Sopeck Nop: Leveling the Playing Field

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A desire to "diversify the face of engineering" is what motivates Sopeck Nop, '16, who has a passion for solving systemic problems.

Sopeck Nop, '16Sopeck “Sophie” Nop likes to solve problems. It makes sense then that she ran for and ultimately won election to the office of ASUWT President. Nop graduates this month from the University of Washington Tacoma with a degree in computer science and a minor in nonprofit management. She’ll lose the title as president but will always retain her passion for solving systemic problems. “I want to diversify the face of engineering,” she said.

Nop came to UW Tacoma from Tacoma Community College. Her decision to transfer here stems from a conversation she had with Director of Student Transition Programs Amanda Figueroa. The two met at a community meeting and started talking about Nop’s future plans. “She asked if I were interested in coming to teach at a summer math and science camp for low-income kids,” Nop said.

Nop was hired to be a cybersecurity instructor with the Math-Science Leadership program and quickly fell in love with the campus. She enrolled as a student and joined the Women in Computing Science student organization and later co-founded the User Experience Group. Her accomplishments have been recognized by her inclusion in the inaugural class of the Husky 100, a tri-campus award that recognizes students who are making the most of their time at UW.

The former hospice caregiver wants to combine her disciplines to help others. “I’m working on a grant in partnership with a local nonprofit that will bring technology conferences to low-income schools,” she said. “I feel women, and people from underrepresented backgrounds, can excel in this field if they only knew it was an option.”

This drive to expand access comes from Nop’s experience. She remembers benefiting from a scholarship that allowed her to attend an elite technology conference. “If I didn’t have that scholarship then I wouldn’t have been able to pay for the hotel or the airfare,” she said. “We need to level the playing field and not just keep this resource for those who can afford it.”

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Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / June 9, 2016
Media contact: 

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