WSU is advancing Washington industries …
WSU teams with aviation to develop sustainable aviation biofuels …
WSU partners to develop bioproducts that reduce dependence on petroleum imports …
WSU works with state commodity commissions to conduct needed agricultural research …
WSU developed the technology used for wood-plastic composites used for buildings …
WSU researchers work to improve dairy productivity and reduce disease …
WSU research has made Washington one of the world’s most productive wheat-growing regions …

"Take Five" for WSU and higher education, Cougar Chat

Cougar stories – the value of a WSU degree, in your own words

coug mom's weekend

It is easy to get into the weeds when it comes to following the Washington State Legislature. Does this bill do this, does that bill do that, and what does it all mean to the state budget and legislative priorities? We wanted to get to the heart of the matter and our Cougar friends did not disappoint. Read on for the compelling and inspiring answers to the question: what does your WSU diploma mean to you? In the end, we hope these are the stories our WSU Impact members share with their legislators in the years to come …

It is easy to get into the weeds when it comes to following the Washington State Legislature. Does this bill do this, does that bill do that, and what does it all mean to the state budget and legislative priorities? In the end, however, what arguably matters most when it comes to higher education is the quality of education each matriculated student receives and how does the graduate benefit from and use his/her degree in the workplace, in life, and in the community where he/she lives.  Obviously, there is a strong correlation between adequate state funding and quality higher education. Lack of funding from the state has been well documented by authoritative sources and reported by WSU Impact. We cite numbers of external reports and data confirming the concerns emanating from the state’s disinvestment in our public universities and students

But aggregate numbers in a bar chart do not necessarily inspire us at our deepest, most soulful level  – our hearts. Most of us have concerns about higher education in this state because we want the students we know and love to enjoy a WSU that is affordable, accessible, and provides the same quality experience we enjoyed when we received our degrees. We care because we each know potential, future Cougs who we want to have the same opportunities we had when tuition was far less and the state much more invested in our successes.

celebrating-graduate1-1024x707It was in this personal vein that we decided to ask a question on our WSU Impact’s Facebook page.

Our question was simple: what does your WSU diploma mean to you?

We were testing out a hypothesis that the WSU graduates who were willing to share their stories would demonstrate the value of public education. And, boy. Our unscientific, but inspirational sample responses made us proud that WSU graduates are indeed working, caring for family, volunteering, and otherwise giving back through long careers, helping family businesses, serving public agencies, providing philanthropy, and raising families that value education.

Below are some selected messages for the purpose of demonstrating our conclusions, but happily submit that all of the responses had merit, at least in our humble opinion. To see all the responses, please click here and a big thank you to our Facebook friends for taking the time to provide such thoughtful responses.

What does your WSU diploma mean to you:

Rachel: I graduated with a Fine Arts Degree (Photography emphasis) in 2010! My husband (who is also a Coug Alumni) and I got married in 2011… I have a growing photography business which is based out of Spokane WA and does portraits and weddings all over! Recently I was even back in Pullman for engagement pictures! Go Cougs!

Janell:  It’s been 40 years since I graduated in Education and have so many great memories of my years at WSU! The Coug memories have continued through the years, since “Once a Coug, Always a Coug!”.  I taught for 38 years – Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd grades the first six years of teaching, and Kindergarten the last 32 years, much of it half time while our kids were young. I have been retired the last two years, and am enjoying a little subbing this year. I married a Coug and we were blessed with four daughters and a son…..all who kept up the family tradition at WSU. When we moved our first daughter to campus, I felt like I was coming home! Two of the daughters married Cougs, and our youngest daughter is now a freshman at WSU. I celebrated eight straight Mom’s Weekends, and now get to celebrate 4 more! There’s nothing better than being part of the WSU Family of proud, loyal Cougs!

