Cory Williams ’09 B.A.

Which groups or activities were you most involved in at ASU? What did you gain from that involvement?

When I was a senior at ASU, I became the cofounder of House of Sparky, a blog that covers Sun Devil athletics on the SB Nation network. Working with the athletic department, I was granted media credentials and attended football and basketball games in the press box. For a history major with no real journalism background, it was quite the thrill, and I worked hard to not violate traditional media norms.

After graduation, I continued to write for House of Sparky while working full-time, going to my desk job during the day and publishing articles whenever I had an opportunity. The site continued to grow in popularity, and I was fortunate enough to work with some very talented writers over the years.

We have established a strong pipeline with Walter Cronkite School of Journalism students, and each year House of Sparky’s leadership passes the torch to the next generation of writers and editors. I’m extremely proud of the site’s growth, and while I no longer have an active role in its daily operations, I still enjoy seeing House of Sparky flourish.

How did your education at ASU prepare you for your current job or business?

After being the managing editor of House of Sparky from August 2008 to October 2011, I was offered a full-time position at Vox Media to be a support manager on the product team. At my job, I work closely with our editorial teams and engineers to ensure issues with our websites are addressed.

With a degree in history, it’s often difficult to know what exactly you’ll do after graduation. I was asked frequently if I planned on becoming a teacher. What I learned, however, was that a liberal arts degree teaches you how to think critically and write your thoughts clearly and succinctly.

These skills have allowed me to communicate effectively with my peers and my coworkers. Many of the skills I use on a daily basis at work (such as documenting processes, writing FAQ’s, putting together bug reports, and corresponding with users) were developed during my years at Arizona State.

Tell us about your involvement in organizing the Pat's Run shadow run for the National Capital (Washington, D.C.) chapter.

Being the shadow run captain for the National Capital chapter is an honor. It brings me great joy to celebrate Pat Tillman’s life, promote awareness for the Pat Tillman Foundation, and bring our area’s Sun Devil alumni base closer together.

The past two years, we’ve hosted the shadow run on Hains Point, a beautiful island just south of the Tidal Basin. I work with the National Park Service to secure a permit for the 5K course and to ensure the road is closed to through traffic. The course is lined with cherry blossoms, and the quiet atmosphere allows our runners to reflect upon their participation in the event and the life of Pat Tillman.

In the months prior to the race, I recruit participants through our chapter events and Facebook page, answer questions over email, and promote a positive environment for our potential Pat’s Run participants. Each year the shadow run gets a little bigger, and in 2016 my goal is to keep increasing awareness and our turnout. It’s a lot of hard work, but the end result is well worth it; just look at the photos! (Photo here:

How did ASU help you achieve your dream?

Arizona State is a very big school, and it can feel a little overwhelming when you first arrive on campus. Your life is an empty page, and you are responsible for putting pen to paper.
Coming from a small town in rural Vermont, I learned a lot about what it takes to live in a vibrant community, and how to relate to people with different backgrounds and experiences from my own. I also learned that with the right attitude and approach, you could do anything you want to do at ASU.

I’ve been out of school for six years, but I’ve carried that lesson with me ever since my days in Tempe. That confidence allowed me to pack my car full of my most important belongings, drive across the country to Washington, D.C., and start a new life working at Vox Media four years ago.

Without my education at Arizona State, I may not have made it to where I am today.

What are three “can’t-miss” ASU experiences every Sun Devil should participate in?

Only three? Well this is a tough one!

1) Every Sun Devil should get in contact with their local alumni chapter, attend an event, and make some connections. The networking opportunities, social bonding, and friendships have improved my quality of life greatly in D.C.
2) Take part in Pat’s Run. No matter where you are, Pat’s Run is a great experience. Even if you can’t afford to go to Tempe, joining a shadow run in your community can be a great way to pay homage to Pat Tillman, meet Sun Devils, and get some great exercise.
3) Go to a Sun Devil football road game. This season, ASU is playing Texas A&M in Houston, and the Houston chapter has done an incredible job of preparing for Sparky’s Touchdown Tailgate. It feels really great to go into enemy territory wearing maroon and gold, proudly cheering for ASU. Since moving to D.C., I’ve attended road games against Missouri, Notre Dame, New Mexico, and this year I’ll be going to the Texas A&M and Utah road games. Don’t miss out!

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