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Oregon Tech Student to Attend State of the Union Address as First Lady’s Guest

Jan 11, 2016
Junior in Software Engineering, Lydia Doza, selected to sit in First Lady Michelle Obama's box during State of the Union Address. Lydia is an ambassador for young Native Americans who encourages youth to get involved in science
DSC_0013A junior in Software Engineering at Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech), Alaska native Lydia Doza (pictured right) is currently traveling to Washington D.C. to attend the State of the Union address as a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama in her reserved box at the address.

The White House Office of Legislative Affairs notes that, “the individuals who will be seated in the guest box of First Lady Michelle Obama represent the progress we have made since the President first delivered this speech seven years ago – from the brink of a second Great Depression and two costly wars to an economy that is growing and renewed American leadership abroad. Their stories - of struggle and success – highlight where we have been and where America is going in the future, building on the best of what our country has to offer. The guests personify President Obama’s time in office and most importantly, they represent who we are as Americans: inclusive and compassionate, innovative and courageous.”

Announced by the White House on Sunday, Lydia is one of 22 individuals chosen to be a guest for the Tuesday event. Lydia is an Ambassador for the Center of Native American Youth (CNAY), a nationwide organization “dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development and advocacy.” As an Ambassador, Lydia serves as a spokeswoman for Gen-I (Generation Indigenous) and CNAY and acts as a community liaison to share resources and opportunities with peers and communities. As Lydia is also a Computer Systems Engineering Technology (CSET) Ambassador at Oregon Tech, she uses both of these platforms to advocate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in the community.

Originally from Anchorage, Lydia Doza’s upbringing in three Alaskan tribes – Inupiaq, Tsimshian, and Haida – as well as her grandmother Joanne’s influence taught her the value of an education and the importance of mentorship. She discovered her passion for engineering early on through her high school robotics team, and she’s engaging with rural youth in disciplines across the STEM fields to apply their skills and education. A 24-year-old and current resident of Klamath Falls, Lydia specifically chose Oregon Tech when she was looking at colleges because of the high return on investment that the school boasts. “There is more than a 90 percent chance of me getting a job after graduating and I’m paying for school myself so I decided I wanted the highest return on investment and Oregon Tech offered that for me in the Pacific Northwest,” shared Lydia. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree, Lydia hopes to work full time as a software engineer while continuing her involvement in the community to promote the importance of STEM and higher education.  Lydia ultimately hopes to pursue a master’s degree in data science and encourage more women to go into STEM.

Lydia and her guest, fellow software engineering student Tanna McClure fly out today, attend and address on Tuesday, and fly home on Wednesday. Lydia already has plans when she comes home to put together a code-training class open to the community along with other CSET Ambassadors.
About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the only public 4-year institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology. 
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