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October 2004

Pacific Northwest News

Ink Aleaga Academic Advisor for UW Huskies

By Rochelle delaCruz

 

Ink Aleaga grew up in Hālawa housing on O`ahu in a family with four brothers and two sisters. He attended `Aiea Intermediate School and graduated in 1991 from Maryknoll High School where he was a linebacker and made the Hawai`i All-State Football Team his senior year. He was recruited by Jim Lambright to play for the Washington Huskies, but his SAT scores were too low. So Ink sat out for a year, working in construction in Honolulu and studying to take the SATs again. This time, his scores were higher and he came to the University of Washington in 1992 to play for the Huskies. He red-shirted his first year, and played linebacker for the UW Huskies from 1993 to 1996.

During his junior and senior seasons at Washington, Ink was named to the All-Pac-10 first team, a double honor not easily earned. After playing for the University of Washington, Aleaga became a free agent and signed with the New Orleans Saints, where he played for three years before suffering a knee injury.

In 2001, Stan Chernicoff, UW’s head of student-athlete academic services, called Ink and offered him the position of academic advisor for players from Pacific Island backgrounds. Ink thought it was a perfect fit. “Coming to the Mainland from Hawai`i, I remember how difficult it was to make the transition,” he said. Back in 1992 when he arrived at the U, there were tutorial services but no academic advisor specifically for athletes. Today, Ink Aleaga, along with Rod Jones, advises student athletes who might need help not only academically but with off-field problems as well.

Ink graduated from UW with a degree in sociology and American ethnic studies, and starts work this fall on an MA in Education. When asked about his name, he laughed and said, “That’s it! It’s just Ink! My mother didn’t even have a story for it!” (Ink has a brother named Link, suggesting that Mama Aleaga had a penchant for rhyme.)

Undoubtedly, “Ink” is a shortcut for: Incomparable. Incredible.

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