Christie Peralta’s life is like a puzzle — one big picture with many parts. There’s coursework but there’s also ASUWT and countless committees, not to mention her life outside of campus. “It’s so rewarding to have the insight of being a part of the student base and also to work as an advocate on all of our behalf,” she said.
Navigating the college experience hasn’t always been easy for Peralta. As a first-generation student, she is a role model for her younger siblings who plan to attend college in the future. Applying for college and registering for classes was only half the battle; the other half was “fitting in.” “I struggle with imposter syndrome,” she said. “Even though I know I’m doing well in my classes, sometimes I still feel like I have to convince myself that I’m deserving of all the opportunities I have had.” That doesn’t stop her though. For Peralta, its full speed ahead. “Learning that there are others who have experienced the same obstacles as myself is reassuring,” she said. “I have to remind myself, ‘you’re not alone’.”
From the Archive
Christie Peralta in 2015
UW Tacoma profiled Christie Peralta when she first arrived on campus as a Milgard School Direct Admit student.
Read the story — Christie Peralta: Listening to her Inner Voice
With the support of the ASUWT team, Peralta has been on the Dean’s List — keeping up at least a 3.5 GPA — nearly every quarter while maintaining her busy schedule. “I received so much emotional support from my family as well as UW Tacoma staff and faculty who were able to help me get to the point I am at now,” she said. “Being the first in my family to go through the college process was tough, but because of my experience, I am now able to help my younger siblings out so that they won’t feel as lost as I did.”
Peralta came to UW Tacoma through the Direct Admission program in the Milgard School of Business. “UW Tacoma was my first choice for schools,” she said. “I loved the size of the Tacoma campus, and when I came to the orientation I felt this amazing sense of peace. I just knew it was the right choice for me.” As a first year student, Peralta didn’t have a concrete idea of what she wanted to do as a career. “I didn’t really know what to do or what interested me. Business school just sort of happened,” she said. “In retrospect, I would’ve been interested in taking more communications classes, but I like that with a business degree I can fit in almost anywhere.”
Wanting to become more involved on campus, Peralta joined ASUWT in her first year. Through this involvement, she discovered her passion for student representation. “I’ve gotten so interested in student advocacy in my time here at UW Tacoma,” she said. “My main question in pursuing the work I’m a part of is ‘How can this help the students?’ School is hard enough. I want to be able to lift barriers.” Peralta got involved first as an elected Business senator, then as the Director of Internal Communication and Affairs, and now the Director of University Affairs, which is the equivalent of Vice President. “All of my experience in student government has shown me the importance of engagement,” she said. “At this point, reading university policies is exciting to me because I know that we the students can impact what they say.”
With her dedication for student affairs blossoming, Peralta began to understand the importance of fostering a sense of community on campus. “My devotion for student affairs comes from the community of students I’ve met in my time here,” she said. “I was lucky to get my start in student government and committees early on, because it’s guided me through my college career. I truly believe that this experience has shaped who I am and I want to make sure all of the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my experience doesn’t stop when I graduate.”
Peralta is part of the Senior Class Gift Gift Council and worked closely with Associate Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Thomas Duke to choose the 2019 Senior Class Gift. “We wanted to represent the class of 2019 by giving a meaningful gift that can support the community,” she said. “A lot of what we were doing was listening to what the students thought would be best, and bringing that to the table as representatives.” One of those ideas was honoring Lushootseed, the language of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, through updating campus signage. Peralta became a strong advocate for this project along with ASUWT President Armen Papyan. Through talking with students about the project, they found there was a consensus on how to move forward. “We, the students, wanted to honor the Puyallup Tribe whose land we are on, and contribute to revitalizing the language that was prominent in this area,” she said. “By updating signs to be in Lushootseed and English, we can bring attention to the language and recognize the Indigenous population in this area. UW Tacoma was created with the idea of building partnerships, and I want our environment to reflect that.”
Peralta plans to pursue a career in higher education after graduation. “In my time at UW Tacoma, I’ve met so many amazing staff and faculty members who have helped me not only in my academics but in balancing life and work,” she said. “I want to be able to do that for other students.” Her motivations aren’t puzzling, but simply another piece to fit into the picture. “Higher education is nowhere near perfect and it is my hope that I can continue to play a role in its continuous evolution,” she said.
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org