Student Testimonials

Angela King

Class of 2020
IDS - Social Sciences, Central Washington University

portrait of angela kyle"As a Neo-Traditional Student, the Interdisciplinary Studies - Social Sciences program at CWU was the ideal fit for me!"

I was able to choose from a variety of disciplines that created a well-rounded and impressive curriculum vitae, which I used for Grad school applications. I am currently working on my Master of Education Higher Education at Central Washington University, and I am confident in the coursework because of the strong knowledge base this major gave me to build on. The very internship that I did during my IDS program is what led to earning a prestigious Graduate Assistantship with the CWU Transfer Center, making achieving a master's degree an affordable option for me.

Kenneth Johnson

Class of 2022
IDS - Social Sciences, Central Washington University
portrait of kenneth johnsonI am a recent graduate of Central Washington University. I majored in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science (IDS) and double minored in Social
Science and Psychology. Currently, I work in the social services field as a Housing Navigator for the homeless.

When I first began my journey at CWU, I was nervous, but the professors and the advisors eased all of my concerns. The IDS program was excellent, and the class selection and curriculum were tremendous. Working full-time and going to college full-time was challenging, but the experience was top-notch. I feel that CWU’s IDS program has profoundly impacted my knowledge of Social Science and has informed me on many of today’s issues that concern us all, which has significantly impacted my career.

Karen L. Aparicio

Class of 2020, IDS - Social Sciences, CWU
AlM (psychology) candidate, Harvard Extension School

portrait of karen l. aparicioI've always been interested in the social sciences, particularly psychology, but I wasn't sure which way I wanted to go as a retruning student. The IDS-Social Sciences program offered me the opportunity to explore several disciplines within the social sciences and the flexibility to customize my degree to my intrests.

As I progresssed throught eh IDS program, I narrowed my focus to psychology, taking couses within that discipline that piqued my interest. In additon, I took classes in otgher disciplines, like criminal justice and sociology, that complimented my overall learning objectives. Finally, I took advantage of the independent studnet option to create one, two, and three-credit courses that focused on my area of interest within psychology.

My experience with the IDS program at Central provided flexibility and strong foundational knowledge of the social sciences, which gave me the confidence to pursue a Master of Liberal Arts in Psychology at Harvard Extension school. Upon graduation , I plan to use my edcuation to become a full-time volunteer in retirement and help abuse victims.

Malikah Campbell

Class of 2021
IDS - Social Sciences, Central Washington University

portrait of malikah campbellI am an Alumna of Olympic College, where I obtained two Associate degrees-one in Arts and another in Business Management. Additionally, I hold certificates in supervisory/human resources and Small Business. At the end of spring quarter, I will add a bachelor's degree from the IDS-Social Sciences program along with a minor in sociology to my list of accomplishments.

While I was a student at CWU, I worked as the Office Assistant for Olympic College Poulsbo and was promoted shortly thereafter to Program Coordinator for the Student Government of Olympic College. In this role, I tapped into my passion to serve and advocate for diverse student populations and works with administration to remove barriers adversely impacting the student experience. Outside of school and work, I enjoy family movie nights and impromptu dance sessions with my husband and daughter, cooking, and interior decorating.

Rocio Lorea

Class of 2022
IDS - Social Sciences, Central Washington University

rocio-loera.jpgGraduate Proves ‘Education at Any Age Is Always a Win-Win’ 
Crimson & Black June 2023 Issue | Story By Robin Burck | Written on Jun 01, 2023

Many people’s path to completing a college degree looks different from that of the person sitting next to them. One recent CWU alumna proved that when you’re determined to earn an education, nothing can stop you. 

The eldest of six siblings, Rocio Loera was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States with her parents before her first birthday. Several years after living in the States, her family moved to the lower Yakima Valley town of Sunnyside, where she went on to graduate from high school and get accepted to CWU in 1983.

The timing wasn’t right, and Loera left Ellensburg without finishing her degree.

“Life happens, and I left Central during my third year of study,” she said. “I went to work for a nonprofit organization and two years later was hired by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and worked my way up to a supervisor position.” 

After serving in a supervisory role at DSHS for 20 years, Loera knew she wanted to serve her community in a different capacity, but she encountered an educational barrier that she could not overcome without a four-year degree. So, nearly 40 years after starting her educational journey at Central, Loera returned in 2019-20 to complete her degree. She proudly finished what she started last June when she walked in the CWU commencement ceremony.

“I didn’t do this alone,” Loera said. “I had my family’s support, and my loudest cheerleader was my mother. During the difficult times, she would say, ‘you’re the example for your son—sí se puede,’ which is Spanish for ‘you can do this.’”

Alongside her son, stepfather, and siblings at commencement was Central advisor Alena Yastchenko, who Loera says was instrumental in her success, providing her with the support she needed to finish her degree and achieve her career goals.

“She always made sure I understood what was going on in class since it has been a while since I was a student,” Loera said of Yastchencko, the director of Interdisciplinary Studies. “She was there guiding me through every step of the way, and if I looked confused, she would tell me to call her after class or go in during office hours to help me understand.”

After graduating last spring, Loera was hired as a program and policy manager at the Washington Social and Health Services headquarters. In her current role, she is responsible for ensuring federal and state cash programs policy is accurately and expediently administered. She and her team analyze and assess the service delivery and workload impacts of proposed and new federal regulations, legislation, policies, and procedures.

When Loera looks back at her journey and how she got where she is today, she marvels:

“I was the first in my family to go to college and the last of six siblings to complete my degree. Many times, I’ve encouraged others to return to school to complete their education, always saying it’s never too late to gain knowledge to empower yourself. There was always a voice in my head repeating those words to me. Education at any age is always a win-win; if not for employment purposes, for personal satisfaction and growth.”

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