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Jackie Saarenas

Director, West Coast Graduate Student Services - Seattle


Office Location

Northeastern University - Seattle
401 Terry Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: Jackie Saarenas, 109 SEA
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115-5000


  • MA in student development administration, Seattle University
  • BA in psychology, Seattle University

What are the specifics of your educational/career background?

I completed my BA in psychology and my MA in student development administration from Seattle University. My Master’s research focused on first-generation college students and the impact of learning communities on their higher education experience. I worked in public service, healthcare, and educational nonprofits for the past 8 years (College Access Now, Seattle University).

What are the key aspects of your role at Northeastern? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I am managing the Khoury Master of Science in computer science program, as well as the Align program here at Northeastern University’s Seattle campus. I am creating events to support and enhance the MSCS/Align experience at Khoury College. In addition, I am advising the students within MSCS/Align program on campus. I am looking to build relationships with partnering colleges and industry.

What’s the most compelling thing to you about the work that goes on at Khoury?

I am most compelled by the work and existence of the Align program. I identify as an inclusive educator and am passionate about increasing the representation of minoritized populations within industry. The Align program provides students from all undergraduate backgrounds, regardless of their computer science exposure, to access the field of computer science and further diversify the field. This program enhances the number of women and minorities to enter into this field.

Where did you grow up or spend your most defining years?

I was born and raised in Seattle, WA. I attended Franklin High School.

What led you to work in your field and/or study at your college?

As a first-generation woman in college from a low-income background, I really enjoyed the college atmosphere. I realized soon after I graduated with my BA that higher education was where I wanted to be because I wanted to be a resource for students as they navigated the world of higher education and all of its intricacies.