From tech executives to private business owners, across the world and in every walk of life, graduates of the UW Humanities Divison are forging fulfilling, inspiring, and even unexpected careers. We've asked a few of them to update us on where they've taken their humanities degrees, and how that education has helped to shape the work they do. Find out who our currently highlighted alum is here, or you can review the full list of alumni responses below.

 

Tideworks Technology Product Manager David Brodhead and his family
David Brodhead (Classics): Product Manager, Tideworks Technology 

 When I chose to study the Classics, I knew that likely no one would be hunting me down to recruit me. I knew I would need to work hard to pursue a career but I also knew that Classics would provide me a foundation to stand out if I could just get the opportunity. . . . Often the biggest differentiator between me and my peers is my acquired ability to sit with the unknown and the unanswerable.  I acquired this through the reading and analyzing of ancient texts where the author is long gone and one can only speculate at the author’s intent and motives. 

 

 

 

 

Content Strategist and UW English Minor Hanna Dasgupta
 Hanna Dasgupta (Business and English): Content Strategist, Deloitte Digital

My English background has given me a unique advantage in my career because it has trained me to identify client stories that are worth telling, and how to best tell these stories to different audiences. I notice my English background coming into play every day, for example being able to analyze overarching themes coming out of a client interview and making persuasive recommendations based on my understanding of the client's needs (much like pulling key themes from a book and writing a persuasive argument in an essay).

 

 

 

A selfie of Jesse Anarde and his wife smiling, with the text "Black Lives Matter" superimposed in yellow writing
Jesse Anarde (Classical Studies and History): Head of Technical Support Engineering, Meta

Studying ancient languages and people created a lifelong love of learning, and more importantly taught me how to learn! The analytical skills that I used to read and deconstruct ancient texts translates well into the technical work that I do and gave me a foundation to become a full-stack developer.

 

 

 

Megan Arnold in a dark jacket and loose hair standing on a bridge with a row of buildings in the background
Megan Arnold (French and International Studies): Associate Analyst for International Labor Standards, Walt Disney Co. 

Humanities education is valuable because it allows you to understand information within a global context and focuses on the human experience. A large part of my current job consists of analyzing small pieces of information and focusing on the details. It’s easy to take all these pieces individually but I think having a background in humanities definitely helps me take a step back and understand the personal experience of what I’m working on.

 

 

Chris Banbury smiling
Chris Banbury (Comparative History of Ideas): President of Global Operations, Conflux Network

Working in a highly technical field, most people have blinders as to what’s actually going on in the world and what problems really need to be addressed. With my humanities education, I’m able to ground people in highly technical fields to what really matters on local and global scales. The humanities provide a true pulse on what it means to be a human in an ever changing society.

 

 

Josh Belzman, wearing grey glasses, smiling in front of a grey background
Joshua Belzman (English and Communications): Senior Analytics Manager, Courier Newsroom

The greatest gift a liberal arts education provided is a love of learning and an appreciation for diversity of culture, experience and ideas. Data may be the "it" currency of our modern world, but learning to walk in others' shoes, challenge conventional thinking and explore the "why" of things is truly invaluable.

 

 

Bénédicte Bicaba, smiling to camera in a vivid green dress with floral pattern in front of a grey wall.
Bénédicte Bicaba (French and Anthropology): Co-founder and President, Botiminto; Institutional Partnerships Associate, Muso

Languages carry so much more than the written word. Language is culture, history, way of life, collective and individual expression, adapting to its time and should be handled with care as this can also be weaponized against individuals and communities. My French degree also emphasized the power of framing and translation to ensure that ideas are communicated in a manner that the audience will effectively receive them.

 

 

Camille Elmore-Trummer smiling while seated on a bench in front of a river
Camille Elmore-Trummer (Comparative History of Ideas and Communication): Community Engagement Director, Brink Communications

I chose an education focused on the humanities because of its ability to provide an intersectional lens for examining history and culture. My humanities-based education has significantly influenced my career path by providing me with a strong foundation for understanding historical patterns of behavior and identifying strategies to tackle the world's most pressing issues.

 

 

Joshua Glassmyer smiling
Joshua Glassmyer (Germanics): Founder of ermöglichen

Ethics and a human perspective are coming into play in a huge way in realms like data privacy, and will to a greater extent in coming years with technologies like artificial intelligence. It's a world of "can and do", and should be a world with more people asking "should we?" and "why?"

