Governor Jay Inslee named Chemical Engineering student Austin Wright-Pettibone as the new student member of the University of Washington Board of Regents for 2016-17.
This is by far the most distinguished honor for a UW student. The appointment is even more remarkable considering that Austin becomes the first undergraduate since 2008 and the first ever engineering student to serve as the UW student regent.
"As a state, we are increasingly focused on promoting access to and excellence within STEM education. But as a university, we are grappling with how to address this within the context of limited budgets and increased demand. I think this challenge is particularly acute in the College of Engineering, where we are admitting almost 1,000 students who want to be engineers, but for whom we cannot offer a place in our Departments," Wright-Pettibone said in his email interview with the Department of Chemical Engineering.
"One of the hardest things for any student to hear is that they weren't accepted into their major of choice. I believe how we address this challenge will be key in determining how we promote access to excellence. I hope to work with the College of Engineering, as well as members across our university community in ensuring our undergraduate and graduate students can get the most out of their time here, while supporting our faculty members in their research endeavors."
Austin is currently wrapping up his junior year, and he is off to Washington D.C. this summer as part of the Washington Internships for Students in Engineering (WISE) program through the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He will work on public policy issues, examining how engineers can contribute to public policy decisions in complex technological matters. He is a stellar student with many honors including his recent induction into the inaugural class of Husky100.
"I hope to focus on promoting our competitiveness as a university across the state by highlighting the unique opportunities a UW education offers. I'm excited about the challenges and opportunities presented by this next biennium, and look forward to working with our legislators in ensuring the gains of the last biennium are continued and expanded upon."
Read more about the appointment on the UW Today.