Donor Profiles


Atsuko Watabe and Bruce Hazam

COA Alumni

Atsuko Watabe and Bruce HazamBack in the mid ’80s coworkers convinced me that I could go to school full-time with the help of financial aid rather than continuing with night school after work. As a COA student I remember calculating the cost per class and how thankful I was to receive such generous support from the college in the form of financial aid. I swore I would pay it all back one day so that others could have the same access to the incredible education I had. Little did I think my circuitous pathway would go from studying endangered ferrets in Wyoming, to bats on Borneo, to teaching sciences in New York state, and back to COA, only to become the Director of Financial Aid (though I still get to teach about bats for the summer program!).

As the Director of Financial Aid, I am in constant contact with students who dream big and are asking all sorts of questions about how they can make things happen, whether it be a study abroad program, residency or internship. There is so much passion, inquisitiveness and potential; the need for student support has never been greater. While the college needs to fund many things on many levels it all comes down to helping those students realize their dreams and enabling them to go out into the world to effect change. Atsuko is perhaps one of the only people who has been a COA student, staff member (International Student Advisor) and faculty member (Japanese language). The two of us love this institution and take great pride and joy in giving what we can each year.