Multicultural Alumni Partnership

Meet the 2022 MAP Distinguished Alumni

Founded in 1994, the Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) is dedicated to promoting diversity at the UW and in the UW alumni community, and are leaders in addressing issues of equality and equity through scholarships, mentoring, lectures and University community engagement. MAP is open to everyone; the only qualification is a passion for diversity and social justice.

MAP administers a number of awards and scholarships. We are proud to introduce the 2022 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni awards here.

Emile Pitre

Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Alumnus

Portrait of Emile PitreAs a UW graduate student in the late 1960’s, Emile Pitre was one of the founding Black Student Union members whose calls for diversity and equity to university leadership led to the establishment of what became the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D). Since then, he has spent almost four decades with the organization, serving in various roles including tenures as director of the Instructional Center and associate vice president for assessment. Emile’s dedication to advocacy and educational opportunity for underrepresented minority, first-generation and low-income students at the UW is unparalleled…

The son of a sharecropper, Pitre was born in Louisiana and grew up with seven siblings. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and received a full-ride scholarship for the first seven years of college. Pitre received a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Southern University and master’s degree and Ph.C. in chemistry from the UW, where he was a National Institutes of Health Fellow.

After graduating, Emile worked as a senior chemist and educational planner, but ended up rejecting an offer that would have paid $20,000 more in order to return to the UW in 1982 and serve as the head chemistry instructor with OMA&D’s Instructional Center. Seven years later he was promoted to director. During his tenure, the IC won two University Recognition Awards and more than 11,000 IC students earned UW bachelor’s degrees. Emile went on to serve as OMA&D assistant and associate vice president for assessment and is currently in a part-time role as senior advisor to the OMA&D vice president.

For over 20 years, Emile has served as an advisor to the UW’s Black Student Union. He also led the production of an award-winning documentary in 2007 that highlighted the BSU’s role in the establishment of OMA&D. In 2008, Emile and the other founding BSU members were presented the Odegaard Award together.

Emile is a member of Phi Beta Sigma, Incorporated and has held various leadership roles within the fraternity. In 2010, he received the Sigma Inspirational Award for dedication of service to education and selected as the 23rd member of the Western Region Distinguished Service Society (DSS) in 2018. Emile has been the recipient of several other honors including the UW Professional Staff Organization Award for Excellence, induction into the Northwest African American Museum Elder’s Circle, and has three academic scholarships in his name. In May, 2021, Emile became the 47th recipient of the distinguished Charles E. Odegaard Award, regarded as the highest achievement in diversity at the University of Washington.

By the time of his retirement in 2014, he was recognized as an “elder statesman” of the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, not only for his knowledge of OMA&D history but also for his dedication to student success throughout his career.

Emile has long been entrenched in documenting the history of OMA&D and has completed a book manuscript on its 50-year history scheduled to be published in summer 2022. Emile and his wife love salsa dancing and appear in one video on YouTube. An avid photographer, he is known to photograph several OMA&D and UW events and has served as the official photographer for the UW Graduate School Public Lectures. His favorite quotation (attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes), reads as follows: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Seattle Community Kitchen Collective

MAP Community Organization Award

Members of Seattle Kitchen Collective preparing foodThe Seattle Garden Kitchen Collective is a community-driven restaurant in Seattle, Washington focusing on the education of Filipinx cuisine. Rooted in Beacon Hill, they serve a seasonal beverage program including personal and intimate Filipinx dishes inspired by childhood memories. The Community Kitchen program was established in March 2020. Since then, they have been proud to provide food for those in need, as well as raising relief for those in our community affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Even beyond the government-mandated shutdown, the Collective provides food to more than 500 people each week and is always looking for opportunities to promote education about food security in Seattle.

Varisha Khan

MAP Young Alumna Award

Portrait of Varisha KhanVarisha Khan is a City Councilmember in the city of Redmond, WA. Born in Dallas, Texas to a middle-class American Muslim family, Varisha received her BA degree from the University of Washington in Communication—Journalism and Political Science.

Councilmember Varisha Khan won her election last year, unseating a 12-year incumbent to become one of the first two Muslim women elected in the State of Washington and the youngest elected to serve on Redmond’s city council…

From a young age, Khan knew she had to put herself in politics to fight systemic racism and change the system of oppression of minority communities. As a councilmember, she has advocated for environmental sustainability, criminal justice reform, and renters’ and workers’ rights.

During the 2016 presidential cycle, Varisha was elected to serve as one of the youngest Presidential Electors in the historic Electoral College to represent voters from WA State’s 1st Congressional District. Varisha has worked at numerous nonprofit organizations in King County where she focused her work on making media and government more representative and inclusive. Most recently, Varisha worked as a Political Action Committee (PAC) Director of OneAmerica Votes.


Marcus Harden

MAP Distinguished Alumnus

Portrait of Marcus HardenMarcus Harden is a proud educator, mentor and advocate. He is a proud Rainier Beach/Skyway raised Seattleite (Rainier Beach HS) and a proud University of Washington graduate from the UW Danforth Program (M.Ed Policy Studies). Marcus’ proudest accomplishments are in service to young people and families through policy and direct service. Beginning his career as an intern in the United States Senate (with the Honorable Hillary R. Clinton), he moved on  to service with King County Superior Court through Family Law Facilitation…

Marcus then found his passion as a counselor, IB Community Coordinator, Community Engagement Manager, Student Family Advocate and Assistant Principal Intern with Seattle Public Schools for nearly 15 years (Madrona K-8, WA State Charter School Association, Rainier Beach HS and Interagency Academy).

