Personal growth through writing, digital arts

Madison Nikfard

By Sean Park
Madison Nikfard’s interest in writing and digital arts began in high school where she served as public relations officer for multiple clubs and created promotion and outreach materials. She further developed those skills at the University of Washington Bothell, where she graduated last spring with a major in Media & Communication Studies and a minor in Creative Writing.

Now in UW Bothell’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Poetics program, she has self-published “From the Other Pillow,” a series of poems exploring insomnia, and posted other works on her online portfolio.

For making the most of her UW education, Nikfard was recognized this past academic year as one of the Husky 100 students honored from across all three UW campuses.

“I was surprised and honored at the same time to receive this award,” she said. “I’ve met so many strong student leaders during my time at UW Bothell, and it means a lot that people feel the same respect toward me.”

Writing and digital arts

“Being a first-generation student, I had no idea what I was doing when I first started college,” Nikfard said. “Being a Husky 100 sort of served as a confirmation to my family that I was on the right track, and all of their hard work to get me here was worth it.”

While an undergraduate student, Nikfard worked in multiple positions on campus, starting out as a marketing assistant and then a peer facilitator for the Division of Student Affairs where she was mentored by Gina Christian, administrative manager.

“Whether it’s for different opportunities or encouraging me to volunteer in different spaces on and off campus, she’s the one that’s pushed me to work hard,” Nikfard said. “If it wasn’t for her, I’m not sure if I would’ve been exposed to the resources and opportunities that I had — including the Husky 100 award.

“She’s put a lot of confidence into the work I am doing and makes me feel very appreciated as a student on campus.”

Nikfard also worked as a communications, events and external relations assistant for the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences. She used her digital art skills to help design promotional materials and generated content for social media and blog posts. Another particularly memorable project, she said, was creating a logo for the Palette Talk art club.

Leading and learning

Nikfard also gained valuable leadership experience when she served as co-organizer for Soundhouse, an open mic night event held on campus that is hosted by Clamor, UW Bothell’s annual literary and arts journal.

Working with fellow students on an organizing team, Nikfard helped put the entire event together, from deciding on a theme to creating a title and logo and then distributing posters and sharing content on social media.

“I learned a lot of what it takes to be a good leader, and I met some of my closest friends in that group,” she said.

At one point, Nikfard recalled, she was taking a full class schedule, working three jobs and volunteering. But she says she does not regret any it.

“In the moment, all I felt was excitement and being really ready to work. I feel like my growth was exponential compared to any other time of my life because of the different opportunities that I had and the people I got to meet,” said Nikfard.

“It was overwhelming in a good way.”

Each year, the University of Washington selects 100 students who are making the most of their Husky experience. Thirteen UW Bothell students were recognized as part of the Husky 100 Class of 2020. What’s special about a Husky 100 recipient? They dare to do. They use what they learn inside and outside the classroom to grow personally and to create change in their communities.

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