Both Students Received $250 Scholarships
Four highly esteemed Washington state organizations have honored Highline College students Asutosh Upreti and Hamse Igge for their academic accomplishments. The South King County residents join top scholars from the state’s 34 community and technical colleges as members of the 2020 All-Washington Academic team.
By being named to the All-Washington Academic Team, Upreti and Igge earned $500 in scholarships: $250 given each by the Highline College Foundation.
Each college could nominate up to four students for the award. To qualify, students had to apply for recognition and be members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Upreti, a 25-year-old living in Des Moines, holds a 3.84 GPA and is pursuing a degree in allied health.
He says he decided to pursue Allied Health so that he can become a dentist and help the people in a small village in Nepal, where he grew up and lived before coming to the United States about two years ago.
But he’d also like to become a dentist so that others won’t have to go through the heartbreak he and his family endured after losing his father and uncle to various oral diseases and cancer.
“Going back to my village and educating about the importance of oral hygiene is what motivates me to move further,” Upreti said, noting many in his village don’t know about the importance of brushing and flossing teeth.
After graduating from Highline in fall 2020, Upreti plans to transfer to Seattle Central College to complete a bachelor’s degree to become a dental hygienist, a program that Highline does not offer. After that, he hopes to acquire the necessary schooling to become an orthodontist.
Once schooling is over, Upreti will return to Nepal.
“There are many places in different countries where people still don’t take oral hygiene seriously,” he said. “Trying to educate as many people as I can and telling the situation of their mouths is what I want to pursue. Advanced countries like America, Europe already have a proper education and Insurance system which made people more educated about oral hygiene. My primary focus would be helping people in the underdeveloped rural areas with their oral problems and, at the same time, educating them about it’s good and bad consequences.”
Igge, a 22-year-old living in Tukwila, holds a 3.8 GPA and is also pursuing a degree in allied health.
He said he chose to pursue dentistry because he enjoyed learning about a related program he took while at the Puget Sound Skills Center.
But Igge’s story is more than just his hopes to become a dentist. After his parents moved to the U.S. from Kenya, Igge found himself alone with his many siblings at just 10 years old. While his older brother dropped out of school to support them and they tried their hardest to take care of each other, his parents were busy applying for their visas. Twelve long years later, Igge and his siblings joined their parents in Seattle.
Although Igge and his siblings often felt sad and angry for having to grow up without parents, the experience taught him something.
“I had never had time to be a child because I had to help take care of my siblings,” Igge said. “My mom knew what we had gone through and noticed that we’d become self-sufficient. Together, my siblings and I overcame many obstacles. I learned to keep moving forward and achieve my goals.”
Igge plans to graduate at the end of spring quarter 2020 and attend Seattle Central College in the fall before being admitted to the University of Washington to study dentistry and political science. Once his education is complete, he plans to work at his own dental practice.
The All-Washington Academic Team program is sponsored by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges, Washington State Association of College Trustees and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Phi Theta Kappa has more than 2 million members worldwide and is active in more than 1,250 chapters. Highline is home to the Pi Sigma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. The chapter recognizes and encourages the academic achievements of two-year college students. It also provides opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming. Learn about the benefits of membership, including scholarships, career resources and more.