Local family graduates all four children from UW Bothell

  • Friday, June 16, 2017 12:11pm
  • Life

All four children in one Bothell family have attended — and now graduated from — the University of Washington campus in their hometown.

Over the past decade, brothers Jack, Nick and Joe Becker have graduated from UW Bothell and this year, their sister Molly Becker took the walk in cap and gown.

Parents Peter and Julie Becker didn’t pressure their children to attend the same college but convenience was one factor, Julie said. By living at home, each sibling graduated in four years with no debt.

“Don’t rule out a close, great school simply to go away for a ‘college experience,’” she said. “Your college experience is exactly what you choose to make it and the daily support of a family can be invaluable in those years.”

Peter believes UW Bothell provided a best-of-both-worlds situation — a small school that can offer many one-to-one faculty interactions, with the availability of big-school experiences such as taking classes on the UW Seattle campus and cheering on the Huskies in sports.

Jack — who graduated in 2010 with a degree in society, ethics and human behavior — started in 2006 with the inaugural four-year class at the Bothell campus (previously, UW Bothell served only transfer students). He found the classes “innovative, compelling and forward-thinking.” Close-working relationships with professors, he said, offset the lack of other activities in the days before the Activities and Recreation Center and sports fields were built.

“As the years went on and subsequent classes swelled our ranks, those clubs and student life opportunities grew more plentiful,” said Jack, who now works in the restaurant industry.

Nick, who graduated in 2012 with a degree in biology, had been told he would get to know everyone at UW Bothell and found that to be true.

“Whether it’s the students working the cafe, your classmates or the professors, you really get to know the majority of the people that you see on a daily basis,” he said.

After graduating, Nick worked in biotech for about three years before transitioning to software development, still using skills he learned at the university.

“The ability to pick up a new subject and understand the best way to approach it makes a world of difference,” he said.

Joe, a 2014 graduate with a degree in business administration, met his wife Laura in a microeconomics class.

“Could you imagine a more romantic setting?” he asked.

While working at the Common Grounds café, he also came to know a lot of students and faculty. Today, he works as a project manager for eventcore, an event-planning company in Seattle. Laura is a certified public accountant.

“I have found a number of the concepts I learned from UW Bothell helpful in working at a small company,” said Joe. “Particularly, the courses that allowed students to come up with a product and work on it from start to finish gave me some really good experience for my career.”

Molly graduated this month with a degree in marketing but was initially reluctant to follow her brothers, her mother said. But after looking at several schools in and out of state, she couldn’t pass up the UW Bothell opportunity.

“I loved being able to walk into a class and not be overwhelmed by other people,” Molly said. “I loved, after class, being able to go up and talk to my professors and have a conversation with them — about the lecture, about life.”

Molly had a story published in “The Monolith,” an annual collection of science fiction short stories, and became a member of the supervisory board, helping edit and publish the work of other students. She plans to travel before looking for a job in digital marketing in the Seattle area.

“This was great in both the learning experience and social experience,” she said. “It made me who I am. I think I made the right decision, coming here.”

As a father, Peter had some favorite UW Bothell memories for each child such.

Those included Jack working for the UW football team through an entire season, developing friendships with coaches, staff and team members, many of who are now in the NFL; Nick being part of UW Bothell’s first biology program, with classes so small that they’d sit around a single table with their professor; Joe meeting his wife Laura, adding a fifth UW Bothell grad to the family; and Molly publishing a short story “The Monolith.”


In addition to all graduating from the same school, the Becker siblings also shared a favorite instructor, saying they all took as many courses as possible from first-year philosophy lecturer David Nixon.

“He is fantastic and deserving of all the praise heaped onto him by every student he’s ever had,” said Jack. “His philosophy and logic classes were some of favorite throughout my time at UW.”

Nick said Nixon’s music theory class stands out for him.

“I remember he made a point of us knowing everyone’s names and was great at making an open, safe space for people to voice their opinions,” Nick said. “Nixon himself is hilarious and between his personality and his performance abilities, class was never a dull day.”

Joe added, “A course surrounding culture and death was one of the most thought-provoking courses throughout my college career. Although it was less applicable to my career, it was incredibly interesting and helped to form many views I have today. It’s hard to forget a course where you throw your own funeral.”

Nixon taught an ethics and death class in which Joe and other students had to organize their own funeral services and give their own eulogies.

“They also had to write wills and living wills,” Nixon said. “We talked about abortion and euthanasia and the death penalty. It was a fun class.”

He recalls the Beckers fondly.

“Oh, the Beckers were great. I remember them well,” Nixon said.

He said it was a big deal for Molly to be published as a first-year student, noting her “kind of deadpan sense of humor.”

Beyond her own family’s experience, Julie believes UW Bothell is a resource for the whole community.

“We have talked with several neighbors about UW Bothell and some have sent their kids there as well, as it is a rich neighborhood resource that is constantly growing,” she said. “I like their commitment to the community and their close work with companies in the tech corridor in hiring student interns, their diversity and the enthusiasm and willingness of the staff to really get to know students and their families.”

This is from a UW Bothell news release.

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