Beleqsa Tamaami thinks big. The Global Studies major wants to learn more about different countries and cultures. “I’m really interested in seeing how local and national issues like education play out on a global scale,” she said.
Tamaami was awarded a 2016 Critical Language Scholarship through the U.S. Department of State. She’s traveling to Jordan this summer and will spend two months studying Arabic. When she returns, Tamaami will work for Americorps in Federal Way as a college coach. “I’m going to be working with seniors in high school to help them through the college application process,” she said.
The now-21-year-old transferred to the University of Washington Tacoma from Green River College. She initially planned to major in psychology but switched to global studies with a minor in global engagement. Completing the transition, she entered the Global Honors program and secured a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the State Department to study abroad in Morocco. In 2015, she was part of a team that crowdfunded an alternative spring breakaway project through UW Tacoma’s Center for Service and Leadership. This year, she was named as one of the inaugural class of the Husky 100, a tri-campus award that recognizes students who are making the most of their time at UW.
Tamaami plans to pursue a Ph.D and eventually work in education. “My experience at UW Tacoma has helped me become more critically conscious of some of the disparities in education,” she said. “I want to help underrepresented students, especially students of color.”
The first-generation student graduates from college on the same day her sister graduates from high school. The ceremonies happen to fall during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The holiday is marked by prayer, giving to charity, and fasting during the day. “I know my parents are really proud but it’s kind of mellow because everyone is tired and fasting,” Tamaami said.
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org