A malfunctioning computer changed the trajectory of Naomi Afereti’s life. The California native was doing missionary work for her church. Afereti got involved with the church’s media team. “We were using laptops and projectors,” she said. “The laptop kept messing up and we were spending all this money on repairs so I decided I wanted to learn how to fix it.”
Afereti moved back to Washington and enrolled at Highline College. There she got her AAS degree before transferring to University of Washington Tacoma. The 26-year-old information technology student graduates this year.
Afereti’s success wasn’t a forgone conclusion. She went to college right out of high school but struggled. “I wasn’t mentally there,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was doing.” Afereti eventually withdrew from school.
Despite early setbacks, Afereti remained optimistic. She used those early false starts to better herself. “If you’re someone like me, who goes in and isn’t ready then go out and find yourself,” she said. “That’s what I did.”
Afereti’s circuitous route through higher education might come full circle. She’d like to give back to her church. For her senior project Afereti helped improve the church’s website. “My ultimate goal is to help build the church’s IT infrastructure,” she said. “In some ways they helped me realize what I want to do.”
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org