In recognition of outstanding academic performance and service to the university and/or their community, WSU Global Campus has recognized outstanding seniors for the 2020-21 academic year. Below they share their stories in their own words, explaining what their Global Campus Experience was like and how it has changed their lives.
Anthropology Outstanding Senior
“I am an aspiring Cultural Anthropologist who has lived for three years in Indonesia, two years in the United Arab Emirates, and now two years in Paraguay. Traveling as a trailing spouse with my husband who is an international teacher, I have traversed thirty countries and twenty-one UNESCO World Heritage Sites with our child in tow. Living abroad while studying anthropology at WSU Global Campus provided rich cultural immersion that bolstered my discussions in class. When you have professors who are knowledgeable and passionate about what they teach, it makes all the difference in the world. Special thanks to Professor Nancy McKee and Professor Jack McNassar for their immeasurable gift of knowledge and discussion.
Travel has created a pattern of thinking where I ponder cross-cultural questions while critically examining societal similarities and differences. My goal is to utilize my degree by creating a platform through lessons, books, and lectures where I can educate future generations on the cultural differences that our planet holds and to provide awareness on the importance of viewing the world with an open mind to knowledge outside our own surroundings, to celebrate differences, and to find unity in the one human race. While it is true that not everyone is allotted the gift of traveling the globe, that does not mean we cannot learn about the rich diversity of our world’s cultures through academics.
I overcame self-doubt in my academic abilities as I progressed through my classes and learned academic research, critical thinking and essay writing. While traveling during school was thrilling, it was at times challenging. I hope to continue to live and study abroad once I have found a graduate program that aligns with my cultural immersion. My Anthropology degree has opened the dialogue for the ever-evolving meaning behind being homo sapiens, the cross-cultural similarities as well as the differences that should be celebrated and respected. I plan to attend the Belize Valley Reconnaissance Archaeological field school in the summer of 2022.”
Criminal Justice Outstanding Senior
“I consider myself a lifelong learner, and getting my degree wasn’t achievable for me when I was younger. I have six grown children, and now a grandson, and as my family grew, I wanted to show that you can always achieve your goals, no matter how long it takes. I really wanted to be a good example for them. Getting my criminology and criminal justice degree was also a way for me to improve my career and explore the subject I am very passionate about.
I currently work as the juvenile division manager for the King County Department of Judicial Administration in Seattle. I’ve had a varied criminal justice career, including work as a victim advocate. I find this work extremely fascinating, as well as a very fulfilling way to help people and make a positive impact on the world. My job means a lot to me, and I wanted to continue working as I earned my degree. With everything going on in my work and family life, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to finish if it had not been through Global Campus.
The online format was flexible and perfect for my lifestyle, all while maintaining the high-quality learning experience WSU is known for. I learned so much, and my advisor was always there for me and very supportive. My husband Scott was also super supportive, and so were my kids. I also want to thank my mentor, Mona Williams, for boosting my confidence to achieve my goals. They have all been my cheerleaders this whole time and kept me motivated, even when things got hard. I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to be an online Coug, and I’m so excited to reach this milestone in my journey of lifelong learning.”
Economics Outstanding Senior
“It had been a desire of mine for many years to be able to return to school and finish my degree. I wanted something that would be flexible yet relevant to career opportunities within my community. I found the Economics online degree program through WSU Global Campus and it seemed to be just what I was looking for in order to finish my goal of earning my college degree, as well as increasing my marketability. I started my WSU Global Campus journey fall of 2018, which was exactly 20 years after I had started at the WSU Pullman Campus.
A key side to this was how the opportunity of finishing my degree in an online environment enabled me to still meet the needs of my family. My family was supportive, but it was an adjustment for all of us. It required a reorganization of expectations. This restructuring was very doable, but it did not happen magically. Starting school again has been a learning curve in the challenges of each family member communicating their needs while being understanding to the needs of the others.
Being involved in my community was also very important as I worked on my degree. For one summer, while I was in school, I volunteered to be the treasurer for a local port commissioner campaign. Prior to that, I had been involved as a board member for a local non-profit. These connections, and others, were what helped land a job with a local financial advising firm after graduating. I had achieved the necessary credentials with my degree and also community credibility from my involvement. I am looking forward to beginning the next leg in my journey as I learn to be a client focused financial advisor. “
English Outstanding Senior
“It has certainly been a challenge getting to this point, but it is incredible to be recognized for my work in this way. It is especially fulfilling considering my history with college. After struggling with my classes initially at another university, I took some time away to focus on personal growth, and now I will be graduating with a 4.0 in credits earned at WSU.
