Western alumni are leading grassroots and political campaigns, sharing their art with the world, working to make businesses more sustainable, designing the next generation of vehicles, teaching the next generation of leaders, and serving internationally in the Peace Corps and as Fulbright Scholars. 

TJ Martin poses in front of the WWU Library with their Academy Award.

“You’ll fail a million times before you make one success. Fairhaven and WWU created a comfortable environment for that to happen. It was a good stomping ground where I could experiment a lot and felt comfortable making mistakes.”

TJ Martin
Seattle, WA, Interdisciplinary Studies

In 2012, TJ won an Academy Award for the documentary "Undefeated," which he co-directed – he was the first director of African-American descent to win an Oscar for a full-length feature film. In 2017, he won an Emmy for his National Geographic documentary “LA 92.”  Both documentaries address issues of race and class. Martin was a student at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, one of Western’s seven colleges.

A graphic displaying a briefcase and upward facing arrows.

89% of grads are either employed or continuing their educations within six months of graduating  

– 2016-17 Graduate Outcomes Report

A graphic displaying a grad cap in front of an American flag.

Western is in the top 10 in the nation for grads who go on to earn research doctorates among master's-granting institutions 

– Survey of Earned Doctorates

In the Spotlight

Even though they excelled in different academic fields—Knight in Physics and Mills in Graphic Design—the duo shared a musical connection. Shortly before graduating in 2012, they formed ODESZA. The electronic group quickly grew in popularity. They were nominated for a Grammy 2016 and again in 2018.

Odesza performs on stage at a benefit concert for the WWU Alumni Association

(photo by Julian Bajsel)

Social Media Marketers

As a Communication Studies major, Emily held two campus jobs that allowed her to put her communications skills to work. She also held a social media internship at the Bellingham location of an international non-profit. When she graduated, that non-profit didn’t want to lose Emily—so they created a position to keep her there.

Emily Power smiles in front of a statue

“It was such a humbling feeling—like all my hard work had finally paid off. I hadn’t even been out of college a month yet, so I felt blessed to be given the opportunity. Also, flattered that my company thought that highly of me to find room in their budget to keep me as an employee.”

Emily Power ('16)
Silverdale, WA, Communication Studies
Adolpho Dominque smiles for camera

Peace Corps Volunteers

Armed with a passion to make a difference and audiometric testing equipment, Adolpho joined the Peace Corps and headed to Guatemala to conduct hearing screenings and develop health curriculum for a school district. Adolpho graduated with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and real experience examining case files and creating hypothetical treatment goals for clients. As a student, he also traveled abroad, an experience that would shape the rest of his life.

"I had an amazing opportunity to do a Service Learning Program in Guatemala with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Michael Fraas. This changed my life. I worked with the poorest of the poor, but they were the most thankful and welcoming people I’ve ever met. My experience abroad spending time helping people and being immersed in such a warm culture made me happier than I had ever been. It was the defining factor that I need to dedicate my life to helping others."

Adolpho Dominique ('14)

University Place, WA

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Erin smiles in front of bookshelf

Medical School Students

All of Erin’s dedication and hard work at Western earned her acceptance into medical school in her home state of Colorado. A Biochemistry major on the Pre-Med Pathway, Erin also held a campus job, studied abroad, was part of a DNA research lab and several social and academic clubs, and was a member of Western's chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children.

"I want to travel and practice medicine all over the world, as well as help underserved communities here in the U.S."

Erin Aldag ('15)

Pueblo, CO
Biochemistry (Pre-Med Pathway)

Lauren on her graduation day posing with her diploma in front of the sculpture "Stadium Piece"

Healthcare Pioneers

Majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience, Lauren Hoffman ('18) worked with Dr. Janet Finlay in her lab to gain hands-on experience that wouldn't be possible at most undergraduate schools. The graduate-level work she did in Finlay's lab helped her land a job in the very competitive laboratory technician program at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Just a year out of Western, Lauren is working on life-saving drugs that could treat some of the most vexing pediatric cancers.

"It was so exciting to tell [Western] students that in just a year after graduating, I'm working on breakthrough cancer treatment."

Lauren Hoffman ('18)

Spokane, WA
Behavioral Neuroscience

Fulbright Ahead

When Polly Woodbury applied for a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English abroad, she had hoped to spend a year in her mother’s native country of Cambodia – years ago, her mother fled Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge.

Polly Woodbury with her students in Cambodia

Instead of ending up in Cambodia, Polly spent a year in Thailand and she couldn’t have been happier – Thailand is the country her mother fled to those many years ago. Polly ('14, Psychology and Communication Studies) spent her time in Thailand teaching conversational English to 500 high school students each week and serving as an unofficial American cultural ambassador. She also absorbed as much of local culture and language as she could – which, to her delight, shares a lot with neighboring Cambodia and Laos. That proved valuable when she completed her Fulbright and moved to Cambodia for two months. 

“I was able to visit my mother’s rural village of Prey Veng and communicate with my family members for the first time. I believe life sometimes works in roundabout ways but you somehow still end up exactly where you are meant to be. I believe that is true with Thailand.”

When she returned home, Polly applied to and was accepted into the University of Washington’s Master of Social Work program (ranked #1 worldwide), Johns Hopkins Master of Public Health program (ranked #1 in the nation), as well as the University of California, Los Angeles Master of Public Health program. After that, she and her mom flew back to Cambodia for a three-week adventure together.

Western produced 4 Fulbright Scholarship winners in 2017—tied for fifth place among public masters-granting institutions nationally.

Jesse Moore sits in chair in office with American symbols like flags and portraits of presidents

Grassroots Leaders

Political Science major Jesse Moore has made his mark over the past decade as a grassroots and political campaigner, and a communications strategist. Jesse has championed causes from higher education, to early childhood development, to healthcare reform, and even the election and re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States – he also served in the Obama White House. Now, he's the Principal Consultant at Common Thread Strategies, a boutique messaging and strategy development firm.

“Both within the classroom and in the student government and Ethnic Student Center, I learned to formulate plans and mobilize people to solve complex problems. These are all skills that come into play every single day at work.”

Jesse Moore ('05)

Lynnwood, WA
Political Science