Unleashing the Husky experience

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What is the Husky Experience?
Well, that depends on who you ask.

For some, it’s installing solar panels on residence hall roofs, creating a greener campus — and world — one project at a time.

For others, it’s putting on rocketry showcases for students across the Pacific Northwest, encouraging a curiosity for earth and space sciences in the next generation of Huskies.

It’s hosting a podcast. It’s playing the halftime show. It’s leading the Black Student Union, reporting the stories that need to be shared, walking the halls of the White House. Conducting forestry research in the forest — your own living laboratory.

It’s being immersed in a city of self-starters, adventurers and entrepreneurs. It’s being caffeinated, curious and connected, with the Pacific Northwest as your backyard.

It’s discovering your passion, your place in the world — and knowing that the student experience wouldn’t be possible without scholarships and a community of supporters rallying to help you get to, through and beyond the UW.

Anthony Martinez

Class of


Hometown: Loveland, Colorado

Major: Environmental Science and Resource Management

Minor: Quantitative Science

Dreams supported by:

  • College of the Environment Scholarship
  • Clayton Dale Carlisle Memorial Scholarship
  • Morten J. Lauridsen, Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund in Forest Resources
  • James Ridgeway Endowed Scholarship
  • David R. M. Scott Endowed Scholarship

In the UW Wildland Fire Sciences Lab, I’ve been given an incredible amount of my own agency and leeway in designing my own hands-on projects and discovering what I’m interested in.

I grew up in Colorado in the 1990s and 2000s, when there was a huge pine beetle outbreak — they killed all the trees. My family and I would drive into the mountains and everything would be brown, and I thought, “Hey, I want to do something to fix that.”

I took wildland fire management with professor Ernesto Alvarado last year. Forest fires are a popular topic within forestry, but I didn’t have an interest until I took his course. Now I’m an undergraduate research assistant in his Wildland Fire Sciences Lab, and even joined him last summer to do LIDAR at the King Fire in Northern California. LIDAR is a cool tool that uses laser technology to create a 3-D map of the forest to give us more accurate information much, much quicker — it’s the latest and greatest in our field.

I’m interested in sustainable forest management, and my research looks at how forest fuels change after post-fire salvage logging. Salvage logging is a contentious subject, and our aim is to add some objective data to the debate. If the effects of salvage logging on fuels can be quantified and predicted, forest managers can make more informed decisions on how to sustainably manage their forests after disturbances.

I joined the U.S. Navy right out of high school, providing patient care and working in purchasing as a hospital corpsman in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for three-and-a-half of my five years in the service. The Navy instilled a lot of good traits in me — a strong work ethic, integrity, and a mindfulness and appreciation for financial stewardship. An education is a privilege, and it means a lot to me that donors have entrusted me with their resources so I can focus on my courses.

I came to Seattle for the University of Washington — it’s one of the only universities with a program like this. After graduation, I want to go to graduate school at the UW to get a master of forest resources, then work as a forest researcher before moving into forest policy.”

Mayowa Aina

Class of


Hometown: Tacoma, Washington


  • International Studies
  • Informatics


  • Music
  • Comparative History of Ideas

Dreams supported by:

  • UWAA Homecoming Royalty Scholarship
  • Scott Barker Endowed Scholarship for Excellence in Informatics
  • Educational Opportunities Program Merit Scholarship
  • Russell/Thompson Legacy Mentorship Book Scholarship
  • UW Undergraduate Grant

Ultimately, I want to do something that’s collaborative, creative, hands-on and rooted in community service. I want to do something that makes a difference.

I studied abroad in Peru through the Comparative History of Ideas program the summer before my junior year. We learned from artists, community leaders and scholars how a post-conflict nation deals with collective memory and trauma. There was this really close relationship between the expression of art and the political things that were happening in the community, and I wanted to continue to unpack that idea in the context of my community here in Seattle.

Through my show on Rainy Dawg Radio, I’ve explored that intersection of art and politics by interviewing local musicians, dancers, visual artists, DJs and producers. I talk with them about what inspires their work, what they’re seeing in our community and what sort of activism they’re involved in. I’m also working on an audio project called “Letters from Young Activists,” where concerned citizens can write letters to anyone or anything. The theme is “What is your vision for a more just and equitable society?” I wrote my own letter called “Dear Whiteness.” Here’s an excerpt:

I love the Husky Marching Band. I’m a total band nerd, and I’m not even going to hide it. I started on piano when I was three, then picked up a clarinet in the fifth grade and continued on that all the way through my fourth year here at the UW. Through the band I met a whole bunch of people and made so many friends — if you play in the band, you’re automatically friends with other band kids wherever you go. It was a blast.

