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Student profile: Ashley Krzeszowski

Many of you have probably done this college thing before, either at another university, or at a smaller community college. Hopefully the UW is your final stop before graduation day! I cannot completely express how happy I am to finally be part of the Dawg Pack, as I am transferring in (and staying in) this quarter! If you are a returning Husky, I congratulate you on your persistence and wish you good luck with your studies. My path to the UW is not in the slightest way conventional, but I hope to make you smile at some of my experiences with the transfer process thus far.

 I am a Seattleite, born and bred, and have always known that my education would lead me to a career in public health or something along the lines of translational science, taking relevant findings from research and making it applicable to the people; regarding nutrition, health, disease, vaccines, etc. I applied to the UW right from high school… only to receive a very slim letter a few weeks later. I wound up at Western Washington University for a year, and without much motivation and money, I thought it would be better to finish prerequisites for a degree in Biology at South Seattle Community College.  Not wanting to move away for schooling again, I knew that the University of Washington was my one and only, and I had to ensure that I would be as successful of an applicant as ever. I became very close with my professors (tip #1), current and future, by dropping in at office hours, going for coffee and simply taking the time to listen and learn from them (tip #2).  But my biggest motivation was visiting with my admissions counselor  and department advisors, even before applying (tip #3). I carried with me a tattered and well-loved copy of the Molecular & Cellular Biology Course Checklist, highlighting and circling courses that I wanted to take, marking off the ones that I had finished. That little yellow sheet of paper was a road map for me, which I had lacked the first few years of my college education. I sought out the professors of the classes I was excited to take once I transferred in, toured their labs, visited their offices at Fred Hutch, and even went sailing with a few of them and their PhD candidates! In my attempts to learn from them, I was offered stories, advice, help, and encouragement to continue on my path to success. I know I can always call on them for more assistance. I had such a big team of supporters rooting me on, and I knew there was very little left on my Check List that I could take at South Seattle - it was time to apply!

The waiting game was awful, and I waited a very long time to be told that I wasn’t accepted. Sad and dejected, I visited my advisor and counselors for advice. I had coffee with my professors to talk strategy and really took a second look at my intentions and goals for the future. With the support from all of my mentors I wrote a letter to petition the Admissions office to reconsider my application based on my most recent grades, my relevant work experience at a biotech company and on South’s campus, and my recently started internship at the Fred Hutch’s Public Health Sciences department. I felt I had so many things going for me in support of my major and career interests, along with letters of recommendation, and my petition was approved! I was in!

If you’re hoping to transfer in to the UW, or wondering how to get the most out of your time in school, I hope you can pull something from my experiences with transferring thus far. It may seem like a lot of effort, but it’s worth it to visit your professors and advisors, to develop relationships with them. Your good manners, dependability and organization may set you apart from the other students and foster a career-long mentor and colleague. Developing effective strategies toward college completion – and all of your future endeavors – is a daunting task, but your mentors can make the difference. My goal is to finish the few quarters I have remaining to complete my Molecular & Cellular Biology degree, and a minor in Mathematics. I hope I have time to squeeze in a few football games too! I’m also toying with the idea of grad school to study Epidemiology, but there’s time to figure it out. There will be plenty of input from my mentors about that as well! Best of luck this quarter everyone, I hope to see you in office hours soon enough!