UW Impact

District Dawg Spotlights Archive

Bettina Carey, 33rd Legislative District Area of Study: Nursing, Graduation Year: 1984

How did you begin to advocate with UW Impact?

In 2020, when Covid reared its ugly head, I was invited to become a trustee of the UW Alumni Association. It was during my time as a new board member that I first learned about UW Impact. I was immediately impressed with the thoughtful way in which I was empowered to make an impact of my own by writing to my legislators and representatives. Communicating with my them had been on my mind, but up until that time I had not done so in quite some time. The simple instructions made it easy for me to express my deep appreciation for the UW and the impact that higher education had on my own life, and to ask for support of higher education in current legislative sessions.

Which higher education issue is most important to you and why?

When I think about what my life would have been like without a higher education, I shutter at the thought. As a Latina, I had a strong desire to be a nurse from a young age, but no one, not even my parents nor my teachers (even though I was on the Principal's Honor Roll), had envisioned that I'd actually get into college. As luck would have it, three years after graduating high school I found a way to pursue a higher degree in the field of nursing after deciding to go after my dreams in spite of my circumstances.

It is for these reasons that my interests lands squarely in support of both UW medical and nursing degrees. Specifically, I am aware that UW played an instrumental role in systematically addressing the impact of the pandemic on our communities throughout the State, and in the development of immunizations, incurring tremendous associated costs.

As well, I am aware that the pandemic has prevented both medical and nursing candidates from fulfilling their dreams, further increasing existing shortages of both doctors and nurses. The impact of these shortages in the health field can result in dire consequences down the line and it is why I’m vowing to have my voice heard on the subject.

What has been rewarding about advocating for higher education and what have you learned?

What has been most rewarding participating in UW Impact is being reminded that holding elected officials accountable is good for both sides of the equation. Contacting my legislators about issues that are important to me as it relates to higher education specifically has also resulted in my feeling that my voice has been heard and that my opinion matters. When I’m empowered they in turn are empowered.

What would you share with other alumni that want to get involved?

Legislators know that if one person writes in it represents the voice of many of their constituents. UW Impact makes it possible for me to reach out to my legislators on specific legislation in a brief, organized manner on issues that affect me personally. Getting involved and staying involved is made easy by UW Impact. Join us!

Nauman Mumtaz, District 30 B.A. Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences 2007, B.S. Environmental Science 2010

How did you begin to advocate with UW Impact?

After joining the University of Washington Alumni Association (UWAA) Board of Trustees, I naturally gravitated towards UW Impact given my past history in ASUWT Student Government, the Washington Student Achievement Council, the Washington Student Association, and the Governor's STEM Education Innovation Alliance - in these roles I worked with other students and stakeholders across the state to advocate for higher education. It was also during this time I crossed paths with current Senior Program Director of UW Impact, Courtney Acitelli, gaining one of my first exposures to Alumni advocacy.

Which higher education issue is most important to you and why?

While there is much focus on need-based aid (and rightfully so), additional efforts can be dedicated to elevate the amount of merit-based aid as well, especially for graduate and professional students. Many graduate programs are fee based, which don’t receive state funding - as a result, students in these programs are often left with a larger financial responsibility, in comparison to state funded programs, to cover their tuition and fees.

What has been rewarding about advocating for higher education and what have you learned?

Hearing from legislators on a consistent basis how vital the Alumni voice is when it comes to advocating for higher education contextualizes our ongoing efforts! As an Alumni advocate, partnering with students and other stakeholders across the state in support of higher education has yielded several positive results for Washingtonians over the years.

What would you share with other alumni that want to get involved?

There is no secret formula to becoming a sound Alumni advocate - speak directly, share your personal experiences from your time as a student, and joining a community of advocates will not only bolster support, but will also showcase to policymakers how supporting higher education is an investment that catalyzes fruitful results that all Washingtonians can benefit from.

Erin McCallum, District 5 Political Science, 1989

How did you begin to advocate with UW Impact?

I have always been an advocate for the University of Washington and higher education. I am a product of the UW and believe that it is my responsibility to help pay it forward.

Which higher education issue is most important to you and why?

College accessibility and STEM degrees. I believe that as a state funded institution we have the commitment to train Washington state students through accessible and affordable education. Investing in Washington students makes strong economic and social progress not only for students, but for our businesses and state.

What has been rewarding about advocating for higher education and what have you learned?

There are A LOT of diverse opinions which forces you to think bigger and objectively to find common ground. The University of Washington has plenty of independents, republicans, democrats, conservatives, progressives and libertarians. We are a microcosm of the state of Washington. All voices need to be heard.

What would you share with other alumni that want to get involved?

Getting engaged in UW Impact, which is the advocacy arm for the University of Washington Alumni Association, is easy. Share your passion and enthusiasm for the University of Washington and for higher education. It takes just a few minutes to communicate to your state lawmakers, who really do appreciate hearing from each of us. Our elected officials are just like each of us, they care about the future of our state but they are not experts in everything. This is why they need to hear from UW students, alumni and admirers! Join us, it's a lot of fun and rewarding!