Jackrabbit Alum Makes a Global Difference

Tanna Becker’s SDSU education has led her to a career she never expected.


Alumni Spotlight

Jackrabbits, and the difference they make, are everywhere. With our new Alumni Spotlight series, we'll be sharing stories of recent alumni - what they've been up to since graduation and how their SDSU experience shaped who they are today.

First up: Tanna Becker.

Each workday starts the same for Tanna Becker.

She fires up her computer, logs in to Zoom, and joins a meeting with a staff nearly 8,000 miles and an 8-hour time difference away. As a program coordinator with AsOne Ministries, the 2016 alum is using her degree in human development and family studies in ways she never imagined.

AsOne Ministries is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the Christian faith while developing sustainable solutions in education, enterprise, health, and agriculture. AsOne emphasizes holistic measures that address poverty in rural and underserved communities in Uganda, empowering locals to take part in transforming their own communities.

While Tanna admits she had no idea a job like hers existed up until a few years ago, the foundation she built during her education at SDSU seems a natural trajectory to the career that’s changed her life.

She first visited Uganda in 2012, falling immediately in love with the country’s unique culture. Now, Tanna’s role includes planning and facilitating trips for interested individuals to visit Uganda and explore more about how they can make a difference in combating spiritual, relational, and economic poverty.

Our team at the Foundation was inspired to learn just how an education at SDSU pointed Tanna to a career as far-flung as Uganda. Crediting both the college ministry group, Oasis, that she joined on campus and the formative experiences of the Honors College, she describes her journey from a university in South Dakota to a country in need half a world away.

How did SDSU influence your life’s journey, both personally and professionally?

SDSU was a gift to me in many ways, both academically and personally. Professionally, I’m exceptionally grateful for SDSU’s Honors College and the part it played in my academics and process of discovering what I was really passionate about and how I could use my strengths (and what I cared about) in my work. I have such sweet memories from my time in Brookings and appreciate the role it has played in who I am today.

Being in Brookings gave me the opportunity to attend GracePoint Wesleyan Church and be part of their college ministry group, Oasis. I’m grateful for the way Oasis and GracePoint were an impactful part of me growing my faith and providing me with an amazing community of people.

How did philanthropy impact your time at SDSU?

I received scholarship support while at SDSU; I'm incredibly thankful for the generosity and how this was extremely helpful in paying for college.

What does a day in the life working at your job look like?

Right now, we are preparing for about 100 travelers to come to AsOne for the summer of 2023. This includes high schools, colleges, churches, and individuals who want to learn more about AsOne’s work in Uganda. I assist with recruitment for these trips, develop in-country itineraries and budgets, facilitate preparation meetings, coordinate travel logistics, and work with our team in Uganda for on-the-ground planning and preparations for the trips.

The other main part of my role is with The Scholars, AsOne’s monthly donor program. I assist with communication to donors, help with administrative tasks, and work with our team to gather story content for email updates. Being part of a nonprofit has given me the opportunity to learn many new skills and have a variety of tasks each day!

What drew you to pursue a career in your profession?

I first went to Uganda in 2012 [on a personal excursion] and from this very first trip, I knew the country would always have a special place in my heart. My story with Uganda has been a journey I never imagined.

With a staff of nearly 200 Ugandan employees, AsOne works in five communities across Uganda. The way AsOne is empowering Ugandans to empower other Ugandans to be part of the transformation of their own communities is a beautiful thing to watch and an honor to be a part of.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Getting to know and work with our Ugandan staff is certainly a highlight! My coworkers are like family to me, and it’s an honor to be part of the team. I love sharing about AsOne with people in the US and helping individuals prepare to travel to Uganda and get to experience the beautiful culture and learn about AsOne’s work.

Spending time in Uganda is certainly another highlight, as the country truly feels like a second home to me. It’s such a gift to have a job I love so much and have the opportunity to be part of something I’m so passionate about each day. 

Do you have a standout experience both from your career and from your years as a Jackrabbit? 

Standout SDSU moments include getting to spend two years at SDSU with my oldest brother and my now sister-in-law and having the opportunity to complete my internship for one of my classes at Gladney Center for Adoption in Texas. 

A favorite career experience includes a recent trip to Uganda where most of our Ugandan team members gathered for an all-staff retreat weekend. I had the opportunity to meet co-workers in person that I had only previously met on Zoom, visit homes of people in the communities AsOne is working in, and hear stories about how AsOne is impacting their lives.

Tanna’s story is a testament to SDSU’s ability to prepare graduates for the best course for them, both in their careers and in their personal lives.

With a knack for blending academic opportunity with individual growth, Jackrabbits can always be counted on to pursue bold paths – even if those paths are unexpected, leading to a purpose fulfilled on the other side of the globe.

Jackrabbits, and the difference they make, are everywhere.