May 19, 2023

JSI Scholar: Alex Roque

Ale Roque

Tell us about your story

I grew up in Manila, Philippines and migrated to Seattle in 2019 to be with my family. Aside from the two pieces of luggage and one backpack I carried with me on the journey, I also brought my passion for law and public service. Having grown up with a lot of relatives who worked in the field, it was something I was always interested in but could never solidify– it was after my family’s migration experience that my passion for immigration started to grow. My first few years in Seattle were surrounded by community members who showed me the breadth of the migrant experience and how much we needed to do (and how much could be done) to move toward migrant justice.

What path did you take when you first started college?

The ability to receive a college education in the United States was one of the strongest factors in my family’s decision to migrate– and is a decision that I do not take lightly. I spent my first two years in community college, which showed me how powerful education could be and how accessible it should be. Working, studying, and bonding with people across all ages and backgrounds was a formative experience because it helped shape the lens through which I would see my new home, Seattle. Additionally, the smaller classes and flexibility of community college allowed me to form deeper connections with my community not just within an educational setting but also in community-based organizations and volunteer opportunities. The combination of CC and community involvement early on helped me realize exactly what I wanted to learn and do with my education, which is a clarity I bring as I work toward my Bachelor’s Degree in the UW.

What made you consider a career in public policy/public service/international affairs?

I’m drawn to public policy and public service because of the desire to help immigrant families directly by navigating systems or finding necessary resources, as well as affecting change in immigration through public policy, starting at a local level. However, when I first moved to Seattle, I was willing to set aside my passions and interests for “traditional” and “stable” career paths. I thought that working in public policy and public service was just a dream that I’d eventually have to let go. But through working with organizations like OneAmerica or interning with the offices of Senator Murray and the City of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, I realized that it was actually possible to pursue my passions as a career— that, in actuality, voices and stories like mine had a place in such fields.

Who inspires you to think about public service?

My father.

What are you most excited about the JSI program at UW?

I’m looking forward to diving deep into the statistical tools and research methods that would best help us create, implement, and evaluate policies and programs. I’m also so excited to meet peers from all over the country, to work and learn closely together for seven weeks, and to enjoy Seattle’s beautiful summer together! Everyone is excited to finally meet in-person and it will for sure be a summer to remember.