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The UW Tacoma Class of 2019: a passionate, tenacious and diverse group of graduates that are already out in the world making an impact. We present a sampling of their stories.

What is truly remarkable about the UW Tacoma Class of 2019 — members of whom are celebrating their graduation at Commencement on June 17, 2019 — is the multiplicity of backgrounds, life experiences and ways of being in the world that converge into one joyous group of scholars. This campus is known for its role as a catalyst of social mobility, and we salute the 1,873 newly-minted UW alumni who enter a community of 23,000 Huskies who are making a difference. We invite you to read about just a few of these remarkable people.

 
Nimo Ahmed, ’19

Nimo Ahmed, ’19

Communications

A sense of purpose guides Nimo Ahmed. When times get hard, when she’s exhausted from work and bogged down with assignments Ahmed thinks of her parent’s sacrifice. “I keep going,” she said. “I know I’m fighting for something and for someone. I’m fighting for my family."

Read Nimo's Story

Diana Sheila Algomeda Villada, ’19

Diana Sheila Algomeda Villada, ’19

B.A. Ethnic, Gender & Labor Studies
Global Honors
2019 Commencement Speaker

Diana Sheila Algomeda Villada’s list of achievements is impressive. She worked as a Pack Advisor. She served as an elected senator in ASUWT. She worked on the "We Are First Generation" campaign and helped found the First Gen Fellows program. She's an intern at Tacoma Community House. She was a Dressel Scholar and Bamford Fellow and graduated with distinction in Global Honors.

Read Diana's Story

Shooq Alhathelool, ’19

Shooq Alhathelool, ’19

B.A. Business Administration/Finance

Getting her degree in finance at UW Tacoma is, for Shooq Alhathelool, a chance to broaden her perspective and bring that understanding with her when she returns to Saudi Arabia. Alhathelool’s goal of being the Saudi Arabian Finance Minister is rooted in both her education and in her country’s evolving attitudes about women.

Read Shooq's Story

Tracie Barrie, ’19

Tracie Barrie, ’19

B.S. Environmental Science/Geoscience

From high school dropout to straight-A college student, Tracie Barry intends to earn a PhD in oceanography. “When you’re an older student, it’s intimidating to think about how much college costs,” Barry says. “My education isn’t for myself. I want to teach undergraduates. I want to do research. I want to help my community.”

Read Tracie's Story

Katalina Biondi, ’19

Katalina Biondi, ’19

B.S. Computer Science & Systems
2019 Husky 100

After finishing her Ph.D., Katalina Biondi wants to work for the Department of Defense. “My dad was in the Army and my brother is in the Air Force,” she said. “I’m interested in making machines that work with humans and I want them to be able to collaborate and understand and trust each other.”

Read Katalina's Story

Justin Cabanos, ’19

Justin Cabanos, ’19

B.A. Business Administration/Finance
2019 Commencement Speaker

Justin Cabanos is the third of four children in his family. “I remember my older siblings talking about college and I just couldn’t wait to get started,” he said. “I understood college to be a place where you could study what interested you.” He has been accepted into the master of finance program at Pacific Lutheran University and will start this fall.

Read Justin's Story

Anastasia Cale, ’19

Anastasia Cale, ’19

M.A. Community Planning

Following completion of her master’s degree, Anastasia Cale plans to continue her work with the Tacoma Housing Authority. She’s interested in eventually working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Then again, Cale is also interested in running for office. “I think I’d like to run for president,” she said.

Read Anastasia's Story

Theo Calhoun, ’19

Theo Calhoun, ’19

B.A. Ethnic, Gender & Labor Studies
2019 Student Dream Award

Following graduation, Theo Calhoun looks forward to enjoying some time off to relax. Motivated by a drive to connect with community, Calhoun plans to pursue a job working with systemically non-dominant students in colleges to help promote their success. “I’m just young and excited about life,” said the winner of the 2019 MLK Unity Breakfast Student Dream Award.

Read Theo's Story

Augustine Canales, ’19

Augustine Canales, ’19

B.A. Social Welfare

Augustine Canales’s journey in academia is not yet over. “I’m going to be applying to the master’s programs in GIS and social work here at UWT,” he said. “Eventually I’d like to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Welfare, and I believe that GIS would be a great benefit in my own learning and work with a dissertation.”

