PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University senior Justin Jacob, a member of the Yakama Nation, has been named to the 1998 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team.
Jacob, who is from Wapato and will graduate from WSU in May with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and certification to teach at the high school level, was named to the second team by a judging panel working in cooperation with “USA Today,” the national daily newspaper.
A graduate of Wapato High School, who began at WSU in fall 1993, Jacob is the only student from the state of Washington of the 60 named from colleges nationwide to the first, second and third teams.
The son of Theresa and Roger Jacob of Wapato, he is living near his parents this semester while he completes his student teaching at Toppenish High School. This fall, he expects to begin his teaching career at a high school on the Yakama Reservation, fulfilling his childhood goal of becoming a role model and mentor for tribal youth.
“I can do what Michael Pavel did for me,” Jacob said. “He’s Indian, too, so we had much in common. Pavel showed me things I needed to know. He was a great mentor for me.”
Pavel, an assistant professor in the WSU College of Education and a member of Skokomish Indian Nation, nominated Jacob for the academic team. Jacob, he explained, was a “consummate student,” able to earn a high grade point average doing rigorous course work while continuing effective service and volunteer activities.
“Justin Jacob is a man of stature, deserving of national recognition,” Pavel said.
In addition, the return of such a successful tribal member to the reservation as a role model for youth, Pavel noted, will have a profound and positive impact on the Yakama Nation.
“The circle is mending, strengthening,” Pavel explained. “One of their own not only succeeded but is returning home to prepare for a beautiful future.”
While attending WSU, Jacob received a $3,500 GTE Multicultural Teacher Education Scholarship annually for four years. That support from GTE, plus additional funding from the Yakama Nation, made it possible for Jacob to graduate and begin teaching so soon after high school.
Kevin Laverty, GTE’s community economic development manager, noted: “We are extremely proud of Justin Jacob. This national honor is the latest in a series of impressive awards he has received. We’re sure the Yakama Nation will benefit from his skills, and we’re pleased to have played a part in his education.”
Jacob is the seventh representative of WSU selected to the All-Academic Team in the team’s nine years of existence. Previous members of USA Today All-USA College Academic Teams include Tiffany Somers, agricultural economics, 1997; Tonya McPheeters, agribusiness, 1995; Steve Setter, pharmacy, 1994; Julie Kerr, mathematics, 1993; Barbara Ashton, child, consumer and family studies, 1991; and Mark Ruark, agricultural economics, 1990.

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