You are here

Congrats, Arts & Sciences Class of 2020

Graduates in mortarboard caps


As we prepare to celebrate the Class of 2020 on June 13, College of Arts & Sciences seniors look back at their time on campus and in the classroom:


Senior Madison Shorter standing in front of Suzzallo Library

Madison Shorter

Majors: Dance; Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

What's your favorite place on campus and why? 

My favorite place on campus is Meany Hall. Whether I am in one of the studios, or in the basement with friends, that building has managed to feel like a home to me.

If you've received scholarship support, what has it meant to you? 

Last year, I was awarded the McFarlane Endowed Scholarship for the 2019–2020 school year. I cannot express how appreciative I felt/feel for this gift. It felt like an amazing recognition of my hard work here at the UW.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Probably a house cat. As calm and lazy as they may seem, they are sassy little things. And so am I.


Senior Ashley Grammer

Ashley Grammer

Major: Art

How have you changed as a result of your UW experience?

My time at UW has changed me quite a bit, actually. I don’t even feel like the same person I was when I started. When I started, I was ignorant, opinionated, and sort of judgmental towards myself and others. I used to think of art in a very black and white way. I thought that you had to be able to draw and paint realism in order to be considered a 'good' artist, but that pretty much went out the window once I got more into my drawing classes and printmaking classes. I now view art as subjective and just the sheer fact that someone feels compelled to make something and call it art is a beautiful thing and should be celebrated.

What advice would you give to your younger freshman self?

I would tell myself to STOP comparing myself to other artists!! I used to get really down on myself when I would see art that was full of detail and was so accurately representative. But I quickly learned that just because I am not that kind of artist, it doesn’t mean I’m less of an artist. I mean I have my own voice and they have theirs, which is exactly as it should be. I just try to be myself and no one else. I wish I knew that when I was a freshman.

What’s one academic experience you’ve had at UW that will stay with you forever?

I don’t know if I can narrow it down to only one. I would say that I was heavily influenced by three professors while at UW and their advice will stick with me forever. Philip Govedare taught me that sometimes leaving things less detailed is more impactful than including everything. He also told me that I should never be afraid to cover up something I already like. I use that advice to this day. Nathan Clark taught me to experiment and try weird things that sound interesting and to not be afraid to make terrible art. I now try crazy things all the time because of that advice. Lastly, Claire Cowie inspired me in so many ways. She definitely has had the biggest impact on me. She has helped me be more introspective and very self-analytical. She always gives very genuinely helpful critiques and has asks thought provoking questions. I feel like I’m finally on the right path in finding my voice as an artist and she played the biggest role in getting me there.

What course took you outside of your comfort zone the most, and why did you take it?

I took Mechatronics and Digital Fabrication. That class was WAY out of my comfort zone because all I knew was painting and drawing at that time. It was a very technical class, in that it involved coding and wiring circuit boards and incorporating it into interactive art installations. It really forced me to think outside the box, which was such a challenge at that time since I had never anything remotely close to that. I took it because I saw an exhibit by Studio Drift in Amsterdam and fell deep in love with their interactive art installations. They used electronics in their work and I wanted to know how to do that. The class ended up being the most difficult art class I have ever taken, but the most influential. It forced me to try things that intimidated me, but it was the beginning of building my confidence to try things out of my comfort zone, which I use regularly in my practice. I’m thankful for that challenge.


Senior Keith Matt with his diploma

Keith Matt

Major: American Indian Studies; Education, Communities and Organizations

What’s one academic experience you’ve had at UW that will stay with you forever?

Studying abroad in Tahiti, French Polynesia is an academic experience that will stay with me forever. This was my first time traveling outside of the United States and I'm thankful for the people, memories, and lifelong lessons that I've gained.

If you’ve received scholarship support, what has it meant to you?

The scholarships I’ve received help me to pursue my education, further my experiences, and achieve my goals as a first-generation. I would like to thank my scholarship donors, local organizations, and the Colville Tribes for helping create these opportunities!

What advice would you give to your younger freshman self?

You are in complete control of yourself. Your actions, your words, your character. Continue living for your purpose. Continue to be yourself unapologetically because you'll begin to attract the right people. You'll attract the friends that turn into family and the system that supports you. 

What’s your dream job?

I aspire to become an academic advisor working with students from diverse academic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds. I would love to be an active participant in helping others reach their goals and find success along the way. 


Additional Senior Stories

"Dancing with the Stars—and Planets"

As a triple major in astronomy, physics, and dance, Zakkir Rahman has decided his future is in the arts.

"How Questions Inspired Action"

Law, societies & justice major Samantha Fredman focused on societal inequities through courses and work at a local shelter.

"After the Navy, A New Chapter"

U.S. Navy veteran DiShawnn Newell found community as a transfer student majoring in psychology and neuroscience.

"From Paris to Penguins"

French and oceanography major Anna Sulc has traveled the world for her humanities and science research.

"Balancing Music & Medicine"

Nicole Stankovic plans to go to medical school. Her UW major? Piano.

"Husky 100 Recipient Racquel West on Being a History Major and Graduating in a Pandemic"

History and Geography double major Racquel West speaks with History PhD student Madison Heslop about her major, her research, her plans for the future.

"Reflecting on four years of the arts on campus"

Senior English major and The Daily reporter Grace Harmon reviews significant arts-related events that have taken place on campus over the past four years. Macus Lux, senior English and Cinema & Media Studies major, recalls the first event he attended as a freshman.


Congratulations! You did it!

Take a look back at 2020 ceremonies:

Would you like to include your department's ceremony? Email

Here are some additional resources that you will find helpful: