Damme Getachew

Journalist for The Seattle Globalist

Auburn, Washington

Class of 2016, Global Development major

As a journalist, Getachew works independently, traveling around the Greater Seattle area talking to lawyers, community organizers, or complete strangers for stories and to discover what matters to them. As a writer, she is currently developing a number of personal projects and working on forming better community with other POC’s and social justice workers in Seattle. As a full-time writer, she feels passionate about her work.

How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?

Overall, my time at SPU has been a catalyst for me — choosing to walk into uncomfortable spaces, to take part in difficult but necessary discussions and to continue fighting for what I believe in despite backlash — because I met people who were all-or-nothing and these people became my family.

Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?

Dr. Brad Murg taught the comparative political systems class Winter Quarter 2015 that really helped me understand global development. That quarter, he became the director of the Global Development Studies program and my faculty advisor along with Dr. Kathleen Braden, another amazing professor. There was something about the brutally honest manner in which he spoke, the incredible capacity of knowledge and understanding of history, politics, and systems that he held ready to share at any given moment, and the complete clarity in the way he taught that truly motivated and encouraged me as a student. I felt confident walking out as a GDS graduate.

Susan Okamoto Lane has been an impactful mentor for me throughout my time at SPU. I gained so much from working with her and Serena Manzo in Multi-Ethnic Programs, learning to see myself as a strong, influential leader and beginning to believe in my abilities to succeed beyond this campus. I truly appreciate the flexibility and consideration that Susan granted me as I balanced multiple obstacles in my life. I was always supported in my efforts and commitments both within and outside of the workplace.

Though I did not get the chance to spend as much time as I would have liked to develop strong relationships with some individuals at SPU, I looked up to several of the faculty and staff for their visible and passionate commitment to develop student’s whole being and support those like me who were just trying to survive on campus. These people include Caenisha Warren, Brian Bantum, Brenda Salter McNeil, Jasmine Hairston, Emilio Cabrera, and Raphael Mondesir. I am forever grateful.

What advice would you give to current SPU students?

Take time to reconnect with family and friends, time for personal reflection, and true independence.