While earning my degree, I volunteered at the Pipe Organ Foundation in Mercer Island. It was a unique and exciting experience, and I have learned so much about restoration and preservation techniques for antique pipe organs. This endeavor has only made me more certain of my intended career goal of working in film restoration. To achieve this goal, I will be attending San Jose State University to complete the online Master of Archive and Records Administration program. I could not have been accepted into this program, and be on the path toward my dream job, without the degree I received from WSU. My degree in English has strengthened my analytical and communication skills immensely, and I have already noticed these benefits in my current job in healthcare.
I am so grateful to WSU to have allowed me to complete my degree in a way that compliments my learning preferences while challenging me to better myself both intellectually and emotionally. One aspect of WSU that will stick with me is the intense commitment to inclusion and intercultural discourse. Furthermore, I was always encouraged to be myself and get creative with my assignments. I am so glad I had the opportunity to get a degree from WSU, and I know that doing so will directly influence many positive changes in my life moving forward. “
History Outstanding Senior
“Four years ago, I left the real estate business to pursue my dream of becoming an Historian. History has always been my biggest passion in life, and after being in college and changing my major multiple times, I had reached a point where I decided that I wanted a career in something that was meaningful and rewarding to me. One thing I love about history is that the pursuit of a career in history involves a lifetime of learning, which is why I plan to return to school to get my Master’s in History, and eventually my PhD so I can begin work in the field of Historical research.
Like many Global Campus students, my personal history and the path I have taken to obtain my degree has been unique and full of obstacles. I returned to college when I was in my mid-twenties, working two jobs, and taking care of my daughter all on my own. The thought of going back to school at the time was frightening, and I was unsure how I could find the time and resources to complete this feat. Yet when I found the WSU Global Campus History program, I knew that this accomplishment could be made possible with the flexibility and reputation of the program. With the support of my family, my professors, and my academic advisor, I was able to accomplish my goal and come out of it with a rewarding experience. I am beyond grateful for everyone who has been a part of this journey with me and have relished the many intellectual discussions and interesting topics covered throughout my courses in this program.
It is an incredible honor to be the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award in History, and I am extremely proud to have completed this step in my educational path. The WSU Global Campus has helped me to make a great stride in the direction of becoming an Historian by providing me the opportunity to obtain my Bachelor’s in History. My experience in the History program has provided me with the tools to be a better writer, researcher, and critical thinker so that I may interpret and portray historical topics in a guided, intellectual manner. I have no doubt that these assets will carry with me throughout my life and career in the field of history and academia. Thank you again to WSU and all the wonderful people who have been on this journey with me. Go Cougs!”
Human Development Outstanding Senior
“Something that I’m proud to say that I participated in during my time at WSU is the recipe project. This project involved creating recipes that could be made with common food pantry items and distributing them, along with food, to low-income families. I am also very proud to be able to say that I graduated summa cum laude. This is a major accomplishment for me, as I am a wife, mother of two, ran my family home preschool 60 hours a week, and overcame significant medical trauma.
In early 2017, I was diagnosed with a brain cyst. By mid-2019, I had debilitating symptoms, including losing my vision and hearing, balance issues, a constant migraine, numbness in my extremities, and partial seizures, to name just a few. I took Fall semester of 2019 off from school and had brain surgery in October 2019. Surgical complications resulted in a series of 8 surgeries in 10 weeks’ time. By all rights, I shouldn’t be here, but I am! I was determined to make the best of my situation and was able to catch up on coursework over the summer. With the support of my husband, Chris, I was not only able to graduate on time, but with highest honors, and I’m so grateful for that.
My career goals have also changed during my time at WSU. When I first began my studies, I wanted to grow my knowledge so that I was equipped to provide the highest quality childcare program/preschool possible. As time went on, I realized that my heart was in family advocacy and working with disadvantaged families, as I came from a low-income family myself. Just before graduating, I was able to secure a position as a Play & Learn Facilitator working with families on their journey to recovery. I still get to plan and engage in fun activities with young children, but I am also supporting families in our community that are very close to my heart!”
Integrated Strategic Communication Outstanding Senior
“As far as academic accomplishments, I am proud of the fact that I’ve maintained a perfect GPA since restarting my degree. The only blemish on my WSU record was from a single spelling mistake in a Media Writing class in fall 1995. Back then, the standards were strict, and I received a zero on the paper for that single mistake. That error pushed my grade for the class from an A to a B-plus. I still lament that error, but it reinforced a dedication to getting spelling and punctuation correct in everything I write.
