Taking pride in her education and her culture


Shae Gamble with her father, Dan Gamble, after her graduation ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 7.

As she walked across the stage to accept her diploma, Shae Gamble fulfilled a momentous milestone.

Gamble graduated as a first-generation college student Saturday with a bachelor’s degree from WSU in communication in society and sports management.

However, her path to graduation was not without challenges.

Gamble’s began at Green River Community College, and after completing her associate’s degree she decided to transfer to WSU.

She said she was not sure what to expect when going to Pullman, but after her first visit to the campus she knew she made the right decision. She said she instantly connected with the sense of family and Cougar pride that surrounded Pullman.

“When I first saw the shed that says ‘Go Cougs,’ that’s when I fell in love,” Gamble said.

On her first day of school, Gamble sought a place where she belonged by reaching out to the Native American community on campus. She walked into the Native American Student Center and found David Warner and Shawn Lamebull sleeping on the couches.

“Shawn asked me what I was doing there, and I said, ‘I’m Alaskan, I’m Tlingit, and my mom said I could come here,’” Gamble said.

After one year at WSU, she could not seem to find her fit and did not know what she wanted to major in. She left for three semesters, but with the encouragement of her family she decided to go back and finish her degree in communication and sports management.

As an Alaskan Native from the Tlingit tribe, Gamble said she took an interest in learning about her roots and the Native American culture in general. To do so, she wanted to get more involved with the Native American campus organizations.

For the past two years, Gamble was involved with the Native American Student Organization, also known as ASWSU Ku-Ah-Mah and the Native American Women’s Association.

“Shae is passionate about anything that matters to her. Her heritage, her work and her education are things I have noticed that are especially important to Shae,” said Ryan Ward, Ku-Ah-Mah co-chair.

During her time at WSU, Gamble was also involved in the council for Multicultural Student Presidents, the Committee Square under ASWSU, and worked for the Washington State Athletics ticket office.

This year, Gamble was president for both Ku-Ah-Mah and the Native American Student Organization.

Although a part of many organizations, Gamble said she was most dedicated to Ku-Ah-Mah. She said she believes in her efforts at Ku-Ah-Mah more than any other organization.

“It’s really difficult for me to transition from leaving Ku-Ah-Mah behind, but with the Pah-Loots-Pu Pow Wow coming up in the spring, I still plan on helping with that. That’s how dedicated I am,” Gamble said.

Her passion shines through her motivation from her friends, her family and her culture.

“Shae is very outgoing and very outspoken. She always stands up for what she believes in no matter what it is,” said Kameron Strasbaugh, Ku-Ah-Mah public relations chair.

Gamble said her plans after college right now are to travel and visit her family in Alaska and Oregon. In Alaska, she said she hopes to take care of her paternal grandma, learn more about the Tlingit tribe and receive her native name.

“I haven’t been to Alaska in 13 years, and I want to live by experience,” Gamble said.

In addition, she said she also wants to visit Oregon to see her maternal grandma, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Gamble said she hopes to visit family for the first two months and then start preparing for the LSAT to go to law school. She said she is interested in either learning about Tribal Council or Sport Law.

Serving as a role model for future generations is important to Gamble as she moves on to this next phase in her life.

“I want more Tlingit people to fulfill a higher education and influence the younger generation in my family to get a higher education also,” Gamble said.