2023 Outstanding Graduates: Honors College and Interdisciplinary Programs

Marine and Coastal Science, Energy Studies, American Cultural Studies, Canadian-American Studies, Honors College

This year's Outstanding Graduates in interdisciplinary programs and the Honors College, selected by their faculty, include a Gilman scholar who helped lead her team to a national title and a Canadian-American studies major who wants to work in the child welfare system. 

WWU Communications reached out to all the 2023 Outstanding Graduates to share their stories and photos. We've been celebrating these grads on social media and here at WWU News. 

Meet some of the Outstanding Graduates from interdisciplinary programs: 

Amirah Casey

Marine and Coastal Sciences

Amirah Casey, Marine and Coastal Sciencees

Amirah persevered and succeeded at Western despite many life obstacles. She completed an internship at foundry10, worked as a peer mentor at the Shannon Point Marine Center, and was the first undergraduate student to teach a organismal biology lab section. Her professors highlight her professionalism and kind nature when teaching students in the MACS Program. She joined W. James Cooper’s fish development lab, where she studied the effects of PCBs on zebrafish survival, received a Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Mexico, and co-captained Western’s cheer team to a national title. Next, she’ll attend the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

Petra McDonnell-Ingoglia

Honors College

Petra McDonnell-Ingoglia, Honors College

Petra graduated in December 2022 with a 3.98 GPA and was chosen to be a student commencement speaker. She completed three minors: holocaust & genocide studies, political science, and honors interdisciplinary studies. She was the lead student advisor in the Academic Advising Center, a recipient of multiple scholarships and president of the Honors Book Club. Most importantly, her professors describe her as a wonderful human. Now, Petra is an engineering advising and outreach specialist at Whatcom Community College and volunteers with history-related projects.

Paul Striby

Energy Studies

Paul Striby, Energy Studies

Paul was a research assistant for Assistant Professor Deborah Glosser, using scanning electron microscopy to analyze particulate waste for reuse in storing thermal energy. His work on glass fiber chemistry was also pubished in a book chapter related to wind turbines. He is graduating with a 4.0 GPA and plans to continue volunteering with WWU energy science-related projects after graduation. Paul is also president of Western’s Ping Pong Club and a member of Students for Renewable Energy. He says it is the people at WWU who made his experience so wonderful. 

Lilyanna Megan Mei-Kai Sullivan

American Cultural Studies

Lilyanna Megan Mei-Kai Sullivan

In addition to her degrees in American cultural studies and exceptionality and disability, Lilyanna earned three minors in sociology, communication, and education and social justice. Through her time at Western, and particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, Lilyanna aimed to prove the resilience of members of the AAPI community in the face of racism. They were a member of the Coming Home Alliance and completed an internship with the AIROW Project, which provides adaptive and inclusive recreation opportunities. After graduation, Lilyanna plans to take time to care for her elderly grandmother and eventually attend graduate school for occupational therapy.

Mehana Tamashiro

Canadian American Studies

Mehana Tamashiro, Canadian American Studies

Mehana consistently approached her studies with enthusiasm and joy, both in her classes and as a teaching assistant for the Center for Canadian American Studies. Mehana also majored in human services and interned with Cordata Elementary School, working with kindergartners for two quarters and affirming her career goal to work with children. Faculty in her program praised Mehana’s drive to take on any challenge or opportunity in her path. After graduation, Mehana plans to work in the child welfare system before heading off to graduate school. 

More 2023 Outstanding Grads