For Margaret Lundberg, being a student at UW Tacoma was a mix of the familiar and the novel. She was definitely non-traditional. She had finished high school and started college many years before. On the one hand, she was confident in her abilities; on the other, she wondered how she would fit into the campus community?
She needn’t have worried. In 2013 she was awarded a B.A. (with global honors) in Arts, Media & Culture, and she got her master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in Dec. 2014.
Lundberg has lived in Tacoma for many years, where her husband was born and raised, and has grown fond of the area. She’s originally from California, and met her husband to-be there while he was on business.
They moved to Washington when she was twenty. “When I first moved here in April, well, it must’ve been the nicest April on record: the sun shone, the skies were blue… But then in May it rained every single day and I thought ‘Oh, I’m going to get very depressed living here.’ But now I can’t imagine ever moving back.”
Her husband was a Vietnam veteran and a successful businessman. She herself had developed a career as a decorative artist, painting murals and advising clients on interior design and color. As time went by, her desire to return to school and complete her college degree strengthened. Her husband’s veterans’ benefits would help pay tuition.
She got her feet wet at Tacoma Community College, exploring what she wanted to do and if she actually wanted to go back to school. Originally she wanted to take some art history classes at TCC and explore the education surrounding her artistic career. But while she was there she discovered a new passion for English and the writing process. “By the time I was done with a year I knew I wanted to do four.”
Lundberg transferred to UW Tacoma and dove right in to the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences literature track, taking as many writing courses as she could. After she finished her B.A. (graduating magna cum laude), she continued working toward a master of arts in interdisciplinary studies. The accomplishments have stacked up:
- a 2012 UW Libraries undergraduate research award for her paper on the depictions of the lives of Indian women and girls in Bollywood films;
- admission to UW Tacoma’s global honors program;
- the Bollywood paper was published in Augsburg Honors Review, a journal specializing in undergraduate research;
- she interned at the Museum of Glass, helping to curate the 2013 Northwest Artists Collect exhibit;
- she delivered a Tac Talk in 2014 (Tac Talks, inspired by TED Talks, showcase UW Tacoma graduate students);
- she was awarded a research grant from Golden Key International Honour Society;
Lundberg has been bitten by the writing bug. In fact, she enjoys writing so much that instead of writing a thesis for her degree, she wrote a novel. “It’s a fictionalized account of a woman who finds a 19th century diary in her attic, and who rediscovers her own identity in the process of writing about her exploration of and reactions to the diary.”
Now that she’s finished her master’s degree, she’s focusing on getting her novel published. And then, what’s next?
“If somebody said ‘Okay you can have whatever you want; what do you want?’ I would want to teach creative writing in college,” Lundberg says.
She is sad to see her time as a student at UW Tacoma end, but her work on campus is just beginning. She’s been hired as an administrative coordinator in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, supporting the culture, arts and communication division and the politics, philosophy and public affairs division.
“It’s been absolutely amazing; I don’t regret a day of it. If I have any regrets it’s that somebody hasn’t walked up to me and asked, ‘So, you want a PhD?'”
John Burkhardt, Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org