I went to my first Black Student Union meeting my freshman year, and never stopped. It was nice to be around people that look like you who just kind of get it. Last year, I was the president — there are a lot of really difficult but important topics we have to discuss about race and politics and intersectionality, and it was nice to have a space to speak freely while figuring out how to make certain decisions to best advocate for the black students on this campus.

I really benefited from the smaller scholarships — I think people underestimate the impact of those. People want to support you in whatever you’re doing however they can, and I took advantage of those opportunities. They were extremely helpful throughout my time at the UW, and allowed me to scale back on working so I could focus on my interests.”

Starla Sampaco

Class of


Hometown: Bellevue, Washington


  • Communication: Journalism
  • Law, Societies and Justice

Dreams supported by:

  • The Seattle Times/Blethen Family Communications School Minority Scholarship Endowed Fund
  • Pioneer News Group Excellence in Journalism Award for Diversity Journalism

The most rewarding stories to tell are the ones that amplify the voices of people who are often silenced or ignored. By giving them that platform, there are a lot of people we can help.

I was eight years old when I saw Rudi Bakhtiar on CNN’s Headline News, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be in broadcast journalism. I think what really stood out about Rudi was that you could tell she really cared. Even as a child, I picked up on her empathy, and it made me care, too.

Now that I’ve been building my network, a lot of my journalism heroes are people I know personally. We had Seattle Times photographer Erika Schultz teach a photojournalism class at the UW, and she’s become one of my mentors. Erika’s class taught me the importance of diversity and inclusion both in front of the camera and behind the camera. Having the opportunity to interact with people like Erika and have conversations about their work really changed my approach to video journalism.

I was an on-camera reporter for local youth media show “What’s Good, 206?” in high school. By the time I was a freshman at the UW, I had interviewed public figures, local leaders and celebrities like Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. That experience really reaffirmed my desire to pursue journalism at the UW. In spring 2016, I coordinated multimedia stories as The Daily’s digital projects editor. Now, I produce my own videos and intern at KING 5. My dream is to share stories involving immigration and underrepresented communities.

One of the reasons my parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines was to give my sister and me access to a great education, so I always knew I’d go to college. But without scholarship support, I wouldn’t have had opportunities to branch out from the University — and those opportunities opened the doors to more opportunities. Experiences are what set us apart, and I wouldn’t have had some of mine without people helping me along the way.”

Austin Wright-Pettibone

Class of


Hometown: Kirkland, Washington

Major: Chemical Engineering

Minor: Applied Mathematics

Dreams supported by:

  • Bernice Frank Scholarship in Chemical Engineering
  • Armstrong Scholarship for Chemical Engineering
  • Neal and Helen Fosseen Endowed Scholarship in International Studies
  • Mary Frances and Frederic L. Crisman Endowed Scholarship

Whether I work in engineering, public policy or a combination of the two, I want to do work that makes a difference in society, impacts people daily and informs the direction of our country.

I got plugged into President Obama’s campaign when I was in high school. It was such a rush of excitement to be able to not just witness history, but be part of making changes in our society. I think that’s one of the great things about getting involved with the political process. My time volunteering led to an internship at the White House my freshman year. I started the week before Obama’s second inauguration, and got to help with everything from social media to the State of the Union. It was an amazing opportunity.

In 2016, Governor Inslee appointed me to the Board of Regents, which is a huge honor. The UW changed my life. Beyond teaching me a whole lot, it’s made me a better person, a better leader and someone who feels a strong commitment to the state and to the University. To me, being selected is about ensuring everyone who comes to the University has an experience as good as — or better than — mine. I want to share with people the same sense of wonder and excitement I feel.

I worked as an undergraduate researcher in the Carothers Lab. I like to explain our work as if we’re flipping a light switch in E. coli in order to get the bacteria to produce industrial plastics. The goal is to sustainably produce chemicals through engineering controls in bacteria. Of all the engineering disciplines, it’s chemical engineering that really sits at the intersection between science and society — there are giant public benefits that can come from research like this.

