Excerpt from Raeshawna Sager’s speech, Bates Sizzles fundraiser, April 24, 2014

Being native to Tacoma and its surrounding cities, I never thought I would remain here to further my educational pursuits. It was once told to me “venture the world,” implying that I would find my purpose outside of Washington.

However, I found that moving to a different location does not always equate to the discovery of purpose. So I chose to dig deep into the hills of Tacoma and not leave for a more illustrious city such as New York or Los Angeles. Instead of the word “venture,” I searched for a word that would speak to my purpose. The word I heard was “elevate:” to lift, heighten, extend, stretch, and rise.

I realized that doing well in mathematics, science, and critical thinking could be used to create the world around me through engineering. Engineering at its finest reaches new innovations and raises the level of excellence in structures.  I could use my creative skills to design, and my logical skills to plan projects-all I needed were the technical abilities to fuse both skills together.

This crossroads in education is what I then began to search for. I looked into many different programs and Bates Technical College truly has the type of hands-on learning that is most beneficial to me as a unique learner.

At Bates, in addition to the hands-on learning, the opportunities to feel supported by faculty, administrators, and peers has really been a huge help for me as a woman pursuing a career in male-dominated fields such as my field, civil engineering.

Today, because of the immense support Bates shows women in these programs, I have an esteemed privilege to work alongside of other women who are also pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and, Mathematics in our Divine STEM student group, of which I serve as the current president.

Raeshawna will complete her Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering in March 2015.