Morgan Pasquier: Proudly Claiming Their Space

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Transferring from Pierce College Puyallup, Morgan Pasquier brought an interest in psychology that has taken them far beyond their days in a warehouse job.

In some respects Morgan Pasquier, '19, Psychology/Global Honors, owes their success to a warehouse job. Rewind a few years and the then-18-year-old Pasquier had just finished high school and college didn’t feel like an option. “I didn’t think I was smart enough to do anything I wanted to do,” they said. “For another thing, I didn’t think I could ever get to where I wanted to be because of my family’s financial situation.”

Pasquier is the oldest of four siblings. Pasquier’s father works for a bicycle repair shop. Their mother is a stay-at-home parent. “We’re a very low-income family and then with six people living in the house it can be a little rough sometimes,” said Pasquier.

Helping the family also factored into Pasquier’s decision to start working instead of starting college. “The job was in Renton and it was two hours one way on the train,” they said. It didn’t take long — three months — for Pasquier to cast aside their doubts and give college a try. “My mom said I could either start paying rent or go to college and I didn’t want to do this job anymore.”

Pasquier enrolled at Pierce College Puyallup. While at Pierce, Pasquier took an introductory course in psychology. “I liked learning about behavior and the reasons why someone may or may not do something,” they said. “I thought the field was interesting and so I decided to make that my major.”

Pasquier transferred to UW Tacoma in the fall of 2017 to pursue a degree in psychology. “Being able to come here and still live at home was a really important draw for me,” they said. A few years ago Pasquier’s mother suffered a stroke. “I felt I needed to stay close so I could continue to support my family.”

While on campus Pasquier helped co-found the Gender and Sexuality Alliance. The registered student organization, among other objectives, works to “raise awareness and understanding of LGBTQ+ issues in and around our community.” Pasquier played an active role in organizing last year’s Pride event on campus.

In the summer of 2018 Pasquier traveled to Mexico City as part of a study-abroad program. “The experience was phenomenal,” they said. “I studied migration in public health from a queer perspective.” Pasquier has two minors:  global engagement and gender and sexuality studies. The study abroad allowed them to engage both of their interests.

Pasquier graduates in June but won’t have much of a break. Pasquier has been accepted into the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program here at UW Tacoma. “I’m not sure what my focus will be,” they said. “However, I’m interested in community organizing and social justice work especially when it comes to queer youth.”

Now, about that factory job. “I’m a totally different person than I was five years ago,” said Pasquier. “I’m much more confident now that I used to be. I will no longer apologize for taking up space in the world. I know what I want out of life and I have an idea of how to get there now.”

Return to 2019 Commencement: The Husky Family

Section: 
Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / June 13, 2019
Photos by: 
Ryan Moriarty
Media contact: 

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