Read Augustine's Story

Maria Crisostomo, ’19

Maria Crisostomo, ’19

B.A. Politics, Philosophy & Economics

Maria Crisostomo is a part of the Indigenous P’urhepecha Community, native to Michoácan, Mexico. She was born in Quinceo, a part of Michoácan. She served as host of the first season of UW Tacoma’s podcast Paw’d Defiance. She loves to draw and paint, and her art is often inspired by her Indigenous heritage.

Read Maria's Story

LeShawn Gamble, ’19

LeShawn Gamble, ’19

B.A. Psychology

LeShawn Gamble’s desire to succeed stems from a stubbornness to make things better for himself and for his son. “I have an eight year old and he’s tenderhearted, he’s sweet,” said Gamble. “I’m trying to show him how to be someone who brings beauty into the world.”

Read LeShawn's Story

Aaron Gerard, ’19

Aaron Gerard, ’19

B.A. Urban Studies/Community Development & Planning

In keeping with his dedication to education and adventure, Aaron Gerard will be joining the Peace Corps shortly after graduation. “I’ll be in Namibia for two years teaching English,” he said. “I haven’t been assigned to a city yet, but my hope is that I will be able to incorporate teaching about community mapping to show what a valuable tool it can be to both rural and urban areas to understand how a city functions as well as how it can improve.”

Read Aaron's Story

Vladislav Gud, ’19

Vladislav Gud, ’19

B.S. Electrical Engineering

To some extent, electricity is in Vlad Gud’s veins. His grandfather worked as an electrician back in the USSR (now Russia). “I like the idea that I’m continuing that tradition in some way,” said Gud. “The work I’m doing is just a step or two beyond what my grandfather was doing.”

Read Vlad's Story

DeAnn Iman, ’19

DeAnn Iman, ’19

B.A. Business Administration/Accounting

Leadership seems like it would come easy to military spouse DeAnn Iman. For years she had to juggle the demands of managing a household while working and going to school all the while knowing everything could change in a moment’s notice due to her husband’s active military status. “Structure and organization are critical,” she said. “Our family runs like a well-oiled machine.”

Read DeAnn's Story

Angeline Jimenez, ’19

Angeline Jimenez, ’19

B.A. Healthcare Leadership

Angeline Jimenez hopes to start a non-profit organization aimed at helping homeless veterans in the Seattle-Tacoma area. “I witnessed a lot of veterans that transitioned out of the military but weren’t aware of the benefits and resources they could have. My dream is to guide veterans to help them adjust to civilian life.”

Read Angeline's Story

Dilluchei “Lu-A” Kikuo, ’19

Dilluchei “Lu-A” Kikuo, ’19

B.A. Politics, Philosophy & Economics

Lu-A Kikuo feels the pull of home. Palau is a matrilineal society and Kikuo is ready to accept the responsibility of what that means. “I am the daughter in my family and I am the one who is supposed to be contributing the most to my family. This is why my education has always been the goal, regardless of the long journey it took for me to get to this moment.”

Read Lu-A's Story

Stephen Kvamme, ’19

Stephen Kvamme, ’19

B.S. Electrical Engineering

Stephen Kvamme’s love of math is opening doors. Since January, Kvamme has been interning with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Keyport in Keyport, Washington. Recently, the NUWC offered Kvamme a full-time position as an electronics engineer. He starts his new job on June 24, roughly one week after graduation.

Read Stephen's Story

TeyAnjulee Leon, ’19

TeyAnjulee Leon, ’19

M.A. Interdisciplinary Studies

Her master’s work may be done but TeyAnjulee Leon is far from finished. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. and become a college professor — after a much needed break. “My sister came to live with me during the last five months of the program and helped take care of my son,” said Leon. “He took his first steps and I wasn’t home and that bothered me. For right now I want a job that stays at work.”

Read TeyAnjulee's Story

Zaheed Lynch, ’19

Zaheed Lynch, ’19

B.A. Criminal Justice

Moving from science and math at his high school to justice and politics at UW Tacoma put Zaheed Lynch on a path to being an advocate for youth in the criminal justice system. Following graduation, he plans to continue his work with Community Passageways and experimenting with design in his print shop, Executive Prints.

Read Zaheed's Story

Isabell Murray, ’19

Isabell Murray, ’19

B.A. Law & Policy
2019 UW Husky 100

Isabell Murray is a ballerina, pageant winner and advocate for formerly incarcerated individuals. The law and policy grad plans to pursue law school and a career as a criminal defense attorney. “I think they are demonized a lot,” said Murray. “It’s important to protect peoples’ constitutional right to representation.”

