As one sister finishes, another gets started

Britney and Daisy RithvixayFirst-year Britney Rithvixay, left, and senior Daisy Rithvixay. / Marc Studer photo

Daisy Rithvixay is the older sister, finishing her senior year at the University of Washington Bothell. Planning to graduate in June with degrees in Global Studies and in Law, Economics & Public Policy, she’s a serious student and is currently looking for an internship that will help launch a career.

Britney Rithvixay is the younger sister, in her first year following Daisy to UW Bothell but pursuing her own path — and not yet sure where that will lead. She said she might major in something computer related because she likes science, math, robotics and playing computer games.

Opening up educational pathways

Daisy will be the first in her immediate family to receive a four-year college degree. Dedicated to providing more access to an excellent UW education, UW Bothell has a current student body of 5,936 with almost 50% of students identifying as “first generation.”

Britney is one of 829 incoming first-year students in the 2019-20 academic year. UW Bothell also welcomed 666 incoming transfer students, the vast majority coming from community colleges in Washington.

Living at home in south Everett, Daisy and Britney are Snohomish County residents, as are 27% of all UW Bothell students. The majority, 57%, are from King County.

The sisters both attended Mariner High School, which is in the Mukilteo School District. A large school with more than 2,000 students, Mariner has traditionally been one of the top feeder schools to UW Bothell. That was true again this year with 21 Mariner students. Only two other high schools sent more students to UW Bothell. They also are in south Snohomish County: Kamiak with 29 and Henry M. Jackson with 27.

Serving the Mariner community

Daisy has been in classes with other Mariner students, and they remark, “Oh, you made it here, too.” Britney reports that she, too, sees “a lot of people I know from Mariner.”

Diane Bradford, a spokeswoman for the school district, said UW Bothell’s location is appealing to students who commute from home to control the cost of college. She reports that students also appreciate UW Bothell’s senior application days when they are invited to campus for a tour and help from admissions advisers.

Both sisters also attended Voyager Middle School, which has had a close relationship with UW Bothell for six years. For a number of years, UW Bothell Chancellor Wolf Yeigh talked to seventh-graders there as part of a “believe in college” curriculum. At one time, UW Bothell students also served as writing mentors.

During her time at UW Bothell, Daisy worked with seventh-grade teacher Annamarie Jordan for a quarter through the UW Bothell MATCH program. The program paired UW Bothell students with first-generation and low-income high school students to introduce the idea of attending college.

The Voyager partnership now continues through a community-based learning and research course offered in the School of Educational Studies.

Choosing UW Bothell

As a high school student, Daisy learned about UW Bothell through the My Achievers Program run by the Mukilteo YMCA. The after-school program took students on field trips to various colleges in the region.

“UW Bothell was the one that stuck with me the most,” Daisy said, because it had the Global Studies major, a smaller campus and smaller class size.

“The teachers also really have the students’ best interest in mind,” she said.

Britney was involved in the My Achievers Program as well and had the advantage of her sister serving as her own personal guide at home, too. Big sister even shared her favorite place on campus to study (third floor of the library.)

But, Daisy did not push UW Bothell. Rather, the elder sister’s advice was to “make sure you find somewhere that has what you want to do.”

“Our parents never pushed us,” Daisy said. “They let us freely explore what we want to do. They let us pursue our own path.”

Both Daisy and Britney have chosen their own educational paths — and have each learned how to balance school with work.

Daisy has worked at a call center and as a child care provider at the YMCA where she also taught violin, language and cooking classes. She’s now looking for an internship with a city or in government relations that relates to her major and career interests. Eventually, she would like to work as a foreign service officer. An ideal posting would be Laos, where her parents are from and because she knows the native language.

Britney works about 20 hours a week as a barista at a coffee shop in downtown Everett. When she has time outside her work and her coursework, she likes to play computer games (especially Monster Hunter World).

A close family

Daisy doesn’t play computer games and said Britney is the tech savvy one in the family. Despite their differences, the sisters enjoy spending time together during breaks at school and on their commute home.

“It’s good to have a ‘friend’ on campus,” Daisy said.

Britney likewise enjoys having her big sister attend the same college: “It’s nice to know I can go to somebody and talk if I need.”

For a one-income household, having two daughters go to college — and at the same time — is a bit of a struggle for their parents, Daisy said.

But her dad especially is “over the moon” that they both made it to UW Bothell.

“We’re here to make them proud,” Daisy said.

 


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