Meet some of our terrific students: Dawit Bekele

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Dawit Bekele

Dawit Bekele

Milgard School of Business
Milgard Scholarship recipient

As a high school sophomore, Dawit Bekele discovered computers, technology and a career path.

“Focusing on a career was a far-off priority for a high school student in my world,” he said. “I knew education was my only chance for social mobility, and that first day of class laid the foundation for my eventual pursuit of a degree in business.”

He enrolled in Running Start classes to challenge himself academically, but found the expensive books and even money for lunches were barriers to his goals. “My educational aspirations flourished,” he said, “although my economic means could not support my ambitions.”

Dawit worked in a bistro while attending high school, and eventually graduated from Edmonds Community College, where he earned a vocational certificate in information technology, and later to Highline Community College, where he was an honors scholar graduate.

This fall, at the age of 34, Dawit is a senior in the B.A. accounting program in the Milgard School of Business. He said an honors program director at Highline suggested UW Tacoma, knowing that the age diversity of students would help him feel at home.

Dawit comes from a bi-cultural family. His father is Ethiopian and his mother is African American. From a young age he experienced the diverse gap between an American lifestyle and the Ethiopian family orientation.

“I plan to be innovative with my career, using my technical skills and ability to understand diverse cultures,” he said. In Seattle schools and later in college, Dawit enjoyed having friends from a vast array of ethnic backgrounds, including Asians, Africans and Pacific Islanders.

“As an active student, I seek to blend my experience with diversity, my skills in computer technology and my academic background in business to move ahead toward a bachelor’s degree that will give me the skills and background to help my community flourish,” he said.

Dawit has Husky Promise and Next Step Scholarships, as well as a Milgard Scholarship. He hasn’t decided yet whether to graduate in spring or stay for another year and complete a minor in information technology, he said. When he’s finished with school, he’d like to work in taxation for a public accounting firm. 

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Written: 
July 19, 2011