 

 

Lokela Alex Minami Smiling
Lokela Alexander Minami (Germanics and Political Science): Community Engagement Manager, Seattle Opera

So much my work depends on communication and collaboration, and a background in the humanities has been invaluable for this kind of work. It has not only exposed me to a breadth of ideas and information, which has allowed me to communicate more effectively with a variety of stakeholders, like community partners or interdepartmental colleagues, but more importantly, it has made me more mindful of the possibility that there might be perspectives that are different from—and equally as valid as—my own.

 

 

Matthew Moore smiling
Matthew Moore (English): Producer and Experience Manager, Microsoft

Despite working in tech, which has traditionally been focused on generating solutions through the lens of engineering, I've found my background in the humanities to be valuable throughout my career. My studies in English gave me a leg up from my start in the games industry over a decade ago, using composition to better my bug reports and cross-team communication, through my time as a game designer, analyzing the stories we were telling with a critical eye and (thanks also to a few Cinema classes) multimedia literacy.

 

 

David Ryder posed in three-quarter profile in front of a white background.
 David Ryder (Comparative History of Ideas): Independent Photographer and Filmmaker

My undergraduate work in the Comparative History of Ideas program helped shape the way I approach problems with an interdisciplinary mindset. I try to think of solutions from many angles. It also grounded me in a social justice framework that brought a new passion to the way I was doing and thinking about photography.

 

 

Michael Seguin standing next to a dance floor with dancers facing away from the camera. The photo is in black and white.
Michael Seguin (Classics and Latin): Owner, The Mobtown Ballroom

My humanities education at the UW kept me tethered to the arts in some fashion throughout my adult life. After spending so much time tangling with the classics, I knew on a deep level that a job that wasn't connected to art and creativity would be unsuitable for me. That's a scary thing to realize, but it was also liberating, and my background really did inspire me to think in different ways and to work my way around a lot of roadblocks.

 

 

Emily Shea smiling
Emily Shea (Chinese): Senior Business Development Manager, Amazon Web Services

As an undergraduate, I was very focused on trying to choose the 'right' major for the career I envisioned. What I've found instead is that the best part about my career has been the surprises! The deeper concepts like learning how to learn, how to problem solve, and what drives you as an individual will be important wherever you go.

 

 

Marie Shimada smiling
Marie Shimada (Comparative History of Ideas): Executive Director, Snoqualmie Valley Preservation Alliance

The practical skills I developed in research and writing set me up to successfully go on and obtain my law degree, while the social and critical thinking skills I developed provided a strong foundation for me to pursue a career advocating for positive change in my community.

 

 

Maggie Le smiling in a Japanese shopping center
Maggie Le (Japanese and Journalism): Editor (Kodansha), Penguin Random House

My humanities education at the UW taught me empathy and to look deeper into an issue. In my work as an editor, I am very fortunate to work on a team that is socially conscious, kind, and diligent, who are determined to bring different perspectives and stories through an accessible format.

 

 

Amanda Tollefson smiling next to the American and Ecuadorian flags
 Amanda Tollefson (Spanish and Comparative History of Ideas): Foreign Service Officer, US Department of State

There is no aspect of diplomacy that isn't improved by a strong humanities background. CHID taught me to think critically, question everything, and look for unexpected answers. Studying abroad (whether through CHID, through the Honors program, or otherwise) cemented my desire to focus my studies on international themes.

 

 

Maureen Trantham smiling in front of a soft dark green background.
Maureen Trantham (Comparative History of Ideas and Journalism): Senior VP, Operations, Impact and Philathropy, Sesame Workshop

At the UW, my CHID and Journalism professors not only encouraged me to engage in my own independent research and inquiry through the Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Scholarship, but also apply my learnings and develop practical skills via internships like the Journalism Foreign Intrigue Program. This blend of theory and practice taught me to be flexible, creative, pragmatic and solution-oriented.

 

Hana Ryan Wilson softly smiling in front of a white background
 Hana Ryan Wilson (Comparative History of Ideas): Head of Strategy, Talkable

I think my ability to synthesize information, combine qualitative and quantitative data, and understand the psychologies of company cultures come directly from doing the Comparative History of Ideas program at UW. You can always learn accounting or corporate finance, but I think the most holistic problem-solving in companies often comes from people with a strong sense of the Humanities, and a worldview that has been expanded through empathy, interdisciplinary studies, and a penchant for diversity of thought.