Passion for service and community drives student commencement speaker

by Michelle Saport  |   

Katie Scoggin
UAA's Spring 2024 Undergraduate Commencement Speaker Katie Scoggin. (Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)

When political science major and Spanish and legal studies minor Katie Scoggin first enrolled at UAA in fall 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, everything was online. Looking for a way to connect with fellow students, she joined the sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha. That first foray into campus life led to more connections and opportunities than she ever imagined.

Scoggin, a Steller Secondary School graduate and UA Scholar who initially planned to attend college in the Lower 48 thinking it'd be "bigger and better" before deciding to stay closer to her family as the pandemic roiled the world, was surprised to find that UAA is "literally dripping with opportunity."

It wasn't long before she took on leadership roles within the sorority and UAA's Panhellenic Council. Thanks to the people she met through her involvement, she seized the opportunity to become a peer health educator with the Student Health and Counseling Center and participate in Model UN. She joined USUAA student government as a delegate for the College of Arts and Sciences and went on to serve as president during her sophomore and junior years. She lived on campus to help make the most of her undergraduate experience, working as a resident advisor since her sophomore year.

Just as her peers helped open her up to new opportunities across campus, she's grateful for the support of faculty, staff and administrators. "They care about who you are as a person, if you're being taken care of, and where you're going," said Scoggin. "They are so invested in your future. I feel like that can't be overstated enough: how much this community cares about everyone in it."

The Honors College student credits faculty and UAA's community ties with helping her land internships with the Alaska Innocence Project and the Alaska Immigration Law Center, as well as a summer job as campaign manager for Alaska House of Representatives candidate Alyse Galvin. In turn, that job connected her with Ship Creek Group, where she'll soon begin a full-time job helping to manage campaigns for Alaska legislative candidates during what's sure to be a pivotal election year.

Looking to the future, Scoggin plans to continue her journey in public service, with aspirations of pursuing an advanced degree in public policy or law. Whether through criminal defense law, immigration advocacy or other avenues, Scoggin hopes to uplift those in need and create positive change in society.

"The most important thing in life is not your academic career or monetary success," said Scoggin. "That is not nearly as rewarding and fulfilling as helping other people and giving back."

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