Literacy Source tutor coordinator at the King County Jail, Liz Wurster, began offering the UW Inner Pipeline Course "Education in the Criminal Justice System" in the fall of 2016. Stephanie started tutoring as a part of this course, but has decided to continue on as a community tutor after graduating from UW. She has worked with five students over the past nine months, moving two of them through all four tests and becoming graduates! Stephanie has shown a great deal of patience and determination, finding creative ways to break down many of the educational barriers our students experience and connecting with them in a way that really shows results. An applied mathematics major at UW, she is considered our "math guru;" we bring her in for students that are struggling to pass the math as their final test, and she gets the job done! She took the time to answer some of our questions:
Where are you originally from? If you’re not from Seattle what brought you here?
I'm from Tacoma and moved up to Seattle to attend the University of Washington.
Please share something of your life so far and what you would like to do in the future.
I just graduated with a degree in Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences and am working towards a job where I can apply this math and computer science background.
Why did you choose to volunteer at LS?
I discovered the opportunity of tutoring at KCCF because I needed a couple more credits for school and it was being offered for credit as a UW class through the Pipeline Project. However the reason I decided to do it was because I knew it would be such a unique experience that I wouldn't get anywhere else and would be much more enriching that another lecture style class. I've enjoyed it so much though that even though I'm not getting credit for it I've continued on as a volunteer.
What do you like about volunteering at KCCF?
I like that the work we're doing is actually making a difference in people's lives. On the rare occasion that you have a student complete all four sections of the GED, it is incredibly rewarding. For someone to go from not being a high school graduate to having their GED, that does wonders for their future because it opens up so many more possibilities for them.
Any stories or highlights from volunteering at KCCF?
One of my highlights from volunteering at KCCF was a conversation I had with one of my students. He was one of the two students I have worked with that passed every section of the GED. One day he started asking me about computer science and how that related to math. It turned into a conversation about his goals for the future and how he wanted to attend college when he got released. As a tutor, you have to be careful about the kind of conversations you have with the inmates, but this was the most genuine conversation I had with any of my students and it was a good reminder for both of us that obtaining a GED is a significant accomplishment that can positively impact a person's future, if they continue to work hard.
What might people not know about you?
I love to play volleyball, flag football and ultimate frisbee, as well as spend time with family and friends.