Western names three local students as outstanding graduates


Western Washington University recently named its Outstanding 2014 Graduates, and three graduated from Edmonds-area high schools. Courtney Hook, the Outstanding Graduate in Communication Studies, and Patricia Swanson, who was honored for her work in the Art Department, graduated from Meadowdale HS, and Tobias Osterhaug, Outstanding Grad in the Honors Program, is an  Edmonds-Woodway HS graduate.

Courtney Hook

Courtney Hook, Outstanding Graduate for the Communication Studies Department, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communication Studies and minors in Criminology and Sociology of Law. For her senior thesis project, she collected survey data from nearly 1,200 college students about their perceptions and feelings about identification with their chosen major. Hook presented her work at the Northwest Communication Association Conference and Scholar’s Week. She also served as a teaching assistant in several classes and as a peer adviser in the Communication Studies Department. She volunteered for Young Life for more than eight years and interned with Prudential Reality and the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office. Hook intends to take a year off to travel before moving back to Southern California where she grew up. She wants to continue her education and earn a master’s degree and doctorate in Communication so she can become a professor. A graduate of Meadowdale High School, Hook is the daughter of Bob Hook and Tina Beene.

Patricia Swanson

Patricia Swanson, Outstanding Graduate for the Art department, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in March with majors in Photography and English Literature. As president of Western’s chapter of the Society for Photographic Education, Swanson was instrumental in raising funds and organizing student trips to New York City and Baltimore. She is also adept in a variety of media, creating layered and complex work that extends into an exploration of traditional and new photographic techniques. She has completed two bodies of work and exhibited them both on campus. She plans to remain in Bellingham to work and save money for graduate school while applying to artist residences around the globe, seeking new opportunities to be challenged and to create new work. Eventually, Swanson plans to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree and teach photography. A graduate of Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood and Spokane Falls Community College, Swanson is the daughter of David (a 1968 graduate of Western) and Jacqueline Swanson.

Tobias Osterhaug

Tobias Osterhaug, Outstanding Graduate for the University Honors Program, graduated in June Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double-major in Chinese Language and History and a minor in International Studies. Osterhaug compiled an excellent record in a very demanding area, East Asian Studies, and spent considerable time in China for language study. He also served as a student member of the Honors Program’s governing board and was very active on the Honors Student Board. Osterhaug talked with prospective students about the Honors Program and was instrumental in extending the range of student-centered activities for Honors students, including educational forums and social events. He also worked at the Writing Center for two years, first as a writing assistant and then as a coordinator. After graduation, Osterhaug plans to spend a year in Bellingham volunteering for the Bellingham Food Bank and working to save money for graduate school. He hopes to pursue a master’s degree in International Studies with a focus on China and become a Foreign Services Officer for the state department. A graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School, he is the son of Einar and Birgit Osterhaug.

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