I work in public relations and donor relations for Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Much of my work revolves around our Social Justice Law Clinics, which provide pro bono legal representation for the most vulnerable members of the community. We have more than 20 pro bono law clinics, including the Project for the Innocent, which works to free those who have been wrongly convicted, the Immigration Justice Clinic, which provides direct legal representation for clients who are facing deportation, and the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, which supports multiple juvenile justice programs. This work is sometimes rewarding, sometimes heartbreaking, and almost always exhausting, but I know that I’m making a positive impact in the world, which is important to me.
Though I like the job I have, not having a completed bachelor’s degree is a hindrance to being promoted and to my professional mobility. In addition to the useful skills and knowledge I acquired at WSU, completing my degree gives me a great deal more leverage in my career.
While I am proud of my personal accomplishment, I never could have completed my degree without the stalwart support of my amazing wife, Harmony.”
Management Outstanding Senior
“Pursuing a degree or any facet of professional/personal development can be a long and daunting experience. My personal journey began during my time as a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to get back into the workforce, and I also wanted to be a role model to my children. Having an education is such an integral part of our society and it can help improve your life in various ways. So, I decided to enroll in college and see where that took me.
During my second semester, I ended up gaining a full-time job at another higher education institution, and that’s where all the juggling started. Going to school and working full-time while managing my children and home was no easy task. It took a lot of organizing, scheduling, and dedication to be able to succeed in all aspects of my life at the time. There were a few times where I would become overwhelmed and wanted to slow down, but the strong-willed side of me did not want to give in to self-doubt. I had to ride out many bumps in the road, but no journey is easy, and I knew it would be worth it in the end. So, I stuck to it, and it was one of the better decisions I have made.
I am glad to say that my experience at WSU was very fruitful. I was able to meet thoughtful and encouraging professors and was able to engage in stimulating discussions with my fellow class. Moving forward, I plan to advance in my career, do some volunteer work, and perhaps take some certification classes. Earning my degree has opened many career opportunities and I am now able to choose where I want to take my knowledge, skills, experience, and capabilities, whether in the private or public sector. Lastly, I would like to thank the WSU staff for guiding me during my time her and also give thanks to my support system and my children. Without you all, I would not have been so motivated to achieve this accomplishment.”
Marketing Outstanding Senior
“My time at WSU Global Campus led to a lot of unforgettable experiences. Along with graduating from WSU with a Marketing and Management degree and a 3.90 GPA, I was able to participate in Study Abroad in Greece during summer 2019. I feel very fortunate to have been able to be a part of this program, not only did it allow me to take classes over the summer, explore a completely new country and culture but it allowed me to build strong relationships with my professors and peers. I built a great relationship with Professor Mario Reyes, who connected me with his daughter. She became a mentor to me and has helped me navigate my last two years of college and the beginning of my post grad life.
I became a Global student after I had attended the Pullman Campus for two years. Making the decision to switch campus was a huge challenge for me. Besides adjusting to the new online learning format, I had to learn to be more proactive about understanding the materials and to seek help when needed. My grades remained the same throughout this change, and I think this showed me that I am capable of more than I thought!
Throughout my time at WSU, I really enjoyed everything I was learning and found it useful. This made diving into the materials very enjoyable for me. I’ve already used a lot of what I learned in my marketing classes and explored different marketing avenues and their effect in the real world. For example, I was able to use my new social media marketing skills while working at Seattle’s Interbay Golf Center. My efforts had real-world effects, helping Interbay to win a social media improvement award at a professional conference. My degree shaped me into the young professional I am now, and I just landed my first professional job at CBRE, the largest commercial real estate company in the world.”
Social Sciences Outstanding Senior
“As an isolated single mother with a special needs child, it was often difficult for me to find time to juggle between school, work, and motherhood. COVID-19 made things even more of a challenge, as my son now had to learn from home, and our financial situation became strained as I lost my job due to the pandemic. Fortunately, WSU was able to help us and sent us emergency funds that allowed us to pay rent and utilities. I held on to my dream of graduating in spite of all these hurdles.
Since I finished High School back in 2004, I was curious about understanding the human mind, mental health and studying the human condition. Social Sciences embrace several disciplines, such as Human Development and Psychology, that lead me to answer some of my questions during classes. What I learned has opened my eyes to the big picture of what’s going on around me and has even helped me in my professional life. For example, I currently Applied Behavior Analysis therapy services to special needs children, and my degree helped me understand my clients’ challenges, strengths, and overall behaviors.
I also hope that my BA to be the first chapter to something bigger. I seriously consider pursuing a Master’s Degree in either special education or ABA. I’m still weighing my career options and deciding how I want to move forward. As I look back on my time at WSU, I’m very proud of what I accomplished, especially considering that I was barely able to speak American English only eight years ago. I’m also excited to see what the future has in store.”
Want to read more outstanding senior stories? Check out our 2020 outstanding seniors page!