Six UW Tacoma students were recognized by this year’s Husky 100 for their work at UWT and within their communities. The winners are Mira Farrow, Isabell Murray, Katalina Biondi, Ashley Richards, Long Tran and Norma Purdom.
Each recipient of the Husky 100 has actively worked to improve their communities and make connections between the classroom with the outside world. According to the Husky 100’s information page, recipients possess innovative thinking, as well as have the capacity to be a leader in the roles they find themselves in. For each of these students, being recognized means something different.
Students who were recognized take what they learn from the classroom and apply it to communities both on and off campus. Farrow has been working with community activism — first with environmental and social justice through drug policy and prison industrial complex reform in the 1990s, and then LGBTQ activism in the 2000s with a specialization now on transgender subjectivities — and worked at the Center for Equity and Inclusion. Farrow was part of the planning committee for the first pride event on the UWT campus last year, and has also worked with the Rainbow Center and the Gender Alliance of South Sound.
For Farrow and other recipients, the recognition is a way of validation for all of the work they have put into their communities and academic endeavors.
“I’m humbled,” Farrow said, “Intensely humbled and honored. I’m a first-generation student, and much older than a lot of traditional students. To be recognized by the Husky 100 and the top scholar of the MIS program. It is validating.”
Many of the students who are Husky 100 recipients are thankful for the advice and teaching which mentors and professors have given them, as well as the encouragement from peers and family to continually press forward. Tran, president of both the UWT film club and Vietnamese Student Association, a member of the Global Honors program and award-winning filmmaker, explained who pushed him in his academic career.
“Dr. Joanne Clarke Dillman and Dr. David Coon are two faculty members that I’d like to mention, who were instrumental in inspiring me pursuing [sic] a career in academia,” Tran said. “Both of them teach film and media studies, and my close relationship with them throughout my time here inspired me to become an instructor myself, teaching film and media through my own lens. They served as my references to several experiential and academic opportunities … I credit them with helping me pursue graduate school, not only by serving as my graduate references but role models as well.”
Looking towards the future, UWT Husky 100 winners each are taking something different away from the experience and opportunity of becoming a part of this honor. In being a member of the Husky 100, recipients receive opportunities to expand their network of people and contacts, a year’s membership to the Husky Alumni Association once they graduate and cross-campus advising and support.
Richards, who is studying Sustainable Urban Development through the lens of Environmental Studies, said that she was excited at the opportunity after she graduates to stay connected with the campus she calls home.
“I think it’ll be easier to stay connected to the UW community, and especially the UW Tacoma community, after graduation,” Richards said. “As I have been preparing for graduation the last couple of quarters, I have been thinking ‘man, I am never going to go back there,’ but now I am thinking that since UWT has been my home for four years, I don’t want to totally cut that connection. I want to stay involved and work with other students who are in the same career as me.”
For students wanting to apply for next year’s group, or who might be on the fence about apply, Murray — a Law and Policy major, president of the Pre-Law Society and advocate for criminal justice reform, especially juvenile criminal justice reform — offered the following advice:
“You always miss the shots you don’t take, right? So, if you have any interest in applying for Husky 100, do it. I didn’t think I would get it, but I did, and it has been amazing and such an honor, and they will honor you in the same way. Apply for everything you possibly can. You never know what you’re going to get.”
To learn more about the UWT Husky 100 students, as well as other Husky 100 students from Seattle and Bothell, go to washington.edu/husky100.