Nadia Thompson: Hard Work and the Knack For a Spreadsheet

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Spending hours and hours teaching herself Lotus 1-2-3 aboard a fishing vessel got Nadia Thompson, '16, on the path to her accounting degree.

Nadia Thompson, '1646-year-old Nadia Thompson (Haddad) is used to hard work. The University of Washington Tacoma senior got her first job at age 11 in one of her brother’s restaurants. Thompson immigrated to the United States from Jordan when she was seven. It took nearly a year to get her entire immediate family—mother, father, and 11 siblings—relocated to the US.

“We grew up not really paying attention to school,” said Thompson. “You worked and got money in your pocket.” When she was 24, Thompson took a job with a fish processing company in Alaska. She worked on a boat processing fish and it is here where Thompson met her husband.

During downtime Thompson would shadow the ship’s bookkeeper. “I would go in there and say ‘hey, do you have any work for me?’ He asked me to make a spreadsheet on Lotus 1-2-3. I didn’t know anything about a spreadsheet but I sat there for hours and hours until I figured it out,” she said.

The bookkeeper eventually left for another position and Thompson took over. The ship she worked on was massive—351 feet long with approximately 250 crew members—and did millions of dollars in business a year. The work was good but seasonal.

Thompson eventually switched jobs and began working for a parking company. She was laid off after two-and-a-half years and made the decision to go to college. Thompson started at Olympic College in Bremerton before transferring to UW Tacoma in 2014. She graduates in this month with a degree in accounting. She’s already been hired by the Hearthstone CPA Group in Bremerton and starts full-time the Monday after graduation.

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

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or