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 …

Cougar Chat, In the News, My WSU Impact

My WSU Impact – meet Eva Navarijo and why WSU Impact is one more way to give back

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Welcome to our third entry in our series, “My WSU Impact”. This week we proudly highlight Ms. Eva Navarijo (’04), an active leader for the Washington State University Alumni Association, a counselor and director for various student programs at WSU, and a member of WSU Impact.  We recently sat down with Eva to talk about why she chose to join WSU Impact and how she uses the resources and tools accessed at www.wsuimpact.dev to contact her three legislators. We sincerely thank Eva for the generosity of her time, talent, and spirit!

Ann Goos, WSU Impact Director
Great to see you again, Eva – so, what’s new in your life?

I’ve been busy! I am now the Program Coordinator for the First Scholars Program here at WSU. The program is designed to dramatically increase the graduation rate of first-generation college students and to prepare each scholar for a life with self-awareness, success, and significance. Our mission is accomplished by incorporating research-based personal development strategies in our holistic programming. WSU is one of seven universities in the nation to have this innovative program.

Congratulations, Eva! As a student at WSU, did you benefit from such programs?

Yes, I benefited from similar TRiO programs. I came to WSU as a first generation student and had plans to be a teacher. But because of amazing mentors and professors, the assistance of programs under TRiO, and the academic programs at WSU, I discovered that my passion was learning more about the impacts of ethnicity in culture, and changed my major to English with a second major in Comparative Ethnic Studies. I was lucky to be exposed to research and a new world of studies as an undergraduate at WSU – it really changed my life. I graduated with honors in 2004 and later started on my graduate studies at Saint Louis University.

WSU is clearly a big part of your life – not only as an alumnae, but as a counselor and director in supporting students.

I did benefit from Student Support Services (a part of the TRiO programs) at WSU. It was because of my exceptional experience that I chose to give back to WSU and provide assistance, counseling, and guidance to first generation students. I am incredibly grateful to the mentors and counselors who supported me. My heart told me to pay it forward, but it was my excellent education and life-long relationships with WSU that made it possible to do something I love and is important to many students.

You not only help WSU students succeed, you have also been an active volunteer for WSU and the WSUAA. Are there enough hours in your day?

You bet – WSU is a central part of my life as I care deeply about education and the value of a college degree. I received so much from my years as an undergraduate at WSU. I want to support the programs that helped me succeed in my studies while continuing to build on my  friendships that will last a lifetime. I have a genuine love for WSU. I was a leader for the Latino Chapter of WSUAA, serving on scholarship committees and being an active, engaged alumnae is a great way to give back to the university and the students I care about.

What led you to join WSU Impact, a program under the WSUAA?

It is the least I can do for the university! It is important that as Cougars and supporters of our university, we join together and lend support during this time of fiscal crisis.  Sending a positive message to your legislators explaining why you care about WSU and higher education is one of the easiest things you can do, yet provides a wealth of benefits. Higher education funding takes a commitment from the state, our private donors, and grants to make a sustainable public university like WSU.

What do you mean by that, Eva?

Well, state funding is essential to public universities like WSU. I see the effects on students as legislatively authorized tuition goes up because the legislature chose to cut baseline operational and maintenance funding. These operational cuts are affecting all programs. I believe that we as private citizens need to speak up and let our legislators know that we care about affordable education. I have shared that I am worried about funding higher education through tuition, thereby putting even more pressure on scholarship programs to help more and more students.

Have you been active politically or was joining WSU Impact your first foray into citizen advocacy?

No, not really. I have sent in postcards in support of federal programs, but WSU Impact lets me do so much more, on my personal time and with my own smart phone and laptop. I am grateful that WSU Impact makes it clear that I don’t have to be an expert when I contact my legislators. All I need to do is share my concerns and the impacts I am seeing.  As I said earlier, this is the least I can do. Also, I have heard back from my legislators – the notes I have received are positive and they thanked me for reaching out!eva nava

As a strong volunteer leader for WSU – what would you like to share as we end our time together?

I hope every Cougar joins WSU Impact. WSU Impact allows Cougs to engage together in supporting WSU in Olympia. There is an urgency to let legislators know that years of disinvestment in public higher education can’t continue. I am grateful that I can join with hundreds — and hopefully, down the road – thousands of Cougs lending our voices in support of WSU and the good work it does. We really do hold the world of big ideas in our hands.


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