Marcus has proudly served in the non-profit sector as Executive Director of The Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP) and as Co-Founder and Director of Programs for The Academy for Creating Excellence (ACE) in service to young Black and Brown men through experiential and social-emotional learning. Marcus currently serves as the Senior Director of Academics & Development for Overtime Elite Academy, co-designing and overseeing the educational and youth development program for gifted young professional athletes in Atlanta, GA.

Marcus’ proudest accomplishments are as a foster adoptive parent of six; mentoring and advocating for youth across the country through “loveful” practices; and making his parents (Brenda & Charles Harden) and extended family, friends, mentees and anyone he comes in contact with know they are worthy and loved.

My Tam Nguyen

MAP Distinguished Alumna

Portrait of My Tam NguyenMỹ Tâm H. Nguyễn is the CEO and founder of làmdi, supporting the people behind impactful ideas in art, business, entrepreneurship, investment, and philanthropy to launch, transition, and scale. Her clients range from growth equity to nonprofits, all with the same goal: to be intentional leaders and teams delivering meaningful and impactful opportunities in an extraordinary time. Her work ranges from DEI recruiting, organizational change management, and executive coaching through launch and scale, to mobilizing communities across the U.S. and the E.U. around a new idea or program. She has spent her career connecting sectors, resources and networks to transform cities, companies and transatlantic initiatives…

Before launching làmdi, she served as the Chief of Staff for the National Innovation Service (NIS), a systems change agency with clients across the U.S. focusing on addressing the disproportionality of BIPOC communities experiencing homelessness. Mỹ Tâm previously co-founded Blokable, a smart modular housing solutions company and served as Blokable’s VP of Business Development, launching the company in WA, OR, and CA to address the housing shortage crisis. Her public sector experience includes serving as the Governor of Washington’s first Director of New Media; the Mayor of Seattle’s Deputy Director of External Affairs; and the deputy campaign manager of Seattle’s first congressional race in 30+ years. She led public engagement for Seattle’s city planning team through the 2008 recession from developing Seattle’s neighborhood plans to launching Waterfront Seattle, one of the city’s largest infrastructure projects to date. She also has extensive experience with economic development for BIPOC, immigrant and refugee small businesses and communities in the U.S. and E.U., working in Bergamo, Italy; Paris, France; Chelsea, MA; and with a collective of 200+ small holder Black farmers in the American south.

Mỹ Tâm has a graduate degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in urban planning, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in journalism and international studies. Nationally, she is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program, the Truman National Security Project and the New American Leaders Program. Locally, she is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow, the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation and the Institute for a Democratic Future. She is a frequent public speaker on civic engagement, leadership and entrepreneurship, including at Edelman and Logic Monitor. She serves on the board for Community Credit Lab, providing zero percent interest loans and alternative finance structures for those historically left out of traditional financial systems.

As a proud Husky, she is deeply grateful to the Ethnic Cultural Center and Theater, the Instructional Center, the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, the Alumni Association, the Department of Communication, the Career Center and the Student Activities Office whose staff and faculty all provided her with a home and beloved community during her formative undergraduate years.

Dr. Mike Tulee (Yakama)

MAP Distinguished Alumnus

Portrait of Mike TuleeYoung Mike grew up on multiple Indian reservations. Mike’s earliest reservation memories consisted of some very snowy winters, pine trees, the Vietnam War and The Beatles. Like many other kids on Indian reservations, possessing and enjoying comforts were few and far between, with hand-me-downs being a norm. Mike was an average student, a skinny kid that collected sports and comic books, played dodgeball and watched “Johnny Quest” cartoons on Saturday mornings…

Trudging his way into high school, Tulee was a shy kid that was regularly distracted by the usual teenage angst and uncertainty. Mike played multiple sports, but it would be basketball that would be his passion. His senior year in high school, Mike earned “All-Conference” honors at his high school. After high school, Mike enlisted into the US Air Force. While on leave, he met his wife, Betsy. Mike exited the US Air Force with the rank of Sergeant. Mike applied for, and was accepted into the University of Washington. Tulee recalls that “hands down, the best time(s) of my life occurred during my University of Washington days.” Mike finished his bachelor’s degree in geography at the UW and simultaneously finished the university’s State Teacher’s Certification Program.

Mike first teaching job was with the Seattle Public Schools. While working in the Seattle Public School system, Mike earned his Master’s Degree in Education Management and Planning. Mike eventually became an administrator within the Seattle Public School system. Over the years, Mike has worn multiple professional “hats,” including a federal education specialist; a private consulting/management company specialist; a policy analyst/outreach director; and a Boys and Girls Club of America recruiter.

Tulee also finished his Ph. D. studies, dissertation and general exam in 2015. During his years as a Ph. D student, he was afforded the opportunity to teach numerous courses at the UW. Currently Mike is the executive director for the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation.

Over Mike’s life, he has been fortunate enough to be surrounded by very smart and encouraging elders. He also worked at numerous and rewarding jobs that he believes afforded him strategic professional tools. Tulee also believes that he was very lucky to be influenced by his father’s work ethic, his mother’s unrelenting belief in her kids, gaining numerous insightful advice from admirable folks, being taught by great teachers, and having a very supportive wife!

For more information about diversity issues and programs at the University of Washington, please visit the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity website.