I think you learn from every experience you have, whether it was a good one or a bad one.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” may be a common enough phrase, but for Alyssa Eckroth, it’s shaped her approach to life.
“I think it relates to a lot of things,” she said. “One is resiliency and persevering through the ‘No’s’ in your life. The other is just getting through the days when you have a full schedule all the time.”
Eckroth is a senior majoring in Education, Communities and Organizations (ECO) through the University of Washington’s College of Education and minoring in business administration. She has been a First-year Interest Group (FIG) leader and is currently president of Undergraduate Women in Business (UWiB). She’s also completing her senior ECO capstone project working in a marketing and communications role with Tiny Trees Preschool.
In her three-quarter long placement at the school, Eckroth has done everything from coordinate end-of-year gifts for donors to building their social media following to connecting with companies and volunteers after events.
“I’m seeing what I’ve been learning in the classroom about how people learn outside of the formal education setting,” she said about the application of the ECO program to her work at Tiny Trees. “They’re really hands-on with material, actually pouring water with sand in it and seeing how it separates in real life in the parks.”
Eckroth’s passion for learning outside of traditional classroom settings traces back to her childhood growing up in a small town in California, where she played soccer and always looked to get outdoors.
Her ECO capstone with Tiny Trees has brought her studies in both education and business together.
“We have to figure out how we’re going to create a tailored marketing strategy. It’s also doing outreach, looking at which areas of Seattle we need to target to create more diversity in our program,” she said. “I think where the business background comes in super handy is in understanding how operations work. How we can be more efficient, in a sense.”
Eckroth realizes how many avenues her career could take with her skillset, but she hopes for something magical.
“My long-term goal is to do park operations for Walt Disney World or Disneyland,” she said. “I grew up with them in a huge Disney family, so being able to run that ginormous operation would be a dream come true, no pun intended there.”
The real-life experiences Eckroth enjoyed so much growing up are exactly what she wants to perpetuate for others, even after childhood.
“As an adult, you experience it a little bit differently,” she said. “You get to see it as a holistic experience. Every time you go, there’s something new for you.”
She remembers when the Haunted House was the scariest ride she’d been on, but she now appreciates the designs and technology put into creating an experience unlike normal life.
“That’s why Walt Disney is going to stay relevant even after I’m gone, and it’s just going to get better as technology advances and you create a different park experience for everyone who walks through those gates.”
Eckroth considers ECO vital to understanding different walks of life, cultures, and interpersonal interactions. The ways people learn affect how they think and analyze.
“A big part of why I went to ECO is that you will always be working with people,” she said.
This includes working in teams and helping people relate to a product or a plan by first understanding how they learn.
“I think you learn from every experience you have, whether it was a good one or a bad one,” she said. “You learn something about yourself and that only helps make you a stronger person, a stronger candidate or a better friend.”
Story by Olivia Madewell, marketing and communications student aide.
Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications