When asked “What do you want to take from your time at UW Tacoma?” Anna Nepomuceno replied: “I want to be an inspiration to women like me. You know? Women who aren’t considered ‘ideal’ in society.”
She has filled many roles, inside and outside of school, in her time at UW Tacoma. She served as ASUWT Legislative Liaison. In the 2016 election cycle she worked as a campaign manager. Through it all she has been the mother of three.
Now a graduating senior, Nepomuceno’s path to her Bachelor's degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics was not the traditional one. She made the dean’s list every quarter since arriving at UW Tacoma, a stark juxtaposition to her first quarter as a student at UW Seattle when she was 18, struggling with homelessness, a time when her biggest concern was not her academic performance, but finding stability in her life.
“I grew up thinking that I was supposed to rely on men to support me,” she said. What ultimately pushed Nepomuceno to go back to school was the birth of her first daughter. “I wanted to show her that she doesn’t need a man to support her, that she is capable of doing whatever she puts her mind to,” she said. As a parent, she realized, “I want to be an independent woman and be able to be the sole provider for my children if I need to.”
Starting her higher education journey at Tacoma Community College, Nepomuceno transferred to UW Tacoma in 2015. “From the moment I stepped on campus I felt that I belonged here. I didn’t feel like I was among the minority, “she said.
When she started at UW Tacoma, Nepomuceno was initially drawn to communications. “I wanted to be a spin doctor,” as she put it. After being selected for an ASUWT legislative internship she realized that her future was in the world of politics and legislation. “After my internship, I realized my future was in state politics and advocacy work so I switched my major to PPE,” she said.
Nepomuceno’s time as a legislative liaison allowed her to satisfy her calling to be an advocate. Beyond voting, Nepomuceno’s first major involvement in politics was volunteering in the 2008 election. She has been an active Democrat since, volunteering in numerous campaigns. “People took me more seriously when they found out I was in school, “she said.
In her time as UW Tacoma’s student legislative liaison, Nepomuceno worked on multiple bills, and her efforts have been far-reaching. She worked on a bill to enable student access to disability accommodations. She lobbied for more affordable textbooks and increased funding for the state need grant. She pushed for more scrutiny of for-profit colleges, and more transparency in the student loan process. During her senior year, she also worked as a campaign manager for three candidates in the 2016 election cycle.
What’s next? Nepomuceno says her studies and experience at UW Tacoma have given her marketable skills. She wants to stay involved in local politics, and she hopes to find work as a lobbyist to continue advocating for the issues that matter to her.
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or email@example.com