Thanks to the scholarships that paid most of his expenses at WSU, Adam Bakken is well-prepared for his next step in life: becoming a teacher and ultimately, working in the field of international education.

Adam Bakken (’15)
Adam Bakken (’15)

Adam will graduate in December with a double degree in Elementary Education and in Linguistics, with a Japanese minor and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language teaching certificate.

“I have always known that I want to be a teacher, instructing the future leaders of tomorrow. I now know I will do this by teaching English to non-native speakers,” he says.

Adam worked part-time while attending WSU, but scholarships made the biggest difference. “I am extremely grateful. Scholarships have had an immensely positive effect on my life as a student throughout my college career.”

The financial assistance eased his worries and allowed him to achieve academic success. Best of all, scholarships made a huge difference for his parents. “My family is extremely grateful for any scholarships I am able to obtain, as it helps lessen the considerable cost – for a considerable education – of WSU that I and my family must pay,” he says.

Adam is a legacy Cougar who grew up experiencing the camaraderie shared by WSU alumni throughout the world. His father’s job took the family to distant places and wherever they travelled, his father’s ball cap or briefcase marked with “WSU” always received an enthusiastic “Go Cougs!” This left a lasting impression on Adam. “The idea that a university could be this important and this loved and this welcoming—and welcomed all over the world,” he recalls.

“Going into my college years, I yearned to call such a university my home. I applied and was accepted into Washington State University five years ago, and have loved every moment of being a member of the Cougar family. I have since received many a ‘Go Cougs!’ in my travels, when I represented our university studying abroad in Japan.”

Adam remembers the exact moment when he decided his goal in life. He was 13 years old. “I had been volunteering for a semester in the preschool of Kongsberg International School, which I attended while living in Norway. Most teenagers do not volunteer in the preschool after school. But, there I was, and on this particular day the teacher asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told her that I had never thought about it before. She then asked me why I was volunteering, to which I replied that I enjoyed it. She then told me that it is very rare for people to be able to do what they enjoy. I decided that day to become a teacher.”

With his college career coming to a close, Adam is ready to embark on the next chapter of his life. He looks to the future with confidence. “I hope to become a renowned teacher, a renowned educator, a renowned linguist, and a renowned citizen of the world – representing WSU worldwide,” he says.

A few facts about Adam, in his own words:

Something people might not know about me:  “True to my calling as a teacher and linguist, I am a polyglot. I can speak English, Norwegian, and Japanese, as well as some Spanish.”

When I need a break from my academics:  “I like to go for long drives to de-stress, and watch foreign television shows. I also am a woodworker, and make my own figurines as well as furniture.”

What fuels me:  “I desire to be the kind of role model parents would see and say to their son/daughter ‘Child, if you grow up to be that kind of person, I will be content.’”