Western Washington University Alumni Association

Annalise Combs

Major - English Literature
Hometown - Bellevue, WA

“I look forward to continuing my schooling at Western, earning my bachelors in English Literature and my certification in secondary education and hopefully one day giving back to the Bellingham community by becoming a teacher here.”

From a very young age I had the natural ability to comfort, care for and advise others. I was always the person my friends came to for advise and support, and I loved helping them. When I was nine years old my father suffered a mental breakdown due to his various mental illnesses. As a result of his breakdown I took responsibility for him. Once again, I found that I was good at caring for others. I provided my father with love, care and support throughout his many ups and downs. When I reached high school, I chose to volunteer in classrooms as an academic coach, and discovered not only was I good at helping people with their personal problems, I was also great at advising them academically. From that moment I knew I wanted to become a teacher. Not simply an educator but a memorable presence in my future students lives and a role-model and a supporter in their times of need.

This scholarship has impacted my life greatly. Without the Western Washington Alumni Association Scholarship it would be challenging for me to continue and complete my education. As an independent student, even working two different jobs, I am still unable to pay for my schooling entirely. Moreover, by granting me the money to pursue my education, the Alumni Association has granted me the opportunity to achieve my goals and aspirations of becoming a high school teacher. By allowing me to continue and eventually complete my education I will be able to positively impact my future student's lives and inspire them to see the beauty in language and literature, along with supporting them in their personal lives. Western Washington's Alumni Association is making a difference in my life, so I can make a difference in other student's lives.

Each and every person’s life has been filled with its fair share of adversity,mine included. My father suffers from bi-polar disorder, ADD, OCD and PTSD. When I was just nine, my father threatened to take his own life. In that moment I made the conscious decision to grow up and care for my father and myself. For the past eleven years I have been witness to nights of screaming and pain and mornings of slurred words and incoherence; to a kitchen piled high with dirty dishes and riddled with broken glass. I have seen the man I once viewed as my hero hit rock bottom. And I have been there to pick him back up. Instead of letting my challenges rob me of my joy, I have embraced them and become a strong, independent, driven and loving twenty-year-old woman.

When I am not studying I am a very active person. For the past 12 years I have been playing tennis. I have many friends at Western who play tennis as well, and we frequently get together to play. Additionally, for the past year I have developed a passion for lifting weights. I utilize Western's Recreation Center no less than five days a week. Moreover, I am very active in Western's Compass 2 Campus program and am often out in Lynden working with my students. Finally, I also dabble in photography, healthy cooking and hiking.


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