Veterans respected at UW Bothell

group shot of veterans

Veterans challenge coin and stole ceremony (Marc Studer photos).

Military veterans and their families were honored at a challenge coin and stole ceremony Tuesday in advance of the students’ graduation from the University of Washington Bothell. Chancellor Wolf Yeigh gave a coin to each veteran, in the military tradition of carrying custom minted coins, symbolic of unit spirit and pride. 

Yeigh expressed his pride in every veteran who has met challenges head-on and succeeded. There were about 20 veterans or students who receive veterans benefits at the ceremony. May Azcarraga, an Air Force veteran and vice president of the UW Bothell Student Veterans Association, presented a stole or sash to each veteran. They wear the military stole over their gown at commencement.

Susan Gibson, Christopher Healy and wifeVeterans also presented coins to those who helped them during their time at UW Bothell. Navy veteran Christopher Healy, left, gave a coin to Susan Gibson (in white jacket) for her leadership in BOLD, the Business & Organization Leadership Development student club. He also gave a coin to his wife who had their first son during his college career.  

Marine Amanda Anibas, who is graduating with a degree in biology, gave a coin to biology lecturer Bryan White, below, for extraordinary support in three classes. In the first class on her first test, she received a score of 46, “which kind of broke my heart.”

Bryan White, Amanda Anibas“What’s great about Bryan,” Anibas said,” he actually sought me out. He saw my grade. He sent me email. He said I’d love to meet with you and talk about your exam and figure out how to improve your grades.’”

During her service from 2001-2011, Anibas served in 2010 in Afghanistan. She came home with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, which affects her ability to learn.

“I have a hard time communicating and retaining information,” Anibas says. She met with White during every office hour opportunity and went over the material. 

“He’s very animated, very positive, he would say, ‘You know this. You know it, Amanda,’” she said. He would draw pictures and “think of things that were really outside of biological science to relate what we’re trying to learn.”

challenge coinchallenge coinOn Anidas’ second exam, she received 68 percent; third exam, 87 percent; and the fourth and final exam, 92 percent.

“When I wanted to give up myself, he never gave up on me,” she said.