Meet the 2022 Outstanding Graduates from the CHSS Humanities Division

More than 60 Western Washington University students and graduates received Outstanding Graduate honors for the 2021-22 academic year.

Faculty members from dozens of academic departments and programs select one graduate to honor as the Outstanding Graduate of the year. Selection is a high honor based on grades, research and writing, service to the campus and community, and promise for the future.

The Outstanding Graduates from the Humanities Division of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences include: 

Kai Broach

English - Creative Writing

Kai’s nominating faculty described him as a “true Renaissance scholar of the arts and sciences.” He started out as a computer science major but switched to English when he realized that he was more passionate about writing stories than code. His “My Apologies” piece won the Western Regional Honors Council Award for Short Fiction after being published in Scribendi Magazine. His capstone project was a collection of short stories called “The Utopian Range,” and he pursued his passion for solving climate change even further through his involvement with the Sustainability Engagement Institute

Reece Carpenter


Carpenter's professors say she has a keen interest in cultural literacy and has a highly developed sensibility for cultural difference. She was the co-coordinator for the Women + In Energy Monitoring Network and president of the Bellingham Rotaract Club for two years, tirelessly serving her community through both. She completed an independent study on rare earth elements in coal combustion waste and helped the Kulshan Carbon Trust develop natural solutions to climate change. She will be teaching English through the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research in Linz, Austria starting this fall.

Kaleigh Carroll 


Carroll is a knowledgeable, insightful and highly principled journalist as well as a gifted multimedia storyteller. She was a skillful leader in student publications, serving as editor-in-chief of The Planet and managing editor of The Front, and she was a member of the news team for KUGS and an intern in Western’s Office of Communications. She led student publications through the work of making progress on equity issues in newsroom operations and writing about vulnerable communities. Carroll also mentored her fellow students on topics like interviewing skills, anti-racist journalism practices and writing styles. She co-authored a guide to protest coverage policies for The Front and wrote about the process for The Poynter Institute, a national resource for journalists. This summer, she’ll intern at The Seattle Times as a copy editor.

Alea Kirby


Kirby taught others as fast as she learned despite the obstacles presented by her own learning disabilities. She volunteered with Meridian High School, Meadowdale High School, and a school in Segré, France and the Compass to Campus teaching program to help students learn French, craft essays, and successfully navigate school and social life. The knowledge she had to share was bolstered with her certificates in French Language and Culture from the Université Catholique de l'Ouest in Angers, France. On top of this she was active in Current Events Club and worked as a desk attendant in residence halls throughout her time as a student. Kirby plans to attend Woodring College of Education to earn her graduate degree in secondary education.

Madisen Palomares

English Literature

Palomares is a first-generation college student who earned a 4.0 almost every quarter at WWU and graduated magna cum laude. She wowed her professors with “scholarly depth and breath-taking originality” on her literature reviews such as her capstone project examining the homosocial and hetero-centric nature of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s completed novels. She brought her excellent analytical writing skills into her editing role at Occam’s Razor where she helped complete volume 7, which features seven outstanding papers by students. She also displayed leadership and an impeccable sense of fun as a resident advisor at Higginson Hall where her favorite activity was organizing their famous (or perhaps infamous) haunted house. She has applied to graduate school and plans to either go into the publishing industry or write for television and movies. 

Bryce Rosenwald


Rosenwald graduated magna cum laude and earned a place on the honor roll eight times. He also served as a teaching assistant for the Philosophy Department’s logic courses, and completed a capstone project on effective teaching methods for the logic classroom. In recognition of his hard work, he was the recipient of the 2018-2020 Academic Achievement Award, the 2020-21 Olscamp scholarship, and the 2021-22 Downing/Montague scholarship. Rosenwald invested his time and talents into the campus community as a member of Philosophy Club, the University Choir, and the varsity Cross Country and Track teams. His running skills allowed him to win the GNAC FAR Scholar-Athlete Award twice. He also served the community as a volunteer at Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County. He does not know what his long-term career goals are, but for now he has a job at a consulting firm in his hometown of Bellevue. 

Tanner Sprankle


Sprankle is a top-notch historian with a knack for asking the kinds of questions that deepen everyone’s understanding. Fascinated with art and material culture, Sprankle was an intern with the Western Gallery and assisted with the exhibition of Anida Yoeu Ali’s “Genesis I.” They were also director of the B Gallery, and served as a lead judge for National History Day competitions for middle and high school students. Sprankle minored in anthropology, art history and chemistry and completed remote internships with the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Rescue Initiative, helping communities prepare to preserve their cultural artifacts amid natural disasters, and with the U.S. Forest Service researching place-names associated with the ancestral Cherokee Nation. Next, she will work toward a masters’ degree at the Università degli Studi di Padova in Padova, Italy.

Natalie Tietz

East Asian Studies

The East Asian Studies Program nominated Tietz unanimously as their Outstanding Graduate. They are the most impressed by her “inquisitive and conscientious approach to learning.” Her high achievement and passion for Chinese language and culture was recognized by both the East Asia Studies Scholarship and the Chinese Language Program Scholarship. She also served the campus community as president of the WWU Adoptees Alliance and as a dedicated member of the Chinese Conversation Club. She plans to pursue her master’s degree in related fields at SOAS University of London. 

Rylee Tuttle

Communication Studies

Tuttle is an excellent writer with sharp insights and strong critical thinking skills. Her work was competitively selected to be presented at the Western States Communication Association’s annual Undergraduate Scholars Research Conference in February 2022, where her presentation was polished and professional. In addition to being highly involved in her coursework, Tuttle also worked as a freelance photographer and graphic designer during college, and after graduation she hopes to combine her strong creative and technical skills as she builds her career.

Emma Wansley

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Wansley was planning to major only in psychology, but soon learned that the WGSS major was “where I was meant to be.” Known for her sharp analyses and commitment to social justice, Wansley completed two senior capstone courses and presented her work at Scholars Week, exploring Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” as an anthem of Black female empowerment. “It was amazing to use theory and analysis to support the importance of the music we consume, especially regarding a song that has been so controversial,” she says. She also graduated in three years while working nearly full time. A proud first-gen college grad, she looks forward to a career working in diversity and inclusion efforts.

Sylvia Cohen


Sylvia graduated with a 4.0 GPA and conducted extensive research in her department along the way. She worked with pronunciation in 200-level Spanish courses and investigated vowel lengthening with Jordan Sandoval’s Sounds and Letters in Perception and Production (SLIPP) lab. She was also part of the MCL Employee Language Program and recently applied for a Fullbright Award to be a cultural ambassador in Spain. In her spare time, she was highly involved in Students for a Self-Operated Dining System where she learned how to achieve goals outside the framework of grades and payment. She plans to spend her summer working for the Vamos Outdoors Project, continue her SLIPP research, and look for graduate schools that suit her interests.  

Kai Broach
Reece Carpenter
Kaleigh Carroll smiles in the golden light of sunset
Alea Kirby leans against a tree and smiles for the camera
Madisen Palomares
Bryce Rosenwald smiles with a tree in the background
Tanner Sprankle sits facing a lake a sunset and turns to smile at the camera
Natalie Tietz smiles in her graduation regalia
Rylee Tuttle smiles while wearing graduation regalia in front of a flowering tree
Emma Wansley stands smiling in front of her poster presentation
Sylvia Cohen smiles outdoors in front of an artistic metal wall.