Spotlight Newsletter

Issue 2

Childhood Dreams

Palestinian Student Pursues Higher Education at UW Bothell

By Marlene Manzo

Hussein Ali

Hussein Ali seems to be everywhere. He works at the Common Grounds café, he is the face on UW Bothell advertisements, and he is involved in the Muslim Student Association (MSA) on campus. However, there is more to this electrical engineering senior than meets the eye.

Ali was born and raised in Damascus, Syria and for years listened to his Palestinian father's stories about America. "I grew up hearing, 'we're going to the United States', and I told my friends I was going to study electrical engineering. This was always a dream for me," Ali says.

When he was 17, Ali's family received news from the Syrian embassy that their visa applications were being reviewed. After extensive interviews and a two year wait, the application process was finally finished. Ali learned he had to make this journey alone, but that didn't stop him. It had been 14 years of hope and patience, and he would finally take the first steps toward his educational dreams.

College is very important to Ali. He will be the first in his family to graduate from a four-year institution. When choosing a college to fit his academic needs, his uncle suggested the University of Washington Bothell. The intimate class sizes and one-on-one engagement with professors proved to be the best fit.

With his parents still in Syria, Ali makes the most of every opportunity to teach his friends, peers, and the UW Bothell community the truth behind Middle Eastern politics, religion, and culture. He believes there is not enough information, or education about the Islamic religion and Muslim people. He says educating others through the MSA is his responsibility, "it's my duty to inform people in the United States about my religion so they don't misunderstand me."

Check out MSA to learn more about Muslim culture and traditions here.


Walking the Line

Words of wisdom from a Computer and Software Systems undergraduate

By Andrew Nguyen

Brad Stafford

Brad Stafford wishes there were either more hours in the day or less difficult decisions to make in deciding what to tinker with next. He likens the Computer and Software Systems (CSS) program to being in a giant sandbox.

"You jump in and think, 'look at all these tools and programs I can play with!' We get to choose classes ranging from 3D modeling to game design," Stafford says.

Stafford is driven by curiosity and a constant need to tinker, he describes learning Flash with the intensity of a storm chaser, even if it is becoming an irrelevant program due to HTML 5 and JavaScript.

Often Stafford is choosing between game programming, the fun stuff, and courses that develop a well-rounded student. He says you have to balance taking the classes you love with classes that will make you a strong candidate for employment upon graduation.

Creating design documents is the most rewarding part of the curriculum for Stafford because it is when he gets full control over design and implementation. Speaking with the energy of a graduate student boasting his research, Stafford explains, "design documents are like blueprints and you become master of the universe... or master of whatever you are building. It is like playing with Legos again."

He is currently creating a design document for a game where players learn about malaria and global health initiatives. Despite CSS being a technically-driven field, Stafford emphasizes the importance of communication and teamwork skills.

"You can format your design documents perfectly, you can crank out 1,000 lines of code in an hour, which is crazy by the way. But, if you can't communicate your capabilities, ideas, or concerns then you are deadweight in a team," he says.

You will likely find Stafford in a large computer lab at the Center for Serious Play (CSP) helping to design its new standalone website. Stafford works closely with a team of student interns to design the new website, representative of the new direction and institutional role of the CSP.

The Center for Serious Play is a bridge between education and industry leadership and employment. In partnership with the Interactive Media Design degree program, the CSP offers resources and opportunities for students to gain technical and creative experience directly relating to industry practices.

Stafford hopes to work in game design and programming after graduation. Look for the new CSP website to be online in winter quarter 2013, brought to you by its talented student intern team.


Jochimsen's Art and Soul

Non-Traditional Student takes New Approach to Business Development

By Nathan Stout

Linda Jochimsen

A significant portion of the University of Washington Bothell's population is made up of non-traditional students. Individuals who for a variety of reasons didn't transition into higher education straight out of high school; economic, personal, etc. While it might seem like these students are a bit "behind schedule", non-traditional students contribute a degree of experience and perspective which has been invaluable in the classroom and around the campus as a whole. Linda Jochimsen is one such student with a truly unique vision for the intersection between community and commerce.

