ASUW :: Associated Students of the University of Washington

Major: Public Health
Class Standing: Senior (Winter 2017)
Hometown: Kent, WA


Quote
“I think we’re really attracted to the fiscal attachment to our major and how much money it’ll make us, but I think we should start questioning ourselves “do you believe that what you’re studying will make an impact on people, and will it be a positive impact on the community you hope to serve in the future?”

What are you involved in around campus?
“I am a program leader for Unite UW, which is a program here on campus which strives to bridge the gap between international and domestic students. It’s essentially a way to create a safe space for international students so that they feel more compelled to take on leadership positions at UW, in the City of Seattle, or wherever they choose to go in their future endeavors. In addition to that, I’ve been involved in various projects with the Husky Leadership Initiative. I was part of the 2016 cohort for the Husky Presidential Ambassadors, which granted me the opportunity to travel Beijing, China and introduce incoming international students that were coming over the next year. I also just finished my Husky Leadership Certificate, a portfolio based over 10 weeks, which I thought was a really great program as I felt like I learned a lot about myself and the progress I’ve made over the past few years at UW.”

What is the most valuable experience you’ve had at UW?
“I think all of the experiences I’ve had thus far have been valuable, but one that really sticks out was interning at Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez’ Office. That was the place where I finally understood where my identity as a Latina incorporates into the work I want to do in the future. I look at her as a role model and see all of the things she’s accomplished, and it gives me hope that in the future, there will be more people of color in these positions elected in public office. I think that I can take my lived experiences, and implement them and transform them into policies that can benefit other people like me. I constantly think, ‘what would I have wanted to see in this x, y and z policy?’ I take the work I do very personally and strive to make it as equitable and accessible as I can.”

What does a day in the life look like for you?
“So right now, in addition to working on Lorena Gonzalez’ office staff, I’m also managing her re-election campaign. A typical day would be me in the office from 8am-5pm, then go to a campaign-related event to engage with constituents about what Lorena stands for and who she is. I genuinely love that work because I am able to connect with people I wouldn’t normally see. I also try reserve time to hang out with friends. I like to rock climb and go to the IMA (whenever I can!) try to attend as many concerts as my schedule allows. Climbing is a very goal oriented sport, where you’re able to pick a route and really set your mind to it.”

How was your transition to UW?
“I went to Kentridge High School. For me, the transition to college was very rough, especially because I am a first-generation college student. I didn’t know squat about applying to college, applying to FAFSA, applying to internships… It was really hard for me to find a mentor that I could see myself working with a lot, but I think that with the help of my friends and family, despite the fact that they didn’t know what to do, they helped me carry on and accomplish whatever I set my mind to”

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen and transfer students?
“I think networking is a really big thing. It feels uncomfortable leaving your comfort zone but I think it’s necessary here at the UW because there are so many programs, opportunities and people to explore, but some people don’t take advantage of that, because they think they have their mind set on something they want, without really knowing if they want to pursue it. I think I would also suggest taking a variety of classes, because you’ll meet people there who’ll have the same interests as you and you’ll really be able to expand upon what you want to do. Unfortunately, I also think we’re really attracted to the fiscal attachment to our major and how much money it’ll make us, but I think we should start questioning ourselves “do you believe that what you’re studying will make an impact on people, and will it be a positive impact on the community you hope to serve in the future?”