Jackie: This June will mark forty years since I graduated with my BS in Physical Education to become a proud Cougar Alum. This June will also mark my retirement from 32 years of teaching PE and raising three Cougar sons along with my Cougar husband. Thanks WSU. GO COUGS!teaching_elementary

Sharon: Graduated with a BA in history and a secondary teaching certification in ’01. I’m in my 9th yr of teaching. I teach high school history and Spanish and I love my job!

Julie: I graduated from WSU in 1974. I left Enumclaw to learn how to be a French teacher at WAZZU, but I came home with a History degree and a minor in Foreign Language–mostly Latin and Greek, and with a lot of art classes under my belt. My degree has been a life-long gift to myself and to my family. At WSU, I learned how to think globally and shed small town thinking. I learned the basics I needed to manage my time, and my life. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. In the years since, I have worked as an artist for a major airplane manufacturer, at the VA, and for many years, with children in my local school district. I told each of the children that I came in contact with, always, to aim higher than their reach. It helped me instill in my own children a drive for knowledge. My daughter teaches in Tacoma, and my son is a senior at The Evergreen State College. Thanks, WSU!!!

Janell: My WSU diploma means a career that I love, teaching kindergarten, and being able to support my family. Go Cougs!!

Carmen: I finished my degree in Communications – public relations in 1989 and was blessed with an amazing Cougar husband . I worked for the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix for a few years then stayed home to raise and properly induct my children into the Cougar family. I went back to work 15 years ago managing a medical practice and now am a director for Providence Medical Group – two kids graduated from WSU and a third one on the way there! A great education – you never know just where your degree will lead you!

Lynn: One of my greatest life accomplishments …. will give me a lifetime of self esteem!

Gail : I worked in my field for a few years then became a stay at home mom for 15 years. Thanks to the four year degree I was able to go back and in just one year get certificated to teach school which I absolutely love

Aileen: I am a December 2012 grad, and I work at Olympic College, where I am the program assistant of the Multicultural Student Center. My experience with the MSS at WSU helped me to find a job I love and am passionate about, and will be forever grateful for. I am very thankful for all those at WSU who helped build my skills and really push me out of my comfort zone so that I can give my full potential. GO COUGS!!

Carolyn: I graduated in 2009 with a business degree – management and operations/human resources. Somehow I fell into the IT world and now work as a PeopleSoft Systems Analyst for the financial management side. I never knew my two basic accounting classes would be so handy!

Brandon: Since graduating last may I went from clubhouse manager for the Tacoma Rainiers, to working at Enterprise and now love my job as Southwest Region Manager for Baden sports.

Karla: I graduated right after 9/11 with a BA in Communications and an emphasis in advertising. As you can imagine or remember the advertising industry stalled after 9/11. I went to work for a large credit union as a teller after graduation and about a year and a half later I began my first job in the PR industry. I haven’t looked back since!! I love my job. I love my fellow Cougs. And, having a degree from WSU has propelled my career – with hard work on my part too, of course

Teresa:  I’m one of the few people I know who’s worked non-stop since graduation in the actual field in which I received my degree: 1985 Communications, with a focus on Advertising. After graduation I spent 14 years at a large ad agency in Seattle. And now the last 14 years I’ve been director or conducting marketing for a healthcare organization, and manage the advertising, among other things. Yay Wazzu! Thanks for equipping me for my career these last 28 years!

Tiffany: I graduated in the winter of 2010 with my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. I am now a 1st grade teacher at a Title 1 school in Kennewick and I absolutely love it (I’ll also add that I met my husband at WSU) 🙂

Carolyn: I got a teaching job immediately after finishing my BA in English Education (and after a wonderful, memorable undergraduate experience in Pullman), a job my college experience prepared me well for, and a job I enjoyed. Then, later, a few years later, I returned to WSU for my MA in the, at the time, new English Composition graduate program, which led me to my current job, a job I love, teaching at a community college. My years at WSU gave me a lifetime of friendships, excellent, enriching educational and leadership experiences, and connections that continue to serve me in my professional life. Plus, I literally run into fellow Cougs everywhere I go; it’s like an extended family!

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