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Mayowa Aina: Jackson School Distinguished Alum 2022

December 8, 2022

Mayowa Aina in a field

Mayowa Aina

The Jackson School was honored to name Mayowa Aina as its Jackson School 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. The annual award goes to an alum of the school for their leadership and service.

Aina, a public media journalist who graduated from the Jackson School in 2017 with a B.A. in international studies and B.S. in informatics and two minors in Music and Comparative History of Ideas, is based in her hometown of Tacoma where she reports and produces podcasts for the NPR station KNKX.

In her keynote address to the students during the Jackson School Spring Convocation 2022, held on June 11, Aina urged the graduating class to “make bold choices, not just for yourself, but on behalf of your community.”

Her post-UW career has included producing podcasts with local public radio station KUOW, moving to Washington D.C. to work at NPR headquarters for shows such as Code Switch and All Things Considered, and then to Alaska where she produced stories on education and a daily news program that was heard on stations throughout the state.

Her contributions while at the UW extended well beyond the classroom. Examples: She served as President of the Black Student Union, helping to establish an endowed scholarship to support Black students entering the University. She was a mentor for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and worked as Orientation Leader and First-Year Interest Group Leader for incoming UW students.

In 2016, Aina was chosen to be part of the prestigious UW “Husky 100,” which recognizes a highly select group of UW students who show passion and leadership in their endeavors. Her post-degree recognitions include the NPR Kroc Fellowship for public media journalists, as well as two regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

“I wasn’t a journalism major,” said Aina in her speech. “But what I learned here in the Jackson School comes in handy, literally every day, and it has real life consequences.”