Alumni Alex Allen Delivers Leadership Keynote
By: Evie Caldwell
Digital Technology and Culture alumni Alex Allen was the keynote speaker at the annual TRIO SSS Leadership Symposium on February 22. Alex graduated from WSU in May 2019, double majoring in DTC and Marketing. He took extra time to finish his degree in order to take on DTC as his second major and add a more creative element to his experience. As an undergraduate, Alex was heavily involved with the TRIO Student Support Services Program and was awarded the 2019 TRIO SSS Scholar of the Year Award. The TRIO SSS Program helps students that are first-generation, in financial need, and/or have a documented disability.
In his keynote, Alex shared some of his background with leadership. During his junior year at WSU, he revived a club, Wazzu Films. The club’s goal is to provide students with free opportunities to get involved in film production and learn how to use professional equipment. When Alex first revived Wazzu Films, it had two members. By the end of its first year, the club had 55 members, and over 25 of those members were attending nearly every meeting. In his address, Alex explained the three pillars that enable him to be an effective leader: stepping out of one’s comfort zone, developing a routine, and prioritizing responsibilities through organization and time management.
Alex is also dyslexic. His dyslexia has played a major role in his learning and education, but he views it as a unique strength rather than an disadvantage. Throughout his keynote, Alex explained that dyslexic people are often incredibly innovative and creative. Numerous famous inventors and intellectuals have been dyslexic, including Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and many others. Alex now sees dyslexia as more of a learning difference than a learning disability, and his experiences in the TRIO SSS Program played a big part in helping him to develop that view.
As of today, Alex has completed two years of experience in professional graphic design, coding, website development, large scale format printing, branding, 3D animation, and teaching. “He is one of our outstanding scholars and we are extremely proud of all he has accomplished,” said Angie Klimko, director for TRIO Student Support Services. Alex will be pursuing a job with a UX, UI, or graphic design company in May 2020, and he soon plans to apply for the Pilchuck School of Glass Academy and an assistantship with a local artist in his hometown. He is also hoping to earn his Master’s in Fine Arts in Visual Design in the near future.