Dane Jessen: Discovering He Has Something to Offer

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After his first attempt at a college degree didn't go as planned, Dane Jessen, '16, is on a path to his dream job.

Dane Jessen, '16Dane Jessen knew he had more to offer. The University of Washington Tacoma student is a recovering alcoholic. His first attempt at college didn’t go as planned. Jessen dropped out of Eastern Washington University after a year. “The greatest pain I experienced was the pain of knowing that I could be doing something much greater with my life but was choosing to just throw it away,” said Jessen.

The now-26-year-old got involved with Alcoholics Anonymous. He eventually went back to school at Tacoma Community College. He earned a 4.0 GPA at TCC before transferring to UW Tacoma.

Jessen, a business major, graduates this month. His immediate plan is to work for a collaborative medical/biotechnology startup being put together by UW Tacoma Affiliate Professor Dr. David Hirschberg. “He’s trying to setup a blue-collar biotech incubator based in Tacoma,” said Jessen. “I’ve been helping him with the grant proposal and if that works out it would be a dream job.” Jessen was on the team of another startup, VESPAR, that was selected to compete in the second round of the 2016 UW Business Plan Competition. He competed in last year's BPC as well.

Jessen coupled his business degree with a minor in global engagement which is part of the Global Honors Program. “This program has defined my experience at UW Tacoma,” he said. “It’s interdisciplinary which means you’re exposed to a lot of different ideas and perspectives.”

This summer will be busy for Jessen. He’s taking a bioinformatics course through the UW Tacoma’s Center for Data Science. He’ll also travel to China to spend time with a friend he met through Global Honors.

In the end Dane Jessen was right. He did have a lot more to offer—and still does.

Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / June 5, 2016
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or johnbjr@uw.edu