From Trojan to Coug to Career:

Rilee Louangphakdy’s Journey as a Successful EvCC and WSU Everett Alumni

Time can be both a friend and a foe to college students. On one hand, it offers the promise of new opportunities, fresh starts, and endless possibilities.

On the other, it can feel like a ticking clock, counting down the days until deadlines, exams, and graduation. For those who learn to master the art of time management, the passage of time becomes a tool rather than a hindrance. These students are able to make every moment count. They maximize their potential and achieve their dreams against the odds. EvCC and WSU Everett alumni Rilee Louangphakdy did just that. 

Rilee Louangphakdy is a 26 year old Communication Specialist for the city of Marysville, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Strategic Communication from WSU Everett and also with an associates from EvCC. His hobbies are manga and anime. “Anything that just has art or animation involved, I’m really into that,”  Louangphakdy said. 

Just like many college students, Louangphakdy’s journey wasn’t as smooth as you think, even dating back to high school.

“I was on track to repeating another year or taking summer school due to personal issues,”  Louangphakdy said. Louangphakdy’s first choice wasn’t WSU Everett but rather UW Seattle. “I decided to just stay local, my parents were recently divorced at the time and I wanted to provide help or help support my family as much as I can at the time,” Louangphakdy said.

WSU-Everett alumnus Rilee Louangphakdy (Courtesy of Olivia Vanni – Everett Herald)

During his time at EvCC, Louangphakdy’s way of thinking about a college degree was very two-dimensional but it gradually changed over time. “The professors that I’ve met and the people that I’ve met kind of motivated me to aspire for more.”  Louangphakdy said. Louangphakdy went on to mention many prominent figures during his college career that changed his life for the better. Out of many of his personal issues he struggled with, the most significant was imposter syndrome. One of the most prominent figures that helped him through this particular problem was Lucrezia Paxson, a scholarly associate professor at WSU Everett. “She consistently let me know that I am talented, that I do have the skills and the things I know how to do would make a big impact on anybody.”

As most college students procrastinate till the last hour to finish their work, Louangphakdy did just that but not because of selfish procrastination but because of external factors. It was a semester project where he had at least two-three months to work but he ended up finishing it in two to three days. Louangphakdy’s project was a big marketing campaign for any company he wanted to do but it had to be a 20 minute presentation with all the collateral that came with it. “I think within those two to three days I probably got like eight hours of sleep.” Louangphakdy said with a regretful smile on his face. His professor for the class was none other than Lucrezia Paxson. 

After he presented his project to the class Paxson wanted to talk to him immediately. Despite Louanphakdy’s concerns over his performance, Paxson was so impressed with his work on the project that she wanted to use it as an example for future classes. “As she’s telling me this, I’m standing there like….what?” said Louangphakdy with the most confused look ever. To his surprise, Paxson gave Louangphakdy an above average score, causing some of his classmates to be playfully upset, as they had worked hard on their projects throughout the semester, while Louangphakdy completed his in less than a week. “My classmates were so mad at me because they had worked really hard the whole semester for their projects and then I did all of that within like less than a week” said Louangphakdy as he chuckled.

 Louangphakdy left a big impact on the professors during his time at EvCC and WSU Everett. One notable figure he left an impact on was Andrew T. Wahl, a Professor at EvCC. “Rilee as a student was a person who had an agenda and a vision for their own future.” said Wahl. “He was often in my office asking questions about businesses he wanted to start or projects he was involved in. It really made him stand out.”

Through hard work, dedication, and the support of influential figures in his life, Rilee Louangphakdy was able to overcome personal challenges and turn his dreams into a reality. His journey from struggling high school student to successful WSU alumni is a testament to the power of perseverance and the value of a strong support system. As a Communication Specialist for the city of Marysville, Rilee continues to make an impact in his community and inspire others to pursue their passions.