Driven. Ambitious. Inspired. These are three words that come to mind when thinking of Tia Squires, ’15, Criminal Justice and Law & Policy major. Some might say she’s even a little crazy, given her academic record at UW Tacoma. In her first three quarters, she racked up an astonishing 80 credits, all while maintaining an impressive GPA . “As much as we cringe at the number of credits she attempts, she has found a way to be successful,” says Andrea Coker-Anderson, Registrar, who also oversees the Veterans and Military Services Office.
Through her impeccable time management and organizational skills, Tia has made it work—and has even managed to squeeze in time for sleep. “My planner is my life,” she says.
But what motivates a person to take on so much? Born in Everett and raised in Montana, in 2008 Tia joined the Navy. Four years and two deployments later, she was ready to move back to Washington and try something new. The slackening of pace from a fast-paced military life to taking a few classes at a community college was a challenge. “To go from working seven days a week while deployed to nothing was extremely difficult for me,” Tia says. So her initial 15 credit load at Shoreline Community College suddenly became 30.
When Tia transferred to UW Tacoma, her mind was still set on a credit crunch. She managed 30 credits her first two quarters, and finished off her BA while taking 20 credits in her last. Not one to waste away her extra hours, she admits that her final quarter felt a bit like vacation, and used her spare time to take up golf.
Prioritizing service to others
Although scheduled to the minute, Tia still made room to promote the causes she believes in. Along with fellow-student John Poore, Tia founded the group Student Anti-Violence Effort or “SAVE,” which, she notes, filled a void on campus. “There were no student groups to reach out to or student-led sexual violence response teams on campus,” and SAVE wanted to be a resource for students victimized by sexual abuse or domestic violence.
Tia also volunteers as a CASA (Court Appointed State Advocate) for children. According to its website, CASA “is a network of 949 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities.” It’s a job that she acknowledges is both “extremely difficult and extremely rewarding,” and she plans to continue volunteering for the foreseeable future.
In the next phase of her life, Tia will continue her call to service. This summer, she begins a master’s program in criminal justice at Seattle University, and is leaning towards a joint criminal justice master’s degree and JD (law), which she hopes will be “pretty intense.”
Naturally, she knows exactly how she will be spending the next year: working towards her degree(s) and, in October, applying to the Seattle Police Department. “By the time I get my master’s, I could be employed by the Seattle PD and still pursue law school part-time.”
Eventually, Tia hopes to work on human rights and social justice issues in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. As her record shows, she will likely end up doing just that.
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or email@example.com