Jochimsen spent the majority of her adult life working for high end retailers, in real estate, and raising a family. She decided to return to school after getting laid off and is now working toward an individualized degree through the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (IAS). As a business owner eager to increase her expertise in the business world, Jochimsen participated in The Entrepreneurship Center's (TEC) Business Plan Competition last spring. Jochimsen's business, Art of the Soul Jewelry, ranked among the finalists of the 33 competing teams, wherein contestants were judged on different criteria: how well their models defined their target markets, product demand in those markets and projected return of investment.

During the course of the competition last spring, Jochimsen was inspired to take a different, more community-based approach to developing her business after being introduced to Kickstarter, the online crowd funding website.

"We are currently running a one month, all or nothing campaign to raise $15,000." Jochimsen says the funds raised will go toward developing seven new designs. She added, "Our hope is the community that has grown up around our products will give us the edge we need to get these new designs out there."

The competition also provided Jochimsen with an invaluable educational experience, and helped her make new connections with the goal of expanding her business. To Jochimsen, expansion means more than financial gain; it is a means of preserving the community built around Art of the Soul.

"Spirituality is a key component of my designs," says Jochimsen. "I design intentionally, with the goal of helping others access their higher selves. The majority of my customers are women who are often in positions of power; senators, business owners, or women who want to be empowered -- divorcee's, recovering cancer patients, etc. There is a real feeling of sisterhood among the people that are drawn to my designs. I'd like to attract more people to the community and to continue to provide high-quality, life enhancing designs for this community."

To learn more about Linda and her designs, check out Art of the Soul Jewelry's Kickstarter at


Red Hair and Sunglasses

A Nevada-native and UW Bothell freshman

By Andrew Nguyen

Victoria Frawert

Having lived in New Jersey, California, Nevada, and now Washington she is no stranger to new places and new faces. As a high school senior Victoria Frawert shopped quite a number of universities before settling at the University of Washington Bothell.

With her mom in Nevada, Dad in Washington, and grandparents in Virginia, the college search took Frawert across the country. Frawert browsed 20 schools, including the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Oregon State University, schools in Nevada, and schools throughout Washington.

Frawert wanted to be close to family and still find the school that fit her best. She says UW Bothell offers students opportunities in an intimate and simple manner, a quieter environment where a student becomes prepared to reach their next step.

She wasted no time and during the first week of college Frawert led UW Bothell's voter's registration campaign. As part of the Welcome Week celebration, a UW Bothell annual tradition, Frawert met new students through registering voters.

Her inspiration for civic engagement and volunteer work comes from her mom. Frawert was in middle school she joined the local chapter of the National Charity League, a mother-daughter membership volunteer organization.

At first Frawert preferred to skip her volunteer work, but she grew to love it, "My mom helped me realize the value of civic engagement and working with people outside your community."

Surprisingly, Frawert says she was as nervous starting college as she was when she first started high school. Teachers from high school warned about writing format and style, saying if she forgot one detail she would likely get an "F" on the paper. They told her that professors have too many students to pay attention to her.

It only took one day for this image of college to disappear.

She says, "During the first few days of classes everyone was silent and scared to speak up. The professors had us do ice breakers and I realized there are a lot of out-of-state students. After a week, through doing group work, students are now going out of their way to meet new people."

Comparing her hometown in Nevada to Washington, Frawert describes a rather harsh desert with a struggling education system. She is getting used to the taller trees and cleaner atmosphere while living the "super-involved" student lifestyle.

When asked about her red hair, she says, "Throughout high school, I had undergone a process of really defining myself. My appearance changed as I did, I found a passion in sports medicine and physiology. I discovered my talents and ambitions. My hair is a constant reminder about the realization of my abilities and a personal motivation to continue with them."