Return to Headlines

Danika Washington & Katelynn Eberle (THS '03) - STEM

Danika (left) and Katelynn (right) in high school
Danika (left) and Katelynn (right) in high school.

Danika Washington and Katelynn Eberle (née Blume) were both eighth graders at Komachin Middle School when their parents met at church. Katelynn’s father had just been relocated to the base at Fort Lewis. He was chatting with Danika’s parents after a Sunday service, and they invited Katelynn to Danika’s birthday party without even having met her.

Katelynn and Danika were close friends through graduation from Timberline in 2003 and are still friends to this day. They loved their STEM classes, practiced on numerous sports teams together, and both went on to attend Saint Martin’s University. Both have fond memories of taking Timberline math classes with Ms. Shigaya. “Math was definitely my favorite subject,” says Danika. “Ms. Shigaya and Mrs. Boreman stand out to me because they were so passionate about what they did.”

“There were lots of opportunities for AP classes at Timberline, so in my senior year I took Calculus I with Ms. Shigaya,” explains Katelynn. “I was able to get the AP credit and skip right to Calculus II in college.” She took her first chemistry class at Timberline, and it ignited a life-long passion.

Katelynn (left) and Danika (right), present day
Katelynn (left) and Danika (right), present day.

At Saint Martin’s, Katelynn majored in Chemistry, knowing she wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare field. Danika opted for a Civil Engineering major with a minor in Biology. Both were runners and track athletes in high school, coached by Brad Hooper (CTE director for NTPS today). Hooper was also a track coach at Saint Martin’s and successfully recruited both of them to attend the school and keep competing with him. Katelynn is a runner and Danika is a thrower, and to this day they still go on jogs together.

Hooper’s CTE classes were memorable and influential for both Danika and Katelynn. Danika remembers her Intro to Typing class with a chuckle. “It sounds so basic, but in 2003 it was essential to kick-start your success in the computer world,” Danika says. “I’ve always been grateful for that class, and for the programming class I took. Sometimes I wonder if I’d have ended up a computer engineer if I’d graduated a few years later.”

Katelynn also has fond memories of CTE classes with Mr. Hooper. “I got to take his Web Page Design class and Mr. Hooper had me design the website for the track and cross-country teams,” explains Katelynn. She is now an Inpatient Pharmacist at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Joint Base Lewis-McChord. She focuses primarily on transitional care, helping patients understand their medications as they prepare to discharge.

Danika is now an Assistant Project Engineer at the Washington State Department of Transportation. She oversees 30 engineers and technicians, many of which just participated in the completion of the Diverging Diamond intersection in Hawks Prairie. She’s been with the DOT since she graduated from Saint Martin’s 13 years ago.

Katelynn and Danika are grateful for the supportive, well-rounded encouragement of their teachers at Timberline. “Having the ability to be involved with all the extracurricular activities along with all the science classes really helped me,” Danika says. “I think that whole combination is important to have, and mentors like Mr. Hooper were a huge part of that.”

Danika lives in Lacey and loves to hike and backpack. She’s also a member of the local Kiwanis club, having started on a path of community service and child advocacy in Key Club at Timberline and continued through Key Club at Saint Martin’s. Katelynn lives in Olympia with her husband Scott and their new daughter, Autumn.