Suzan Bartee graduated from Western Washington University’s Human Services program located in Everett in 2014. She now works as an employment specialist at TRAC Associates in Seattle. Bartee recently shared some thoughts on her experience as a Western student:
Q: What was the deciding factor that led you to choose Western?
A: I respected Western’s reputation for quality education at affordable state school prices. I was able to go to classes in Everett at the Everett University Center, which made the program doable for me.
Q: Did you have a professor who stood out to you? How did that professor shape your Western experience?
A: The way that I think about thinking has been forever altered by my classroom experience with Anne Blanchard. Her regard for all opinions and her ability to provide white space for people to participate in conversations without judgement or interruption is great. I am a different person after sitting in her classes. It wasn’t just about learning critical thinking skills; she modeled an authentic conversational style that was very neutral, yet very affirmative. [Her teaching was] quite a gift.
Q: What types of obstacles did you encounter as a student? Do you have any tips for students considering a similar degree?
A: Not to sound too chirpy, but the obstacles I encountered most often had to do with learning to get along with lots of different types of people, being patient in disagreement, and learning to work in group settings; all pretty good life skills that I obviously needed to practice! Advice for future students? Read the syllabus!
Q: What have been some of your most rewarding moments while in the program?
A: Since I work in Human Services and am able to do a lot of work I find rewarding, for me, going to school and learning about myself was the most rewarding. I can tell other people that they are valuable and that they deserve to be heard all day long, but learning that for myself from the educators in this program was life changing. I cannot put a dollar value on the personal growth aspect of this program; [it was] priceless.
Q: Do you have any additional comments you’d like to share?
A: The cohort I was part of was chock-full of kind, decent humans. I am happy to still see some of them from time to time and to serve in the field with them as well. They are just really good people.