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Tia Benson-Tolle | At-Large Trustee

Class of 1986, Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering

Portrait: Tia Benson Tolle

Why I Serve

I grew up in Shoreline with four siblings, a father who taught high school chemistry, and a mother who was a nurse. We felt blessed to have an affordable, top-rated university located in our proverbial backyard. Even as a kid, I benefited from UW, visiting my oldest sister who attended UW and exploring the campus and the Ave, and studying piano with a UW music major.

As a UW student, I worked part-time in the engineering advising office and learned about the many different engineering paths. That exposure contributed to making engineering feel more approachable, especially at a time when gender was a factor. Even though I ultimately focused on engineering, I continued with music at UW and enjoyed the opportunity to expand my experience. UW educates the whole human and encourages exploration of whatever excites you. It’s an interdisciplinary ecosystem that puts you in proximity to world-class people across many fields.

As alumni, it’s important to be role models for the diverse ways one can apply their education. UW is rich in talent and provides robust opportunities to explore. It’s not just about earning grades and diplomas. It’s about creating lifelong learners and the power of contributing to one’s community.


Tia Benson Tolle is a Director of Materials and Fabrication at Boeing. She previously worked at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and was a Space Shuttle Flight Crew Instructor at the Johnson Space Center. A Washington native, she enjoys hiking across the beautiful backdrop of the Northwest, daily walks with her German Shepherd, Lyka, and playing music on her piano and cello. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Edmonds Community College and serves on the Edmonds Mural Projects Board.