Western Washington University Alumni Association


Major - Industrial Design
Hometown - Bellingham, WA

“I am honored to be recognized in this way and grateful for your investment in my future.”

After several years of success as a freelance graphic and web designer, I am eager to pursue more formal training in industrial design at Western Washington University. Western’s strong Industrial Design (ID) program is an excellent match for my interest. 

From an early age, I had a strong interest in design and art. I did painting and sketching, frequently designing a variety of three-dimensional objects. Architecture was a particular interest of mine, and at twelve years of age I won first place in a gingerbread house competition in which I designed and constructed a completely furnished two-story gingerbread house. I later acquired a growing interest in origami architecture, and I have created a number of original origami building designs ranging from a few inches to several feet in size.

My love of the arts also led me to study the violin, which I began at the age of three. I was privileged to study with some of the most sought-after instructors in the world. At the age of 20, I was hired as concertmaster of a ballet orchestra. I continue to perform regularly, including recordings for Hollywood soundtracks and television commercials, which are often recorded in Seattle.

Now that I am studying Industrial Design at WWU and paying for my education, I am always looking for scholarship opportunities to help me pursue my passion and further my educational goals.

I work and go to school full time. Working full time does not allow me to invest as much time as I would like in my schooling and also keeps me from pursuing my education with the undivided attention and passion I normally give to my pursuits. This scholarship will remove some of the financial stress and worry I experience trying to pay for my schooling.

Leadership has always been an important part of my life. For me, leadership is about education, and education is about intensifying our experience. For example, in Jamaica I helped feed, dress, clean, and care for AIDS victims, abandoned children and the elderly. I learned that when approached as education, leadership is about reaching out to the marginalized and neglected and learning to empathize with them. I have since volunteered in Singapore, Taiwan and Australia teaching children relationship and personal growth skills. I find a special joy teaching and helping to enrich the lives of others. Perhaps most importantly, I learned to adapt my teaching to fit in with differing cultural norms, because leadership approached as education and collaboration entails diversity and difference.

In addition, I educated juvenile offenders in New Zealand and led what became the most successful program for young offenders who had been sentenced to remediation programs. Also, I worked individually with troubled youth as part of a highly structured program involving life skills. Leading in both programs became an area of tremendous growth for me as I learned to relate to, help, and meet each individual where they were, rather than where I wanted them to be. The work was challenging yet rewarding in that, like most leadership practices, it required me to be vulnerable and open so I could connect and empathize with others.

Another important part of leadership is inspiring the next generation. Over the last 15 years I have taught hundreds of young violin students. Watching others find joy, passion, and skill in the arts is one of the most fulfilling things I have done.

Three years ago Kelly and Randy approached me to see if I would be willing to teach violin to their adopted 2 year old son, Keaton, who was born without his left hand. They noticed that he had an innate love for music leaning forward intently anytime he heard the violin and crying when it stopped. That began a collaboration between his parents, engineers, luthiers, prosthetics manufactures, and myself that led to Keaton expressing music from his heart despite his missing hand.

Last week, after two years of violin lessons, I accompanied Keaton at a concert and was moved to tears at the emotion and joy he poured into his music. Keaton is able to express his passion for music through the violin using a simple prosthetic solution that attaches the violin bow to his forearm.

I have always enjoyed an active life, and I love the outdoors. I have always been excited by the challenge of learning a new skill or sport and becoming proficient at it. I recently started training with the head of the aquatics program at WWU, and I am planning to compete in swimming competitions. Every year, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and camping occupy much of my free time. I also love cooking, remodeling my home, playing board games with friends, and attending symphony concerts.

My curiosity has always lead me to to explore new areas of life and learn about new things. I enjoy learning from books, people who are experts in their area of expertise, exploring online, and by taking classes. I have also been fortunate to experience a variety of different cultures through travel to many countries; my travels took me to Singapore, Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia and Italy.


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Western Washington University
Alumni Association

516 High Street, MS 9199
Bellingham, WA 98225
360.650.3353 | alumni.wwu.edu
WWU is an equal opportunity institution.