by Shana Lombard, Communications Assistant


Denise “DJ” Coger, Cherokee and Japanese, walked at graduation this past December, earning herself a bachelor’s in psychology. She still has one semester left as a Coug as she’s currently studying abroad at a university in London.

Denise "DJ" Coger
Denise “DJ” Coger displays the print she received at the December graduation. She is flanked by Native Programs director Barbara Aston (l) and assistant director Faith Price. Coger’s mother is in the background (l).

Reflecting back on her years at Washington State, DJ feels that it went by too fast but was most happy about all the memories she’s made with friends on campus.

“I made a lot of friends from different social circles,” Coger said.

Coger spent a lot of time making these friends in various places like the Native Center, her sorority Kappa Delta Chi, and clubs like the Native American Women’s Association (NAWA). These experiences added a lot to her overall school experience, said Coger. For example, her sorority taught her professionalism and how to make personal connections with others.

Her journey to WSU stems from wanting to branch out and become more independent from her parents.

“I wanted to come to WSU because it was so far away from home but still in the state. I wanted to get away from home. I didn’t want to be close,” she exclaimed.

WSU’s campus is located just over 250 miles from her hometown of Mt. Vernon, Washington. So, Coger found it more easy to grow into herself.

“I just wanted to be my own person and be independent and do my own thing and be able to have fun and experience something new,” she said.

She had two favorite psychology classes while on campus. Both taught her valuable skills to aid in her professionalism in the work force such as mental assessments, knowledge of available resources for patients and how to go about diagnosing mental disorders.

As for when she returns back to the States this May, Coger plans to take a well-deserved nap.

“[I] might sleep for two weeks or a month possibly and then start looking for a job,” she said.

She does have her eyes set on applying for grad school as well. She plans to apply to the University of Washington’s and Eastern Washington University’s schools of social work.

One piece of advice she would like to leave to freshmen considering to major in psychology is “to make friends with your professors” for possible sources of letters of recommendation down the road and to also make friends in your classes because the classes become more enjoyable when you have friends.