WAEF Students Adapt to ChangeJennifer Witherbee
Thank you for your questions and concern about the impact of changing learning environments on WAEF students. We are excited to share nearly all WAEF students continue to stay on track with their college plans. Our outreach with students encourages the importance of honoring their own goals and dreams while acknowledging their college experiences will be much different than envisioned.
Your support of WAEF makes a critical impact to students right now. Our Beyond the Scholarship activities had been growing in importance and value for several years. The goal of the workshops, career tours, mentoring and outreach has always been to encourage students through to degree completion, graduate on time and be prepared to launch their careers upon graduation. This goal we have for students has not changed though the outreach is possibly more important now than ever before.
This spring we planned for 319 students to enroll with WAEF funding in the fall 2020 classes. Of those all but seven will move forward as originally planned. While this is a higher attrition rate than in a normal year, again, WAEF students are providing they are highly capable of overcoming obstacles and moving forward with purpose.
We haven’t seen students in person since last December when many joined us for career tours, informational interviews with employers, and holiday celebrations. Since then, we’ve conducted phone interviews with all returning students, hosted Zoom workshops exploring various employment sectors and professional development topics, held online orientations with all new students and been involved in regular phone outreach.
As we move forward, we’ll continue to provide resources to students helping them adapt to this temporary normal while reminding and encouraging them of their reasons for attending college.
Care packages return this fall! Volunteers are sought to help with this special outreach letting students know they have a great group of cheerleaders behind them. If you would like to become a care package volunteer, please contact Xochitl via email or (509) 663-7713.
We are also beginning a new group mentoring plan. The new mentoring strategy is based on our observations of student & presenter interactions during the workshops held this spring and early summer. It will be Zoom based and pairs mentor duos with a group of six WAEF students. A big thanks to Anika Grubbs, Ben Jensen, Danelle Huber, Jorge Villasenor, Jose Hernandez, Laurie Knebusch, Mari Mendoza, Nate Fulton and Suzanne Bishop for agreeing to learn with us as mentors in the inaugural year.
As the fall develops, we will be identifying plans for student encouragement & career development over the holiday break. This is generally an important time for in-person connection with students.
It is with the support of caring WAEF donors that this work occurs. Thank you for believing in WAEF and helping students create the futures they imagine for themselves and their families.
Outreach to high school students
We are also working on our outreach for high school students. WAEF has provided valuable scholarship training to students in our 45 school districts for over a decade. This spring we began retooling this in-person program with online resources. It will launch later this month.
We’ve also been in contact with several area high school counselors about their plans to promote scholarships this year and ways we can help. A calendar with live webinars for students and a library of recorded scholarship tips and instructions will soon be published.
Similarly, we are in contact with several industry employers about outreach for parents with students soon to be college age. Several new promotional directions are underway using resources developed in English and Spanish.
Participate or Learn More
If you’re interested in learning more about Beyond the Scholarship student stewardship activities, scholarship promotion or contributing, please reach out to us at (509) 663-7713 or visit at our website, www.waef.org. There are opportunities to give on the website, if so desired.