Scholarships are all about creating access and opportunity for students. When you receive a scholarship, it’s saying that somebody believes in you and wants to invest in you so that you can go out and make the difference you want to make in the world. In one part it’s about validation, but it’s also about giving you opportunities you may not have otherwise.”

Tyler Valentine

Class of


Hometown: Greenacres, Washington


  • Applied Physics
  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Astronomy

Dreams supported by:

  • Washington NASA Space Grant Scholarship
  • College of the Environment Scholarship

I read ‘Cosmos’ by Carl Sagan, and that got me super into planetary science and piqued my interest in space exploration. I love researching space, science and technology, and I love sharing that with others.

I asked for a chemistry set for my birthday every year until I turned 16. I never got one! I grew up in a lower-middle-class family, and the only science I really got to practice at home was cooking — cooking is chemistry. But then I took a physics class, and that got me going on the hard physical sciences. I started to teach myself about astronomy and astrophysics, got super interested in planetary science and space exploration, and now I’m obsessed.

I’m part of the Advanced Propulsion Lab, where we work on electric propulsion for CubeSats, or small satellites. I’m also a member of the UW CubeSat team. We’re currently designing a small satellite that we’ll be sending up to space in 2017 — we’re testing a communication system and a plasma propulsion system, and my job is to predict when the satellite will pass over Seattle in orbit.

I’m a Washington NASA Space Grant scholar, and last year we launched an RSO called SPACE (Scholars Pursuing Academic Celestial Exploration), a community built around research and outreach opportunities to increase the number of minority students in earth and space sciences. We do rocketry showcases around the Pacific Northwest where kids can build their own model rockets and get a mini tour of the solar system — the goal is to encourage curiosity.

I’m really into planetary science and space exploration in general, but my main passion is asteroid mining. The idea is that you can go to an asteroid, latch on a spacecraft and then extract a bunch of resources from it. My dream is to start my own asteroid mining company after pursuing a Ph.D. in space science and technology.

I transferred to the UW my freshman year with the help of scholarship support, which alleviates so much stress. I was working part-time while going to school full-time and participating in research, which meant I couldn’t fully devote my energy to my studies or my research. Now I can focus on what I really love to do.”

Veronica Guenther

Class of


Hometown: Woodinville, Washington


  • Economics
  • Community, Environment and Planning

Dreams supported by: CoMotion Mary Gates Innovation Scholarship

It’s so meaningful to help other students make their vision for a more environmentally conscious campus become a reality. They get to see their idea actually implemented, and then carry the leadership skills they’ve acquired along the way far beyond the UW.

I’ve always been excited about the sustainability movement. Given the impending impacts of climate change, we’re at a critical time where we need to change the way our society interacts with the environment. Sustainability is all about meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

I’m interested in using economic tools and community-empowering practices to promote a more sustainable society. I’d love to see more businesses realize that integrating sustainability into long-term business strategy isn’t just about social responsibility, but about long-term economic viability, too.

The UW Campus Sustainability Fund is a student-run, student-funded grant organization that supports student-led sustainability projects. Since our founding in 2010, we’ve funded over 80 projects around campus. My job as the outreach coordinator is to continually seek out new departments and student groups to engage with sustainability, then help promote their work on campus.

I participated in Urban@UW’s NextSeattle: Innovating for Urban Social Challenges workshop, where I was placed on an interdisciplinary team and charged with developing and pitching a solution for a better Seattle. My team won first place — and a scholarship — for our proposal for a homeless youth career center called JobBox.

The big takeaway from NextSeattle was that the best decisions are made when all the voices in a room get heard. In creating this program, we really leveraged our capacity as a cross-disciplinary group. Not only did each UW team member make their own uniquely valuable contribution to the proposal, but we also made the extra effort to seek out and listen to the experiences of homeless youth in the community. It was rewarding to earn the scholarship because it reaffirmed that an inclusive process is important in problem-solving, especially in issues of social equity.”

Originally published October 2016

What you care about
can change the world

The University of Washington is undertaking its most ambitious campaign ever: Be Boundless — For Washington, For the World. You can help transform the Husky student experience by contributing to these funds.