Victoria Tyron graduated in June 2020 as a double major in international studies and communication. In spring 2020, she was named to the UW Husky 100 List and received the annual Jackson School Leadership Award for her leadership and deep commitment and service to community. Watch Victoria’s 8-minute speech to the Class of 2020 during the Jackson School Virtual Spring Convocation 2020 as the Jackson School Leadership Award recipient, a $5,000 stipend annually given to a graduating senior for leadership and service. While at the UW, Tyron served on the Black Student Commission, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Student Advisory Board, Campus Sustainability Fund, AfricaNow Association, ASUW Senate and Black Campus Ministries. She is pursuing a career in higher education. In autumn 2020, we caught up with Victoria for her reflections on her time at the Jackson School.
Name: Victoria T. Tyron
Studies: B.A. International Studies and Communication 2020
Hometown: Lynnwood, Washington
Foreign Languages: Akan, French
Favorite quote: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” -Luke 12
How did you choose UW?
Victoria Tyron: I had plans of going out of state but after a series of very fortunate events I chose to attend the University of Washington. Although a deviation from my original plan it didn’t take me long to be happy with my decision.
How did you decide to major in International Studies (IS)?
V.T.: I’ve always had an interest in the social sciences and I explored Political Science for a quarter at the UW and when I realized that wasn’t quite the space I was looking for I decided to explore other areas of the social sciences. An international relations course led to one thing and after an intro class for International Studies taught by Professor [Tony] Lucero I had found my niche and went for it. I am an immigrant and having always had that global perspective as someone living in the African diaspora International Studies gave me the platform to truly expand that perspective and increase my knowledge and desire for it.
Tell us about where has the IS major taken you in the world.
V.T.: IS has taken me all over physically and theoretically. I have been able to go far into the past and excitingly forward into the future, gotten to explore cultures and ideals that I otherwise never would’ve been able to do including my very own Ghanaian culture! For IS I had to complete a language requirement and restarting my journey to learn French gave me the chance to explore not only the French language but culture as well during an exploration seminar. A profound component of my experience in IS was when I spent the summer quarter of junior year in a world development course. In that class one of the things we explored was the “underdevelopment of development” and what it meant to be a place-maker. Place-making is about a strong consideration of people, their histories and their aspirations rather than an imposition from an outsider because that is how erasure occurs. As I have made plans for the future both personally and professionally this is something I’ve always kept in mind. In whatever I’m doing what is my role and how am I making sure to remain considerate of people, places, histories and future aspirations? These have become strong guidelines for me.
What is your ideal career?
V.T.: It’s hard to speak of my ideal career because even to my own ears it sounds so vague and abstract! However, from what I’ve noticed about myself and the spaces I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to I am very interested in program development within higher ed, specifically those meant to serve marginalized and historically underserved communities. It goes back to my desire to be a place-maker and unfortunately higher education has continually been a place of erasure and I wish to contribute to a new narrative and course of action.
Tell us about your reaction on receiving the Jackson School Leadership Award.
V.T.: I was incredibly shocked to have received the award because I know of many IS students whose contributions in their leadership are so far reaching and I honestly never thought of myself as being one of them. Additionally, much of my involvement at the UW wasn’t exactly generated out of the Jackson School itself so again, very surprised. What I will say is that even after the few months that it has been I am very blessed to have received this award because it has become a good reminder to remain accountable in my endeavors. When I won the award, I challenged my fellow graduates to be of use with their education and that is something I take very seriously. I’ve become a bit more critical of my own actions and choices and I am praying that they’ll yield the results of the kind of leader the Jackson School saw in me.
What advice do you have for students considering a Jackson School major?
V.T.: My advice to students considering a Jackson School major is to allow the global citizen within you to come out. Some may be considering the Jackson School as well travelled individuals and many like myself will be coming as home bodies. Whatever the case may be, allow yourself to become a global citizen, one who sees the word international as something other than a few plane rides and vacation photos. Like I said earlier IS has allowed me to travel physically and theoretically to times and spaces that I never even thought of! The crazy thing is that some of these places were right here in Seattle and they still had an impact. As a global citizen everything becomes or has the potentially for intersectionality if it doesn’t already and that is so exciting.