Two military veterans, social justice organizer graduating from University of Washington Bothell wit

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

News Release

June 1, 2016

Contact Lisa Hall 425-352-5461 /

Two military veterans, social justice organizer graduating from University of Washington Bothell with highest awards

Alejandra Perez

Benjamin Studley

Justin Thompson

 BOTHELL, Washington – Two military veterans and a social justice organizer are graduating from the University of Washington Bothell with the highest honors in the class of 2016.

Army veteran Justin Thompson received the President’s Medal, which recognizes a distinguished academic record.

Navy veteran Benjamin Studley received one of two Chancellor’s Medals. The second Chancellor’s Medal was awarded to Alejandra Pérez, an advocate for undocumented students and campus diversity. The Chancellor’s Medal recognizes inspirational students who have overcome significant obstacles to make extraordinary achievements.

Thompson is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He is will begin the University of Washington School of Medicine’s TRUST Scholar program in early June. The program requires a commitment to serve in rural areas or underserved communities.

The 29-year-old Everett man was compelled to seek a career as a primary care physician because of his six-year experience as an Army pharmacy technician, serving soldiers at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Studley says he is proud to represent veterans making the transition from the military. He had a nearly 16-year Navy career that included service during wars in Iraq and Afghanistan aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.

The 36-year-old Snohomish man was a single father and student when he overcame an addiction to opioids prescribed by Veterans Affairs for knee pain.

Pérez came from Guatemala as a 12-year-old with her mother and brother. The 21-year-old Seattle woman has turned the fear of deportation into social justice activism. She also has been a leader of the Latino Student Union and campaigned for a diversity center on campus.

Perez is one of five UW Bothell students to be selected in the inaugural Husky 100 -- leaders who already are making an impact in the world.

About UW Bothell: Ranked No. 1 in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest on Money magazine’s list of best colleges, UW Bothell provides access to an exceptional University of Washington education for students of tremendous potential. Offering more than 45 undergraduate and graduate degrees, options, certificates and concentrations, UW Bothell builds regional partnerships, inspires change, creates knowledge, shares discoveries and prepares students for leadership in the state of Washington and beyond