraduate student.” Now, those words have changed my direction and passion.

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

A: Multiple professors had an impact: Eric Breault and Brian McCormack to name a few.

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

A: Follow your heart and you’ll never be lost. 

Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?

A: I had a more unconventional study space. I found inspiration for homework and studying at a local greenhouse designed for research and development of passive and active organic and hydro-organic cultivation systems. Although unorthodox, the student space worked for me as I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and a member of the Alpha Iota Sigma National Honor Society.

Q: What resources did ASU provide that assisted in furthering your professional goals?

A: The various and continued validation from numerous professors in relation to my writing ability made me feel like a Sun Devil. I credit the constant support of superior ASU staff and faculty to my success. 

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

A: Arctic polar bear relocation due to the exponential warming of the Earth. 

Written by Tuesday Mahrle, earned media specialist for EdPlus at Arizona State University