CPP Alumni Feature: Azra Grudic

March 2023

by Mya Brossoit

The College of Professional Programs is proud to recognize EWU School of Psychology and School of Social Work Alumna, Azra Grudic.

In 2006, Azra graduated from Eastern with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and returned to complete her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in 2008. She current works as a School Social Worker for a school district in Snohomish County. In her years since graduation, she has also worked as a Victim Advocate developing anti-human trafficking programs for Spokane County and Snohomish County.  The Snohomish County anti-trafficking program was a collaboration between the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Prosecutors Office, local law enforcement, and the FBI.

Azra reflects on how her education prepared her for her career in numerous ways. She tells of the skills she has obtained because of her time at EWU.  Azra is thankful for her varied coursework that provided a deep understanding of  mental health and human behavior. As Azra worked with several victims of sexual abuse and human-trafficking, she marvels at the psychology behind her methods of support.

While advocating for these victims, she recognizes how useful her Social Work degree was as she created programs to support her clients. Her education ultimately helped her to re-frame her perspectives on situations and work with other professionals in meaningful ways.

The combination of Psychology and Social Work gave me skills needed to jump start my career.

However, like many students, Azra’s journey to college included many challenges. As a 22 year-old refugee new to the United States and speaking no English, Azra persevered through a range of hardships that made her degrees all the more accomplishing. She shares her experiences teaching English to herself while continuously putting in effort to succeed.

 I taught myself English by watching TV and reading magazines, and typing from magazines on an old computer to learn the grammar. I forced myself to memorize 100 words a day to speed up the learning process…I never gave up.

To support herself financially, she worked weekends and evenings, and didn’t have any time off until completing her MSW degree. She also found it challenging being an older student trying to connect with her peers but she made one connection that led to a friendship which continues today. Regardless of these trials, Azra soared high during her time at Eastern.

Don’t get too hung up on the journey, the very first job I took was not my dream job, but that very first job had opened the door to my dream job and I never thought it would.

Azra is grateful for the support Eastern’s faculty and staff provided. She shares how Dr. Kayleen Islam-Zwart, Dr. Russell Kolts and Dr. Amani El-Alayli were influential mentors during her time at EWU. Azra recommends current and future students “make meaningful connections with the professors, they care a great deal and want to see you succeed.”

There are so many wonderful and caring people at EWU.

Azra’s advises current and future students to “use this time wisely to gain insights about yourself and who you are as a person.  This is a great time of personal growth and it will impact the rest of your life, not just professionally.”  From her experience, she suggests that students should always do their best but also have fun!

The EWU College of Professional Programs honors Azra Grudic for her meaningful contributions and impressive accomplishments!