Alumni Stories

IAS alumni are thriving in their lives and careers! Learn what our graduates are up to through this collection of stories.

Many are open to discussing their experiences. To connect with an alum, email

Recent Stories

Priya Frank co-facilitates workshop: Storytelling Strategies for Dismantling Racism

Priya Frank

In September, alum Priya Frank (’11, Cultural Studies) co-facilitated the workshop “Storytelling Strategies for Dismantling Racism,” a training hosted by NonWhiteWorks for individuals and organizations working to interrupt structural racism. The workshop examines the power of narratives and concrete strategies for dismantling racist structures through storytelling...

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Catalina Alvarez-Villanueva directs college access program in the Yakima Valley

Catalina Alvarez-Villanueva

Alum Catalina “Catti” Alvarez-Villanueva is Director of Upward Bound at Yakima Valley College, a program that provides fundamental support to low-income and first-generation high school students with the goal of entering college.  Alvarez-Villanueva knows this journey well, as someone who struggled to stay in school and finish her education while raising a young son. A vow to her father and the support of Husky Promise helped Alvarez-Villanueva realize her dream of a bachelor’s in Society Ethics & Human Behavior (’13) and later, a master’s in Education (’15) from UW Bothell.  Now Alvarez-Villanueva is helping ...

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Suzanne Cohen directs Expand Upon: Incarceration

Mirror Stage logo

Master of Arts in Cultural Studies alum Suzanne Cohen (’15), Managing Artistic Director of Mirror Stage, presents Expand Upon: Incarceration, featuring David Drummond, Rick Dupree, Adria LaMorticella, Pablo Lopez, Corey Spruill, and Benjamin Symons. Additionally, IAS faculty member Dan Berger will deliver pre-show lectures on the History of Mass Incarceration in the United States on ...

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Abigail Echo-Hawk discusses sexual violence among urban native Seattle women on KUOW

Abigail Echo-Hawk

IAS alum Abigail Echo-Hawk spoke with KUOW’s Guy Nelson about a 2010 survey of Native women living in the Seattle area. It found that 94 percent had been raped or coerced into sex at some point during their lives. Echo-Hawk directs the Urban Indian Health Institute (UHIHI) in Seattle and holds an M.A. in Policy Studies (’09) and B.A. in American Studies (’07) from UW Bothell. UIHI’s mission is “to decolonize ...

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Andrea Downs advances her career in special education

Andrea Downs

IAS Alum Andrea (Sweerus) Downs has worked in special education for close to ten years, specializing in emotional behavioral disabilities. Downs has advocated for equity, changes in discipline polices, and equal access to educational supports and environments. Since leaving the classroom, she has worked as a behavior specialist and program facilitator for both Everett and Seattle Public Schools, and most recently, accepted a position as the Director of Special Services with Coupeville School District. There, she will oversee ...

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