Alumni Spotlight: Catherine Tonsberg, ’16

Catherine Tonsberg, PPE ’16

Congratulations to Catherine Tonsberg on her recent acceptance to Brown University’s Master of Public Affairs program! Currently living and working in Rhode Island, Catherine answered a few questions for us about how her time at UW Tacoma prepared her for her career and, now, her graduate education.

Catherine majored in Politics, Philosophy, & Economics (PPE), with a Law and Policy minor. Describing her program, she says, “I was first drawn to UW Tacoma by the faculty who were active in their field and doing interesting and important work, but the PPE major is what cemented my decision to attend…. The PPE major provided me with analytical tools far beyond what any of these fields would have on their own, and has made me well prepared to think about the human and moral implications of political and economic issues.” 

Catherine also benefited from a legislative internship during her time as a UWT undergrad. “The Legislative internship kicked off my policy career and was an invaluable experience.” Catherine is currently the Policy Associate for the ACLU of Rhode Island, where she advocates for policies protecting civil liberties. “Being immersed in the state legislature was not only a great learning experience for my major, but also taught me a lot about the types of careers I was interested in,” she says.

When asked for her advice for prospective or incoming UW Tacoma students, Catherine says, “Reach out to faculty in your prospective field, sit in on a class, and ask to be put in touch with current students. You learn a lot about the culture of UW Tacoma from being there and meeting the people who make it what it is.” And as for students interested in graduate school, she shares, “I first contacted Brown University by tweeting at them – this isn’t our parents’ admissions process! Don’t feel limited by online admission forms – send emails, build relationships, go on informational interviews and ask lots of questions – and remember you don’t get what you don’t ask for.”

Thanks, Catherine! We wish you the best in grad school and beyond!