Q&A with Migee Han, Chief Development and Communications Officer
Q: Why did you decide to join Washington STEM?
I grew up in a family full of teachers. All of the kids in my family went to public school and we are strong supporters of the public education system. The opportunity to join Washington STEM provided me with a chance to return to an organization that is focused on system-level solutions and also, join a group of people whose mission is to make high-quality education, STEM skills, and pathways to postsecondary opportunities accessible to those who have been historically left out.
Q: What does equity in STEM education and careers mean to you?
To me it means that students, regardless of their race, gender, or resources have access to STEM skills and learning and that they will have the support they need to become STEM literate. It means our kids have access to these skills and learning from cradle to career and that we as a community will ensure our littlest learners get the best starts and care. It means Washington students will cultivate skills that foster higher-order thinking that enable them to engage in critical problem solving and creative solution building and that they will be prepared, and have the opportunity, to step onto postsecondary pathways that lead to economic mobility, civic engagement, and thriving lives.
Q: Why did you choose your career?
I would describe my career path as one of meandering exploration. When I was young, I loved geology and photography but didn’t feel a strong enough pull to geology to pursue it and I grew up in a poor family and so photography didn’t feel like an option for me. I wanted to experience lots of different things and so I spent my early career years initially in the corporate sector doing just that. But beside an inspiring stint at the American Basketball League, I found it difficult to imagine a life of work in a place where I didn’t feel passionate about the work or mission. I was doing good work, and learning a lot about project and people management, budgets etc., but ultimately I realized that I wanted to do work that would leave my slice of community better than I found it. I was presented with an opportunity to make the leap from the corporate sector to the nonprofit sector and I took it and have been working in this sector ever since.
Q: Can you tell us more about your education/career path?
I moved to Seattle when I was young and worked while attending the University of Washington. I was interested in political science and communications and studied both during my undergrad. In my 18-year-old brain, I figured communications would be a good skillset regardless of what I decided to do. Once I had been working in the nonprofit sector for a little bit and decided that was where I wanted to be for a while, I went back to school, attending Seattle University, and earned a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership. Now the classes focus on things like cooking.
Q: What inspires you?
Courageous people speaking truth to power, gestures of kindness, young people, images from the James Webb Space Telescope, the sun rising, nature, my son.
Q: What are some of your favorite things about Washington state?
Wow! This one is a hard one — there are so many things. Mt Rainier on a clear day (well, any day!), driving on I-90 and that moment when you feel the city slip away, the view of the Washington coast from Moclips, wandering the Hoh Rainforest, sitting on the shores of Lake Crescent early in the morning with no one else around, watching the sun set anywhere, Creamy Cone Cafe, Chinatown International District, the Gorge.
Q: What’s one thing about you that people can’t find through the internet?
Hmmm…let’s see, well, one thing that you wouldn’t know about me, unless you really know me, is that for a couple of years I played roller derby with Rat City Roller Derby about ten years ago. It was an incredible experience, a wonderful community of people, and so much fun!