Lori Anunciacion-Mina, ’87, ’09, is a proud UW alumna who has served on the Friends of the Educational Opportunity Program (FEOP) board for the last six years. She recently answered some questions about her experience as a UW student, how OMA&D impacted her educational journey and what inspires her to ensure that today’s Huskies have the same opportunities she did.
Where are you from originally?
Anunciacion-Mina: I’m a first generation Filipina, and was born and raised in Seattle.
A-M: I’m a proud second generation Husky. I recently found a photo of my dad taken in 1938-39 with the UW Filipino Club. He was a member of the first generation of Filipinos who attended the UW. It’s a very cool picture. All the men are in their 3-piece suits. Growing up living near the UW, I knew someday that I would graduate from the UW just like my dad.
What was your favorite UW memory?
A-M: Growing up in north Seattle, I was one of the few Filipino kids at my school. It wasn’t until I started at the UW that I realized how welcomed I would feel being in an environment with such a diverse student body. Despite the size of the UW, I felt part of the community whether it was with the School of Social Work, the Filipino Students Association or most recently the Executive MPA Cohort 6 from the Evans School.
Who was your favorite professor while you were at the UW and why?
A-M: I would say that Michael Shadow, the Evans School professor for strategic communications, was my favorite. He is a gifted and talented public speaker.
What is one thing you wish you would have done or taken advantage of during your time at the UW? A-M: Study Abroad
Were you involved in any OMA&D programs as a student and if so, what impact did that make on your educational and professional journeys?
A-M: I started at the UW the last semester of my senior year in high school. The transition mid-year was tough, but the IC (Instructional Center) tutors were my saving grace! Until this day I credit them for helping me pass Math 124. Also daunting were the many papers I had to write. Anytime I needed help, the IC was there for me. My EOP academic advisor, Lolie Farinas, was also instrumental in helping me maneuver the complexities of a large university.
What is your current profession and where do you work?
A-M: I work for the City of Seattle Human Services Department where I manage contracts with social services agencies that serve vulnerable elders and people with disabilities.
What led you to your current position?
A-M: After earning my BA in Social Welfare, I worked at the City of Seattle. I then worked at a non-profit agency for a couple of years. I realized that I missed the public sector, but still felt passionate for working with and advocating for underserved populations. I returned to the City of Seattle but this time at the Human Services Department where I began work supporting the aging population. After our second son was born, I had the best of both worlds where I worked part-time at the Human Services Department and stayed home part-time. Before returning to full-time work, I finished my Executive MPA. Now after 20+ working in public service, I’ve realized that I was destined to become a public servant.
Why did you decide to join the Friends of the Educational Opportunity Program?
A-M: Colleen Fukui-Sketchley invited me to my first FEOP Celebration in 2006. After hearing the students and their challenges they had faced while maintaining an almost 4.0, I wanted to help make the UW a reality for students who needed and deserved extra support. I have fond memories of my days at the UW and how the IC and EOP helped me through my college experience. It feels natural to share that opportunity with others.
How long have you served on the FEOP Board?
A-M: Six years.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of being a member of FEOP?
A-M: I have to admit giving away people’s money to worthy students is fun, but seriously, serving on the scholarship committee is an awesome way to hear the stories and it continues to inspire me to serve on the board.
Planning is already underway for Celebration 2014. How would you describe the significance of this event to those who aren’t familiar with it?
A-M: Every year Celebration is a time to highlight the accomplishments of UW students who despite major life hurdles can stay focused on their goals to finish their undergraduate degrees and pursue graduate studies.
You have served on the scholarship committee for Celebration the last few years. What types of qualities do you look for in the students you award scholarships to?
A-M: In addition to showing a commitment to their academics, I like to see how they’ve turned any adversities in their lives to opportunities and what their commitment is to giving back to the greater good.
Are you involved in any other volunteer work, UW or otherwise?
A-M: I feel fortunate to have been able to work part-time during the busiest time of raising our three sons. These past several years have been filled with volunteering in the classroom or for various K-12 parent and fundraising committees. I knew my role as a parent extended into the classroom and was vital to the school community as a whole. Most recently, I stay active in my church community where I serve on the finance and Christian education committees.
What inspires you to give back?
A-M: Working in social service, my passion is to advocate for the under-served. I witness many people who face multiple barriers in life. Although I work with the aging population, there’s a special place in my heart for college-age students. Sometimes students don’t have available support networks. Sometimes they’re caregivers or a source of income for their families. Growing up I was taught the value of a college education. I hate the idea that students have to drop out of college because they can’t afford their tuition or, even worse, don’t even consider college because of the cost. For me a college education is as basic as a high school degree. Giving back also keeps me well-balanced and fulfilled.
What advice might you have to other alumni who are interested in giving back to OMA&D?
A-M: Back in my day, it was realistic to attend the UW, work part-time and pay for tuition. But now, students are faced with the rising cost of tuition along with the cost of daily living and sometimes even having to work to help support their family. Many of these students are first-generation or low-income students. We may not all have the resources to start our own scholarship endowments, but we do have a network of family, friends, and colleagues who can help build one. This is an investment in our future leaders.
One assignment at the Evans School was to write a personal mission statement. A quote from mine: “To be a leader where I am the most needed and make a difference.” I may not be the director of my department, but I see my role as a leader on the FEOP board where I commit my time to bring in others who can help make a difference to some very special Huskies.