Read Isabell's Story

Christina Nelson, ’19

Christina Nelson, ’19

B.A. Writing Studies

Christina Nelson’s parents and older brother all went to college, yet she was apprehensive. “I hadn’t found that place where I felt connected but then I stumbled onto Project EMAR,” she said. “Here I was on this team with these incredible women who were doing work that gave voice to people who have traditionally been ignored.”

Read Christina's Story

Armen Papyan, ’19

Armen Papyan, ’19

B.A. Politics, Philosophy & Economics
2019 ASUWT President

Armen Papyan came to UW Tacoma in the fall of 2015. He hadn’t been on campus long when he found himself without a home. The house he shared with his brother and grandparents burned down. The family escaped unharmed but struggled to find a new place to live. The experience reinforced Papyan’s growing desire to help others.

Read Armen's Story

Morgan Pasquier, ’19

Morgan Pasquier, ’19

B.A. Psychology

Morgan Pasquier has been accepted into the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program at UW Tacoma. “I’m not sure what my focus will be,” they said. “However, I’m interested in community organizing and social justice work especially when it comes to queer youth.”

Read Morgan's Story

Christie Peralta, ’19

Christie Peralta, ’19

B.A. Business Administration/Management

If life is a puzzle, Christie Peralta is figuring out how it all fits together. She wants to help others puzzle it out. She plans to pursue a career in higher education after graduation. “Higher education is nowhere near perfect and it is my hope that I can continue to play a role in its continuous evolution.”

Read Christie's Story

Ashley Richards, ’19

Ashley Richards, ’19

B.A. Sustainable Urban Development
Global Honors
2019 UW Husky 100

Ashley Richards plans to pursue graduate study in sustainable urban development at the University of Oxford. In the short term, she is looking for a GIS or urban planning position to apply what she’s learned at UW Tacoma to the real world. “I would love to be a part of an agency that works with youth through information practices and policy, similar to what Dr. Matt Kelley is doing with the Action Mapping Project.”

Read Ashley's Story

Misaki Seto, ’19

Misaki Seto, ’19

B.S. Biomedical Sciences

Misaki Seto made the decision to become a biologist after watching “Jurassic Park” as a child. “I saw Jurassic Park when I was really young, and loved the scene where they talk about making a dinosaur from lost genes,” she said. “Of course, I didn’t really know what they were talking about at the time but I thought if I studied biology I might be able to make dinosaurs one day too.”

Read Misaki's Story

Bryce Schimon, ’19

Bryce Schimon, ’19

B.S. Information Technology

If Bryce Schimon hadn't loved his Sega Genesis as a kid, maybe he wouldn't be on a path to a career in cybersecurity today. “At one point I played so much I got blisters on my fingers.” Today he fosters his passion for tech by focusing on information and security assurance.

Read Bryce's Story

Catarina Terrill, ’19

Catarina Terrill, ’19

B.A. History

Following graduation, Catarina Terrill will participate in the Russian Intensive Program through UW. “My dad used to work at the American Embassy in Russia and still speaks the language,” she said. This fall, Terrill is taking Associate Professor Chris Demaske’s exchange course. In the class, students from UW Tacoma work with students from Moscow State University to produce a magazine.

Read Catarina's Story

Long Tran, ’19

Long Tran, ’19

B.A. Communications
Global Honors
2019 UW Husky 100

Long Tran is using filmaking to talk about social justice. He recently completed “subtle asian* womxn.” The film documents the experiences of Asian Womxn around the world and how they’re represented in media. Tran starts graduate school in the fall at the UW in Seattle where he’ll work toward a Master of Arts in Comparative Literature.

Read Long's Story

Karla Vargas, ’19

Karla Vargas, ’19

B.A. Law & Policy
Special role

Karla Vargas is a Dreamer. “I can’t do most of things a U.S. citizen can; I can’t vote, I can’t fill out a FAFSA and I can’t work for the federal government.” But the uncertainty hasn’t stopped her. She just accepted a full-time job with the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

Read Karla's Story

Megan Walker, ’19

Megan Walker, ’19

B.A. Social Welfare

Navy veteran Megan Walker went from a job as an aviation electronics technician aboard an aircraft carrier to assisting with the care of people who are experiencing psychosis at the Metropolitan Development Council in Tacoma. “It’s amazing to see the turnaround from when people are first brought in to when they get stabilized.”

Read Megan's Story

Section: 
Written: 
June 14, 2019
Media contact: 

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