CWU News

CWU Business Major Extolls Value of Liberal Arts Education in Prize-Winning Essay

Payroll analyst, college student, and self-proclaimed coffee addict Andrea Aswin received second place for the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA) Essay contest.

A business major at Central Washington University’s Lynnwood Center, Aswin understands the value of a well-rounded education. In her essay, she describes how her liberal arts education allowed her to comprehensively initiate a major software upgrade, explore the many financial ramifications, and ultimately save her company money by thoroughly analyzing the outcomes.

“Liberal arts courses trained me to think critically, so I realized the need to audit the past information,” wrote Aswin. “This closed our vulnerability to penalties and fines. Also, without my experience writing and delivering persuasive speeches, my company would have paid the full amount ourselves. It is clear that a liberal arts education can have a direct effect on a business’s bottom line.”

After Aswin received her associate’s degree at Edmonds Community College, she pursued her bachelor’s at CWU’s Lynwood center. After graduation, she’s hoping to move into a broader role at work where she can apply the things she's learned. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, knitting, and spoiling her cat.

The essay contest was open to all undergraduate students currently enrolled in WaCLA member institutions. Entrants were divided into two categories: students who have freshman or sophomore standing at their institution and those who have junior or senior standing. Awards were made in two categories: freshmen/sophomores and juniors/seniors. Two awards were made in each category: $1,000 for first place and $750 for second place.

Each campus created its own process for nominating essays to be judged at the state level.  A WaCLA committee consisting of Tom Fitzsimmons, Independent College of Washington, Lisa Ferrari, University of Puget Sound, Larry Galizio, Clatsop Community College, Nancy Koppelman, The Evergreen State College, Eugene McAvoy, Everett Community College, David Schulz, Trinity Lutheran College, Noelle Wiersma, Whitworth University, and Michael Zimmerman, The Evergreen State College, read all submissions and selected the finalists.

The winning essays were selected by State Senator Karen Fraser (D, 22nd district) and State Representative Hans Zeiger (R, 25th district).

All of the winning essays can be viewed by going to

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,