New graduate Aatqa Azhar launches global development career

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Passionate about human rights and international development, recent alum Aatqa Azhar maximized her time at UW Bothell. She majored in both Global Studies and Law, Economics & Public Policy while actively supporting the Muslim Student Association on campus and serving as a digital communications intern for the Pakistan - US Alumni Network (PUAN), an association with the U.S. Embassy Pakistan for U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. 

Aatqa Azhar interviewing participantsAfter graduating in winter 2019, Azhar began the lengthy process of applying for jobs with the U.S. Department of State. In the midst, a PUAN connection encouraged her to apply for a summer fellowship with National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), and Azhar was immediately accepted. Based out of Islamabad, she traveled around villages of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where she evaluated an education policy program to enroll out-of-school children in schools through conditional cash transfers. “My experience working as a fellow for NRSP in Pakistan was the most important transformational moment in my life, particularly because I discovered I want to work in the field abroad,” says Azhar. “It provided a foundation for my career, along with the education I received at UW Bothell.” 

Azhar was recently hired as a Claims Assistant by the U.S. Department of State's Veteran Affairs. Thus far, it’s been a great experience with a high learning curve that requires her to stay updated on changes to U.S. laws and regulations. Azhar is excited to be serving veterans as she moves toward her long-term goal of a career in international development. "Every day I am working toward achieving that goal of being in the development sector of education policy," she says. “I've left my heart with all the people I encountered through my development research work.”