American Ethnic Studies closed out the school year with a graduation celebration held on June 8th at the Mountaineers Seattle Program Center located at Magnuson Park. The graduates were beaming with excitement as they marched into an auditorium filled with proud family, friends and faculty during a processional led by Dr. Rick Bonus. Many of the graduates were adorned with colorful leis, stoles and personalized mortarboards as they entered the room to roaring applause. And they all had much to cheer about!
The AES class of 2018 graduates is a very special group of students, many of whom are embarking on a series of firsts including being the first in their family to graduate with a college degree. A number of them are moving on to advanced study and have high hopes of one day earning a Ph.D., medical or law degree. Others are looking forward to finding jobs in private industry and the public sector for which their last four years of study have prepared them well. Everyone at the graduation ceremony also had a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of Nicolas Khamphilon and Tu T. Lien, two graduating seniors selected as members of the Husky 100 in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The Husky 100 award recognizes the important accomplishments of 100 UW students selected from among the more than 57,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled across the three UW campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma.
All in attendance were welcomed by Dr. Juan Guerra, AES department chair, who encouraged everyone to heartily applaud the many accomplishments of the graduating seniors as well as the continuing support of their family, friends and faculty. In the course of affirming the contributions of AES faculty and staff, Guerra introduced the two newest members of the AES faculty: Dr. Linh Nguyễn and Dr. Jang Wook Huh. Guerra also celebrated the department’s on-going support of all AES students: “In the midst of a very challenging social and political climate made ever more strident by the presidential election of 2016, AES provides classrooms as crucibles in which students can cultivate an all embracing view of the complex world in which we find ourselves deeply entangled.”
In keeping with tradition, several AES students selected to represent the Class of 2018 had an opportunity to speak on topics dear to their hearts. In a scholarly fashion, Alejandro Isiordia presented on the topic of community, Tu T. Lien on family, Nicolas Khamphilom on peers, and Dawayne Rainwater on AES faculty and staff. The erudite graduates communicated with heart and shared their varied lived experiences as well as signature moments of their time at the UW. Everyone in the audience was inspired by their individual stories and took pride in the superior quality of their presentations.
After a joyous celebration, Bonus led the graduates to the rear of the hall where family, friends and faculty had an opportunity to join them to take plenty of pictures and enjoy each other’s company. We wish to congratulate our AES graduates one last time for their dedication to their studies and their genuine commitment to serving all communities.
Congratulations AES graduating seniors, and remember to stay in touch!